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CNN Live Event/Special

Suspected Serial Killer Caught Years After Murders; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Won't Rule Out Third-Party Run at No Labels Event; QAnon Shaman Wants Plea Overturned, Blaming Lawyer; Jayapal Condemned By Dems For Racist Remark; Sir Elton John Testifies In The Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault Trial; State Judge Temporarily Blocks Iowa's Six-Week Abortion Ban. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 17, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much for joining us tonight. We'll see you here tomorrow. CNN Primetime with Laura Coates starts right now.

Hi, Laura.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Kaitlan. We are going to be going really deep into what's going on. This Gilgo murders, it's unbelievable what's happening there.

COLLINS: Absolutely.

COATES: I'm telling you, this is right up my alley. And that sounds out but we're going there.

COLLINS: No one better to talk about it than you.

COATES: All right. I owe you money. Fine, Kaitlin, thank you so much.

Good evening, everyone. I am Laura Coates. Thank you all for joining me.

In the T.V. show Dexter, remember that one, who was a serial killer who quietly let a double life, holding down a normal job on the one hand, had a family in the suburbs, blending perfectly, they say, into society? Well, listen, in real life that plot is now eerily similar to an accused killer in a series of horrible murders.

This is Rex Heuermann, an architect in New York. He's a husband, father of two. He's also behind bars tonight charged with the killers of three of the four women were known as the Gilgo Four. And investigators fear that there could be more victims.

The unsolved murders have literally terrorized Long Island for more than ten years now. In fact, ten years ten other sets of human rain remains have also been found. The cold case now, it recently became warm after a task force big got a sample of Heuermann's DNA, get this, from pizza crust of the throughway. Among the items that were found during the search of his own home, more than 200 guns and a child-like doll in a case. And tonight, I am speaking to the case's top investigator who says the crimes are the worst he's ever seen and that he is afraid that there are more victims.

Joining me now in Suffolk County is Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Carter. Commissioner, thank you for joining us. This has been captivating Long Island and the nation for quite some time. But this is the Gilgo Four but only three charges linked to three different women have actually been filed right now.

So, let me begin with that fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes. Is there a connection from Heuermann to her death yet?

ANTHONY CARTER, DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, right now, our task force in conjunction with all of our last enforcement partners are actively investigating just whether or not our defendant is a part of more victims.

COATES: Why do you think there might be more victims?

CARTER: Well, at this juncture, as I said, we have come a very long way in the investigation. And at this juncture, we feel that even though we've come a long way, and we have still a long way to go. And at this point, as to where we are, we just don't know, but rest assured we're going to find out.

COATES: Let's talk about what you do know so far, because one of the big questions, I don't know if it's out of a sense of fear or trying to understand and get into the mind of an alleged suspect, one of the big questions people always wonder his motive. Have you established any kind of motive for these heinous acts?

CARTER: What we are doing is we're analyzing every bit of information, and those determinations and exactly what we have seen are going to come out as the investigation continues to unfold.

COATES: You are searching his home. What have you found so far?

CARTER: So, as previously was presented was a lot of different guns and rifles among other things our task force members and everybody involved with the investigation really going to take the house all the way down to the studs to find out exactly what's in Rex's home.

COATES: Well, what have you found so far? I know there was a child- like doll that was removed. What's that all about?

CARTER: They are taking -- yes, I've seen a lot of talk about the doll. And as of now, from where we are, we are just processing every bit of whether it is evidence or pieces of things in the household that we are going to take and we're going to analyze it.

COATES: Now, for you to get to the point where you're looking at a pizza crust, obviously, this is a person who has been a suspect for likely longer than it has been told in the public eye. What was the process of getting this case warm again to the point where you chose to look at the DNA samples or try to get some indication from this suspect in connection with these murders? How did we get there?

CARTER: Yes, it's a great question. And I think when we go all the way back to how we conduct an investigation, we take a look.


And when we have a potential lead, we exhaust that lead and we continue to examine until the point comes where maybe that person maybe can be eliminated.

In the case with Rex, every investigative step that we took failed to eliminate him. And it caused the task force to continually narrow their focus, and while he became a person of interest, every step that we took lettuce further and further down that road.

COATES: How long has he been a person of interest?

CARTER: He's been a person of interest for quite some time now.

COATES: More than a year?

CARTER: Quite some time.

COATES: Why are you not saying how long? Is it because there has not been a presentation to the media of any kind of what you are looking at or hoping maybe not to have him be aware?

CARTER: I think just in the terms of an active investigation, I think it's very important that there is nothing that we want to do that would compromise this investigation in any way.

COATES: I understand that, certainly as a former prosecutor.

Have you found any items belonging to the victims that he may have kept in some way, perhaps as some of the psyche of alleged serial killers, sometimes as souvenirs? Are you finding anything from the victims in the possession of his residence, a storage unit, his office, anywhere?

CARTER: So, the task force members, they are examining everything. There is no stone that they are going to leave unturned. As you can see, the investigation is taking its course. It's running into different locations throughout the county, throughout the state and even beyond. So, as we continue to do that investigation, what we will see is what we will see.

COATES: Beyond the state, are their concerns that he is connected with other crimes outside of what's already been alleged for the suspect?

CARTER: The task force in conjunction with all of our law enforcement partners from all across the countries were all working together to see what we can piece together.

COATES: Who's a part of the task force? What stations? What assignments?

CARTER: So, we have members from the New York State Police, the New York Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, our very own investigators from Suffolk County Police Department as well as members from the district attorney's office.

COATES: I'm curious about the cell phone data here. It was said that there were some burner phones that he was alleged to have had, but also there are allegations that are being made from prosecutors that he may have made taunting phone calls to the victims' families. What can you tell me about that?

CARTER: So, yes, there were calls that were part of the investigation where it's very possible that Rex had placed phone calls to some of the victims and to some of the victims' family members. And for that reason and the fact that he was even looking to still contact and still look to reach out is why he was apprehended when he was.

COATES: What does it mean the word taunting? What kind of communication was he having? Was he pretending to be the victim? Was he insulting or trying to make them believe the person is still alive? What was he saying?

CARTER: Yes, that's still something that I can't disclose. If I could, I would but that is still part of the ongoing investigation.

COATES: Are you speaking with any members of his own family. I'm wondering but his wife. Did she suspect anything or make me statements so far?

CARTER: Yes. The task force members have been in contact with the defendant's family members and including his wife. And, you know, they have had conversations and they are cooperating with the investigation.

COATES: What does that mean to be cooperating?

CARTER: Cooperating, so they're talking with our investigators and the conversations are ongoing.

COATES: Do they have council?

CARTER: That I can't say.

COATES: Are they persons of interest?

CARTER: That I also -- it's all part of the ongoing investigation.

COATES: The investigation, Commissioner Carter, has been, as you mentioned, gone on for some time, and I certainly understand the sensitivities of the developing a case with an eye towards a pursuit of justice. But a lot of evidence that was available maybe now may have been accessible over the years, or was it not? Was there a reason why that this has not happened sooner?

CARTER: So, with the creation of the task force, all of the investigative steps were revisited.


And that's part of what we were able to do. And, really, what these investigators, and we really have to just talk about all the members of the task force that were able to take a tremendous amount of information, a tremendous amount of investigative steps that were previously done and revisit those steps and really take a deeper dive and do it collectively with the powers of not only the members of the task force but all of the resources from each one of their respective agencies as well.

COATES: The coordination is astounding, especially over the amount of time and just how cold this case once was certainly living in the minds of and the fears of many people in the community remembering what had happened and what is going on here and the missing women. What is the suspect, the now defendant, Heuermann, said during the arrest and jail intake (ph)? Has he made any statements you can tell us about?

CARTER: Not that I'm aware of.

COATES: Is he in general population? Is he being watched more closely? There is some reporting that he might be on a kind of suicide watch. Is that true?

CARTER: Yes. That, I can't disclose. I'm sorry.

COATES: Do you have a sense of the timeline of this investigation being concluded with any additional indictments or prosecutions or is this the status quo for some time?

CARTER: You know, I really think just based on where we have been to where we are that this investigation is still in its infancy. And I think we have a long way to go. We have a lot of evidence to process, a lot more witnesses to interview and tips are still coming in.

You know, we have been urging the public if they have information to reach out to the Suffolk County Police Department's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-220-TIPS.

COATES: Thank you so much for the information you have given us. There is a lot of interest in this case. Suffolk County Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Carter, keep us posted, thank you so much.

CARTER: Thank you so much again.

COATES: Up next, the January 6th rioter known as the QAnon shaman, you remember this particular fellow, he's apparently taking it all back. He wants his plea now overturned and he is blaming his former lawyer. That lawyer will join me live to respond, next.

Plus, Senator Joe Manchin tonight teasing maybe a third-party run, maybe not, by the end of the year. I'll talk with one Democrat who says this would hand the election to Donald Trump. And Sir Elton John turned up in court today to testify on behalf of Kevin Spacey in the actor's sex assault trial. We'll hear what happened.



COATES: All right. Now to politics and tonight, Senator Joe Manchin is not ruling it a third-party run. And Democrats, well, to put it mildly, they are livid. In a moment, I'll speak with one of his colleagues in Congress who's warning that a third party candidate would hand the election to Donald Trump.

But, first, the West Virginia Democrat in New Hampshire tonight at the No Labels conference. Listen.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We are here to make sure that the American people have an option.

I've never been in any race I've ever spool (ph). I've been in races to win. And if I get in a race, I'm going to win.


COATES: Joining me now is New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster, head of the new Democrat coalition in the House. Congresswoman, thank you for joining us tonight.

Listen, we are hearing a lot about the No Labels. It's not a coincidence that New Hampshire is the chosen venue. It's obviously going to -- tongues wagging. They are talking about his though as an insurance policy, that they are a vehicle to get ballot access, not trying to run a candidate. But questions are being asked about the possibility of a third-party candidate. What do you think about those chances and how it would impact a run, of course, by President Biden and Donald Trump?

REP. ANNIE KUSTER (D-NH): Well, the irony is they are trying to show unity when actually they are going to sow division. And, Laura, good to be with you, it is wonderful to have people come to New Hampshire. We major in politics. This is what we do. We've had the first of the nation primary for many, many years and I always welcome people to come with their ideas.

But what is different about No Labels -- and you always have to follow the money. What is different about No Labels is I think they are not being honest with voters. Voters from New Hampshire expect for candidates to say what they believe and believe what they say. And what we have here with No Labels is a group of people that have come together, many of them billionaire Republican donors, supporters of Donald Trump, trying to disrupt the two-party system in order to re- elect Donald Trump. And I think that is where we will end up if they end up on the ballot in places like New Hampshire. COATES: Now, with No Labels, though, they, of course, one, point out that there are donors who have supported Democrats as well, who are providing money for the conference as well. And there is a thought that they have explained that the reason they don't want to be transparent, so to speak, is because there's a lot of antagonize and that could go on to donors who try to endeavor to be bipartisan. But let me ask you about this --

KUSTER: Just disclose donors. That's what we have to do. That's with the Federal Election Commission and our election campaign laws, every single one of my donors has to be disclosed. And why won't they disclose donors?

COATES: But that doesn't find the core of the argument against why there is concern about No Labels. It sounds like the core of the argument is much less about who is donating and more about, as you mentioned, the disruption of the two-party system. And there are voters who will say, I don't like the two-party choices. It's a rock and a hard place and I'm tired at being in between. What do you say to those who look at this and say, this is just giving someone an option? What's the problem with that?


KUSTER: Well, in New Hampshire, for example, under the two-party system, we have 40 percent are independent voters. So, my district, they only have 30 percent Democrats, 30 percent Republican, 40 percent I have to win over every single time. But what the voters in New Hampshire know is that I say what I believe, I believe what I say.

Look at the policy they put out, policy. They put out this commonsense platform without specifics, acting as though these issues are simple. Laura, let me tell you, the simple issues have already been resolved. The ones that we have left are very, very complex. And we have people in this race President Joe Biden, who have put forward platforms, put forward positions, passed bipartisan legislation. They talk about a bipartisan approach? That's exactly what we did.

And we won the bipartisan infrastructure bill and got it signed into law. And we won the Inflation Reduction Act on clean energy. That's one of the issues they talk about is clean energy. It reads just like the Biden plan that we're implementing right now. So, we have a choice, and the choice for me is President Joe Biden.

COATES: When you talk about clean energy, it's reminiscent, of course, of a senator who is in New Hampshire who is saying that he's not going to rule out a run and he'll wait until the end of the year to make the decision. He has been a perpetual thorn in the side of a slim majority for Democrats, although he has support in West Virginia and he is not alone in his decision to buck the system in some respects. Do you think that Senator Joe Manchin is serious about actually contemplating a run for the presidency or is this about the policy issues in the forefront?

KUSTER: Or is this about getting attention? Let's be honest, I think that's why we are talking about it tonight. Look, I know Joe Manchin. He's a colleague in the Congress. I know where his position is. I know where his constituency is. And he represents West Virginia, a history of coal, a history of carbon pollution, in my view, and I think we are in a transition period. 85 percent of the new projects that are in line for approval are clean energy projects. And that's the direction that the American people want to go.

Look at the impact of climate just this summer, historic flooding in New Hampshire and Vermont, historic heat all across the southwest, fires that are burning. We have got to reduce carbon pollution. Joe Manchin knows it. And he will be ready to make that transition as well. But I don't believe he'll be running for president. I just think this is a project that is ill-informed, ill-timed.

I heard him say earlier on the show on CNN that this is early in the process. But let me tell you, New Hampshire voters are going to vote for the presidential election for 2024 in six months. It's almost six months to the day. We think the date will be January 23rd. That's not early in the process for us. This is the process.

COATES: Well, we will see, what he actually decides to do. One of the big questions people have is why is there an assumption that a third- party candidate will inure the benefit of Trump as opposed to a Democrat. But we have some time to figure that out, but not much.

KUSTER: Not much. Six months is not much.

COATES: It really is not. Congresswomen, thank you so much for joining.

KUSTER: Great to be with you. Thank you, Laura. Thanks so much.

COATES: Thank you.

Up next, everyone, the QAnon shaman rioter is blaming his former lawyer for his own guilty plea. And now, he wants to take it back. The lawyer will join me live to respond.

Plus, we'll talk to John Bolton about Congresswoman Jayapal calling Israel a, quote, racist state.



COATES: No regrets, the January 6th rioter who rose to infamy as the QAnon shaman, he is out of prison and telling to BBC that he wants a court to reverse his guilty plea. (INAUDIBLE) quote, regrets only weigh down the main. They're like sandbags on a air balloon. He's also casting blame on the lawyer who defended him, saying that statements that were made to mitigate his actions weren't actually true.

That attorney, Albert Watkins, joins me now. Albert, thank you for joining us. I can tell you, I have sat through many a plea colloquy, as they are said. The judge lays out the fact that the person is giving up a lot of rights, they go to great lengths, I would assume, under a case like this in particular to ensure that the person is well-represented and knows what they are doing. He's now saying that he really wasn't and did not actually mean the things he said. What's your reaction?

ALBERT WATKINS, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR JACOB CHANSLEY: Well, first of all, I want to start out by said that Jake is an exceptional, peaceful, gentle man. I am not going to argue on national T.V. with a guy who was half baked in January of 2021 with face paint and tattooed nipples and a horn hat and a fur over his shoulder. I'm not going to win that argument.

What I will say is that in federal court, and I have had the privilege of representing criminally accused in federal court for just shy of four decades. The last thing you want to do is to go back to the court after having spoken eloquently under oath and presented with extraordinary language that even the court remarked was remarkable and go back and say, no, I'm taking that all back, I want to do it all over. That's not wise. And generally speaking --

COATES: I don't want to cut you off, but the risk that you are intimating is what? By going back, it makes you vulnerable now to having the judge question that lenience? What is the concern by him now saying this?

WATKINS: Yes. Certainly, no judge and, certainly, no federal judge likes to be lied to, ever, period. That's kind of a rule.

Now, at the end of the day, the risk that you take is that you get back in front of that judge. You wish for something, you get it. The next thing you know, you have a judge who is sentencing you to a term that is in excess of that which you appealed.

WATKINS: And that very well could happen. It has happened before, more often than one might believe. But what's really more important here and what everyone has to understand is that Jake is done with his sentence. You know, he was sentenced to 41 months. He served after sentencing 19 months. And then he's free.


COATES: But that's the striking notion of this, that he would be doing this at this particular juncture. And he points out, I want to read for you a little bit of the quote that he's pointing out. He told the BBC in relation to, of course, what he said in relation to his sentencing, I never said I was duped by Trump. I never denounced QAnon, Q or the QAnon community. And I am not schizophrenic, bipolar, depressed or delusional. I'm wondering, did he tell you those things? Is that the presentation to give to the judge before the sentence that led to what you just described?

WATKINS: Well, what I said at sentencing is something that's a matter of public record, and Jake was present during sentencing. There was nothing about Jake being delusional. There was nothing about Jake that gave rise to the presentation to the court that he had repudiated QAnon. In fact, Jake made it very clear to the court himself that the label QAnon Shaman was one that had been placed on him, not one that he assumed on his own.

He was a shaman, but the label, the QAnon Shaman, was something that was a label imposed upon him that Jake described as having been assumed, picked up, and blown up by media. Well tell me, what is the chances, or what are the chances here? Because obviously you mentioned, he's already served a great part of his sentence, right?


COATES: He's actually been released. He's now coming back. A guilty plea obviously forecloses a trial. It forecloses your appellate rights. Many people in the audience might not understand. They may have heard of the strickling case of effective assistance of counsel or ineffective assistance of counsel. For any lawyer to have that accusation wielded, it can be very damning. I know you've been very praised as client and not have been critical about him. But what is the ultimate goal here? To be able to have a retrial, to say I'd like to be tried? Obviously, he can't do away with what he's already served.

WATKINS: Yeah, so I can't speak for Jake. I can certainly tell you what I know is in the pleadings, and I can also tell you what, from a procedural standpoint, is appropriate. For Jake to have asserted ineffective assistance counsel, he had to do so within a one-year period following the sentencing. That's the period during which the court had continuing jurisdiction. Jake had a new attorney after sentencing, and that's appropriate, and no such motion for ineffective assistance to counsel was filed for, period, ever.

Jake had the right and entitlement even though he took a plea and even though he waived many of his appellate rights, he had the right to appeal the sentence. With his new attorney who came in right after sentencing, he filed a notice of appeal but never filed an appellate brief. In fact, his new attorney dismissed the appeal. So, those two avenues, the appeal and the assertion of ineffective assistance to counsel, which doesn't bother me, I mean, it's a part of doing business.

I've been doing this for just shy of 40 years. It happens. People accuse you of that because that's all they have. But now we're past that period. Jake has served this time, in fact he's gotten out very, very early, and he's a free man. Where Jake was compromised, was not by the appeal or absence of appeal, it was by the government not providing to Jake.

During his pre-plea period, those videos ended up showing up on Tucker Carlson's show. They were not disclosed to him during the course of discovery in his case. That was an absolute duty by the government, and the government had no right to make that decision to not share that required disclosure with Jake. It's not about whether Jay is guilty.

COATES: Clearly, I was going to say, Albert, clearly, a notion of withholding discovery that would undermine, fatally, one's ability to pursue an effective defense. In this instance, though, he is one of others that are now trying to express regret over a guilty plea. And, of course, there are others who might believe that this is advantageous at some point. A judge might be more receptive to this. Albert, there's a lot more, obviously, here, and you've seen more cases like this. Thank you for joining us today and I'll be following this very closely. Thank you.

WATKINS: It's my pleasure. Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Up next everyone, John Bolton joins me on several topics including a Democrat calling Israel a, quote, racist state, unquote.


And Trump suggesting that he wouldn't defend Taiwan if he were president. Plus, there's major news on Iowa's ban on abortions after six weeks. It's like it may not actually happen after all. Stand by.


COATES: Tonight, the topic of Israel once again becoming a mindful of sorts for politicians, including Democrats. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal apologizing for calling Israel a, quote, racist state.


PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Somebody that's been in the streets and has participated in a lot of demonstrations. I think I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state, that the Palestinian people deserve self- determination and autonomy.


COATES: Those remarks come ahead of the Israeli president's address to Congress this very week, and have widely been condemned by her own colleagues today. But as some progressives speak out against Israeli settlements, the West Bank and America's sponsorship of the Iron Dome system, Jayapal is just the latest to take the criticism too far. For instance, Congresswoman for my own home state, Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, has suggested that pro-Israel lawmakers hold allegiance to a foreign country and are bribed with campaign cash to support Israel. And here's Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Jayapal today.


KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: I think if the Democrats want to believe that they do not have a conference that continues to make anti-Semitic remarks, they need to do something about it. Because they've defended these individuals time and again.


COATES: Now, it's worth noting that moments later McCarthy defended inviting RFK Jr. to testify this week, despite the fact that candidate baselessly said that COVID was, quote, ethnically targeting, unquote, to spare Jews and the Chinese.


MCCARTHY: --everything he said. The hearing that we have this week is about censorship. I don't think censuring somebody is actually the answer here. I think if you're going to look at censorship in America, your first action to censure them probably plays into what some of the problems we have.


It's also worth noting that McCarthy's caucus has also had issues. For instance, Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia once compared COVID measures to the holocaust. Congressman Matt Gaetz invited a holocaust denier to the State of the Union. And Congressman from New York, George Santos, lied about his grandparents being in the holocaust.

I want to bring in Former Trump National Security Advisor, Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Thank you for joining us today. Ambassador, I wonder what you make of Congresswoman Jayapal's comments today regarding, of course it happened a couple days ago, but she's been walking back several comments. It's still controversy, nonetheless. What do you make of her statements surrounding Israel?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR: Well, I think they were very ill- advised. I mean, it was a direct attack on the legitimacy of the state of Israel. I think comments by a number of other Democratic House members were entirely appropriate. It was either she was saying what she really thought, which would be a big problem, or she very badly misspoke.

COATES: Given the fact that there's been a lot of conversations surrounding Israel, frankly there's been a number, and we just talked about it, a number of Democrats and some Republicans who've been very vocal about the policy stances in addition to Netanyahu, it has been navigating a kind of mind field to on the one hand be critical of those policies and then going beyond that criticism in the way that it's happened. Are you seeing this as reflective of a larger issue that is a part of either party or is this a one-off in your mind?

BOLTON: No, look, I think there's growing anti-Semitism in the United States and in Europe. It has never been entirely eliminated. And I think a lot of people try to disguise the anti-Semitism by saying it's simply critical of the actions of the state of Israel. But I think it's really pretty hard to disguise when you see it as frequently, unfortunately, as we do today.

COATES: Speaking of support from this country, Ambassador Bolton, I want to ask you about what's going on in the war in Ukraine because there is polling that shows that the support on the right for USAID to Ukraine has been, well frankly, drying up. It was clear from the crowd's reaction that we saw just a couple days ago when Tucker Carlson pushed the former Vice President Mike Pence on his support. Listen to what he had to say.


TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX ANCHOR: Your concern is that the Ukrainians, a country most people can't find on a map, who've received tens of billions of U.S. tax dollars, don't have enough tanks. I think it's a fair question to ask, like, where's the concern for the United States in that?

MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it's not my concern. Tucker, I've heard that routine from you before, but that's not my concern. Anybody that says that we can't be the leader of the free world and solve our problems at home has a pretty small view of the greatest nation on earth. We can do both.


COATES: So, what's behind this growing sentiment on the right? You heard the applause.

BOLTON: Well, I wouldn't say that's a random sample of the Republican Party. I think a lot of it is due to Donald Trump. I think he has unleashed the virus of isolationism within the Republican Party again. But I don't think it means that support for military aid to Ukraine is drying up. Even in the vote in the House on amendments to the defense authorization bill last week to cut off aid to Ukraine, it's true that seventy Republicans voted in favor of cutting off the aid.


But it also means two-thirds of Republicans voted to sustain it and it was a free vote for the 70. They knew that aid to Ukraine was ultimately going to be approved overwhelmingly. So, I think it's a huge issue. I think those of us who see the problems isolationism inevitably brings to the United States continue to have a responsibility to speak out against it whether it's Donald Trump or Dilettantes who follow him.

COATES: You know, Ambassador, I spoke with the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, and he noted that if Trump wins the election, he opined, that he does not worry that support for Ukraine would actually dwindle in some way. He doesn't worry about the support more broadly. Do you share that same sentiment that even if there's a change in the administrations, that the support that was expressed just last week at NATO is going to persist?

BOLTON: Well, I think it will persist in most of the Republican Party. I do worry about Trump becoming president, but I don't think that is going to be the biggest issue on his mind. My main concern is just making sure he doesn't get the nomination. That would go a long way to getting things back on track. I think Trump's an aberration, and the sooner we overcome it, the better.

COATES: You know, he was asked on Fox over the weekend, this is former President Trump, about his plans. Should he actually try to endeavor to end the war in Ukraine, he thought he could do it in about 24 hours. Listen to what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I know Zelenskyy very well and I know Putin very well, even better. And I had a good relationship, very good with both of them. I would tell Zelenskyy, no more, you've got to make a deal. I would tell Putin, if you don't make a deal, we're going to give them a lot. We're going to give them more than they ever got if we have to. I will have the deal done in one day, one day.


COATES: I mean, Ambassador Bolton, you were in as former National Security Adviser. It's not going out in a limb to suggest that ending a war like this in a day based on just a mere conversation is hyperbole. But what's your response?

BOLTON: Well, if I were the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I'd take that clip and run it from now until the Republican Convention. It shows he's not competent to be president. But honestly, I don't think the war would be his big play on Ukraine. I think he wants to find Hillary Clinton's server. He wants to find out why Burisma hired Hunter Biden. That's what his main issue is with Ukraine.

COATES: Is it still --

BOLTON: And it always will be. That's what he promised -- he promised -- a few weeks ago, that a second Trump term would be about retribution. And I think that's what his focus on Ukraine would be.

COATES: He was also asked in that same interview whether or not the United States should help Taiwan in the event of an evasion from China. And listen to what his answer was.


TRUMP: If China takes Taiwan, they will turn the world off, potentially. I mean, potentially. But remember this. Taiwan took smart, brilliant. They took our business away. We should have stopped them. We should have taxed them. We should have tariffed them.


COATES: Remember the question he was asked is about whether or not the U.S. should help Taiwan in the inventive of an invasion. So similarly, I mean I wonder from your perspective, is he suggesting that we would not defend Taiwan and if so, is that the right response?

BOLTON: No, I think the doctrine of strategic ambiguity, where we've left it unclear whether we should defend Taiwan, has been overtaken by events. I think we should make that clear. I think our efforts should be to deter the attack in the first place. But that answer was another real insight into how little Trump understands international trade or international business. Taiwan didn't take anything. You know, Morris Chang who found the Taiwan semi-conductor manufacturing company went to Taiwan after Texas Instruments didn't make him the CEO. If they had, maybe he would have stayed here.

And in any event, for decades, American administrations of both parties watched this migration of manufacturing of highly sophisticated silicon chips overseas. And the semiconductor industry went out of the United States. Nobody took it from us. We gave it away without regard to the national security implications. So, we've got some lessons to learn from that. Trump didn't learn any of them.

COATES: With the current state of the GOP, or the way you describe the federal government, would you ever consider a third party run?

BOLTON: No, I would not consider a third party run. I don't know what the effect of independent or third-party candidates in the 2024 election would be.


But I'm very worried that in a system where we already have critics on both sides claiming that the system is illegitimate, that a third- party candidacy might make things even worse. I think the real problem is polls indicate something like 70 percent of the American people do not want to see a Biden versus Trump rerun of 2020. I certainly consider myself part of that 70 percent and it's incumbent on those of us who don't want to see it to do everything we can to prevent it. That's what the game is about right now.

COATS: Do you intend to run for president?

BOLTON: No, I've said for some time I'm considering it. I'd say I'm a potential competitor at this point, standing at the water's edge. We'll see what happens. It's a very unusual cycle.

COATES: Well, we'll see if you dive on. And thank you so much for your time this evening.

BOLTON: Glad to be with you.

COATES: Up next, Elton John, or should I say Sir Elton John, appearing in a London courtroom today, testifying for the defense in Actor Kevin Spacey's sex assault trial. Does his testimony help? We'll talk about it next.


COATES: Sir Elton John testifying on behalf of Kevin Spacey is just one of our legal talkers tonight. Joining me now is Litigation Attorney A. Scott Bolden. But first to CNN's Omar Jimenez. Omar, first bring us up to speed on the Kevin Spacey case for those who don't remember.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey everyone, so Elton John appeared in court today, but as a witness in the sex offense trial against actor Kevin Spacey, appearing via video link according to the press association. Now, he was called to testify to Spacey's presence at a fundraising event at the singer's shared home with his husband in Windsor, England. Spacey is accused of aggressively grabbing the crotch of a man who is driving him to the event, which the actor denies.

COATES: Let me ask you this Scott, because he's basically saying, look, I don't remember this person being at my party. And of course, the events -- is that he allegedly groped a person en route to a party. Elton John testifying along with his husband, he doesn't believe he was there after a certain date. But the idea of someone testifying, look, I don't recall seeing the person at the event. What does that do about the allegations of the actual assault?

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIR, NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION PAC: Well, it creates a different time frame. Now, in this case, the issue is when was he at this party? Now, Elton John testifies and his partner testified or his husband testified that they were there in 2001, Spacey attended only 2001 where they do this annual gala for AIDS benefits.

Now, the complaining witness, the victim alleges that he was grabbed and groped in a car on the way to this benefit in 2004 and 2005. And so, it creates doubt in the minds of the jury and the judge in regard to whether the accuracy of the victim, when this occurred or even if this occurred.


Remember, Kevin Spacey is arguing to the jury and the judge that this never occurred, that either it was consensual or it never occurred in the car on the way to this benefit.

COATES: So, is this poking holes into this credibility of the witness and the memory and thinking what they might or might not recall, but it doesn't actually speak to Elton John being a witness to the actual alleged assault. This is about what took place afterwards, right?

BOLDEN: Yeah, Elton John was only on the stand about 10 minutes. He didn't see the actual groping. He doesn't even remember who Kevin Spacey was with or not. In fact, he believes he flew in and just went right to the party given that it was a white tie affair. So, we'll see.

COATES: I want to go back to Omar involving news also out of Iowa on the abortion ban. Omar.

JIMENEZ: Well, out of Iowa, a state judge has temporarily blocked Iowa's six-week abortion ban. So, abortions will remain legal for up to 22 weeks into a pregnancy. Now this blocks that recently signed law that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks, which Governor Kim Reynolds had celebrated as what she touted as a protection of life. But it's not completely over yet. The law has basically just been placed on hold until the court can issue a final decision. That's according to the ruling.

COATES: Well, you know, you and I know quite well injunctive relief, but many people might not understand what chronology is at play here? When a judge says, I'm going to put a hold on this, I'm going to let the legal case actually go through the entire system, and that's the injunction, what does that really mean?

BOLDEN: So, normally, you file a complaint, and then you go through discovery, and then a trial, or there's a settlement. With emergency relief, which is extraordinary relief, you have a complaint, you have a motion for a TRO, a motion for preliminary injunction, and then a permanent injunction. So, it's one part of a civil process.

But in this case, what the plaintiffs have argued is that on an emergency basis that they can't wait for the trial to take place and for this new law under Iowa, the abortion law under Iowa, it can't wait that there's a violation of the constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment for women seeking abortions up to 20 weeks, but that this law says up to six weeks or when there's cardio activity, the young woman who may be pregnant may not even know she's pregnant and after she finds out, it'll be too late.

And so, on an interim basis, the judge said we're going to take a look at this, we're going to look at the standard of review which I think is unfair burden in regard to infringement on those 14th Amendment rights. Of course, the government is arguing that it should just be a rational basis to invade your rights and I know I'm getting a little technical but the bottom line is on an interim basis, this abortion law that was just passed and signed by the governor, it's not going to take place until the judge considers it and a trial has had.

COATES: Temporary. It's not permanent at this point in time. We'll see what happens in a post-Dobbs world. Thank you, A. Scott Bolden, everyone --

BOLDEN: Yeah, it's all about the states now.

COATES: It really is, thank you. And up next, everyone, a woman comes face to face with a bison at Yellowstone National Park. What happened next in the nightmare encounter?