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CNN Live Event/Special

CNN Projects Ohio Voters Reject Measure In Win For Abortion Rights; CNN Reports, Georgia Case Against Trump Likely Presented Next Week; Debate Stage Growing As Pence Qualifies, Trump Teases; U.S. Supreme Court Greenlights Biden's Ghost Gun Rules; Rapper Slaps 10 Years In Prison For Shooting Meg Thee Stallion; New Trial Finds a Weight-Loss Drug Benefits the Heart. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 08, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: In a new court filing, Smartmatic says, quote, the dog ate my homework. Since the dawn of time, people have made up excuses to avoid doing things they do not want to do. This is exactly what Giuliani has done here.

We should note CNN has reached out to Giuliani's attorney for comment. We have not yet heard back.

Thank you so much for joining me tonight. CNN Primetime with Laura Coates starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you, Kaitlan, always a great show. And, everyone, good evening. I am Laura Coates, and thank you all for joining me.

We've got a big show for you tonight with a notable lineup. Among those joining me, Chris Wallace, Rod Blagojevich, the convicted governor who was freed by Donald Trump in a commuted sentence, a D.C. Democrat, that will be important who's calling on the National Guard to bring order to this city. We'll have a talk on the sexism and racism surrounding a rapper's sentencing, and Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser will weigh in on all these weight loss drugs.

But, first, everyone, there is breaking news out of Ohio tonight, where a special election has turned into a real litmus test on abortion rights in a post Roe v. Wade America. The votes are being counted. And CNN's Jeff Zeleny is following it all for us right now.

Jeff, it's a win, it looks like, and a big one for abortion rights advocates.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Laura, this certainly was a fascinating summertime election that Republican leaders who schedule it had hoped it sort of went under the radar. It did not do that. This became full-on campaign, a full-on fight over abortion rights, democracy and more. And voters, according to our projection, are resoundingly rejecting the efforts to make it more difficult to change the state's Constitution. What this really was was a two step process. The election today in Ohio would have raised the threshold to make it more difficult for ballot questions like the one on abortion rights in November to pass. But Ohioans voted no by a strong majority, at least according to about three-fourths of the vote that has been already counted. And at this victory party here tonight, supporters had this to say to Ohioans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ohio, we did it. We did it. Tonight is a major victory for democracy in Ohio. The majority still rules in Ohio and the people's power has been preserved.


ZELENY: So, the campaign now for that November ballot question on enshrining the protection of abortion rights into the state Constitution begins anew. But this certainly is a sign of where that could be going, because now just a simple majority, 50 percent plus one, will be all it takes to support that.

So, Laura, what we're seeing, a summer after that Kansas vote really shocked the nation in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe versus Wade. Now, we are seeing a pattern. We are seeing a pattern in Kentucky, in Montana, in Michigan and here in Ohio. That's why Republican leaders wanted to make it more difficult to change the state's Constitution. But those efforts were rejected today in Ohio.

So, certainly another landmark decision in the post-Dobbs decision world here. But, again, the beginning of a new campaign starts tomorrow to enshrine abortion rights protection in November. And, Laura, as you know, in Ohio, a classic battleground state that leans red, this certainly will be a difficult campaign on both sides, considerable investments of time and certainly money pouring into this state on this issue, Laura.

COATES: There's been a microscope and a magnifying glass, frankly, over Ohio for quite some time, not the least of which we remember what happened when we were then ten-year-old girl from Ohio was seeking to have an abortion and refused care and have to go to a neighboring state. And so this issue has been long coming.

I got to tell you all the energy behind you and the sounds is given off primary and maybe general election energy over there. Jeff Zeleny, we'll see what happens going forward.

Also, there's more news just in, everyone, as Donald Trump already faces and you've counted him now three indictments. CNN is now reporting that down in Georgia, Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis is likely to present her case to the grand jury next week.

The Atlanta-based prosecutor has been lining up witnesses in the investigation of Donald Trump and, of course, his allies who are trying to overturn election results in Georgia, allegedly. This comes as the judge overseeing the federal indictment is refusing to grant Trump's request to push back a hearing on the evidence. [22:05:04]

His lawyers, of course, you look at that calendar right now, they're complaining that their schedule, frankly, is just a little bit too busy, as maybe you can see by all those red circles on the calendar. But it hasn't stopped Trump from intensifying his attacks. There's apparently time for that on everyone, from the judge to, well, the prosecutors.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm sorry. I won't be able to go to Iowa today. I won't be able to go to New Hampshire today because I'm sitting in a courtroom on bullshit because his attorney general charged me with something.


COATES: Joining me now is one of Trump's surrogates, a former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich. He had his 14-year sentence on a pay for play conviction commuted by the former president of the United States.

I'm glad that you're here. I'm interested particularly in your insight on these matters in particular. But let me ask you, I mean, I do wonder, and I did mention, obviously, the commutation of your sentence. In fact, you were supposed to be released or eligible for parole, I think, next year, in 2024, the presidential election year, is the reason why you were speaking out, because of what he did for you then.

FMR. GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D-IL): Well, thank you, Laura, for saying you're glad that I'm here. I'm glad that I'm here. And I'm here because President Trump commuted my sentence. I didn't break a law, cross the line, or take a penny. It was all politics, routine political talk. I'm here because President Trump, I have a debt of gratitude to him on a personal level, that's for certain.

But I'm here as an American because what they're doing to President Trump, a Republican president at the major league level, they successfully did to me, a Democrat governor, at the AAA level. They hijacked me from office on things that weren't crimes, all talk, free speech, political conversations that were started by then-President- elect Obama.

Now, he didn't do anything wrong but neither did I. But they came after me. They were determined to get me. They couldn't convict me at a first trial. They tried me a second time. And then they blatantly used an unlawful standard, a standard the United States Supreme Court expressly said was not the law to convict me on fundraising requests.

And the so called sale of the Senate seat, which I'm known for, was reversed by the appellate court. They called it nothing more than routine political log rolling.

COATES: Well, I do hear you. I don't want to cut you off, but I just want to be clear, and I understand, obviously, the desire to discuss your own personal case. A jury did convict you. There was an appellate process. The Supreme Court declined to step in, intervene for the five of, I believe, the 18. But I don't want to re-litigate your case, because a jury did speak. And, frankly, the charges against Donald Trump they were facing are actually quite distinct. So, let me focus on what's happening there.

I know you've made the comment that it seems to be a kind of political persecution, that it's not actually a crime. What particular aspect of it do you think ought not to be judged by a jury?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, to begin with, I don't think President Trump has any chance at a fair trial in Washington, D.C., where he received 5 percent of the vote in the jury pool. 95 percent of the jury pool voted the other way. So, to begin with, he's facing what is unlikely to be a fair trial and could very well end up having the same fate as me.

COATES: But should that be the litmus test, how the jury or the demographics of an area are voting politically when they're supposed to be voting or making a finding in terms of verdicts? Because, really, the average defendant, as you well know, is not going to be a political candidate, let alone a presidential candidate. And so how are we to judge the objectivity and impartiality of a jury there?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, the old me, before what they did to me happened, I used to trust the system. Now I don't. Governments lie. Our government lied to us about Vietnam, lied to us about the Iraq War. They lied about me, and they're lying now about President Trump. These are not crimes that they've charged him with. You don't like Trump, vote against them. And it's understandable that a lot of people wouldn't like them, Democrats in particular.

But this new weaponization of politics, of criminal prosecutors engaging in the political process while Trump now is in the crosshairs of what they're doing, it's really the American people, all of us, Democrats and Republicans, who are in the crosshairs because they're stealing from us, our right to choose our leaders in elections free and fair, our right to self-government.

And these weaponized prosecutors have uncontrolled power. And it was Democrat Supreme Court Justice Breyer, who said in the Governor McDonald case that Jack Smith himself prosecuted, 9-0 reversal of the convictions against that governor. Justice Breyer said, the danger of these uncontrolled prosecutors are a threat to our separation of powers. That's what's at stake here.

COATES: I certainly hear that, but I want to unpack a couple things here. And one, of course, is it is interesting to think about the notion that you make the assertion that this would be stealing from a person's ability to choose their candidate of choice. That's part of what they are accusing. And, again, I'm a former prosecutor, so they have to prove their case in court, as you well know, and a jury is the one to make the ultimate determination. You're talking to somebody who does believe in that process still.

But it's interesting to think about if that is the goal, to have the voters ultimately decide.


What is being alleged, of course, is that he was trying to, in an attempt of a conspiracy, an obstruction and beyond, trying to take away and neutralize the impact of the votes and then, of course, certification.

But on this point about the notion of Special Counsel Jack Smith, I've heard a lot of conversations with respect to the weaponization. And just for the audience's edification here, as you well know, the McConnell case came down to when it -- McDonnell for the Virginia governor came down to the definition of official act and whether they had met their requirement and jury instructions.

But let me ask you, do you think there is actually evidence right now to suggest that Jack Smith is either politically motivated or weaponizing the Department of Justice in cahoots with Merrick Garland?

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't know about whether he's doing that in cahoots with Merrick Garland, but I do think he's weaponizing and politicizing and I think he's being dishonest. And he could very well be guilty of fraud because in his very indictment, he claims that President Trump, he doesn't quote President Trump accurately. When President Trump was there on January the 6th, he said, quote, peacefully, patriotically have your voices heard. But in the indictment itself, Jack Smith omits that. And that omission is a significant thing. I would suggest that's fraud on the people and fraud on the court system. And he should be the one who should answer to some of these things.

This prosecutor, Jack Smith, is a serial weaponizer of politics. He did it at the Democrat Senator Edwards. Edwards was given a hung jury. He did it to Senator Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, my former colleague. We were both Democratic Congressmen together. The judge, he had an honest judge and the judge threw the case out for insufficient evidence. My judge should have done that, but they were Republicans. There was a Republican prosecutor, Bush-appointed, Republican judge, Republican appellate court, and they did a political hit on a Democrat governor. And these Democrats today are doing a political hit to a Republican president.

COATES: Again, I just want to refocus the conversation. And again, I certainly understand the tendency to perhaps project during the conversation about what you believe was done to you. But in terms of what Donald Trump is being accused of doing and the prosecutor in this case is not the prosecutor that was involved in your prosecution, one, and, number two, just to clarify, you do not believe, you do not have evidence that there is actual weaponization. It's just that it's being intimated at this point because of a perception of the politics of those who are in office. Is that right?

BLAGOJEVICH: I have a strong belief that Jack Smith is weaponizing because of my own personal experience and what I went through. I draw on that experience. That's why I talk so much about it, because I lived it myself and I saw it. Look, under Jack Smith's standard, I would be guilty because I believed Al Gore won the election in 2000. And I go back to prison because of him. That's the standard he's using as President Trump. And you know who would join me? Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and probably Nancy Pelosi, because I remember her thinking Gore had won the election. I still think Gore won that election. That's not a crime. That's a belief. That's free speech. That's what's under assault today by this guy. I'm sorry.

COATES: I didn't mean to cut you off. Excuse me. I'm certainly somebody who believes in a respectful, reciprocal conversation. No, it's a conversation. I've invited you here. I want to hear from you. I just want to make sure we don't talk over each other.

But what you suggest and the idea of had you just questioned whether or not Al Gore won, I'll play and bit with that analogy. The indictment goes beyond that. The indictment alleges, and, again, I use the word allege for a specific reason. It alleges far more than just the thinking. In fact, one of the paragraphs does talk about the right to contest, to challenge, to even go to court on these matters. But it's to conspire, that last C word that they are alleging. It seems as though the allegations are far more than just saying, I believe I won. And they are focusing on far more than what happened on January 6th.

You are a former governor. So let's talk about your personal experience. Imagine if the allegations had been involved and yet you were the governor to receive the conversation or receive the statements and the pressure campaigns that were mounted. What would you have thought as a sitting governor at that time?

BLAGOJEVICH: You mean if President Trump called me and was pressing me, is that what you're asking?

COATES: Yes, or any president, by the way. It didn't have to be Trump at the time, but any president, had they pressed you and said, either the equivalent of wanting to find some sort of number of votes or discussion about a false slate of electors emerging from your state, what would have been your response as a sitting governor?

BLAGOJEVICH: Sure. Let's say Hillary Clinton hypothetically called me and I was the governor of Illinois. And she said James Comey just interfered in this election two weeks before and talked about a new investigation against me, which very well may have led to her losing that election. Let's say she called me and said, can you find some votes in Illinois that may not have been counted or whatever the case may be.


I would just think she was looking at it politically. She felt like she had been cheated and had reason to think that because James Comey and one of these weaponized FBI Justice Department people and injected himself in that race. You know, you guys are all angry that Trump's the president. You ought to blame James Comey. He could very well have been the reason why she lost. So, let's say hypothetically she called me. I'd accept that. I understand she's, you know, angry and feels cheated and believed that she actually won when she didn't. That's pretty much the worst of it on Trump. He truly believed he won. He was looking to get it rectified. That's free speech. That's America. And what these people are doing is Russia.

And I'm telling you, Abraham Lincoln is rolling over in his grave and the ghost of Joseph Stalin is dancing in the streets with what these weaponized prosecutors are doing to our political system. They did it to me, a Democrat. They did it to John Edwards, a Democrat. They did it to Menendez, a Democrat. They're doing it to Trump, a Republican.

COATES: So, it sounds like there's no criteria on which a prosecutor could ever go and prosecute based on an investigation as long as somebody is a political candidate. That can't be the litmus test on these matters. But I understand the conversation is far more expansive. But let me just say, when it comes to the rolling of the graves or the dancing in the street, I get the impression from people that the anger is directed at what happened to lead up to January 6th and far more than just the notion of what's political speech.

But as you know, the criminal intent and one's mens rea, as they say, is about whether you intended to actually commit the crime, not whether you believe the underlying premise.

Rod Blagojevich, thank you for joining me tonight. It was nice speaking with you.

BLAGOJEVICH: It's nice meeting you, Laura. Thank you very much.

COATES: Up next, everyone, the debate stage Republicans is growing. Chris Wallace is going to join me on that. And Ron DeSantis is firing, well, yes, fired, his campaign manager.

Plus, a Democrat in D.C., that's significant, is calling on the National Guard to intervene as crime is skyrocketing in the nation's capital.

And the artist and rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, faced sexist and misogynistic attacks for reporting a shooting where she was the victim. Now, the shooter learns his fate. We'll discuss.



COATES: So, the debate stage is growing, and as you know, the rules well, they are set, all as Republican rivals get ready to convince voters that they are the better choice than Donald Trump.

Former Vice President Mike Pence finally now meeting requirements to join on that stage as his former boss is railing against him. Meanwhile, Asa Hutchinson and Francis Suarez are one requirement away from qualifying for the debate.

And if they do, that would then make ten candidates eligible, with, of course, Donald Trump still teasing about whether he'll be number 11.

Today, Fox is revealing the rules. Everyone, pretty standard, we're talking about two hours, an hour less than the Oppenheimer movie, by the way. No open putting statements, one minute for answers, good luck with that, 30 seconds for follow ups. And some questions will involve sound or maybe video.

Joining me now is Chris Wallace, host of Who's Talking to Chris Wallace? And today it is me. Chris, always good to see you.

I'm sure you have seen by now that the former vice president, Mike Pence, his campaign has now announced that he has, in fact, reached that donor threshold for the now first debate coming later this month in Milwaukee, which means, of course, that this stage is going to have yet another person on it. It will be ever more crowded. But the question that everyone is really asking is will there be one additional person in the name of the big elephant in the room, or maybe not in the room that's Donald Trump. Will he show up?

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: I don't know. If I had to bet the farm on it, I would say probably 55-45 that he won't show up. Not that it has anything to do with Pence or one more podium on the stage, but he is so far ahead, I think, that he kind of wants to make that statement. I don't need you, you guys need me. He might like to stick it to Fox News a little bit as well, going against that. It's going to be a big audience in any case. It won't be as big without them, but millions of people. And that's awfully hard for Donald Trump to give up, to just say, I'm not going to show up when there are millions of people watching.

COATES: I mean, they do say that it's very enticing to have that crowd for somebody like him. But then, again, maybe the rising tide will lift all boats and he does not want that. The idea of the appeal and all of the focus, maybe he feels as though he doesn't want to even give that oxygen back.

But, Chris, DeSantis and Pence have both been sharpening their critiques of Trump, their criticism of how he has been, their criticism in terms of January 6 and beyond, by the way. Meanwhile, you've got candidates like Vivek Ramaswamy who are still very much defending him.

So, I'm wondering, from your perspective, what are the matchups that you're going to be watching when they get to that stage? Who is the person, even if Trump is not there, who are you watching to see essentially really debate on that stage?

WALLACE: Well. It's a big difference whether Trump is there or not there. If he is there, the thing I would be fascinated by is the idea of Mike Pence and Donald Trump sharing a stage. Certainly in the history of televised debates, perhaps of all presidential debates, you've never had a former president and his former vice president on the same stage. That would be just fascinating to watch.

And also the whole question of what happened on January 6th, this is at the very heart of the new indictment, the third indictment against Trump. And I'm sure that the moderators would be asking Trump and Pence what went down, how much pressure did you put on him? Were you telling him just to delay or were you telling him to throw back the votes? Was it just a suggestion, or was it, to the degree that you could, a command? All of those things have a lot of political weight. They also have a lot of legal weight.

But, Laura, let me just say one thing. I was in exactly the same situation back in January of 2016 when I was working for Fox.


We had a debate in Iowa. And the day of the debate, we had two completely separate plans. One was if Trump, who said he wasn't going to show up, but one was no Trump debate, and, in fact, he didn't show up, but the other was even at 10:00, 11:00 that morning, what if he changes his mind? What if it's 6:00 or 7:00 he changes his mind? So, we had two completely different game plans, and I promise you the Fox people will be having that same two plans for what might happen on that night.

COATES: They might add a third plan of what I think it's tired of actually being there and decides to walk off the stage at some point in time, right, and what he might well be able to do. By the way, of course, based on that third indictment, Chris, it might be that even if they don't share a debate stage, they might, if Mike Pence is a witness, share a courtroom on different maybe sides of this whole issue. But we'll see.

Also the candidates are on that stage, and they're going to come in November -- I mean, August. Excuse me. They're on the stage coming in August. They have to show why voters should, of course, choose them over Trump. And I'm wondering, what are the key questions that you think they need to answer. Because, obviously, there's a lot of focus on all of the legal woes for Trump, but at some point, I am convinced, Chris, that someone has got to talk about their policies, their campaign, that can't have anything to do with whether or not he is indicted, acquitted, or convicted.

WALLACE: Yes. Do you mean actually what they want to do for voters in 2024, not what happened three years ago? Well, I think one of the things and, again, whether Trump is on the stage or not makes a considerable difference. But having been on debate stages with Trump more than once, he's a big presence. And even if he's not there, he's a big presence.

And I think that to rise up to the level where you can really take Trump on where voters will consider going for somebody else rather than Trump, they're going to have to show not just that they have good ideas, because a lot of the ideas are pretty much the same, but that they can fill that space, that people could envision them taking on Trump one-on-one at some point and deciding to vote for that person rather than Trump.

Obviously, DeSantis is in the second spot now, so he's got the biggest and toughest challenge to show he rises to that level. But any of the others who were considerably further back in the single digits in the latest New York Times poll have got to show that they could fill that space, that they rise to the level of Donald Trump just in terms of stage presence and in terms of presence in the minds of Republican voters.

COATES: And if I'm not mistaken, a few days before the actual debate, they're going to have to have a pledge. They're going to have to sign a pledge, according to the RNC, and so would Trump if he were to show up. They'd have to know if they would support the eventual RNC nominee, whoever that might be.

Also, Governor Ron DeSantis, you mentioned he's in the number two spot right now. Well, his campaign manager is now in the latest shakeup for his troubled campaign. Is it the staff? Is it him? Is it the candidate? Is it the actual platform? Why all the changes? What are you seeing?

WALLACE: Well, the reason you're seeing the changes is because it's an unsuccessful campaign. When it started, the day that he announced, DeSantis was pretty close to Donald Trump, and he's gone steadily downward ever since. You can't change the candidate, so it's like a baseball team, you fire the manager.

There are plenty of successful candidates have gone on to win the nomination and even to win the presidency who have had staff shakeups. Ronald Reagan did in 1980, Donald Trump in 2015 and '16 as a candidate went through campaign managers the way Donald Trump, the president, went through cabinet members during his four years in office. So, it doesn't necessarily mean a disqualification.

I've got to say, though, that just my perception of this at this point, is that the problem with the DeSantis campaign is not a staff problem, it's not a strategy problem, it's a candidate problem. And unless he's able to show that he's a lot more appealing on the debate, I mean, on the campaign trail, let alone the debate stage, he could put anybody up there and it's not going to make a difference. He's got to show that he can win the hearts and minds of Republican voters and no campaign manager can do that for him.

COATES: Chris Wallace, thank you so much.

WALLACE: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: And up next, two conservative justices siding with President Biden on the future of ghost guns in a surprising Supreme Court ruling.

Plus, a Democrat right here in the nation's capital is begging for the National Guard to bring some kind of order, something Republicans have been calling for as crime rises in the city. He joins me live, next.



COATES: Well, tonight, President Biden gets a pretty big win from well and unlikely source, as the Supreme Court is breathing new life into his restrictions on ghost guns, or homemade firearms that cannot be tracked.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, joining with the court's liberals in the five to four decisions. Ghost guns can be assembled with at-home kits, and critics argue that their lack of a serial number, and of course background checks, make them attractive. People who are legally prohibited from even owning a weapon. The rules will remain in place while more challenges play out, and you can bet they will.

As political headlines, of course, are dominating the message from the nation's capital, the city's leaders are now sounding the alarm over a much different crisis on the streets.

Violent crime jumped 37 percent from last year, according to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Homicide is up 28 percent, with robbery up an alarming, get this, 60 percent. Now a city council member is calling for the National Guard to help restore order.



TRAYON WHITE SR., D.C. COUNCILMAN: We are in a war zone. And those who have not been affected by it directly, you will be directly or indirectly if we don't do something now. Bad things happen when good people do nothing. And we have a lot of great residents in our community wanting to do something. But our government has to step up, our police department has to step up, and our residents have to step up.


COATES: That was DC Councilmember Trayon White, excuse me, Trayon White, and he joins me now. And Trayon White, Sr., thank you so much for being here today.

It's really stunning to think about what's happening in the crime rates that are rising, but you've called on even the National Guard being used to try to restore some kind of order. That can be very eyebrow raising for a lot of people, thinking about the National Guard, not really trained in, obviously, day-to-day law enforcement. Why is that such an important cause of action?

WHITE SR.: Well, the whole approach is a public health approach to addressing public safety in our community, meaning we should have trauma-informed care, access to recreation, mentors, just the things that residents need in addition to responsible policing. I think that we are in a crisis when it comes to the violence in D.C.

We've had what, 596 carjackings. We've had over 1700 people shot in the district in the last three years. And what we're doing is simply not enough to make people feel and be safe in the district.

And we're looking to have the conversation with the new police chief. In fact, we're on our third police chief since 2020, and the mayor to figure out ways we can be more proactive about addressing crime in the District of Columbia, including reaching out to our local, national guard to get involved in this issue also because D.C. is the only jurisdiction that the governor or mayor doesn't invoke the national guard i think that's what speaks to issue of statehood as well.

COATES: I mean the issue of statehood one very complex one that is constantly being revisited anyone who drives through D.C. sees the license plate right represented tactician representation which is obviously the antithesis of what we want to happen but you know obviously you want a holistic approach as any community would in terms of addressing. What might be some of the root causes of people committing crimes?

But the law enforcement component of it, obviously, is going to be very impactful. And if you've got the National Guard, you're not trained to be the ordinary course of law enforcement, not trained in those ways. Do you have concerns about what their presence would be and the way they would help to carry out whatever objective?

WHITE SR.: Yes, we do have concerns. You asked me what are the root causes. Some of the root causes is concentrated poverty, right? We are also in D.C. in a housing crisis where mostly black residents are trying to stay in the city. We lost over 20,000 black residents in the last 10 years. And the price of living is going up and up with the wages on that. And so we have to create access to quality jobs and careers, also access to capital for business owners.

We are concerned about the presence of a militarized presence in D.C. That's why we want to work with our local partners and our police department to work through what that looks like, what that look like. And I've spoken to one of the lieutenants at the D.C. National Guard to try to figure out if they are iron broke, what that would look like and --

COATES: What they say?

WHITE SR.: -- what they say. Well, they say they would need to know what they will be deployed to do, what their relationship with the NPD will look like, how long they will stay. And I think as I read their mission, their mission is to keep D.C. safe.

And I think that they are an entity which we can get in and out and have some type of leverage with them being local. Because the reality is that a lot of our shootings are happening with militarized weapons.

I've seen a video on Chesapeake Street last week where a guy with an AK-47 shoots down the street and shoots two people, two guys. Even while I was in the waiting room tonight, we had a shooting on 30th Street just a week and a half ago, on that same exact street we've had six shootings in the last 45 days and last week a 10 year old girl was shot while sitting in her bedroom on the exact same street.

And law enforcement are losing officers every day. In fact the last police chief told us that once we are able to overload the 300 officers that are getting trained now we essentially lose about 350 officers in that process. And so even in my war we are 33 officers short of what we normally have in our local jurisdiction. COATES: So you think that the presence of maybe a military trained

national guard would be more effective than a local law enforcement?

WHITE SR.: Well I wouldn't say more effective. I think that we don't have the manpower to cover the areas in hot spots in D.C. And as a result we're seeing shootings over and over again in the same areas. In fact this Saturday we had a shooting that at least seven people were shot in an area.

COATES: Unbelievable.

WHITE SR.: And if you look at the data, it was shootings two days before that. And yesterday morning, it was another shooting there at 16th and V just yesterday.


COATES: It's mind boggling to think of just the number and the prevalence of all this. I wonder what you made of the former president who was just here last week. He made comments about how he thought that the city was in a decline. He commented about it being filthy, about broken buildings, about crime. Are you concerned that the impression that he had, one, is accurate, or speaks to what you're talking about right now, or that it is giving an either an accurate or unfair description of the city as it is?

WHITE SR.: Well, to say the city is in decline is an overstatement. The city is not in decline. We have one of the healthiest budgets we have had in D.C. history. We have strong leadership. We have to figure out ways to invoke the council members, the mayor, the politicians to work in conjunction with the community. And we don't have all the answers.

And I believe that our answers are in the community. And we have to create resources for non-profit organizations, local partners to get involved to addressing solutions because police is not the end-all solution to addressing crime. This is a part of the equation.

COATES: Very important point. Thank you for joining me tonight. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Well, in a moment we'll talk about what's going on because the rapper and artist Megan Thee Stallion faced sexist attacks for reporting a shooting. And by the way, she was the victim of that shooting. Now the shooter learns his fate and we'll talk about it next.

Plus another weight loss drug with promising results tonight, but Jillian Michaels is speaking out against these drugs and she'll explain exactly why ahead.


COATES: Just in, the "New York Times" is reporting that a lawyer who is a Trump ally first presented a secret plot to use fake electors to overturn the election results in a previously unknown internal campaign memo. The memo is from early December 2020 and it was panned by its own author that it would not actually hold up legally.


CNN's senior legal analyst Ellie Honig is joining me now on the phone. Ellie, I gotta tell you, I would have called you anyway after the show. I'm glad you're here right now. So tell me, what is your take on this? And I know this comes from, it seems to be a memo from one Ken Chesebro, who people believe in reporting is one of the co- conspirators listed in this indictment. What's your reaction to now hearing really one of the missing public pieces in terms of how this plot was actually planned?

ELLIE HONIG, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST (on the phone): So a couple of important things, Laura. First of all, this is a piece of evidence that the January 6th Congressional Committee did not get. And look, they deserve a ton of credit because a lot of the information that wound up in the indictment first came to light through the January 6th committee, but this is now something new that DOJ has found.

And what I found most important, most interesting about this memo is that while the author, while Mr. Chesebro acknowledges that it's very unlikely to win, that's not necessarily criminal to make an aggressive or long shot argument, but the way it fits into the scheme is that the plan here, according to the memo, and they say it explicitly, is let's just create chaos. Let's just create confusion and in that chaos and confusion that'll give us the ability if Mike Pence plays along which thankfully he didn't to send it back to the states and so that's how it fits into the overall scheme here to try to steal this election.

COATES: I mean it seems to be wanting to buy some sort of time it also will likely. I'm sure Ellie build into what we see as a kind of preview of the defense in terms of the advice of council discussions and these legal memos forming some factual predicate for all of those things. Ellie, stay on this, thank you so much for joining.

HONIG (on the phone): Thanks Laura, good to talk to you.

COATES: I'll call you later anyway, we all know this, it's fine.

HONIG (on the phone): I'll talk to you soon, yeah.

COATES: Well, let's now switch gears to sexism and misogyny and racism, all part of a debate over a shooting involving the victim, rapper and artist Megan Thee Stallion. And tonight, her shooter learned his fate. A judge sentencing Tory Lanez to 10 years in prison, after a jury found him guilty of three charges related to the July 2020 shooting.

Stallion accused him of shooting her in the foot following an argument. Lane's attorney called the 10-year sentence incredibly harsh. The L.A. County D.A. said that Lane's attempted to silence Stallion.


GEORGE GASCON, LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Over the past three years, Mr. Peterson has engaged in a pattern of conduct that was intended to intimidate Ms. Pete silence her and keep her from defending and bringing her truth out.


COATES: The D.A. also read part of a statement that was made by Stallion in court on Monday saying, and I quote, "every day I think of others across the world who are victims of violence and survive. It is truly the most powerless feeling, especially when you question whether the justice system can truly protect you. Fortunately, the District Attorney's office fought for me. But if it can happen to me, imagine those who lack the resources and support systems to help them."

For more on all this, I want to bring in Taylor Crumpton, music, pop, culture, and politics journalist, along with Dr. Sara Olatola, who is assistant professor of writing at Lakehead University, Aurelia. I'm glad that both of you are here tonight and we're learning more about this.

And Sara, let me just begin with you here because you've heard the sentence now. It's 10 years in prison. And based on what we know about this case, and really this had a life of its own online in social media, in the court of public opinion, shaming Meg Thee Stallion, people having their own views about the delay in reporting it, all sorts of notions. What do you make of the punishment?

DR. SARAH OLUTOLA, ASST. PROFESSOR OF WRITING, LAKEHEAD UNIVERSITY ORILLIA: I think the punishment fits the crime. I think this is accountability season. Finally, I mean, we have to think about Meg Thee Stallion. This has been three long years. Three years in which it seemed that Tory Lanez and many of his supporters, many of whom were black men and women, launched a campaign of destruction against her in which they were trying to destroy her credibility. And you have to think about how that would weigh on someone's mental health.

COATES: And of course we see this in other contexts we know about and reference her own statement. We see this happening on somebody who is so much in the public eye. I imagine all the people, and I have certainly seen my fair share of trials involving something similar that you see this happen.

Taylor, you say that this really sheds a light on a bigger issue as well, in addition to what specifically happened to her, but on misogyny, misogyny more broadly and also specifically in hip hop. How so?


TAYLOR CRUMPTON, MUSIC, POP CULTURE, AND POLITICS JOURNALIST: Well, misogyny war is the intersection of anti-black racism and sexism, specifically the ways in which it affects black women. And in the case of Megan Thee Stallion, you have a young black woman who embodies the principles of her generation of taking ownership of her body, of practicing bodily autonomy, of not being shamed for her sexual agency, but taking pride in it. And we know that that is something that is in conflict with the ideologies of misogyny, which is the prejudice and hatred of women. She has exemplified to really be a feminist icon, a woman that a lot of young black women and girls look up to.

So I believe those are indicating factors of why she was so harshly judged. And in hip-hop, a place right now where we're about to celebrate 50 years, where women are the vanguard, she was unjustly attacked by not only Torrey Lanes, but DaBaby, Drake, a number of male titans in the industry which shows an insidious pattern of the way in which these women, and not even to say LGBT rappers, are being treated currently.

COATES: You know, and of course there were those who initially spoke out in defensive lanes, may have had a bit of a 180, but your point about misogyny war still there and the experience of what she even talked about, Penning and Op-Ed, a powerful one by the way, about the toll it took on her and what it affected her in mental health and beyond.

Sarah, I mean, to that point, we did see many rappers in her own industry coming to the defense of the person who was accused, and they were calling her out for reporting the shooting, but we also did see something. We saw her fans demanding justice on her behalf. And so I wonder, how has this relationship between the fan base, between her as a celebrity, and the entire ordeal, how has it impacted us all?

OLUTOLA: It's so funny because, you know, when we talk about parasocial relationships in fan culture, we usually think about it in a toxic way. And I do believe that that's an incredibly important aspect of fan culture to discuss. But here, I think parasocial relationships, which is essentially this idea that you have a close relationship with a celebrity who's essentially a stranger.

This actually, I think, worked in Megan Thee Stallion's favor. She said in her op-ed that she has resources that other people don't have. And I think fans are part of those resources. Many of her fans fought for her to be heard and to be believed. And I think maybe it's partly because of those fans that she was able to come to find peace, hopefully.

COATES: Taylor, I'll give you the last quick word here as well. What's your thought?

CRUMPTON: The fans have really shown that the tide is changing in hip hop, that the ways in which we critique and think of black women, young black women who are taking ownership of their body and sexual agency and leading a change in social culture beliefs of black women will not stand for the degradation and assault of one of their own.

Even though the case sets a dangerous precedent in hip hop, it also shows the power of consumers, the power of youth, and the ways in which they are no longer adhering to an old guard, but a new generation where women like Megan Thee stallion can be believed and heard and it doesn't matter whether her sexual proudness needs to be a topic of discussion just that she's a human being worthy of respect is what they're trying to tell us.

COATES: Taylor Crumpton, Dr. Sarah Olutola, I'm so happy that we all had this conversation today and delighted that both of you joined. Thank you so much.

CRUMPTON: Thank you

OLUTOLA: Thank you

COATES: Promising news tonight on the health front today. Clinical trial results show that the weight loss drug, Wegovy, actually cuts the risk of heart attack, of stroke or heart-related death by about 20 percent. And that's the first trial to show a weight loss drug alone yielding such, well, productive effects.

Nearly 18,000 adults with heart disease and obesity were studied over a five-year trial. But despite these results, my next guest is urging people to think twice before turning to things like Wegovy or other weight loss drugs.

Joining me now is health and wellness expert, Jillian Michaels, who of course used to star in "The Biggest Loser." We all know Jillian Michaels. Welcome and good evening. How are you?

JILLIAN MICHAELS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS EXPERT: I'm well, thank you so much for having me.

COATES: I'm glad you're here. As you can imagine, everyone's been talking about this type of drug, this category of drugs. You have been skeptical as others have been as well. And if this new trial is accurate. Has it changed what you now think about them?

MICHALES: Not even remotely. If you go to the website though for Ozempic, and Wegocy and Ozempic are the same drug, they're both semaglutide, you're gonna see a host of other side effects ranging from thyroid tumors, gallbladder issues, pancreatitis, vision loss, nausea, heart palpitations, and the list goes on. Some pretty significant side effects in fact.


Now, you might wanna say in the cost benefit analysis, if I'm losing weight, isn't this a great thing? I mean, it's lowering my risk of heart disease. But the answer is you have to stay on it to keep the weight off.

And we really don't know the impact of being on these drugs indefinitely. And I would pause it to say, given the side effects listed on the website, I imagine it can't be that good. And the other side of this is that you can lose the weight with no negative side effects, eating better and moving more. It's just, that's the case. It's the fact of it all.

COATES: Somehow I knew you were gonna say that and suddenly I'm flashing back to having watched you train people and I'm going, oh, okay, that's true, Jillian Michaels. However, for many people on that cost benefit now so thinking to themselves, well, you know what? Maybe it's a temporary solution and you have noted before that, look, there can be a rebounding effect of the weight gain and sometimes it could even increase.

But if someone's doctor recommends these drugs, it's under medical supervision, given their specific and perhaps unique circumstances, would it then be OK for that person to be taking it under, of course, some medical advice?

MICHAELS: You have to make this decision for yourself because unfortunately the system is rigged in many cases and that's just the bottom line.

Healthcare is, who are the, $500 billion a year business. It's arguably one of the biggest businesses in the country. Ozempic is one of the most profitable drugs in history and the reality is that from Wall Street to your, you know, your neighborhood internist, people are invested in profiteering off of other people's illness.

And I'm simply gonna say to you, do your own homework on this drug and listen to some very responsible experts out there. I would say doctors who specialize in metabolic disease and see what they have to say about it without being on the payroll for NovoNoradist. I'm sorry. That's just the bottom line.

COATES: I fully recognize that every question I'm asking you is going to prompt 17 blogs to think that I'm being defensive of something and assume that I'm taking it. I am not. I'm really asking the question of somebody who is an expert like yourself. So blogs, you can go ahead and stand down. I'm doing my job here.

But you mentioned the notion of people who are taking it. I mean, you can take statins to lower cholesterol, right? Or blood pressure medication for high blood pressure indefinitely. Why is a drug for chronic weight management any different?

Not necessarily saying that it is. To be dead honest with you, there are side effects with every drug. And my answer is always going to be, if you're eating better and you're moving more, it's likely that you can get off of most of these medications.

I've been doing this for a very long time, and I have exact experience in this specific area, taking people from unhealthy to healthy, and in turn, the side effect is that they get off of the 12 medications in the medicine cabinet, and these drugs become like whack-a-mole, right? One begets another health problem, each and every one of them have side effects. If you have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, and it does exist, right?

Or to high blood pressure, then yes, of course, you will look at your blood work, your fasting glucose test with your doctors and all the tests that your cardiologist is gonna know how to run. And then they will recommend, hey, given your genetics and the results of all these tests, I recommend statins. But you also have to look at how significant are the side effects of each and every drug. That's the other part. Like, A blood pressure medication is not quite

as nefarious as the side effects of something like Ozempic. So each and everything needs to be analyzed individually, but I would also hope that we could manage these conditions with a healthier lifestyle.

COATES: Jillian Michaels, thank you so much. Nice speaking with you.

MICHAELS: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

COATES: Well, that's it everyone for "CNN Primetime." I am Laura Coates, Sarah Sidner and her wonderful self picks it up right now with "CNN Tonight."

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: That was a really interesting interview. Thank you for that. I'm gonna go back and watch that and so I can really pay attention. Thank you so much, Laura.

COATES: Thank you.

SIDNER: And good evening to you. I'm Sarah Sidner and this is "CNN Tonight."

And we begin with breaking news. Victory for supporters of abortion rights in a key battleground state that trends red.