Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Proud Boy Yells Trump Won After Begging For Mercy; Alleged Fake Elector Architect Wants Solo Trial In Georgia; Haley To Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), You Have To Know When To Leave; Abby Phillip And Panel Of Guests Discuss Highlights Of Republican Presidential Debate; Teenager Quinn Mitchell Accuses Ron DeSantis' Security Team Of Intimidation On Multiple Occasions; "Little Richard: I Am Everything" Premiers On Labor Day. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 01, 2023 - 22:00   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much for joining us tonight. Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone, and also more importantly, happy college football kickoff weekend to all of those who celebrate, and of course roll Tide.

CNN PRIMETIME with Abby Phillip starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Kaitlan, I have absolutely nothing to add to that conversation, but good luck to you and all who celebrate this weekend. Thank you. Have a good evening.

COLLINS: Thanks, Abby, have a good weekend.

PHILLIP: And good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip.

Tonight, are some of Donald Trump's co-defendants already turning on one another, the move raising eye bro eyebrow.

Also, in moments, Stephen A. Smith will join me on age limits for lawmakers, national competency tests and who he says that the Democrats should think about as an alternative to President Biden.

But, first, he's the Proud Boy who triggered the breach on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, and the judge calls him the tip of the spear of that insurrection.

Now, today, Dominic Pezzola received a decade behind bars. But inside that courtroom before learning his fate, he beg the judge for mercy, vowing that he was done with politics, and yet, moments later, after the sentence, he yelled, Trump won, on his way out of the courtroom. It's quite the moment, considering that if Trump is elected, he has already suggested that he will pardon some of these guys.

It's also worth noting, Pezzola's wife called him a, quote, f'ing idiot, who got drunk, watched Fox News all day before the attack.


DOMINIC PEZZOLA, PROUD BOY LEADER: Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys.


PHILLIP: I want to bring in former January 6th Investigative Counsel Marcus Childress. Marcus, thank you so much for joining us.

It's so interesting. I mean, we saw several of these sentences carried out this week, and several of these defendants begged for mercy. They wanted to see their kids again. They beg for leniency. And yet for Pezzola to then, once the judge didn't give him that, turn around and say, Trump won, it almost seems like, is this a game, a ploy to try to get a reprieve from these jail sentences?

MARCUS CHILDRESS, FORMER JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: When we were conducting depositions and interviews of these Proud Boys, one of the things that we noticed was, I mean, they had unwavering support for the president. I mean, that's why they came to D.C. on January 6th.

I think it's important to talk about the special counsel's indictment, where he talked about how President Trump exploited the violence, right? But the Proud Boys, they were the foot soldiers of that violence. They were the tip of the spear, as the judge said today, and as we described them on the committee.

And so, look, it's hard to distinguish whether they actually feel remorse, but from our interactions with people who attended the Capitol on January 6th, including the Proud Boys, they have unwavering support.

PHILLIP: What do you make of the sentences, though? I mean, some of the guidelines actually call for much longer sentences. The prosecutors in some cases ask for decades. They're getting 17 and 18 years, which are some of the longest sentences handed out in general.

Do you think it's appropriate? Can you explain to us, perhaps, why these sentences are so lengthy for what they're accused of doing?

CHILDRESS: Well, they're so lengthy because the Proud Boys -- I mean, but for the Proud Boys, I don't know if we see rioters at the foot of the steps right after President Trump is done speaking. The Proud Boys marched to the Capitol in the morning while the rally at The Ellipse was still going. They're responsible for the breach at the fence at the peace circle. And we saw a lot of Proud Boys breaking down the fencing so that rioters could actually get up on the steps where the inauguration podium was set up. And we even see Proud Boys on the east side of the Capitol leading that breach as well.

So, they're responsible for some most egregious violence on that day. They were the foot soldiers. And so that's why we're seeing the longest sentences for them.

PHILLIP: Is it also because of the nature of the crime? Because -- I mean, the judge kind of address this to some extent too, suggesting that they were trying to undermine the foundation of our society, and that alone carries some weight here.


CHILDRESS: Right. And we showed the clip of Dominic Pezzola smoking a cigar in the Capitol building afterwards. Like this wasn't an spontaneous riot like we heard some advocates saying about January 6th. Folks came here to stop the lawful transfer of power, and the Proud Boys were violent offenders and trying to make sure that President Biden didn't assume office.

PHILLIP: So, I want to ask you about some of the developments in the Georgia election interference case. The former Trump attorney, Kenneth Chesebro, says that he wants to sever his early trial from the other co-defendant, Sidney Powell, another Trump election lawyer, if you can call them that.

What do you make of that move? Some people have suggested he doesn't want to get tied up with Sidney Powell because, believe it or not, Sidney Powell might be actually even more out there than he is.

CHILDRESS: Look, I think you nailed it on the head. The one thing that was very clear from these legal filing is Mr. Cheseboro wants nothing to do with Ms. Powell. He claims that he doesn't want the evidence then, that it could cause unfair prejudice if they're presented in trial together.

But the key here to take a step back is unfair prejudice. If I'm a prosecutor presenting evidence against Mr. Chesebro, right, it's going to be prejudicial no matter what it is, because it's evidence against him. It's unfairness here.

And I don't know if his argument reaches the burden that he needs to reach because he put forth the fake elector scheme. And the fake elector scheme was only valid because -- or only valid in his mind because of the election fraud that Ms. Powell was going around the state of Georgia talking about.

So, under this criminal enterprise, under this conspiracy, I'm not sure how he can make the argument that he'll be unfairly prejudiced by the evidence put forth against Ms. Powell in his case, and so I think he has an uphill battle before the court.

PHILLIP: Yes. That's tricky legal maneuvering going on with these defendants. It's one more reason why 19 of these folks, it's going to be really difficult for them to disentangle themselves from each other. Marcus Childress thank you very much.

CHILDRESS: Thank you for having me.

PHILLIP: And tonight, new calls on Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to step down over his age. This time, it's not just coming from Democrats, but instead from within his own party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country. I mean, you know, Mitch McConnell has done some great things, and he deserves credit, but you have to know when to leave.


PHILLIP: And just this week, McConnell froze while he was answering reporters' questions in Kentucky. And this is just the second time that we've seen this from the 81-year-old this summer. It is reigniting a debate over age limits in Washington and in politics.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith is the Host of First Take and the Host of the Stephen A. Smith show on YouTube, and he joins me now.

Stephen, good to see you, thanks for coming on.


PHILLIP: So, I was listening to your latest podcast, and you talk about this. In addition to talking about this, but you also had on a young, up and coming, you know, figure in the political world, David Hogg.


PHILLIP: But if you were to look at the state of Washington, the candidates that we have, do you think that there should be a requirement for people to step down, and at what age should that be?

SMITH: I don't think age should have anything to do with it, but I do believe that when you're looking at somebody who's health is clearly debilitating, at least to some degree, we're living in a society right now, Abby, where those folks are being insulted.

We're supposed to be revering and honoring the elderly, but that's when they are willing to step away if they know that they're not, dare I say, as sharp as they used to be.

And what we're finding right now is that people are pushing them front and center because we have younger representatives who can't seem to gain any traction, can't seem to ingratiate themselves with an audience to the point where they're tagged as the future, and they are tagged as individuals who should be put to forefront.

And when I was speaking -- when I spoke about my podcast I said, listen, some would argue that President Joe Biden is doing an outstanding job on the left. Obviously, folks on the right would feel otherwise. I only brought up Mitch McConnell when he froze not once but twice to point out, okay, if you're on the right, you were quick to bring up every little thing about President Biden, but you're going to ignore what you're seeing here? You can't ignore it.

And then the case of the left, where you're looking at Joe Biden, I'm saying to myself, okay, listen, this guy has been around for a very, very long time. He was a senator for decades. We get all of that. We know who Joe Biden is. The flip side to it is that by knowing who he is, we also know that he's not what he used to be.

And if you call yourself a progressive, a liberal, and you are relying on an 82-year-old, which is how old he would be at the time, that it is time for him to run for re-election, what does it say about your party that you're depending on him in order to win an election?


That to me is problematic, and I thought it needed to be said.

PHILLIP: Yes. Well, it's on both sides, both the voters who are voting older people into office and the party that's keeping them in those positions. One of the things -- I mean we played a Nikki Haley, and she's been going after President Biden on the age thing, but she's also proposed this mental competency test for politicians over the age of 75. I mean, do you agree with that idea?

SMITH: Yes, I really do. And the reason why, because there's nothing wrong. If you're just saying there is a standard that needs to be met and it's applicable to all on either side of the aisle, I'm all for it, because we certainly want people that are cogent enough and alert enough and in a position to handle their business. You're talking about a job that requires you to run the country, the commander in chief, for crying out loud. And it's not just about when it comes to law enforcement, you're talking about tax reform, you're talking about education, you're talking about immigration, you're talking about --

PHILLIP: But shouldn't there be a mental competency test for all of them?

SMITH: No, no, what I'm saying is -- I'm saying it's a standard. I'm only speaking to the standard. I'm not -- I'm saying no one should be ostracized and no one should be immune from having to be subjected to the same standards.

If there is a job, any job that you point to out there, it's a requirement that comes with it. You can't just walk on the air and be Abby Phillip. I mean, excuse me, this is a young lady that's been doing great work at CNN and before that, the Washington Post, the Politico, and the list goes on and on. And Stephen A. Smith, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Enquirer, Fox Sports, ESPN, you can't just walk through the door and do those jobs. There's a requirement that you have to meet in order to do certain things regardless of the profession. Why should the presidency of the United States or any elected office be any different? I have no problem with that.

PHILLIP: Yes, okay. Well, speaking of tests and requirements and since we have you here, I might as well ask you, because Vivek Ramaswamy, who's also running in this Republican field, he is proposing a constitutional amendment that would require that young people, people who are 18 to 24 years old, to have to pass a civics test or serve six months in the military in order to even vote. Is that fair?

SMITH: No. Excuse my language, hell no. That is not -- this is America. And the reality of the situation is, last time I checked, you know, there isn't a draft taking place to compel you to serve your country. It would be nice if everybody wanted to do it. But in America, you have the freedom to do otherwise.

And as far as, I'm concerned to have some a kind of constitutional amendment that requires you to serve in that capacity, a capacity that he deems fitting, I think, is a bit self-serving at this particular moment in time, because he's an individual that's obviously running for the presidency of the United States, and that's going to ingratiate him with folks on the right.

I get that, as a matter of fact, I'm scheduled to interview him in a matter of days. I'm glad you brought that up, because I'm going to ask him about.

PHILLIP: Wow, that will be very interesting.

SMITH: Because, I certainly don't agree with that. But, I understand why he's doing it, because there are folks, voters on the right, that that's going to sway them to some degree. And right now, I think we're living in an age where we see politicians, particularly when you're on the campaign trail, you're willing to say whatever you believe will carry votes. And I think this is one of those examples.

I'm not saying he does or doesn't. I don't know him. I've never met him. I've never talked to him. But the bottom line is I find it very, very difficult to believe that you would just come out of your mouth and say something like that as a potential elected official in the year 2023 unless you believed it was going to work favorably for you in getting votes.

PHILLIP: And Stephen A., standby, you have an alternative candidate for Democrats, other than Joe Biden. So, we'll talk about that.

Plus, a bit of a split screen brewing tonight as Governor Ron DeSantis denies plans to meet with the president tomorrow in Florida, despite President Biden saying that they would.

And we'll talk to the teen involved in a back and forth with DeSantis over posing this question on the campaign trail.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that Trump violated the peaceful transfer of power, a key principle of American democracy that we must uphold?

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Are you in high school?




PHILLIP: And we're back now with Stephen A. Smith talking about age in politics, a conversation becoming all too common on the right and left.

If President Biden were to win re-election, that would make him 82 when he starts his second term. Now, some people are floating alternative candidates to run on the Democratic ticket.

I want to bring Stephen A. back. Going back to this Biden issue, you on your show actually mentioned the California governor, Gavin Newsom, as an alternative to President Biden for Democrats. Why?

SMITH: Well, listen, in all honesty, I've never really been that big of a fan of Gavin Newsom. He knows this. I've spoken to him before. But I will tell you, he's very smart. He's very sharp. I get that. I'm just allergic to all of those high taxes that I see in California, for crying out loud. I think the state of California invents ways to take your money, and that sometimes that's a turnoff for me, to be quite honest.

As a registered independent, who heavily leans toward voting Democrats come election time, I still find that to be a tad bit odd.

But here's the former thing, I'm looking at former president Donald Trump and his base and I'm seeing folks on the right who are elected officials regardless of what they want to say, they're capitulating to him because they're fearful of alienating voters.

And you just noted, even though he lost the last election, and yes, America, he did lose the dag on election, okay, no matter what says, the reality is that he did receive over 73 or 74 million votes.

And so when I look at it from that perspective, I'm saying, okay, if there's any kind of wiggle room when it comes to Biden and deciding to go against that grain, who knows if this man ends up avoiding all of these charges against him and not doing any jail time what he's going to be able to pull off.

I'm looking for a Democratic candidate that can articulate himself forcefully and fiercely against the right in an articulate fashion that can gather a level of support that it's going to take to ensure that the Democrat remains in the White House for the next four years come 2024.


I know that Biden would get my vote over Donald Trump. You can bet the house on that. But I do find myself concerned at times looking at the climate that we're living in, seeing him gain traction, not lose it, with DeSantis, with Ramaswamy, with Christie, with Nikki Haley, and everybody else, Asa Hutchinson, you want to throw him out there, fine, the list goes on and on.

I'm watching at Tim Scott, let me not forget him. I'm watching him continue to separate himself from that pack. And I'm getting concerned that if you find anything that could be problematic for Biden, as in Hunter Biden or anything else, who knows what could tip the scales. That concerns me. So, you want somebody forceful and articulate and sharp enough to fight that fight, and I think that Gavin Newsom has come across as somebody capable of doing that.

PHILLIP: That's really interesting. I mean, we have been talking a lot about that on the show, because, I think, among Democrats, you're an independent but you vote perhaps largely Democratic.

SMITH: 95-plus percentage on Democrat, yes.

PHILLIP: There's a debate about what to do here. And the idea that it's just Biden and everybody is just happy is probably not the reality of the situation within that party.

But, Stephen, before you go, I wanted to ask you about this. One of your competitors, Skip Bayless, as many people may know, launched a revamped show this week, and your show, the First Take, crushed him in the ratings.

So, there were a lot of headlines about how all the co-hosts were shouting over him and dominating the air waves on Bayless' show. What were your thoughts about that and how it went?

SMITH: Well, listen, I wouldn't be where I am today if it were not for Skip Bayless giving me the opportunity to be on the show, First Take in 2012. He's a friend and a brother, and I'm eternally grateful to him for the opportunity that he gave me, but he's on the other side now.

Michael Irvin is a friend of mine. Keyshawn Johnson is a friend of mine. Richard Sherman, a friend of mine. Michael Irvin and myself, and Keyshawn Johnson and myself, are very, very close. We're like brothers to one another. But they know what time it is. They're on the other side.

And so as a result to that primarily, Skip Bayless in Undisputed, they do what they do at FS1, I do what I do at First Take.

I arrived in 2012. We have been number one since. He departed in 2016, we've been number one. He was gone from 2016 to 2023, we still -- First Take still remains number one. And as far as I'm concerned, as long as I'm on the show, we're going to stay number one, because I don't play to lose.

And so knock on wood, who knows what's going to happen. God has blessed me and Molly Qerim and all the producers and all the honchos at ESPN to be number one, but, Abby Phillip, I don't play to lose. I'm here to win. And I don't -- I'm not rooting against Skip Bayless or all of my brothers, but I am rooting for myself.

I don't want them to fail. I just want them to be perpetually in second place to First Take. And I aim for it to be exactly that in anything that I do. It's just that simple to me.

PHILLIP: And that's that on that. I hear you. You can catch Stephen on ESPN and YouTube. Stephen A. Smith, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

SMITH: Thank you so much for having me. You take care of yourself. Good luck, and keep up the great work you have been doing. Thank you so much.

PHILLIP: Thank you.

And up next, President Biden says that he is meeting with Ron DeSantis tomorrow in Florida, but DeSantis' team says, no. Well, we'll discuss what's going on there.

Plus, Donald Trump has some ironic advice for one of his rivals, Vivek Ramaswamy.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He's starting to get out there a little bit. He's a little bit controversial. I got to tell him, be a little bit careful.




PHILLIP: Rolling up the welcome mat, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' office now says tonight that he will not be meeting with President Biden this weekend. That is just hours after the president said the opposite, that he did plan to meet with the governor while surveying storm damage.

Now, DeSantis' office claims that this is about security and that those security precautions would slow down the recovery efforts. But a White House official tells CNN tonight that DeSantis did not raise those concerns when he spoke with Biden on Thursday.

Joining me now is Republican Strategist Shermichael Singleton, CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist Maria Cardona, and CNN Political Analyst Laura Barron-Lopez.

What do you make of this, Laura? Usually, this is a time to put politics aside, and, you know, it's had mixed results with Chris Christie having a particular kind of moment. But, generally, you put politics aside when you're talking about a storm like this. But DeSantis, this seems to be a political move.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It does appears that way, because just a year ago, last October when hurricane Ian struck Florida, President Biden went down there. Governor DeSantis and his wife greeted him when he arrived, when President Biden arrived, held a press conference alongside him, said that they don't agree all the time but that they would put that aside and work together.

And yes, Chris Christie is another example, where he even pushed back Republican criticism in 2012 and 2013 saying, no, President Obama worked with me well, kept his promises and Republicans are playing just politics.

PHILLIP: But that Hurricane Ian example, the image that came out of that of Biden kind of being chummy with the people on the ground and DeSantis kind of out there by himself, that was not a great image for DeSantis. I mean it makes me wonder -- there it is. It's a meme now.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes. It's weird.

PHILLIP: It's a meme now. It makes me wonder if they're trying to avoid a second run of that.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I'm sure they are. But I think what it does is it focuses on how petty, and how juvenile I think this makes DeSantis look, especially because it is such a contrast with when he was doing it in the wake of hurricane Ian, and I think that made both leaders look good.


It made both leaders look exactly like they were doing their job putting politics aside, making sure that the well-being and the recovery of the state was first and foremost. This makes DeSantis look like he is failing, flailing, insecure, and nervous about what any kind of image of him next to President Biden would do for his political campaign. That is not putting his constituents first.

PHILLIP: So, I want to switch gears a little bit because one of the -- there's Ron DeSantis, and probably the only other candidate getting as much attention right now is Vivek Ramaswamy. But here's what Donald Trump, who has actually typically been super, no, complimentary of Ramaswamy. Here's what he said with Glenn Beck earlier this week.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He's starting to get out there a little bit. He is a little bit getting a little bit controversial. I can't tell him be a little bit careful because the whole thing -- something he has to hold in -- just a little bit -- a lot of good energy. I will tell you and he -- he's been very nice to me.


SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: These are very nice. I mean, you know, Trump --

PHILLIP: What should we make of this?

SINGLETON: I mean, I don't think much of it. I mean, I've said this for a long time. If Trump at some point views Ramaswamy as a potential threat, I can guarantee you Donald Trump will focus on Ramaswamy.

PHILLIP: Isn't that what's happening, though? I mean, that was a bit of a dig.

CARDONA: It was a little bail. Yeah. SINGLETON: It was a bit of a little warning, like, hey, be careful here, buddy. You're kind of getting into my lane. But I will say this, Laura. I mean, I think, Abby, I will say this. I think that Vivek is doing well in the debates in part because he's saying things that Republican voters want to hear.

But I think in terms of what lane he's going to get and whether or not he has enough support to win in Iowa or New Hampshire, I don't necessarily see that. And I think another question that really hasn't come up yet, with evangelicals, we haven't really spoken about Vivek's faith. Where does that lie with Republican voters? And when that question comes up, how will he respond?

PHILLIP: It has come up. I mean, he's not Christian, but I mean, it has come up in other ways.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And after the debate, the polls have shown, including in Iowa, that evangelicals in that state are squarely in Trump's corner, and that the majority of Iowa caucus voters, primary voters, are in Trump's corner still. I mean, I don't think that Ramaswamy has seen any type of substantial surge since that debate despite the fact that he's been getting a lot of attention and incoming from the other candidates because he's only gone up by about four percentage points which still puts him double digits behind the front-runner.

SINGLETON: The Morning Consult polls showed his unfavorability rating actually dropped after the debate so he's not winning --

PHILLIP: Yeah, his favorability dropped --

SINGLETON: Absolutely. He's not winning anyone. Again, a lot of people like him because he's exciting, he's energetic, but then they also ask, can this guy lead the country? Will any of these ideas actually work?

PHILLIP: Well, just before you jump in, I mean, just to that point, there was a "New York Times" op-ed by David French who's noted, not a noted liberal scholar. He wrote this, if you watched the first Republican debate last week or you listened to more than five minutes of Ramaswamy's commentary, you'll immediately note that he's exceptionally articulate but also woefully ignorant or feigning ignorance about public affairs. Now, he basically -- French is saying, he's loud, but he's wrong.


CARDONA: He was wrong on so many of the things that he talked about in that debate. And to me, it was scarily wrong. Because first of all, he talked about how if he was Mike Pence, he would have passed a law right then and there. And it was like, does this guy even know how government works?

The fact of the matter that right after the debate, you saw so many women and lots of polls of women saying, this guy hates women. I mean, the things that he was talking about, the conspiracy theories, the incredibly extremist ideas, I think are going to put him on a path to, frankly, I think he was trying out for vice president.

SINGLETTON: But this is --

CARDONA: Because he was clearly talking about things that made him a complete mini-Trump.

SINGLETON: Maria, this is the same guy that said people should pass a civics test to vote.

CARDONA: And you know what?

SINGLETON: You know he is unaware of these constitutional duties to be vice president?

CARDONA: Exactly. You know what, Shermichael? I don't think he would pass that civics test.

SINGLETON: Oh, I don't think so either.

CARDONA: And that's a problem.

PHILLIP: Real quick though, last word. Is this some of this a ploy? The climate agenda is fake, but he doesn't say climate change is fake. Is he just trying to play word games and make people hear what they need to hear?

Barron-Lopez: Yeah, he's winking and nodding. I mean, former President Trump has called climate change a hoax, actual climate change. So, I mean, he's winking and nodding to voters that he's trying to win over. When he really has no hope, I think we can say that now, of winning them over in time for early primary contests.

CARDONA: But he's loving this because he talks about how all the knives are out for him.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, I know.

SINGLETON: Five months ago, there is a crime across.

PHILLIP: All the knives are absolutely out for him, which is a really fascinating element of this campaign. Shermichael, Maria, and Laura, thank you all very much.


And up next for us, a 15-year-old student now at the center of a back and forth with Ron DeSantis after asking him a tough question at a town hall. That student will join me live, next. Plus, the decades-old audio tapes from Princess Diana that reveal what she really thought about the drama within the Royal Family.


VOICE-OVER: He was so grown-up. And here was Diana, a kindergarten teacher. I mean, the whole thing was ridiculous.



PHILLIP: There's a teenager on the campaign trail who's been asking tough questions of all of the candidates. He's 15-year-old Quinn Mitchell, and he's been doing it for years, actually. His exchanges are normally welcomed by the people he's interviewing, that is, until this summer. Now, Quinn is accusing Ron DeSantis' security team of intimidation on multiple occasions. These incidents that have come after this moment in New Hampshire.



QUINN MITCHELL, NEW HAMPSHIRE TEEN WHO QUESTIONED DESANTIS AT TOWN HALL: Do you believe that Trump violated the peaceful transfer of power, a key principle that of American democracy that we must uphold?



DESANTIS: Where do you go to school? You go around here?

MITCHELL: Vermont, but I live in New Hampshire.

DESANTIS: Oh, okay. So, you're from Vermont. Well, thank you for the question. So, here's what I know. If this election is about Biden's failures and our vision for the future, we are going to win. If it's about relitigating things that happened two, three years ago, we're going to lose.


PHILLIP: And since then, Quinn says that he's had physical interactions with DeSantis' team, that he's been blocked from any further interaction with the governor. CNN has reached out to DeSantis' campaign and his Super PAC and asked for comment, but we have not heard back. However, Quinn Mitchell joins me now. Quinn, thank you for being here. I remember --

MITCHELL: Thank you so much. How you doing?

PHILLIP: Great. I remember that moment pretty distinctly because it caught my attention. What caught my attention also was that DeSantis didn't really answer your question. What do you make of the fact that he seemed to struggle there with that question that you asked him?

MITCHELL: I mean, it's concerning because this is a question he should have, you know, saw coming from a mile away. I mean, it's just a very simple question about January 6th, and he needed to articulate an opinion because it's on a lot of voters' minds, and he should have been sitting with his advisers for months, wondering, A, how are we going to answer this, or B, how are we going to dodge this? Apparently, there's an option C, where you just continue to dodge it and you physically intimidate a teenager in order to have -- not be asking questions.

PHILLIP: So, walk us through these interactions that you've had with the governor's security. What happened?

MITCHELL: Yeah, so after my first encounter with him, it was June 27th, I went to a July 4th parade for him. And listen, he got, Chris Christie yelled at him on TV. I felt a little bad about it since I figured maybe he didn't have time to answer it. So, I just want to give the platform to re-answer it. He's met with glares, team glared at me. Eventually we got close to him. I was pulled away and surrounded by security. I was told not to move for five minutes, while that was going on. It was definitely physical intimidation. And then my next event for him, Dan met with hostile glares. They were sneaking pictures of me with the Snapchat caption, got the kid, got our kid.

So, it's concerning to me and I think it's a restriction of free speech and it's very concerning. They're really good -- go to that extent to just shut down a very simple question about January 6

PHILLIP: Did you reach out to Ron DeSantis personally and did you hear back from him?

MITCHELL: I don't exactly have the contacts to do that. I wish I did. After they prayed, I just kind of expected somewhat of apology just because it doesn't really play, like that sort of behavior in Hampshire doesn't really play to voters. I mean, they really want you to answer questions and they're going to get mad if you don't answer questions. And listen, I'm not out here looking for an apology, but It's definitely concerning to me.

PHILLIP: One of the reports said that the governor's wife, Casey DeSantis, talked to your family and suggested that you were lying about all of this. What's your message to Mrs. DeSantis?

MITCHELL: I mean, I just think it's concerning. I mean, I didn't personally hear it. I just heard my mom say, that's not okay, over and over and over again. I think DeSantis should have made note of that. He did say to me, come to my next event and we'll get to the bottom of that. We obviously know what happened the next event. So again, it's just extremely concerning to me. I just felt that this story needed to be shared.

PHILLIP: You said you're not looking for an apology, but if one was received, I mean, would you think that was appropriate?

MITCHELL: Probably, yeah. I've never been one for personal attacks and I don't want this to evolve in a really --bad fight between me and DeSantis. I just don't want that to happen. And yeah, I think I would accept a personal apology. But yeah.

PHILLIP: You can continue, but what?

MITCHELL: Yeah, I mean, I think I would be looking, I don't know, I'm not really looking for a personal apology, but it's definitely concerning to me that they did go to that extent. And I'm not looking for a food fight here. That's the last thing I want. I just really want to respect New Hampshire voters to get that opportunity to ask those questions and yeah.

PHILLIP: That's the New Hampshire tradition.

MITCHELL: It is. Yeah.

PHILLIP: You are getting a head start on that. You're not even old enough to vote yet and you're a self-described independent also in New Hampshire tradition. You've heard from a lot of Republicans in the field so far. So, who's catching your attention? Who's standing out to you and your peers?

MITCHELL: Yeah, definitely. Obviously, we see candidates like Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy doing really well here because they're going all around the state.


They're taking questions and they're meeting voters after events when candidates don't do that. And listen, I've seen the extent of, stump speech only goes so much. People in New Hampshire really value their time with candidates to be able to ask those hard-hitting questions that are on their minds. And when a candidate doesn't allow that, it's not going to go well for them here in New Hampshire.

So, I think Chris Christie will do well here. And New Hampshire is definitely a big independent faction in New Hampshire. I expect him to do well. Also, Vivek Ramaswamy is going all around the state taking questions and encouraging healthy debates. So --also, Nikki Haley, as well. So, I -- New Hampshire really values their retail politics.


MITCHELL: So, those candidates would do well.

PHILLIP: Yeah. Look, I'm a big fan of tough questions, too, Quinn. So, I think you're doing a great job so far. Thank you for joining us tonight.

MITCHELL: Thank you so much.

PHILLIP: And 26 years since Princess Diana's death, new audio recordings that she taped in the 1990s were just released. And what they reveal about Prince Harry's birth will surprise you.


UNKNOWN: Harry's christening. Charles went up to mommy and said, you know, you're so disappointed with Audrey being a girl. And mommy snapped his head off.



[22:50:00] PHILLIP: The stories surrounding the birth of Rock and Roll have long been dominated by straight white icons like Elvis and the Beatles. But now the new CNN film, "Little Richard: I Am Everything", is revealing the black queer origins of Rock and Roll.


UNKNOWN: Playing "The Wreck of Heaven on Earth". He was so hot. We played something like five nights a week, two or three shows a day.

UNKNOWN: Remember, in the 1950s, there's legal segregation. Black kids are not able to listen to music in the same spaces as white kids.

UNKNOWN: Black and white musicians weren't allowed to play together. They had one night for white. And the next night. for African- American.

UNKNOWN: But the white kids will come to the black kids concert, too.


PHILLIP: And joining me now is David Fear. He's the Senior Editor and Film Critic at "Rolling Stone". David, it's really hard to over- estimate just how huge Little Richard was at the peak of his career. But he was an openly gay black man. He had this very sexualized performance style. How did that happen that he could become such a major star in the South in the 1950s?

DAVID FEAR, SENIOR EDITOR AND FILM CRITIC, "ROLLING STONE": I think this is a question that any fan of Little Richard and any amateur historian looks at and goes, goes, yeah, how did this happen? I don't understand. I think in a lot of ways, because his persona challenged all these ideas about gender nonconformity and race and masculinity, that in a way, because he was so flamboyant, he was able to sort of get away with this stuff. He seemed as harmless in a way.

I mean, you have to remember, too, Rock and Roll was looked at as a novelty, and he was sort of part of that novelty. The only problem was that he was also an artist and an incredibly influential one, too. And because of that flamboyance, I think, people then tended to not take him as seriously, both after his first initial wave of popularity and then later in his career. But I mean, the man, he said it himself, he was the originator and innovator of Rock and Roll, and set the template for, you know, the modern pop star as a rebel.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, to that exact point, he got so popular and that some of those other early rock stars, people like Elvis and the Beatles, they were imitating him. They were singing his songs. And eventually, they overshadowed him in some ways. What do you make of why that happened and you know what impact that in and of itself had on Little Richard throughout his life?

FEAR: Well, before we get to Elvis and the Beatles, there's two words that you have to say when you talk about Little Richard's legacy, and that's Pat Boone. What they tried to do, the powers that be, was they wanted to make money off of this music that he was making, this incredibly raucous, liberating music that teenagers loved, but they didn't necessarily want everything that went along with that, so they gave a song, Tutti Frutti, to Pat Boone, and it outsold his version, I think, something like three to one, at some point. And it's kind of ridiculous because when you hear that version, it couldn't be less Rock and Roll.

And yet he persevered because, you know, he had these great songs and he was massively influential. And then, you're talking about Elvis covering Tutti Frutti and, you know, he took the Beatles to Hamburg, took them out on tour with them and they started covering his songs. But I think his real influence, I mean, how this affected him was that it made him very angry later in life. He never felt that he got his due. But he also realized that his influence on all these artists, you know, from Elvis and the Beatle on to, you know, Prince and Madonna and Michael Jackson and on and on, it kept going and going and going.

And I think eventually by the end of his career when people were recognizing, you know, how influential he had been and started getting more credit, he sort of looked at them as his children. There's a great line in the documentary where he says, I just want them to sort of spread my message. I want them to just take this energy that I've given them and bring it out there to the world.

PHILLIP: Yeah. All right, David Fear, a fascinating conversation. Thank you so much.

FEAR: Thanks for having me. And be sure to tune into the all-new CNN film, "Little Richard: I Am Everything". It premieres Monday night at 9 P.M. Eastern and Pacific, right here on CNN. And up next, Princess Diana in her own words in never before heard audio recordings from more than 30 years ago.


PRINCESS DIANA: I hate you so much. Oh, you knew how much we all hated you. What you've done.





ASHER: On the 26th anniversary of Princess Diana's untimely death, we are now hearing never before heard audio tapes in her own words. She reveals how then Prince Charles, now King Charles, was disappointed when he found out that their youngest son, Prince Harry, was not a girl.


PRINCESS DIANA: My husband won't even talk to mommy, barely, because at Harry's christening, Charles went up to mommy and said, you know, he was so disappointed with Audrey being a girl. And mommy snapped his head off and said, you should realize how lucky you are to have a child that's normal. Ever since that day, the shutters come down and that's what he does when he gets somebody answering back at him, so to speak.


PHILLIP: Diana also recalls her, quote, "ridiculous marriage" to Charles and her troubled relationship with her own stepmother.

UNKNOWN: It was so grown up and here was Diana, a kindergarten teacher. I mean, the whole thing was ridiculous.

PRINCESS DIANA: I said everything I possibly could and Raine said, you have no idea how much pain your mother put your father through. I said, pain, Raine? That's one word you don't even know how to relate to. In my job and in my role, I see people suffer like you never see. When you call that pain, I said, you've got a lot to learn.


PHILLIP: Diana recorded this audio in the 90s and had them secretly delivered to author Andrew Morton. These tapes were the basis of his book, "Diana: Her True Story". And that's it for me on this Friday before Labor Day in CNN PRIMETIME. "CNN TONIGHT" with Laura Coates starts right now. Hey Laura.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, hey, hey. I'm going to have to go back and listen to again that Stephen A. Smith interview because I was like this on my phone, at the TV, watching the entire thing like this. So, Abby, great interview.

PHILLIP: He had some hot takes, I have to say.

COATES: He did. He really did. I'm telling you. I've never seen him so calm during an interview, and yet so engaged. I was leaning in like, oh, he is leaning in this entire thing.

PHILLIP: Oh yeah.

COATES: So, I cannot wait to hear all of it, and also get the backstory behind all that and the truth. You wanna spill it, if you ever need a spill, call me. Okay?

PHILLIP: I will call you. Have a good night, Laura.