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CNN Live Event/Special

Trump, Biden Both Visit Detroit To Win Over Auto Workers; Myth Busted, Trump's Persona Takes Hit After Fraud Ruling; U.S. Dangerously Close To Government Shutdown; Sen. Tuberville Under Fire After Shameful Comments On The Military's Equal Opportunity Employment; Philadelphia On Alert After A Series Of Looting Incidents Happened; RFK Jr. Questions Another Conspiracy Theory On The 9/11 Attack. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 28, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Just last week, he was on the phone helping me prepare for an interview with the Israeli prime minister. He is an absolute gem to cover the news with, to learn from and to work with. And our congratulations to Wolf tonight, no one deserves this more than him.

Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time to join us tonight for this very busy night. The news continues right now with CNN Primetime with Abby Phillip.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: In the history of American presidents, the blue collar battle runs the spectrum. FDR was arguably the most pro- union president. He signed several bills aimed at empowering the worker. And one of his most recognizable slogans is seen on this famous poster.

Now, Truman initially cited with union workers that he angered everyone when he took over the steel mills during the Korean War. And in a rare move at the time, Teddy Roosevelt invited labor leaders to the White House during the coal strike. And as for other presidents, the union was a dirty word. Grover Cleveland, he sent the military to shut down a railroad strike. Reagan fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers during a strike, a move that a current candidate, Tim Scott, says he admires.

Now, fast forward to 2024 and the two frontrunners in that race for their party's nominations are using the current auto worker strike to flex their union muscle.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip. And one day after President Biden made his visit union picket line, his predecessor and rival is now in Detroit tonight. He's looking for votes. And if you look a little bit deeper there, there is a politically sound reason perhaps for this competition between the two candidates.

Unions are popular. Two-thirds of Americans say they approve of them, three-quarter side with the UAW workers in the strike against the three big car companies, and approval of unions just in general has actually risen in the past 15 years.

But here is the interesting part about all of this. Back in 2020, Biden carried voters from union households over Trump by 16 percent. That is actually a wider margin than Hillary Clinton held over Trump in 2016 percent.

Now, here he was, that is Trump, just moments ago.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Instead of economic nationalism, you have ultra left wing globalism. They hate our country. And the workers of America are getting, to put it very nicely, screwed, getting screwed.


PHILLIP: Union leaders, though, are skeptical of Trump, and I'm being polite there. One UAW executive says, in part, quote, let me be blunt, Donald Trump is coming off as a pompous asshole coming to Michigan to speak at non-union employees and pretend that it has anything to do with our fight at the big three. Where were his rallies for striking workers when we were on the picket line in 2019? Where are the jobs he promised to return to the U.S. while on the campaign trail in 2015? The proof is in the pudding.

Joining me to discuss this is Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. He is also a union supporter with deep family ties to the UAW. Michael, thanks for coming back on the show.


PHILLIP: You are getting screwed is the former president's message to the workers of America tonight. I imagine you may agree with him.

MOORE: Only because we had to live through four years of Trump in the White House. I actually watched his speech tonight, and I have to be honest, I am one of the few designated Trump watchers whenever he makes his speech so everybody doesn't have to listen to it. There is half a dozen of us that watch it and we report to others, mainly because it is more of a kind of a crime watchers thing.

You have got somebody that has entered our state, he has been indicted for different felonies with 91 counts, 91one crimes. We don't just let anybody into Michigan. So, it is like I and others watch the speech and, basically, I think that we don't have a whole lot to worry about mainly because the majority of the country doesn't him. They didn't want him in 2016, lost the popular vote. They didn't want him in '20. He lost the 2018 for the Republicans, he lost that, the midyear, the midterm.

And if everybody gets out to vote, that is usually our problem on our side, getting everybody out to vote. If everybody votes, the majority of Americans don't agree with him, don't want him. And it was such an embarrassment that they never pulled back and showed a really wide shot because there were so few people in this non-union auto parts facility in Detroit.


This whole anti-union thing, he's there at an anti-union place with that supplies auto parts to cars.

PHILLIP: What do you think about this, though, idea, Michael, that -- what do you think about the idea that the union leadership, they're understandably skeptical of Trump, but what about union members?

Here's what the Trump campaign says. They say there's a disconnect between the political leadership of some of these labor unions and the working middle class employees that they purport to represent. Do you think that, for example, UAW President Shawn Fain speaks for all rank and file members?

MOORE: Absolutely, he has such support. It's amazing. He's the first UAW president actually elected by the entire membership. All 150,000 UAW members got to vote. That is -- you would think that's common in a union, but that often doesn't happen.

And for the UAW, what used to do in the factory, you would nominate your people from your factory to go to the national convention, and then that convention would elect the UAW leader. He's elected for the first time by everybody.

And Biden's showing up yesterday, I mean, that was so historic. I don't know if this has been reported properly. I mean, you just did a great job at the opening going through our history of presidents, most of them, with the exception of Roosevelt, maybe one other, did not do well by working people. And for Biden to come there and be there at that picket line, it was so moving. And so -- and the criticism is he was only there for 15 minutes.

You know, they were so nervous yesterday. I'm just going to say this. I hate to put this out there, but they wouldn't even tell your reporters, the press reporters that were on Air Force One, where they were going. They didn't know what city of Michigan they were going to land in. They didn't know what factory they were going to go to. They had to keep this all for security reasons, very, very quiet, because Trump and his people have managed to turn violence, violence, into part of the political structure of this country.

And what they did on January 6th and his support of it and his encouraging of it, they had to be so careful yesterday that there was a pool reporter. Even CNN really didn't know which -- in fact, everybody wants that one in Wayne, Michigan scene (INAUDIBLE).

PHILLIP: Can I ask you? Last week we spoke, you were on the show, and you said that Trump's visit to Michigan was a stunt. President Biden announced that he was visiting after Trump did. It seemed almost in response to Trump. How is that visit not a stunt as well?

MOORE: It just -- I think it just seemed that way. I think they were planning this for some time and Trump because, on some level, in terms of his -- the way that he operates like a snake, he's not stupid. Snakes aren't stupid. And so he figured out, I need to get the jump on Biden.

So, you know, he's so much younger than Biden. So, he was able to move quicker.

PHILLIP: What about -- I want to ask you about one of the core demands here, which is wages, really, at the core of this. So, Ford, for example, currently spends about $64 per hour per worker in the United States. That includes wages and benefits. Meanwhile, foreign automakers and non-union shops, they spend between $45 and $55 an hour. So, some analysts estimate that if the unions get that 40 percent wage hike that they've been pushing for, that that could double the cost per worker for these unions. Is there any concern that this could actually end up pushing auto production overseas, where perhaps labor is cheaper?

MOORE: No, that has been a huge failure. You have done your own stories on CNN on how many American companies have come back from China to this country so that the things are built right. So, that's a big red herring.

And those numbers, when they say wages, those are not the auto workers wages, this inflated, crazy number. They throw everything into that, every possible thing. There was somebody on one of your shows here yesterday pointing out how much of each car goes to pay health care, whereas in Canada, the G.M. factories in Canada, the Ford factories in Canada, the total amount of the price of each car for health care is, well, practically zero because it has free universal healthcare in their country, unlike us.


So, the corporations, G.M., they've been building so many factories over the years in Canada because it's cheaper for them to do it there because they have free universal health care. And, yes, the companies in Canada have to pay a tax for that health care, but they would rather pay the Canadian tax and have everybody cover it.

PHILLIP: Should that 40 percent raise be a red line for negotiators?

MOORE: Well, I'm not going to say what the UAW should or shouldn't do. It's their union. I belong to the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild, so it's not for me to say. I think they know -- I heard Sean Fain make this and they said they were going to put this up on their site.

You can go there and you can go there and you can see that what they're claiming in this 40 percent raise, that actually if the automakers gave this 40 percent raise and brought back their pensions and brought back -- and didn't have the two-tier thing where new hires are paid $15 or $16 an hour and the old-timers are getting $30 an hour, that make it even. You're doing the same exact job. You should be paid the same exact wage.

If they did that, if the automakers did that, and our car companies did not raise the price of a car by a single dime, they would actually not only be able to afford that, but still make their huge profits, which they've made almost $30 billion since the beginning of this year alone, $30 billion in profits.

So, they're making all this up to scare people. It doesn't work. We're reporters. They go and talk to the local owners of businesses, aren't they hurting now because of the strike? They're all supportive of the strike because they know something apparently these wealthy capitalist CEOs don't understand. If you pay the workers a just wage, if you pay them more money, what do they do with that money? By a yacht? By stocks and bonds? No, they spend it.

PHILLIP: And the workers --

MOORE: They give the money back to more companies, which is --

PHILLIP: And to that point, these workers have said they want to be able to afford the cars that they are in the factories building, actually.

Michael Moore, thanks, as always, for joining us tonight on all of this.

MOORE: Thank you. And just, can I just finish one sentence? I didn't get to finish here, that when they say that Biden was only there 15 minutes, it was a historic 15 minutes. The Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln was two minutes and ten seconds long, and it is still renowned as maybe the greatest speech of all time. Biden did an amazing thing. And I support the union and hope they get everything they deserve.

PHILLIP: All right. Thank you, Michael. I appreciate it.

MOORE: Thank you, (INAUDIBLE) say that. Thank you.

PHILLIP: And coming up next, the clock is ticking tonight as it looks like the American government will, in fact, shut down. I'll speak live with someone who's at the heart of those heated negotiations over on Capitol Hill.

And, plus, Senator Tommy Tuberville once again taking heat after a comment that he made about, well, you guessed it, race in the military.

And as a judge rules that Trump is liable for fraud, just how much is that building right there, Mar-a-Lago, worth right now? That's next.



PHILLIP: Tonight, Donald Trump's entire empire is at risk, a judge finding him liable for fraud and allegedly deceiving banks, loaners and customers for more than a decade. And there's a campaign refrain from the past that takes on some new meaning in the wake of all of these rulings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: If we could run our country the way I've run my company, we would have a country that you would be so proud of.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you do run do you subscribe to the notion that the government can and should be run like a business?

TRUMP: Well it certainly should but a business with heart, because I'm a big believer in heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'd run America like a business.

TRUMP: I would run it properly and I'd also run it with heart. A lot of people don't understand that. I would run it with heart.


PHILLIP: A business with heart maybe a side of deception, according to this judge.

I want to bring in now former Manhattan prosecutor Jeremy Saland as well as pollster Lee Carter and president of the Maslansky Partners and Russ Buettner, investigative reporter for The New York Times.

Lee, as you can see there he framed his whole career, his whole political ethos on the kind of business that he. And this judge is basically saying it was a fraud.

LEE CARTER, POLLSTER: Well, I think the thing that's so fascinating, right, is people are going to see this, and they're going to say, this is the end of Trump. How are people still going to support him? And I don't think that's what's going to happen. Trump supporters are going to see this, and I think that's more people out to get Trump. Everybody is talking about the $18.5 million dollar evaluation on Mar- a-Lago and saying, that's ridiculous. It's not $18.5 million. It's $70 million or $100 million or whatever they are saying. So, they're saying that this is really more evidence that people are out to get Trump and this isn't necessarily truth.

Now, if you're on the other side of this, you look at this and say, finally, people are saying exactly what we knew along. Trump is a fraud. But I don't think this is really going to change anybody's mind in the long run.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, it may very well not. There are so many things about Trump in real life that contradict the image he portrays.

There will also be potentially $250 million in damages at stake here for Trump. Is it possible that this could really do damage to Trump and his actual businesses?

RUSS BUETTNER, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: It does seem possible. You know, we acquired his proper income tax returns for about 20 years worth. And there was no evidence in there that he had that kind of cash. In fact, his cash seemed to be dwindling through the middle teens. His money from entertainment, from The Apprentice, and from licensing deals really dropped off. And he had a lot of businesses that were losing money that he had to pump money into to sort of keep them going every year. So, that could be a hit.

He has assets he could sell. But one of the interesting things about this is that that's not going to be his choice. It doesn't sound like these entities that are being put into receivership represent almost everything he owns. And if someone else is going to be deciding who can take money out of that, how much money they can take out of and making sure there's going to be maybe $250 million left whenever this case finally winds it down, that's going to greatly restrict what he's able to do and his impact on things.

PHILLIP: That's incredible to even think about, Jeremy. I mean, they're going to appeal no matter what happens here. Do you think they have grounds to put a stop to a ruling that seems like it could really gut Trump and everything that he has ever built?


JEREMY SALAND, FORMER MANHATTAN PROSECUTOR: You know, I think this is a very bold move by the judge to do what he did at this stage in the process, meaning not only do we have a summary judgment on a matter that is really captivating the entire country and has significant ramifications well beyond Donald Trump, but at the same time he's also saying, I'm going to freeze, if not freeze, I'm going to cancel your ability to continue business and your business certifications, which, as we just said moments ago, is going to destroy potentially his career and his ability to earn a living and his ability for his businesses to operate.

So, they're going to do what's called an interlocutory appeal. And if it has not started already, go to the appellate division and try to get a stay so that this case does not continue, as we know, into Monday.

PHILLIP: Lee, you may remember Hillary Clinton tried to make a case about this.


PHILLIP: Back in 2016, she called out Trump for six bankruptcies in the debate. I mean, I remember covering her and they were sort of lifting up the stories of all the people that he had, you know, grifted over the years, failed to pay. Even they raised the specter of these valuations being not real. None of that mattered back in 2016.

So, can this become an issue in 2024 if he's on the ballot?

CARTER: I have a hard time seeing how, because it's almost like opposite day when you look at Donald Trump, whatever you expect to happen, the opposite happens.

And the way I try to describe this, it's almost like that picture that you see, where if you look at the picture, you either see an old woman or a beautiful young woman, depending on what you see. And I think if you're a Trump supporter, you look at this and you see this as a witch hunt. You see Trump's huge success and think that it's all somebody trying to take it away from him. If you look at him and you hate him, you see the fraud, you see the deception, you see the bankruptcies, you see all of those other things. But it doesn't really change anybody's mind, but ends up happening as you still just are ingrained in what you see.

And what's happening, I think, that's really fascinating, is Trump's support continues to increase. The more this stuff happens, the more people are digging their heels in and say, this seems so unfair.

PHILLIP: So, Russ, before we go, Mar-a-Lago, how much is that thing really worth? Eric Trump says it is a billion dollars. Trump says it's hundreds of millions of dollars. I mean, what could the truth possibly be here? And at the end of the day, should their tax bill be higher?

BUETTNER: Their property tax bill? Well, I think actually the problem is that he gave away the right to make that any more valuable years ago. He promised he'd give away all right to develop it for anything other than a club. And that's a very restrictive thing that greatly limits its value. Someone can't come in and put in 30 houses on the beach there, or even one big massive house.

And if you run it as a business, it doesn't really work. He's pulled out, according to his tax returns, about $2 million a year. It's actually one of his more successful businesses.

PHILLIP: But that's not a lot of money.

BUETTNER: That's not a lot of money. You think about if you buy that thing for a billion dollars and you take out an $800 million mortgage, your mortgage payments are $60 million a year and you're making $2 million in profit, that sounds like a really not smart deal.

And I think that's why the judge looked at this. Their assessment was based on no evidence. And he said this is just an unsubstantiated dream, and that's kind of what it sounds like.

PHILLIP: Do those statements about the value of this property, doesn't that make the New York A.G.'s case?

SALAND: Absolutely. And unfortunately for Trump, and I think one of the most outstanding things that he did that harmed himself, you have a 10,000 square foot apartment, 11,000 square foot apartment, and says that that's a 30,000 square foot apartment for the purpose of valuation.

There's so many things that Donald Trump has done, not just here, but throughout the history or career we'll call it of Donald Trump, where it's far worse than foot in the mouth. It's the constant saying and doing things that hurt himself. Whether someone can reel that back in, I don't know, but this is why he is where he is.

PHILLIP: All right. Jeremy, Lee and Russ, thank you all very much.

And coming up next, the government is set to shut down this Saturday night and Republicans are still deadlocked over an agreement. A Republican who is involved in the negotiations is my guest.

Plus, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, responds to former President Trump suggesting that he should be executed.

And a retired black general calling out Senator Tommy Tuberville's claim that the military is not an equal opportunity employer.



PHILLIP: The nation is just three days away now from a crippling government shutdown and they are nowhere close to a deal over on Capitol Hill.

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is now pouring cold water on the Senate's short-term funding bill proposal, saying that there is no appetite for it in the House. Instead, McCarthy says that he's going to introduce his own short-term funding bill on Friday. And that will include money for the border.

So, let's get straight to Representative Nick LaLota, a Republican from the state of New York. Congressman, thank you for being here.

REP. NICK LALOTA (R-NY): Great to be here. Good evening.

PHILLIP: Just to start off, are you planning to vote for Speaker McCarthy's stopgap measure and what do you even know about what is in it?

LALOTA: Yes, I would vote for the Speaker's stopgap measure. The conference has focused a lot on border security as well as keeping the government funded as we negotiate to reduce spending in some key areas.

Of course, our nation is one who is $33 trillion in debt and a $2 trillion deficit. There are things that we need to do to get our fiscal House in order, but we must keep the government open while we do so.

PHILLIP: So, I got to ask you, Congressman, tomorrow, the first impeachment hearing is expected to start on Capitol Hill. Would you consider postponing that so that lawmakers can spend time on something that has a real deadline this Saturday to prevent a government shutdown?

LALOTA: Listen, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. You know, if we had to put off those hearings for a couple of days to focus on keeping the government funding while we are reducing spending, so be it. I'd be fine by that. But I'm confident that our committee chairs can operate that process concurrent with us doing our work to keep our fiscal House in order.

[22:30:02] PHILLIP: Are you comfortable with impeachment proceedings, for example, maintaining funding, being deemed as essential, while so many other things, military funding for service members not being paid while the government shuts down. Are you comfortable with that?

LALOTA: So we can do it all. You know we need to pay our troops. We need to defend our borders. We need to keep our government running or airports going and everything else.

PHILLIP: But if there's a shutdown, that won't happen?

LALOTA: Right, so I'm certainly in the no shutdown camp and most of my colleagues on the Republican side are absolutely in that camp as well. We think that we can keep the government funded while we do our important work here in the House of Representatives to pare back spending, we can do both.

PHILLIP: What do you say to your colleagues who are already a no on this continuing resolution that McCarthy is expected to introduce Friday?

LALOTA: And what I've offered my -- my colleagues and some of them represent districts that President Trump won by 50 points or so. What I've offered them is conservative does not need to mean crazy and to compromise is not a bad thing. And to compromise is not to cave into some sort of pressure. I think that the reality that we live in, in a government is voters in 2022, chose to have a divided government where Republicans control the House and Democrats control the Senate, certainly we have a Democrat in the White House compromise is essential to have any progress whatsoever.

And what I've tried to imbue upon my most Conservative colleagues, is that we have to strike a deal to keep the government open, while we negotiate some reductions. And the country relies on that.

PHILLIP: And look, as you pointed out there in Trump plus 50 districts, maybe you're in a swing district, are they to blame if the government shuts down and your constituents are hurt?

LALOTA: Listen, if that happens, which I don't think we'll, we're 72 hours or more away from that, the speaker has delivered multiple wins on pressure times like this, I expect that we will deliver another win. But if it happens in 72 hours, there'll be plenty of blame to go around and we'll assess that blame then.

PHILLIP: All right, Congressman Nick Lalota, thank you very much for joining us.

LALOTA: Thanks.

PHILLIP: And just in, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley responding tonight to Donald Trump's suggestion that he deserves execution. Plus, a retired Major General says Tommy Tuberville's comments about race and the military are shameful, and he joins me next.



PHILLIP: And just in, General Mark Milley, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says that he and his family are taking what he calls adequate safety precautions after Donald Trump suggested that he deserved execution. Trump was responding of course to media reports that Milley made phone calls to Chinese counterparts. Here is what the general told CBS News.


MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: As much as these comments are directed at me, it's also directed at the institution of the military. And there's this 2.1 million of us in uniform.

NORA O'DONNELL, HOST, CBS NEWS: It's almost seems odd to ask this question, because the former commander in chief seems to be calling for your execution. Are you worried about your safety?

MILLEY: I've got adequate safety precautions. I wish those comments had not been made, but they were and will take appropriate measures to ensure my safety and the safety of my family.


PHILLIP: Milley also insisted that there was absolutely nothing inappropriate about his interactions with China.

And speaking of the military, Alabama Republican senator Tommy Tuberville, explaining his no vote for General C.Q. Brown, the man who will serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Take a listen.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): I heard some things that he talked about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military. Let me tell you something, our military is not an equal opportunity employer. We're looking for the best, the best to do whatever, we're not looking for different groups, social justice groups, we don't want to single handedly destroy our military from within. We all need to be one.


PHILLIP: A little fact check there for the senator back in 1948. President Harry Truman signed the equality of treatment and opportunity executive order. That order mandated, quote, "the equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion or national origin." This is all happening amid an ongoing protests from Tuberville to stall confirmations for military nominees because he is opposed to the Defense Department's policy on abortions.

Joining me now is retired Major General Dana Pittard. General Pittard, first of all, what do you make of Senator Tuberville's comments there? MAJ. GEN. DANA PITTARD, U.S. ARMY: Well, good evening, Abby. Senator Tuberville's comments concerning Equal Opportunity U.S. military shameful, disappointing and really just flat out wrong. His words don't match reality. And the US military. When the hallmarks U.S. military for decades has been equal opportunity. And that equal opportunity has really enhanced readiness through fairness, and the fact that talented people regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender can succeed based on merit.

PHILLIP: And in some ways, the Equal Opportunity mandate here for the military is in response to the fact that the military in the past had actually been segregated had treated black servicemembers totally differently from white servicemembers had prevented them from being able to be promoted and so on and so forth. Does he understand that?

PITTARD: Apparently does not. Throughout most of American history, though, the U.S. armed forces was in fact segregated.


And as you mentioned, it was only 75 years ago in 1948, when President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which had a profound effect, it was way ahead of American society, in fact, was 16 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

My own father, who was an enlisted black enlisted soldier, at that time, was given opportunity based on his talent. He eventually went to Officer Candidate School, became an officer and retired as a colonel in 1970. That was all made possible through equal opportunity.

PHILLIP: What do you think Senator Tuberville really meant when he said, we're not looking for, quote, "social justice groups in the military"?

PITTARD: I'm not sure. And sometimes I think that's, that's that shade for kind of a resurrection of white supremacy pass of our of our history, which will never resurrect, again, that era is over with.

And Senator Tuberville needs to get with the times. It is about equal opportunity, which does enhance readiness.

PHILLIP: So Senator Tuberville is claiming also that hiring for diversity, whatever that means, by the way, hiring for diversity hurts military readiness, but he's currently staging a protest that has held up roughly 300 military nominees. What is the effect of though that hold been on military readiness?

PITTARD: Well, the effect is we have leaders who should be in positions who don't have the authority to command. And it really, it's kind of a domino effect, maybe 300 nominations that have been held up, but there are at least 1000 people, military leaders who are behind that who are affected one way or the other. And that's no way to, to run a world class military and get the greatest military in the world. And we're doing something like that. Something has got to move.

So Senator Tuberville is gotten a lot of support back in his home state, Alabama. That's why he's continuing to do this. But at some point, the Republican Party, Senate Armed Services Committee needs to overrule him and allow this to move forward.

PHILLIP: We'll see if that happens. General Dana Pittard Thank you very much.

PITTARD: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: Still ahead for us, chaotic looting in Philadelphia last night, including an Apple Store leading to multiple businesses closing today. The owner of one store that was absolutely ransacked, is my guests, next.

And RFK Jr. is adding another conspiracy theory to his long list, this one involves 911.



PHILLIP: Police in Philadelphia tonight are on alert after looters targeted multiple stores last night ransacking retailers like Apple, Footlocker, and Lululemon, among others, dozens of arrests were made and the looting did happen after protests against a judge's decision to drop all charges against a police officer who was involved in a fatal shooting. But police say that the looters were opportunists and not at all connected to the protests.

I'm joined by Jay Pross, his store in Northeast Philadelphia was looted in this incident. Jay, thanks for joining us, can you tell us what happened last night to your store?

JAY PROSS, OWNER OF STORE LOOTED IN NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA: I got a phone call at 12:45 that my windows were broken, and they could see people running in and out of the store with our merchandise.

PHILLIP: What do you think happens now for you and your business? Are you able to operate and to function in this kind of environment?

PROSS: Absolutely. So I would never let a situation like this get put me in a negative situation or a negative mindset. I've had this business for 13 years. I am deeply rooted in Philadelphia. And since last night, I've got hundreds of phone calls and messages. I have the city support. Everybody's willing to help me and everybody just waiting for me to make a move so they could support it.

PHILLIP: Do you mind me asking? Do you have a sense of how much money you lost and all of this looting?

PROSS: We haven't calculated yet, but it's a significant amount.

PHILLIP: So what are you I think this is happening in your city right now? Who is responsible for something like this almost like a flash mob, overwhelming your store and all of this theft happening?

PROSS: I don't think that you could just blame one person or one entity. I think that there's a lot of blindness to ignorance in the city right now, I think that there's a lot of people that don't understand their ignorance right now. So I think that a lot of it is also follow the leader. So, you know, for a dozen people to run in and out of my store. I'm a small business. And I have nothing to do with what happened with the officer and Edie is airy. So I just think that it's one person taking the lead and a bunch of others following.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I definitely seems to be something to that effect, this sort of group mentality. According to the city of Philadelphia, their Police Department, retail theft in the city has gone up significantly for the last month. It's also up year over year from last year. Are you concerned about that as a small business owner?


PROSS: Absolutely. So I started this business in my mom's basement, I grew up 10 blocks away from where my story is. I've been here 13 years. And since this situation has happened, a lot of people say, You know what, Jay, it's time for you to get out of this city. And that hurts me because I love it here. I love the people here. There's so many good people here in Philadelphia, there's only a couple bad apples that ruin it. But I think that there's a mentality here in Philadelphia to you know, get out while you can.

PHILLIP: All right, Jay Pross, thank you for joining us. And we wish you really all the best, you seem like someone who's really committed to the community that you're in. And I hope that you're able to get right back on your feet after all of this. I Appreciate it.

PROSS: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And up next, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is no stranger, of course, to controversial conspiracy theories. But now he's raising eyebrows after suggesting strange things. That's a quote happened on 9/11. When he told CNN's Peter Bergen, that's next.



PHILLIP: RFK Jr. has floated conspiracies about everything from vaccines to antidepressants. And now in a new interview with CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, Kennedy is questioning what really happened on 911. Listen.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what happened on 911. I mean, I understand what the official explanation is. I understand that there's dissent, I have not looked into it.


PHILLIP: Peter Bergen is joining me now. He's the host of the Audible podcast "In The Room with Peter Bergen." Peter, I want to play a little bit more of what RFK Jr. told you. Listen.


KENNEDY JR.: I know there's strange things that happen that don't seem --

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: What, what are the strange things?

KENNEDY JR.: Well, one of the buildings came down that wasn't hit by a plane? So, you know, it wasn't building 7 or building 10.

BERGEN: That collapsed because two of the world's biggest buildings collapsed on top of it.

KENNEDY JR.: No, they didn't collapse on top of it. My offices were down there.


PHILLIP: Incredible, really. What was going through your mind when you heard him say that? He's a presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination right now.

BERGEN: Yeah, I mean, I was surprised that he basically was -- I was surprised that he doesn't buy the official explanation of 9/11. Obviously, there were quite a lot of the official explanations of various things that he doesn't buy. But I asked him out of curiosity, and he was right, you know, building 7 collapsed, according to the official U.S. government investigation, because of large debris from the North Tower of the World Trade Center, crashing into it and setting it on fire, essentially.

But you know, no serious person. I mean, the other thing to hear, Abby, is the 9/11 investigation was the largest criminal investigation in human history. There were 500 leads that were followed up, 167 witnesses, you know, this is a very well investigated event to say that you are skeptical you have questions about the official explanation. At this point. It just makes no sense at all.

PHILLIP: He made a lot of other claims. When he spoke to you. He said that the media is working for pharmaceutical companies. What was his rationale or evidence for supporting that claim?

BERGEN: Well, he didn't really have one. I mean, I asked him because he had said that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was on the payroll of Pfizer while you've worked with him, and I've worked with him and that's obviously the most ridiculous idea imaginable.

But he has this sort of larger narrative that the pharmaceutical companies are telling the media, us, what to say. Which, you know, he doesn't really explain, at least at least to me in that interview, maybe because there are a lot of pharmaceutical ads on cable news. But you know, correlation isn't causation. And, you know, the idea that somehow we're taking scripts from pharmaceutical companies is frankly, absurd.

PHILLIP: He's, I mean, prior to a lot of these conspiracies, he was a pretty well respected environmental lawyer. He's very well educated. But he seems to think in so many different arenas that he has more knowledge than credible experts in their fields. And you get a sense as to what might be behind that.

BERGEN: Well, you also sort of has this narrative, Abby, that unless he's looked into it personally, like the 9/11 attacks, and of course, you know, there are million, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, you'd have to go through that, you know, unless he's done it himself, that somehow, you know, it's open to question. I did ask him one question, which I wish I had a very interesting answer. I asked him, what official explanation of some major event do you actually take, you know, at face value, and he said, he believes in the moon landing.

Now the moon landing, of course, the moon program was set up by his uncle, President Kennedy. And we've shown live on television before hundreds of millions of people. But he also said that he went skiing with Buzz Aldrin, who's one of the astronauts, and because Buzz Aldrin had told him the moon landing and actually happened, he believed it.

Now, you know, most of us don't have the privilege of skiing with Buzz Aldrin. And so, you know, this is the way that he looks at the world. And I'm, you know, he is a well educated guy who went to Harvard. And when he talks about climate change, which he knows quite a lot about, he's an environmental lawyer, he helped clean up the Hudson River. You know, he's on good ground, but it's these other theories that, you know, just really make no sense.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it's pretty amazing. If only we can all go skiing with Buzz Aldrin, Peter Bergen. Thank you very much.

BERGEN: Thank you for having me.

PHILLIP: And that's it for me here on "CNN Primetime." We have analysis at the second GOP presidential debate. It starts right now with Anderson Cooper and Danna bash. I'll see you in just a few minutes.