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DOJ Cites Biden's Poor Memory For Lack Of Docs Charges; Should Trump Be Disqualified From The Ballot? Trump Speaks After Nevada Caucus Victory, Supreme Court Battle. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 09, 2024 - 00:00   ET



LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Now we heard President Biden defending his memory and his age, frankly, earlier today, telling our own CNN MJ Lee, who cited polling about the concerns that she was wrong. What do they say?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Well, I'll tell you, they do think that President Biden is a little bit too old. So this is a great question. We got a little timeline for you here. Think Biden is too old to be an effective president. You go back to June of 2020, just 36% of registered voters nationally believed that he was too old to be an effective president. Look at where we are in November of 2023, just a few months ago, this was taken in six key swing states, the six closest states that Biden won in the 2020 election. Look at this number, it is leaped up to 71%, nearly double where we were in June of 2020.

And, you know, Laura, I've been looking at a lot of poll data trying to figure out why Joe Biden is trailing Donald Trump even as the economy is improving. And I must say I do believe it is tied to age because this is the one thing that just gets worse for Biden in the voters mind. He just keeps getting older. And we can see here on this individual question about age when we're looking specifically at Joe Biden.

But I also want to look here, and I want to compare Trump and Biden, all right? Better at being competent and effective, this I think tells it all. So if you look back in June of 2020, among registered voters, this was nationally. Biden held a lead on this metric, OK? He was at 47% to 38%.

Look at where we were just a month ago. This is an NBC News poll that came out over the weekend. Look here, Donald Trump better at being competent, effective. 48% of registered voters say that compared to just 32% of voters who say Joe Biden. So it's not just on the individual age question where voters are increasingly believing that Joe Biden is too old, he is also losing on the matchup against Donald Trump. It has become significantly worse for him. And again, when I look at all of these different poll metrics, this seems to be the one. This seems to be the one that is most closely tied, Laura, to how voters are feeling coming into this election. And this is the number one reason I believe that Joe Biden is losing the Donald Trump in the national polls. And unless he's able to do something over the months to come, twhis will be the reason that Joe Biden is not reelected.

COATES: This will be really telling over time. We will look to see what the voters ultimately say. The polling is one thing, the voting is another Harry Enten, thank you so much. Abby?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Laura. And my panel in New York is back with me. And before we get started, I just want to make a note of something. In the last hour, we were discussing Elise Stefanik interview here on CNN. Marc Short, you remember he's former Vice President Mike Pence's aide, he tweeted a photo that he said was of Elise Stefanik. And it turns out according to her advisors, that was not her in that photo. The photo showed a congresswoman cowered in the Capitol on January 6. So I wanted to make a note of that, that incorrect information by Marc short, Mike Pence's former chief of staff.

Now on Joe Biden, which has been a big source of conversation here, what Harry just laid out, Scott, really is, I think, the big picture of all of this. We talked about the age question specifically. But when you look at the trend, in just the poll numbers, this is something that we did not see in 2020. Donald Trump leading Joe Biden in the polls and then specifically faring better than Joe Biden on the question of whether he is fit, age wise, stamina wise, to serve in this office.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know that we've had a president, a Republican candidate for president with a consistent polling leads since 2004 until this very moment. I mean, Donald Trump has a consistent lead over Joe Biden. And I agree with Harry, I think it's mostly because of this issue. It got worse today because of this report. It got then further worse, because of the press conference.

And I don't know how he's going to recover it. I mean, the only way to recover it would be to undertake a series of public facing events that gave people something else to think about or something else to chew on. But every time he has a public facing event, it gets worse, just like it did tonight when he had this press conference and he had a mix up while he was out there and fussed at the press.

And so, they're in a real bad fix here on this topic. And, of course, Trump's not without his words, his candidacy has limitations as well, not the least of which is he may be convicted of a crime before it's over with. But right now, Trump has a consistent lead. It is mostly due to concerns about Biden's fitness. And it is not going away and it will not go away before November.

PHILLIP: Is this one of those things where it's like you see this in totally different ways depending on what, you know, whether you're an R or a D, whether Joe Biden actually came across tonight, as you described it, someone who has emotion in all the right places when it comes to his son, who's angry about being sort of maligned in this document, who has feistiness. You see it that way but, I mean, to be honest, a lot of people didn't see it that way. I mean, is that how it's playing out you think in the American public?


JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think people who watch this, right, because a lot of people won't watch this. But people who watch this saw President give a statement where he was batting down some of the issues that were in that report. He was speaking very forcefully. So the one mistake he made, which was about confusing the name of a leader in the country, we've seen other people do that recently, including Mike Johnson, the speaker who did it on Sunday on Meet the Press where he confused Israel and Iran.

You know, about Harry's point about the polls, you know, Joe Biden should have never been president, according to history, right? I mean, we haven't seen a Democratic vice president get elected to the presidency since 1836, right, on his own, since Martin Van Buren. So this should never have occurred in the first place. He ran, he was nominee, no Democrat who had run before he even won the nomination since Adlai Stevenson in 1956, right?

So Democratic voters actually broke history when they made Joe Biden president. So the polls in the history may say one thing, but I think this president has beaten history already. And we may see him do it again in November.

JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. Look, I think all of that is correct. The missing caveat is that, yes, it was a historic presidency because we are actually coming out of a once in a generational pandemic. In fact, we were going through that once in a generational pandemic when the election was held. So certainly, I think that had an impact in many ways.

If you go back to Nancy Pelosi ripping up the speech of Donald Trump, coming off of that State of the Union. And at that point, it was quite clear that a Trump presidency, a second term, with the 7 million jobs, pre-COVID that had been created was all but a short. So the world has changed in many, many ways since then. And one of them is the fact that as you see in these numbers, people do not believe that he has the intellectual dexterity at this particular moment to deal with the issues that are confronting this nation.

And it's not just about the press conference, because I would agree, I think there are Democrats who would say that they'd like to see that fight, that fire in the belly that's still there. But it's about what happens when the cameras go away. And if you remember going all the way back to Afghanistan, when the President looked the entire nation in the eye, and he said it was unanimous recommendation of my senior military advisors to remove every single last troop. And then we watch (inaudible), chairman of the Joint Chiefs, go before Congress and say it was his recommendation to leave at least 2,500 troops behind. And to this day, nobody has asked who was lying or what was preventing that message from getting through to our commander in chief.

So again, yes, you can say there's the fire in the belly. Yes, no one should take any pleasure with a statement coming officially on paper from the DOJ that the President is compromised from a from a capacity standpoint, but it opens the door to questions that many people have been talking about an whispering about for a very long time. ANA NAVARRO, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I say something? Listen, I think what you're seeing in those poll numbers is America having a memory lapse. And I think we don't remember just how bad Donald Trump was because he hasn't been under the scrutiny that the sitting president has been under for the last four years. And also, I will tell you, that for the last three years with a very difficult makeup in the Congress, Joe Biden has gotten more done than any other president in my lifetime. I think he is the most consequential effective president of my lifetime, who gets the least amount of credit.

So the memory I want to have is about the CHIPS Act, is about the infrastructure act. It's about the $35 cap on insulin, is about all the things he's done that we don't give him credit for. And again, this is a binary choice. I think Biden's campaign slogan should be 81 years old versus 91 counts. Republicans don't care that we are nominating a criminal. Republicans don't care that we are nominating somebody who we heard boast about sexual assault. Republicans don't care that we are nominating somebody that was just held liable of sexual abuse and liable of $83 million dollars.

If Joe Biden was found -- was under one count, not 91, Democrats wouldn't be nominating him.

PHILLIP: All right.

PINION: Well, I disagree with you.

PHILLIP: We're going to -- we've got to leave it right there. Everyone, stick around for us. We got to go to Laura's Court of Public Opinion next. Laura?

COATES: We are back with our Court of Public Opinion. Our virtual courtroom where jurors hear legal arguments and then they're going to weigh in on the big questions of the day. Now, we're trying to Colorado's efforts to remove former President Donald Trump from the state's primary ballot. Now the court's ruling, as you can imagine, could have major consequences in other states. The Chief Justice John Roberts made this, well, dire prediction.


JOHN ROBERTS, SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: It will come down to just a handful of states that are going to decide the presidential election. That's pretty daunting consequence.



COATES: Meanwhile, Justice Elena Kagan had, well, the big question in all of this.


ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: That question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States.


COATES: So we're going to tap into what the American public thinks of this case. We're bringing in two top attorneys to make their arguments. You've got Norm Eisen. Now he founded CREW, that's the organization that actually brought the 14th Amendment case, but he's not involved with that organization now. He was also, as you remember, the House Judiciary special counsel in Trump's first impeachment trial. And tonight, Norm is representing the former president in this presentation alone.

And for the plaintiffs and the action who are trying to remove him from the Colorado ballot, we have Harry Litman, a former US attorney and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General. They'll make their arguments, and then our jurors are going to tell us what they think of what they've heard tonight. And this is a diverse group of everyday Americans meeting tonight for the first time to share their opinions with each other, and of course with you.

So let's start with Norm to put forward the argument on behalf of the former President Donald Trump. Norm, why should trump stay on the ballot?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Judge Laura, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the United States is the world's foremost democracy. The thing that makes us a democracy is that the people, you decide who should be president, you get to choose. By interposing the 14th amendment for the first time to block a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who has not been charged with insurrection or convicted of insurrection, it is interfering with your right to choose whether you want him or not.

If we allow this to happen, if we allow Colorado to make this decision and throw him off the ballot, we heard today that that will unleash chaos across the United States, as all 50 states do what they want. Don't take my word for it as counsel for Donald Trump. Here is what Ketanji Brown Jackson had to say, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Biden, Donald Trump's adversary.


KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I guess my question is why the framers would have designed a system that would -- could result in interim dis-uniformity in this way, where we have elections pending and different states suddenly saying you are eligible, you're not on the basis of this kind of thing.


EISEN: It's not only the common sense, it's not only the meaning of democracy, the chaos. It's the words of the 14th Amendment, because section 5 of the 14th Amendment says Congress shall pass implementing legislation if they choose to. That's how we get a uniform national system. That hasn't happened here. Donald Trump should not be disqualified. Our democracy is in your hands. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Thank you, Judge Laura.

COATES: Well, Harry Litman takes the opposite position. Harry, share with us and make your case of why you think the former president should be removed from the primary ballot.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER US ATTORNEY: Judge Laura, ladies and gentlemen, you have in front of you a weighty and important issue, but fortunately it's a simple one. Our Constitution, our highest law, imposes qualifications for people who want to lead us as president. They have to be 35, they have to be born in this country, and they must not have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and then engaged in an insurrection. When that happens, they are disqualified.

The country doesn't have to take the risk. They'll abuse their power again, there are no do overs. Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection and forfeited his right to hold future office. You saw it in front of your eyes, January 6, you saw it again in this courtroom.

After he lost the election and the Electoral College confirmed, all that was left to do was to read the votes. But at that point, Trump had one last desperate chance. He was worked up his supporters into a frenzy and sent them down to the Capitol to fight like hell or they wouldn't have a country anymore. That was an insurrection.

And if -- and how do you know that? If Trump had been taken by surprise when that riot broke out, he would have done everything he could to stop it. What did he do instead? He said it's OK to hang Mike Pence. He rejoiced in the melee that happened that day he was the opposite.


Look, my friend here and was saying that democracy is on the line, that's true. Democratic process needs to run its course. Well, it has run its course, probably the most sacred principle of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power requires -- the vindication of that principle requires me exactly that Trump be disqualified from having a do over and another shot. Thank you.

COATES: Well, we've heard from both sides of this perspective issue and the big question of the day that the Supreme Court was trying to synthesize and summarize for us today. Let's turn now to the jury. I'm very curious of what you all think about this.

The big question, do you think, picking up with where one party left off, do you think that Donald Trump should be disqualified from the ballot although he has not been convicted or charged with insurrection? What do you say?

ADRIANNE JAMES, JUROR, LAURA'S COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: I think it's a slippery slope. I think that on the one hand, you know, he was president prior. And there were things that happened. And that day, he did incite a riot. I feel that he did that. He told the people go on down there and get Mike Pence to do his job. And that's what he said to them that day.

And then he even told them that he was coming with them, that he was going to come with them. Don't worry, I'm going to be there with you. He kept saying that to them, I'm going to be there with you. So you're telling the crowd, you know, I'm coming with you, I'm going to be there with you, that's getting them even more hyped up.

And so, they went down there and he even tried to get his secret service driver to take him to the Capitol. So we did come find that out down the line during the some of the trials that they've had, where they've had Secret Service kind of take the stand and talk about what happened that day, where he tried to grab the wheel of the car and tried to get them to take him to the Capitol and maybe use it --

COATES: You're referring the testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson for January 6 --


COATES: -- hearing about what was happening in that moment. So based on that, do you think then that means he should be disqualified or that slippery slope from, not --

JAMES: Absolutely. I think that he probably shouldn't even have been allowed to run again in the first place. But fortunately, here we are and he's able to do that. I also see it from the other side where I'm worried about what will happen if he is not on the ballot, if, you know, what will the people who incited that riot, what will they then do?

COATES: Quardricos, you're nodding your head.

QUARDRICOS DRISKELL, JUROR, LAURA'S COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: Yes, I agree. It is a slippery slope. It's a slippery slope, indeed. But the question really becomes is it does get in some ways to the heart of our democracy. If we remove Trump for from the ballot, what is to say that we can remove another candidate from the ballot, right? The sort of laws become then arbitrary. And we sort of set a new precedent of who we can and can't put on the ballot.

And when you look at the heart of the 14th Amendment, removing any biases or prejudices that we may have towards President Trump, former President Trump, certainly it does kind of get to the heart of the fact that no state can impose, certain laws with that -- that don't ensure liberty. So it kind of gets to that issue, hence why it's a slippery slope. And I think that there's a reason why perhaps even though a certain demographic Americans may like for him to be removed, constitutionally is their grounds.

COATES: Juror number 2, you seem been champing up a bit to respond. What's your response?

LARRY MADISON, JUROR, LAURA'S COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: Yes. I think every -- certainly every four years, and perhaps every election year, some people are disappointed that the person they'd like to vote for is not on the ballot. There were millions of us in 1976 who wanted vote for Ronald Reagan for President but we couldn't because of the process. He was not nominated by the Republican Party and Gerald Ford was. And we waited four years and then had our chance.

But -- and granted the two processes, the two reasons here are different, but the end result is the same. We then get the vote for the person we want her to vote for. And the other question for me, and I understand the difficulty, there's a lot of loyally parsing of words and so on. But does the 14th Amendment mean anything? And is it -- it's part of the Constitution? If it doesn't work anymore, then we should take it out.

COATES: Juror number 3, how do you say in terms of thinking about this, he hasn't been charged with insurrection to the point of your other jurors here. But the slippery slope that you're both identifying and you're alluding to as well, could go either way. How do you see this?

DANIELLE CORNWALL, JUROR, LAURA'S COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: Well, I don't think that we should not take him off of the ballot because of what could break loose. I think that the, globally, we're just in really challenging times. And I think that the systems that the country were built on are flawed. And I think this is another example of that.

Like if Colorado didn't bring this to the forefront then who would have, because there is something to be said about this section in the Constitution. I agree with juror number 1 that he did -- he aligned with them. He never told him to stop doing what they were doing on January 6. I think he created an environment to welcome people to Washington, DC to behave in this manner, and not thinking that actions would be taken against them.


So to me, it seems like he incited an insurrection. And I'm curious to know how or who would be responsible to bring up the Constitution if it wasn't the state because it didn't happen with the Supreme Court. It didn't happen in Congress. And I think it's a conversation that needs to be had. And I think it's very serious.

COATES: Let me go down the line with each of you and ask this as a yes or no question. Do you think that Trump should be on the ballot? Yes or no?





COATES: Oh, well, that seems hesitant when you talked about maybe you wanted to maybe option as well. Let me ask you another question and you explained a little bit why you're reluctant to give a yes or no on this. But let me ask you, you've alluded to this, who should be the decider of this. You've heard from the different arguments here who should decide this? Is it Congress? Is it the courts? Is it the voters? During and before?

DRISKELL: Yes. Do I believe that he should be on the ballot? No, I don't believe. I don't agree with anything that President Trump stands for, right? And I agree with what jury 3 and 1 said, absolutely. He did incite a riot. So do I believe that he should be on the ballot? No.

But looking at the facts, constitutionally, it does call into some questions about what's the rubric in terms of who we decide per states and what states decide of who gets on the ballot. So we go down this very slippery slope for our federal Republican, I think that's what I'm calling into question. No different than the sort of rhetoric President Trump is using to go down a slippery slope of eroding our federal republic.

COATES: So should he be -- this deciding from the states, or should we the voters be deciding this issue or Congress? What do you say? States, voters or Congress?

JAMES: At the current time, I think that I would want to say that the voters are reliable, but I think that we'd be kind of sorted not. I would like for, you know, Congress to kind of get themselves together and do the job that I think that they should be doing. And that probably is this. Or really, the judicial system really should decide it.

I don't think we should leave this up to states. I think that that kind of takes into account, you're telling the state, OK, Colorado, hey, you can take him off the ballot. We're giving you this opportunity. It scares me, though, that when I'm on the ballot, it kind of scares me as to what can happen down the line with future states and future decisions with this with other states. And who can decide whether, OK, I don't really want so and so on the ballot. Let's find a reason to not put somebody on there. And that can happen. So I don't think we want that.

COATES: What do you say?

MADISON: Well, my concern with all of this is the Constitution, the preservation of the Constitution. And I -- we have a process procedure. We're in that process now. So I think the Supreme Court can decide now they may throw it back to Congress. Well, that's part of the process. That's the procedure.

COATES: Juror number 3?

CORNWALL: I reluctantly think Congress should decide.

COATES: Reluctantly so. How about 4?

DRISKELL: I think people should decide.

COATES: Well, we have a lot of varying opinions here tonight, and certainly the Supreme Court has their work cut out for them. Norm Eisen, Harry Litman, thank you for making tonight's arguments. It presents a lot of questions for this juror. And especially thanks to these jurors in the court of public opinion. If you would like to be a juror on the next court of public opinion, get in touch with us with the address you see on your screen. It's

PHILLIP: In just moments, Donald Trump is expected to speak. We are going to take a quick break and we will -- looks like Donald Trump is coming straight to the microphone. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- anything over 80 will be happy with (inaudible) 98%. Incredible rating (inaudible).


PHILLIP: All right. There's a little bit of an audio issue in the room where Donald Trump is. We're going to take a quick break and wait for that to get resolved. We'll be back after this.



PHILLIP: We're back now. Donald Trump is on the stage in Las Vegas speaking. Let's listen.


TRUMP: -- Ukraine with Russia that this would have never happened. The Israeli attack would have never happened, inflation would have never happened. The world would be a much -- right now. And we're going to make sure -- we're going to bring it back fast and we're going to bring it back. Very, very strong. Very, very strong.

And it's so sad to see. So all of the death that you've witnessed with Ukraine and Russia fighting and, again, what happened in Israel, all of the death and all of the destruction of cities and places that are ancient places in a sense. Ancient buildings being knocked down, you can never replace it. But all those people that died, most importantly, would have never happened. And we're going to change it. We're going to change it around. We're going to get it back to normalcy.

It can't continue like this. The world is exploding -- stock all over the world well-respected. We were respected. Like never before, just three years ago, we are now a laughingstock all over the world, we're not respected even a little bit. And you understand why, you understand why you need leadership. And this country does not have leadership.

It has no idea what's happening. It's lost its way it's a failing nation. And we're not going to have a failing nation much longer. I just want to really thank the great people of Nevada because this was a turnout. I don't know if you know you broke the all time record, the old time caucus record was broken. And we kept waiting and waiting be good to everybody's, they're all flowing in from all parts of your state. They all want to be.

I said, well wait. But they said they'd certainly be very upset when they come here. And everyone's and everyone's gone -- and, you know, if we win this state, we easily win the election on November. We have to win the election. And, you know, great countries --

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER (In unison): Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!

TRUMP: Thank you very much. But great countries are all about a lot of things. But two things in particular, you have to have strong borders and you have to have free, fair and honest elections. We don't have either, and we're going to have them back. We're going to have -- we had -- three years ago, we had the strongest border in the history of our country and we were doing great. And our economy was the best and we rebuilt on those areas, so many things. And then you had the tragedy or the Afghanistan surrender that was nothing less than a surrender.

And President Bush was adding so that is just going to be my chance to go in and do whatever I wanted to do. They never would have -- that would have never happened because you went in and did what he wanted to do. But we're going to bring the world back and we're going to bring the world back to normalcy and this country is going to be the leader and we're going to be also at the same time focused on a thing called America first.


We're going to have peace through strength. You know, a few terms that are very descriptive. But based on this thing, there's no reason for this. I left and I see that all over the Middle East and bombing again. I said, I remember that before he came, everyone was bombing. You don't have to bomb. We defeated ISIS radically.

And then, we have no wars. You know, this is the first in 72 years, first president. I remember on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton, I don't use the word crooked anymore. I used to use that word for somebody else. I retired it. That was a good night for Hillary, she was very happy. That was one of the best nights. I retired the name from Hillary and put it on to Joe, Crooked Joe.

We have a country that has tremendous potential. But if anything bad happens in this next election, we're not going to have to get to the microphone. So I appreciate the tremendous record that you said tonight, (inaudible).

(Inaudible) and lines going back. And I said it a few who was during the weekend, 98%. We wanted to get over 80 and we got 98. And also, if you remember -- and last night, you know what happened last night, right? None of the above. So I'd like to congratulate none of the above. I was one of those none have ever above. I was one of them. No -- And so I watched that last night. And they went by 44 points, none of the above. So I want to congratulate. But seriously, we have to get back. This was a great day. This was a great night. Our Supreme Court hopefully will be doing something in terms of helping our country and preserving democracy. We have to preserve our democracy. And I think they had a very, very interesting day and a very beautiful day, perhaps I think it was really a very beautiful sight to watch. And it's the way it's supposed to be. And hopefully the decision will be in very important decision.

But there's never been anything like it in the polls. We're leading everybody. We are right now is there any way we can call the election for next Tuesday? That's all I want. I want to call the election for next Tuesday, but we're going to -- we're going to make our country great again. We're going to make it great. We're going to make it greater than ever before.

The enthusiasm and the turnout, Doug and I were talking. I don't think you've ever seen anything like it, right? You were at various of the caucus sites. And he came they both came back and they said we've never seen anything like it. Would you like to say a few words? Please?

DOUG BURGUM (R), NORTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR: Thank you, President Trump. I just want to build on that. At the caucus sites, Catherine and I we're at tonight, the lines were stringing around the block, and those buildings, people waiting out in the --


PHILLIP: We've been listening to Donald Trump while he's been in Las Vegas going through a number of different factors today, including his concerns that were not respected across the world and talking about an all time record being broken, he says, in terms of the caucus. He also is asking for the election to be called for next Tuesday, believing that he would be successful there.

We've got a lot to chew over with our panel in particular, here right now I've got Daniel Dale with us here to do fact check, very important function on a day like this. We also have Elliot Williams and also Jim Schultz. There was this moment, Daniel, I'll turn to you, on this question about turnout consistently a focus of Donald Trump. But he did actually have a quite a successful victory for a caucus that only really he was a contender at.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: He did. I think he's still entitled to claim. I mean, we don't have full results but, you know, he is the only contender, in part because he's a dominant figure in the Republican Party. So from a fact check perspective, if he wants to claim a record. I have no objection.

I should point out, though, I mean, he did kind of a softer version of his usual election denial. He said, we need free and fair elections in this country. We don't have them. We have them. We have them. We had them in 2020, we had them before. And so, you know, in these magnanimous victory speeches, he tends not to say elections are rigged, you know, rigged and stolen and so on. But I think even the softer version needs to be called out when he says it. COATES: I was really surprised. We were all talking about how would he begin his speech, and we thought, maybe on President Joe Biden and special counsel, maybe the Supreme Court, he did not really address Biden at all so far we've heard that. But he did talk about the Supreme Court and Jim Elliot. He said we'll have a -- will rule the way it supposed to.


He be called an interesting and beautiful day. He didn't really go into the details of the 14th Amendment argument disqualifying him from the bail out of Colorado. That surprised you?

JAMES SCHULTZ, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Yes. Well, I thought he was going to lead with Biden, right? I thought that's what he would leave with. But, you know, he -- I think he'd lead with the victory lap, which was a smart decision on his part to get to the lick victory lap, hit the Supreme Court briefly and get off stage. Not a bad strategy. He's going to turn around and go negative tomorrow on Biden, I'm sure.

COATES: Oh, well, tomorrow is already here in some parts of the country.

SCHULTZ: That's right. That's right.

COATES: Not Nevada quite yet. But, Elliot, when you looked at that particular aspect of it, you know, some would look and -- because he -- he talked about Joe Biden but only with respect to Hillary Clinton saying he had changed the name from Crooked Hillary now Croocked Joe. That's where it really ended so far.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Which was odd to me because that's potentially his opening. So we end and -- to be clear, he's probably not done speaking. He's going to hand the microphone off to somebody else. I mean, he made a reference in the context of the Supreme Court talking about preserving or protecting democracy. It's a generic point.

You know, frankly, it's not an unreasonable point, if you believe, as the President seems to, or at least his attorneys seem to believe, that their position in this report today was for the good of American democracy and in line with the Constitution. That's one of the rare points in which is hyperbole wasn't so out of line.

PHILLIP: You know, interestingly enough, you know, there was a time when, just a few weeks ago, when you had the New Hampshire primary, for example, the former president did not necessarily focus on the victory lap, we're talking about now. He was focusing on where the identity he perceived of Nikki Haley staying in the race. And there was a focus on what she was doing or was not doing. And that seems to really get under his skin.

This time, he's talking directly about the victory that he believes he has the securing it. And again, he talks about the all time caucus record that he says that they have. And he also want to say this -- if this election isn't won by us, we're not going to have a country anymore.

DALE: Yes. That's a staple of his rally rhetoric. I think it's obvious hyperbole. We currently have a country. He is currently not the president despite what he may try to suggest that at some point. So yes, this is how he operates. You know, he operates based on his mood on a given day. Sometimes he can be convinced to read the magnanimous script after a victory. Sometimes he wants to begin exacting revenge against someone he perceives has slighted him like Nikki Haley on that night. And so it's very much day by day with Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: Well, we will see maybe minute by minute he's not done speaking. We'll talk more about this in our special coverage as continues so stick with us.



PHILLIP: And welcome back to CNN special live coverage of a seismic day. Just moments ago, we heard Donald Trump speaking after CNN projected that he won the Nevada caucuses. Let's discuss with my panel. The big headlines actually out of the Trump's speech is that he ended it, and he was happy about the Supreme Court seeming to sway in his favor in his case. But he said nothing about Joe Biden.

JENNINGS: Yes, nothing about Biden. He took a you know, a sort of an indirect punch at Nikki Haley over the none of the above thing. And kept it short and got off the stage. It was rather surprising, frankly, and subdued. But, you know, this is one of those days where he doesn't need to make any news. There's plenty of news today. And most of it's bad for Biden, and so why interject yourself into the middle of it. So that was a smart move tonight to get in and get out.

PHILLIP: Rare times Donald Trump seems to be listening to somebody.

NAVARRO: It's interesting to me that we are talking about what we heard Donald Trump say because we didn't hear him, right? After four years of being president and all these years of campaigning, he had terrible sound today. It was very difficult to make out what he was saying. I think it was smart of him not to actually direct comments. I don't think he mentioned Nikki Haley's name, did he?

JENNINGS: No. He congratulated none of the above.

NAVARRO: You know what he did? He said, what's happened last night? The caucuses were not -- the primary was Sunday. If Joe Biden had confused Sunday for Wednesday, it would be a five alarm fire. But it's Donald Trump, who like I said to you earlier, says stupid stuff on a daily basis.

PHILLIP: I mean, the reality of this very odd campaign that we are in is that we could be in effectively a general election pretty soon. And the question will be how much of Donald Trump will we see? And that might be a determining factor in how well or how poorly he does against Joe Biden in the coming months. SIMMONS: Well, the question is, how much will the Biden campaign make us see, right? Because the part of the strategy of the Biden campaign is, the more people see Donald Trump, the more they're reminded of how bad it was when he was telling us to inject ourselves with bleach of, you know, to get rid of COVID. The more people get reminded of what things were like when he was president, the more they'll say, you know what, I really don't want to go back to that chaos.

So you've got President Biden, who's got rents going down, gas prices going down, unemployment going down, wages going up. The GDP is going up. He's got all the right indicators, and he's got Donald Trump who's doing all the wrong things. I think he's got a case to me.

PINION: Well, look, I think certainly that's what the Biden administration is trying to sell. But I think you look at the polling numbers, the American people aren't buying it. And I think if you focus on the little things that President Trump did focus on tonight, he was talking about the apprehensions of Americans writ large, when you're looking at the actual chaos around the world.


He's talking about what's happening in Gaza. He's talking about what's happening in Ukraine. He's talking about what's happened in the South China Sea. And the fact that whether you want to acknowledge it or not, it has been Joe Biden's weakness on the global stage after he quoted Abraham Lincoln said his whole soul was in uniting this country, and that America was back. And now we find ourselves closer to a world war than we have ever been.

So yes, so we can talk about the wages growing going up, but the wages are not keeping up with inflation. We can talk about the fact that unemployment is coming down, but you have 7 million able bodied Americans who are still absent from the workforce. So yes, there are a lot of ways to skew the statistics. But ultimately, how did the American people feel. They feel as if they're not doing as well today, as they were when Joseph Robinette Biden took the oath of office.

PHILLIP: There's still a lot of time left, not in this program, but in this election for its consumer sentiment --

NAVARRO: Joe Biden quoted Abraham Lincoln. Donald Trump wanted to offer him advice on how to negotiate on slavery.

PHILLIP: There's still time for the sentiment of voters to change. Everyone, you guys stand by for us. And then -- or rather actually, you guys are going home tonight. Thank you for being with us tonight.

Coming up next for us, Tucker Carlson is speaking with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a controversial interview. We will discuss all the things that were said with an expert on Russia. That's ahead.


[00:50:53] COATES: You know, Donald Trump may have won his third contest now but he has a very complicated primary and legal calendar ahead of him. CNN's Harry Enten is back at the wall. Harry, what can you tell us about these two things?

ENTEN: Yes. The two things that are colliding, I feel like 2024 is going to have more news in it than I care to handle. The Thursday had too much, but then your SD or who knows? All right.

Look, Trump's up potential legal calendar, where are we right now? We're at least in the east on Friday, February 9th. You have a little bit coming ahead right deadline as SCOTUS to intervene in the immunity cases on Monday. But in reality, the next big date in terms of Trump's potential legal calendar isn't at least in this point until March 25th.

Now why is that important? Well, the 5th is Super Tuesday, right? That's when there are a ton of delegates that are at stake on the Republican side. And then the 12th, as I circle right here, that's the first day that anyone could potentially accumulate a majority of delegates to win the nomination. So that happens before the stormy Daniels hush money trial starts. It's before the classified documents start in May of 2024. It's certainly well before Fulton County prosecutors propulse trial starts.

So the fact is, the primary may not in fact be all that impacted by it. And I will note though, if Trump wins the nomination is convicted by the GOP what should the GOP do? The majority, the clear majority of likely South Carolina GOP primary voters say he, Trump, 60% of them say keep Trump. Replace Trump is just a 36%.

So I'm not sure that a conviction would have any real effect, even if it were to happen before in fact the Republican nomination process wrapped up or even afterward. But here's the one thing, Laura, that I would keep my mind out on. One thing for primary voters, it's another thing in the general election.

Biden versus Trump margin. Currently, Trump plus 2 points. But if Trump is convicted, look at this, we see buying up by four points. So just because something holds with the primary electorate, Laura, doesn't mean it will hold in the general electorate. This to me is the number one X factor that I'm looking at as we head towards the general election, whether Trump gets convicted or not. We'll just have to wait and see.

COATES: It ain't over to the general election sayings. Harry Enten, thank you. We'll be back in just a moment.



PHILLIP: Thank you for watching our special coverage tonight.

COATES: Hey, Abby and I are going to be back tomorrow night at 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm Eastern, back to back tomorrow. Well later on today, the news continues next.