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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
Appears Three Judge Panel Inclined To Restore Gag Order; Relative Of 3-Year-Old Kidnapped By Hamas Speaks Out; WH Rejects "Genocide Joe" Nickname From Pro-Palestine Supporters. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 20, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Next week, the nation will pay tribute, to Rosalynn Carter. The former first lady and wife of 77 years, to former President Jimmy Carter, died over the weekend, at 96.
A week from today, there'll be a wreath-laying ceremony, at Georgia Southwestern State University. Following that, services at the Carter Presidential Library. And two days later, a funeral service, for family and friends, at the Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, where the former President, currently in hospice care, taught Sunday school, for decades.
The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
A remarkable clash, underway, inside the Appeals Court that is wrestling with the scope of Donald Trump's gag order. We'll take you inside the heated arguments that happened today.
Plus, the White House is hopeful that negotiations, between Israel and Hamas, for the release of the hostages are quote, "close to the end." The aunt of a 3-year-old Israeli-American, being held in Gaza, who sure hope so, will speak with us, in moments.
And a tech titan's sudden ouster has upended the world, of artificial intelligence. The shakeup leaves the future of OpenAI, in doubt, tonight, with more than half of its employees, threatening to walk out.
I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.
Tonight, we are closely watching a decision that could come down, at any moment, and would have significant consequences, for the criminal defendant, and presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
Three federal judges, right now, are deciding whether to keep or get rid of a gag order, in that criminal case, in Washington, D.C., accusing him of plotting to overturn the election. When it was in place, it restricted his ability, to directly attack the Special Counsel, members of his team, court staff, and maybe most importantly, potential witnesses at his trial.
Americans actually got to listen in on these arguments, today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
D. JOHN SAUER, TRUMP ATTORNEY: The order is unprecedented, and it sets a terrible precedent for future restrictions on core political speech.
JUDGE PATRICIA MILLETT, D.C. CIRCUIT COURT: This is only affecting the speech temporarily during a criminal trial process by someone who has been indicted as a felon.
No one here is threatening the First Amendment broadly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: From what we heard, it sounds like the three-judge panel is poised to reinstate at least some version of the gag order. You heard one judge, saying there that it doesn't broadly threaten his First Amendment rights.
But they also signaled that they may loosen other parts of this gag order, like allowing Trump, to criticize the Special Counsel. One judge suggested essentially that Jack Smith, that Special Counsel could handle the verbal attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLETT: He has to speak Miss Manners while everyone else is throwing targets at him.
JUDGE CORNELIA PILLARD, D.C. CIRCUIT COURT: It can't be that he can't mention Mr. Smith.
Surely he has a thick enough skin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: All eyes, tonight, are on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, waiting for word.
And as we wait, joining me now is former federal prosecutor, and CNN Legal Analyst, Elliot Williams.
Elliot, I know this is unprecedented. I mean, Trump has totally blurred the lines, between his legal defense, his presidential race. What do you expect the judges to do here? How do they balance that?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think they keep some form of gag order in place, Kaitlan. But they just carve it up a little bit differently. And the judges seem to be signaling that, by perhaps opening the gag order up, to allowing criticism, of Jack Smith, directly, or something like that.
Look, this is -- we talk about a lot of legal issues, in the context of Donald Trump. And I can say with certainty that the First Amendment, free speech, is by far the hardest, to figure out, because everyone, in America, regardless of citizenship status, is entitled to free speech. No one is entitled to threaten anybody else. But the line between those two can be very complicated. And particularly, when you're dealing with candidates for office, it is just incredibly complex.
And the judges, today, who were very exceptionally bright individuals, all three of them, I know them a little bit, in town here, were really struggling with that. And so, we'll just have to see where they land on this.
COLLINS: Yes, it was fascinating to be able to listen into, to them go back-and-forth with the Trump attorneys, the Special Counsel's team.
I mean, if this order is upheld, if it goes back into effect, I think what we could see happen, is with the judge here, Judge Chutkan, having to deal with something pretty extraordinary, which is what happens if Trump violates that gag order.
WILLIAMS: And that's the thing. Enforcement is itself a question now. Number one, she can warn the former President, once again, as he's been warned multiple times, in other cases.
But then, you move to this great -- this new world of some sort of enforcement order, where often in federal court, what you would do is file a new proceeding, to bring criminal contempt proceedings, against an individual, who had violated an order. That's never happened before, certainly for a former President. And it's one of those unprecedented areas. It's just again, what do you do?
And one of the questions that came up today, along those lines, Kaitlan, is do you wait for a threat to come? Or do you preemptively bar him, from threatening anybody? Because even that is a little bit complicated, and a little bit tricky.
So, it just remains to be seen how exactly they're going to handle it, number one, if he does violate something, or number two, if he doesn't, and they just want to prevent him from doing it in the future.
COLLINS: Yes, I mean, it's no small task, for these judges. We'll see what they decide.
Elliot Williams, thank you, for your analysis.
And, of course, as we wait to see, what they decide, this continuing swirl of legal troubles, around the former President, he is still the overwhelming favorite, for the Republican nomination, at least at this point in time.
My next guest is learning new details, about what a second Trump term, in the White House, could look like.
Joining me now, with a rare appearance, here on CNN, his first on THE SOURCE, ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent, Jonathan Karl, who is the Author of the new book, "Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party."
Jon Karl, it's great to have you here.
I mean, as we're waiting to see what these judges are going to decide, as you heard Elliot talk about, part of this centered on, he's been attacking potential witnesses, in this case, Mike Pence, Bill Barr, General Milley. It's kind of in Trump's DNA, to do that. He often does it in very personal terms.
But if the panel rules against him, do you think he'd be able to help himself here?
JON KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to imagine it. I mean, I thought it was very interesting, in the proceedings, when the judges, in making it -- in questioning the prosecution, questioning defense counsel, used the example of Mike Pence.
What if Trump issued a warning to Mike Pence, before he testified, in this case, if he were to testify, in an open trial, and said, Mike Pence has a chance, once again, to do the right thing?
I mean, we saw what happened, on January 6th, when Trump put so much pressure, on Pence, that it literally unleashed a mob, seeking his execution. And Trump, just a couple of months after that, told me that the mob was chanting "Hang Mike Pence" because they were angry. And he had absolutely no criticism, whatsoever, of the people calling for the execution of his Vice President.
So no, I have a hard time, imagining that even with a gag order that Trump won't test the limits, of that gag order.
COLLINS: You mentioned, the last days, of the Trump White House.
And, in your book, there's a chapter, where you kind of see this isolated and defeated Trump. He's been banished to Mar-a-Lago. It's the end of his presidency. And you write about how the days that followed him, were kind of bleak, that he was spending his days, DJing on the patio, at Mar-a-Lago, just this remarkable moment, from going to the White House, to this.
I'm wondering what you think those days, how his first term ended, would tell you, about what a second Trump term would look like?
KARL: Well, Kaitlan, one thing I detailed is how, in the final weeks, really, the final few months, of the Trump administration, they went about a process, of trying to root out all the people that were in any way disloyal, or not sufficiently loyal, to Donald Trump.
Johnny McEntee, his very junior aide, who at one point was just carrying the President's bags around, and then was put in charge of, of the White House personnel office, led this effort, to root out disloyalists. And by the time you got to January 6th, there were very few people left, to challenge the President. But there were a few. There were people, like White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, who tried to keep him, from doing things that were blatantly illegal. Of course, gone shortly before January 6th, but Bill Barr, at the Justice Department, and Jeffrey Rosen, who replaced him.
The thing is, I believe, based on the reporting, in this book, that a second Trump term begins with all of those people, who would have kept him in check, who did keep him, at least partially in check, in those final days of his presidency, would be gone. They wouldn't be there. They're going to hire for loyalty.
As one of Johnny McEntee's top aides, back then, has put it more recently, that loyalty is more important than policy. You can teach policy. But you can't teach loyalty. They are going to make sure that this is not a team of rivals, not a team of people, supporting the Constitution, first and foremost. But a team of people, supporting, at all costs, Donald Trump.
COLLINS: And it also speaks to how he viewed people, who supported Biden. I mean, you write that he hung up on Kim Kardashian, at one point, because he assumed that she had voted for Joe Biden?
KARL: Yes. He doesn't want to deal with any disloyalty, whatsoever. He saw that as a betrayal.
By the way, he had no idea who Kim Kardashian actually voted for. But Kim Kardashian, who has become an advocate for criminal justice reform, was going and trying to get his help, in seeking a pardon, a clemency, for somebody, who was on death row. And Trump didn't want to hear about it. Just wanted to -- berated her, over the phone. "You want help from me? You want me to help you, after you voted for Joe Biden?"
So that's the attitude. It's loyalty above all cost. It is loyalty above policy. It is loyalty, not to the Constitution, or to the country, but loyalty to Donald Trump.
COLLINS: And when I think about this, over the weekend, when we saw what happened, in Argentina, with the leader, who won there? As we covered the White House, you saw Trump had this affinity, for these strongmen leaders.
He's congratulating this newly-elected President of Argentina, someone who has drawn comparisons to Trump, because of a populist message, embracing conspiracies. I mean, what do you make of looking at what a second Trump term could potentially look like, the way that his style has spread overseas?
KARL: Well, and I think that he -- it's both his style that has spread, but I think he also feeds off that. He admires these strongmen leaders, whether it be Putin or President Xi, or Kim Jong Un, or Viktor Orban, in Hungary, the newly-elected soon-to-be-leader of Argentina. There's an incident that I wrote about that I -- that had never come to light before. At the very end of the Trump White House, the leaders of the Army put out a statement. This is the Chief of Staff of the Army, and the Secretary of the Army, put out a statement.
You remember, when Michael Flynn had come out, and called for martial law, or suggested there could be martial law, to rerun the election? And the leaders, the active-duty leaders, of the Army, put out a very simple statement, saying there is no role, for the U.S. Military, in determining the outcome of an American election. Very basic and fundamental statement. There's no role for the U.S. Military in determining the outcome of an election.
Trump was infuriated, and directed his man, Johnny McEntee, to make sure that that never happened again. McEntee reported back to him that he had spoken to the Secretary of Defense, who spoke to both those Army leaders, and assured him it would never happen again. And if it did, they would both be fired.
I think that Trump, in a second term, kind of fancies himself, as somebody that will be the commander, not just of the Executive branch, but the Military, the Commander-in-Chief, but not in a way, and the traditional sense that we've seen presidents, but that they will respond to him, on all things, including things, domestically.
KARL: Whether it be the Insurrection Act, putting down rioters, or whatever he had in mind, with what they would do, in determining the outcome of an election.
COLLINS: Jon Karl, it's a lot of good reporting, in this book, a very important read.
Thank you, for joining us here, tonight, on CNN.
KARL: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Great to have you.
Ahead, someone who's trying to prevent that second Trump term, with everything that he has got. His 2024 Republican primary opponent, Chris Christie will join me.
Plus, families of hostages, met with the Israel's Prime Minister, today. They want answers. That comes amid optimism from the U.S. We'll speak to a family member, of an American hostage, right after this.
COLLINS: Tonight, the White House says that hostage negotiations are, quote, "getting close" to the end. For 45 days, Hamas has held more than 200 people captive. Sources tell CNN that a possible deal could include the release of 50 hostages or so, for a four-day to five-day pause, in fighting.
But I should note nothing has been agreed to yet. Nothing is final. We've been speaking to Israeli officials, regularly, about how fluid these talks are, where they're going. They've been urging a lot of caution.
But what we do know is that the pressure, on the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is only growing more intense, tonight. The families of Israeli hostages met with him, and his War Cabinet, earlier. They want answers and a written commitment to bring their family members home.
3-year-old Abigail Edan is the youngest-known American hostage. Her parents were killed, in the October 7th attacks.
I'm joined now by her great aunt, Liz Hirsh Naftali. I should note, she was appointed to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, by President Biden, last year.
And I'm so glad that you're here, tonight. And I'm sorry that we're meeting under these circumstances.
When you hear from the White House that they're hopeful a deal is close, have you gotten, or your family, any information, about a deal, from Israel, or from the U.S., or anybody?
LIZ HIRSH NAFTALI, GREAT-AUNT OF 3-YEAR-OLD HOSTAGE ABIGAIL EDAN: We hear what you hear. We hear what everybody's hearing.
It's frustrating, because through this whole time, it's been dark. We have been, metaphorically, it's dark. We don't know. And virtually, it is dark, for these people that are in Gaza. We have no answers.
And people think that we're getting specific information. And just like everybody, we hear there's a very close to having a deal. And until we actually see hostages released, we really don't really know anything.
COLLINS: And you're wearing the number on your jacket, of how many days that --
HIRSH NAFTALI: Yes.
COLLINS: -- she has been held in Gaza.
I mean, if you could speak to those people, who are negotiating, the officials who are negotiating, these talks, what would you want them to know?
HIRSH NAFTALI: Well, first, 44 is the amount of days, since these innocent civilians were abducted, and taken as hostages. And I wear this in solidarity with Rachel Goldberg, whose son Hersh, was kidnapped, taken, had his arm blown off, and then was taken as a hostage.
[21:20:00] And we have been wearing this, to really make it clear that 44 days, how long Abigail, she is a 3-year-old little girl. There are over 30 children. There's over 50 children and mothers. I can't imagine, as a mother, what it's like, to be somewhere in the dark, somewhere without the family.
And Abigail is an orphan. Abigail's parents were murdered, on October 7th. And she is with --
COLLINS: How are her siblings doing? I know they survived.
HIRSH NAFTALI: They survived.
COLLINS: Hiding in a closet.
HIRSH NAFTALI: And how are -- is a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old after surviving, after seeing both their parents murdered?
They have a beautiful family. They have a loving family. And they are able to be themselves, and to talk about what happened, and to share what happened. And they're very much forward in telling what their stories are. And they're with their grandparents, and with their aunts and uncles, many who survived, from the kibbutz. So, they're part of a community, and they grew up with them, nearby.
COLLINS: I can't even imagine the trauma that a 6-year-old and a 10- year-old would feel over this.
HIRSH NAFTALI: I can't.
COLLINS: And when you talk about Abigail, her fourth birthday is this Friday. I mean, what do you think about, when you think about the fact that she could be turning 4, and trapped in Gaza?
HIRSH NAFTALI: Well, I can't imagine. I can't imagine her having a birthday, and turning 4, alone, without her family. And I think about her sister and brother. And their one hope is that Abigail comes home. And for them to have her come home, before Friday, and to be there, and have her celebrate her birthday, in their arms, is a dream I have.
And I just imagine, I keep hoping that each day we wake up, and we hear that there really is a release. Because you think about a 9- month-old child turns 10 months as a hostage. And you think of Abigail turning 4 as a hostage. These are innocent civilians. These are children that did nothing.
HIRSH NAFTALI: Babies.
And so, I just I keep hoping and believing. And there's been so much outpouring of love and support, from people, across the world, and people from all different backgrounds. It's a humanitarian issue. This is not political. These are people that were innocent civilians.
COLLINS: Yes. HIRSH NAFTALI: And I just keep thinking like, as a mother, having a child, as a hostage, it's inconceivable, to be honest.
COLLINS: It is inconceivable. And I hope you know that we're all thinking of you. And we realize how important it is, to tell your stories.
HIRSH NAFTALI: Yes.
COLLINS: And we're hopeful for Abigail and for everyone that they all come home.
HIRSH NAFTALI: Well thank you.
COLLINS: Thank you, Liz.
HIRSH NAFTALI: Thank you for letting me tell our story. And I just want to tell you, I keep Abigail's picture with me all the time. And this is the strength.
HIRSH NAFTALI: Because when I look at this picture, I believe that she is going to come home, and be with her family, and we are going to be able to embrace her, and that we will be able to bring home the hostages.
COLLINS: Thank you, Liz.
HIRSH NAFTALI: Thank you for having me.
COLLINS: Thank you for coming on. And we're hopeful for that too.
HIRSH NAFTALI: Thank you.
COLLINS: Of course, Israel has been a massive topic, on the campaign trail, even here, at home. We're going to speak with the candidate, a candidate, who went there, Chris Christie. He just spent time on the ground, in Israel. He has a new warning, for voters, tonight. He'll join us live, in moments.
COLLINS: Tonight, on the ground, in New Hampshire, Governor Chris Christie, with a new warning for voters, who are considering making Donald Trump, the GOP nominee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Trump is the nominee, because if Trump is the nominee, I bet you Manchin is going to run. And you could have a situation, where nobody gets 270.
And then, it goes to the House of Representatives. So, if you think our country is divided, now? Imagine when that happens. Those jokers took three weeks, to pick a Speaker. Imagine how long it'll take them, to pick a President. And who knows where that'll end up?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Well that could be a nightmare scenario, but one that Governor Christie clearly sees, as a possibility.
The former New Jersey governor, and Republican presidential candidate, he's here with me now.
Governor Christie, I think, half that audience probably broke out, in a cold sweat, the other half in hives, when you said that. Do you really think that could happen?
CHRISTIE: Sure. And it absolutely is a possibility.
Look, the country has been very clear, Kaitlan. A lot of times, polling that's close? You can wonder whether it's really true or not. But I've seen the polling that you've seen, which is 75 percent or more of the people in the United States don't want it to be a Trump- Biden matchup.
And if that's what it turned out to be, you'd be in a situation, where I think for sure, you'd see these No Labels folks coming in, and Joe Manchin or some other candidate would come into the race. And then, you really could have a situation, where no one gets to 270.
And so, I think that's another risk that Republican voters have to consider, when you're considering whether or not to vote for Donald Trump.
COLLINS: Well, and I mean, there is a plan, for what would happen there. And basically, each state would get a single vote. And, right now, if you look at Republicans control 26 state delegations, Democrats have 22. I mean, this is obviously far-fetched, I should note.
But given the presence of these third-party candidates, and potential candidates, right now, I mean, how destabilizing do you fear that scenario would be?
CHRISTIE: Well, look, I think the country would be horribly divided, by that kind of result. And let me make clear to the people, who are watching, tonight, I didn't bring this up, out of thin air. I got asked a direct question about --
CHRISTIE: -- the potential impact of third-party candidates, on the race. And I think that that's a real risk.
But it just, again, shows you, goes to the bigger point, Kaitlan, is that, Donald Trump cannot win this election straight-out. And the problem is that, he's out there, arguing his case, to a limited audience. He's not spending any time, on TV, like I am with you, answering questions. He's not doing town hall meetings.
He goes out, and he gives a two-hour rambling speech, where half the time he can't remember who he's running against, says he's running against Barack Obama. It's the vindication and vengeance tour, where he's going to go out and tell all the people that he's going to get to, if he's president, again.
This is hardly inspiring stuff. And I think that's why you see the country, so against a Trump-Biden rematch.
COLLINS: You mentioned that sometimes he gets, where he is mixed up. That's something that we often hear, the White House bring up, when people are talking about President Biden's age.
I just have to ask you, given that, this letter was released by, by the (inaudible) trust that letter?
CHRISTIE: Well no, if it's anything like the letter he got in 2016, he wrote it himself, and just had some doctor sign it for him. So no, I don't put any credibility behind the letter, Kaitlan.
And look, the fact is that what's getting to Donald Trump is less age and more pressure. Because he knows the walls are closing in on him.
He's getting ready to go to trial. He's in the midst of a trial, right now, for his business, in New York.
He's getting ready to go to trial, the day before Super Tuesday, for what happened, on January 6th. And he knows that Mark Meadows, his former Chief of Staff, one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus, is going to testify, against him, and testify that he committed crimes, and that he directed Mark Meadows to commit crimes. This is devastating stuff.
And Donald Trump knows the walls are closing in. And I think that's affecting him even more than his age.
COLLINS: Let's talk about you, because in CNN's latest poll, of New Hampshire primary voters, you're at 14 percent, behind Nikki Haley. She's at 20 percent. Donald Trump is still at the top, he's at 42 percent.
You dropped out of the race in 2016, after you were sixth, in New Hampshire. How well do you need to do, in New Hampshire, to justify staying in this race?
CHRISTIE: Got to do well, Kaitlan. And I'm not going to put a place on it now. But I'll know it when I see it. And you've seen me operate before. If I don't think I'd do well enough, I'll get out of a race. I have no interest in being a spoiler.
I have an interest in being President of the United States. And if I'm rewarded by the voters, in New Hampshire, with a strong finish, I'm going to take this thing, all the way to the convention. And I think that's exactly what's going to happen.
COLLINS: So, you will only stay in this race, through the convention, if you have a strong finish, in New Hampshire?
CHRISTIE: Yes, I will.
COLLINS: What about South Carolina? I mean, does that -- is it only based off how you do in New Hampshire? Does that -- do the States that follow, matter?
CHRISTIE: Well, no, look, I think that the race is going to narrow significantly.
And when you get to South Carolina, I assume that Nikki Haley has to win South Carolina. I mean, for heaven's sake, it's her home state. I would hope she has to win. If she doesn't win there, I think that's a problem.
And quite frankly, she's said she's going to do second place, in Iowa. So, there's high expectations for her now. And we'll see if she meets them.
COLLINS: Well, I mean, Donald Trump is certainly polling above her, in South Carolina. It would be quite something if she did win that state.
Donald Trump, has, as you noted, he's not -- go ahead.
CHRISTIE: Hold on, Kaitlan. Kaitlan, hold --
COLLINS: Go ahead.
CHRISTIE: Kaitlan, hold on for a second. Hold on for a second.
She was a -- she's a two-term governor of South Carolina. If you don't win your home state, which state exactly are you going to win?
COLLINS: That's the question for everybody. I mean, Donald Trump is polling above everyone in every state.
CHRISTIE: I understand that. But I will tell you this. We had a primary in New Jersey? You could count the fact that I'd win.
COLLINS: OK. Governor Christie, I mean, well, we'll see what the numbers look like there.
I mean, Donald Trump, though, as you noted, has repeatedly refused to show up, to the Republican debates. You have said before, you're going to follow him, around the country, because he was absent on that debate stage. Why haven't we seen you do so?
CHRISTIE: I tried. I tried in New Hampshire. I was shut out of the building, in New Hampshire, the day, he registered for the ballot, his campaign closed the entire state house, along with the Secret Service, and said, only people invited by the Trump campaign, could go into the building. So, unless you're willing to kiss his rear end, you can't get anywhere near him. And that just shows how afraid he is, of seeing me, face-to- face, and confronting his record, and his failure, on behalf of the people of this country.
So, I'm going to keep trying. But he and his campaign uses the Secret Service, to keep people away.
COLLINS: Governor Chris Christie, as always, thank you, for your time, tonight, following that Town Hall, in New Hampshire.
CHRISTIE: Kaitlan, thanks so much, for having me. And happy Thanksgiving.
COLLINS: Happy Thanksgiving, to you, and your family as well.
Tonight, we are seeing a growing revolt, in the tech world that could have implications, for really everybody. The CEO, of OpenAI, dramatically ousted. And now, the majority of the 800 employees, left behind, are threatening to quit. We'll fill you in on the artificial intelligence drama, right after this.
COLLINS: Tonight, we are seeing a massive power shift, within an industry that could one day impact every part of our lives.
Microsoft announcing that it has hired Sam Altman, to lead its artificial intelligence group. That came just days after his surprise firing, as the CEO of the company that he co-founded, OpenAI. That's the company that created the popular artificial chat bot that you may have heard of, ChatGPT.
But the drama here is not over yet or even close it appears so. Hundreds of employees are now threatening to leave OpenAI, over his ouster. And there are reports that he could potentially end up back there. All of this is important to watch. We're talking about technology that even Bill Gates says is as revolutionary as the internet.
Joining me now, to talk more about this, is the Professor of Marketing at NYU's Stern School of Business, Scott Galloway.
Scott, I'm so glad to have you on, to talk about this.
Because I think there's a lot of people, who are at home, who, they may have no idea what OpenAI is, or ChatGPT. But the artificial intelligence industry is booming, right now. It's important. And it could eventually affect every single one of us.
What do you think and how would you explain Sam Altman's firing, and the move to Microsoft, and what that means, for his company, and for AI, generally?
SCOTT GALLOWAY, PROFESSOR OF MARKETING, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Good to be with you, Kaitlan. I don't think I've been on your show before.
This is extraordinary, unprecedented. You had a company that at the close of business, on Friday, was worth more than General Motors and Ford. And as of tonight, may be worthless, because according to Wired, 90 plus percent of the entire employee base says they're going to go to Microsoft, if Sam Altman isn't reinstated.
I think, on sort of a meta level, what it is, is a fissure, a collision, between a non-profit Board and a very capitalist commercial-minded management team. And the two just collided. But we've never seen anything like this.
I think the big winner here is Microsoft. I would bet, in the next 48 hours, either Microsoft controls OpenAI, because Sam has been reinstalled there, and Microsoft becomes the biggest owner, with new Board seats.
I can't imagine the Board isn't going to resign en masse here. Because a Board is supposed to be a fiduciary, and they have literally not read the room, in terms of shareholders, or employees.
On a bigger level, and I'll wrap up here, we should all hope that the Board was wrong. And I think an interesting question would be what was it that had them so alarmed here that they would unceremoniously fire a CEO, who's built $90 billion in value? This is a big deal. I've never seen anything like it.
COLLINS: Yes. And they referenced his communications, with the Board, saying he wasn't candid. But they haven't produced any smoking gun, or told anyone what exactly it was that led to his ouster.
But I think what the bigger question, and when you look at A.I. generally is, there's very clearly a rift, in this world, of people who think it's the greatest thing, since sliced bread, and people, who are worried about how fast it's growing, and the danger that that pace could pose.
Does that have anything to do with this?
GALLOWAY: Well, that's what it appears the fissure here is. But I would argue it represents something bigger, and that is what might be the beginning of the end of ESG investing.
And if you look at the corporate structure, or the governance structure, it just looked ridiculous. There were all of these different entities that supposedly had total control, over another entity.
And what appears to have control here is money and shareholder value, full stop, that the notion of trying to collide this sort of effective capitalism, whatever the term was -- effective altruism, excuse me, combined with a for-profit mindset, the two just don't work. And I think more broadly, I think people are questioning ESG. And that is ESG funds have dramatically underperformed funds that just pursue a profit motive, via alpha. And I think this is the ultimate indication or collision to that. And that is you're either a for-profit entity, seeking commercial success, or you're a non-profit, thinking about risk to humanity. And the two apparently could not co-exist here. But yes, I think there's room for concern.
COLLINS: That's really fascinating. I mean, the idea that you think this is the end of that, that this is something that could -- I mean, we've seen that argument, made by a lot of executives, and billionaires, who say, ESG doesn't work.
I mean, does this bolster that argument? Or does it just show how it conflicts, I guess?
GALLOWAY: I think it bolsters -- like I said, I think this is the beginning of ESG investing.
Because you had a Board, that basically I had -- to give them the benefit of the doubt, there was something they were worried about. They were worried that the combination of trying to err on the side? They tried to err on the side of risk to humanity, it appears, and got very concerned. And the Management team, and it appears 90 plus percent of the employee base was, erring on the side of being more commercially-aggressive.
And the reality is capitalism, and the pursuit of shareholder value trounced the concerns that the Board has. I've never seen a switch like this. This was a Board that got caught so flat-footed. And talk about the mother of all not reading the room?
But you could make this same argument, correctly or incorrectly, good for humanity, bad for humanity, for all of ESG investing that has dramatically underperformed hedge funds and investors that are more focused, on just finding alpha and getting profits.
I think this represents a much bigger issue. That is, people who claim to be concerned, more broadly, about humanity, and companies that are unfettered, by this concern, and just go after profits. And there's no evidence that these two can peacefully co-exist --
GALLOWAY: -- in our current capitalist model.
COLLINS: Well, and you can't run a company without those employees.
Scott Galloway, really interesting conversation. Thank you, for your time, tonight.
GALLOWAY: Thank you.
COLLINS: Ahead, it is an old Thanksgiving tradition, at the White House, that was overseen by America's oldest president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's my birthday today, and they can -- actually sang "Birthday" to me.
BIDEN: I just want you to know, it's difficult turning 60.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You heard some laughs there, in the Rose Garden. But some argue that his age is no joke. We'll talk about that on his 81st birthday, next.
COLLINS: As he oversaw the White House tradition, of pardoning two turkeys, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, President Biden had this quip, on his 81st birthday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: And, by the way, I -- it's my birthday today, and they can -- actually sang "Birthday" to me.
BIDEN: I just want you to know, it's difficult turning 60.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Obviously, you see the President there, laughing it off.
Obviously, when you look at polls, voters certainly aren't, because it regularly registers as a concern for them, something that the former Senior Adviser, to President Barack Obama, David Axelrod, has been warning about, for some time now.
He even told The New York Times' Maureen Dowd this, about President Biden saying, quote, "I think he has a 50-50 shot here, but no better than that, maybe a little worse... He thinks he can cheat nature here and it's really risky."
Here, tonight, with me, is Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former Trump White House Communications Director; and Ashley Allison, former Obama's White House Senior Policy Adviser.
And therefore, Ashley, I am going to start with you. I mean, the White House is obviously trying to use Biden's age, as -- they're making fun of it. I mean, they posted this photo, tonight, on Instagram, where he's got this birthday cake with about 1,000 candles, in front of him.
They are trying to laugh off these concerns. I think the question is, is that strategy going to work here?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, everyone knows how old Joe Biden is. It's not going to change. And people knew that when they elected him, in 2020.
To Axe's piece about it being about a 50-50 percent chance, I feel like that's the case, in almost every presidential election, at this point. You cannot take any race for granted, including this one, coming up in 2024.
But I also think outside of the President's age, people want to see a policy portfolio that aligned with their values, and aligns with their pocketbooks.
And so, the Biden administration, the Biden campaign is going to have to go out, and really sell what they have been doing, how they have been governing, in these last three and a half years, and how they would continue to do that for a second term.
And I think people can step aside from his age of 81, if they agree with his policy decisions. When compared to Donald Trump, most people do.
COLLINS: Well, and speaking of Trump, I mean, Alyssa, his campaign released this letter today, saying that he's in excellent health that his cognitive exams. I mean, I think we all remember, "Man, woman, person, camera, TV," when he tried to say that he had taken that test.
Donald Trump, if he's reelected, would be 83, at the end of his second term. I mean, what concerns do you think the voters have about his age as well?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, not subtle to put that out, on Joe Biden's 81st birthday.
Listen, the problem in politics is that perception often becomes reality. The reality is 73 percent of Americans think that Joe Biden is too old, that, or at least that his age is a major factor in the election.
When you look at how Donald Trump is perceived, who's 77, he's not much younger than Joe Biden, the numbers are very different. People see him as having more stamina, being somebody who's healthier. He's not perceived as, as old as Biden. So, on the age factor, I don't know that that hurts Trump as much. But those -- that should not be the primary issue that we're dealing with. I mean, listen, voters care about it. But Donald Trump and Joe Biden, you could not have a starker contrast of two individuals.
And I think the fact that Biden keeps leaning into the age, I actually don't think is helpful. I think this idea that he should make jokes about it? I think he needs to be putting forward a policy agenda. The Washington Post has reporting that he doesn't even have a major field staff, in the five key swing states. That's where they need to be focusing.
COLLINS: Well, and when you look at what those swing states look like, what the numbers look like, Ashley, I mean, there's a new poll, from NBC, showing 70 percent of young voters that are between 18 and 34, they don't approve of the way that President Biden has been handling the Israel-Hamas war. Obviously, he won young voters, in 2020, by a very comfortable margin.
What do you make of that change, and how the White House addresses that with a year to go before the election?
ALLISON: Look, I think, this is a very important issue that I don't really know if it's a campaign issue. Because the reality is a campaign just pushes A, the governing agenda of the person, who is actually in office.
But listen, we cannot -- Democrats cannot lose young voters. They cannot lose Black voters. They cannot lose progressive voters, on this issue.
And so, what people are saying is that, particularly the young people, in this country, are saying, "Look, we put our trust in you. And we are saying, this election cycle, we are going to vote with our values and our morals. And we want you to hear us now a year out that we are not aligned with how you are handling this. And we want to have a conversation with you."
And it's different than when it was in 2020, and we were having those same similar tough conversations with young voters. Because the reality is at that point, he was then, Vice President Joe Biden, and he was not governing. And so, it's not about making commitments. It's about actually how are you governing, right now.
And I think the Biden administration should really take heed to that and consider an alternative approach. It's not just the progressive left. It is faith leaders. It is the Pope. It is the King Institute that have called for a different approach to this Israel and Hamas conflict. And I think the Administration is going to have to take notice of that, if they want those voters to stay in their coalition, come 2024.
COLLINS: And Alyssa, there's, I mean, a moment where you used to work in Comms, in the White House. You're very familiar what it's like, to have to come out to that podium.
We saw John Kirby, who is from the National Security Council, obviously there today, responding to this nickname that Biden has gotten, from people, who disagree with the fact that he has not called for a ceasefire, calling him "Genocide Joe."
This is what he said, from the Briefing Room, today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been calling him Genocide Joe. They wrote it on the gates. Do you have a response, from the White House, to that nickname that they've settled on?
JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: OK. Like, we're not worried about nicknames and bumper stickers. I mean, it -- it's First Amendment, free speech.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FARAH GRIFFIN: Moral clarity leadership, John Kirby is an excellent public servant. And I will say that where the Biden administration is, is where many Independents are, and frankly moderate Republicans. So, I hope that they continue their strong support for Israel.
COLLINS: Alyssa Farah Griffin, Ashley Allison, as always, thank you both, and great to have you both on.
Up next, a shocking scene is happening, right now, off the coast of Hawaii. You see this image here. That is a plane that is as big as it looks. How everyone onboard it, survived and what happened?
COLLINS: A dramatic scene is playing out, in the waters of Hawaii, right now.
A large U.S. Navy aircraft ending up in the bay off Oahu, after overshooting the runway, at the Marine Corps Base there, in Hawaii. Thankfully, we are told there are no casualties. Nine people were on that aircraft that you can see here. They are currently being assessed, tonight. We're still waiting on details, of their current condition.
But I should note that this comes as the National Weather Service showed gusts, up to 21 miles per hour, mist, visibility was down to around a mile, at the time of this incident.
We'll keep an eye on this, and keep you updated.
Thank you so much, for joining us, tonight.
"CNN NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP" starts, right now.