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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

California Lieutenant Governor: "Explore Every Legal Option" To Remove Trump From Ballot; Former A.G. Barr: Colorado Ruling "A Grievance That Will Help" Trump; Boston Mayor Apologizes To Black Men Falsely Suspected In 1989 Murder. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 20, 2023 - 21:00   ET





BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.

Aftershocks, as Donald Trump prepares to fire back, all the way to the Supreme Court. The new push, in America's most populous state, to try and boot him off the ballot, after Colorado Supreme Court removed him, from the Republican primary, for engaging in insurrection.

Is California next? The official leading that charge joins us tonight.

Also, the fate of the hostages in Gaza. There is word of Israel's new offer, how Hamas is responding, as the humanitarian crisis, in Gaza, grows more desperate by the day.

And it's an infamous murder case that once gripped the nation. A pregnant woman killed, and her husband's accusation that ignited deep racial divisions, and mistrust, in Boston. Tonight, an apology, 34 years later, to the two Black men, who were wrongly accused.

Kaitlan Collins is off tonight.

I am Brianna Keilar. And this is THE SOURCE.

Tonight, Donald Trump's potential return, to the White House, will depend in part on the same branch of government that repeatedly rebuffed his election conspiracy theories. The judiciary. Colorado with its 10 electoral votes unlikely to decide the 2024 race.

But there are other cases that are still in the works, one pending in Oregon, and others going through the appeals process, in Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan and New Hampshire.

And other states could follow suit, if folks like our first guest, tonight, have their way. We'll have more on that in a moment.

As for Trump, he has long made clear, the fealty, he expects, from those he considers allies, including on the bench, once telling supporters, quote, "If it's my judges, you know how they're going to decide." And he filled the courts with lots of judges that he likes to think of as his.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I appointed nearly 300 federal judges, and three great Supreme Court justices. That was a big deal.


TRUMP: We appointed over 300 federal judges, and three great Supreme Court justices.

I got it done.


TRUMP: And it's thanks to the three great Supreme Court justices, and others, on the court.


KEILAR: His fate may likely rest with those justices, including Neil Gorsuch, whose own words were quoted, in the majority opinion, of the Colorado Supreme Court's decision, to kick Trump off the ballot there. Trump's very first pick, for the Supreme Court, had ruled, as an appellate judge, that states can, quote, "Exclude from the ballot candidates who are constitutionally prohibited from assuming office."

Trump's campaign says he plans to file on appeal, before the High Court, imminently.

But in another case, Trump is in no rush to put his fate, in the hands of the very people, he gave lifetime appointments. Just today, he asked the Supreme Court, to hold off, on the issue of presidential immunity that Special Counsel, Jack Smith, asked the court to expedite.

In California, a number of Democrats are pushing, for their state, to follow Colorado's lead. And that includes our first guest, tonight. California Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis.

Thank you so much, for being with us, this evening.

And we should note, you sent a letter, just hours ago, to California Secretary of State to, quote, "Explore every legal option to remove former President Donald Trump" from California's 2024 primary ballot.

You cite repeatedly, the Colorado case. But in that case, and frankly, in these other cases as well, that I mentioned, it's anti-Trump groups, suing the Secretaries of State. Is that what you have in mind?

LT. GOV. ELENI KOUNALAKIS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, good evening, Brianna. It's great to be with you. Thank you for having me on.

We are in uncharted territory, in our country. And the decision, out of Colorado, is a very significant fact.

When the Supreme Court of Colorado determines, in an examination of the facts, that Donald Trump is an insurrectionist, and therefore is disqualified from being on the ballot? Certainly, here in California, we have to look at that information, and make the same determination here.

KEILAR: OK. So, if you're saying to look at that, and then just make that determination, outright?

Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, for instance, said quote, "Whether Trump is eligible to run for president again is a decision not for secretaries of state but for the courts." I spoke with her today. She's not going to suddenly get involved, in the Michigan effort, just because of this Colorado ruling.


Is she wrong, as you see this?

KOUNALAKIS: Well, the Secretary of State certainly, I know, in California, has the responsibility, of determining whether or not people are qualified, and meet the threshold test, to be put on the ballot, whether or not they meet all of the requirements.

And what we know, out of Colorado, and this very important case, is that they have determined he is not qualified, because he is an insurrectionist. And that, to me, is a very important piece of information that our Secretary of State needs to consult, with the lawyers, who she works with, to make a determination, if we need to use that as a justification here.

KEILAR: On that issue, of being an insurrectionist, your letter says, quote, "The Constitution is clear: you must be 35 years old and not be an insurrectionist" to run for President.

Is it really that clear, though, if it is going to require, as we expect it will, the Supreme Court to weigh in?

KOUNALAKIS: Well, that's going to be part of the process as well. Look, this is all about our system of rule of law.

And we have never remotely had anyone, running for president, or be a front-runner for president, who could come close to be considered, an insurrectionist. But we all know what happened, back on that terrible day, when the Capitol was overrun. We all know the information that has come out since.

And so, for this Supreme Court, in Colorado, to evaluate the facts, make that determination, that is very material. It doesn't say, you have to go through a legal process, and be convicted as an insurrectionist. So, that has to be weighed into this as well.

And I really think it's also important to note that in the history of our country, we have never had a former President indicted for anything. But Donald Trump has been indicted four times, on 91 felony counts. This is a highly unusual situation.

And for the courts, and the court in Colorado, to make a, determination that he meets the threshold, as an insurrectionist? We absolutely have to consider that, in determining whether or not he's qualified to be on the ballot, in California.

KEILAR: It also, in addition, as you say, and a conviction isn't required, it also doesn't explicitly state, the word, president, as an officer. I know that's something that a lot of people will look at, and say, "Well, that seems pretty obvious." But clearly, this is something that the Supreme Court will have to weigh in on. So, it's not that clear.

KOUNALAKIS: Well, again, so much that has to do with Donald Trump, is uncharted territory. But I think that's why the Colorado decision was so important, and why the decision of the Secretary of State, here in California, will also be very important.

KEILAR: Yes. Looks so much, to wade through. As you said, uncharted territory, indeed.

California Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis, thanks for being with us.

KOUNALAKIS: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: And we're joined now, by John Dean, the former White House Counsel, to President Richard Nixon, who certainly knows a thing or two, about presidents, and Supreme Court cases.

And Danielle Holley, who is Dean Emerita at Howard University School of Law.

Thank you to both of you, for being with us, this evening.

John, I wonder, do you think that Colorado is going to prevail, when Trump is, we're expecting that he's going to, as his team says he will, appeals this to the Supreme Court?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think there's a high probability that they are going to succeed, that they will be upheld. They have really based their decision on what is very active, in the conservative scholarship, right now. And that is that the Article -- Section 3 of Article 14 of the 14th Amendment is applicable.

And the question is, how do you decide? And how do you apply? And that's what the California Secretary of State will have to decide. And I'm glad the Democrats, in the state, and Lieutenant Governor, are pushing to get an answer, because that's what we need, are answers, at this point.

KEILAR: Danielle, what do you think?

DANIELLE HOLLEY, DEAN, HOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: I think it is a novel legal theory. And so, it's one that's very untested. There is not a lot of case law on this.

I think what the Colorado case gives us is really a perfect setup, for the Supreme Court, to decide the key legal issue, which is does Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bar someone, who has been found to have engaged in insurrection, from being on the ballot.


The finding of the District Court in Colorado, that the former President did engage in insurrection, really allows this to be a pure case about the law, the question of whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment applies.

And I think it's difficult to predict what will happen because we don't have a lot of precedent, for this. But it will be in very novel and, I think, interesting opinion and one that tests the boundaries of separation of powers doctrines.

KEILAR: There's this legal question. And of course, there's also the political question, as you both are so aware of here.

I wonder, John, if a bunch of states follow Colorado's lead, as we're seeing California doing here, only to perhaps be shut down, by the Supreme Court, what does that do, to the confidence, in the execution of the electoral process, at the state level?

DEAN: Well, I think it is going to be followed. I think a lot of States are going to jump in. There are already a number of actions going.

There were actions going against members of the House, and Senate, who participated in varying degrees, in the insurrection, whatever that means. We don't have a defined term that's necessarily, or how deep their involvement would be. Some of those cases have been thrown. Some are still active.

So, this is being tested across the board, by lots of States. I think it's possible more than one case could end up in front of the Supreme Court. Unless they move with great dispatch, and they've got a pretty full platter of Trump cases coming their way, this could be a multiple-state issue.

KEILAR: Danielle, I do want to talk about Jack Smith's prosecution, of Trump, when it comes to these attempts to overturn the election. What does it tell you that Trump would rather not take his claims of immunity, to the court now, but instead, he wants it heard by the same appeals court, that just three weeks ago, denied the same claims in that January 6 case?

HOLLEY: I think what that tells us is that this really isn't about the substantive decision that would be made, by the appellate court, but is really more about delay.

The entire purpose of the former President, asking for it to be heard, by the appellate court, instead of being fast-tracked to the Supreme Court, is to delay a decision that may go against him, in terms of absolute immunity. So, I don't think it's really a strategy about the outcome as much as it is about the timing.

KEILAR: All right. Danielle Holley, John Dean, thank you so much to both of you.

HOLLEY: Thank you.

KEILAR: And we do have some breaking news.

Just moments ago, six of the 10 Americans, released by Venezuela, landing back on U.S. soil.


KEILAR: You see the pictures here, from Kelly field in San Antonio, this plane, carrying them.

This group includes Eyvin Hernandez, Jerrel Kenemore, Joseph Cristella, Savoi Wright, Jason Saad, and Edgar Jose Marval Moreno. All of the Americans will be taken to Brooke Army Medical Center, for evaluation.

Two former Green Berets, who were part of this agreement, were not on this plane. Luke Denman and Airan Berry, they were jailed, in Venezuela, in May of 2020, for their alleged roles, in Venezuela called a failed coup. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Let's take a look at these pictures.


KEILAR: You see Ambassador Roger Carstens there, giving these folks hugs, as they come out. He's obviously been a part of so many of these releases, and again today, as these wrongfully detained Americans are back on American soil.

And ahead, while Trump is dogged, by this latest legal blow, his Republican rivals, they aren't exactly pouncing. Some even arguing that this could help him.

Plus, a wrongful murder accusation, over 30 years ago that resulted in the unjust targeting of Black men, in Boston, back in the spotlight today. Find out why.



KEILAR: Tonight, the aftershocks continue, from the political earthquake that was the unprecedented ruling, out of Colorado, disqualifying Trump, from the state's presidential primary ballot. Joining us now is Scott Jennings, former Special Assistant to

President George W. Bush, and a former Senior Adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell.

And also, with us is former Communications Director, for the Democratic National Committee, Karen Finney. She also served as Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

OK, Scott, Trump's former Attorney General, Bill Barr, he said this, earlier today, on the impact that this Colorado ruling has, on Trump's 2024 run.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think this kind of action of stretching the law, taking these hyper-aggressive positions to try to knock Trump out of the race are counterproductive. They backfire.

As you know, he feeds on grievance, just like a fire feeds on oxygen. And this is going to end up as a grievance that helps him.


KEILAR: Is that what you think? Does Trump get a bounce from this, among GOP primary voters, right as you have Nikki Haley gaining on him, in New Hampshire?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, no question. I mean, every time he's had an engagement, with the legal system, over the last several months, it's been like jet fuel, for his campaign. I mean, it's really what revived his campaign.

Remember, after the November 2022 midterm, he was pretty far down, and really kind of suffering. And then, all of a sudden, these legal cases started, and he took off, and he really hasn't stopped.

And just look at what his opponents are saying tonight. And over the last 24 hours, even Chris Christie, the biggest critic of Donald Trump, in this entire primary, is criticizing this decision.

So, time and again, what we've seen is that Donald Trump constantly finds himself in positions, where his opponents are either praising him or defending him. I mean, if you're running in a political campaign, and the people trying to beat you are trying to put you up on their shoulders? It's usually a pretty good day. And I suspect he's going to see a bounce, out of this, in his primary.

KEILAR: Karen, what do Democrats think? Do they worry that this is going to backfire?



But I would say that we're at -- personally, a bit of radical agreement, with what Scott is saying. We have seen this continue to fuel the Trump base. And so, again, I think, it would just re-energize that base.

At the same time, there, I think we all need to be concerned that as the Supreme Court takes a look at this, and makes their decision, how will that be received? Not just by Trump. I mean, either way, it's part of his grievance narrative. But also, how do his supporters take the ruling one way or the other? And how does it impact the 2024 election? I think that's something we still don't know, obviously.

But that's what we're more -- I think, is more of a concern is does it -- what kind of impact does it have? And does it set off frankly, violence? Does it set off his supporters, in some way, akin to what we saw, on January 6th, if the decision doesn't go his way, with his quote-unquote, his "Judges?" So, I think those are more of the concerns.

KEILAR: And Karen, I wonder, when it comes to President Biden, he told reporters today, he believes it is self-evident that Trump is an insurrectionist, but that he believes it's up to the courts to make that decision.

How does Biden need to handle this, through a political lens, especially considering this line that Trump pedals, and quite effectively, to his supporters, that it's Biden, who is behind his legal woes?

FINNEY: Yes. I mean, ironically, the President has already predicted what the 2024 election will be about. And we will start in January with a question about our democracy. Should the voters decide whether or not Trump is fit? Or does the Supreme Court get to decide?

I think the President needs to stay out of it. What he said, today, was more of an affirmation of what I would say facts that are already in evidence, in terms of Trump's role, in January 6, and the insurrection.

But I would -- he ought to stay out of musings about, and I think he will, the legal case itself, so that it's very clear that he is not in any way, trying to put a thumb on the scale, which is ironic, because, of course, Donald Trump is going to talk about the fact that these are his judges.

KEILAR: Yes. And, Scott, going back to something Karen said previously, if the Supreme Court does uphold the Colorado decision, which I mean, that would be huge, so consequential. What impact do you see that having on the 2024 election? What impact do you see that having on supporters of former President Trump?

JENNINGS: I mean, if this Supreme Court upholds this decision? I don't even know. I mean, I'll eat this tie, the next time we're on together. I mean, I'll be shocked. I'll be shocked, if that happens. I mean, I think they're going to pump this thing, into the sun, and incinerate it, which is going to give Trump another victory lap.

Because I don't even know how to answer your question, because the idea that this particular court would uphold this thing? I mean, look across the political spectrum, today. You've got Democrats. You've got Republicans. You've got people in Congress, who voted to impeach Donald Trump saying, this is terrible. You got Chris Christie saying, this is terrible.

I mean, the only people I see praising this decision, or saying, "Hey, this may stand" are a handful of folks on cable, and these four out of seven justices, in Colorado. Virtually everyone else thinks it was either a terrible idea, or it's going to get eviscerated. So, I mean, I don't even know how to predict it.

FINNEY: That's a tough one. Right, Scott?

JENNINGS: Because to fathom -- to fathom this outcome would be -- would be just as stunning. I don't know what you think, Karen. But I mean, I would be shocked, shocked, shocked, if that occurred. But it's just me.

FINNEY: I would say, politically, I wish if this was going to happen, it would have happened before Trump got in the race. Because now, the thought of it is--


FINNEY: --just mind-boggling. But here we are, again, with Trump, in unprecedented waters.

KEILAR: All right. Well, I don't want to think about you eating that tie, and all the digestive issues with that, Scott. I will say.

But nonetheless, we will wait to see what happens here.

Scott Jennings, Karen Finney, thank you to you both.

FINNEY: Thanks.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

KEILAR: Tonight, Israel proposing a temporary ceasefire, for the exchange of 40 hostages. But will Hamas agree? What sources are telling CNN? Next.



KEILAR: Tonight, new details, about the three Israeli hostages, mistakenly killed by Israeli forces, last week. An IDF spokesperson telling CNN that the voices of the three hostages were captured, on a GoPro camera, mounted on an Israeli Military dog, five days before they were shot.

We don't know what was said, on the recordings. But it was captured, during a firefight between the IDF, and Hamas terrorists. It was a fight that ended with the terrorists killed, and the hostages fleeing for their lives.

We now know the IDF later shot and killed those Israeli hostages even as they emerged shirtless, from a building, waving a white flag. Following that tragic mistake, Israel is back at the negotiating table, pushing Hamas, for a deal, to release remaining hostages.

And joining me now is Danny Danon. He's a former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. He's a member of the Israeli parliament.

Sir, thank you so much, for being with us.

And I do want to talk about these three hostages, who were killed, in a moment. First, though, can you tell us where talk stand to get more hostages released?


So, we are trying to do our best, to release the 128 hostages. And we are willing to negotiate with the devil, in order to bring them back home. It's not easy.

We heard the testimony, from the people, who came back. And we know what's happened to them, especially to the women, who were under the captivity of those terrorists. That's why we're willing to pay a heavy price.


Unfortunately, we don't have any news today. The negotiators, maybe Egypt and Qatar are trying to negotiate. But so far, we haven't received any sign of a willingness, to move forward. Maybe we will need to apply more pressure, on the ground, in order to achieve another deal, and to release more hostages.

KEILAR: An Israeli official tells CNN that Hamas wants more quote, "Heavy-duty prisoners" than in the previous deal.

Is that a deal-breaker for Israel? Or is Israel open to that?

DANON: So, I will not go into the details. But I will say that, that we are willing to pay a price. We, in the past, we released terrorists, who to committed crimes, against Israelis. We're willing to do it also now.

But I think it's more than that, Brianna. I have the feeling that Hamas, they're trying to force us, to accept that permanent ceasefire, which is unacceptable. We will not stop, until they will surrender, or until we defeat them.

So yes, we are willing to pay a price, to release terrorists, even though who killed Jews in the past. But we are not willing to commit that we ceasefire completely. We will not do it until we complete the mission, of eradicating Hamas.

KEILAR: Talking about these hostages. The IDF says that they fully analyzed the recording, from this GoPro on this Military dog, and that the hostages were vocally identified. The issue of course, was that the video wasn't analyzed in time. That was video that was actually shot, though five days before they were killed.

What can you tell us that you have learned about this video? And can you tell us why it took that long, to analyze it, and what Israel is doing, to make sure that doesn't happen again?

DANON: Well, we all can agree it was a tragedy.

Today, I visited the community of Alon and Yotam. And I went to their house, where they were kidnapped from. And you can only imagine what they had to go through, being kidnapped from the home, being in captivity for two months, actually being able to run away, and then being killed a minute before they're being rescued by the IDF.

We are looking into the details. The fight with the terrorists happened a few days before the incident, when they were shot. It's unfortunate. It's unfortunate that we were not able to gather the information.

But we have to realize that it's a war zone. Our soldiers are fighting against terrorists, a lot of traps in this area. So, I'm not blaming the soldiers. They're under a lot of pressure.

We're going to do the proper inquiries. We're going to learn the lesson. But I have to admit that we never thought that we will actually meet hostages, while walking free, in the streets of Gaza. That was the first time we faced such a reality. We will learn the lesson for the future.

KEILAR: I mean, look, we knew that that one Russian-Israeli hostage had been freed, for days. So, we certainly -- we did know it was a possibility. I will say that.

You mentioned Alon. His father says that Netanyahu is a coward, for not calling him, to express condolences.

And look, these are tough calls. And even if Bibi is going to have to talk to more families, who are going to say things, that are certainly tough for him to hear, does he owe that to them?

DANON: Well, I'm meeting families, almost all week long. And we hear them. And they're allowed to criticize the government. We have to accept that. And the Prime Minister also, he's meeting with families.

KEILAR: Should Netanyahu call them? DANON: Absolutely. And he met with some of the families. Some of them are more open to meet with him, and to accept him. Some are very hostile to him. And I can understand the both sides.

But we have to realize, those families, they haven't heard anything, from the family members, the Red Cross promised. And that was in the agreement we signed with Hamas, under the auspices of Qatar, Egypt and the U.S. that they will allow visitation of the Red Cross. It never happened. And they know that every day that passes by makes it more dangerous for their family members. So, I can understand the pressure.

KEILAR: The U.N. is pushing, again, for a resolution to suspend hostilities. President Biden said today that the U.S. is negotiating the contours of a resolution that the U.S. may sign on to this would be limited. Even after vetoing previous measures.

You hear the warnings for America, your strongest ally, about the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza. Will Israel heed it, if the U.S. goes so far as to sign on to this resolution?

DANON: First, I hope they will not do that. I know that they're negotiating the language of the resolution. And it looks like it's going to happen any day.

But let me ask what you expect to happen. Let's assume the resolution will pass, and it will call for a ceasefire, and the release of the hostages. Do you really expect Hamas to release the hostages? No. The only thing that will happen that there will be more pressure on Israel to ceasefire against Hamas. So, I don't think it will contribute to the efforts of Israel.


And I think we should tell to our allies, in the U.S. We appreciate your support. But in order to defeat evil, you cannot act with a stop- clock, and say, "OK, we support you. But you have to conclude in a week or two weeks." It will take time, more time, until we will defeat Hamas, the same way the U.S. defeated ISIS and Al-Qaeda. It took some time, likely the same case, here.

KEILAR: Ambassador Danon, thank you, for joining us, tonight.

DANON: Thank you.

KEILAR: And next, how the latest death toll, in Gaza, and the worsening humanitarian crisis, could threaten President Biden's reelection chances.


KEILAR: Tonight, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health has put out a grim new death toll, in Gaza, estimating more than 20,000 people have been killed, by Israeli forces, since the October 7th Hamas attacks, in Israel.

Now, that total does not distinguish between civilian deaths, and the deaths of Hamas terrorists. More than 52,000 have also been wounded, according to the Health Ministry.

CNN cannot independently verify these numbers. But broadly speaking, international organizations, including the U.N., accept these numbers, as grossly representative, of the casualties, in Gaza.


The humanitarian crisis, in Gaza, is growing more dire, each day. The U.N. Food Agency warning today half of Gaza's population is now starving. Civilians going entire days without eating. There is barely any clean water to drink. In fact, aid agencies say more people could die from starvation, and disease, than bombs, here in the coming days.

And all of this is putting even more pressure, on President Biden, to push for a ceasefire, in Gaza. Here's how he responded, to one reporter's question, today.


REPORTER: And your reaction to 20,000 dead in Gaza -- that death toll reached -- likely to be reached today?



KEILAR: Joining us now, to discuss the political impact that this could have, here at home, is Abbas Alawieh. He's a veteran Democratic strategist, and former Chief of Staff, to Missouri congresswoman, Cori Bush.

Abbas, thank you so much, for being with us.

We're seeing this, low marks, for President Biden, from voters on how he's handling this war. This is according to a New York Times and Siena College Poll. Only 33 percent of voters approved. And that drops to 20 percent among younger voters. What does he need to do here?

ABBAS ALAWIEH, SENIOR DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you so much, for having me, Brianna.

I'm sitting here, right now, in southeastern Michigan. On my way here, I was talking to my niece and nephew, Arab American kids, 7-years-old, and 9-years-old. I asked them what should I be saying on TV. And they said, "Remind everyone, that Palestinian kids are kids too, and that babies crying are the same, regardless of which baby they are."

And so, key constituencies, here in southeastern Michigan, and around the country, are frustrated and disapprove of President Biden's failure, to call for an urgent ceasefire, a permanent ceasefire that saves lives. National polls are showing us that.

And local polls, right here, in southeastern Michigan, there was a poll released today, by Data for Progress, and We the People-Michigan that showed that around two-thirds of all voters, 80 percent of Democratic voters are -- disapprove, likely voters, disapprove of the President's handling.

And very interestingly, it also shows that if the President were to reverse course, if he were to call for a ceasefire, his net favorability goes up by 34 percent -- by 34 points among all likely voters, and by 55 points among Democratic voters.

Calling for a ceasefire is popular. And the President, if he's interested in improving his favorability ratings, and in saving lives, must do so urgently.

KEILAR: So, if the U.S. does sign on to a U.N. resolution? And they are part of the negotiations of this, for a suspension in hostilities, basically, a limited ceasefire, at the U.N. Would that be it? Would that be enough as you see it?

ALAWIEH: I've been in touch, with a key constituency, for President Biden, folks in the Muslim Arab American, and Palestinian American communities, and young people, all across our country, who are looking at our screens, as we are on social media, and seeing the mass killing of children.

Around a half of the 20,000 people you mentioned, Brianna, are kids, are kids. And about a half of the 2 million people, who've been permanently displaced, by this war, are kids. And so, for people, who are watching key constituents -- key constituencies of President Biden's, what they need to see and call for is a permanent ceasefire.

And we know that diplomacy is what will save lives, and what will bring about peace and justice, not war. There is no Military solution to the current mass atrocities that are being -- that are being -- that are being committed, and the war crimes, the difficult war crimes that we're seeing that children are suffering the greatest cost of.

KEILAR: You mentioned how Muslim Americans feel about this, and Arab Americans.

And we've heard from many, where they look, and they describe, they they're seeing, what you're describing, they're seeing, and they're saying they can't support Biden in 2024, because of this, because he hasn't pushed for a ceasefire.

This is a race increasingly looking like a Biden-Trump rematch. And margins would certainly matter in that. Are you worried that voters, who might sit out, could help elect Trump, whose record, when it comes to Israel, you certainly are aware of, and who has called for things like a Muslim ban?

ALAWIEH: I think that's an excellent question, Brianna.

Listen, I -- you mentioned recently, up until recently, I was a congressional staffer. I was in the Capitol, on January 6th. I know how dangerous the far-right and Trump's insurrectionist party is, to people, who look like me.

I also know that as I am witnessing the atrocities being committed, against Palestinian children, in Gaza, right now, I see my own humanity, in those kids. And Arab and Muslim Americans see that same humanity.


When we're watching this, we're not thinking are these -- is it -- this isn't a theoretical political question for us. This is a question of whether or not we recognize our own humanity.

So, do we recognize the humanity of children, all around the world or not? And so, that's the question that needs to be asked, right now, is what needs to be done, to stop the mass killing of children. That is a permanent ceasefire.

And President Biden, and his team's strategy, up until now, seems to be, if we just remind everyone, how bad Trump is, then somehow voters will be distracted, from the fact that our country, our United States government, is funding mass -- the mass killing of children, in Gaza. That is a failing strategy.

There is a better way. Polls tell us that the President would improve his favorability considerably, if he were to call for a permanent ceasefire. And if I were advising him right now, that's what I would advise him to do. Not only because it's popular, but because it's the right thing to do, to save lives.

KEILAR: Clearly, a lot of Americans recognize humanity, in these pictures that they are seeing, Abbas. And that is something that the President will be reckoning with.

Abbas Alawieh, thanks for your time, tonight.

ALAWIEH: Thank you so much, Brianna. Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: "Unjust, unfair, racist and wrong," Boston's Mayor issuing an apology, decades overdue, to the families of two Black men, wrongfully arrested, for an infamous murder.



KEILAR: An apology, from the Mayor, of one of America's largest cities, 34 years in the making, after a murder of a White mom-to-be, from the suburbs, prompted one of the most ruthless police investigations, in Boston's history.

In October of 1989, Carol Stuart was shot in the head, inside of her car. Her husband, Charles, shot in the chest, beside her, told Police, a Black man was responsible.

And what followed was a crackdown, by the Boston Police Department, which launched a vigorous campaign, targeting Black men, throughout the city. The investigation stoked long-standing racial divisions, and hardened existing anger, in the city's minority communities.

Two Black men, Alan Swanson and Willie Bennett, were wrongfully named as suspects. They were never formally charged. But just how wrong police were, became clear, after Charles Stuart's brother told police that Charles orchestrated the whole thing.

Today, Boston Mayor, Michelle Wu, issued an apology, to the families of both men, who were wrongly accused.


MAYOR MICHELLE WU, (D) BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: I want to say to Mr. Swanson and Mr. Bennett, the entire Bennett family, and Boston's entire Black community, I am so sorry for what you endured.


WU: I am so sorry for the pain that you have carried for so many years. What was done to you was unjust, unfair.


WU: Racist.


WU: And wrong.


KEILAR: And joining us now is someone, who has covered this story, since the beginning. Associate Editor at The Boston Globe, Adrian Walker.

He is the voice behind the "Murder in Boston" podcast. And is part of the team behind the new HBO documentary series, "Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning." And HBO, of course, is owned by CNN's parent company, Warner Brothers Discovery.

Adrian, thank you so much, for being with us.

I just wonder. And we see the reaction there, of folks behind the Mayor. What's your reaction to this apology?

ADRIAN WALKER, BOSTON GLOBE COLUMNIST AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR: It was a truly dramatic and unprecedented moment in Boston. It was really something to watch.


WALKER: It was a very important apology.

KEILAR: Yes. It really is. You see the words that she chose, and how that impacted people, listening there, in that room.

Can you talk to us a little bit about how painful the fallout, from these false accusations has been, for the families, and for the entire Black community, in Boston, from the late 80s through today? WALKER: The fallout has been really dramatic. As part of our reporting, or two years reporting, to put together the podcast, and the series surrounding (ph) The Globe, we talked to members of the Bennett family. And they talked about how searing (ph) this has been, and how much they have suffered, and how they've been unable to get out from under this.

So, it's something that they, and people throughout Mission Hill, the community, where this all happened. People have carried this with them for 34 years.

KEILAR: In your fabulous podcast, and in your reporting on this story, you have taken a hard look, at missteps, covering this murder investigation.


KEILAR: Clearly people -- clearly, police relying on what the husband said, in this case. What lessons can be learned, from this? What stood out the most to you?

WALKER: Well, I mean, the fact that stood out the most for me was the revelation that 33 people -- 33 knew that Chuck Stuart had done it before he went off the Tobin Bridge. That was just astounding. I mean, you would have thought that somebody knew. But nothing like that.

And I think the lesson has been to be, more skeptical and less credulous, about official sources, about what police say, about what prosecutors say.

KEILAR: Yes. Some may say that delayed justice is better than no justice at all. Is this apology, justice? What do you think about that? Is there more to be done?

WALKER: I think this apology is the first step towards justice.

One of the questions we asked a lot of people we talked to is, what would justice look like now? And I don't think it's enough to make these families feel whole. So, I think, if there's probably more to be done, yes.

KEILAR: You can't give them back this time, right? You can't undo the damage.

WALKER: That's right.

KEILAR: But certainly, this is something.

Adrian, thank you so much. We appreciate your time, tonight.

WALKER: Thanks so much for having me.

KEILAR: And next hour, on CNN, join the conversation, with Gayle King and Charles Barkley. "KING CHARLES" starting right here at 10 Eastern.

And up next, Rite Aid banned from using facial recognition technology. How the company's use of artificial intelligence went vary awry?



KEILAR: Finally, tonight, Rite Aid was slapped with a five-year ban, on using facial recognition technology, in its stores. That's because a government investigation found that the drugstore chain falsely accused customers of crimes, and on top of that unfairly targeted people of color.

The company was accused of using AI-based software, to identify people, "Deemed likely to engage in shoplifting or other criminal behavior." That's a quote there.

The Federal Trade Commission found that employees publicly accused people, of criminal activity, in front of friends, in front of family and strangers even. And some customers were wrongly detained, and even searched.

In a statement, Rite Aid says it's pleased to reach an agreement, with the FTC, but added it fundamentally disagrees with the facial recognition allegations, in the complaint.

And thank you so much, for joining us, this evening.

"KING CHARLES" starts now.



GAYLE KING, CNN HOST: Hey, Mr. Barkley.

You know what I was thinking? Hello, yes, it's Charles Barkley.