Return to Transcripts main page


Trump to Announce New Supreme Court Nominee on Monday; Obama's Legacy Being Obliterated by Trump - Is it Happening? Concerns of the Mental Stability of the Stranded Boys Soccer Team is Examined. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired July 07, 2018 - 09:00   ET


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia, we welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Monday President Trump will announce his nominee for the Supreme Court but what will he factor in when making his decision? Famed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz will tell us in a moment. I will ask Dershowitz why he suddenly feels like the social pariah of Martha's Vineyard. He says he's losing friends because he's defended Trump. Are we unable to speak anymore with those that disagree with us? We'll discuss.

And Barak Obama's legacy is being dismantled by President Donald Trump so why isn't the former President doing or saying more to stop it? I'll speak to someone who may have some insight in that regard. And how much can we really learn about a nominee before they become a Supreme Court Justice? If they toe the line just right, not much? And for those kids who spent days and nights trapped in that cave in Thailand, what do they need to do to stay mentally strong? I'll speak to a psychologist who's all too familiar with extreme scenarios.

But first, Monday at 9:00 p.m. East will be must viewing when the President from the East Room of the White House announces his pick to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. It will be Trump's second pick in two years and it represents an opportunity for him to fundamentally alter the course of history. When he filled the seat once held by Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch, the court was not markedly changed, notwithstanding the seat should have gone to President Obama's pick, Judge Merit Garland. The replacement of one conservative with another did not alter the court's composition.

But this time is different. Despite being appointed by Ronald Reagan, Anthony Kennedy was not always a reliably conservative vote. And has been noted countless times, he was so often the swing vote, the fifth and deciding jurist on a court comprised of nine. But if President Trump replaces Justice Kennedy with a more consistent conservative, the future direction of the court will be altered; 5-4 decisions with an unknown outcome will be more predictably decided by 6-3 margins and the question now is who will he select? And in making a decision, he must choose between competing elements of his own constituency. Might he select a traditional main stream conservative or someone who appeals to his religious fundamentalist base, or perhaps go with a compromise Middle American from Michigan? Perhaps he also ran from the last time, a judge in Pennsylvania. The main stream conservative is Judge Brett Kavanaugh, of the

prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, often a farm team for the Supreme Court. He's a former clerk for Justice Kennedy, whose shoes he might fill who also worked in the George W. Bush White House, that he once worked for Ken Starr and opined that a President's words can be used against him in a case obstruction of justice might be an impediment given the investigation that Trump faces from Robert Mueller.

The religious fundamentalist choice is Judge Amy Coney Barrett a former University of Notre Dame law professor who now sits on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals based in Chicago, said to be the choice of social conservatives outside the Beltway. This mother of seven, two adopted from Haiti, is a member of the charismatic Catholic group called, People of Praise. She once clerked for Antonin Scalia.

Any consternation by the President as to his choice between Kavanaugh and Barrett might clear a path for a compromise candidate, like Judge Raymond Kethledge of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which is based in Michigan. Like Kavanaugh, he too clerked for Kennedy. Or maybe Thomas Hardiman from the 3rd Circuit of Appeals based in Philadelphia. He is said to have been the runner up to Gorsuch last time. Those are the reported four finalists. Although, with President Trump,

one never knows who will be the last to be voted off the island. Here are the most important stats about these potential justices, at least according to me. Kavanaugh is 53 years old. Barrett is 46. Kethledge 51, and Hardiman

52. There appears one certainty, President Trump is about to nominate someone who could easily serve three decades on the court, further bolstering his standing for better or worse as the most consequential President of the modern era. So who do you think he will select? That's the poll question this hour at Go and vote now. Your choice is Judge Barrett, Kavanaugh, Kethledge, Hardiman or someone else. I'll give you the results at the end of the hour.

Famed Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz is here to weigh in. His latest book comes out on Monday. It's called, "The Case Against Impeaching Trump." Professor, if the President called and solicited your advice, who would you advise him to select and why?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, AMERICAN LAWYER AND HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: I could never disclose whether the President sought my advice or what advice I might have given him. But if he were to call hypothetically, I would say the distinction is between a traditional libertarian conservative who respects precedent and an activist conservative judge who would impose, now I'll use gender, her views on the country. The big issue with Judge Barrett is in her writings, she not only suggests that the issue of Roe versus Wade should be left to the states. But she implies that there may be a Constitutional right to life which if true would preclude the state from even permitting abortions, that is if there is a Constitutional right to life, which the states cannot overrule, then New York, California, and Pennsylvania, would not have the power to allow women to have abortions. She's written about the incident fetus and how we have to protect the innocent fetus.

So the distinction between Kavanaugh on the one hand and Judge Barrett on the other hand is Kavenaugh might very well say the issue goes back to the states where we can fight it politically. But with Judge Barrett, she might try to take it out of politics the way the people on the other side took it out of politics with Roe versus Wade.

So there is a very, very important distinction between different kinds of conservatives and I think the President will do well to appoint a traditional libertarian conservative with an open mind and, by the way, if Barrett gets the nomination, she ought to have an enormous picture of Senator Feinstein in her office because it would be Senator Feinstein that got her the job.

Senator Feinstein foolishly, ridiculously, unconstitutionally, challenged her religious views when she was up for confirmation and, of course the Constitution says that no religious views shall ever be taken into account...

SMERCONISH: Professor...

DERSHOWITZ: appointing somebody, and she made her a hero. So if Barrett gets the nomination, it's Judge Feinstein's -- it's Senator Feinstein's responsibility.

SMERCONISH: I'll come back to that in a moment, but at the outset, I was asking a hypothetical, as in if President Trump called Professor Dershowitz, what would be your advice? The way you've just answered me necessitates this follow up. And this you can answer.

Did he call you?

DERSHOWITZ: Look, I don't want to get into whether the President has sought my advice, and the President has sought my advice on a variety of issues, mostly relating to the Middle East. I have advised every President on the Middle East during the last several decades; I'll continue to do so.

I will be available to answer questions and give advice to any President on the Supreme Court, but the best way to assure that my advice is taken seriously is to keep it between me and the person who sought my advice.

But I'll tell you, if he were to ask me or if he has asked me, I would say that Kavanaugh would serve the interests of the American people in a fair, Constitutional analysis perhaps more than Judge Barrett. And I hope he picks somebody who's a libertarian, who believes in precedent --


DERSHOWITZ: -- rather than somebody who would impose her own views, whatever the source of those reviews and I wouldn't distinguish between religious views and political views on the American people.

SMERCONISH: I think -- I think that answer just cost you three more invitations on Martha's Vineyard.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, that's OK. I don't mind that. Look, I'm winning the battle on Martha's Vineyard. The people on

Martha's Vineyard are reasonable and decent and they have begun to really condemn the small number of people who said, look, since you have spent your life defending everybody's civil liberties, we're going to stop talking to you. Look, everybody would have been happier in Martha's Vineyard, including me, if Hillary Clinton had been elected President. If she were now being impeached or prosecuted or threatened, I'd be her strongest champion.

I actually wrote a book previously defending President Bill Clinton's right not to be impeached. And today, I'd be the hero of Martha's Vineyard, if I were making exactly the same arguments but making them for Hillary Clinton rather than helping Donald Trump by making the civil liberties arguments relating to him.

So, it's all about small-minded intolerance and an unwillingness to talk. This is what's going on on college campuses today, conservatives are being shunned.


Conservatives are being denied the right to speak on campus, and when you see serious people, adults, making the same arguments, wanting safe spaces and trigger warnings not to be confronted with a different point of view, a view they support if only applied to a different person, and it applied to Hillary Clinton, rather than to Donald Trump. But I'm not going to change my position.


DERSHOWITZ: I'm going to continue to make my position. I make it in my book "The Case Against Impeaching Trump." I'm going to make it in any format...

SMERCONISH: I need ...

DERSHOWITZ: ...that I'm asked to make it.

SMERCONISH: I need to ask you about today's "Times" story that suggests via Mayor Giuliani, there's a change in strategy and posture on the part of the Trump legal defense team, which says that if Mueller wants to interview him, he's going to first have to make a showing that there's been criminal conduct on the part of the President.

That type of a demand of an investigator, I say, would be unprecedented. React to that story, if you would.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, its smart tactic, I think, by the Trump team to put this in a legal context, to create a legal challenge.

Look, nobody who's a suspect or a target, he's not a target, or a subject of any kind of a criminal case should ever sit down with a prosecutor. Prosecutors don't want to meet with you to help you; they want to meet to have you commit perjury. So, any criminal defense lawyer would say don't sit down with a

prosecutor, but if you're going to be subpoenaed, you have to testify in secret without your lawyer in front of a grand jury, strike a deal. So, they're playing hardball. Both sides are playing hardball. In the end, we may see a compromise.

SMERCONISH: Haven't the goal posts just been moved?

DERSHOWITZ: The goal post has been moved.

SMERCONISH: Hasn't Rudy just moved the goal posts?

DERSHOWITA? Yes, that's what lawyers do.

SMERCONISH: You agree that they have been?

DERSHOWITZ: Yes, oh, I think he has. Yes, I think he's moved the goal post...


DERSHOWITZ: ...and he's made it harder for the sit-down to take place, and I think we can expect there will be a legal confrontation and Trump will win some aspects of it, may lose some aspects of it.

SMERCONISH: OK, I have a final question.


SMERCONISH: Important final question. Let's circle back now. Will the person who is announced on Monday night by President Trump ultimately play a role in determining whether President Trump has to answer the questions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is that where this is all headed?

DERSHOWITZ: It' a good question, and the way the strategy is now leaning toward a legal confrontation, very well may go to the United States Supreme Court, but remember that when a similar case came to the United States Supreme Court with relation to President Clinton, the two people he nominated to the court both voted against him. So, one hopes for justices who can be objective.

We didn't get that in Bush v. Gore. We saw a partisan decision. We didn't get that in other cases.

And, you know, the terrible thing about America is that we care so much who the nominee is, because the Supreme Court has become so partisan that it's no longer an institution just of law, of constitutional law. It's becoming an institution...

SMERCONISHI: Understood.

DERSHOWITZ: ...where who sits on it determines what the law is. That's not good for the law; that's not good for America.

SMERCONISH: We agree on that for sure. Thank you, Professor. I appreciate your being back.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Go to and vote on the poll question, Facebook, Twitter, all the social media. What do we have Vaughn (ph)?

POTUS under criminal investigation should not be allowed to pick a Supreme Court Justice until the investigation is over. He may very well be guilty of treason, conspiring with a foreign adversary to get elected, possibly obstruction of justice and money laundering. Myra (ph), that's exactly what I was asking of Professor Dershowitz a moment ago. If you bring this full circle, I think there is a fair chance, maybe a strong chance, that who whomever gather announced on Monday night and assuming that they're confirmed and the Republicans control the Senate so that seems likely, could ultimately be weighing in, on whether President Trump has to answer Special Counsel Robert Mueller's questions. One more if I've got time, real quick.

Smerconish, I think we need an unbalanced Supreme Court towards the right to counter the extensive liberal media. Hey, Casey (ph), good sound byte but here's the thing, the quote/unquote extensive liberal media isn't making any law.

I want to know what you think, go to my website at and answer the poll question of the day, who will President Trump nominate for justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Barrett, Kavanaugh, Kethledge, Hardiman. You just heard Dershowitz say Kavanaugh I think.

Up ahead, for a time he was America's most popular figure at home and around the world, but President Barack Obama has virtually disappeared since Donald Trump took office; publicly silent as his legacy is dismantled. Why so quiet? Our next guest will clue us in.

Also drama continues to unfold in Thailand. Twelve boys and their soccer coach stranded in a cave. What mental strength does it take to survive? We will get into the psychology of it all coming up.


SMERCONISH: Just two years ago, Barack Obama was arguably the most popular American on the planet but now he's all but disappeared from public view. While it's tradition for former Presidents to lay low once they've left office, some have argued that a Trump presidency is threatening Democratic norms and those former leaders, especially ones like Barak Obama have a moral obligation to weigh in. So why is Obama choosing to stay so silent as President Trump works to undo his legacy?

Gabriel Debenedetti, the National Correspondent for "New York" Magazine tried to answer this question in his most recent cover story, "Where is Barak Obama?" And he joins me now. Gabe, you paint a picture of him being disassociated while the dismantling of his legacy is taking place. Explain.

GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's mostly right. He has weighed in on a few issues and he is in fact monitoring the news from afar. But he has definitely opted out of this outraged cycle as I write about in this story. He's decided not to follow along on Twitter, not to be watching cable news at all times, instead President Obama is writing his book, he's working on building a foundation, he's travelling a lot and giving speeches and there are three parts to his reasoning here.


First is he wants to respect the precedent. He appreciated what George W. Bush did for him in not weighing in all the time when early in 2009 and 2010 he was doing things that Bush would have disagreed with so he's trying to do the same thing for Trump. But another part of this is that he doesn't want to turn everything into an Obama versus Trump fight and therefore take up all the space. He's trying to create space for other Democratic leaders to stand up because, of course, they're the ones that he believes have to move the party and move the country forward. And the third part of this is he does know that any time he weighs in on things, he consolidates the Republican Party behind Donald Trump because of his polarizing nature here and because of the nature of these things it just becomes so partisan and what he doesn't want to do is make Trump's life easier by giving Trump this foil at all times. So he's really decided to take a step back but it is considered what he was always going to do.

SMERCONISH: Of all the things that have transpired on the Trump Presidential watch, you write in the "New York" magazine piece that it was the Boy Scout speech that most got under his skin. Let's just remind viewers of what the tone was when President Trump spoke at that jamboree. Roll it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue and that map was so red it was unbelievable. Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?


SMERCONISH: Gabe, explain how that was dealt with by President Obama, how that impacted him?

DEBENEDETTI: Well, he decided ultimately not to speak up about this but this was one of the many things that has really troubled him. In particular this one really troubled him because of the message that was sent to young rising leaders. He basically made a case to his friends at the time that so much of the work that he's doing now has to be to inspire and build up the new generation of the leadership, and that that specific age group, they're basically sponges and whatever message they get is one that they're really going to absorb. No in that particular case, what they got is this divisive political message instead of some sort of speech about civility and leadership and the importance of respect and inclusiveness, the kind of speech that President Obama likely would have given. So in the background, talking to friends and allies, he basically was

stewing over this idea that President Trump was in some ways sort of poisoning the minds of the next leaders of the country. But again, he decided not to speak up at the time because he did make the calculation that had he done that he would have turned the Boy Scouts conversation into yet another partisan conversation and that's not just the way that he wants those things to go.

SMERCONISH: I can't help but hear your explanation and of course I read and thoroughly enjoyed the piece and draw a contrast between Secretary Clinton and President Obama. I mean President Obama it sounds like recognizes that if he were to enter the fray, it probably plays well to Trump and Trump's base because President Trump loves to make everything about Obama and Clinton. So Obama is resisting; Secretary Clinton seems like she can't resist and she is still via social media and in live events playing a role.

DEBENEDETTI: That's certainly true. She is certainly weighing in more than Obama is. Of course, there is a difference here which is that she was never the President...

SMERCONISH: He was President.

DEBENEDETTI: ... and was downed by that same precedent. But of course she also feels that there are still some pieces of the 2016 campaign that have not been properly litigated or not covered well in the moments. She still feels that she has a role as the party's most recent standard bearer. Obama sort of sees his role as above politics at this point. He obviously understands that he is a face of the Democratic Party and its most recent leader, but the way that he thinks about these things are sort of as his role as being a civic leader for the world rather than a political leader right now.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Gabe. It will be very interesting to see if that holds through the mid-term election. Based on what you wrote, I suspect it will apart from him raising money being behind doors, but thank you for being here.


SMERCONISH: Let's see what you are saying via my Smerconish Twitter and Facebook pages. What do we got coming in?

President Obama knows the only way to stop Trump is at the ballot box. The former President is too well respected and does not want this sign to be his legacy. It's a close call Ed (ph). Because I don't see who is filling the void? I get the mindset, that President Obama says it's not my time now it's somebody else' time. But that pre-supposes that somebody else is going to assume the mantle. So far that person or group of people has clarified or emerged.

Next up, we think we know what Supreme Court Justice nominees stand for but are they just really good at telling us what we want to hear until it's too late?

[09:25:00] My next guest has sat in many a SCOTUS hearing so I look forward to hearing what he has to say.

And after being trapped for so long in a cave, a psychologist gives us a sense of what those boys in Thailand have to contend with mentally.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I hear you, you do not believe that there is a general right of privacy as in the constitution?



SMERCONISH: That was 31 years ago and arguably, it was the last time that a Supreme Court confirmation hearing lived up to the billing. Judge Robert Bork answered direct questions during his hearing to his determint and his nomination then fell 58-42. President Reagan then nominated Anthony Kennedy. Now it's the Kennedy seat that President Trump will seek to fill with a selection he'll announce at 9 p.m. East on Monday night.

But ever since Bork, nominees seem to follow the physician's Hippocratic Oath which is first rule, do no harm. How much will we really learn from the hearing process where Republican Senator Susan Collins has said she will not support a nominee with a demonstrated hostility to Roe versus Wade, will we even learn the nominee's thoughts on that abortion precedent?

Joining me now is Ronald Weich. He's the Dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law. He was counsel to Senate Democrats during the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Then at the Justice Department he worked on the nominations of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. He was also counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy during four nomination hearings in the 1990s. Dean Weich, I think of the job of a Supreme Court nominee as a White House Press Secretary meaning keep your mouth moving but don't say anything of consequence.

RONALD WEICH, DEAB OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, first of all, thank you for inviting me to be with you. This is an important moment as we head into the Supreme Court confirmation process. I think you are a little bit cynical. You are right, nominees are on guard. They know they can hurt their candidacy by saying the wrong thing; they know where the pitfalls are. Certainly modern nominees have learned the lessons of the Bork hearing as you described but I think these are individuals who have views and the Senate confirmation process provides an opportunity for Senators to probe and explore and get a sense of who these individuals are. After all, any of these nominees will serve for many decades and this is really high stakes stuff. SMERCONISH: So let's drill down on Roe versus Wade, Senator Collins said the following to my colleague Jake Tapper just the other day. Let's watch.


REP. SUSAN COLLINS (R) MAINE: I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law.


SMERCONISH: But Dean Wiesh, in recent hearings, here's the way in which that issue has been dealt with by several nominees, a quick montage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see any erosion of precedent as to Roe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again I think I should stay away from discussions of particular issues that are likely to become before the court again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is a precedent that has now been on the books for several decades, it has been challenged, it has been reaffirmed, but it is an issue that is involved in litigation now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be legal in this country to terminate that child's life?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't answer your hypothetical because I can't look at it as an abstract without knowing what state laws exist on this issue or not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Supreme Court of United States is held in Roe versus Wade that a fetus is not a person for purposes of the 14th Amendment and the book explains that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you accept that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, Senator, yes.


SMERCONISH: Dean Wiesh, what's the appropriate question for an earnest Senator to ask of a nominee on this issue in.

WIESH: Well let me say with all respect to Senator Collins, I think she has misstated where the burden should be in this instance. We have a President who has said very openly and publically on the campaign trail and elsewhere that he has a litmus test. He intends to nominate individuals who will overturn Roe versus Wade. So it seems to me that a nominee should have to demonstrate acceptance of Roe to satisfy Senator Collins and other Senators that are concerned about that particular issue. And more generally, Senators should be looking for someone who will not upset the constitutional consensus on not just that issue, but many other issues before the court and nominees will be reluctant to commit to -- certainly they should not commit as to how they will decide a case in the future - but they will be asked, do you accept settled doctrine? And nominees should state clearly that they accept that doctrine of the right to privacy in Roe vs. Wade and Casey and subsequent cases.

SMERCONISH: Is it proper for a Senator to condition her vote, his vote on a nominee pledging that they will not overturn Roe versus Wade or does that go too far?

WIESH: The Constitution doesn't limit the basis for a Senator's vote so the Senate as a whole, it's a, you know, a political question as to how far the Senator wants to go in relying on any particular aspect of a nominee's record. I think the stakes are so high here, and as I say, this President who has gleefully spoken of being able to fill the seat for 40 or more years. This is a President who has established his own litmus test and he's already filled a previous vacancy, one that many people believe was an illegitimate vacancy because the senate failed to consider President Obama's nomination of Judge Garland. So having filled one vacancy, he now has another of the swing seat of Justice Kennedy. I think Senators should have a very high hurdle here for the nominees to overcome.

SMERCONISH: Would it be fair for someone questioning a nominee to say Judge whomever, because they're all Circuit Court Judges who are being considered we're told, I need to know will you vote to uphold Roe versus Wade if given the opportunity? Is that an appropriate question?

WIESH: I think it's a wrong formulation because if you say will you commit to vote...

SMERCONISH: What is it?

WIESH: .. I would say, do you accept - do you accept Roe versus Wade, and Casey, and Whole Women's Health, the case just two years ago from Texas, which held that there are certain restrictions that place an undue burden on a woman's right to reproductive freedom. Do you accept these settled precedents? I think that's the right way to say it and the nominee will do some of this. And we saw nominees being willing, for example, to accept without question the decisions in, for example, Brown versus Board of Education or Grizwold versus Connecticut which established the right to of paying contraceptives. That kind of acceptance of settled constitutional law is what Senators should be looking for here.

SMERCONISH: Dean Wiesh, thank you so much for your time and expertise.

WIESH: Thank you very much for having me on.

SMERCONISH: Checking in on social media, what do we have from Facebook or Twitter? A lot of reaction I'm told today. If it comes out in Supreme Court hearings that Trump asked the person if a President can be indicted, wouldn't that speak to obstruction of justice? Susan Berger (ph), I think that - it's like the conversation I just had with Dean Wiesh, I think all of these players are much more sophisticated than that. I don't think the President would be foolish as to ask that kind of question given the climate of the Mueller probe and similarly, he would know better, I would think, than to ask for direct responses on Roe versus Wade. I think it's all done much more wink, wink, nod, nod. Your question I think would be wholly inappropriate if it were determine that that were asked.

Vickie (ph), Kavanaugh has written that a POTUS should never be under investigation, for that reason because Trump is always about Trump, I think that's who he'll choose. Yes, Vickie (ph), but Kavanaugh is also someone who when working for Ken Starr took the position that things that the President had sone relative to obstruction, if you transferred the line of thought to what went on in this case presumably, the President dictating the response from Air Force One about the Trump Tower meeting, sorry, I'm so far into the weeds, but what I'm suggesting is there is an alternative way to look at Kavanaugh which is to say that his beliefs as a part of Ken Starr's investigation, if applied to Donald Trump would be problematic for Trump. So, I don't know that might be a wash.

I want to remind to you answer the survey question at Who will President Trump select? We'll get the announcement Monday night 9 p.m. East here on CNN. Judge Barrett, Judge Kavanaugh, Judge Kethledge, Judge Hardiman, or somebody else. I'm giving you the result at the end of the hour.

Next up, after so many days and nights for those boys trapped in a cave I find myself reoccupied with their mental health. How can people facing such an extreme situation keep it together? A psychologist with expertise weighs in next.


SMERCONISH: We have been getting more information today about the 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach and letters that have been exchanged between them and the outside world. In a letter sent to the boy's parents through drivers, the 25-year-old soccer coach told them he was sorry and several parents wrote back and assured him, it's not his fault. In other letters parents sent messages to their children such as do not worry and we are not mad at you, we love you. For all the focus on getting them out safely, I have been wondering about a related issue. How do you stay emotionally intact during an ordeal such as this? What are the psychological ramifications?

Jennifer Wild is a psychologist and an Associate Professor at Oxford University, has done a lot of work with survivors of extreme situations and joins me now. Professor what would be your strategy, your advice for the emotional fitness of these boys while they are undergoing this ordeal?

JENNIFER WILD, PSYCHOLOGIST AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, there are a few strategies that are going to help them stay safe and mentally well. One of the key strategies is to focus on how they will get out and how they're going to stay healthy rather than thinking about, why did we come into this cave? Why did we make that decision? Why did we decide to explore this area? Why aren't we getting out today?


So they can focus on that. Many people are -- there is a rescue mission that they are going to get out, and that they have been found, and how that is going to happen. That will keep them healthy; that emotionally healthy.

The next very important strategy is they have to keep to a routine, so it's very difficult in darkness in a cave when their Circadian rhythms have been disrupted, but it's important that they try to maintain a wake up routine as well as a bedtime routine and try and have a similar number of hours that they are awake each day and this will help their body to adapt to being in darkness and can help them also to emotionally be in that state.

And the other helpful strategy would be to try and do a little bit of activity, obviously this is really difficult in the circumstance where they are, but a little bit of activity such as simple squats or stretches, just something to keep them moving a little bit and that will help their health as well. And they have a long road ahead of them. They are at risk of developing anxiety around enclosed spaces when they come out and also obviously post traumatic stress disorder.

SMERCONISH: Are children of this age group with regard to claustrophobia? I - if I were in that scenario, I don't think I could handle it because of the confined nature of where they are.

WILD: So kids can develop claustrophobia; it's difficult to know if these kids have claustrophobia. They are at risk of developing it when they get out for sure. So one of the things that can happen when we have been trapped inside a confined space is when we are outside, and we're in a space like a room or a bathroom, we may get a sense of panic, feel entrapped even though we're not trapped and we have control and we can open the door. They may not want to close doors in rooms when they are out; that's very common because they'll be avoiding that sense of feeling trapped. Of course, this may not develop, but it's quite a common outcome from being trapped inside a cave.

SMERCONISH: And - and finally, I guess it goes without saying, we don't tell them that there has been a fatality relative to the rescue?

WILD: No, absolutely not. They have - if they're rescued by diving out of the cave, that's a five-hour mission and we don't want them to know how dangerous it is. That's just going to raise anxiety. They have to stay calm to get out so giving them new information about what steps are being taken to rescue them is fantastic. That's really excellent; it's going to really help them. Telling them of all the things that went wrong and all the dangers and risks is less helpful.

SMERCONISH: Professor Wild, thank you so much for your expertise. WILD: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Still to come, your the best and worst Tweets and Facebook comments like this one.

I cannot even imagine the state of mind of their parents who understand the obstacles their kids are up against, bless them all. Alexis (ph), I could not agree with you more because to my last question of the Professor, the parents fully appreciate all the dynamics in a way that presumably the children do not. We wish them all God speed.

Don't forget, go to and vote right now, final chance on the survey question of the day, who will President Trump nominate for Justice of the United States Supreme Court? There are the presumed four finalists and of course the category of other. We'll give you the results on that in just a moment.


> All right, time to see how you responded to the survey question of the day. at, who will President Trump nominate for justice of the United States Supreme Court survey says -- how many votes were cast? What do we have here? Ba-bing 7,533; 49% say Amy Coney Barrett. Interesting. Brett Kavanaugh comes in second at 17%. The "other" category, then Judge Kethledge and then Judge Hardiman. The "Times" reporting it is Kavanaugh and Kethledge who are the final two. Amy Coney Barrett, of course, had the interesting exchange with Dianne Feinstein when she was first confirmed to her current position.

Social media reaction, what have we got? Smerconish, Dershowitz comments are based on the law, not a partisan opinion. You may not like what he has to say, but what he says is law based. I'm not sure, BMAC (ph), to which of his particular comments you are referring in particular, but I enjoyed having him here as usual.

Next, what do we have? Smerconish, the reason President Obama disappeared is because he is, unlike the current POTUS, a class act. He knows the people will wake up from this trance one day and realize they've been duped by a dictator want to be. Frank (ph), I was making the point it has to be extremely difficult for him to be disassociated from what is going on, not least of which is dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. It will be interesting to see whether he re- emerges in the fall pertaining to the mid terms. I don't think that he will. What else do we have?

Trump wants a woman to help overturn Roe v. Wade because it would look bad if a bunch of conservative men did it. Well, that argues in support of Judge Barrett. I don't know that that's the case. I don't know that he really is motivated by that issue the way that some suspect or ascribe to him. I mean he was never, you know, a virulent opponent of abortion when he was the developer in New York City, right?

[09:55:00] One more if we have time, I think we do. Let's to it. Trump will appoint a woman. Obama's appointed two. We know that Trump has Obama- envy and wants to try to replicate anything done during Obama's tenure. That may be the winner. Folks, find me on social media. I will see you next week.