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My Five-Year Quest For The Center; Could A Centrist Independent Become President?; Interview with Howard Schultz; Schultz Under Fire For Tenure Owning NBA Team; Are Dems Leaning Too Far Left To Win 2020?; Interview with Howard Dean; Dems Will Not Hold Primary Debates On Fox News; Swing States Battling To Host 2020 Democratic Convention; Is Criticizing Israel Automatically Anti-Semitic?; Examining R. Kelly's Body Language. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 09, 2019 - 09:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Thanks for starting your morning with us.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Yes. "SMERCONISH" is with you next. We'll see you again in one hour for "CNN NEWSROOM."

Michael SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. Six pounds, different eyewear, a new president and a plane still missing. A lot has happened in the past five years. This weekend, you see, is the anniversary of the launch of this program. It was also when MH370 had just gone missing. In my opening commentary, my first words as a CNN host, I said this.


SMERCONISH: It's fitting that it should air on a Saturday morning given our political climate. See, Saturday mornings, growing up in the Philly suburbs back in the 70s, that's when my brother and I used to watch pro wrestling. We'd be down in our rec room surrounded by this cheap paneling, sitting on these hideously colored beanbag chairs. I think they were some shade of green. And on TV, we'd watch our heroes and that meant Haystacks Calhoun or the living legend, Bruno Sammartino, or my favorite, Chief Jay Strongbow. And by the way, I can still do his war dance.

Well, look at me now. Today, I work in the media equivalent of the pro wrestling that I used to watch as a kid.


SMERCONISH: Five years ago, I promised there'd be no litmus tests here for watching the program. I lamented the polarized era in which we were living, never expecting that things were about to get worse, but they have, among the media and the politicians at least. We saw a great example this week. The DNC announced that it was excluding "Fox News" from its primary debate season.

Now, whether you think "Fox" deserves it because they exhibit such antipathy toward Democrats and have become a propaganda arm of the White House or you think the DNC just lost a chance to expand its base, you have to admit it's a testament to the divide.

Just remember, they are more divided than the rest of us. I speak of the politicians and their media enablers and that's why "Gallup" found that in 2018, significantly more U.S. adults continue to identify as political Independents, 42 percent, than as either Democrats, 30 percent, or Republicans, 26 percent. At least four in 10 Americans have been political Independents in seven of the past eight years, including a record high 43 percent in 2014.

So no wonder an "NBC News" "Wall Street Journal" poll this week showed that 38 percent, 38 percent, say the two-party system is broken and the country needs a third party, the highest percentage since the question was first asked back in 1995. Polarization continues because it rewards the practitioners, the loudest voices reach a loyal base who comprise the primary electorate, which is why the politicians cower to men with microphones.

You and I are proving it can be otherwise. To be honest, I don't often win the cable ratings in my time period. "Fox" does. But week after week, we do quite well here and I'd like to think that we've proven you can achieve a modicum of success without playing to the ideological fringes by giving voice to everybody, including the exhausted majority who sit between the polar extremes. So thank you for watching, for letting me into your home on Saturday mornings. This remains my great privilege.

I want to know what you think. Go to my website at Answer this question. Do you think the two-party system is broken and the country needs a third party? Results later.

And now, speaking of an alternative to the two major parties and to the extremism of both sides, my next guest is the former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. He's been considering running for president as a centrist Independent. His book is called "From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America." Mr. Schultz, you must think this will be the easiest of interviews after that opening commentary.

HOWARD SCHULTZ, FORMER CEO & CHAIRMAN, STARBUCKS: I don't know how easy it's going to be, but I love the introduction, Michael. Thank you for having me.

SMERCONISH: Well, let me start with this. "The Washington Post" today essentially says, hey, Howard Schultz, he can't run a basketball team. They rehash your ownership of the Sonics. They say his tenure with the Sonics was marred by conflict with star players, fraught negotiations with lawmakers and private outbursts at low-level employees according to a lot of interviews. Respond to that story, if you would.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think that story happened a number of years ago. I've learned a lot from that experience and what I learned is that when you have power and responsibility, you have to demonstrate restraint, but the issue in front of us today, as you so aptly introduced the subject, is that there is a fracturing of trust and confidence in America with regard to our leadership and the government not working. [09:05:02] That trust must be restored. You're exactly right. The vast majority of the American people are not being represented, the two- party system is broken at the extremes and there has never been a larger opportunity in the history of the country for a third choice. I'm in Texas all week and I can tell you something. For the last 30 plus years, the presidential election cycle has been pretty much decided by eight to 10 battleground states.

I'm in Texas this week and you know what? Since 1976, Texas has gone Republican. If I should enter the race, there's a very good chance that Donald Trump will not win the state of Texas and if he does not win the state of Texas, the math strongly suggests he doesn't get to 270.

But the real story here is that the American people are looking for and longing for a second alternative to the two-party system that is broken, dysfunctional, revenge politics every day. We have a $22 trillion debt. We have a Democratic Party that's moving closer and closer to fracturing our democracy and free enterprise system with socialism and I'm here to say no, that's not the way to go. We need a new level of kinship ...

SMERCONISH: I'm curious ...

SCHULTZ: ... and we have to reimagine the government.

SMERCONISH: I'm curious as to whether you think you left the Democratic Party or the Democratic Party left you and I think I'll couch the question this way. Michael Bloomberg said he's not getting in and there was a quote that he offered in his statement that I'll put up on the screen. He said, "It's essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring back our country together." Quote, "We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme." Do you think the Democratic Party is currently being dragged to an extreme?

SCHULTZ: Well, there's no question that the Democratic Party now is a party that is in the shadows of things that are hard to even imagine, let alone recognize. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have driven the party so far left with ideas and proposals that are not realistic and not consistent with the majority of the American people. The Republican Party on the far right, exactly the same situation. Fiscally, for eight years during the Obama administration banging on the president for fiscal debt and fiscal control. President Trump becomes president and now we're adding $1 trillion of debt a year. We're at $22 trillion.

So both parties at the extremes are not only representing the American people, but are based every single day steeped in our own ideology, exactly what you said at the introduction. And as a result of that, what we need is common-sense solutions, a new level of leadership to bring the country together. And what you said is exactly right. The American people are so much better than our political class. We deserve better and Washington does not represent what is happening in the rest of the country, but we cannot go on like this ...

SMERCONISH: I have to ask you -- I have to ask you the spoiler question.


SMERCONISH: If in the general election -- if in the general election you believe the Democratic nominee is pulling votes from you, will you ask him or her to withdraw?

SCHULTZ: Well, let me tell you something. What you're asking is a very interesting question because the whole issue of me being a spoiler is a false narrative. Millions of life-long Republicans are looking for another choice. They do not want to re-elect Donald Trump, but they have no alternative. The spoiler in this election cycle, if the Democratic Party continues to go far left, will be the socialist candidate. That will be the spoiler.

I will not be the spoiler, but what I have said, and I continue to say this, is that Howard Schultz will not under any circumstance do anything to reelect Donald Trump, but Donald Trump must go, the country should not proceed on a track in which the Democratic Party is offering solutions that are not realistic. We must embrace our democracy, our free enterprise system and we must restore trust and confidence in the government.

And I am a centrist and what I want to do is bring both parties together. There are good people on both sides of the aisle who have good ideas. Let's bring the -- let's remove the ideology and let's, once and for all, demonstrate a level of leadership, a level of truthfulness and honesty and solve these complex problems.

SMERCONISH: Final question. when you first said that you were contemplating running, there was tremendous blowback, as you know, from the Democratic Party and from the left. In fact, I'll put on the screen just a montage of some of what you've faced. There was then a report that said you were taken aback and had second thoughts. Was that report true? Have you had second thoughts?

SCHULTZ: That report is completely false like lots of other things that have been said.

[09:10:00] The courage of my convictions is based on my love of the country. Listen, I grew up in public housing. I've come from nothing. I'm living proof of the American dream. I want to see that dream restored. I want to see that dream accessible to every single American and the courage of my convictions has never been stronger.

SMERCONISH: Howard Schultz, thank you for being here.

SCHULTZ: Thank you very much, Michael. I appreciate it. Thank you.

SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me @Smerconish or go to my Facebook page. I will read some during the course of the program. Catherine, what do we have? "I see your point about a third party, but how is Schultz different from Trump as far as being effective as a president versus a businessman?"

Octavius, I think what you're now saying is that all businessmen or business women are tainted because of your perception that Trump is not functioning well in the White House. I think it would be wrong to paint with such a broad brush. For example, would you have said the same thing about Michael Bloomberg? I mean, Bloomberg, to me, is a guy who exudes competence. Would you say, seems like a competent guy, but yes, I guess we can't go down that road again because of Donald Trump? I would caution against such sweeping judgments with regard to Howard Schultz.

Once again, I want to know what you think. Go to my website at Answer today's survey question. The two-party system is broken and the country needs a third party. Do you agree or disagree?

Still to come, the Democrats have announced that "Fox News" will not host any of their 12 debates. How do they expect to win over any "Fox" viewers? I'll ask former chair of the DNC Howard Dean about this and about the fight for the location of the 2020 Democratic convention with key battleground states like Wisconsin and Florida fighting it out.

Plus, the Jewish Minneapolis enclave where the filmmakers the Coen brothers grew up, depicted here in "A Serious Man," is represented by Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar, under fire for alleged anti-Semitism. I'll get the scoop from another famous native of that same area, "New York Times" foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman.




SMERCONISH: This week, the Democratic Party announced that it won't let "Fox News" host a debate of its candidates. Is that good for America's political process? The decision came on the heels of Jane Mayer's "New Yorker" piece "The making of the 'Fox News' White House" delineating the extensive feedback loop between the network's Rupert Murdoch and Sean Hannity and the Trump administration. But keeping the network's anchors and viewers from direct questioning of the Democratic hopefuls seems destined to hurt the party and its candidates in its hopes of changing any minds.

Joining me now to discuss, the perfect guest, Howard Dean, the former head of the DNC, also the former governor of the great state of Vermont and a presidential candidate as well. Governor, thanks for coming back. Howard Schultz just said to me that he thinks that the Democratic Party is headed in too extreme of a direction as it enters its nomination process. Do you agree?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: A, I certainly do not agree. Most of the candidates that we picked -- seats we picked up of the 40 were not a, quote/unquote, "extreme centrist." They were from the heartlands. They were from Texas, they were from Pennsylvania, they were from Kansas. That's a -- that's a media myth.

Second of all, no disrespect to Howard Schultz, but if he weren't a billionaire, nobody would be paying any attention to him whatsoever. So you know, let's have the political commentary done by people who actually know something about politics.

SMERCONISH: Well, but he shouldn't be precluded because he's got money in the bank, right?

DEAN: Well, it's the only reason he's being considered. If he didn't, you wouldn't have had him on your show. There's 900 people run for president every year. People only hear about 880 of them or something -- or don't hear about 880 of them.

SMERCONISH: Well, yes, if 40 percent of the country regard themselves as Independent and someone with credibility steps forward and says, I'm running as an Independent ...

DEAN: Well, Michael that ...

SMERCONISH: ... that makes me immediately interested.

DEAN: Michael, well, that's the point I'm trying to make. If he didn't have $1 billion or whatever, you wouldn't consider him a credible candidate and that's a problem, I think, for a lot of Americans.

SMERCONISH: All right. I don't want to get sidetracked. I would ...

DEAN: Michael Bloomberg -- Michael Bloomberg served 12 years in the hardest -- second hardest job in America. That's a different proposition.

SMERCONISH: Listen, I'm not here to carry Schultz's water, but I'll say this. It's a -- it's a legitimate Horatio Alger story of a guy who grows up in public housing and goes on to run one of America's most successful corporations. Let's talk about the Democratic Party and on a different day, we'll have that debate. OK, Governor?

DEAN: Sure.

SMERCONISH: You know that Tom Perez said, hey, we're not going to have our debates on "Fox News." In fact, the statement that Tom Perez, your successor, said was as follows.

"I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I've made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including "Fox News." Recent reporting in "The New Yorker" on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and "Fox News" has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates." And then says they won't be a primary partner. Do you agree with that decision?

DEAN: I do. Look, why not have a debate on "Breitbart TV?" I mean, it's -- you know, "Fox" is a propaganda organization. It's not a news channel. I don't think we're obligated to have our our debates on stations that are really not news channels and that's what Tom decided to do and I think that makes sense. SMERCONISH: The response from Chris Wallace in an interview that he did with "The New York Times" argued differently. No surprise. Among other things, he said, "There are a lot of viewers that a Democrat is going to need to get elected president who watch 'Fox News,' people in the Rust Belt states, the rural areas that Hillary lost. They would have been able to see the Democratic candidates make their arguments about why they're better able to represent their interests."

You know this argument. It's one that says, hey, the party is cutting off its nose to spite its face.

DEAN: I don't think so. First of all, I think Mike Wallace is a really good journalist and I have a lot of respect for him. He just happens to work for a propaganda outfit instead of a news channel. Secondly, the people who watch "Fox News" are already cemented in. They watch it, they are true believers. They're not "Fox" viewers. If they're casual "Fox" viewers, they'll turn and see the debate on "CNN" or "MSNBC" or whatever, but the hardcore people, we're not going to get to the hardcore people.

[09:20:04] They don't like the Democrats, they do love Donald Trump and at this point, anybody who loves Donald Trump is way beyond our reach and should be.

SMERCONISH: Correct me if I'm wrong, but when you were seeking the Democratic nod, you yourself would often make frequent appearances on "Fox News." Has the network changed or has your perspective changed?

DEAN: I think the network has changed dramatically. I used to go on "Fox" on Chris' Sunday show. He's tough, but very fair and there are a few decent journalists on "Fox," although there are a lot fewer than there used to be, but "Fox" -- you know, Jane Mayer was right in the article in "The New York Times." If you have a relationship with this most corrupt president in the history of the United States and you're feeding him news and he's calling your hosts all the time, this is not a true news outlet. This is a propaganda outfit. I would no more have us go on "Fox News" than I would on RT, Russian television.

SMERCONISH: The Democratic National Convention, Florida or Wisconsin. What does Howard Dean think the party should do in selecting the locale?

DEAN: Unfortunately, I have some feelings about it, but I can't talk about it because I'm talking to Tom about it. It's a hard decision to make. Obviously, both of those states are terrific. Actually, Houston, I think, is also still in the running and that's another state that I think we can -- as you pointed out earlier in the show, that I think we can make some progress in. So you know, I'm not going to get into where the convention should be. That, ultimately, is Tom's decision and I'm sure he's going to make it quite soon.

SMERCONISH: It seems -- it seems to embody, you know, which direction the party seeks to go in. Is it -- is it going to be returning to its blue-collar roots or pursue multi-cultural Millennials? And if you have the choice between, I'll stick with Wisconsin and Florida, you've got to throw your lot in with one or the other. Am I reading too much into it?

DEAN: Yes. Absolutely. This is really complicated stuff and it actually has a lot more to do with how many hotel rooms and how many taxicabs the city does than the political calculation. I'm serious. When I put the convention in Denver and I wanted to do it because there was a Western strategy and which has turned out to be the right strategy over the last 12 years -- Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and so forth, Arizona.

But, you know, that's not how it ended up in Denver. That's why I wanted Denver, but then you've got to figure out the hotels, the taxi cabs, how far it is and on and on and on and on. So the final decision is much more complicated than just, oh, let's go here or let's go there because of certain groups that happen to live in the state.

SMERCONISH: Governor, thanks for coming back.

DEAN: Thanks for having me on.

SMERCONISH: More social media reaction now. Smerconish Twitter and Facebook pages. This one comes, I think , from Facebook. "DNC marginalizes themselves by refusing to work with 'Fox.'" Joe Ferraro, my view is that the the Democratic Party is on the outside looking in when it comes to the White House and to win back the White House, you've got to go play in some uncomfortable quarters.

By the way, I'm the least surprised person by anything that Jane Mayer wrote in that piece. I totally get it. I agree with her assessment, but you're not going to go on and have a debate with, you know, the primetime lineup. You're going to go on with the more credible news people, I think, if that's the way that you go.

I want to remind you to answer the survey question at today. The two-party system is broken and the country needs a third party. Agree or disagree?

Up ahead, just a few months into her first term, Ilhan Omar is in hot water for a statement many regarded as anti-Semitic. Was the Muslim Minnesota congresswoman out of line? I'll ask Thomas Friedman of "The New York Times," one of many famous people who grew up in Omar's district in St. Louis Park.

And R&B singer R. Kelly went on TV trying to fight charges of sexual assault of underage girls, but his answers were undermined by his body language. I'll consult with a former DOJ law enforcement officer and body language expert.


R. KELLY, MUSICIAN: Quit playing. I'm fighitng for my f****** (ph) life. Y'all killing me with this s*** (ph).





SMERCONISH: After riding the wave of midterm and shutdown victories, the Democratic Congress hit a bump this week, spending a lot of time on the wording of an anti-hate resolution due to the behavior of one of its own members. Ilhan Omar, a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota's fifth district, is Congress' first Somali-American and one of its first two Muslim women, but Omar has been critical of Israel on Twitter over the years in ways that has many attacking her for anti- Semitism.

Her most recent one led to a showdown. On February 10, she tweeted that she's been attacked for her anti-Israel stance because, quote, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby." When asked who she thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, she responded AIPAC. Meaning the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the United States' most prominent pro-Israel lobby.

Joining me now is Thomas Friedman, the columnist for "The New York Times" who actually grew up in Omar's district in Minneapolis. As a matter of fact, he calls himself one of the frozen chosen in this piece, "Ilhan Omar, AIPAC and Me." His most recent book is "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations." Tom, you agree with the congresswoman relative to AIPAC, at least in certain respects. Where do you disagree on the bigger issues?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST: Well, Michael, I have a motto in terms of approaching this whole Arab- Israeli conflict, which I've been following and writing about for 40 years since my first book, "From Beirut to Jerusalem," and my motto is do you want to make a point or do you want to make a difference? That's motto number one and number two, are you being constructive or destructive?


So on that question, that is where my indictment of AIPAC is rooted.

I believe in the last decade they've been a very destructive force to what I think is the only solution for that conflict and that is a two- state solution. AIPAC has slavishly thrown in its support behind Prime Minister BB Netanyahu in two ways which I find deeply troubling and have called out in my column.

One is Netanyahu has involved in creating settlements deep in the heart of the West Bank that will make separation between Israelis and Palestinians in any kind of peace deal extremely difficult if not impossible. I think that is destructive to the long-term interest of Israel as a Jewish state. AIPAC has vetted that and oppose that, number one.

Number two, back in 2015, AIPAC was party to what I thought was one of the most shameful interventions in American politics. The Israeli prime minister basically in partnership with the Republican minority got himself invited to do a joint speech or a joint session of congress, without informing then President Barack Obama. He did it at a time when BB Netanyahu was running for re-election.

He in effect used the platform of our Congress to attack our president, to abet his re-election campaign and he did it with the support of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. I thought that was shameful.

That is where I come from. Where I differ from Congresswoman Omar, is that I have been very clear since I was 15-years-old that there was only one way to solve this problem and that is with a two-state solution. A state for Israelis and a state for Palestinians.

Representative Omar has endorsed that view sometimes, other times she suggested that is not her view, and I think she has been very unclear about that and when you wade into this story, Michael, I will stop here, and you are not clear what your bottom line is, and you start throwing around critiques of one group or another, you invite the kind of blowbacks she got.

SMERCONISH: I thought that your column was excellent in that it simplified a very complex situation. And by the way, I heard that from many radio listeners and friends and folks whose opinions I respect.

Here's a summation that I would offer. Is it fair to say that her mistake was not in criticizing Israel but in relying on a trope as a means of doing so?

FRIEDMAN: Yes. I mean, you've got to remember in my -- a critique (INAUDIBLE) my column was very specific. My critique is Ilhan Omar represents I believe the biggest Jewish community in the whole upper mid-west. My little hometown of St. Louis Park and its environs in Minneapolis. As you noted it was a really interesting community. We spun off a lot of very interesting people from our little town, Al Franken, Norm Ornstein, the Coen brothers, Michael Sandel and Sharon Isbin the guitar -- a whole bunch of really interesting people came out of it. And because we have an amazing civic culture.

She represents that community. She also represents a strong Somali immigrant community that's come to our city since that and added their voice and their richness and their color. She was perfectly poised to be a bridge builder between Muslims and Jews, between Arabs and Israelis and rather than come to Washington and be a bridge builder, she has come to be a bridge destroyer.

I hope she has learned from this experience. Because she could be a real bridge builder. It's natural. There are few people in Congress whom are naturally have a constituency to be a bridge builder than she does.

SMERCONISH: She is not. What Tom Friedman is saying she is not a victim in this story in this situation. She is more, I don't want to put word in your mouth this is my opinion. She is more culprit for the reprehensible things that she has said and done in this regard than she is someone who's be victimized. FRIEDMAN: I go back to my point. Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a difference? Do you want to be constructive or destructive?

You know, there are constructive ways to be critical of AIPAC right now or this administration's policy. You can ask why is it we have eliminated all aid to Palestinians? This is the first administration to do that.

I'm talking about aid for schools and social services. What is that strategy about? You can come to Washington and ask that question. You can come to Washington and say we have committed to Israeli $40 billion for 10 years for security assistance.

We also spend $45 billion a year in Afghanistan. Yet we give virtually nothing -- a billion dollars over five years to Tunisia, the one Arab democracy or to Jordan, an incredible island of decency. There are real serious policy questions you could ask that would be constructive.

But when you come in and start throwing around these tropes about dual allegiance, about Israel and Jews hypnotizing people, no one is going to believe you are innocent here because you are not being constructive. And when you come from this district that has such a strong Jewish and Muslim population, where you are set up to be a bridge builder and all you do you is be a bridge destroyer, then you are on my criticism list.


SMERCONISH: Tom, said differently, I love Israelis and the Palestinians, but God save me from their American friends. The closing line from your excellent column. Thank you for coming back to the program.

FRIEDMAN: My pleasure, Michael. Thank you and congratulations on five years of decency.

SMERCONISH: Yes, thanks, for that.

Still to come, R&B singer R. Kelly went on TV to defend himself against charges of sexual abuse of underage girls. To me, his body language contradicted a lot of his words. I'll break it down with a body language expert. She consults for law enforcement.


R. KELLY, MUSICIAN: Thirty years of my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) career!


KELLY: Thirty years of my career! And you all are trying to kill me! You're killing me, man. This is not about music!




SMERCONISH: By now you know that R&B singer R. Kelly gave an explosive interview with CBS' Gayle King about being charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse against underage teens as young as 13.

What Kelly said made headline but what struck me just as much was what he wasn't saying but what his body language was telling us. And I wanted to examine it closely but with an expert.

So joining me now is body language expert Janine Driver. She's the president of Body Language Institute. She has spent 16 years as a DOJ law enforcement officer and now works with lawyers, and judges, the ATF, the FBI, the CIA, the DIA, and International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Janine, I want to do what I like to say Zapruder (ph) the tape. So let's start with the relatively calm part. I'll role it and then we can discuss. Play it.



KING: Have you ever had sex with --


KING: -- anyone under the age of 17?


KING: Never?



SMERCONISH: What are you seeing in that, Janine?

DRIVER: What any human being watching will see, Michael, which is he is trying, he is trying his hardest to say no but his body language and his head gesture, I've never seen anything like it this dramatic.

So he is starting with a no and he turns into a yes. And when I speak at corporate key notes I make the whole audience of 10,000 people -- I go everyone look at the person next to you and say are you happy to be here and say, no, or say yes. It -- his body language is leaking the truth. Our brain doesn't want to us lie and it comes out like this.

SMERCONISH: OK. I think in this next one, he does the opposite.


SMERCONISH: Let's play it and then you can comment.


KING: So they're lying on you, that's your explanation, they're lying on you

KELLY: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.


SMERCONISH: Janine, what are you seeing?

DRIVER: Absolutely. Absolutely, absolutely, so we see him shaking his head no here -- he really says absolutely. He says it three times. And even more importantly than shaking his head no here is his tone and pitch begins to go down, down, down.

And when someone is being deceptive and they're lying, you will often hear an increase or a decrease in their pitch, Michael. We saw this with Britney Spears when she told Matt Lauer years ago, my marriage is not in a crisis. She goes, no, it's no in a crisis. Two weeks later she files for a divorce, boom.

This change in tone and pitch 85 percent of the time when we are lying, there is that increase or decrease. So we see body language and a change in pitch.

SMERCONISH: There were -- there were times that he doesn't answer the question at all. I got one those queued up for Janine Driver. Play it.


KING: So I think the point you are making is, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you have never held anybody against their will?

KELLY: That's stupid. Use your common sense. Don't, forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to, love me if you want. But just use your common sense, how stupid would it be for me with my crazy past and what I have been through, oh, right now, I just think I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement and don't let them eat and don't let them out unless they need some shoes down the street from their uncle.


SMERCONISH: I mean, it was -- it was a simple yes or no question. And he never gets to the answer, correct?

DRIVER: Oh my gosh, this is like body language detecting deception gold. So he does smoke screening here. He doesn't answer the question. The best answer here with any question when a yes or no is involved the strongest answer is simply a yes or a no.

So he does this big smoke screening and just goes crazy. We saw something similar with remember Governor Sanford, he left the country with his mistress in Argentina.


DRIVER: Roger Clemens up on the Hill --

SMERCONISH: Appalachian Trail.

DRIVER: Yes. And Roger Clemens up on the Hill lying about taking steroids, had Andy (INAUDIBLE) told me had I knowing knew then what I now know now, this talking in riddles, the stalling technique, the smoke screening, is indicative of people who are keeping the truth from us.

SMERCONISH: Do you know that when you were on my Sirius XM radio program this week there was more reaction to something you said about Gayle than what you said about R. Kelly. Now I'm going to play the tape. I don't want to give it away on CNN. Talk to me about Gayle. Play it.

DRIVER: All right so Gayle right here, look at her toe is going to go up. When we see our toe go up, this is, see her toe. Look at her foot.

SMERCONISH: Yes, I see it.

DRIVER: This is excitement. So she knows this is interviewing gold, she's like, oh my gosh, I couldn't have scripted this better. Jussie Smollett couldn't have written a script any better than what's reality here.

Her toe goes up. This is excitement and at one we even see her smile and laugh. And she remains completely calm.

I give her, listen, if there was an Oscar right now for interviewers, it would definitely go to Gayle King. She remains calm, she doesn't flinch one bit. She's excited about what we see here. That toe going up -- so if you're in a date --

SMERCONISH: OK. But what about --

DRIVER: -- it's good news.

SMERCONISH: What about -- yes -- what about in a general sense the toe going up? I think I just cut you off. You were about to offer the payoff. Go ahead.


DRIVER: Right. If you're -- if you go on a date and the woman's shoe suddenly goes up, it's defying gravity, it's I'm so excitement, my shoe can't even stay down. It's like Joey from "Friends" used to be like, how are you doing? That eyebrow flash.

This is excitement. Gayle knew it and she killed it. I was very impressed. SMERCONISH: OK. The most animated part. I think what I'm going to do is put you on the split screen. Take down his volume and have you walk us through what Janine Driver sees. Do it.


KELLY: I didn't do this stuff.


DRIVER: All right. OK. So he's hitting his chest right here. These are called illustrators. And it's congruent with what he is trying to convince us of which is he is angry.

This is legit anger. He stands up. Look at this -- I want everyone to notice at home, do you see how he steps away from Gayle? This is actually right here. It's this distancing. This is what we see with aggressive.

Before someone attacks you'll often see a step back. I'm Janine Driver, the mother of three sons, the wife of Leif Larson. But when I take a step back this Janine is going to punch you in the face. I'm impressed with Gayle remaining calm.

This is genuine anger where we -- if we were to compare him to Judge Kavanaugh -- Judge Kavanaugh was kind of pushed to be more aggressive because his first interview was a little too passive. And it was really staged anger.

This is legit anger but this is likely connected to, he is going to jail, he is not going to see his kids raised. And so right here we get this -- the illustrators match what he is saying. It's just --

SMERCONISH: OK. But, Janine --

DRIVER: -- not connected with lying.

SMERCONISH: Why isn't -- why isn't this the legitimate angry reaction of someone unjustly accused? You know, how would you expect someone who is unjustly accused to react?

DRIVER: Michael, you're a smart cookie and I love that you asked me that question. We looking for clusters. So we're looking for multiple clusters and what we see with R. Kelly is shaking his head yes when saying no. Shaking his head no when saying yes.

He does should shrugs which are uncertainty. And what he's talking about here is he's not being direct saying I didn't do this, they're liars. See, what happens is, when someone is lying on television, look at the Roger Clemens of the world, they won't come out and say to Brian McNamee you're a liar.

And what we hear right here is R. Kelly is not coming out saying she's a liar. She's a liar. And they're lying.

They're not coming out and saying it. This is what liars tend to do. They just say, I'm a victim.

SMERCONISH: Final -- final question on a totally different subject. But like many others I was trance fixed by that Michael Jackson documentary. I know you scrutinized one of the accusers, James Safechuck, I have got a short clip. Play it. Let's ask Janine Driver what she thinks. Real brief.




SMERCONISH: What are you seeing there, Janine?

DRIVER: I call this the BCN, when you bite your lip off to the side, Michael, it is bad events happened, concerns or negative thoughts. This emotion and this little expression is not something we see when people are lying and staged their emotion.

I came in thinking these guys are lying and wanted money. And I walked out saying, oh my gosh, these guys are telling the truth.

SMERCONISH: Can somebody who has done bad things engage you and come off as compelling. I mean, could you teach this to some bad seed?

DRIVER: I would love liars to come to me because here's what happens, Michael, you remember the truth. You're telling us the lie. And now you can't unsee, unheard, unexperience what I share with you. So the liars totally fall apart.

Because you're like, oh my gosh, I did the shoulder shrug, and you start to analyze yourself, as a matter of fact, the more liars that come to me, the more I teach them, the more they are not going to get away with it. And we're going to keep people safe and protect your friends, your family and your finances.

SMERCONISH: OK. I am out of time, but, Jussie Smollett. Credible or incredible?

DRIVER: Unbelievable. Body language gold.

I did a three-hour, four-hour documentary where I decoded every single step. Put it on YouTube, so people can go there. Or every Wednesday night I do a Facebook live show called "Celebrity Lie Detector Live" where I broke them down.

SMERCONISH: OK. But give me the bottom line. Come on.

What's the bottom line?

DRIVER: Bottom line this guy is a liar. It is scripted. He literally -- I'll give you a quick tip -- he said, we tussled. We emplies a relationship. Anytime someone is attacked. They never say we. We tussled. And if someone's attacking you then it is not called a tussle. Before the brothers even got arrested I came out and did a Facebook live saying, he knew it, it was scripted. He said, attacked me over by the stairs. And what happened? Lo and behold everything I predicted was true.

SMERCONISH: Janine, thank you so much.

DRIVER: Thanks, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Still to some your best and worst tweets and Facebook comments. And we'll give you the final results of the survey question. You can still go vote at

The two-party system is broken and the country needs a third party. Do you agree or disagree?



SMERCONISH: Time to see how you responded to the survey question at the, by the way, all new

The two-party system is broken and the country needs a third party. Agree or disagree.

Survey says -- I like this -- 7,499 votes cast, 74 percent, let's call it three quarters agree. We need a third party, 26 percent disagree.

Here's some of the reaction that came in during the course of the program. Katherine (ph), what do we have?

"Smerconish, no no no. We can't get anything done now with two parties. Why put more cooks in the kitchen?"

Gina, imagine if there were three or four independents in the Senate, and by the way, there's a group that's trying to do this, they call it the fulcrum strategy. Then you would have all the Rs and the Ds needing to cooperate through those independents. I have the complete opposite reaction.


Hit me with another one, if you don't mind.

"Smerconish, as a Dem I get the Fox boycott. As an American, I don't."

T. Anthony, I had a professor in college, name was Frank Colon. Dr. Colon said to me, in government one day, remember this, political parties exist for one purpose and that is to win elections. Dr. Frank Colon, Lehigh University, circa 1982.

Is that a strategy that is going to win elections? That's the question for Tom Perez. We all understand his anger and antipathy (ph) toward Fox, but that's the issue. Remember "My American Life In Columns" tour continues. Next weekend in Chicago, April 7 in Wilkes-Barre, P.A.; New York City April 22, Atlanta on the 29th, and Nashville, Tennessee, April 30.

See you soon. Thank you.