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The Prosecution Gets Close to Resting in Trial of Derek Chauvin; Attorney for Accused ex-Officer Reacts to Chauvin Trial; GOP Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz Under Investigation for Possible Sex Trafficking; Filmmaker Believes He Unmasked QAnon Leader; Filmmaker Believes He Unmasked QAnon Leader; The Controversy Over Transgender Girls in Sports. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 10, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Reid and this is CNN.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: The prosecution gets close to resting. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We're now two weeks into the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in connection with the death of George Floyd. The prosecution continues to make its case in a week filled with potentially devastating testimony, including Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo who thoroughly rejected Chauvin's actions as a violation of policy and not part of his training.
He joined the chorus of law enforcement voices testifying against Chauvin, but the case could come down to causation. Medical experts also weighed in. A toxicologist, a forensic pathologist, a pulmonary care critical doctor, the latter testifying that Floyd died from a low level of oxygen, saying that even a healthy person subjected to what Floyd was subjected to would have died.
That's not exactly the same as what the jurors heard from the Hennepin County chief medical examiner. On the stand, he said that Floyd's underlying medical conditions and any drugs that he may have had in his system could have been contributing factors in his death, but not the direct cause, which he maintains is, quote, "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression."
Each witness helping to paint a clearer picture of those final moments in George Floyd's life. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second- degree unintentional murder, third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges and while Chauvin is at the very center of events surrounding George Floyd's death, he's not the only officer who will stand trial for it. Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane and two others have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Authorities said that Lane and another officer held down other of Floyd's body parts. Lane's attorney said that Chauvin declined Lane's suggestions to roll Floyd onto his side.
So, is Chauvin's trial a harbinger of things to come for these other three officers? Thomas Lane's attorney Earl Gray joins me now. Counselor, thanks for coming back to the program. I'm an attorney paying close attention, trying not to be swayed by other legal pundits. Here's what I see. I see a prosecution case that's gone in very well with the defense best shot, maybe only shot, being causation. Why am I wrong?
EARL GRAY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER THOMAS LANE: Well, I think you might be right. The best defense on this case from Chauvin's standpoint is the causation. What you -- excuse me. What you must remember, and you're a lawyer, is that the state, because it has the burden of proof, goes first and you have not heard the defense case yet. That'll come in next week and I think when the defense case comes in and what the defense tries to establish as reasonable doubt, I think there will be reasonable doubt with respect to the causation.
I think even with Baker's testimony, the last question by Attorney Blackwell that you determined this was a homicide was sort of unfair because that left an impression on the jury that his opinion of homicide is important. It isn't important in the criminal arena. The homicide that Baker is talking about deals with an autopsy and not the criminal law and he did testify to that.
I guess in hindsight if I were representing Chauvin, I might have had the last word there and pointed out to the jury that even though Baker says homicide, all that means is death at the hands of another. It does not determine any type of crime and again ...
SMERCONISH: On the ...
GRAY: Go ahead. Yes.
SMERCONISH: Yes. I was going to say on the -- on the excessive force aspect of this case, if I want to, in a rudimentary way, divide it into excessive force and then causation, the reason I find it so compelling, and you perhaps are agreeing with me, is the blue-on-blue quotient.
I mean, there have been any number, by my count about a half dozen, members of that police department. Forget Steiger, the guy who came in from L.A. You've had the chief, you had Lieutenant Zimmerman, you had the Supervisory Sergeant Pleoger in addition to others who said, hey, he violated the standard in some form or another. On causation, Counselor, there are two sides (ph). There are two very brief audio clips that I want to run.
First, there was the pulmonologist, Tobin. Bottom line is here's why he said George Floyd died. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. MARTIN TOBIN, PHYSICIAN, PULMONARY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE: The cause of death is a low level of oxygen that caused the brain damage and caused the heart to stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Low level of oxygen, asphyxia by another name. Then came the medical examiner Baker yesterday. He's the only one who performed the autopsy and in cross-examination by Counselor Nelson, here was the exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANDREW BAKER, HENNEPIN COUNTY CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: You and I kind of just pivoted from strangulation, which is really pressure to the front of the neck, to the pressure of the back of the neck and that's just not something that I think we see as medical examiners, pressure to the back of the neck explaining a strangulation.
ERIC NELSON, DEREK CHAUVIN'S ATTORNEY: Or an asphyxiation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: He doesn't see asphyxiation and yet Tobin, the pulmonologist, did, but is that going to get lost in the weeds in front of this jury in the midst of a lot of medical testimony?
GRAY: Well, hopefully not. You know that the test of an expert opinion is the same as a witness. You have to look at the reasonableness of their testimony, whether or not it makes sense and what their bias is in this case.
And I think if you started with Mr. Tobin telling or Dr. Tobin telling the jurors that he's doing this for nothing and he spent I don't know how many hours and he's seen a million patients -- millions of patients, he can tell when somebody dies just by looking at his face, the immediate second when he dies, some of that stuff appears, to me at least, to be a little unreasonable and a little bit not true, incredible. So ...
SMERCONISH: Well, but it's a -- it's a glass -- it's a glass half empty, glass half full kind of thing with Tobin because on one hand, OK, he's not getting paid. Wow, what a virtuous individual. On the other hand, somebody looks at it and says he's a little too eager to want to be a part of this case.
GRAY: Yes. And I can't remember how many hours he spent on this and how many times he looked at the video. What I'm thinking in my mind when I was watching his testimony is, gee, my client, Thomas Lane, didn't have the luxury of all of that time. He was at the scene during -- the other thing is they call this altercation in the back of the squad car as a minor incident. Look at the altercation, watch the vehicle, the squad car, rock back and forth front to back and it does not look like a minor altercation. So ... SMERCONISH: But in the end -- in the -- in the end ...
SMERCONISH: ... you must be concerned both for the fate of your client as Eric Nelson is for Derek Chauvin. The video, that video is now ingrained. The video of the knee on the neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. When all is said and done, isn't that what the jury is most going to think about? You get the final word.
GRAY: Well, in Officer Chauvin's case, I might agree with you that that is the main piece of evidence. I think you couple that with the fact there are no bruises on his neck, according to Baker, Dr. Baker, you can alleviate a lot of that knee on the neck evidence.
But I'm not the lawyer representing Chauvin and I'm not as concerned about that as the idea that my client, four days on the job, has the unreasonable duty to intervene after he said twice shall we roll him over, the first-time way within two or three minutes of him being held on the ground and ...
SMERCONISH: I got it. Well, we'll get to your guy when we get to that trial. By the way, I thought Tobin, the pulmonologist, had a ready- made line for the lack of bruising on George Floyd's neck in the autopsy which was him saying I go to church and I sit on a hard bench and I don't come home with a bruise, establishing himself as a man of faith and also making a significant point. The trial's had a lot of those interesting moments.
SMERCONISH: Thank you very much, Earl Gray. I appreciate your time.
GRAY: Yes. Bye.
SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me @Smerconish, go to my Facebook page. I'll read some responses throughout the course of the program. Catherine, what do we have? From Facebook, "For heaven's sake, Smerconish! Why are we overthinking the obvious? The truth is out there for everyone to see and we've seen it aplenty. Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Period!"
OK. Just slow the clock down. I have to respond to Sonia. Sonia, I'm an attorney. I'm paying close attention to this trial. You heard me say to the counselor for one of the other officers that I think the prosecution case has gone in very strong. Did you hear that part? And that the only shot perhaps that the defense has is one of causation.
And I feel the need, in a five- or six-minute long segment, to lay that out for the audience because I don't know that the audience is hearing it, frankly, from a lot of other folks who are paying close attention to this trial and I don't want there to be an expectation that ends up causing harm in different communities if this case doesn't turn out the way that everybody seems to think is a slam dunk and a certainty. I think it's a strong likelihood that Derek Chauvin is convicted of something, maybe manslaughter, but we shouldn't presume that will necessarily be the case and because causation is an important aspect of the trial.
up ahead, GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz is generating some weird headlines and billboards in Florida as the Justice Department works to determine whether he broke sex trafficking or prostitution laws, but Florida and weird stories go hand in hand. I'll speak to former "Herald" columnist, best-selling author Carl Hiaasen who has covered his fair share of so-called "Florida man" stories.
And has Q of QAnon finally been exposed? The documentary filmmaker says yes, but my guest says there's probably more forces at play.
And these two Connecticut transgender female runners were the subject of a complaint made by their competitors' parents who allege that trans girls have an unfair advantage in sports and now, more than half of the states in the United States have introduced legislation aimed at changing the way trans girls and women compete. I'll speak with a trans female athlete and scholar who's written extensively on this issue.
I want to know what you think. Go to my website at Smerconish.com right now and answer this week's survey question. Should transgender female students be restricted from participating in female sports?
SMERCONISH: Florida never seems to fail to provide the weirdest, the wildest headlines. Look no further than the scandal surrounding one of their congressmen. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida has lawyered up as the Justice Department works to determine whether he violated sex trafficking or prostitution laws. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing. Last night, he spoke publicly at a conservative summit held at Donald Trump's Doral Miami Golf Resort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I'm built for the battle and I'm not going anywhere. The smears against me range from distortions of my personal life to wild, and I mean wild, conspiracy theories. I won't be intimidated by a lying media and I won't be extorted by a former DOJ officials and the crooks he is working with. The truth will prevail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Here to discuss, someone who's written about Florida scandals for over three decades. Carl Hiaasen, recently retired columnist from the "Miami Herald." His last column was titled "With or without me, Florida will always be wonderfully, unrelentingly weird." He's also a best-selling author of multiple adult and children's novels, all of which are set in Florida. His most recent, "Squeeze Me." It takes place in a post-pandemic Palm Beach where Donald Trump is still president. What a privilege to have you on the program.
CARL HIAASEN, BESTSELLING AUTHOR/RETIRED COLUMNIST, THE MIAMI HERALD: Thank you (ph).
SMERCONISH: Quote, "There is nothing you can invent in a Florida novel that won't eventually come true here." I guess Matt Gaetz is living proof.
HIAASEN: Yes, he is. I mean, it wasn't entirely unexpected, but, you know, I don't think anyone expected he would go full-on Charlie Sheen, you know, right off the bat, but every new day, there's going to be a lot of stuff coming out. It's just this is the one time I miss -- I miss still not doing the column.
SMERCONISH: You reflected in your final column. We had it on the screen prematurely. Put that back up because here's what you said about 1976 when you were cutting your teeth. You said with regard to South Florida, it "was growing into an outrageously fertile news mecca -- weird, violent, drug-soaked, exuberantly corrupt." Have things changed?
HIAASEN: It's gotten worse. I mean in the sense that we've become sort of numb to this kind of news flow, Michael. I mean, Matt Gaetz shakes things up a bit, but we've seen so much, especially in the way of scandals. If you look back, Florida seems to be a place where politicians and particular prominent people come just to get in trouble.
You go back to Gary Hart or you go back to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is cohorting with escorts in Florida and the -- and the way he's identified is that he refuses to take off these long black socks. That's all he's wearing during these encounters and they seem to remember that and even like General David Petraeus, for God's sakes, one of the most decorated military men in our lifetimes, comes to Florida and immediately gets in trouble for having an affair with his biographer and divulging information that he shouldn't have.
So, I mean, it's just -- we're used to these sorts of stumbles. I don't think we're necessarily used to sort of the spectacular, you know, way that he -- you know, Matt's going down in flames a bit quicker than most of them do.
SMERCONISH: So, what is it? I mean, is there something in the water? Is there something in the Gulf? What is it about Florida that seems to bring out the weird?
HIAASEN: I think people come here believing they can get away with stuff because so much has been gotten away with and I think when you have the combination of this kind of arrogance with stupidity -- and let's not -- if you've seen some of the interviews, you've seen some of the things, you know, Gaetz has said, he's not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I mean, if he's sending money to women on a public Venmo account, he's not a candidate for Mensa. He's no master criminal, but you get so numb to it after a while I think, but on the other hand, it gives hope to others who think, well, he got away with it, we can get away with anything in Florida and a lot -- a lot has gotten away with here.
SMERCONISH: Carl, if it's a true Carl Hiaasen story, the Gaetz story, there's a -- there's a -- there's a floater in there somewhere. Where's the floater?
HIAASEN: Well, in the parlance of homicide, that's a dead body floating somewhere. Let's hope that the floater in this one is not dead, it's just probably, you know, maybe somebody lounging in a swimming pool they shouldn't have. I think the trail leads, of course, to this and through this Joel Greenberg who was the Seminole County tax collector.
He wasn't just one of Matt Gaetz's best buddies. He was the Seminole County tax collector who's now facing 33 counts, including child sex trafficking and, you know, in Florida, even Floridians know that if your best buddy gets busted for -- charged with child sex trafficking, you got problems even. If you're not a politician, you probably need to call a lawyer and I think Gaetz just got around to doing that. So who knows where the trail is going to lead on this. Again, it's almost -- I almost regret having retired a couple weeks too early.
SMERCONISH: A final thought. You've convinced me there is only one state in the union that could appropriately house the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library.
HIAASEN: You know, we can't -- we can't -- we can't wait to see that come. I'm sure it'll become some sort of shrine. You know, the whole -- the whole wasp's nest of that has moved down here now. It's in Mar- a-Lago and, you know, we'll see. The question, it's not where in Florida, it's where in Florida they're actually going to allow it. There'll be controversy wherever it goes. It's not going to be welcomed, I don't think.
You know, they're trying to name a highway after him now, Michael, Route 27, which is not inappropriate. It's a truck route. So, you know, I didn't have that big an objection. A lot of people seem to think he doesn't deserve even a truck route being named after him at this point.
SMERCONISH: Nice to have you here. I wish you good things in retirement from the column, but not from the books. Thank you, Carl Hiaasen.
HIAASEN: No, I'm still going to -- I'll still be writing. Thanks for having me on, man.
SMERCONISH: You got it. Let's see what you're saying via my Smerconish Twitter and Facebook pages. This comes from the world of Twitter. "I think it is much ado about nothing without indictment and I am not even sure the Republicans would rid us of him in the House with an indictment! So basically, it's just salacious hype for now and we have to wait and see what unfolds."
Well, that's true. To your point about Republicans in the House, I made this observation to Cuomo earlier in the week. I think that apart from Adam Kinzinger, I think he's the only one who has said, hey, you know, these guys got to go, I think they're afraid of the base, right?
I mean, they're scared to death -- they probably have no fondness for Gaetz, a guy who gets a lot of attention and has sharp elbows, but they don't want to take him on because they don't want to alienate the base and they think, you know, the base is probably still on his side. We'll see.
An "HBO" documentary filmmaker believes that he's unmasked Q of QAnon fame. Is one person really responsible for leading thousands to believe in the bogus theory that tore families apart and contributed to violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6?
Plus, West Virginia state senators just approved a measure banning transgender girls and women from competing on secondary and college sport teams. At least 30 other states have introduced similar bans this year, saying allowing an athlete born male to compete in women's sports gives them unfair advantage. I'm going to talk to a trans female athlete who will take on those arguments.
And I want to know what you think. I hope you're going to my website. Answer this week's survey question. Should transgender female students be restricted from participating in female sports?
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Max Foster in Windsor, England. This is CNN.
SMERCONISH: Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, the linchpin in President Joe Biden's agenda, this week said that his commitment to bipartisanship was strengthened by one major event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): January 6th changed me, and I was very clear with everybody. I never thought in my life, I never read in history books to where our form of government had been attacked at our seat of government, which is Washington D.C., at our Capitol by our own people. Now, the British did it, but not Americans. So, something told me, wait a minute, pause, hit the pause button, something's wrong. You can't have this many people split to where they want to go to war with each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Among those who were ready to go to war that day, supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory and now an "HBO" documentary claims to have an answer as to the long burning question who is Q, the mysterious figure who inspired such division? As the documentary explains, Q first popped up on 4chan message boards in 2017 as an anonymous user claiming to have a high level of U.S. security approval known as Q clearance.
Q's cryptic messages reached mainstream social networking sites and people bought into the false premises that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against elite Satan worshiping pedophiles in society. Hence, the belief that Trump's election loss would be overturned on January 6th.
For years a filmmaker Cullen Hoback chronicled eccentric characters in the Q verse piecing together his own set of evidence on Q's identity. He concludes that at least some of Q's posts were made by Ron Watkins, whose 8chan board eventually became the home for Q posts and this is the climactic moment where Watkins himself may have said too much.
RON WATKINS, AMERICAN CONSPIRACY THEORIST: Thinking back on it like -- it was basically -- it was basically three years of intelligence training teaching normies how to do intelligence work. It's basically what I was doing anonymously before but never as Q.
CULLEN HOBACK, AMERICAN FILMMAKER: See that smile? Ron had slipped up. He knew it and I knew it. And after three tireless years of cat and mouse -- well --
WATKINS: Never as Q. I promise. Never.
WATKINS: Because I am not Q. I never was.
SMERCONISH: My next guest believes the answer to Q's identity not so simple. Joan Donovan joins me now, a Harvard University lecturer and Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Dr. Donovan, why do you think that there were think multiple people posting as Q and not just one individual?
JOAN DONOVAN, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, SHORENSTEIN CENTER, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Over the years, as you study this, there are lots of different clues and I think that the documentary really shows them. Well, you know, the posting style changes, linguistically, but mainly the way that I look at this is through the infrastructure. And it's just not possible to have something as prolific as the QAnon phenomenon happening on your Web site and not know who it is and not be part of the network conspiracy.
SMERCONISH: Dr. Donovan, I'll bet that many watching us now have no idea what goes on or did go on at 4chan, 8chan or 8kun. What exactly would you tell them in terms of describing these message boards? DONOVAN: I would say don't go. And I say that in earnest because what you're going to find is that the thing that made Q really alluring as an entity on these message boards is because they were dropping these secret messages from the government, supposedly. But it was surrounded by Nazi propaganda, torture, child pornography. It is not a place that you want to frequent.
And, frankly, as a researcher, there is just a lot of things you can't unsee and if you don't have the stomach for that kind of stuff, I wouldn't go. I really wouldn't recommend it.
SMERCONISH: Why is there seemingly such a draw from some former military?
DONOVAN: There's something about the QAnon theory set and especially the way that General Flynn plays into the story line that really draws in a lot of military and veterans. And I think at the heart of the conspiracy theory, in and of itself, is this notion that the state is corrupt.
And so if you're a veteran or someone in the military you've built a pretty large piece of your identity around the idea that you are part of that system that protects democracy. And so when Q was happening and there were all of these signs that -- you know, that he was talking to the president and the president was talking back to him, that moment, when the president says, yes, democracy is imperiled, that is the moment when these people turned from those that are following the Q phenomenon and they become actors in it.
SMERCONISH: Where are we today? As far as I know, Q has not posted since December. What is the state of this situation?
DONOVAN: So, I caution people to think about QAnon as a separate phenomenon from what we already know about truther communities or conspiracy communities online. If we think back to 9/11, most of us, of course, were still getting our news from cable and print and radio.
But online there were several documentaries and memes, particularly the meme around jet fuel melting steel beams or that the towers -- there was no plane at all, that it was CGI or that the towers were blown up from the inside. So, if you think about network conspiracy as a set of communities online that all make the story together, they all make the narrative together, then you just -- what up end up seeing is, over the last two decades, you see very clearly that QAnon is just a blip in a very long story about deep-state corruption and the role of elites in controlling the minds of the public.
SMERCONISH: Right. I mean, there seems to be a chicken and egg aspect of this. These folks were among us and presumably already prone to buying into conspiracy theory before Q or QAnon ever came along.
Final comment I wanted to tell you because I had the privilege of having you on my SiriusXM radio program. And after I conducted my interview with you and went to the phones, there were an alarming number of people who called in and said, hey, I've got a brother, I've got a sister, I've got a spouse caught up in this and I don't know what to do. Because I just can't reach them with any rational thinking.
Dr. Donovan, thank you so much. I appreciate you being here on CNN.
DONOVAN: Any time. Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Let's check in on your tweets and Facebook comments. What do we have from the world of Twitter?
Why are you giving these nut jobs airtime? Right, Gina, I've brought this on. Like I'm the one who created January 6th because I'm willing to talk about it. Why? Because we got to figure out what the hell is driving these people so that we can disabuse them of all this bull shit.
Still to come, more than 30 states have introduced legislation to ban trans girls and women from competing in girls' and women's sports. I'll talk to two-time Masters Track Cycling World Champion Veronica Ivy who's a trans woman and philosophy professor next.
Please make sure you're going to my Web site at Smerconish.com and answer this week's survey question. "Should transgender female students be restricted from participating in female sports?"
SMERCONISH: Should transgender girls and women be allowed to play school sports on the girls' and women's teams? And why did this suddenly become a pressing legislative issue all across America?
The debate was largely fueled by two trans girl high school runners in Connecticut, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who were dominating the state's girls' track meets seen here competing in the state finals in June of 2019 and finishing first and second. Between 2017 and 2019 the two of them won 15 championships. This prompted a lawsuit against the state's Association of Schools and Athletic Conference.
In it the parents of three cisgender female high schoolers, meaning their gender identity matches that on their birth certificate, allege that transgender girls have an unfair advantage and seeks to get them banned. The case is yet to be decided but where the Trump Department of Justice had offered support for the plaintiffs' case, the Biden administration has now withdrawn it.
In the meantime, 31 states have introduced legislation aimed at barring trans girls and women from playing girls' and women's scholastic sports. Several have already passed in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, but none has yet become law.
Yet, in an Associated Press survey of two dozen of the states working on such bills, GOP lawmakers could cite only a few specific examples in their states of trans athletes getting unfair advantages. I've got the perfect guest to ask about this complicated subject. She is a trans woman athlete herself, a two-time Masters Track Cycling World Champion who has spoken and written extensively on this subject. Veronica Ivy joins me now. She's also associate professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston.
Veronica, thanks so much for being here. Can we be both inclusive and fair?
VERONICA IVY, TRANS FEMALE ATHLETE/ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, THE COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON: I think that is the right question to ask, in fact. Fairness and inclusion are not in opposition to each other. Inclusion is fairness.
So I like to talk about, for example, the International Olympic Committee has an Olympic Charter. It has seven fundamental principles of olympism. The 4th principle begins that participation in sport is a human right. And they mean competitive sport.
So inclusion and nondiscrimination is part of the Olympic spirit of mutual understanding and fair play. It means and since 2003 the IOC has had trans inclusion policies. So since that 2003 policy, 2004 Olympics through 2010 -- or 2018 Sochi we have had over 54,000 Olympians and zero trans athletes ever even qualified. There hasn't been a single elite athlete that is trans, who has won a world championship. Mine is an age group, for example. So we are seeing zero evidence of advantage for trans girls and trans women.
SMERCONISH: Why is this then getting the amount of -- I mean, every day there is another story, there is another headline, there is another state. If there aren't that many trans athletes involved, what accounts for this?
IVY: Yes. So take me, for example. I am literally the only trans woman track sprinter in the world at my level. So if we want to suggest a nonstarter separate, but equal category of trans only, then I would literally be competing against myself at the world elite level.
Like, it's a nonstarter argument. Why are we seeing this? Frankly, it's a culture war by the Republicans. I think they don't actually care about sport. Largely, this is a proxy war for having lost the bathroom bill fight. Remember, the backlash over North Carolina's HB2, for example.
So, they lost the bathroom bills. They have lost the ability to exclude us from bathrooms and certain public facilities. They have now turned their attention to sport.
So, for example, when Donald Trump Jr. hate tweets about me and that my participating in sport is the end of women's sport, I am quite certain he didn't know Masters Age Group Velodrome Track Cycling was even a thing. He doesn't care about women's sport. Most of these people don't even support women's sport in any sense. They often mock things like the WNBA. SMERCONISH: But, Veronica, what's -- what's the answer to the Connecticut moms who say, hey, my daughter can't compete. We showed the film clip of those two track stars in Connecticut. What is the response to the parents who say my kids have no shot, they can't compete with these trans female athletes?
IVY: Well, it's not because they are trans that these cis athletes couldn't win. It's that they weren't fast enough.
So, for example, neither of these trans athletes became national champions. So, for example, I know one of the plaintiffs got onto a Division 1 college school, but she failed to make the roster for the track and field team, even though some of other freshmen did. So, is she going to sue her other cisgender teammates for being faster than her? It's just not because they are trans that they were winning, they were just faster.
SMERCONISH: I read the Connecticut complaint and I know this gets into the weeds in a hurry. But the simplistic version is that those born male have a natural physiological advantage that also includes differing levels of testosterone. You know the argument. Your response to that is what?
IVY: Yes. It's a nonsense argument. So, depends on how much time you want to let me get into the weeds, because I can literally spend hours on this.
SMERCONISH: How about 30 -- how about 30 seconds?
IVY: Yes. So, the first thing is testosterone, your natural internally produced endogenous testosterone has zero impact on your athletic performance and we know that. But we didn't know that until 2013 because everyone just assumed that while testosterone is why men are bigger, stronger, faster. But when we finally studied it there is no relationship between natural testosterone and performance.
So why is testosterone banned? Well, everybody produces a different amount and when you add to it through exogenous means, doping, there is a performance advantage. But when you take up all this natural amount and you drop below it, there tends to be a performance disadvantage.
For example, in one study, they found in this elite set of male athletes, some men below the women's average for testosterone were competing at no competitive disadvantage with men that had 40 times as much testosterone.
SMERCONISH: I've learned a lot. Thank you, Veronica. To be continued. It's a complicated subject.
IVY: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Let's check in on your tweets and Facebook comments. Remember, this is also the focus of today's survey question.
Should female athletes have the right to compete on a level playing field? Where do the rights of female athletes' figure into this? Aren't their right equal compelling? They use to be.
I think, Andrea, what you're saying is that -- I'm sort of reversing the question here and the question you think should be one of, hey, what about a cisgender female and her rights to compete on a fair playing surface?
Look. We are going to get to this in a moment with the result of the survey question, OK? Some of your best and worst tweets are up coming. And the results of this -- I hope that you voted.
Go to Smerconish.com. This is the way that we've worded it. "Should transgender female students be restricted from participating in female sports?"
SMERCONISH: Time to see how you responded to the survey question this week at Smerconish.com. "Should transgender female students be restricted from participating in female sports?"
Hit me with the result. Fifty-seven percent say yes. Interesting. Fifty-seven percent of more than 21,000 say, yes, they should be restricted.
I mean, unfortunately, it's like a binary choice. I would love to think that there's area for compromise. I always like to see shades of purple in these discussions. But in this one, I don't -- I don't know that there can be.
What do we have, Catherine, in terms of social media reaction this week? Smerconish, I'm absolutely disgusted by the number of people voting that trans girls should be restricted from female sports. These small, minded people don't understand transgender and need to be educated.
Kimbercat, I don't know that I understand all the dynamics here. It's confusing stuff. But the hard part is we don't want to discriminate, right? We want to be inclusionary.
And by the same token, we also want to be fair to all participants including cisgender females. Hit me with another one. What else do we have? I could do this for the whole show.
No candidate for Mensa is my new favorite quote. OK. And you know who it was said about. Not me, thank goodness.
One more, Catherine. I think I have time. Here it is.
Saying what we all think about crazy QAnon cult needed that at 9:40, says Lauren Tabas. I probably shouldn't have said that, Lauren. Do you think I'll be reprimanded for it? I forgot myself. I thought I was on SiriusXM and not CNN. Thank you so much for watching. See you next week.