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Source: Jan. 6 Cmte Expected To Refer Charges Against Trump; After Judge Rules "Title 42" Must End, Border Crisis Will Only Get Worse; What Should Be Done With L.A.'s Iconic Mountain Lion P-22?; Is It The End Of The Manicured Lawn?. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired December 17, 2022 - 09:00   ET




MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and happy holidays. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. Tough couple of weeks for former President Donald Trump just got even worse. There was the controversy over dining with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. Then his family business was convicted on all 17 counts of criminal tax fraud.

His final handpick 2022 candidate Herschel Walker lost and distanced himself from Trump's attack on the Constitution. And Trump's own legal team found more classified documents he still had squirreled away near Mar-a-Lago.

Trump's now raising money by selling online NFT cards of himself as a superhero. Although I have to say the cards sold out in 24 hours and the price skyrocketed from 99 bucks to 1000s. Still no wonder that polls show him trailing Ron DeSantis in a hypothetical one on one 2024 matchup.

And now comes word that on Monday, the House Select Committee investigating January 6, whose final report will be released next week. We'll ask the Justice Department to pursue multiple charges against Trump.

The charges being considered they include insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the federal government. The final committee report could include additional proposed charges for Trump based on its findings.

A Trump spokesman Steven Cheung criticized the committee in a statement as a, quote, Kangaroo court that held show trials by Never Trump partisans who are a stain on this country's history. What impact such House referrals could have remains unclear since DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith's January 6th probe is already examining Donald Trump's role?

I want to know what you think, go to and answer this week's poll question. "Does Donald Trump rebound politically from his recent setbacks?"

Joining us now is Renato Mariotti, former federal prosecutor, co-host of the podcast, "It's Complicated," and legal affairs columnist for Politico. Renato, nice to see you. I get that the referral is of no legal significance. But does it nonetheless increase pressure on Jack Smith in his role as special counsel?

RENATO MARIOTTI, LEGAL AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, POLITICO MAGAZINE: I really don't think so. I mean, I think it's certainly the case that the public is paying a lot of attention to this, here we are on a Saturday morning talking about it. But I think that Jack Smith is putting his head down and he's doing his own thing.

As a certain of these matters, he is just digging in as some of these grand jury subpoenas suggest that is January 6 investigation is in a pretty early stage. And I think he's going to, you know, make sure that he has a case and carefully assemble the evidence. If there's a case they'll bring it, but I don't think he's going to feel whole of pressure.

SMERCONISH: As a former federal prosecutor, do you believe that the feds in this instance, will benefit from the roadmap that January 6, the committee has provided? Will they rely on some of that investigation? And might that be the real impact here?

MARIOTTI: Yes, I think the impact is going to be the evidence that was assembled. I really think that based on some of the public reporting, Michael, the Justice Department was pretty far behind the committee at one point regarding the investigation. I mean, I think it's really unconscionable and a slap, I think, in the department space that the Congress interviewed Cassidy Hutchinson, for example, before the Justice Department did.

I don't know how that happened. It shouldn't have happened because this was an apparent crime and Elise (ph) should have been investigated by the Justice Department. So I do think the committee, you know, assembled evidence that the DOJ didn't in periods of time and I think that they can be credited in, you know, getting the the Justice Department to investigate this matter very thoroughly.

SMERCONISH: Renato, step back for a moment, big picture. Where is Donald Trump legally speaking, most vulnerable? Is it from the feds? Is it from the state of New York? Is it Georgia? Is it someplace I'm not thinking of it?

MARIOTTI: If I was his attorney, I would be the most focused on the Mar-a-Lago case. That's what I think is his biggest source of liability. It is a straightforward legal case. If you have classified documents in your basement or your garage, you're in trouble and he had some potential defenses that you or I wouldn't have, if we were in that situation, because he was the former president, you know, he had a lot of things from the White House.

But he really undercut a lot of those gets the Justice Department I think bent over backwards to give him every accommodation and, you know, sent some letters and visits to warn him that he had these documents and you nonetheless decided to keep them.

[09:05:11] So I think that's his biggest source of problem. I think the New York AG case is also an issue, but that's a civil problem on the business side. I think that's a very significant problem for him. But, obviously, spending time in prison is a more serious issue.

SMERCONISH: I get that the Mar-a-Lago case is the most straightforward of all the matters we're aware of. But if when all is said and done, that's the indictment that's brought and none other. I know a large part of the country is going to say, is that all they got for all the time and expense all they've got is him taking those documents without a showing that he was looking to profit from it or share state secrets because he wanted some ephemera or knickknacks in his office, you get the final word, what's your thought on that?

MARIOTTI: There's a lot of people have spent years in prison for that, Michael. And so, if the Feds ultimately indicted convicted Donald Trump with a felony, a judge and federal judge will take that seriously and will consider all of this other conduct including January 6, one fashioning sense (ph).

SMERCONISH: Got it. I'm just saying I think that politically speaking, not legally, politically speaking, could actually help them. Merry Christmas. Thank you for being here. I appreciate all your appearances during the course of this year.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me at Smerconish. Go to my YouTube, Facebook page. Hit me up on social media, is what I'm trying to say. And I'll share some responses during the course of the program.

What do we have? Political theater. Nothing more, says Rob Donohoe. Well, theater in a sense that there's nothing binding about it as I was just discussing with Renato. I think that many people don't understand and regard this as OK, now the Justice Department has to act.

If anything, it might be a hassle for the Justice Department because it brings this outside pressure on them and they're trying not to make it political. They're trying to make it just about the facts. So if I'm Jack Smith, if I'm Merrick Garland, I don't know that I want a referral from the House committee because it's turning up the heat and I don't need any more heat. I got enough heat. That's what I'm thinking.

Make sure you're going to the website, it's and answering this week's poll question. Can't wait to see how it turns out. Think I know but I wonder how close the margin will be. "Does Donald Trump rebound politically from his recent setbacks?"

By the way, how many times have we asked that question about Trump and been wrong? Up ahead this week, new information presented at the pre- trial hearing of the attacker on Paul Pelosi revealed a lot but it won't silence conspiracy theorists. Maybe more public disclosure would help. I'll explain. And the number of border crossings already at record highs and on Wednesday comes the end of Title 42, the COVID era restriction that made it easier to turn migrants away. With DHS predicting, there will now likely be as many as 14,000 trying to enter each day, what's about to happen?



SMERCONISH: The already terrible situation at American Southern border is about to get really bad. Friday, a federal appeals court rejected a bid by several Republican led states to keep in place the Trump era rule that used pandemic restrictions to turn away thousands of migrants. So the rule known as Title 42 will expire this coming Wednesday.

As a Homeland Security Intelligence memo reviewed by CNN puts it this change will, quote, likely increase migration flows immediately. DHS has previously projected between 9,000 to 14,000 migrants arriving a day, more than double the current number of people crossing.

The border town of El Paso, Texas already has over 2,000 migrants arriving daily. In a statement Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas blamed inaction for the crisis saying, quote, despite our efforts, our outdated immigration system is under strain in the absence of congressional action to reform the immigration and asylum systems. A significant increase in migrant encounters will strain our system even further.

The DHS has unveiled an emergency six-point plan, including the hiring of nearly 1,000 Border Patrol crossing coordinators and 2,500 additional contractors and personnel from government agencies.

Joining me now is Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents of whom 14,000 are on the southern border. So Brandon, how nervous are your members about what's to come this week?

BRANDON JUDD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: So we're extremely upset about what's to come this week. We know that have proper policies and programs have been put in place, we would have been able to avert this potential. And look, we're already at a crisis level, it's going to become a disaster come Wednesday, the 21st.

We could have done what was necessary. We just didn't. Everybody knew that Title 42 was on its last leg yet this administration didn't prepare or put into place any policies or programs that would have averted this.

SMERCONISH: But it's really the fault of Congress, isn't it, primarily kicking the can down the road after all these years because Title 42 is premised on public health. We don't want to allow people in with communicable diseases. But if we're beyond COVID, that rationale says the court has gone away. I mean, Congress should have fix this years ago. Isn't that the reality? JUDD: So for a long term fix, absolutely. However, what we have to do is we have to look at what causes this issue in the first place. When we look at Trump's era, when we look at here his policies and programs, they were very effective yet the day that Biden took office he nearly abolished every single one of them except for Title 42.


We had this issue under control. Now, while it is Congress's responsibility to fix it for a long term, we could have fixed it in the short term to give Congress that time to do it. We didn't do that. And that's why we're in the situation that we're in.

SMERCONISH: OK. But -- and I don't want to get caught up in the whole R vs. D thing, but I feel obligated to say like the only COVID measure that many Republicans want to leave in place is Title 42. But if the justification for all the other COVID measures has gone away, then it no longer holds for this one either.

JUDD: And I don't disagree with that. We're not talking about Title 42. What we're talking about if we're talking about the remain in Mexico program, had President Biden kept that in place, we wouldn't be in this situation that we're currently in. All you have to do is look at historically.

We should be apprehending between 1,000 to 1,200 people per day. We're at 8,000 people right now. We wouldn't be at that level had he have kept in place. And by the way, he says that it's inhumane yet, it's our own state department that has certified Mexico as a Safe Third Country. So that's what doesn't make sense about this entire situation.

I agree that Title 42, if the pandemic is winding down, Title 42 should, in fact, go away. Yet there were other policies or programs that could have remained in place that would have averted this disaster in the first place.

SMERCONISH: OK, I have a naive question that I've been wondering, as I've been watching this unfold, and you're the right guy to ask. So here it comes. If we can expel migrants more quickly from the border under Title 42, then why are so many migrants trying to get in right now, instead of waiting until after it expires next Wednesday?

I keep seeing the footage of what's going on in El Paso. That's what's driving my question. And I'm saying to myself, if I were someone poised to try and come into the United States, why wouldn't I wait until after this measure goes away? What's the answer to that?

JUDD: Because we're only exercising Title 42 on a certain number of countries. If, again, if you look back -- when this administration originally took office, they were expelling nearly every single person that entered the country illegally. Then what they did was they started to give carve outs for nation after nation after nation. And when they gave those carve outs, that encourage more people to cross.

So when you look at Venezuelans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, when you look at people from all of these different countries, we're not expelling them. Last month, we only expelled a third of the people that crossed the border illegally. Again, that is what has fueled this current explosion.

SMERCONISH: Let me ask it a different way. Do the folks seeking to gain access to the United States illegally? Are they politically knowledgeable? Are they in the loop?

JUDD: They are.

SMERCONISH: Are those who guide them --

JUDD: They are.

SMERCONISH: How sophisticated is their knowledge?

JUDD: So this is all cartel driven. What the cartels do is they use our policies, they use our laws against us. They go throughout the world, and they advertise our services, knowing what our policies are. So what they've done is they've gone and they've told everybody, all you have to do is give me several thousands of dollars, and I will bring you to the United States, and I'll crush you into the United States, and you will be released.

All of these individuals are coached on exactly what they need to do. That's why the cartels are able to generate a profit that we've never seen before. And as they're generating that profit, as they're flooding our resources with illegal border crossings as it takes our agents out of the field, that's when they create gaps in our coverage.

And when they create those gaps., that's when they cross our higher value products, such as fentanyl, opioids, criminal aliens, aliens from special interest countries. That's why this situation is so important. We had more overdose deaths in the last two years than we have in the history of the United States. And it's all driven by cartels and it starts with illegal immigration.

SMERCONISH: I hope this week is not as bad as the projections and your thoughts anticipate. I wish the guys you represent, the men and women you represent all good things. Thank you.

JUDD: I really appreciate that. Thank you very much.

SMERCONISH: Some of the social media that has come in via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, what do we have, gang? "Republicans and Democrats need to stop playing political games and compose a comprehensive workable immigration policy and implement it asap. Until then, with some rare exceptions, we need to close our borders."

Hey, I've said this before. I'm, you know, repetitive and don't wish to be on it. We need a flow of immigration. We need the risk takers who are willing to come to this country at great peril to be here as entrepreneurs and to do the jobs that many Americans won't do. But it needs to be lawful and it needs to be orderly. And it needs to be fair to the people who are playing by the rules. And you're right. Congress, Republican and Democrats need to get it together. But I think it's a scary situation and it shouldn't be just a Republican issue. It's an American issue. We ought to be concerned about border security. I am.

Still to come, Los Angeles' most famous feline, the mountain lion known as P-22, now in custody after having killed a chihuahua.


He inspired the city to build a crossing over a freeway to help wildlife get back to the mountains. But will he live to see it finished? Plus, how would you feel if this was your neighbor's lawn? Americans are passionate about their yards. Traditionalists love their manicured lawns while environmentalists see them as ecological deserts that suck up excessive amounts of water, and pesticides.

Our guests fought their homeowner's association. Who won and what it may mean for your neighborhood is coming up. And I want to remind you, go to my website, it's By the way, while you're there, register for the daily newsletter and answer this week's poll question. "Does Donald Trump rebound politically from his recent setbacks?"



SMERCONISH: You might not expect the urban sprawl of Southern California to be a place where you'd encounter roaming mountain lions. But according to the National Park Service, about 100 make their home in the Santa Monica Mountains. Local residents are often surprised by these Cougars on hikes or even in their yards.

And this week, perhaps the most infamous, an 11-year-old male known as P-22, was captured south of his home range of Griffith Park after having attacked and killed a pet Chihuahua being walked on a leash back in November. P-22 had previously been suspected in the killing of a koala at the LA zoo in 2016.

The lion became iconic after a National Geographic photographer, check that picture out. Snap that image of him near the Hollywood sign back in 2012. Love that. He has his own mountain line of Hollywood Facebook page with 19,000 followers and there's an annual P-22 day festival and videos of hikes retracing his steps.

His journey to Griffith Park is itself remarkable if you know the topography of Los Angeles. Because for him to have gotten from the Santa Monica Mountains in the West to Griffith Park in the east, he would have had to cross two major freeways, the 405 and 101.

These big cats survived despite fragmentation of their habitat by roads and other developments, which also lead to vehicle collisions and inbreeding. P-22 was the face for the campaign for the Wallace Annenberg wildlife crossing, which is now under construction, costing an estimated $90 million. This overpass 200 feet above the busy 10 lanes of the 101 will be the longest wildlife crossing in the world. Completion expected in 2025.

The issue now is what to do with P-22. After capture, he was transferred to a wild animal care facility for evaluation. He's severely underweight and suffering from an eye injury. The Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Department issued a statement saying that they will work together to find the most humane option available for the lion and the community in which he lives.

So what does that look like? Well, joining me now is Beth Pratt, Regional Executive Director of the California National Wildlife Federation. Beth also leads the hashtag Save LA Cougars. She's been following P-22 for the last 10 years. What is it, Beth, about P-22 that captivates so many of us? I'm in this category. I follow that Facebook page.

BETH PRATT, REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CA NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION: Yes, first of all, Michael, thanks for having me. And I'm just going to apologize in advance. It's really hard. I'm having a hard time like many with trying to grapple with what the fate of our beloved P-22 maybe. But on the same token, I have to do my job and make media appearances. So it's really hard to kind of do both.

But, you know, he's -- I think the reason he has captivated so many of us, including myself, you know, he had me at hello 10 years ago. Here's this beautiful, magnificent animal who, like you said, you know, caught did the impossible. I can't even drive on the 405 without feeling like I'm not going to make it as I'm sure you do to find a home in Griffith Park, which is the most improbable of places. There's the Hollywood sign as the observatory.

So to me, it's the typical underdog story, right? We love underdogs in Hollywood and he's no exception. I will say though, I think it's something deeper. I think, the connection to wildness in Los Angeles that we thought was lost. I think he brings us that and I think that's why he's resonated with so many people when he has so many people not just in L.A. but around the world really rooting for him.

SMERCONISH: You're wearing -- you're literally wearing P-22, right?

PRATT: Yes, and I actually -- I have my comfort animal here, our P-22 plushie that's helping me through this time.

SMERCONISH: OK, I know this is hard for you to go to the next step and wonder what comes next. But what are the options? Is the zoo an option? Is returning to the Santa Monica Mountains an option? Is a sanctuary an option? Can he go back to Griffith Park?

PRATT: Yes, no, all good questions. First of all, I want to make clear, he wasn't captured because he preyed on the Twala. You know, listen, the Piper, the Twala zones have been amazing. They've reached out and said, we are devastated as I would be. I have five dogs but we love P-22. We don't want him hurt.

He was captured because almost radically overnight, his behavior changed. A, preying on dogs on leash. Spending time in Las Villas near Trader Joe's almost exclusively, and also some signs of distress that they could see from photos and observations and ring cameras.

So it was the totality of the behavior where, you know, for 10 years he stayed in the wild and Griffith Park, came in the neighborhoods occasionally and something happened though. And so that's what necessitated his capture.

SMERCONISH: Do you fear that P-22 will be euthanized?


PRATT: I -- yes. I -- I -- I trust in the -- I don't know if fear is the right word. The updates I'm getting, he was hit by a car and the extent of those injuries from the update I'm getting -- updates I'm getting are that they were more extensive than first thought when he was captured.

But I trust in the California Department of Wildlife and the top veterinarians who are caring for him to make the right decision. The decision on the table right now, I think it is very -- he's not going to be re-released to the wild, just based on probably the extent of what they're uncovering, and also -- listen, he did injure a human.

It was not purposeful. She did try to protect her dog which is what I would do. But just to show you how, you know, unprecedented in California we treat our -- the coexistence ethic is that most animals would have been put down immediately. It doesn't matter the circumstances. So, that needs to be --


SMERCONISH: Can I just -- can I just ask a quick -- a quick final --

PRATT: Sure.

SMERCONISH: Can I ask a quick final question?

PRATT: Sure.

SMERCONISH: There are people watching this who say, this is a nutty California story, and this is all crazy. It's a mountain lion living in a densely populated area. Of course, you've got to remove the mountain lion. Take 30 seconds. What do you say to those people?

PRATT: Attacks by mountain lions are extremely rare. And, listen, if we don't start making room for wildlife in our urban areas and suburban areas they are not going to have a future and we're not going to have a future. And mountain lions are an indication of a healthy ecosystem. And it's also a connection to wildness that -- listen, Californians aren't crazy. We have a value of coexistence that I appreciate and that I think the rest of the world should model.

We wipe out all mountain lions and wildlife we're not going to survive. We know that we need wildlife to be healthy and to have ecosystems that --

(CROSSTALK) SMERCONISH: Hey, thank you -- thank you for being here. Thank you for being here so well represent P-22. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

PRATT: Thanks for having me, Michael.

SMERCONISH: You got it.

All right. Let's see what you're saying on my -- I love the merch. I love that -- I have some of that merch, by the way. I really do.

Take him out to the wild and let him live out his life in peace. He has a place in the grand scheme of things.

Anna, I think part of the -- not that I'm the authority on this. I think part of the problem is that P-22 is older and a little long in the tooth, you know, like the rest of us, some of us, and might not do so well if encroaching on the territory of a younger mountain lion. I think that's the answer as to why you can't just let him go and be released in the Santa Monica Mountains. I love that story. Hey, laugh all you want. I love that story.

OK. The poll question this week, does Donald Trump -- there's no transition from one to the other. Is there? Does Donald Trump rebound politically from his recent setbacks? Go and cast your ballot. Register for the daily newsletter when you're there.

Still to come, lawns continue to polarize -- lawns continue to polarize Americans. This Maryland couple's homeowner association ordered them to rip out their wildlife-friendly plantings for a manicured lawn. They instead sued and they ended up changing state law. They're here to tell their tale.



SMERCONISH: A person's yard is supposed to be, well, part of the classic American dream. But for my next guests, their suburban yard and garden became a year's long legal nightmare. Ultimate, they got a state law changed, or as the "New York Times" put it, they fought the lawn, and the lawn's done.

Lawns like everything else have lately become a polarizing issue in America. Where traditionalists see beloved green grass, environmentalists see ecological deserts that devour too much water and pesticides.

For two decades, Janet and Jeff Crouch lived happily on a quiet cul- de-sac in Columbia, Maryland. Instead of grass they opted for a more ecological pollinator meadow, planting native plants to attract wildlife all without pesticides. Their garden brought hummingbirds and butterflies, bumblebees and goldfinches.

It's all part of a national movement. According to the National Wildlife Federation in 2020, there was a 50 percent increase in people creating wildlife gardens. The "Times" quotes ecologist Douglas Tallamy, author of "Nature's Best Hope" who urges homeowners to make their land conservation corridors -- quote -- "This idea that humans and nature cannot coexist is destroying the entire planet, which in turn is destroying humans."

The only way forward is to coexist, he says. But their next door neighbor began to complain saying, the Crouch's yard was -- quote -- "a mess of a jungle." He claimed that it was overgrown with weeds, figurines and rain water barrels attracting rodents, deer, snakes, bats. And like 74 other -- million other Americans they reside in a community with a homeowners association. And in the fall of 2017 a lawyer for the HOA sent the Crouches a letter.

It said that their plantings not only violated the bylaws but were eye sores that hurt property values. The Crouches were told, your yard is not a place for such a habitat. And they were given 10 days to rip it all up and put down grass.

Jeff and Janet Crouch join me to talk more about it. So, Janet, some look at your yard, they see this environmentally-sound pollinator meadow, I guess, is the way I'm supposed to describe it, and then there are people like your neighbor who see is a -- quote -- unquote -- "mess of a jungle." To those detractors what do you say?

JANET CROUCH, SUED TO KEEP NATIVE PLANTS IN LAWN: I would say that we -- you know, everyone in our community has the right to grow a turf grass lawn, but they tried to take away our right to have an environmentally friendly garden. And our garden is actually quite beautiful and most people who come by -- some people even come by to -- you know, to see it, to see the butterflies and the birds.


But there's a larger purpose to all of it, which is that it's healthy for the environment, for the kids in the neighborhood, the animals, and it helps the wildlife as well.

SMERCONISH: So, Jeff, the photographs that we're showing on CNN right now are photographs that you supplied, and the place looks great and everything is in full bloom. When I talked about this with some of my colleagues they said, yes, but what does it look like the rest of the year when it's not the season that things are in bloom? What's the answer to that question?

JEFF CROUCH, SUED TO KEEP NATIVE PLANTS IN LAWN: Well, it's -- when it's not blooming, the birds and other animals still use these, the stalks to eat in the wintertime, and we do have some green in the winter. But it's really good for animals all year round the birds especially, and other animals.

JANET CROUCH: And, Michael, it's also the property value issue is really a myth. And most people find it appealing in all seasons. It looks different in all seasons, because it's a live garden. But our next -- but other next door neighbor recently sold her home for -- in a couple of days after the peak this fall. And it wasn't the peak bloom time for our garden. And she sold it for -- she received several offers over asking price within a couple of days. So -- SMERCONISH: I was going -- I was going to ask about -- I was going to

ask about that issue because, of course, I'm aware of the fact that that was one of the complaints that your neighbor who doesn't like it had.

What did the HOA -- I know that they said they wanted it neat and clean. What did the HOA rule or reg mandate? Like, what did it say before you took it on and beat it? What were you supposed to be doing?

JANET CROUCH: So, there was no rule prohibiting any type of garden in our community which is one of the reasons that we fought back. We didn't feel that we were violating any rules.

No one in our community had previously requested approval to plant any type of garden in the over 30-year history of our community. So they told us that we had to -- to request approval. So there was no particular reg. There was no -- nothing in the government documents that required us to get approval.

SMERCONISH: You ended up spending -- you ended up spending $60,000 on legal fees, as the "Times" said. You know, you fought the lawn, which I think is a great line. You were successful and as a result of your challenge, what now is Maryland law?

JEFF CROUCH: The law is that HOAs in Maryland can't tell you you have to have all turf grass. You can plant pollinator plants, native plants, which are grown at wild here. So we're really into native plants, because they're better for the environment and birds and bees pollinators, and the ground. So Maryland, they can't tell you what you can grow in your front or backyard.

SMERCONISH: OK. Jeff and Janet, thank you so much for telling your story. It's quite a -- it's quite a unique one and I appreciate it.

JEFF CROUCH: And lastly, all states can do this. This was bipartisan, completely bipartisan. So any state can do this.

SMERCONISH: Yes and passed with near unanimity which is rare these days.


SMERCONISH: Thank you both.


SMERCONISH: Wish you all good things. Checking in now on social media, tweets and YouTube and Facebook comments. What do we have?

Hey, you kids. Get off my lawn, says Sean Nichols.

You know what's funny, Sean? I think that we all believe -- I think that we all believe like, we have the right to do whatever we want to do with our lawn. But we'd look at our neighbors and we don't give them that same benefit, right? Like, we have the right to do what we want to do with that person or that person. No, no, no, they can't do that. Get the boat out of the front yard.

Still to come, more of your best and worst tweets, YouTube and Facebook comments. And, we'll give you the result of this week's poll question at I think I know which way it goes. I just want to know the margin. Does Donald Trump rebound politically from his recent setbacks? And, by the way, remember how many times we've been wrong about him in the past.



SMERCONISH: Hey, time to see how you responded to the poll question at where this week I'm asking, "Does Donald Trump rebound politically from his recent setbacks?"

How many times could I have asked that question in the past? All right. Wow. Nearly 30,000 votes. Hang on a second let me just study this, 29,136. The no votes.

I knew it was going to be a no result. I wondered what the margin would be. The no votes say, 87-13. And he is in Mar-a-Lago and he's watching this right now he's saying, yes, you all said the same thing when I same down the escalator and said Mexico is sending us its rapists. And you said the same thing when I said I don't respect John McCain. I respect the ones who didn't get caught. And you said the same thing when I said we can grab them by the -- you know the rest of that sentence. And every one of those instances, at least in my case, he would be right and I would say, there is no way he comes back from this.


But, of course, it has been a rough couple of weeks for him and some say, maybe, hopefully, this really is politically the end. Time will tell in 2023. Something exciting to look forward to.

OK. Enough of me. Social media, what do we got? What has come in?

We need a new candidate that speaks softly but carries the same stick that Trump did, says OWD. Trump's mouth was his worst enemy.

Well, I talked about this on radio this week, OWD. I mean, the polling suggests, I hear it anecdotally from radio listeners on SiriusXM but the polling also suggests that there is a large swath of the country that wants Trump policies. They just don't want Trump as the architect of them. And many think that's what they are getting with Ron DeSantis. They are getting Trump like. They are not getting the bombast, but they're getting more or less those same policies.

The issue politically speaking is, can a Ron DeSantis energize the base in the same way that Donald Trump can? And not so much because the base loves him, in my view, and this is not my original thought. It's Peter Weiner who says, you know, they love Donald Trump because Donald Trump will bring a gun to a knife fight. It's not so much Trump. It's who he is against. You know, all of those progressives and liberals and Schumer and Pelosi, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That's the mindset.

What else? Social media what do we got? Give me some more.

Nothing is going to happen to Trump. In the end, the attitude of -- this is just Trump being Trump will win out and he will continue to just keep on doing whatever he wants, says John Anderson. A fly fisherman. I love that.

So, what do I think about that? I don't know. I mean, I don't think -- I think, Merrick Garland in bringing in special counsel Jack Smith has kind of tied his hands because -- Garland's hands because Smith comes in and you would think would be devoid of the political considerations, would simply be nose down to the grindstone evaluating what is the conduct and was there a violation of law. And, if so, he makes a recommendation to Merrick Garland that the attorney general was not obligated to accept.

But if Smith looks only at the facts and if the facts are that he took documents that didn't belong to him, whether they are classified or not, people get hung up on that issue, it really doesn't matter, takes them to Mar-a-Lago and doesn't can give them back, so Smith says he broke the law, you know, got to prosecute him.

How does Garland then say, well, I'm not so sure, he is a former president? I think it probably happens. I think it probably happens. And what I say to Renato Mariotti is that a large part of the country will then say, if you remember the Peggy Lee song, is that all there is? Really?

They looked at him in Georgia. They looked at him in New York. The Feds looked at him. And in the end -- and I'm not condoning it, but in the end all they could get him what that he took the documents to Mar- a-Lago because he like to have that stuff around to impress his guests, that could energize his base.

What else? More social media. I love it. Thank you. Thank you for all the Twitter and YouTube and Facebook comments.

Good luck trying to find an impartial jury in this polarized environment. Indictments will come, convictions will not.

Well, Many People Say So, hang on a second because we just had a trial. We had a criminal trial in New York against the Trump organization as well as the Trump payroll whatever it was called. And I interviewed the two lawyers because they are Philly lawyers and I know them, Van der Veen and veteran criminal defense attorney William J. Brennan.

And I had the conversation -- can you get a fair and impartial jury for Donald Trump? They thought that they could. But in the end, it was, you know, a verdict for the prosecution. It was a guilty finding.

So in that case there were a number of jurors who came in and said, I don't like Donald Trump but I can be fair to Trump. And, of course, the defense lawyers now are left wondering, were they really able to put aside any bias that they had of Donald Trump? It cuts both ways, is what I'm saying.

More social media. What do we have? Can we do longer segments like this every week? I love responding to all of this. What do you got, Catherine?

Any incoming migrants should be bussed to blue states. They want this. They can deal with it. It is not fair to small Texas and Arizona cities to have to bear the brunt.

I agree with that. But this tweet will not be read on air. You are right, RCH. It will not be read on air.

The point I was trying to make earlier in the program about Title 42 is this. Title 42 is a public health measure. Title 42 exists to keep people out of the country who otherwise would be bringing in disease.

So that's why Title 42, you know, in the eyes of the court, has outlived its usefulness because we are beyond the pandemic. And the point I tried to make earlier in the show is that it's like the one COVID restrictions that Republicans hang on to.


They want to get rid of -- they want to get rid of masks and mandates and everything else, and in many cases I agree with that. But then they say, no, we need to keep Title 42. Well, yes, but not because we are keeping people out with disease, which is the predicate for it. So it doesn't make sense, is my point.

It's Congress' fault. Congress has kicked this can down the road forever. We need an orderly flow of migrants into this country. Because we need them for jobs that Americans, frankly, won't do. And I know many of you don't agree with that.

Time for one more. Make it a good one because it's my last one of the year. What do you got?

Smerconish, just another reason to hate HOAs. Pay to be policed, ugh.

Caymen Durant, I love the lawn story. I really do. And it probably would have been a great poll question in and of its own.

Like, I get it. Environmentally, they are doing the right thing. My head says one thing. My heart says the other because I am still caught up on whether my lawn is green enough. But maybe I'll go the way of the Crouches.

Have a wonderful holiday. I'll see you in 2023.