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Trump Says He Expects To Be Arrested Tuesday, Calls For Protests; Bank CEO Shares His Cell Number To Reassure Customers; Dems Warn "No-Labels" Third-Party Ticket Could Split Vote; San Francisco Board Open To Reparations With $5 Million Payouts. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 18, 2023 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Former President Trump says he's about to be arrested and calls for protests. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. In a post on his Truth Social account this morning, former President Trump announced that he expects to be indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in the investigation examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him.
He wrote in all caps, "The far and away leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States of America will be arrested on Tuesday of next week. Protest, take our nation back." His legal team has been anticipating this and preparing behind the scenes. Trump is expected to present himself in Manhattan following the formal charges and has expressed interest in making a speech afterwards.
A source familiar with the situation says that Trump has complained privately that he believes he is only going to be indicted because he thinks that Bragg, quote, hates him. Some of Trump's advisers had urged him privately not to call for protests concerned about the optics of a mass protest in the streets of Manhattan growing out of control or resembling the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
CNN's John Miller has reported about meetings between city state and federal law enforcement agencies in New York City about how to prepare for a possible indictment. We'll bring you more on this story as details become available.
Now to the guns of war, this week came several significant and troubling developments with regard to the war in Ukraine. The latest the news that next week, Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin. A Putin adviser told Russian state media they plan to discuss the war in Ukraine and will sign documents attesting to their closer ties.
China has refused to condemn Russia's invasion or even call it such, instead echoing the Kremlin stance of blaming it on the advance of NATO. U.S. officials are monitoring the meetings as China considers sending weapons to Russia and are working to get Xi on the phone with President Zelenskyy. The Biden administration also warning that Xi could call for an unconditional ceasefire, which the U.S. says would legitimize Moscow's hold on the estimated 17 percent of Ukrainian territory that it's taken by force.
Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for both Putin and Russia's Commissioner for children's rights over an alleged scheme to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. Russia, which does not recognize the ICC's jurisdiction, called the warrants outrageous and unacceptable.
This followed on the heels of Tuesday's Russia-U.S. encounter in international airspace over the Black Sea, in which two Russian fighter jets harassed in American MQ-9 drone. One of the Russian jets dumped fuel on the drone disabling its cameras and then hit the drones propeller, prompting the drones remote operators to bring it down in international waters.
Before that video was released by the U.S., Russia had claimed its jet, quote, did not use airborne weapons or come into contact with the drone. Then on Thursday, Poland announced that it would be supplying four Soviet made MIG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, the first NATO member to do so.
On Friday, Slovakia followed suit, saying that it was sending 13 more raising pressure on other member states to do the same. All this while fierce fighting continues in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, with Russian forces reportedly exhausted and low on munitions. A Ukrainian Lieutenant Colonel known as Kapul (ph) told the Washington Post of his struggles leading a unit composed entirely of inexperienced troops.
In Kapul's (ph) couples battalion of about 500 soldiers, he said, roughly 100 were killed in action and 400 wounded. The sum total of these developments seems to be a ratcheting up of the conflict that's now in its 13th month, and it comes amidst evidence of growing divide in the United States on support for Ukraine.
According to Axios and Ipsos, just 42 percent of Republicans say they support sending U.S. weapons and money to Ukraine, compared with 79 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents. And this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a presumed GOP presidential candidate, answered a Tucker Carlson questionnaire by referring to the war in Ukraine as a territorial dispute.
He said, quote, "While the U.S. has many vital national interests, securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy, security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural and military power of the Chinese Communist Party, becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them."
This earned him a rebuke from even the right leaning editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. The Journal called DeSantis' words his first big mistake and wrote, "This is flirting with GOP isolationism that has emerged from time to time in history, and has usually been an electoral cul-de-sac. The party's isolationism in the 30s consigned it two decades in the wilderness, and that naivete was on national display when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor."
President Trump also weighed in with his take.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every day this proxy battle in Ukraine continues. We risk global war. We must be absolutely clear that our objective is to immediately have a total secession of hostilities. All shooting has to stop. This is the central issue. We need peace without delay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Ambassador John Bolton opined in the Wall Street Journal that America and the West are forcing Ukraine to fight with one hand tied behind its back. Writes Bolton, "Mr. Biden wants Russia to lose, but seems afraid of Ukraine actually winning."
"Today, White House policy is essentially, we support Ukraine defending itself, but not enough to be too effective."
I want to know if you agree, go to smerconish.com now and vote on this week's poll question, "Is the military support being given to Ukraine by U.S. and NATO intended to defend against Russia or actually to win the war?"
John Bolton joins me now. He served as National Security Adviser to former President Trump and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He's also the author of the book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir." Ambassador, thank you for being here. What have we not done that we should be doing according to you?
AMBASSADOR JOHN BOLTON, FMR. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRES. DONALD TRUMP: Well, I don't think the administration or NATO as a whole have really declared clearly what the goals in Ukraine are. The stated position of every NATO member is Ukraine should be restored to its full sovereignty and territorial integrity, all right?
If that really is our position, let's say so and then having stated the goals, determine a strategy that will get us there. And we've had no strategy. I think people are familiar with this long series of debates about this weapon system, that weapon system. Do we supply, MiG planes? Do we supply HIMARS? Do we supply ATACMS? Do we supply Abrams tanks?
That reflects the absence of a strategy. The strategy is assembling the assets you need to achieve the goals and then going and doing it. And that's not what we've done. The effect of that has been to prolong this war, increase the casualties and damage to Ukraine and give Russia more of a chance over time as the much larger power in the conflict to make up for its appalling performance in the opening months of the war. SMERCONISH: The thesis of your Wall Street Journal pieces that we're not letting them win, how do you define winning?
BOLTON: Well, again, the stated position, which we may not believe, maybe the White House doesn't believe that our stated position is really what they want. But it means as the prime minister of Finland said a couple of months ago, very crisply, how does this end? It ends with all Russian troops out of Ukraine.
SMERCONISH: Ukraine as it existed 13 months ago, or Ukraine plus Crimea? I guess that's my question.
BOLTON: Yes, look, I think the only statement that admits of any possibility of stability in the space of the former Soviet Union, is the territorial sovereignty that Ukraine held at the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. And let's be clear, the first, last and probably only democratically elected president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin agreed to the Soviet Union splitting along the lines of the internal borders of the republics in the (INAUDIBLE) agreement with the presidents of Ukraine and Belarus in 1991.
Russia agreed to it. Now, if Russia wants to pull out of the agreement, that's fine. That means the border of every other former constituent part of the Soviet Union is up for grabs.
SMERCONISH: Will you respond to critics who say -- and I literally read this in a comment appended to the journal that Ambassador Bolton has never met a war that he doesn't like?
BOLTON: Well, that's a kind of simple minded response. I look after American interests. My philosophy is derived from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, who believed in peace through strength. And I think for some people, it's just hard to understand that it's not American strength that's provocative, it's American weakness that's provocative.
SMERCONISH: You served in the Trump administration. I have to ask you about the news of the day. The news that former President Trump has posted on Truth Social just this morning that he expect to be arrested on Tuesday and he's also calling for protests telling his supporters to, quote, take our nation back. Your thoughts?
BOLTON: Well, just to explain. If he's about to be arrested, it almost certainly means he's going to be indicted. First, he's going to be required to come in and surrender himself to answer to the indictment. So it's not some random decision.
I strongly believe in a free society, there's got to be one rule of law for everybody. I think that's clear. I don't know how you make that judgment. When you're talking about a case involving somebody paying hush money to a prostitute or a stripper, I only know one person who's ever done that, I worked for him. It's a kind of strange situation. But I'll say this, however guilty Trump may be and having very much in mind the one rule of law for everybody, if they indict and failed to convict in New York, I think historians will look back and say that is the act that reelected Donald Trump president. So I hope those prosecutors in New York are very, very certain of their case.
SMERCONISH: Well, I've opined here that in the four buckets that I perceive where he faces legal peril, this is, in my opinion, the weakest of them. And I have to believe that there's a risk here of this -- taint might not be the right word, but tainting the prosecution's that theoretically could follow.
He's got a right to vigorously defend himself against this and any other charges that might flow. What I don't like is him calling for protests, because to me, it's reminiscent of January 6.
BOLTON: Well, I think this is an important issue. But my own view on January the 6th is it was not an insurrection. It was a riot. It was one of the saddest days in American history. But it was not an attempted coup, because I didn't think Donald Trump had the wits to conduct a coup.
But now having seen the history, if he's calling people into the streets, this time, he's seen the experience of January the 6th, and I think this is potentially very dangerous. So again, people -- law enforcement in New York obviously has to be concerned the safety of the citizens of New York. But if something happens in this, that allows Trump to make it into a campaign issue, it's going to be very serious.
I know this must be galling to many people. But keep your eye on the ball is what I'd say. If you don't want Donald Trump to be elected president again, for God's sakes, be careful how you act.
SMERCONISH: I get your point. I mean, I think -- and I think he risks surrendering the argument that this is a seven year old sex case when if, in fact, it should lead to protest.
Hey, I like to respond to social media in real time. Catherine, put something on the screen so that the Ambassador and I can can answer it together. I'll read it aloud, Ambassador. And he's calling for his minions to protest, says Gina. He was careful with his wording this time. He'll be out before his fingerprint ink can dry. Your thought?
BOLTON: Well, he'll be out of the surrender exercise on Tuesday. Almost certainly. I mean, you go in, he's going to get his mugshot taken. That'll be interesting. And he'll be back in some safe location. We'll see what happens here. We'll see how many people are willing to turn out for him.
It may turn out to be a bust. But I don't think law enforcement ought to do anything that gives him an excuse to say he's the most persecuted man in the world.
SMERCONISH: Ambassador John Bolton, thank you for your time.
BOLTON: Glad to be with you.
SMERCONISH: Ambassador Bolton has inspired today's poll question at smerconish.com. Go there now answer this question, by the way, using the QR code again. So put your phone up to the TV screen and we'll make it easy for you. "Is the military support being given to Ukraine by U.S. and NATO intended to defend against Russia or to actually win the war?" Go vote.
Still to come, a reparations committee in San Francisco has made over 100 proposals aiming to compensate for centuries of slavery and systemic racism, including $5 million per eligible black resident. Can this ever be implemented? We have the guest coming up, the committee vice chair is here.
Plus, to avoid another bank failure like the recent ones of SVB and Signature, 11 mega banks pump $30 billion into First Republic. But to reassure his customers, this CEO of a West Texas bank, he chose a different tactic and he's here to explain, that's next.
And former President Trump says he expects to be indicted, arrested and indicted on Tuesday. What it means for the future of his presidential campaign? That two lies ahead.
SMERCONISH: In the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature banks, what will it take to convince Americans not to panic, pull their cash from own -- their own banks and then perpetuate this as a crisis? This week as regional bank stocks plummeted and First Republic was in peril, there were emergency phone calls among the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, J.P. Morgan Chase Chief Jamie Dimon.
The result, 11 mega banks pump $30 billion into First Republic to keep it afloat, 5 billion each from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citi. 2.5 billion from both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and another billion each from U.S. Bank, BNY Mellon, Truist, State Street and PNC.
And the first major threat since 2008 to a bank of global significance, Credit Suisse has been averted, at least for now. My next guest is the CEO of a bank in Texas, he took a totally different approach to reassure his 126,000 customers that their money is in safe hands.
In a memo, he included his personal cell number for them to reach out to him. Joining me now is Brad Tidwell, he has been the President and CEO of VeraBank for 15 years. VeraBank serves 16 counties in east central and southeast Texas. They have more than 4 billion in assets.
Brad, thanks for being here. So 70,000 plus emails. I read that you received 50 calls and 100 text messages. And I was thinking to myself, if you had done nothing, I'll bet you to heard from a lot more people you probably put their minds to rest. [09:20:09]
BRAD TIDWELL, PRESIDENT & CEO, VERABANK: Well, thank you very much. And that was the plan. We wanted to communicate, we wanted to communicate directly to our customers, we wanted to tell the truth and make sure they knew. If they were concerned, they could reach out to any of my 500 colleagues. But most importantly, they could reach out to me and some of them did.
SMERCONISH: So what did you hear from your customers to whom you provided your personal cell number?
TIDWELL: The great majority of those folks that reached out to me simply said, thank you, thank you for communicating, thank you for making us feel better. A handful of probably five or 10, were naturally still concerned, wanted to ask me questions about the safety and security of our bank and of the industry as a whole. And I took the time to talk with them and walk them through why I felt they should feel good about their deposits.
SMERCONISH: And the Brits, they say, keep calm and carry on or words to that effect. I mean, no bank can sustain a run, right? I mean, the point is, everybody's just got to be cool.
TIDWELL: Yes, you've got to have confidence, you have to have confidence in the way you have built your bank, the way you've managed your bank, the steps you've taken to ensure that you've protected your customers. And I need to say that that is exactly what VeraBank has done for many years. And that's exactly what the great majority of the banks in this country have done also.
SMERCONISH: I had a conversation on my radio program this week on SiriusXM with former Congressman Barney Frank. He proposes going forward, he, of course of Dodd-Frank fame, that there ought to be differing levels of insurance for the individuals versus the businesses who need to meet payroll. He proposed maybe two months worth of ability to meet payroll going forward as compared to an individual. Does that make sense to you that there'll be a different standard for each?
TIDWELL: That would be very difficult to do. I have not heard that. I have not thought through that. You think about all of the small, midsize, large businesses in this country. How you determine what their payroll is? How you manage the insurance against that? How the FDIC would manage that. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it seems like that would be a real task.
SMERCONISH: It's been a complicated week for those who lack your expertise. What's the message that you as a banker want to leave us with, you know, from your perspective?
TIDWELL: I truly believe that the banks in this country are safe. There are challenges right now. There are certainly liquidity challenges at certain institutions. But most of the institutions you're hearing about were somewhat single focus, they had either some heavy crypto exposure, or as we know, with Silicon Valley, they were heavily into the tech startup business, venture capital. And now First Republic, primarily a wealth management bank.
Most of the banks in this country like ours are very well diversified. They have the balance sheet, the capital and liquidity to handle these challenges. And I really do believe while there could be some more bad news here, I'm not sure but there could be, I do not believe there's a reason to panic. I do not believe this is systemic. And I believe we will be just fine as we work through these challenges.
SMERCONISH: I hope that's the case. Hey, by the way, your bio kind of laid down a marker, it said you're a classic rock enthusiast, quote, go ahead and challenge him. OK, here's my challenge. You're ready? You're ready?
TIDWELL: OK. Yes, sir.
SMERCONISH: He was a member of Humble Pie. In the 1970s, he had one of the best live selling double albums ever, and I say --
TIDWELL: Peter Frampton.
SMERCONISH: -- outrageously. OK, you beat me to it. I was going to say --
TIDWELL: Peter Frampton.
SMERCONISH: -- outrageously -- yes, you're right. Outrageously, not even a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but well done. Nicely done. Appreciate it.
SMERCONISH: Thank you, Brad.
TIDWELL: He should be.
SMERCONISH: He should be. Absolutely right. Yes. No doubt. Thank you, sir.
Up ahead, on more serious matters. Former President Donald Trump expecting to be arrested next week and calling for protests. This, as a centrist nonpartisan group called No-Labels busy securing ballot position for the 2024 presidential election. Could a candidate who runs third party actually win or just spoil someone else's chances?
Plus, San Francisco despite never having had slavery in its history, considering a plan that would make it the first major U.S. city to pay reparations for systemic racism. How might that work? What might it cost and who might be eligible? We've got the key guests coming up.
Please go to smerconish.com, answer this week's poll question. You can use the QR code if you'd like. "Is the military support being given to Ukraine by U.S. and NATO intended to defend against Russia or to actually win the war?"
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SMERCONISH: With former President Trump announcing on Truth Social this morning that he's going to be arrested next Tuesday by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and calling for protests, what other candidates might have a shot in 2024? Specifically, what are the chances for a third party candidate and would that person just prove to be a spoiler?
The organization No-Labels has been working with what it calls great determination to provide an option to nominate an independent presidential candidate in 2024.
Writing for The New York Times, David Brooks reported recently that, "No Labels operation is a $70 million effort, of which $46 million has already been raised or pledged."
The media has reported No Labels has secured a ballot place in three states for the next presidential cycle, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon. The group has submitted petitions in several others and says its goal is to be on the ballot in all 50 states. It has identified 23 where it believes its unity ticket could win a plurality of the vote which would suffice to win the Electoral College.
This news is alarming to some Democrats who think the effort could split the Democratic vote and ensure a GOP victory. In response, No Labels released a statement clarifying its role -- quote -- "No Labels has said this is an insurance policy in the event both major parties nominate presidential candidates that the vast majority of Americans don't want. If this happens, No Labels will itself not run a candidate, but we will have a launching pad, specifically in the form of ballot access across the country."
Well, by that measure, this could become reality. Consider that Joe Biden's nomination as the Democratic candidate would seem a certainty, should he run, and all polls have Donald Trump currently leading the GOP field. But polls also show that many Americans don't want either.
A post-ABC poll finds 58 percent of Democrats or Democratic leaning independents say they prefer someone other than Biden as their nominee in 2024. Almost double the 31 percent who support Biden. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 49 percent say they prefer their nominee to be someone other than Trump compared with 44 percent who favor him.
Among those who think that this could benefit Trump is Paul Begala, the Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator. Begala wrote this, "Here's the simple political reality, as I see it. In recent elections, most voters who reject extremism have tended to vote Democratic. This means the vast majority of votes that a No Labels presidential candidate would receive would likely come out of President Joe Biden's pool of potential voters, not former President Donald Trump's -- assuming the 2024 election turns out to be a rematch"
Remember, in 2020, President Biden won three states by less than one percentage point. This week a think tank called "Third Way" published a memo cautioning that the No Labels plan will w only hurt Democrats citing the similar spoiler effect in recent elections of alternative candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
It warned -- quote -- "Rather than producing a third-party ticket that would defy the overwhelming odds and win, No Labels is on track to field a spoiler who would reelect Trump or a Trump-like Republican." In response, No Labels posted a statement that read in part, "No one at No Labels has any interest in fueling a spoiler effort."
Joining me now to discuss former Ohio congressman and senatorial candidate Tim Ryan, who himself ran for president in 2020. He's currently a senior visiting fellow at "Third Way." Congressman, nice to see you. Namaste, namaste. I am part of the 44 percent who identify as independent. What about us? Don't we get a seat at the table?
TIM RYAN (D-OH), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Yes. Absolutely, you have a seat at the table and you'll have a choice. I think, the idea here is not just should we have third-party candidates. I think, most Americans believe we should have more choices, not less. But you have to view this in the context of an anti-democratic movement happening in the country.
And to put someone in place that would tilt the balance towards the insurrectionists, towards the people who don't believe in democracy, towards the people who think that democracy should die and we should put a Caesar in charge for a few years to figure things out. And that's exactly who these people are, I think is a big, big mistake.
So, if you believe in America, if you believe in democracy, you should not be fueling a third-party candidate in this election. You want to do it for House and Senate, congressional races, local races, and maybe presidential races down the road but not this time.
SMERCONISH: OK. We're still arguing, I think, about whether Ross Perot pulled more from Papa Bush or Bill Clinton back in the '92 cycle. Are you so sure that this would harm Joe Biden as compared to Donald Trump in 2024 if we get a rematch?
RYAN: Well, I think Paul Begala has as always hit the nail right on the head. You know, people are voting against the extremists. And so, those anti-extremist votes, if they get split in any way, shape or form, it tilts the balance towards the anti-democratic movement that's happening in the country. And it's really very, very clear.
And you see Liz Cheney, you see Adam Kinzinger, these Republican who have courage, who stood up to the anti-democratic movement. Those voters -- even in Ohio when I ran, Michael, we got 400,000 split ticket voters who voted for a Republican president -- or a Republican governor and a Democrat for Senate here in Ohio because they didn't want to support the anti-democratic movement happening.
And that's kind of what's happening. You throw a third-party spoiler in there it's going to tilt the balance towards the MAGA crowd, the anti-democratic crowd, the people who are defending, Michael, defending the people who stormed the Capitol and are raising money for their legal funds, like those are the people that are going to be in charge of the government. And I just think in this particular election, we can't have that.
SMERCONISH: OK. I hear you. Don't let my silence be interpreted as agreement. Because I truly am one of those 44 percent that they try and say, well, yes. But you'll lean one way or the other.
And I think we too need a voice. I have so to ask you as a prominent national Democratic figure to react to this news of the day that Donald Trump says, I'm going to get arrested on Tuesday.
RYAN: I don't think a lot of us who have been watching Donald Trump and his family operate over the last few years are going to be surprised by it. Clearly, they were doing all kinds of stuff. You look at Rudy Giuliani. You look at his campaign managers, his campaign team and what they were -- Paul Manafort and others who are surrounding him for such a long period of time, members of the Trump organization.
I can't sigh anybody is going to be surprised by this. But we have to be very disciplined as good citizens and say, follow the law, right? If he did wrong, he should be prosecuted like any guy in Youngstown, Ohio, who did wrong. But he should also have due process and this needs to play out.
And you're a lawyer. You understand this. He has every right as a citizen to have due process. And if it goes down the road, which it looks like it's going to, a prosecution and eventually a conviction, then that should be based on the merits of the case not on the fact that we disagree with his political issues or anything else.
So, this has to be by the book, by the law and it is. And we'll see where it ends up. But nobody should be surprised by this.
SMERCONISH: Doesn't the partisan side of you wish that it had been Fulton County or Jack Smith, meaning Merrick Garland, and not the sex case from New York?
RYAN: I have got no comment on that, Michael. But, you know, the reality is this person, Donald Trump, has done a lot of wrong in a lot of areas, in a lot of states. And, you know, I can't Monday morning quarterback who is doing what.
I do wish that there were Republican leaders who had courage, which many, many have not in the last few years when it comes to Donald Trump. Those leaders whether they are attorney generals in those states who blocked it trying to actually administer the law and enforce the law, but you have somebody in Manhattan here that sounds like they are going to do it.
And, you know, we should just be glad that no citizen, no matter how rich, no matter how powerful, even when it's a former president is above the law. No one in America is above the law. And we're going to find that out this week.
SMERCONISH: I'm limited on time, but is that a young Tim Ryan with RFK behind you? It's hard for me to see.
RYAN: No, it's a coal miner in West Virginia. It's one of the great political pictures of all time of Bobby Kennedy campaigning with coal miners. And we have had this conversation before, Michael. That's where Democrat leaders need to be. They need to be putting their arms around coal miners and steel workers and working-class people in the south.
White, Black, Brown, gay, straight, go after these workers and that's what Bobby Kennedy did and that's why I keep this picture up here just as a great reminder of when the Democratic Party is at its best, it's putting its arms around coal miners that got coal ash and all kinds of other stuff around them. So, I keep it here as a reminder.
SMERCONISH: Congressman, thank you. Appreciate you coming back.
RYAN: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Social media. Catherine, what do we have in terms of reaction? Smerconish, you know there isn't a chance in hell of a conviction here.
With regard to Trump, I have ranked previously here. Many of you didn't like my ranking in terms of the cases from the four buckets that I perceived against Trump. I thought Mar-a-Lago obstruction, if that's what it is, was the strongest, cleanest, straight forward. And then came the revelation of Biden and Pence having classified material in it their houses.
I get it, not an apples to apples, but it cues the cause in the court of public opinion nonetheless. And then I thought, Fulton County, pretty strong. And then what? The jury foreperson emerges and gets her 15 minutes of fame and I think plays right into Trump's defense team in saying that that process, that investigation is now been watered down.
This, to me, was the weakness of them. Remember this. The Feds passed on this case. If it materializes on Tuesday, in terms of what we think it is.
I want to remind you, vote on today's poll question at Smerconish.com. Please it contains -- it pertains to something totally different. Is the military support being given to Ukraine by U.S. and NATO intended just to defend against Russia or is the goal here actually to win? You can use the QR code if you choose
Still to come, in San Francisco, a reparations advisory board has submitted more than 100 proposals aiming to compensate for systemic racism including payments of $5 million to every eligible Black adult. The elimination of personal debt, guaranteed annual income and more. Is it feasible? Coming up, I will ask the vice-chair of that committee.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SMERCONISH: Will San Francisco be the first American city to award reparations to eligible Black residents? This week the African- American Reparations Advisory Committee made more than 100 recommendations to the city's board of supervisors. Among them, payments of $5 million to every eligible Black adult, the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years, and homes in San Francisco for just $1.00 per family.
The idea of reparations has been gaining some traction nationally. The town of Evanston, Illinois, implemented them back in March of 2021. Other cities and towns, churches and colleges have been wrestling with this complicated issue.
In 2020, California became the first state to form a Reparations Task Force. In San Francisco Blacks account for less than six percent of the residents down from 13 percent 50 years ago, 38 percent of its homeless population.
Critics say the payouts make no sense in a state and city that never enslaved Black people. An estimate from The Stanford University's Hoover Institution puts the total cost as to each non-Black family in the city at $600,000 each. A final committee report due in June.
Joining me now to discuss is Tinisch Hollins, vice-chair of the African-American Reparations Advisory Committee. Tinisch, thank you for being here.
How do you -- OK, we don't have her because -- we do have her, we don't have her. Tinisch, I hope you're there. How are you? There she is. A little technical snafu -- a little technical snafu.
How do you distinguish the original sin when other groups say, well, wait a minute, we were discriminated against as well?
TINISCH HOLLINS, VICE-CHAIR, SAN FRANCISCO AFRICAN-AMERICAN REPARATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: So, I mean, obviously, discrimination requires individuals to pursue legal action. And there are many different groups, many types of people that experience discrimination. But reparation is not exclusively about discrimination. It's specifically about government practices that were enacted and enforced. That includes things like redlining and racially restrictive covenants, land theft, things that the government participated in and there's a distinction there.
SMERCONISH: You know the people watching this, people who have read the stories all week long are asking, but how can we ever pay for it? I mean, how in the world could $5 million in payouts be achieved?
HOLLINS: Well, that specific number is to be determined by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in terms of what San Francisco can afford to pay. But to your previous notion, there really is no way to quantify the damages that has been done to the Black community and specifically to Black San Franciscans. The idea behind the recommendations and this partnership with the city and county of San Francisco is to work towards repairing the harm in the five areas that we have called out. And there is no timeline on how long it takes to repair centuries of harm. We have a saying, centuries of harm should be met with centuries of repair. And that extends beyond financial compensation.
SMERCONISH: A friend who is San Franciscan said to me, the best thing that can be done for Black San Francisco residents is to arrest drug dealers and create more shelter. To him and to everybody else, you would say what?
HOLLINS: Stop pathologizing the Black community and that clearly has racial undertones. What other community would a recommendation like that be made to in terms of how to stabilize it? The issues that Black Americans and specifically Black San Franciscans have experienced are directly connected to systemic oppression and racism. And we want to see that damage repaired.
SMERCONISH: Was there something unique to the Black experience in the Bay City or is it that the politics are so progressive there that this issue gets mature, unlike other parts of the country?
HOLLINS: Well, obviously, there are a lot of different unique factors about San Francisco. One being that it's a city and a county. The other being that the outmigration of Black San Franciscans over a short amount of time has been drastic and significant.
But in terms of the traction that the conversation is getting, I think leaders in San Francisco, community members in San Francisco and California overall have been open to the conversation about reparations for Black San Franciscans and Black Americans because the harm is so clear and so apparent, and been documented. And so, we have an opportunity, and I'm glad to see the government is being responsive to that opportunity.
SMERCONISH: Tinisch, thank you for your willingness to come on and educate about this issue that is receiving a lot of attention. We appreciate it.
HOLLINS: Thank you for having me.
SMERCONISH: More social media reaction. Catherine, what do we have? From the world of Twitter. Follow me on Twitter, by the way. I never remember to say that. Follow me on Twitter.
David -- as a person of color, I'm sick of hearing about these reparation policies. They are divisive, and will never happen. Not one penny will ever be paid out.
Look, I read the proposal that was put forth. No one can deny, as I voiced to my guest, the original sin, and the fact that we have never been able to make up for that.
[09:50:07] Having said it, I think that that $5 million number and headline was harmful to this argument and cause because that's what everybody latched on to. And frankly, that's what I latched on to in the introduction to that segment.
Still to come, more of your best and worst social media comments. Also, have you voted yet on this week's poll question? Please do so now at Smerconish.com. Register for the free daily newsletter while you are there.
I'm asking, is the military support being given to Ukraine by the U.S. and NATO, is that intended to defend against Russia or actually to allow Ukraine to win the war?
SMERCONISH: There it is, the result of this week's poll question. At least thus -- wow, round numbers and nearly 30,000. John Bolton's argument carries the day. Is the military support being given to Ukraine by U.S. and NATO intended to defend or actually win? Seventy percent say defend.
I'm limited on time. One social media. What do we have? Make it a winner.
Smerconish, Alvin Bragg just gave us four more years of Trump. Thanks a lot.
I mean, it certainly gives him the opportunity to play the martyr role if the prosecution is unsuccessful, but he made a mistake. He made a mistake. Trump in calling for protests, should not be calling for protests. It is reminiscent of January 6th. We will see how it plays out. See you.