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Some Young TikTok Users Say They Sympathize With Bin Laden; Gaza Hospital A Flashpoint In War & Public Opinion; The Face of January 6 Plans Congressional Run; Cameras in the Trump Trial. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired November 18, 2023 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: So in Nashville, the Mount Zion Baptist Church is helping students at HBCUs. They recently gave away more than a half million dollars in scholarships. A lot of that money is going to students from Tennessee State and Fisk University, both historically black universities. WSMB says that the church is setting up a grant program, and they hope to give away a million dollars annually.
So Mount Zion Baptist Church and the students at TSU and Fisk, I see you. Thanks for joining me today. I'll see you back here next Saturday at 08:00 a.m. Eastern. Smerconish starts now.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Terrorists turned TikTok influencer. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia.
Against the backdrop of virulent antisemitism running rampant online and off, Osama bin Laden was trending this week more than 12 years after he was killed by SEAL Team Six. Dozens of young Americans have posted videos on TikTok expressing sympathy with bin Laden, the terrorist who orchestrated the September 11 attacks after they discovered a two decades old letter that he wrote critiquing the United States, including its support of Israel. Among many heinous quotes, quote, "Your law is law of the rich and the wealthy people who hold sway in their political parties and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stand the Jews who control your policies, media and economy."
There's a lot more to it. It's about 4000 words but you get the gist. It began to recirculate this week on TikTok where videos on the topic garnered at least 14 million views by Thursday. Now, according to TikTok, that doesn't represent trending according to their metrics. The platform said that videos promoting the letter violate its rules against supporting any form of terrorism, but that the number of videos promoting the letter were, quote, "quite small," and reports of it trending are inaccurate.
Here's what you get now if you search TikTok for letter to America, "This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines." Why is this also concerning? Well, new data from the Pew Research Center out just this week shows TikTok rapidly becoming a place where more and more young Americans get their news. Pew found that nearly a third of Americans aged 18 to 29 regularly get news from TikTok and the share of U.S. adults who say they regularly get their news from TikTok has more than quadrupled from 3 percent of 2020 to 14 percent in 2023. All of this came as the "New York Times" reported that actors Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing, and Amy Schumer, were among more than a dozen Jewish celebrities and TikTok creators who had a private meeting with TikTok executives on Wednesday night urging them to do more to address the surge of antisemitism and harassment.
Sacha Baron Cohen who does not appear to have an official TikTok account, said early in the call, quote, "What is happening at TikTok is that it is creating the biggest antisemitic movements since the Nazis." He criticized violent imagery and disinformation on the platform claiming the TikTok could flip a switch and fix antisemitism.
And over on X, CEO Elon Musk agreed with an antisemitic posts that claim Jews push hatred against white people. In response to this, several companies including Apple, IBM, Comcast, Disney and CNN's parent, Warner Brothers Discovery have paused their advertising on the platform.
So, about that bin Laden letter, it had originally been posted in Arabic on a Saudi Arabian website and was then translated into English and published in 2002 by Britain's Guardian newspaper. On the Guardians website, there's now a statement that reads as follows, "This page previously displayed a document containing in translation the full text of bin Laden's letter to the American people. The transcript published on our website had been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore, we decided to take it down and direct readers instead to a news article that originally contextualized it."
And therein lies the issue. Should it be published or should it be censored? Should it be removed? A professor at the City University of London, Marco Bastos, told "The Washington Post" that the editors of the Guardian faced a no win scenario once interest in Bin Laden's letter began to grow, quote, "If they don't take down the content, the content will be leveraged, and it will be discussed, potentially shared and is going to go viral, if not out of context, then certainly outside the scope of the original piece. If they take it down, they're going to be accused, as they are right now, of censorship."
Personally me, I think it's got to be left up. You can't hide it. The horses left the barn. Nothing was posted online is really ever gone. And if you take it down, there's even more room for misinformation. I found one version online that was about five pages into reading it when it made reference to an open letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris. Wait a minute, I said, bin Laden was dead long before Biden was president. I was looking at a fake.
And if you remove the real one there is even more room for that kind of trouble. Additionally, if you remove it you create more curiosity and buzz about it. Better I say to leave the original version, contextualize it, discuss it, and educate a whole generation of young Americans who weren't even born when bin Laden was responsible for killing 3,000 Americans. I say publish, don't censor. [09:05:22]
And apparently I'm not alone. Yesterday on my website, on this question, 18,643 voted 62.32 percent of us said publish, 39.68 percent said censor.
CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen joins me now. He's the host of the podcast, "In the Room with Peter Bergen." You'll remember he produced the first television interview that bin Laden ever did. It was in 1997 for CNN. He was also the only outside observer who got into Bin Laden's about a bad compound in 2012 after SEAL Team Six killed Bin Laden, and before the Pakistanis raised the building. He's also the author of several books, including "The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden."
And he just published this piece at cnn.com, "Osama bin Laden was a mass murderer, not a TikTok influencer."
Peter, it's great to see you. You find all of this baffling, how come?
PETER BERGEN, AUTHOR, "THE RISE & FALL OF OSAMA BIN LADEN": Well, Michael, thanks for having me on the show. Well, first of all, you know, when you look at the people who are posting on TikTok, I mean, they're clearly people in their 20s. They were either not alive on 9/11 or they were, you know, very young children. They are sort of divorced from the history of this. And it's not just as you say, 3,000 Americans who were killed by al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda was responsible for 10s of 1000s, of deaths of other people around the world. I mean, al- Qaeda in Iraq helped sparked the Civil War there in which 10s of 1000s of Iraqis died.
You know, this guy is not a hero. He's not some serious thinker. And the other thing, I mean, Michael, the letter itself, I'm not really sure was written by bin Laden. Or if it was written by him, he had other people helping him because it'll also focus on some other issues that bin Laden typically didn't focus on. He talks about American tolerance of homosexuality, the drug culture in the west, you know, global warming, that U.S. is supposedly responsible, et cetera, et cetera.
And these were really not issues that bin Laden really cared about. At the end of the day, he did care about the Palestinian issue and that's how the letter begins. And in other statements, he emphasized that and it was kind of call (ph) to his -- the reason that he was attacking United States, that is true.
SMERCONISH: In your cnn.com piece, I'm going to put a paragraph up on the screen and I'll read it aloud. You noted the following on what you just said, "Certainly, bin Laden himself was very focused on the Palestinian issue. As a teenager, he would gather friends to chant religious songs about Palestine. His father, who ran a major construction company renovated the three holiest sites in Islam, including the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which is in territory that was taken by the Israeli army during the 1967 War."
It's true to say, Peter, right, this was his driving issue. I mean, post September 11, we were told, they hate us for our lattes, they hate us for our genes, they hate us for our lap dances, they hate us for our freedoms, but it was really about foreign policy, and largely on what they described, al-Qaeda, the so-called Arabian Peninsula.
BERGEN: Absolutely. I mean, bin Laden, you know, the interview you referred to that his first television interview with CNN, you know, it was really a foreign policy critique of the United States and his policies in the Middle East. He didn't mention any cultural issues or any of the kinds of -- he didn't mention that he hated our freedoms or some of the things we heard from the Bush administration after 9/11. And for him, the Palestinian issue was (inaudible). The interesting thing is it sort of receded for a jihadist group of late.
I mean, think about ISIS, ISIS was very focused on killing shear. And for them, the Palestinian issue was kind of marginal. Now it's come back front and center, including for groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda since October 7 and the attack on Israel. They have been putting out a fair amount of propaganda, sort of against Israel. And this issue is front and center for jihadist groups around the world now.
SMERCONISH: What do we do, Peter? A whole generation that were not alive on September 11 now finds this fascinating, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. But what's the answer? Surely, you've thought about this?
BERGEN: Well, that's a really good question. I mean, you know, why don't you educate yourself about Osama bin Laden. He's not some sort of heroic figure. He is not some great thinker. He causes a great deal of misery in the world.
And there are a number of books including by myself, but also others by, you know, Lawrence Wright, "The Looming Tower," a great book that won a Pulitzer Prize. And Steve Cole's books. And I mean, there are so many good books out there. It's not like you can't find actual information rather than just this letter, which is sort of, you know, without any context and also seems to just feed into this idea that the United States is responsible for all the bad things that happens in the world, including in Israel.
SMERCONISH: I had a radio listener yesterday call me a hypocrite because my perspective is one of leave the letter up but police the antisemitism. There's antisemitism within the bin Laden letter. And therein lies I guess, the claim of hypocrisy on my part. But I'm troubled by the move to scrub it from the internet, as if it's going to go away, because it's not going to go away and something else is going to fill that void. Do you see that issue the same way that I do, the publication versus censorship issue?
BERGEN: Yes, I agree. I mean, I think the story is got more legs, because the Guardian chose to take it down. And as you pointed out, in the introduction, they were sort of -- there were really no good choices here. And they made their choice, but at least bad choice might have been to leave it up and to put more context, and you know, in general, I mean, we both work in the news business, I mean, we're in the business of letting people decide based on what is out there and not in the business of censorship, I think.
SMERCONISH: You met the man, you interviewed him, you were in a bottle bad after he was killed. From Hell, he looks up and he thinks what, as he's witnessing this?
BERGEN: Well, I'm sure he's very happy, were he able to see this. Because I mean, for a lot of people -- you know, go back to the people in the TikTok videos. I mean, you know, for them 9/11 is like the Vietnam War or even the Korean War for me, which is something that happened either when I was a child or before I was born. And so -- and I teach at Arizona State and, you know, I realized the students I teach, you know, haven't -- don't really know much about 9/11. For them, that's an event that entered into history, not an event that's in memory.
And I think it's very important for us to understand what happened on 9/11. And, you know, I mean, of course, you know, the United States made some mistakes after 9/11, President Joe Biden has said that himself publicly, when he's, you know, talking about what Israel should do in the Gaza Strip. But the fact is, is that, you know, bin Laden attacked us on 9/11 without warning, and, you know, killed a lot of our citizens. And he changed history in a way that I think he was surprised by ultimately, because he believed his own narrative that the United States was a paper tiger and that we would sort of pull out of the Middle East. Instead, we became more involved in the Middle East, and we have in our history. So --
SMERCONISH: Yes. I know from your analysis that bin Laden believed that his attack would be the Vietnam for us, and that we would fold our tent and that there would be dissent in the streets and there wasn't, there was support.
Peter Bergen, as always, thank you so much.
BERGEN: Michael, thank you.
SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Hit me up on social media. I'll get to some throughout the course of the program.
What do we have, Jordan (ph)? While I voted for publish, I think that they should be mandated to add historical context to the letter. This should be the case for every extreme document like that. Laurent, I'm fine with that. I'm fine with that.
Yes, contextualization is what I'm advocating. You know, if you're going to publish the bin Laden letter, and I think that you should, there's got to be other materials there available to tell a competing narrative.
One more if we have time for it. I think that we do. What is it? No more. OK, more later.
Up ahead, he became the face, wait until you hear this, he became the face of the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol. Jacob Angeli Chansley, who was known as the QAnon shaman, pleaded guilty to the felony of obstructing an official proceeding. He's been released. He's now planning a run for Congress, and he's here to discuss.
And Israel's justification for its attack on the largest hospital in Gaza was that Hamas is using it as a large scale command and control center. So far that remains unproven. A new CNN analysis indicates the IDF may have moved weapons before international news outlets arrived. Could that hurt their credibility?
It's also the focus of today's poll question at smerconish.com. Please go there, answer this question, given the evidence available so far, was the IDF justified in entering the Al-Shifa Hospital? By the way, when you're there, register for my daily newsletter, it's free. It's worthy. You'll get the work of political cartoonists.
I love this. Look at what Steve Breen drew from my website this week, does that not sum up the political week just ended?
SMERCONISH: Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital has become a flashpoint in the Israel-Hamas war and public opinion about it. Israel launched a targeted operation at the hospital this week claiming that Hamas has been using the site as a large scale command and control center. But Palestinians say the fighting in and around Gaza's largest hospital is proof of Israel's disregard for civilian life. The Israel Defense Forces, the IDF claimed that they found a tunnel shaft under the facility and, quote, "technological assets and military equipment." A new CNN analysis finds that the IDF video of the weaponry found at Al- Shifa shot on November 15 shows less weaponry than in later footage filmed by international news crews indicating it may have been moved or placed there prior to news crews arriving.
The IDF has not commented on this. The military says they also have found two bodies of hostages in the structures near the hospital, but it has not yet shown proof of its claim of a large scale command and control center. The commander of Israel seventh brigade told "The New York Times" reporters that the Israel forces, quote, "fearing booby traps had not ventured down the shaft at the hospital." The White House has backed Israel's claims citing U.S. intelligence that it says shows Hamas is storing weapons at operating a command node from Al- Shifa. Hamas and hospital officials deny the allegations.
CNN has not been able to verify the claims of either Israel or Hamas. The United Nations is calling for access to inspect Al-Shifa.
Richard Clarke joins me now. He is a former White House counterterrorism adviser who advised three consecutive presidents including George W. Bush when September 11 happened. He's also spent 10 years as chair of the Middle East Institute. He's written 10 books recently penned this piece for smerconish.com, "The War 50 Years After the War," which warns we don't want another war in the Middle East that turns out to be based on false Intel.
Richard Clarke, great to have you back. How important is it that Israel make a discovery of evidence that this was indeed a command center or node?
RICHARD CLARKE, SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BUSH, CLINTON: Well, Michael, Israel gave us the impression that there was a command post. Now we hear command post, we expect to see something with lots of communications gear. Senior leaders, they haven't shown any proof of that yet. But we have to look at this in the larger context. I always taught that with terrorism, you're fighting two battles simultaneously.
One was the battle against the terrorists, and the other was the battle for public opinion, and both matter. And the Israelis either have given up on the battle for public opinion or, surprisingly, they're not very good at it, because I'm not sure which it is.
SMERCONISH: The United States also has skin in this game, and so far as Admiral Kirby has said, that we independently have evidence of that which the Israelis have been saying.
CLARKE: Well, yes, Admiral Kirby said that we had our own intelligence. What that probably means is we had signals intelligence, that they -- there were people there in the facility who were Hamas and who were communicating from there.
Look, I have no doubt that Hamas had people in the hospital, and that those people had weapons, I have no doubt that there's a shaft that leads to the tunnel system, but you could do that in almost any building in Gaza. Find Hamas people with weapons and find a shaft lean into a tunnel system. So, the Israelis have to provide a lot more proof if they're going to win this part of the public diplomacy, the public opinion battle.
Why does the public opinion battle matter? Well, because there are people in the United States and in Western Europe, and even in the Arab world, who wants to support Israel, but may not support it enough if the Israeli action is seen to be abhorrent and it seemed to be violations of international law. It is against international law to attack a hospital unless that hospital has been changed entirely into being a military facility. This was clearly a hospital. Bibi Netanyahu said yesterday on NPR that it wasn't still the hospital when the Israelis attacked.
Sure it was, and the Israelis knew it was because they went in with doctors and incubators, to try to keep the babies alive once they took control of the building.
The other reason, Michael, that public opinion matters here is the next generation of Arabs are watching this. And the hatred for Israel, which had subsided somewhat in the Arab world is growing to incredible proportions. That means 10, 15 years from now, though, there are people whose opinions are being formed now as young men who will be terrorists and who will hate Israel for the rest of their lives. So, how you handle the public opinion battle matters a lot.
SMERCONISH: Tunnel access, Kalashnikovs, the bodies of two hostages, uniforms, if that's not the showing, have you thought about what it would take? What do they need to present to the public that would be convincing?
CLARKE: Well, Netanyahu is claiming that there was a level two command post, whatever that means. Maybe what they need to do is drop a robot down the tunnel shaft, they have robots designed for that, and see what's down there. Maybe they've already done that and there's not much down there except tunnels.
I think the important thing here is for Israel to not stretch the truth. They're under a microscope. And when they set themselves up by saying it's a command post, there were heavy weapons there, then they have to produce that. And they haven't been able to produce that. The other thing, Michael, to remember --
SMERCONISH: Final thought --
SMERCONISH: Richard --
CLARKE: The final thought here is --
SMERCONISH: -- I want to know -- yes. Go ahead. I'm sorry.
CLARKE: Well, my final thought is the United States has rules of engagement for when it fights. And under our rules of engagement, this would never have happened. The Israelis have rules of engagement that are far different from ours, and I think they're getting them in trouble.
SMERCONISH: I was going to say I want to know what the evidence is. You want to know what the evidence is. I think that for many, it's a Rorschach test. And people are dug in and already drawing conclusions based on what they hope the evidence might show. You got the final word.
CLARKE: There are some people in the United States and Europe and the Arab world whose opinions haven't really gelled yet. And for those people, things like this matter. Most of the people who are looking at this have already formed their opinions and it doesn't matter. But the future matters and the next generation matters. And the Israelis are losing the battle for public opinion.
SMERCONISH: Richard Clarke, thank you for being here. Appreciate your expertise.
On social media gang, I want to remind you, let's see what you're saying so far and then I want to remind you about the poll question. The question is premature, says, Andy. Why don't you wait until after all the evidence is presented until a few days with classified evidence not released? This is a misleading poll. It does not take into account the responsibility that Hamas says. Andy, let me put the poll question up on the screen while I address your question. You say it's premature. I was very deliberate. I wrote it myself. Given the evidence available so far, I'm asking you as of today, recognizing that we still don't know all the facts as of today, would you say the IDF was justified in entering Al-Shifa?
Go vote at smerconish.com. While you're there, maybe you'll sign up for the daily newsletter.
Jack Ohman Pulitzer Prize winner sketched a great cartoon for us this week that looks as follows, funny stuff. So much truth in what these artists are able to do in such a quick glimpse.
Up ahead, so far, artist sketches of Donald Trump are all the public has been able to see from inside federal courtrooms, but media outlets have petitioned Judge Tanya Chutkan to overrule the ban on cameras in federal court and allow them in the D.C. election subversion trial. Would doing so help her hurt Donald Trump? Would it help her hurt prosecutors? Would it help her hurt democracy?
Plus, Jacob Angeli Chansley became the face of the January 6 breach of the Capitol and was the first person involved to be indicted. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding having served his time. He's now planning a run for Congress from Arizona and he's here to discuss.
SMERCONISH: He was the face of January 6, 2021 and was the very first person indicted for the invents of that day, and now he's planning a run for Congress and will join me in just a moment. Jacob Angeli Chansley, he wore red, white, and blue face paint and a flurry head dress with horns. He carried a bull horn and an American flag in a spear. He stood at the Senate desk that had recently been occupied by then Vice President Mike Pence, left a note that read, it's only a matter of time, justice is coming. And calling Pence an f'ing traitor.
He was known as the QAnon shaman. He was arrested and held without bail. His attorney asked then President Trump for a pardon. He didn't get it.
That September, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding. He was sentenced to 41 months in prison. During his sentencing hearing, Chansley said that he was truly repentant for his actions.
In March, after serving more than two years he was moved to a halfway house and he was then released on May 25th, and last week filed a candidate statement of interest paperwork to run as a libertarian candidate in Arizona's 8th Congressional district in 2024. Jacob Angeli Chansley joins me now.
Mr. Chansley, thanks so much for being here. I was really interested in your sentencing hearing. There was a lot of information that was provided there, at which, and I'll put this on the screen and show it to the audience, you took full responsibility.
You said, men of honor admit when they're wrong, not just publicly but to themselves. I would like to use this as an opportunity to admit to Your Honor, to the prosecution, to the nation, I was wrong for entering the Capitol. I have no excuse, no excuse whatsoever. The behavior is indefensible.
That was before you did the time. How do you feel today?
JACOB ANGELI CHANSLEY, PLEADED GUILTY TO FELONY FOR JANUARY 6/PLANNING RUN FOR CONGRESS: There's no defense for breaking the law unless it's an unjust law. And there are unjust laws, just as there are unjust men.
SMERCONISH: OK, but what you said at the sentencing hearing still holds, you've got no excuse, you recognize you broke the law and you regret it?
CHANSLEY: Well, I recognize I broke the law. I did my time. Whether or not the sentence was, you know, fitting of the -- quote -- unquote -- "crime" is a matter of opinion. But I am better because I chose to take responsibility.
I chose to invest my time wisely. I educated myself. I taught a metaphysics class while I was in prison. I also helped people in the RDAP, Residential Drug Abuse Program, get over their addictions.
I, you know, read a lot of books. I worked out a lot. You know, I invested in self-improvement.
SMERCONISH: In the course of the sentencing hearing, you also said that -- and I'll put this on the screen that you wished you could do it all differently. Quote -- "In all honesty, I would do everything differently." What would you do differently on January 6 if you could wind back the clock?
CHANSLEY: Well, I would do everything that I could in a more intense way to stop everything from happening in the first place. Now, how easy that would be considering that tear gas and concussion grenades were tossed in the middle of an otherwise peaceful crowd is, you know, nothing I can predict right now or trying, you know, say one way or the other, but I would definitely try to stop the whole thing from happening, considering the persecution that a lot of J sixers have gone through and the destruction that was caused to the sacred chamber that we call the Capitol.
So, you know, for me, what it's about is stopping anything negative from happening. And that's definitely what I would do.
SMERCONISH: OK. I guess I'm waiting to hear if you'll also say given that you hope to be employed in those buildings, I would not breach the Capitol. I would never have broken into the building.
CHANSLEY: Well, considering that I would try to stop everything from happening, I think, that's a given.
SMERCONISH: OK. I don't want to play a word game.
CHANSLEY: And I didn't break into the building. I didn't break into the building.
SMERCONISH: Why not just say -- why not just say it? I wouldn't trespass. You know, I wouldn't trespass.
CHANSLEY: Because I didn't break into the building.
SMERCONISH: That -- pardon me?
CHANSLEY: Because I did not break into the building. I walked through open doors. And if you look at it, the truth of what happened when I went in is antithetical to the Mockingbird Media's narrative.
I stopped somebody from stealing. I volunteered to help the police. That's why they were escorting me around the building. And, you know, I said a prayer as soon as I exited the building. I, you know, shortly thereafter, I stopped people from breaking in and told everybody to go home. I was doing everything I could to be a peacekeeper inside that building.
SMERCONISH: OK. But let's agree on this. Maybe you should never have been in the building to begin with.
CHANSLEY: OK. Well, there's a lot of people in Congress that probably shouldn't be in there.
SMERCONISH: This is not sounding so repentant. I'm going to skip ahead to something the judge said about you that I was really taken with. As I say, I spent a lot of time reading your file and was taken with the sentencing hearing.
This is Judge Lamberth, first of all, I thank you for your comments. I think yesterday I celebrated my 34th year as a judge. I think your remarks are the most remarkable I've heard in 34 years. I think you are genuine in your remorse and heartfelt. He then said that the words that you said to him were akin to things that Martin Luther King would have said.
So, I guess, my question is, are you remorseful? Because now I'm kind of questioning whether you're remorseful.
CHANSLEY: Well, with all due respect, I don't care if you're questioning whether or not I'm remorseful. I've made it very clear on several occasions. I should not have broken the law.
Now the fact of the matter is, we can regret things in life. We can have remorse. We can have, you know, all sorts of resentment and stuff, if we choose, but those things are far too heavy burdens to move forward in our lives. And I'm moving forward not just for myself, but for the American people. Because there is no representation for the American people in Congress. That's why I'm running on single bill voting. That's why I'm running on a term limit amendment for congressmen and staff. That's why I'm running on criminalizing lobbying.
SMERCONISH: I mean, I was looking forward --
CHANSLEY: That's why I'm running on -- that's why I'm running on seven-figure fines, expulsion --
SMERCONISH: Jacob, I was looking forward to talking about your -- I was looking forward to talking about your platform. I thought we were going to very quickly given what you said at your sentencing hearing hear from you, man, I really regret it. I should never have been in that building to begin with. I'm a different person. I'm remorseful. But I'm not hearing that.
I just showed footage of the doors being kicked in, and then you walked in with a group of people. And it sounds like you're not even taking ownership that you never should have walked through that door.
CHANSLEY: Well, because I was making sure -- didn't I say I broke the law and I shouldn't have done that? So, like I said, there's no representation for the American people in Congress. That's why I'm running.
That's why I said that there are some people in Congress that probably shouldn't be in there either because they are not representing the American people. They are representing the non-government organizations, special interest groups, international corporations, international banks, and that's part of the reason why I think it's so important --
SMERCONISH: Do you -- do you want Donald Trump's endorsement?
CHANSLEY: I will take any support I can get because I'm not garnering campaign funds. I don't want people's money. What I'm asking for is their vote.
I think big money is a big problem in American politics. I think the two-party system is a big problem. That's why I'm running on a libertarian ticket because the two-party system has taken everything from the American people.
It has taken everything from the American people. And all they have gotten in exchange is more problems, more headaches, more taxes, crisis after crisis after crisis, more poverty, and more wars, and less freedoms.
SMERCONISH: Why --
CHANSLEY: So --
SMERCONISH: Why would we trust -- why would we trust the levers of power to someone who didn't uphold the outcome of the last election? Like, why put you in a position where you could now control that dynamic? CHANSLEY: Why are we trusting the levers of power in the hands of people that have got us into endless wars based on lies, in the hands of people that have moved our public tax dollars into the private hands of less than one percent of the population?
You know, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. People can trust me because there are no strings on me. I don't want their money. I want their support.
I don't care whether or not the deep state likes what it is that I'm suggesting because what it is that I'm suggesting is going to be antithetical to their corrupt system. That's why people should trust me --
SMERCONISH: Jacob Chansley --
CHANSLEY: -- because I'm not the status quo.
SMERCONISH: OK. I appreciate you being here. Thank you.
Social media reaction to this conversation. What do we have?
Once an individual serves their time in jail for their crimes they should be allowed to move on with their lives. That includes running for an elected position.
Hey, I agree with that. I agree with that. I mean, this is like my Michael Vick thing. You know, love dogs, love the Philadelphia Eagles, had some issues but he did his time. But in this case, I feel differently.
I would be -- I would be saying, you know, welcome to it if I had just heard something different in line with what he said is the sentencing here. But it's like too cagey. It's too -- like just own in and say, I should never have done that.
I didn't hear it. Maybe you heard it. I didn't hear it. One more, real quick. What do we have?
Why are you giving him oxygen? How could I not give him oxygen? He is the face of January 6. He's like the one person, the first indicted. January 6th protester, what pops into your head? The shaman. He's running for Congress. I'm going to ignore it? Not the way I roll.
I want to remind you, answer today's poll question at Smerconish.com. Given the evidence available so far, was the IDF justified in entering the al-Shifa Hospital?
Still to come, should cameras by allowed in the upcoming election subversion trial of President Trump, even though federal law precludes it? Media outlets, including CNN, are asking Judge Tanya Chutkan for access. Prosecutor Jack Smith argues against. Trump's lawyers say they want it. I have got an opinion.
SMERCONISH: They say sunshine is the best disinfectant. I agree. And I believe that thinking extends to cameras in courtrooms, including the Washington, D.C. federal court where Donald Trump will be tried for election subversion. Media outlets, including CNN, are asking Judge Tanya Chutkan for access. Prosecutors say they oppose the move. Defense lawyers for Trump say they agree with the media.
Here's my standard. Anywhere that citizenry can walk in, pull up a chair and watch its government function, there ought to be cameras permitted. There would be a few privacy exceptions for say juvenile proceedings, but everywhere else, sunshine.
Think your local borough council, your township supervisors, your school board, the county and state courts, Congress, federal courts, including the Supreme Court. I happen to think it's a disgrace that we have only audio of Supreme Court arguments and not video. If you have got a right to be there in person, there ought to be a camera present.
But cameras are not permitted in federal court. In the state system, different states have different rules. But in the federal system, cameras are not permitted. There was once a federal experiment. It was in the early 1990s. I was a young lawyer just starting to practice. In fact, I was scheduled to try my first case in federal court.
I represented the estate of a man who choked to death at a restaurant while a cashier, who was trained in the Heimlich maneuver, was prevented by a manager from interceding. Well, there was then a pilot program for cameras in federal court being tested in the eastern district of Pennsylvania.
And because I had hired Dr. Henry Heimlich as my expert, Court TV suddenly requested to televise the trial. I was scared to death of making my trial debut on Court TV. But the defense lawyers were more concerned about the story reaching a large audience and the case settled.
The point is cameras have an impact. Donald Trump faces four criminal indictments, the most prominent in my view, the most perilous for Trump is the federal subversion case pending in it the district court in Washington, D.C. in front of Judge Tanya Chutkan. It's set for trial next March, right in the middle of Republican primary voting.
Media outlets are requesting to televise the trial notwithstanding the federal prohibition. The judge asked the parties to weigh in. Prosecutor Jack Smith's team said they oppose cameras. Among other things they said they worry about witness intimidation.
Trump's lawyers said they want cameras and the conventional wisdom is that Trump would benefit, that he would use the setting as a platform to spin his version much like he's doing outside Judge Engoron's courtroom in that New York civil trial.
In their filing, Trump's lawyers said this. In sum, President Trump absolutely agrees, and in fact demands, that these proceedings should be fully televised so that the American public can see firsthand that this case, just like others, is nothing more than a dreamt up unconstitutional charade that should never be allowed to happen again. Furthermore, President Trump is entitled to present his positions in this case to the American public, including his sacred obligation as president to investigate and address fraud and other irregularities in the 2020 presidential election.
Guess what? I think they are bluffing. I think they understand that federal courts tend to be more rigid, more regimented, more regulated than state courts. I suspect that Judge Chutkan would run a tight ship and the television outlets would clear their schedules to televise a criminal case of a former president in the thick of a campaign.
And then while Trump would bluster outside the courtroom, the public would be drawn to the evidence presented on the inside. And that would not be to his advantage. Trump's trials should be televised. I say that not because it would be to his detriment, but because we have a right to see what goes on when our government conducts the people's business.
Still to come, more of your social media comments and the final result of today's poll question at Smerconish.com. Here's what I'm asking. Given the evidence available so far, was the IDF justified in entering the al-Shifa Hospital? By the way, subscribe to my newsletter when you're there. You'll get exclusive editorial cartoons from legends.
This is kind of funny. Rob Rogers drew this. I don't agree with it, but I love it. I don't agree with the message, but I love it. And I told him so.
SMERCONISH: OK. Gang, there's the result thus far. Wow. Whoa. Look at that.
Given the evidence available so far, was the IDF justified in entering the al-Shifa Hospital? Twenty-six thousand one hundred and fifty and counting, and three quarters are saying, yes, they were. We will keep our eye on that story.
Here's some of the social media reaction that came in during the course of the program. What do we have?
Do you regret giving Chansley your platform today? No, I don't, Dillon. But I will say this. He was not what I anticipated.
I read the file including the sentencing hearing. In the sentencing hearing he is under oath and he tells the judge, you know, people have to admit when they're wrong. I was wrong. It was indefensible. I have no excuse. I'm not an insurrectionist.
The judge in sentencing him says, I've been on the bench for 34 years. I've never seen someone like you. [09:55:03]
I mean, the judge says, parts of the remarks that you've made are akin to things that Martin Luther King would have said. I think, let's get this guy on. He's the face of January 6th. He's going to be repentant. And then I can talk to him about why is he a libertarian. Like maybe that was my naivete. Instead, he was cagey and we couldn't even get beyond him owning what he did wrong so that we could talk about politics, which was my goal.
Another one, real quick, if you don't mind. I think we have got time for one more social media. But no. No is the answer to your question.
Today's poll, this is a war triggered by Hamas. If only strongly suspected, the IDF has reason to enter the hospital. However, the IDF has every responsibility to avoid collateral death and injury to non- combatants.
I like, Steven, the way that Richard Clarke, the former national security adviser put this which is that there are two battles that are taking place. And I'm agreeing with him in that Israel has got to be cognizant of both of them. One is the battle on the battlefield. And the other is the court of public opinion.
And having staked out the ground that there was a command node in that hospital they need to make a showing. And if they don't, they will lose the battle of the court of public opinion. Thank you for watching. Enjoy Thanksgiving next week.