CNN Senior Legal Analyst Stumped by the Concept of 'Evidence'

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Posted: Oct 12, 2018 9:45 AM
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Stumped by the Concept of 'Evidence'

On CNN’s Thursday morning broadcast of “New Day,” CNN senior legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin admitted that he was completely stumped by Melania Trump’s public endorsement of due process and the need for allegations of criminal activity to be backed up by evidence.

CNN host Alisyn Camerota teed up and played the short clip for both Toobin and CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, who ended up being equally perplexed by the First Lady’s relatively simple proposition:

CAMEROTA: Okay, let’s move on to the First Lady because she’s also making news. She’s on an international trip, as you know Nia. And so she was asked about everything that happened with Brett Kavanaugh, about the women who have come forward, about whether or not women should be believed. Here is what Melania Trump says about that.

MELANIA TRUMP: [ABC News clip] I support the women and they need to be heard. We need to support them, and, you know, also men, not just women… [cut]

I do stand with women, but we need to -- we need to show the evidence. You cannot just say to somebody: “I was, you know, sexually assaulted,” and -- or “you did that to me,” or -- because sometimes the media goes too far.

For the most part, Melania’s statements here seem pretty straightforward. She thinks that women or men that make serious criminal allegations in public need to show some form of independent evidence to back up their accusations. Otherwise, especially in the absence of a courtroom environment, the media can go nuts endlessly speculating whether or not the charges are true.

Melania’s statement about a “need to support…men, not just women” is the only one that appears somewhat vague. Unfortunately, the First Lady’s full response appears to have been cut off both in the original ABC broadcast and CNN’s re-edit, but it appears that she is just making the point that men can also be victimized by sex predators (or, perhaps, even false allegations).

In spite of this minor point of interpretation, what Melania said really shouldn’t have been terribly vexing for a Harvard Law graduate like Toobin. And yet, for CNN’s big brained legal scholar, it was indeed too much to handle.

After Camerota followed the clip by asking Toobin what kinds of evidence Melania might think could be used to support a sexual assault claim, Toobin admitted: “I am gonna defer to Nia. I have no idea what she’s talking about.” Toobin then immediately lobbed the conversation over to Henderson. Although she too was a bit confused by the First Lady’s statements, Henderson was still comfortable giving her opinion of them:

Yeah, I -- right. I don’t know either. I mean, she’s all over the place. [She’s] [t]here saying she supports the women, but she supports the men. She probably believes what Don Jr.believes, which is that there is, uh, this attempt to get men, and obviously her husband —she might think — is also a victim of this #MeToo culture. I think it was thirteen women so far have accused him of sexual harassment, of sexual assault, or any number of infractions.

And, you know, the interesting thing -- I think the follow up question to her would be: “Well what about these thirteen women who have said these number of things about your husband? What do you think about that?”

Uh, so, you know, I mean -- I think what’s also interesting about her is we often think that she is in some ways out to poke her husband, is independent from her husband, but in -- I think in the main areas, whether it’s birtherism, whether it’s #MeToo, whether it’s that Access Hollywood tape, she has been his biggest defender. And I think we see that there in that interview.

Gotta give Henderson credit for finding some way to wiggle in unproven accusations of sexual assault against the president. Well played.

You can watch the video of the short segment via Mediaite and read a transcript of it below:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Okay, let’s move on to the First Lady because she’s also making news. She’s on an international trip, as you know Nia. And so she was asked about everything that happened with Brett Kavanaugh, about the women who have come forward, about whether or not women should be believed. Here is what Melania Trump says about that.

MELANIA TRUMP: [ABC News clip] I support the women and they need to be heard. We need to support them, and also men, not just women… [cut]

I do stand with women, but we need to -- we need to show the evidence. You cannot just say to somebody: “I was, you know, sexually assaulted,” and -- or “you did that to me,” or -- because sometimes the media goes too far.

CAMEROTA: So, yeah. I mean she’s saying a few different things there. She’s saying that women really need to produce hard evidence, and I’m just wondering what would the hard evidence be of someone trying to rip off your bathing suit and covering your mouth so you couldn’t scream more than thirty years ago?

JEFFREY TOOBIN: I am gonna defer to Nia. I have no idea what she’s talking about.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Yeah. I, I-

TOOBIN: So Nia, you’re in charge of answering that question.

HENDERSON: Yeah, I -- right. I don’t know either. I mean, she’s all over the place. There [sic] saying she supports the women, but she supports the men. She probably believes what Don Jr.believes, which is that there is, uh, this attempt to get men, and obviously her husband —she might think —is also a victim of this #MeToo culture. I think it was thirteen women so far have accused him of sexual harassment, of sexual assault, or any number of infractions.

And, you know, the interesting thing -- I think the follow up question to her would be: “Well what about these thirteen women who have said these number of things about your husband? What do you think about that?”

Uh, so, you know, I mean -- I think what’s also interesting about her is we often think that she is in some ways out to poke her husband, is independent from her husband, but in -- I think in the main areas, whether it’s birtherism, whether it’s #MeToo, whether it’s that Access Hollywood tape, she has been his biggest defender. And I think we see that there in that interview.

TOOBIN: What Nia said.

CAMEROTA: I knew that. You’re passing this one right over today. I got it.