In This Episode
Writer E. Jean Carroll, who is suing Donald Trump for allegedly raping her in 1996, faced hours of cross examination Thursday – leading to a heated exchange with Trump’s lawyer, who questioned her memory and actions surrounding the alleged attack.
The Biden administration has announced plans to open migrant centers throughout Latin America in an effort to slow down the influx of migrants heading to the U.S. The announcement comes as Title 42, which border officials have used to turn away asylum-seekers on public health grounds, is set to expire on May 11th.
And in headlines: former Vice President Mike Pence testified before the federal grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, legislators in Kansas voted to enact a sweeping anti-transgender bathroom bill, and a new Twitter alternative is preparing to launch.
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, April 28th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What A Day where as April comes to a close, we suggest you start preparing now for a Justin Timberlake jump scare.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, all of those it’s going to be May memes. It’s not funny anymore. Just stop it.
Priyanka Aribindi: Neither is May the fourth. They’re not cute. They’re not clever. And you know, they’re the people who live to do it every single year. They just live for it. [laughter] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, former Vice President Mike Pence has testified before the federal grand jury investigating the January 6th insurrection. Plus, another Twitter alternative has made its debut.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, E. Jean Carroll returned to the stand on Thursday for a particularly heated day of cross-examination in her civil battery and defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump. Just a warning to our listeners. This story involves sexual assault. If you’d rather not listen, you are welcome to skip ahead a few minutes. Carroll, a former magazine columnist, alleges that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a New York City Department store in 1996 and defamed her when she came forward with her allegations in 2019. Trump has repeated the claim that that never happened, that he never knew Carroll which is not true. There’s a photograph of them together and that she wasn’t his type, which is just a gross thing to say when met with these kind of allegations. This is just one of many allegations of inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment, and sexual assault against Trump by at least 18 women. But this is the first one to reach trial.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, 18 sets of allegations.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah–
Tre’vell Anderson: –is–
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s a lot.
Tre’vell Anderson: –a lot. A whole lot. All right. So tell us what happened in the courtroom yesterday.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So Carroll faced hours of cross-examination from Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina. He is really just seems like a piece of work. Most of it centered around her memory of the alleged attack, inconsistencies in her recollection and other questions that most people consider completely misogynistic and completely inappropriate to ask victims of sexual violence, including what she was wearing at the time, why she didn’t scream, why she didn’t report it to the police. Just the worst things imaginable.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: Carroll’s testimony included graphic details at points, and some of the exchanges between her and Tacopina became sharp, with the judge even scolding Tacopina for asking questions that were argumentative and repetitive.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m glad the judge, at least, is trying to establish some sort of decorum here.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: But he shouldn’t have to. But here we are.
Priyanka Aribindi: I know it’s, I guess, not surprising that Donald Trump found himself like just another terrible human being to be his lawyer. But I guess something we should have expected. But over the course of the day, Carroll testified that like many survivors of sexual assault, she didn’t contact the police for fear of retaliation and that she never planned to go public with her story, but that the MeToo movement inspired her to speak out. Originally, she had only filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump, alleging that in his response to her allegations, he had defamed her character. But the battery charge was added after a new law in New York offered sexual assault victims a limited window to file civil suits against their attackers if the statute of limitations had expired in their cases. You know, like this one, this happened in 1996, she wouldn’t be able to take this up in the court previously. But with this law, she was able to add the battery charge to her lawsuit.
Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. All right. So now has Trump been present for all of this in the courtroom?
Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, thank God he has not been, because I imagine there would be nothing more traumatic in the world for her than to have to recount all of this with him sitting there and just being himself.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: He hasn’t been there since the trial started. He’s not expected to appear. Jurors are expected to see a taped deposition that he gave. But true to form, he is busy, quote unquote, “Truthing up a storm,” on Truth social. Telling his followers that the case was a, quote, “made up scam and that her lawyer is a political operative.” I believe the judge stepped in, told his lawyer to tell him to stop doing that uh it appears that he is he has started to listen for now. So hopefully that sticks. But there’s that.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Okay. So what happens in the event that the jury finds him guilty here?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So this is a civil suit. So Trump could be on the hook for a lot of money in damages. The amount isn’t unspecified, but it could be millions of dollars. There isn’t like, jail time or anything like that associated with this. But all of this is going on during his third bid for the presidency. All of this all of his other legal drama, all of it playing out at the same time. You know, who knows how it would affect him politically if the jury found him guilty of battery for what Carroll alleges happened here. Like one would hope that would have severe ramifications with the electorate. But like God only knows, America has made some terrible choices before. I’m sure we are capable of some more. But yeah, we would like to think nothing good would come of this if the jury find him guilty.
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, only time will tell.
Priyanka Aribindi: Truly.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now on to the Biden administration’s, let’s say, interesting plan to address the influx of migrants. Yesterday, they announced plans to set up migrant centers throughout Latin America which they believe will help slow down the number of migrants coming to the U.S., especially through the southern border. The goal of the plan is to both crack down on immigrants who might enter the country without legal permission and to create new pathways to support those who need or want to be here. As of right now, these centers will be in Guatemala and Colombia, though Politico reports that other hubs could in time be built in Costa Rica and Ecuador. This first round of centers is expected to be up and running within a couple of weeks. And the idea is that at these facilities, migrants will be screened to determine if they qualify for entry to the U.S.. Now, you know, it’s always interesting talking about migration for me, because right, these borders are all ultimately human made constructs, you know, that–
Priyanka Aribindi: Totally.
Tre’vell Anderson: –only mean as much as we give them meaning. But I will step off my soapbox here because I’m digressing. If migrants are deemed eligible at these centers, they’ll then be referred for refugee resettlement or other quote unquote, “approved pathways” to entering the country, such as parole programs or family reunification. Now, at these centers, it’ll be folks from the UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration doing the actual screenings. And the administration also said that both Canada and Spain will accept migrants referred from these centers.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. All of this is very interesting sounding. I mean, remains to be seen how it will play out. But like seems like there could be good things from this. Why is this announcement coming now? Is there anything behind it?
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Well, you know, in addition to Biden now officially being back in campaign mode after announcing he’s running again after we all told him not to. [laugh] We are about two weeks out from a major shakeup in border policy, which will be the lifting of Title 42. Now Title 42 is a public health rule and Trump era policy that allows border officials to expel asylum seekers inside the US and turn them away at the border, all on the grounds of preventing the spread of Ms. Funky Covidina. It’s been used almost 3 million times since March 2020, but on May 11th, that rule will be lifted, which immigration officials predict will lead to issues at the border. They’re actually predicting 13,000 apprehensions of migrants per day after May 11th.
Priyanka Aribindi: Wow.
Tre’vell Anderson: And so basically, the Biden administration is trying to, you know, prepare for that. But they have to balance, unfortunately, what can be seen as progressive policies with others that, to be quite honest, Republicans and other conservatives won’t rake him over the coals for. So, for example, in addition to the migrant centers and processing relief claims at the border faster, the Department of Homeland Security will also significantly expand the use of expedited removal to process those claims and deport those who don’t qualify within days or weeks. Officials actually said that deportation flights will double or triple for certain countries.
Priyanka Aribindi: Oof. Okay. I don’t know if I like the sound of that at all.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, not great. The Biden administration is also planning to implement a version of a different Trump era policy called a transit ban, which would bar some migrants from applying for asylum in the U.S. in the first place if they cross the border without legal approval or if they don’t first apply for safe harbor in another country, particularly if they are passing through another country before they get to the U.S. so it’s kind of a mixed bag overall. As one former administration official told Politico talking about kind of the tightrope that the administration has to walk here. He said, quote, “They’re walking on a knife’s edge. Will they be able to get to the other side without getting cut? They’re likely going to get slammed on both sides, which may mean they found the right balance.” But like you said, Priyanka, it’s yet to be seen if this set of plan and policy proposals will actually be a net good or a net negative.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yet to be seen. And also like just a crazy uh little metaphor [laughter] that that official made, um I don’t know, very creative, but okay.
Tre’vell Anderson: Very, very creative. Of course, we will have more on all of this very soon, but that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Former Vice President Mike Pence yesterday testified before the federal grand jury that’s been investigating Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Pence’s appearance began just hours after a federal appeals court rejected Trump’s attempt to stop Pence’s testimony. And it comes after a bit of a back and forth about whether or not Pence would actually answer questions. Back in February, Pence was subpoenaed to testify, and both Trump and Pence initially resisted it. Trump, on the grounds of executive privilege and Pence saying he was protected under the Constitution’s speech and debate clause. In March, a judge eventually ruled that Pence must testify, but partially sided with Pence’s constitutional claims and limited what he could be questioned about. Though Pence would still have to give answers about any illegal acts committed by his former boss. Though details of Pence’s closed door testimony are still unclear. The former vice president is considered a key witness, and his appearance comes as he’s hinted at possibly entering the 2024 presidential race as a challenger to Trump.
Priyanka Aribindi: Please, sir, if there is one thing you do not do, please don’t do that. I don’t think that will go very well for you. And uh quite frankly, I think there’s quite a lot of people who think the same.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: The assault on transgender rights continues, and Republican lawmakers in Kansas somehow managed to one up the other red states yesterday by imposing what may be the most sweeping bathroom law in the country. Legislators voted to override Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of the bill, which bars transgender people from using restrooms that align with their own gender identity. The law mainly covers bathrooms at schools, locker rooms and other places supporters argue, require separate facilities due to quote, “biology, safety or privacy.” Still, there is hope, but we’ll have to make like Dorothy and get out of Kansas to find it. First, the Justice Department has trained its sights on Tennessee. The feds have sued the state over its ban on gender affirming care for youth and have asked the courts to block it before it takes effect on July 1st. And both Washington State and Minnesota have declared themselves sanctuaries for both young trans folks and for people seeking abortions. Laws signed yesterday in both states will protect people from extradition requests, warrants, or other court orders if they’re coming from out of state to receive gender affirming health care or to get an abortion.
Tre’vell Anderson: The Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified documents will remain in federal custody while a judge decides whether he will stay in jail leading up to his trial. As you’ll recall, 21 year old Jack Teixeira was arrested earlier this month after he leaked photos of top secret governmental documents on the messaging platform Discord. Yesterday, he appeared at a detention hearing in Worcester, Massachusetts, where prosecutors said he should stay in jail while he awaits trial, arguing that he tried to obstruct their investigation, has a history of racist and violent remarks and poses a serious flight risk because he could still have access to classified documents of interest to foreign governments. On the flip side, Teixeira’s defense attorneys denied he’s a flight risk and said prosecutors were being, quote, “hyperbolic.” Instead, they want him released to the custody of his father on a $20,000 bond. The magistrate judge overseeing the case did not immediately make a decision on whether or not to release Teixeira before his trial and will take more time to consider the matter before issuing a ruling.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yesterday Meta announced that it will sunset its short lived Facebook Watch Original Content Slate after axing the executive in charge of its development and programming in its latest round of layoffs. Over the years, Facebook Watch has seen its fair share of scripted and unscripted shows intended to be watched sort of accidentally, while you’re browsing your Facebook feed, which uh for many of us would also be an accident. [laughter] Justin Bieber, Jojo Siwa and Cardi B have apparently all hosted shows on the platform. Yesterday, the company canceled the last original program standing Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, an iconic program. Whether you tuned in only to see the Jordyn Woods episode, that would be me or you’re a regular drop in to the family hosted roundtable. The program proved a rare success for Facebook Watch, with 11 million followers and an active Facebook discussion group that touted over 600,000 members.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow.
Priyanka Aribindi: While the series is reportedly searching for a new home. Fingers crossed they find one because that was some top notch content. Meta is looking on to greener or at least more three dimensional pastures. The tech company hopes to shift its focus to original programming in the VR space, promoting exciting titles like The Notorious B.I.G. Sky’s the Limit, a VR concert experience, The Shaq-Tacular Spectacular, a New Year’s Countdown special and Trick VR Treat, starring the one and only Vanessa Hudgens. So got a lot of questions there. But our flowers to Red Table Talk and godspeed Mark Zuckerberg.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, Red Table Talk was a moment in culture.
Priyanka Aribindi: Truly.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. You mentioned the Jordyn Woods episode. Also shout out to the I think we’re calling it the Entanglement episode?
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah. I also tuned in for that one. What was going on?
Tre’vell Anderson: You know.
Priyanka Aribindi: You know we were all tuning in to find out.
Tre’vell Anderson: They had the show that everybody wanted shout out to Jada, shout out to Gammy, shout out to Willow. We love to see it. Now on to this VR side of things, Priyanka. You know, I’m just glad that Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame has some work to her name. You know?
Priyanka Aribindi: That is a generous and lovely read on this.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to talk about the social media platform that promises to somehow be much cooler than Mastodon.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, WAD squad. And for today’s temp check to skeet or not to skeet. That is the question. Okay. Don’t turn off–
Priyanka Aribindi: No, it’s not.
Tre’vell Anderson: –the podcast. I’m going to–
Priyanka Aribindi: No, it’s not.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laugh] I’m going to explain. Let me explain, people. Okay. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has launched a social media alternative for the online crowd of people who are getting a little fed up with the varied shenanigans of Elon Musk. The app called Blue Sky Social markets itself as a decentralized, microblogging platform, which allows users to publish three hundred character posts, reply to others, as well as share and repost images. So for the most part, business as usual, except instead of a timeline, it’s the skyline now and it’s–
Priyanka Aribindi: Eew.
Tre’vell Anderson: –skeets instead of tweets. Okay, now–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. That’s an absolute no.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: No.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. Lil Jon and the East Side boys are somewhere going crazy. For those who know that reference–
Priyanka Aribindi: Suing.
Tre’vell Anderson: –we see each other.
Priyanka Aribindi: They are suing.
Tre’vell Anderson: Okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s what they’re doing.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right! [laughing] And no DMs just yet in case you were wondering. In its current beta testing form, the platform remains invite only, but it seems to be picking up some steam this week. Yesterday marked the platform’s biggest single day jump in users yet. Legendary Twitter users Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Dril were confirmed among the crowd of new users, and according to the app’s developers, the waitlist for an invite is already over 1 million people long. So, Priyanka, what do you think? Are we about to hustle for some invites, or does this feel like Mastodon all over again?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I absolutely. I’m not hustling anywhere. Let me tell you that uh one million people is just fine. It’s not going to be 1,000,001 because of me. I’m also, though, like famously a late adopter of this kind of stuff, like if other people get on the platform, if it’s picking up steam, sure. But I don’t feel like I need to go out of my way, spend a lot of extra time on a social media platform, which like we shouldn’t be doing in the first place. Like I’m trying to curb my social media addiction not add to it. I’m not going to be the one of those first people making it the good time for other people. But I just that’s something I know about myself. But. Tre’vell, what do you think about this? Are you are you trying to. I don’t even I can’t even say it. I’m so sorry. I’m not. [laughter] Are you going to be joining Blue Sky? Because I will not be saying the verb for what it is that you do there.
Tre’vell Anderson: Listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely no.
Tre’vell Anderson: I will not be joining because to be quite honest, I’m barely on Twitter these days. Okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: Same same.
Tre’vell Anderson: No one gets on Facebook anymore except my dad. And [laugh]–.
Priyanka Aribindi: Sounds about right.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, and the skeeting of it all. I just come on now.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: Like, did he not Google?
Priyanka Aribindi: No, absolutely did not.
Tre’vell Anderson: I know we’re a family podcast, so I’m trying not to go there, you know but like–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: Uh, yuh, yuh, yuh, yi.
Priyanka Aribindi: No, I’m sorry, It’s Instagram, TikTok, and uh BeReal for me. [laughter] And that’s about it.
Tre’vell Anderson: And that is it. Just like that. We’ve checked our temps. They’re skeptical, to say the least. We’re not doing it. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Come to the red table and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just how many degrees of separation are between me and a Blue Sky invite like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[spoken together] And have a Shaqtacular weekend.
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh my god.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know also glad that Shaq has a gig as well, you know?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I’m sure he really needed it. So. [laughter] What? [laughter] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lantz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla, and Raven Yamamoto is our associate producer. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.