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‘I Don’t Understand’: CNN’s Phillip Pushes Back on Dr. Phil’s Trump Trial Claims

By Jake Beardslee · June 8, 2024

A heated exchange erupted on CNN Thursday evening between host Abby Phillip and TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw over the fairness of former President Donald Trump's recent hush money trial conviction.  DOUG HOKE/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

The on-air disagreement began after Phillip asked McGraw, who had just interviewed Trump, "You're clearly sympathetic to Trump, but you believe that he should drop this talk of revenge. Did he commit to not pursuing that if he was elected president?"  Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America / Wikimedia

McGraw responded, "Well, first of all, I'm sympathetic to what Trump has gone through in this particular trial, because I think it was not proper due process for him."  DOUG HOKE/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

When pressed by Phillip on why he felt Trump didn't receive due process, McGraw cited issues with the jury and claimed "they heard some things that were very prejudicial that had nothing to do with solving the problem of the case at hand."  DOUG HOKE/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

Specifically, McGraw suggested it was improper for Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen, "someone that is considered to be an accomplice," to testify, saying it could prejudice the jury.  Michael M. Santiago/Pool via USA TODAY NETWORK

However, Phillip pushed back, stating "That's kind of how a lot of these prosecutions work" by relying on testimony from co-conspirators.  Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America / Wikimedia

Their exchange became increasingly tense, with Phillip at one point declaring "I just, I don't understand how you can say that because someone ... was not prosecuted, that signed a nonprosecution agreement ... that information or their testimony cannot be presented before the jury if they were a part of the alleged crime."  Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America / Wikimedia

McGraw clarified his stance: "I said what I said. I think the fact that he made an agreement to say that he is guilty of the crime that the defendant is being tried for prejudices the jury that 'Hey, here's someone that's supposedly an accomplice that has said, I'm guilty of this.' That prejudices a jury about the person that's currently on trial for the same crime."  Michael M. Santiago/Pool via USA TODAY NETWORK

Phillip argued Cohen was not charged with the same falsifying business records crime Trump was convicted of. As the back-and-forth continued, she eventually attempted to steer the conversation back to McGraw's Trump interview.  The Circus / Wikimedia

While critics like McGraw allege prosecutorial misconduct, others insist it was a fair trial that properly held the former president accountable. The national debate seems poised to intensify as Trump mounts his reelection bid.  Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK