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CNN Tonight

Missouri Bill Would Ban Critical Race Theory In Schools And Offer Teacher Training In Patriotism; Florida Rejects A.P. African- American Studies Course; Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR) Bans Use Of The Term Latin X In State Documents; Federal Judge Orders Trump And Lawyer To Pay Nearly $1 Million Over Frivolous Lawsuits; Idaho Suspect Follows Three Victims On Instagram; Buffalo Bills Vs. Cincinnati Bengals At The NFL Playoffs. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates, and this is CNN TONIGHT. And, look, it's really happening all across this country, a Missouri bill that would ban critical race theory in kindergarten through 12th grade even though it's actually not part of the grade school curriculum, and that same bill requiring a program to teach American patriotism.

In Florida, Ron DeSantis blocking a new advanced placement course for high school students on African-American studies, saying that that course lacks educational value. Last year, he also signed a bill restricting to how schools can actually talk about race with their students.

Governors and legislators, mostly on the right, waging a kind of war on what they see and view as so-called woke curriculum. But others see as the, well, telling of truth and unvarnished truth at that, of our own American history.

And then there's the war on woke part two. This time it's called the word police. In Arkansas, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is banning and has banned the word Latin X in all official state documents. And you may have heard that Stanford University's I.T. department created a list of so-called harmful language, including word and phrases like, you guys, killing two birds with one stone, even the word, American.

We're going to dig into the questions over which words you can use, which words you can't and who ought to decide.

Plus, it's a win or go home scenario for the Buffalo Bills this very weekend. The Bills are facing the Cincinnati Bengals in a rematch this Sunday for the two teams after the last game was halted when Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during Monday night football. I'll talk to Buffalo's own mayor about what a win would mean for a city that suffered one tragedy after another over the last year.

Lots to talk about tonight. I want to begin with the so-called war on woke nationwide.

Joining me now, Nina Turner, co-Chair of Bernie Sanders' 2020 Presidential Campaign, Scott Jennings, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, and CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon. Good to have all of you here tonight, especially on this Friday after the week fo what we're seeing the culmination of so many different instances about ways to attack the so-called wokism.

We begin with you here, Nina, because Missouri wants to ban critical race theory in schools, even though, and this is an important part, they want to ban it in schools and teachers say it's actually not taught in grade schools.

So, I wonder why do you think it is that governors and legislatures are moving in this way and pushing back against what they are calling a woke curriculum?

NINA TURNER, CO-CHAIR, BERNIE SANDERS' 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, it's a dog whistle because it's not taught in K-12 educational classrooms. We know that critical race theory is primarily taught in law school. And it is a way to look at the legal constructs of this country that race is a social construct and that social construct is not just about individual biases or prejudices that the whole notion of racism is weaved into that. And we know that Professor Kimberle Crenshaw and some others came up with that and primarily taught it in law school.

So, they -- it's a dog whistle and they are talking to -- it just boggles my mind. It seems like conservatives always want to make a false equivalency. And they're goal really is they need to come tell the truth. Their goal is to erase or diminish the history of black people and other marginalized populations. Instead, we should be educating, enlightening people, empower people. Let's talk about the structural imbalances in this country and then do something about them.

But to say that you don't want these types of curriculum taught in school tells me that you don't want our children to know the truth about Americans history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And it is an affront to the black community in particular and other marginalized communities in general.

COATES: Scott, I want to bring you in here because you and I really bonded in some respects over distance learning during the pandemic and how much more we became involved in our kids' curriculum, as all parents did, really, in fact, now I'm really, really paying attention, especially at the grade school level. It's true. It's not taught at the grade school level.

But what Nina is talking about in particular and also with the topics for the A.P. course, for example, just a little bit intersectionality and activism is part of it, black queer studies was part of it, movement for black lives, black feminist literary thought, the reparations movement, black study and black struggle in the 21st history.


These are some of the topics from the A.P. course in African-American settings that Governor DeSantis does not want to be taught in the schools. Do you agree with Nina in the sense that this is a dog whistle and an attempt to erase or whitewash history?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't agree. I thought it was interesting that Nina started her answer by saying no one's even talking about this. And she ended her answer by saying, we should be talking about it. We should be teaching it. Everyone should learn it in school. And so that's where they're headed.

Look, this is very simple. There are a lot of parents out there who don't want their children taught that because they are white, that they are inherently evil, that they've done something wrong, that they have, you know, oppressed anyone. That's the issue. That's what parents believe has been happening in some of these classes.

You know, that's not law school theories. It's just the idea that you would teach one group of children that they are inherently bad or that our country, in the way it was founded and by the people that founded it is inherently rotten at its core. That's what conservative parents are worried about. That's the core of these legislative activities in these states. And I think that's what DeSantis is getting at. That's what they're getting at in Missouri and a whole bunch of states out there.

COATES: There is going to be --

TURNER: Hold up, Scott --

COATES: Hold on. I want to respond, Nina, but I do want to just insert into the conversation in reaction to what you said. I had a chance to speak to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today on my radio program, and I actually asked him about his concerns about that perception that you just listed, the idea of this assumption or belief that in teaching certain historical elements that you are attacking and alienating specific people. I asked him what he thought, did he have concerns about that perception. Listen to it.


MIGUEL CARDONA, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: It concerns me because I think some students are being made to feel uncomfortable walking into their own school, right, with some of the policies that were passed last year in particularly LGBTQ students. But I'd also worry about how some folks, they don't like true history being taught and almost minimize the experience of black and brown students in their school by limiting what they're able to access. That's a problem. And I hope our parents are paying attention and our students are paying attention. You know, when you have a government, state government overreach to the point where you're not even able to pick courses that you want to take, that's very concerning to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COATES: I mean, on that point, John, I want to bring you back here as well, Nina, in just a moment, on that point, John, an A.P. course, for example, this is not something -- this means you can elect to take. You can have the opportunity to do so. And his comment was about the idea of having, he called, overreach by the government dictating the terms of what the curriculum ought to be. What's the you issue in your mind?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, first of all, what DeSantis is doing with this A.P. history course is about identifying a political tactic they think is a winner for the Republican base in particular, this war on woke. I think it shows that a lot of the conversations around free speech really fall apart when it's pushing their own ideological agenda.

I think that a full and fair understanding of U.S. history needs to be taught. That's something we should be teaching about, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But I think what a lot of folks, and white parents in particular, are concerned about is this idea that it's a teaching of America a fundamentally flawed country, rotten at its core, and that a stigmatization along lines of race to kids in grade school.

I would also say that a group more in common did a study called, Defusing the History Wars, just last month. And it showed there's a perception gap that Democrats are not as far left on issues as the right wing would have you believe and that Republicans are not as hostile to a balanced teaching of American history as some on the left would have you believe.

COATES: You know, Nina, I want to bring you back on that, because the idea of belief is harkened back in that conversation, and what people believe is happening and the idea of almost building off of the assumptions of what it actually means. And I would suggest there's also the notion of as the counterargument, they want to have a bill to, in lieu of critical race theory, which is not being taught in grade schools, they want to have a teacher training on patriotism instead, as if it's really an either/or scenario. What's your reaction?

TURNER: And it's not an either/or. So, let me get back with Scott since he wants to go there. For years, for decades, for generations in this country, black children have had to carry inferiority on their backs, in their minds, in their hearts. This country, going back to what John said, the good, the bad, and the ugly, well, let me tell you a little bit about the bad and the ugly. Chattel slavery was bad and ugly. And to be able to teach African-American history in a holistic way, which is America's history, this country has some good, it has some bad, and it has some ugly.


And anybody that would fix their mouth, to quote my grandmother, to say that chattel slavery was okay, that the enslavement of black people was okay, that having separate but unequal was okay, then there is something wrong with them. Number two, Scott, critical race theory is taught in law school. It is not taught in K-12. However, the point that I was making was about the teaching of African-American history itself, which is America history. And to teach that history, you have to teach the whole of it. You can't just teach one part of it. So, it's not just about making white children feel inferior. This is about teaching history in the broadest way so that people can gain a deeper understanding and hopefully through that understanding, things can change.

I don't see Governor DeSantis doing away with A.P. European History or A.P. World History. I wonder why that is. So, Governor DeSantis needs to focus on governing the state and stay out of education and let the educators educate.

So, Scott, if you and other white people got a problem with the whole of American history being taught, then you're the ones that have a problem. This ain't about making anybody feel inferior, but Brown v. Board of education was just that, about how generations of black children have been made to feel inferior in these United States of America.

COATES: Scott, let me get --

TURNER: And it was founded on racism and bigotry.

COATES: Let's get Scott back in here and I want you to respond. What is your reaction, Scott?

JENNINGS: Yes. Well, Nina, you ought to be very happy with Governor DeSantis because not only is African-American history under Florida law required to be taught to school children, it has actually been expanded during his governorship.

This particular class they don't like because of some of the curriculum points they think is in conflict with Florida law. But it is an absolute state requirement in Florida that they teach African- American history. And it's gotten more expansive since he came in. So, you sound upset with me, but the fact is Governor DeSantis --

TURNER: The way he wants it taught, Scott, right.

JENNINGS: No. He's not writing the curriculum --

TURNER: The party of free speech is taking the white people speech.

COATES: Hold on, Nina. Excuse me. Guys, no one --

JENNINGS: He's not writing the curriculum. I'm just telling you the facts.

COATES: Excuse me, excuse me. Hello television 101. No one can hear you when you talk over each other. So, let's just go back, I want to hear your response Scott and I'll allow you to speak. Go ahead.

JENNINGS: Yes, I'm just -- I'll just wrap up and say, you know, the governor of this state is not writing the curriculum. I'm just telling you the facts. School children learn African-American history in Florida and it's gotten more expansive on his watch. So, you say you want it taught, it is being taught. I think your upset about this class, but holistically speaking, they're getting a really good education in Florida about African-American history in the United States.

COATES: John Avlon, thank you --

TURNER: I'm not upset about the class, Scott. I'm upset with the fact that you said that white children are somehow going to feel inferior if all of African-American history is taught. So, I wanted to have this conversation with you about inferiority and who has been made to feel inferior in the United States of American.

JENNINGS: That is absolutely 100 percent -- that is absolutely 100 percent not what I said. I said that parents are concerned that children are working into classroom --

TURNER: You did say that. Let's roll the tape, baby. You did say that.

JENNINGS: No, I didn't. I said --

COATES: Excuse me. Nina, I'd like -- hold on.

JENNINGS: I did not. I'm sorry. It's just not true.

COATES: Wait hold on a second. Okay this beautiful iridescent pink top I have is a show stopper for a reason. Let me go and stop the show in a moment, okay? What I want to express to you all in this moment is I want to hear from all of you. I want to understand your positions. That's the whole point of the conversation. I understand that things can get very heated in some moments, but people need to be informed and learn and be able to appreciate the nuances of your arguments and positions.

None of that can happen if we talk over each other. We're not having the benefit of the beautiful round table to have the conversation. We are going to come back and continue on other points.

John, you cannot hide in the right corner of the screen. I'm going to bring you right back into you as well because your tie matches my outfit. And Nina and Scott and John, we're going to come right back. So, everyone stick around. We're going to come back to the basics. And we have good points bringing that up today on that.

We're also going to come back to the notion of the so-called word police and how that makes people feel more divided than perhaps we really are. We're talking about a lot when we come back. So, lean in with me.



COATES: We're back now with Nina Turner, Scott Jennings and John Avlon, who also has an opinion piece on saying, the word police are doing more harm than good. We're going to come back to that point in just a moment. But I do want Scott to have a chance to respond. I know that you had a statement you wanted to make as well.

JENNINGS: Yes. I just wanted to respond to Nina. I absolutely under no circumstances said that children should be taught that slavery didn't happen that or that it was somehow good or whatever it is you attributed to me. In fact, I don't think there's a school in America that isn't teaching about the United States of America, how it's founded, what happened, the wars we fought, how we atoned for it, the progress we've made. I think that's being taught in probably every school in America.

Where parents really have an issue, and you can talk to a lot of parents about it, is if teachers are telling one group of students this is somehow your fault. You're somehow inferior or you somehow bad or you somehow caused harm or pain to this other child. These are very sensitive topics. And to be talking to students in an extremely young age about that, I mean, I think it sounds like college debates to me. But to be talking to school age kids about that, that's what has parents concerned and it's why you see these legislators dealing with it at the state level.

COATES: Interesting enough, and, John, I want to bring you in here as well, and Nina, I don't know of a lesson that actually does the precise notion where they are telling and singling out students to say, you are the problem, you are bad. I mean, there's the Taylor Swift song of, hi, I'm the problem, it's me. They may be citing that lyric but that's not what's happening in many classrooms.

But, John, on this point, why is this perception not held when we learn, say, about the suffrage movement and women voting? I rarely hear an argument that someone makes about men collectively, as a gender, feeling as though they're alienated and targeted when we talk about women's rights in this country. Why do you think the element of race, John, inserts a very different dynamic and nuance that has conversations like this?

AVLON: Well, Laura, that's because the original sin of slavery is a stain that spreads through American history.


And you can't understand American history or American political history without dealing with race. It's a fundamental fault line. And it's not just Brown v. Board. I mean, up until the mid 60s, there were a lot of schools that whitewashed slavery and didn't want to deal with the civil rights movement. Now, we've got a more integrated understanding of American history being taught. Some folks it makes some folks feel uncomfortable. Some folks on the left would reduce it to identity politics tropes that take it too far.

And, by the way, I do think we should be teaching civics education, and I don't think there's anything remotely right wing about that. We need to return to liberal values and a sense of shared civics. But it's when the extreme hijack debates and run over any liberal values or allegations of free speech that things start getting balkanized again.

And you have to understand it in the context of American history. So, when there is this intense pushback on the teaching of a more integrated view of American history, you've got to understand it from the context of American history. And that's why folks should be right to say, hold on, you're resurrecting some ugly, old ghosts that we saw play out in different periods in American history. We need to understand those history in order to transcend it ultimately.

COATES: You have a piece on to that sort point about the idea of whitewashing or even shading terminology. And you say the word police are doing more harm than good. You actually point to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Arkansas governor, and she has banned the term Latin X in state docs saying she wants to ban what she calls culturally insensitive words.

I wonder what you make of that being one of her first actions, one, and how that fits into the larger discussion about cultural sensitivity by terminology?

AVLON: So, what the column is about is the feedback loop between the far right and the far left and the way that the word police end up putting these politically-driven prohibitions. And Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, one of the first things she does is ban the term Latin X.

So, look, first of all, that term itself, as Pew surveys, Gallup surveys have shown, is used by, like, three percent of Hispanic and Latino Americans. So, which raised the question, why is that the first thing you're doing. And the answer is it's performative. It's designed to sort of own the libs and cultivate sort of conservative celebrity, not actually having necessarily to do with serving the people of her state.

But on the very same day, as I point out in my column, University of Southern California School of Social Work announced it was banning the word field research out of fear that it could be seen as racist or anti-immigrant. And just a few weeks before, Sanford University, in their internal memo by a tech department have banned a number of words in elimination of harmful language memo they put out that would ban, as you mentioned earlier in the segment, the term American, or rather it would suggests it should be used as U.S. citizens. And there's a predictable reaction to that in the school backed away and said not only are we not banning it, but actually the elimination of harmful language initiative was itself eliminated.

The issue is, is that this feedback loop between the far right and the far left makes us feel much more divided than we are and we need to recommit to some basic level of values of tolerance, inclusion and free speech and get away from this censorious uptight attitude that has fellow Americans walking on egg shells around each other.

COATES: Nina, what's your reaction to that?

TURNER: I mean, there're some false equivalencies here but as far as Governor Huckabee is concerned, Arkansas is one of the poorest states, one of the worst states when it comes to childhood poverty rates, and Governor Huckabee needs to be worried about poverty in her state and let the English teachers worry about vocabulary and get to work doing the things that the people of that state elected her to do.

Lastly, Laura, I just cannot sit here in allow Scott to get away with what he just said. Malcolm X, I clearly remember in reading the autobiography of Malcolm X when he talked about being in class and his white male teacher asked everybody in the classroom -- Malcolm X was the only black person in that classroom, this ain't ancient history, asked them what they wanted to be when he grew up. When he told his teacher he wanted him to be a lawyer, his teacher told him to be realistic about being an N-word in America. So do not sit here and act like America is totally atoned because it has not totally atoned for its original sin. And why can't we just have that conversation?

As far as the word police, I agree a lot of these people have too much time on their hands worrying about that kind of stuff. That's not where it is. How do we help people live better and richer more enriched lives? That should be the major point here.

COATES: Scott, do you want to respond?

TURNER: And education is a vehicle for that. I'm sorry I just want to get that in. I believe education is a vehicle for that.

COATES: Understood. Scott?

JENNINGS: Yes. I think on the Latin X thing, I mean, yes is some of it performative? Sure. But it's a made up word. I mean, you do have people in our society -- sorry.


You do have people in our society right now running around literally making up words and redefining words that have very common definitions. And as someone said, we're walking on egg shells around each other, I totally agree with that.

And so, I saw Sarah's order as pushing back on these people who are making up words and redefining words and trying contort the English language to pit us against each other.

So, I was glad she did it. I thought it was fine. And, frankly, the fact that only three percent of Hispanics use that term tells me that it's a made up word, it's being made up for the purpose of division, not for the purpose of, you know, being useful in American language.

COATES: Well, this conversation made something very clear to me, and that is that the conversations we need to have are very urgent and need to be ongoing to better understand each other. And of course with an eye towards what the conversation began about, about what we're educating our children and the legacy of one David Crosby who just passed away, teach our children well, everyone. Nice to talk to all of you this Friday evening.

JENNINGS: Laura -- COATES: Oh, no, no. That's it. Goodbye.

JENNINGS: Yes. I'm sorry, Laura. I wanted -- Can I just say one thing.

COATES: After my David Crosby reference? After my reference?

JENNINGS: I think these conversations are extremely valuable and I just wanted to say something about my friend, Nina. She and I have been on television a thousand of times together. We have had a lot of very difficult conversations. We've talked about a lot of sensitive issues. We've both talked about a lot of politicians who said a lot of stupid things and done a lot of dumb things with their offices. And I just wanted to say I find our exchanges to be valuable. I know these things sounds heated. But I think when you have Nina Turner and Scott and Laura and John, and people like us that can have reasonable conversations, it's better for American civil discourse. I just wanted to say that about my friend and about your show. I think it's a valuable thing to do.

COATES: Well, everyone nodded when you said friend. What a kumbaya moment. Thank you so much. I like it. We'll talk again soon.

Listen, everyone. It was a lawsuit that targeted Hillary Clinton and former top DOJ officials brought by Donald Trump and his attorneys. But a federal judge was having none of it. And now he's ordering nearly a million dollars in sanctions against the former president and one of his lawyers. We'll talk more about it next.



COATES: Nearly $1 million in sanctions, that's what a federal judge is ordering former President Trump and one of his lawyers to pay. It's over a lawsuit they filed against Hillary Clinton, former top justice department officials, and several others, alleging that the nearly three dozen defendants conspired against Trump in the 2016 campaign.

Judge Donald Middlebrooks issuing a scathing rebuke of the case, writing, quote, "this case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it," ripping some of Trump's claims writing, quote, "it was not that the complaint and amended complaint were inadequate in any respect. They were inadequate in nearly ever respect."

And pointing out Trump's habit of using the courts for his own purposes, writing, "Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the court to seek revenge on political adversaries. He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew full well the impact of his actions."

And as of tonight, Trump and his team have dropped another lawsuit they filed, that one against New York Attorney General Letitia James. For more and all, I want to bring in CNN Legal analyst, Elliott Williams, and Donald Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio. Glad to see you both here. First of all, Elliott, this judge was not mincing any words in his review of this lawsuit. What was your reaction?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: First of off, you know, I clerked for Judge Middlebrooks in the past like maybe 20 years ago. And so, you know, I've seen his opinions over the years. This was a very remarkable opinion. And I think there's a lot of focus on sort of the bombast and the, you know, Trump versus the law.

This is actually a very meticulous legal opinion, laying out the standard for when you sanction an attorney, what it takes, how they calculate the fees and what the law says, and what -- and also looking back at past conduct. You know, they point out the fact that the former president sued the Pulitzer board over the fact that the Pulitzers were given to "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," in making the case this was just a frivolous lawsuit.

And now, we should also note this 900-plus thousand dollars, it wasn't just a number pulled out of think air, it's for attorneys fees and costs. And the judge walks through, and again, in great detail how you tabulate that $1 million. So, it's not -- I think folks have in their head this judge just got mad at Donald Trump and then threw at a million dollar fine at him. It's just far more complicated and legally supported than that.

COATES: Michael, it almost seems he's talking about this, apparently, you hear about it in the press, the idea -- and you've written about the idea of sort of the Trump playbook, so to speak, the idea of some litigants essentially not being able to go against the best lawyers that money can possibly buy. What is your reaction to this?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I do think that the judge has noted one of the constant themes when you examine Donald Trump's tactics and methods. He sues people for a variety of reasons, and rarely does it have anything to do with justice. He wants to punish people by draining their bank accounts. He wants to attract publicity. And he wants to deflect the public's attention from his own misdeed.

So, the very first lawsuit he ever filed was in 1973, when he had his pitbull, Roy Cohen, alleged that the justice department had acted as a gestapo force in trying to get him to stop discriminating against minority applicants for apartments.


I think the judge noted many cases where Trump has done similar things. I think he could write his own biography of Donald Trump, given what I've seen in the ruling. So, he got it all right. He was one of the rare places where Trump met accountability. And this is something people ask about all the time, when will this man be held accountable? Well, here's one case he has been held accountable.

COATES: Elliott, is this telling about his approach that we talked about more broadly and how he views lawyers or even the justice system when he was head of the executive branch?

WILLIAMS: Yeah. You know, it was interesting, you know, and when we talk about this idea of when will this person be held accountable, you ought to treat every instance as unique. You know, the fact that one person suing Donald Trump or one jurisdiction is seeking to prosecute him, they all get sort of mixed together.

And you know, I think an opinion like this is very important and sort of, you know, in isolation. In this case, what we've seen is how you can sort of lay out a case based on the facts and law in one matter as opposed to pulling everything else in. So, you know, it was just -- I think it was very powerfully written and well reasoned and organized, and I think that should be noted.

COATES: And it's true, the idea of conflation being a dangerous --


COATES: -- vehicle, essentially (ph) he will talk about Donald Trump, everything seems to come together. And they go, it is part of this and this judge seemed to make very clear it is about this case in this moment. Thank you so much, everyone.

There are also big developments ahead in the case of four Idaho college students stabbed to death in their own home and beds. A report saying suspect, Bryan Kohberger, followed all three female victims on Instagram and repeatedly messaged one of them. The details are next.




COATES: We have new details tonight about the suspect in the stabbing deaths of four Idaho college students. "People" magazine report suspect Bryan Kohberger followed the three female victims on Instagram.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN Correspondent, Veronica Miracle, and CNN Senior Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, John Miller. Glad to have you both here.

Veronica, let me begin with you and the reporting from "People" that an Instagram account authorities believe belonged to the suspect sent several messages to one of the victims. What do you know?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura, apparently Bryan Kohberger repeatedly messaged one of those victims over and over again. They're citing a source -- "People" magazine, rather, citing a source close to the investigation who apparently said that Bryan Kohberger basically said it was just him saying, hey, how are you? But he did it again and again.

It is unclear, though, if she saw those messages because apparently according to that source who talked to "People" magazine, she did not respond. As you mentioned, they also said that Bryan Kohberger followed all three of the female victims on Instagram, three out of the four victims. They're citing that source as well as their own review of the deleted Instagram.

It is important to note, Laura, however, that Bryan Kohberger has not entered a plea yet. He will be in front of a judge in June when that judge will decide if there is enough evidence to go to trial. Laura?

COATES: John, what does this tell you? I mean, the idea that there may have been this social media connection one way or otherwise. Does this give you any insight in how law enforcement will look at this as to possibly motive or anything else?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, it does and it could give more. I mean, what it tells us is the logical thing, which is we've only really known the name Bryan Kohberger and the face that goes with it since December 28th. So, that's given law enforcement a chance to go back through his social media, his computers, and they're still doing that.

But the fact he was following them on Instagram, the fact, especially, that he -- if "People" magazine story is accurate, that he direct messaged one of them, didn't get a reply, and then did it a number of other times, indicates that he was trying to reach out. If you take that in the offender characteristics of people who have been accused in such crimes before, if she's an Incels subscriber that thinks that, you know, women ignore him, if he is an injustice collector who magnifies every slight, the fact that he followed them online and didn't get an answer and messaged again and again and again could be the thing that led to his obsession, his anger, and what police charge.

COATES: You make a really excellent point, John, especially about the idea of the lead time that investigators would have had by not disclosing their following or tracking of this particular suspect, likely an opportunity for him not to have or be tipped off on what they might know if they were trying to watch from a distance how he reacted, how he responded.

Veronica, the families involved here are learning things in piecemeal as the public really is. Are you getting a sense of how the community there is reacting to the details as they unfold?

MIRACLE: I think it's incredibly difficult for the community and it has been since the very beginning. Of course, at the beginning of when all of this happened, there was very little information that came out from the police department. The community was scared. They had very few answers. I think once the arrest was made, then there was a definite, I guess, sense of relief that they finally had some answers.


And there was also an outpouring of support to the Moscow Police Department, in fact some apologies, according to the chief of police who told me that people were apologizing for criticizing the police department during the investigation for not releasing a lot of information.

Now looking back, they say, you know, they trust the department, that they had to do what they had to do in order to get this investigation and bring this arrest out. And now, I think people are just feeling really fatigued with all this news. And it's just really painful and difficult, as this small, tight knit community really grieves the loss of four of their own. Laura?

COATES: Really important. Veronica Miracle, John Miller, thank you so much, both of you.

Well, the second week of the NFL playoffs is getting underway tomorrow, and it will, no doubt, be emotional, particularly in Buffalo as the Bills take on the Bengals just three weeks since Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field.

What this moment could mean for the city of Buffalo, next.



COATES: Well, this is a very exciting weekend for the people of Buffalo, New York, because on Sunday their beloved Bills are hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL playoffs. And you'll recall that during the last Bills-Bengals match-up, that was just three weeks ago, safety Damar Hamlin was seriously injured and collapsed on the field. Now, thankfully, he's on the road to recovery.

And tomorrow, heading into the big game, a pep rally will be held outside of city hall. So, now is the perfect time to bring in Buffalo's mayor, Byron Brown. Mayor Brown, welcome to the show. I'm so glad to see you this evening.


COATES: You know, we all watched as it happened on that Monday night football game and really the nation stopped. The world stopped to see what happened. And they were obviously thinking about, obviously, Buffalo Bills star Damar Hamlin, and of course -- and your city more broadly.

And I wonder, you know, where he is now in terms of his recovery. I understand that he's been discharged, thankfully, from the hospital but has also been at the team facility nearly every single day, but he does have challenges ahead, do you know how he's doing?

BROWN: He's doing much better. His recovery has been remarkable. To me it shows the power of prayer, people praying all across Buffalo, Cincinnati, across the nation, across the world. And to see him recover from a life-threatening injury on the field and be able to come back to the Bills facility and spend time with his teammates, be discharged from the hospital, certainly, has been very inspirational.

COATES: I mean, really, when I think about where he is now, I just think about the word resilience, and it's becoming synonymous really as people think about Buffalo, thinking about the Buffalo Bills team, and thinking about just the way the entire nation has seemed to come around and embraced, but it's been an incredibly difficult year for the city.

And I want to talk about the Bills, in particular, because this team really seems so bring the community together in a way that the intersection of sports and community and politics, and all of the things where we hope for escapism, but reality confronts us.

Talk to me about how the Bills team has really been that symbol of resilience, but, also a bridge.

BROWN: The Bills have been great on the field, but they're also great off the field. They're very visible in the community, players, coaches, the, ownership, all very visible in the community doing things with children, giving to charities, attending special events. So, the Bills, their toughness, their resilience really exemplifies the people of Buffalo, tough, resilient, strong, always striving do better. And we're proud of the Bills. They're beloved in the city of Buffalo. And they are the perfect team, the perfect fit for the it city of Buffalo.

COATES: You know, the nation's eyes have been on Buffalo for more than one reason, and of course, last May, there was a racially motivated shooting at the Topps super market, killing 10 people. And the Buffalo Bills, I understand, as did so many others in the community, yourself included, and others who are looking to make sure to figure out a way not only to stop the violence but also to ensure that this could never happen again and to have accountability and to acknowledge the lives lost.

And we're seeing images -- I mean, I know that the Buffalo Bills, they visited the neighborhood, they served meals, they delivered groceries, they even prayed with residents of the neighborhoods that were most impacted.

Talk to me about the lasting impact of what happened at that supermarket, and how you were trying to ensure that the people of buffalo continue to feel as though they are seen, they are heard, and they are safe.

BROWN: Well, there was a great deal of fear. There were people in pain. People were angry.


In true Buffalo fashion, the community rallied together, picked each other up, embraced the families of the victims of that horrific shooting. So many people in the city, in the region, came to Jefferson Avenue, where the Topps was located, to try and reach out to the members of the community that had been so deeply affected by that shooting.

So, the entire Buffalo Bills organization came to Jefferson Avenue, as you said, Laura, and they hugged members of the community, they gave t-shirts out that said "Choose Love". They really embraced the community.

COATES: Mayor, I'm so glad to hear that and it sounds like Buffalo more than lives up to that particular moniker of the City of Good Neighbors. I guess, the nation knows who they'll be rooting for just based on what is happening in terms of Buffalo and the reaction and the support. So, no wonder, my colleague and friend, Wolf Blitzer, speaks so highly of his town. Nice to speak with you, mayor.

BROWN: Nice speaking with you, too, Laura. Thank you.

COATES: And a federal judge dismissing a lawsuit from a former Florida state prosecutor who was removed by Governor Ron DeSantis when he refused to go after those who were seeking abortions. That judge says DeSantis was in the wrong. So, why wasn't the prosecutor reinstated? We'll explain next.