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Preliminary Independent Autopsy Shows Tyre Nichols Died From Extensive Bleeding Caused By A Severe Beating; Live Nation Exec Faces Lawmakers About Taylor Swift Concert Tickets Fiasco; Rep. George Santos And His Lies Skewered On Late Night TV; M&M's Is The New Frontier Of The Culture Wars; Conspiracy Theories Spread About Bills Safety Damar Hamlin; Impersonators Poke Fun At Rep. George Santos. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired January 24, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This just in to CNN at this very hour. New and disturbing details on the death of Tyre Nichols three days after a Memphis traffic stop. Lawyers for Nichols family tells CNN that preliminary results for an independent autopsy show the 29-year-old died from -- quote -- "extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating."
The family says this is consistent with what they saw on the video of his encounter with police. Nichols beaten for three minutes. Just think about that. A boxing round, three minutes. Three minutes, this man was allegedly beaten by five officers.
Five Black officers were fired even before the video of that arrest was even been publicly released, and two members of the Memphis Fire Department have also been fired in the wake of Nichols's death.
I want to bring in Steve Mulroy, the Shelby County district attorney dealing with this very investigation down there in Memphis. Steve, it is good to see you this evening. There are a lot of questions being asked about what happened to Tyre Nichols and when the public might be able to see this video for themselves. Any idea when it will be released and what are the considerations to do so?
STEVE MULROY, SHELBY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Right, well, thank you for having me, Laura. A lot of the people's questions about what exactly happened will, of course, be answered once people see the video. We expect that to happen this week or next week. We want to make sure that we get far enough along in our investigation so that the investigation isn't compromised by a premature release of the video.
And just to be very concrete about that, if -- in case like this or really any case, Laura, if you are going to interview a suspect, you don't want the suspect to be able to see the video and then tailor their statements to law enforcement based on what they've seen because now they know what you've got. And even non-suspect witnesses, there is a risk that rather than telling law enforcement what they actually saw with their own eyes, they might have their memory colored by what they saw on the video.
So, in cases like this, we generally want to get key witness interviews completed. We are doing that as fast as we can, and then, I think, the video will be released.
COATES: So, has this video been seen individually by any of these five officers who are fired or the two firemen as well, or their counsel, or the police union?
MULROY: Not to my knowledge. But we do know that the family of Tyre Nichols and their counsel was showing the video.
COATES: Will there be full video provided once the concerns you have raised have been resolved? I understand completely the idea of not wanting to fatally compromise the investigation and to provide at least the avenue for the justice. Is there intention to show the full footage? Is it coming from bodycam footage? Is it coming from a police vehicle? Where is the footage coming from?
MULROY: Well, it is already clear that there is some bodycam footage. They were on duty officers. I believe that the city will show enough footage so that people will see the entirety of the incident from the very beginning to the very end.
COATES: What does it tell you and what should it tell the public, frankly, that you've got officers fired before this has even been released, before there has even been an assessment of charges to be made?
I note that I believe Memphis did change its policy with regard to issues surrounding the use of force, the duty to render aid, the duty to intervene, adopted less than a month after George Floyd's death.
Does this somehow telling about the failure to do all of these things by each of these officers?
MULROY: Well, so the fact that they were terminated means that the city made an administrative decision that the officers did not follow protocol, did not follow the guidelines, and it was a serious breach of those guidelines.
We know that we have a relatively new police chief who has only been in office for about a year and a half. There were some changes made in response to the George Floyd incident. But, you know, Laura, it takes a while to change a culture. You can't just turn that on a dime. And so, it may be that there is more to be done.
I'm hopeful that what silver lining it could be out of this incident is that it might open up a broader dialogue about police reforms.
COATES: You know, one of the dialogues that is really opening even more is the idea that, oftentimes, when we are talking about excessive force cases and the killing of an unarmed Black man or Black or brown person, it is a conversation around race and the racial dynamic, and white officers who are alleged to have behaved in this way to create those conversations.
Here, we got five Black officers. I have often said in my prosecution experience in the past, the color blue can trump every other color. What is the community in Memphis and Shelby County more broadly saying about the fact that the race of these officers is the same as the race of the victim, Tyre Nichols? Is this a conversation that is stunning the people or is it par for the course knowing that blue can trump black?
MULROY: Well, certainly, I think people who were discussing this case in Memphis and Shelby County have taken note that the race of the officers involved and the race of the -- Mr. Nichols is the same. I think it might lead some to say, as I think the lawyer for Tyre Nichols family has said, is that really relevant consideration is the race of the citizen as opposed to the race of the police officer.
COATES: Do you expect charges in this case?
MULROY: Well, that is what I'm going to be deciding with my office based on the facts and the circumstances. I cannot really say right now. I think it would be improper for me to say what I am going to do or when we are going to do it. But I will tell you that we are expediting the considerations and expediting the investigation as much as possible, and it is possible that we may be able to make determination around the same timeframe in which we contemplate release of the video.
COATES: Has the Department of Justice or the FBI become involved? I know there are cases involved oftentimes where civil rights decision is looking into whether the civil rights of the individual victim had been violated. We saw that in the case of -- in my own home state of Minnesota. Officers charged in the killing of George Floyd, also being brought up on civil rights violations. Has that coordination begun?
MULROY: Yes. Yes, Laura, it has. The Department of Justice has already announced that they are getting involved. The FBI is cooperating in the investigation with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, who I called in so that it would be a truly dependent investigation. I'm in regular contact with the U.S. attorney here in Memphis and we are collaborating on this.
I myself used to be a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights lawyer before I was a federal prosecutor, and so I know that the federal part of the investigation will often take longer than the state part of the investigation. So, I suspect that our office will render a decision well before the federal authorities make their decisions.
COATES: Often considered the backstop and looking to see -- continuously proactive. When we met, Steve, I knew we would meet again one day, but I could not have imagined it would be under these circumstances. Thank you for joining me.
MULROY: Yeah. Thank you, Laura.
COATES: I want to bring in CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams and former FBI executive assistant director for intelligence Joshua Skule. It is a very difficult case to think about this happening, the idea of the allegations of a person being beaten for three minutes following a traffic stop for reportedly reckless driving.
We have learned from the family during their watching of the video, one of his last words were to call out to his mother. Apparently, he was 80 to 100 yards away from his home. When we hear about this and what is happening right now, I wonder -- I will begin with you, Joshua, on this, do you expect to see charging decisions given the firings that were almost immediate?
JOSHUA SKULE, FORMER FBI EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR INTELLIGENCE: I do expect to see charges coming pretty quickly on the state side, as the district attorney has said. There are two parallel investigations going on right now and both in collaboration: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which the district attorney called in to keep impartiality over this investigation, and then a parallel civil rights investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with the U.S. attorney's office.
COATES: On that note, do you think that there will be charges here, Elliot, and the idea -- I mean, we have all spoken about the Derek Chauvin trial and the way that we all collectively, I think, thought as a society, man, policing might be changed forever in the sense of those who are watching something happening, duty to render aid, remember, there is the powerful closing arguments, talked about the (INAUDIBLE) repeated time and time again.
The fact that they were fired and violated policies for use of force, duty to render aid, and duty to intervene, what does that tell you?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, duty to render aid and duty to intervene, those are buzz words for federal civil rights charges. We saw those, frankly, in the Chauvin case where a number of the individuals who were at the scene, it was their failure to render aid that actually triggered the federal civil rights statute.
Now, the family is asking for murder in the first degree which would be an intentional premeditated killing. That's going to be pretty hard to get here, I think. But if there is any number of --
COATES: Even though premeditation can form in an instant?
WILLIAMS: Sure, certainly, but I think there -- you know, that is the highest capital charge in Tennessee. That might be tough to establish. But there is any number of secondary murder manslaughter, all sort of assault charges and so on.
Most importantly, though, yeah, to step back. It is important to wait until the video is out. We are evaluating a very painful, very gruesome, almost -- but not having seen it --
WILLIAMS: -- and we are just not certain. Look, like I said, Laura, the fact that the police department has stepped in and found that the conduct so far exceeded the standards of that department is itself telling but none of us have actually seen it play out.
COATES: A good point. To echo it again, the idea that we have not seen this video. We -- and his point, you heard him, was the idea of not wanting to show it because you did not want anyone's testimony to conform to that. And the idea of what this is like.
And a question for you is, you know, what happens if this video is different than is being discussed? If it is either -- I mean, I can't imagine, not as bad, but even more horrific? How does that shape the way that the culture of policing or the approach to this investigation might change?
SKULE: I don't know that it changes the course of the investigation. I think we can anticipate that this video is going to be very graphic. Clearly, the leadership of the Memphis Police Department viewed that very quickly and made a very -- and the chief made a very prompt decision to remove those officers, which they have the power to do. That's the first course of action.
The second was to contact a district attorney, bring in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and then the parallel civil rights investigation.
I can't see it right now, based on everything we have heard, as it being a minimalist video. I think this is going to be very graphic. I think it is going to be disturbing. But I will say this. Dialogue with many -- in the major city chiefs, they are -- the major city chiefs are trying to reform policing.
SKULE: They are trying hard. And some of this, as the district attorney said, they have a new police chief there, been there about 18 months. This is going to be something that they are going to have to change culturally. I know that the leadership in the law enforcement community is looking at this instance as horrifically as all the citizens in the United States.
COATES: That's a great point that you have raised. And just the idea -- we were talking about the culture of law enforcement. But I think the point you are intimating as well is the idea of what this does to have this be the perception of law enforcement more broadly, what this does not only to morale, what this does to policing, what this does to the perception of the communities, the feelings of safety by those who are first responders, and we got a long way to go as well in this investigation.
Thank you, gentlemen. It's nice to see you both. We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COATES: The message coming through loud and clear in the Senate today. Don't mess with Taylor Swift fans. A top executive from Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, in the Senate Judiciary Committee hot seat over the company's disastrous handling of ticket sales back in November for Swift's upcoming tour.
Now, millions of her fans, millions, were shout out, angering the popstar, not to mention the millions of fans. What does all this have to do with the Senate? Well, CNN's Jason Carroll explains.
JOE BERCHTOLD, PRESIDENT AND CFO, LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT: We apologize to the fans, we apologize to Miss Swift, we need to do better, and we will do better.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Will an apology be enough to satisfy music fans looking for retribution and lawmakers looking for answers?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): You can't have too much consolidation, something that, unfortunately, for this country as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say, we know all too well.
CARROLL (voice-over): Ticketmaster's parent company Live Nation Entertainment's president and CFO Joe Berchtold grilled for hours by lawmakers trying to determine if the company's influence over the concert and events industry is essentially a monopoly, one that critics say was created in 2010 when Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged.
BERCHTOLD: We hear people say that the ticketing markets are less competitive today than they were at the time of the Live Nation- Ticketmaster merger. That is simply not true.
CARROLL (voice-over): Throughout the day, senators on both sides of the aisle challenged that notion.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I want to congratulate and thank you for an absolutely stunning achievement. You have brought together Republicans and Democrats in an absolutely unified cause.
CARROLL (voice-over): Senator Richard Blumenthal, one of several senators who borrowed lyrics from Swift to make a point.
BLUMENTHAL: And may I suggest, respectfully, that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, I'm the problem, it's me.
(MUSIC PLAYING) CARROLL (voice-over): Today's hearing, part of the fallout after the fiasco surrounding Ticketmaster's handling of presale tickets to Swift's upcoming tour. It was bungled so badly last November it left scores of frustrated fans faced with technical issues such as canceled tickets, a crashing site, and an artist (INAUDIBLE) over what people endured to get her tickets.
Swift tweeted, it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.
Critics testify the Swift fallout is the result of anticompetitive conduct from a company with too much power.
CARROLL (voice-over): Singer Clyde Lawrence, a member of Lawrence Band, testified about the problem of added ticket fees.
CLYDE LAWRENCE, SINGER AND SONGWRITER: Most of the issues we face stemmed from the fact that Live Nation-Ticketmaster often acts as three things at the same time: the promoter, the venue, and the ticketing company.
CARROLL (voice-over): Lawrence penned an op-ed in "The New York Times" following the Swift incident about what he called Live Nation's outsize influence on live music.
CARROLL (voice-over): His 2021 song titled "False Alarms" included this lyric --
CARROLL (voice-over): He told the Senate Judiciary Committee performers should see a bigger share of merchandise sales and caps on fees that affect both artists and consumers.
CARROLL (voice-over): While some industry insiders questioned how much one hearing is likely to change things, others say the Swift movement has already had an impact.
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
COATES: Well, up next, believe it or not, Eminem is at the center of a new battle in the culture wars. Yes, I said M&M's. We will explain what is going on, next.
Also ahead, the late-night comedy shows poking fun at Congressman George Santos and his lies. We will this impersonator on with us soon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I (INAUDIBLE) to work to my constituents.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Okay. Now -- wait a minute, be careful. That looks very dangerous.
UNKNOWN: No, no, no, it's okay. I am Batman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Well, have you heard about the latest thing that is now getting swept up in the culture wars? For all of you chocolate fans out there, it is M&M's, announcing it is replacing its spokescandies with comedian and actress Maya Rudolph.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the candy brand saying in part -- quote -- "In the last year, we've made some changes to our beloved spokescandies. We weren't sure if anybody would even notice. And we definitely didn't think it would break the internet. Therefore, we have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies."
The chief marketing officer for Mars Wrigley North America telling CNN in a statement that the partnership with Maya Rudolph has been in the works for a while.
They also went on to say -- quote -- "There are lots of stories out there but let me say conclusively that this decision isn't a reaction to but rather is in support of our M&M's brand. The original colorful cast of M&M's spokescandies are, at present, pursuing other personal passions."
I could not get through the entire thing with a straight face, but it's actually what is going on right. This is really what is happening.
I want to bring in others to help with me here and that is Karen Finney and Ramesh Ponnuru. Also, Levick founder and CEO Richard Levick is also joining me.
Let me begin with you over there because, Richard, you say this whole thing, the discussion about M&M's and what they are wearing and what the colors they're choosing, and the idea that people are attacking these spokescandies as somehow a proxy for larger culture wars, you say it's absurd. But the idea of pulling back the spokescandies was actually the right move. Do you agree?
RICHARD LEVICK, FOUNDER AND CEO, LEVICK: First of all, I want to thank you, you know, for having on such an important topic today.
LEVICK: You know, we're not going to be talking about Russian tanks, obviously. Instead, we are going to be talking about those poor candies. The shoes that they were wearing are no longer (INAUDIBLE).
I think if you're asking the question, how has Mars handled this? Brilliantly. I mean, think about this for a moment. When is this happening? Just weeks before the Super Bowl. And suddenly, it is the Apple 1984 advertisement all over again. Everyone is going to be watching what Mars does with their advertisements.
The other thing, I think, that Mars really understands brilliantly so is that their brand isn't chocolate, their brand is joy. And they responded to this sort of tongue and cheek. The dear John letter you referred to is some of the few take-away lines.
They didn't go other than for that particular specific comment on Twitter. They were not responsive. They did not dive in foolishly and try to make this a serious issue. Instead, they stuck with their brand.
COATES: On that point, you are brand expert in marketing as well on these areas, I do wonder in terms of how this is being talked about, I mean, is this something that translates into people rallying around financially in sort of a strategic decision?
LEVICK: No. You know, in fact, what is really interesting here is that you are seeing, as part of the culture war, you see the left, all of the virtues signaling, and on the right, there is all of those shaming and going on, the attack. It's the outrage machine.
You know, Mars is very smart not to get involved in the political issue. There is no winning there. And for the right-wing that is going after Mars right now, the GOP does not have a platform. And so, what they do is they keep feeding this outrage machine in the hope that people will get angry at companies.
But it does not go anywhere. If you look, you know, it is gas stoves now, it's burgers, it's Nike, it has been Apple, Starbucks, but you don't see any negative financial ramifications.
So, I think that from other companies' points of view, watching what Mars does and how it lives its brand is really something critical to watch. I think if you look at other companies, imagine Elon Musk trying to respond as jovially and successfully as Mars has done here.
COATES: Well, you know, for those of you out there, our panel as well, for those of you out there who are either A, googling about M&M's right now, or you're salivating because there is chocolate on your screen and you're wondering why we're not talking more about the joy it brings, let me bring in Karen and Ramesh here because simple changes were made. Okay? We are talking about the green M&M's go-go boots. It became sneakers. First of all, I get it. I mean, it heals the whole art system. Then you have got the idea of a purple M&M in honor of international women's day.
The fact that these sent shockwaves, that these spokescandies are now being looked at as problematic because of, well, the go-go boots did not bring joy. I don't know why (INAUDIBLE) impression just now. But the fact that it happened, Karen, what does that mean to you, that this is where we are?
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: By the way, post-pandemic, lots of women I know are not wearing heels anymore. They are wearing sneakers or tennis shoes. So, that is just real. That's in the culture.
COATES: Vice President Harris in the cover of Vogue.
COATES: (INAUDIBLE) Converse also.
FINNEY: Absolutely. I mean, you got to really scrape the bottom of the barrel to be going after candy for the outrage machine. I mean, that's really deep. I mean, purple happens to be my favorite color. So, it is hard for me though I was very happy with the news of purple. But it is. It's ridiculous. And in some ways, it shows how ridiculous this right-wing outrage machine actually can be.
On the other hand, I agree with Richard. As a branding person myself, it is brilliant. Your brand is joy. Stay focused on your brand. And it is a brilliant campaign two weeks before the Super Bowl.
COATES: That's why you wore the purple tie, right, Ramesh, in honor of this purple M&M?
RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR FELLOW, NATIONAL REVIEW INSTITUTE: Well, I'm afraid I have to confess, I don't know anything about the purple M&M.
PONNURU: I am basically unfamiliar with this controversy. I'm glad to be. And I kind of actively resent being informed of its existence. I will just say --
PONNURU: -- that I don't really like the idea of M&M having feet at all, let alone really whatever they were wearing on their feet. But I have to assume that the people who are affecting outrage are also doing it as part of a brand strategy and perhaps not actually consumed with rage and psychosocial anxiety about their candy.
COATES: I'm going to get you a t-shirt that says, I actively resent information. I'm not going (INAUDIBLE) next time you're on this show. But I love the fact that I never thought about, Karen, I love M&M's. Are we eating people?
FINNEY: Yeah, we are eating candies.
COATES: Exactly. (INAUDIBLE) way to go. Thank you so much. Up next, everyone, the wild conspiracy theories that have popped up following Damar Hamlin's on field collapse. And yes, there are conspiracies.
COATES: Well, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is shooting down conspiracy theories about his teammate, Damar Hamlin. First, people falsely claimed his cardiac arrest was caused by the COVID vaccine. And now, conspiracy theorists are claiming Hamlin was not actually at the game on Sunday, and what we saw on video was a body double. Here is Josh Allen on the podcast Kyle Brandt's Basement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYLE BRANDT, PODCASTER: There are people with like really legitimate heavy followings who are saying the fix is in, that was not Damar, his face was covered, he had sunglasses, he had a hat. When they went to him on CBS, you could not see him, and there is this next-level conspiracy that that was actually not Damar Hamlin at the game. They are saying it.
JOSH ALLEN, BUFFALO BILLS QUARTERBACK: One, that is Damar's swag and he likes wearing that. Two, he was in the locker room with us pre- game. So, yes, that was Damar. There is absolutely zero chance. There is absolutely zero chance. That's Damar Hamlin.
ALLEN: That's our guy. That's our brother. He was with us pre-game, post-game. He was up in the suite with his family, his little brother, 100%. So, people need to stop that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Karen Finney and Ramesh Ponnuru are back. CNN's sports analyst Christine Brennan joins the conversation as well. I mean, Christine, you and I were there that night talking about what was going on and watching everything unfold. Really, the world stopped watching and watched what's happening on Monday night football just three weeks ago, which is shocking, to think that that's where we are.
But why are conspiracy theorists, do you think, trying to exploit this opportunity? What is it?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: It's horrifying. I mean, this young man almost died. And to think that the fact that he is in a football stadium, he's alive, he's okay or he's getting better, he's in a football stadium cheering on his team in the middle of a snowstorm, by the way, that somehow this becomes fodder for these people.
It is horrendous. It is awful. I kind of hate that we are even talking about it but, of course, we have to talk about it because it's an issue in our society. Think of the things that we could be doing, not talking about this, all these people who have to debunk these theories. It is atrocious.
And to prey on this particular man, arguably the biggest story of the year so far in terms of not politics but in terms of culture in our society, and to turn this into someone's ploy to get more followers, their lives are not great, they want make people feel miserable, I do not know, shame, shame, shame on all of them.
COATES: The brainpower they expanded to use and theorize as opposed to what could be towards solutions around preventing a number of things. And also, we see here -- I mean, Karen, there is new conspiracy that is spreading on Twitter. You probably have all seen this. It is on -- a hashtag had died suddenly, that's the hashtag, which is talking about the tragic death that we have seen, the sudden tragic deaths. And they are falsely claiming that COVID vaccines are responsible.
And it happened when Lisa Marie Presley died. It happened with sports journalist Grant Wahl, who Ramesh -- I know you knew him personally as well. Why do you think this is happening?
FINNEY: Because in our culture, we have not said, not just shame on, but we are actually going to hold you accountable. The way, frankly, the parents of -- not Parkland -- the Sandy Hook shooting held Alex Jones accountable and said, you will not do this, you will not have people chasing me down on the street, screaming at me that my child did not die. Right? We have to take that kind of principled stand to say, this is not acceptable.
There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died from COVID because of conspiracy theories, because they were afraid of vaccines, because they would not wear a mask. And it is a tragedy.
And I think we have to recognize that it is not just a phenomenon at social media. This is disgusting and it is not going to stop if we don't stand up and say we are not going to tolerate this, and we are going to go after the people who are perpetrating these conspiracy theories.
COATES: Yeah. Christine, I mean, Grant Wahl's wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, had to come out and try to debunk. In the midst of the grief, debunk something like this.
BRENNAN: Which she did. In fact, as she said, they hurried the autopsy. They got his remains back as quickly as they could -- the whole thing is so heartbreaking -- from Qatar. And she did an autopsy. Of course, she is a doctor, an infectious disease specialist and one of the great -- Karen, to your point, one of the great people over the last three years in this country on COVID. They got the autopsy done as quickly as possible, so she could put out there how he died. It had nothing to do with the vaccine, nothing to do with COVID. And I am sure it infuriates you as well knowing them so well, but thank goodness for her to have that knowledge to get that done as quickly as possible.
PONNURU: And it's infuriating also because it's not just the bad actors who are perpetrating this. It's all of these gullible people who are buying it and who start to say, well, there are an awful lot of people dying suddenly. And people die young. People die suddenly all the time. You are just noticing it now. What you are basically saying is, I sure have noticed a lot of people dying suddenly since I started noticing it.
COATES: And there is a movie, by the way. It's called "Died Suddenly." It's pushing the conspiracy theory. It's got, like, millions and millions of views. The idea of people watching, viewing it, receiving information, and then believing that this is entitling people to then do what they are doing and say what they say. It's an ongoing conversation. We all have to pay attention to it.
Up next, everyone, impersonators on late-night fun. They are poking fun at Congressman George Santos and his serial lying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Since you brought up your family, you claimed your now deceased mother was in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and died from that. They looked into it. It turned out, her paperwork said she was in Brazil at the time.
UNKNOWN: That is a complete lie. She was in the Twin Towers getting a Brazilian. Okay?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Well, impersonators are coming out of the woodwork showing up in the late-night comedy shows poking fun at one Republican congressman, George Santos, and, of course, his serial lying. As the old saying goes, well, the jokes practically right themselves. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Congressman, thank you for joining us.
UNKNOWN: Thank you for having me, Steven. It's an honor to be a back on your show.
UNKNOWN: This is actually your first time here.
UNKNOWN: Not according to my IMDV. It says, I'm going to guess five times. I was also your band leader, Jon Batiste.
UNKNOWN: I'm just in town to pick up my Nobel Peace Prize.
UNKNOWN: From couple of nights at Madison Square Garden.
UNKNOWN: I do not know you're playing MSG.
UNKNOWN: Yes, yea, I'll be singing all of my hit songs, piano man, hey Jude, happy birthday.
UNKNOWN: You are just named to the House Committee on science, space, and technology. Does that make sense to you?
NELSON FRANKLIN, ACTOR: Well, yeah, yeah, because I was the first openly gay Jewish Republican Latino to walk on the moon. Do you have a problem?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: That actor, the Jimmy Kimmel sketch, is Nelson Franklin. And guess what, he joins me now. It's good to see you. I have to say, people are already talking about, you know, who is going to play him in a movie, and your name came up time and time again. What is it like having, well, the face of one controversial congressman these days?
FRANKLIN: It has been a crazy thing, Laura. Thank you for having me, by the way. I got off Twitter in early 2017, you know, during the early Trump presidency for my own mental health. So, I sort of missed a lot of those sort of viral tweets they were having about me, looking like this guy or whatever, but my friends and family sort of forwarded me the highlights. It's weird. It's very weird. That is the only word I can use to describe it.
COATES: I mean, I can imagine what's that like. Good for you for trying to get off. That's how Twitter works. You cannot escape it. You can't leave your family, everyone
FRANKLIN: I know.
COATES: Let's talk about your bit on Kimmel because, frankly, there is a lot of source material to choose from and think about it. I wonder if it makes it easier for you to approach it and think about, look, I' going to go way over the top, I was going to play this straight because there's enough there.
FRANKLIN: Look, I was pretty lucky that I landed with Kimmel there because they gave me such wonderful sort of script. I had huge amounts of things to do. I was walking around the hallways of Congress. I had so much business. I love that because -- I am too busy to think about how nervous I am to be on a late-night show for the first time.
You know, the source for this bit was just all of those crazy footages of him walking down hallways, evading reporters, then doubling back and slipping. It is like you said, you cannot write this stuff. It is unbelievable. So, I was just trying to sort of duplicate the sort of frantic rambling. It's like this is what he would've said if he had opened his mouth during any of those times.
COATES: By the way, I should tell you, he has tweeted about this. He has watched it all. I'm going to read for you what he had to say. I have now been enshrined in late night TV history with all these impersonations, but they are all terrible so far. Jon Lovitz is supposed to be one of the greatest comedians of all time and that was embarrassing - for him not me. These comedians need to step their game up.
First of all, he did not talk about you in that tweet, but he wants you to step your game up. That is quite a challenge given what is ahead and for a man who has been (INAUDIBLE). This feels a lot like a satire, yet it's real life.
FRANKLIN: Yeah. You know, this is something that was very troublesome to the writing staff in the later seasons.
FRANKLIN: They would have to change their scripts because the stuff they were thought was so crazy would actually happen in real life. They were getting outdone by how crazy reality was.
Look, it is fine. I'm just disappointed he was not more excited. I'm just going to say, if I was George Santos, if that's really his name, I was in his shoes and people were parodying me on TV and stuff, I would be so delighted by that. It is such a moment in time. But, of course, he's got to stick to his guns and say everything is terrible because otherwise he would not be a GOP candidate.
COATES: Oh, I do not know that he is not delighted by those. He was asking -- he's not telling you to stop. It was not a shutdown. It was, step your game up. And by the way --
FRANKLIN: Make it funnier.
COATES: There is this scene that you played on Kimmel as well yesterday about this. You step your game up. Here he is. You or him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN (voice-over): You've been accused of lying about a lot of things.
FRANKLIN: Just name 10.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Okay. Well, how about the pyramid scheme in Florida you deny having any knowledge of? What do you say about that?
FRANKLIN: Pyramid scheme is an offensive term, okay? My people actually built the pyramids when they were slaves.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): You also claimed to be Jewish but there seems to be no evidence that you are Jewish. Yes, there seems to be no evidence at all. Wait a minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: That's funny. It's funny.
FRANKLIN: Nice one.
COATES: Why are you groaning?
FRANKLIN: Good writers on Kimmel.
FRANKLIN: Just looking at myself on TV. You know how it goes.
COATES: I like looking at myself on TV. I don't know. In all honesty, though, first of all, you should know to take credit for the entire bit, do not credit the rioters. Come on, Kimmel, who? It is all about you in this moment here. But I have to ask you. Are you planning on reprising this particular role because it is funny?
FRANKLIN: I would love to. I had such a wonderful time working with those guys. It was a really good time. I'm not sure if it's going to happen but, you know, this guy cannot stop cranking out the material, so there might have to be a recurring bit there.
COATES: Something tells me that there is still more to a story about all of these things. I wonder -- there are a number of impersonators now, even across the late-night shows. I wonder if you are in touch now and trying to outdo one another.
FRANKLIN: No, no, no. I don't know Jon Lovitz. I'm a big fan of John and of Harvey. I'm a big -- "What We Do in the Shadows Fans." And Jon Lovitz, he worked a critic line into his portrayal of George Santos. These guys are legends. If I were to get to meet them, I will consider myself lucky.
COATES: Well, I'll tell you, I do not think it's the end of the story, the end of the bit, there will be more to come. It is nice to meet you. I see you're very humble. But watching you walk through the halls and the wallet moment, I mean, I could not help but laugh. Thank you so much.
FRANKLIN: Thank you so much for having me.
COATES: And everyone out there as well, thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. We begin tonight with much more on the news that CNN was first to report, documents with classified markings found at the home of former Vice President Pence. CNN's Jamie Gangel, who broke the story, joins us in a moment. First, though, the irony of classified documents ending up where they did of all places.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Did you take any classified documents with you from the White House?
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not.
UNKNOWN: Do you see any reason for anyone to take classified documents with them leaving the White House?
PENCE: Well, there would be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area.
COOPER: So, that was the former vice president in November talking about the former president, saying there's no reason for anyone to take classified documents with them after leaving office.