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CNN Tonight

Dozens Of Mar-A-Lago Staffers And Trump Insiders Were Subpoenaed; Education Secretary Goes After Ron DeSantis; Mother Calls For Action Over Death Of Her Daughter; Boeing And Families Argue Over Whether Boeing Should Pay Damages For Crash Victims' Suffering; A.I. Emulates Artists' Voices; Burmese Pythons Are On The Move In Florida. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 16, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Now, to a CNN exclusive, at least two dozen people from Mar-a-Lago resort, you know the one, well, the staffers, the top aides, they were subpoenaed by Special Counsel Jack Smith, according to multiple sources familiar with the classified documents investigation.

It all comes as his communications aide, Margo Martin, appeared today before the grand jury investigating Trump's handling of classified documents. She is among a small group of White House aides who moved with the former president to Florida after he lost the election.

I want to bring in former State Department's spokesperson Nayyera Haq, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis-Anderson, legal analyst Elliot Williams, and Axios's Margaret Talev.

Let me begin with you here, Elliot, on this exclusive reporting from CNN. The idea that we got all these subpoenas brewing with the Mar-a- Lago classified documents investigation, what is the significance of this now to you?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure. It's easy to forget that the Mar-a-Lago investigation has been going on because all of the headlines for the last two weeks have focused on New York City investigation of the former president there, but also Fulton County, Georgia where the president is also being investigated there, and the Mar-a-Lago investigation has been carrying on this entire time.

Look, any investigation is going to require speaking to other employees other than the individual who might be at the center of it. So, it should not surprise anybody. It is significant because whenever anybody gets a subpoena, no matter who they are, it is a big deal, and it is evidence in a testimony. Who knows where this ends up, but it's a big deal.

COATES: Speaking of who is actually subpoenaed here, I mean, we are talking about at least two dozen people, Margaret, okay? You've got some of his closest aides and lawyers. Based on what you know about Donald Trump, how much information would the resort staff members, for example, actually have compared with the restaurant servers, for example, the housekeepers? What would they potentially have and know?

MARGARET TALEV, DIRECTOR OF DEMOCRACY, JOURNALISM AND CITIZENSHIP INSTITUTE AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR FOR AXIOS: Well, look, I think when you are talking to folks, when you are talking about subpoenas, it can cover a lot of grounds, it can cover everything from individual direct conversations with them or something that they might have in their possession or something that they might have seen, to conversations that they were in the room for or passersby for or a fly on the wall for, or things they heard from other people.

Yes, that is circumstantial but -- I mean, I think the bottom line is we do not know yet, all these details. But, there is a spectrum of discretion among public officials or politicians. Some officeholders or former officeholders are very discrete and only would talk in a room with a couple of people. And then other people are very convivial and always like to tell stories and always like to have a lot of people coming and going.

I think we have a decent idea of how the former president operated. And so, you cast a wide net, you may find a wide variety of things.

COATES: It's absolutely true. I want to switch gear for a moment, thinking of Florida Mar-a-Lago, to Florida more broadly. Earlier, we had Secretary Miguel Cardona on with Anderson Cooper. Actually, he wrote an op-ed, Christine, against restricting books in schools, which makes people think, obviously, about Florida and the culture wars that are happening there. He wrote it in the "Tampa Bay Times."

And here is what he said just tonight on with -- actually John Berman this evening. He said -- listen to this.


MIGUEL CARDONA, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Let our parents and educators work together to find what is best for the students. I'm all in favor of parents having more say and more of a role in what the students are learning. What I'm not in favor is having state level politicians insert themselves in local schools to gain political points.


COATES: Not a very veiled attack against who he's talking about. Obviously, Governor Ron DeSantis as an example. How does this play?

KRISTEN SOLTIS-ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: State authorities have always had the leeway to handle the issue of education, whether you are a blue state or a red state. That is often how this operates. And clearly, voters in Florida have been fine, broadly, at least the majority of them, who turned out to reelect Ron DeSantis during the last midterm. So, I think politically, right now, Ron DeSantis's handling of education doesn't seem to be hurting him with Florida voters and doesn't seem to be hurting him in the republican primary.

Now, what I think is fascinating is, you know, you take Governor DeSantis's handling of curriculum in schools, and there is a lot of talk about what he is trying to ban books, et cetera. And lot of the examples that get brought up are things that, in my view, do not actually prove the case.

So, for instance, there was some examples of math textbooks that the Florida Department of Education rejected. There were some things that they rejected that I don't think necessarily there is a real reason to. You know, examples around statistics. For instance, teaching kids about how you measure something like racial bias.

I worked in a survey research field, I think that is a useful thing to teach kids. So, if I was governor of Florida, I might not have rejected that.

But generally, Florida voters and particularly Republican primary voters do seem to be pretty happy with the way Governor DeSantis is handling this issue.


COATES: Speaking of that, I mean, there is one, obviously, if he does run for office, for national office as the president of the United States candidate, what happens and what place in Florida may not translate more broadly in a general election, as we know.

But, "The New York Times" actually has a story, it's getting such traction, about groups in Florida that are actually combing through different textbooks, Nayyera, looking for these prohibitive topics, trying to figure out if what is being published or what is in the textbook falls in line with the Florida legislative initiative or something else.

How does this ring for you?

NAYYERA HAQ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: We've always talked about education being local when we talk about state that is truly at that local community level. The challenge we are seeing right now is this is not an organic movement, this is prompted by national organizations that have taken education, realized what it means to families, including Hispanic voters, which is number one issue, and politicized it along the lines of identity.

And so, they have shared everything from talking points to meeting times two names of books with local community. So, the idea that this is about what local parents want is part of a smokescreen receding right now. Ron DeSantis has clearly benefited politically from that.

The challenge is it's not necessarily, as Kristen said, about things that are truly objectionable. Laws have been written vague enough but with enough political pressure that teachers and local authorities are scared. They don't want to get in trouble.


We have multiple stories around the country, not just in Florida, of teachers opting to just remove books that talk about clear identity, that talk about, you know, racism and systemic racism because they just don't want to fall afoul of laws they don't truly understand.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: I totally disagree with the idea that it is sinister for parents to be organizing around their kids' schools. The idea of telling people about school board meetings times or giving them information that they can use when speaking with public officials, that's organizing, that's something that the left and the right does.

TALEV: Okay.

And I think that in that "New York Times" piece, they give a really interesting example of a textbook company that reformed and revised their explanation of the Rosa Parks story.

COATES: McGraw Hill.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: This is a different one. I think it is called Student Studies (ph).


SOLTIS-ANDERSON: And these are asinine revisions, right, that take --


SOLTIS-ANDERSON: -- the issue of race out of the Rosa Parks story. And it is notable that buried at the end of this "New York Times," it says, the Florida Department of Education has not accepted this textbook. It is not being taught to children in Florida schools because it violates Florida's state standards that require the teaching about race in schools.

TALEV: There are two statistics in this "New York Times" investigation that stand out to me. One is that the textbook industry is a five billion dollar-industry. Money talks. And when you're facing political pressure in the state as big as Florida, it is the textbook companies that are under pressure to blink, and some of them are blinking, at least in the draft versions.

If there are governors, including the Governor DeSantis, governors of other red states, that either personally believe that this is the right thing to do or feel that they need to do it to court their base, it's much less likely to work. Efforts to whitewash or gloss over uncomfortable aspect of U.S. history if the textbooks companies don't go along with it.

And to your point, this conservative group that is part of the volunteer effort to vet the textbooks sought to reject 28 out of 38 textbooks. That tells you how prolific this effort is. And it is not just contained in Florida. There are efforts like this all over the country. It's happening in Houston now.

COATES: Arkansas, for example, as well. The bill.

TALEV: News in Houston today was that the state took over control or announced it will take over control of the school system because it has been failing. But there is a real concern that it is going to become a test case.

HAQ: This is why Texas is such an important point, what happens in Texas, because it is the largest system of public schools. Textbook manufacturers cater to Texas standards because if they make it that way, then they're able to sell books at least to Texas if not broader. So, what happens in Texas does impact, say, what my children might be learning in Maryland.

And the grassroots organizing parents being involved is the entire spirit of local education. The challenge is when a group in Utah is using political action funding to then seed candidates who are then activating local entities and locals on a new national anti-woke agenda that otherwise might not be truly what people in the community want.

COATES: Well, we are going to have to keep looking into this. It's not going anywhere. Everyone, stay tune in all of these issues. Thank you so much.

The deadly kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico has dominated the headlines. But the mother of a 25-year-old North Carolina woman found dead on vacation in Mexico is pleading for help from President Biden for action on her daughter's case. That mother is here to tell her story, next.




COATES: The kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico is grabbing headlines, but this week, the mother of another American who was killed in Mexico is pleading with President Biden to help solve her daughter's murder.

Twenty-five-year-old Shanquella Robinson was on vacation with friends in Mexico last October when she was found unresponsive. The family says her friends claimed she died of alcohol poisoning, but the autopsy determined she died from trauma from to her neck and spine.

A disturbing video that is too graphic to show more than the stills circulated last fall showing a physical altercation between Shanquella and another person. It's not clear when the video was taken or if the video depicts the moment she suffered the fatal injury. Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant in the murder last year. That person has not yet been identified stateside.

Attorneys for the family writing in their letter this week -- quote -- "My clients recognize that the U.S. government has many priorities and responsibilities, but believe that intervening in this case would not only serve the interest of justice but also send a clear message that transnational criminal activities will not be tolerated."


Shanquella'a mother, Sallamondra Robinson, joins me now along with attorney for the family, Sue Anne Robinson. Thank you both for being here.

Let me begin with you, Salamandra, because when I first heard about what happened to your daughter, it was devastating for any mother to hear. To think about the amount of time that has transpired since then, even more heartbreaking. How are you doing right now?


COATES: Thinking about those days that have gone by, in particular, I mean, we know that there has been a lot of focus on recent deaths in Mexico, but your daughter, last October, died. And you've been calling for justice for her for months. And I know that the FBI is involved, ma'am. What are you hearing now from authorities?

ROBINSON: Well, I have not heard anything from authorities. The FBI has not told me anything. They said that they are not allowed to let me know anything right now.

COATES: So, no one has been communicating with you to give you updates on what has happened in the investigation? You have not been kept informed, really?

ROBINSON: No, I have not. I had one call the FBI. They said that they're waiting on a paper to come back from Mexico and they received it. That is all I was told.

COATES: When did you last have contact with them?

ROBINSON: About a month ago.

COATES: What has it been like for you waiting to hear information?

ROBINSON: Very hard because something like this, there should have already been done about it. Somebody should have already been arrested, but no one had been. So, that is what we're trying to push because, you know, they are not doing anything about it. That is the reason why we wrote letters to the president, hoping that we would get something pushed up a little bit because somebody is not doing something.

COATES: Sue, let me ask you about this because the letters that have been written, I mean, they have gone to the president of the United States. This case, this young woman's story has been circulated nationally. People are really interested in trying to get justice for this young woman. What are you hoping and asking the government to do to help this family?

SUE-ANN ROBINSON, ATTORNEY FOR SHANQUELLA ROBINSON'S FAMILY: We are asking for a high level of diplomatic intervention and that just means that someone from the Department of State or the president himself has to step in and have a conversation with the heads of state in Mexico, the head of law enforcement here has to have a conversation with the head of law enforcement in Mexico. The conversation has to be had in order to prioritize the case.

I did have the opportunity on behalf of the family to kind of go on a fact-finding mission in Mexico. And the reason why it was simple, the family is being ping-ponged.

We know in America -- and I am a former prosecutor and so are you -- that victims have rights. And so, they have the right to be informed, they have the right to be kept abreast of what is happening in the case. And that is what was so shocking to me, that they were being given no information, which was leading all of us to believe that nothing was being done.

And so, going to Mexico and hearing from Mexican authorities directly that we have completed our investigation, we have submitted all of our evidence and our physical evidence to the United States already, and essentially the ball is in their court was the biggest revelation of the trip, and understanding that, okay, now, we are back and we need to focus on the United States either extraditing the person who is named in the investigation that the Mexican authorities conducted, or something even more simple, the United States can ask for concurrent jurisdiction and take over and do their own investigation of the case and prosecute the people responsible or the person responsible here in the United States.

COATES: And the concurrent jurisdiction is something that has been done before. It is possible. It's a part of the idea of a kind of reciprocity between the two countries for the very reason that you described.

But, you know, CNN did reach out to the White House, Ms. Robinson, for comment. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this when asked about your daughter's case today. Listen to what she had to say, ma'am.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Because there is an FBI investigation underway, there is very little that we can say. As you know, we are very careful about criminal investigations or any investigations that are currently happening through DOJ in this particular case, FBI. But our hearts go out to -- again, to the families.


I would have to refer you to the DOJ and the State Department on this.


COATES: Sallamondra, what do you make of that response? What are you thinking when you hear that from the White House representative?

SA. ROBINSON: That is pretty much what I've been hearing the whole time for the last five months.

COATES: And thinking -- knowing that that is the case, I mean, you know over the past few weeks, there was pretty much nonstop coverage on the death of other Americans in Mexico at the hands of Mexican drug cartel members. You don't think that your daughter's cases had gotten this level of attention. Do you have an idea of why that might be or why you think that is the case?

SA. ROBINSON: No, that is what I'm trying to find out why, because they have evidence. Someone should have been locked up. I felt that if they would have caught (ph) someone, someone might have broken and told what happened. They haven't even called anyone in to see, you know, the acts in the court and stuff (ph). It does not seem like they are trying to.

COATES: You know, just thinking about all that is happening and there is so much more information to find out, and we are going to continue to follow what happened.

But, you know, I'm a mother, Sallamondra, and it would break my heart to have a conversation about my daughter and to have anything people know about her just reduced to that moment. So, can you leave me with a little information about what you want people to know about your beautiful daughter?

SA. ROBINSON: The kind heart that she had, you know. She loved people, you know. I don't know why she was treated like this. I would like to have justice for her.

COATES: We're looking at a picture of your beautiful daughter, Shanquella. I have no doubt that the heart comes from you. Thank you both for joining us. We are going to keep following along with what happened. I certainly hope you get justice for your daughter. Thank you.

SA. ROBINSON: Thank you.

SU. ROBINSON: Thank you.

COATES: Up next, another legal battle, this time between aircraft maker Boeing and the families of victims who died when one of its jets crashed. At issue, should Boeing pay for the victims' suffering in the minutes before the disaster? We're going to examine the company's argument and what they're saying just might surprise you. That is next.




COATES: It has been four years since the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, killing 157 passengers and crew. Families of the victims and Boeing attorneys are in a legal battle over whether Boeing should have to pay for the victims' suffering in the minutes leading up to the deadly crash.

Now, Boeing's attorneys argue the victims died instantaneously and say any hardship that they may have experienced before impact is not legally relevant for calculating damages.

Back with me now, Nayyera Haq, Kristen Soltis-Anderson, Elliot Williams, and Margaret Talev as well. Let me just give a little bit more context here. I think it is a little bit shocking about the arguments being made on this issue.

So, first of all, the Boeing attorneys say that the crash victims died immediately. It slammed into the ground. The company is making the case that they should not have to actually pay for damages for pain and suffering.

And here is what Boeing is actually saying about it. They said, the Illinois laws provide that evidence of passengers' pre-impact pain and suffering may not be admitted to support a damages award in this case. If such evidence were admitted, it would unfairly be prejudicial and likely to confuse or mislead the jury, it should be excluded. Boeing recognizes the tremendous tragedy suffered by the families.

On the other side of this view, the plaintiffs' attorneys are saying that they actually should pay for that six-minutes rollercoaster that was tragic and led to the fatal crash and the nosedive. They say that the people on the plane -- quote -- "undeniably suffered horrific emotional distress, pain and suffering, and physical impact and injury while they endured extreme G-forces, braced for impact, knew the airplane was malfunctioning, and ultimately plummeted nose-down to the ground at terrifying speed."

It's difficult even to read the statements and thinking about what that must have been like for that six-minute period. And again, it ended in absolute tragedy. But is the legal argument that Boeing is making somehow sound?

WILLIAMS: You know, look, Laura, this is the kind of stuff that makes people hate lawyers. I am dead serious here because it's -- look, as a matter of common sense, people die in a plane crash, they ought to be compensated for it. Right? It sorts of defies logic.

Well, Boeing may have a point here in that damages across the country are a matter of state law and each of the 50 states is going to have a different scheme for how you compensate people who have been injured.

And the argument Boeing is making is that, well, under Illinois State law, how someone might have suffered in the moments prior to that may not be compensable. Now, look, it's just even hard to say those words given the concept here.

Now, look, a suffering can be compensated. We have an entire debate through the early 2000s over whether people who were tortured actually suffered in a way that they could be compensated. So, the idea that the mere fact that we don't know if someone felt pain in the moments before death is sort of silly and ludicrous.

But this is going to be a legal fight. I think you're going to hear from a lot of psychologists saying careening to the ground near the speed of sound is itself such a profound sense of suffering that people, of course, suffered damages on that they can be compensated for --

COATES: And you know, pain and suffering is so part of much of our lexicon. We think about, you know, cases. I always argue that baseball is not America's favorite past time, it's litigation. It really always has been.


But Boeing has taken some action and part of the point that they are raising is, here is some of the actions that they took following this tragic and deadly crash: They agreed to pay $500 million to the victims' beneficiaries. They pledged $100 million to a fund for victims' families, unrelated to the litigation. They also agreed to pay $200 million to resolve an SEC case related to alleged misleading statements after the crash.

And they have issued a statement, of course, saying -- a spokesman for the company saying that they were deeply sorry to everyone who lost loved ones in the 737 Max crash. They look forward to resolving the many cases.

And they say, and I quote, "We have acknowledged the terrible impact of these tragic accidents and made an upfront commitment to fully and fairly compensate every family who suffered a loss." This is from "The Wall Street Journal" just yesterday.

I mean, looking at this, you can't look at it in a vacuum. We have seen, you know, just yesterday, what, there was the first time in many years a conversation about flight safety. You had a number of near misses and close calls here in the United States, even recently. Fortunately, the tragedy that happened there has not happened here in recent days.

But politically speaking and thinking about how you view this overall, can you look at it in a vacuum or is this indicative of what our concerns are more broadly about the responsibility of a company to make good?

TALEV: I would say two things. Number one, the course of the past four years had not been good to Boeing from a public relations standpoint when it comes to those deaths and their handling of it, original not being forthcoming about the facts.

The statement makes it sound like from the get-go, they've been trying to make everything right. There were a lot of problems with that case. And so, this added on top of that. It's a public relations challenge and it is a tragedy for everyone who lost family loved ones on the crash.

But more broadly, to your point, yes, we've just come out of a series of very close calls and that is everything from what our air traffic controllers doing to what is happening with the planes.

In this case, we all rely on a basic amount of trust in the aircraft manufacturers and the regulators every time we get on a plane. Now, we're going to be moving into an era of self-driving vehicles like the more advanced technology gets the more we trust the things that we cannot control ourselves. I think --

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: Yeah, and this is a reminder that for so many big companies out there, what may have in decades past been a public relations nightmare that you want to resolve because you want people to feel safe flying on your planes, you can continue selling them to airlines. Increasingly, companies don't just have to worry about what does the consumer think about my brand, but what does the government think of my brand, what do people in Washington think.

For a company like Boeing, that is also makes -- a whole variety of types of aircraft. There are lots of purchases here in Washington, D.C. Your brand is challenged as company in any industry, but especially ones that have such close ties to the government. It's not just about, do customers feel comfortable with my product, it is how likely is my negative brand going to make it that I get called in front of Congress.

HAQ: And those customers are not just here in the United States or the U.S. government. They are global. And Boeing is a considerable contributor to the U.S. economy. After these two airplane crashes, the 737 Max were grounded. This was their new airline. This is what they've invested a lot of R&D money into. They -- the settlement that they gave to the SEC was because it effectively lied about the technology. The government grounded them.

It put the United States on the back foot globally with airbus in France now selling to partners. This is only a recovery in the last two to three years for Boeing where just yesterday sold 80 Dreamliners now to Saudi Arabia. There are massive global implications to this, to the tune of $10 billion for the U.S. economy.

COATES: Such an important point. No wonder there is this -- I mean, people are thinking why isn't this settled and resolved, why maybe fight this issue. More to come in all this.

Everyone, stay with me, we are coming right back, because one music producer was actually so curious about artificial intelligence he used it not only to write a song but to emulate the voice of Eminem. We'll play that song for you, next.




COATES: CNN sitting down with world-renowned DJ, music producer David Guetta about this viral clip.




COATES: Now, Guetta used A.I. that not only emulate Eminem's voice but also to write the lyrics. Here is Guetta with CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich explaining this whole process.



GUETTA: I just got curious about the A.I., so I did write a verse and the style of Eminem.


Then I put it in another A.I. website. I said, use rapper's voice, Eminem. You know, I (INAUDIBLE), and finally, I got something I like.

YURKEVICH: How long did that process take you?

GUETTA: One hour.



COATES: So, I'm just wondering, if you're Eminem or any artist who goes to such extends, right, to make sure that the music you make is your own, how does this play out legally to you? Are you -- are you calling your lawyers or are you saying, you know what, pretty good rendition?

WILLIAMS: I mean, you know, game recognize game. And yes, it's a pretty good rendition. But, no, look, I think we ought to embrace the technology generally because I think people are afraid of where A.I. is going. Think about every invention that people thought would displace workers. The steam engine, my goodness, actually created probably tens of millions of jobs in history of humanity, right?

I think the thing we have to worry about is the legal responsibility. So, what happens when A.I. urges someone to kill himself or hurt himself? What happens when a A.I., you know, in the context of sports urges, you know, provides directions on how to cheat at the NCAA tournament or something like that?

These are all areas in which programmers or companies or owner who put together these kinds of software might actually face responsibility, whether it's legal or moral or ethical.

COATES: It's the idea that it goes from being, oh, that's pretty cool to, wait, what are the implications of all this? How is it being used? And, of course, you think about copywriting, property. You think about who now owns that likeness of Eminem's own voice? Who gets to decide how it's distributed on this point? What do you think?

TALEV: David talks about this himself. He says it was really fun and great, but also like there are ethical considerations like it's not okay for me to sell that. It is not -- I don't think it's okay. He said, I'm not sure it's against the law, but it probably should be.

COATES: It's wild, wild west now. Right?

TALEV: That's it. He says he's for embracing experimentation now, but then he thinks that it will certainly need to be regulated for all of the reasons we've talked about.

And, you know, as someone who is immersed in watching political coverage and watching how politicians behave, you look at this Congress, state legislatures around the country, and we are talking about relatively low tech elected officials who often don't even understand the basics of social media, much less how A.I. works, and who are so polarized because of redistricting and primary elections and stuff that it's very hard to reach consensus on even nontechnological issues that divide the country.

And you think, are we ready for the explosion in really complicated issues that are about to happen in the realm of deep fakes, in the realm of what's going to happen to the news media, in the realm of how people trust information, and in the realm of what our politicians' roles in trying to regulate it?

COATES: I think the short answer to that is probably no.

TALEV: No, we are not ready.

COATES: We're not there. But also, the idea of, you know, the Supreme Court deciding issues on Section 230. They are trying to keep pace -- talking about whether it's applicable in many ways, how it can be revamped right now. You got the pace of technology outpacing the ability to make laws. And then judges in courts, how they interpret the law.

But I want to play a little bit more about what David Guetta had to say on this issue of copyright. He actually does address it. Here he is.


YURKEVICH: So, technically, you created this song with the A.I. Technically, you own the copyright?

GUETTA: There is a little bit of an ethical problem because when I'm using Eminem's voice, I don't think there's a law right now about this.

YURKEVICH: Do you think there needs to be federal regulation around artificial intelligence?

GUETTA: I think maybe not yet. I like that it's a very free and open right now.


COATES: He's like not the song I just made. Not for me, right? Not that one.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: He has a good point. When federal regulators get involved, and they will, there's a chance that they will create good laws that accurately draw lines, that say, this is more like, you know, what a musical artist samples from another one and it's treated legally that way or this is more like an instrument and therefore you are able to create with it.

But I wouldn't put my money on the regulators like doing things that make things easier and getting it right.

WILLIAMS: And you have this clear --

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: There are lots of big problems.

WILLIAMS: There's clear rules on parity. Right? So, Weird Al has built an entire -- Weird Yancovic -- career.

COATES: We know who Weird Al is.

WILLIAMS: Well, not every viewer, Laura Coates.

COATES: Okay, it's Weird Al. All right.

WILLIAMS: Okay, got it, all right. Stipulating that everybody knows who Weird Yankovc is, but the point is he has built his entire career mimicking other artists or at least making parodies of their songs. No one is confusing Weird Al's work for the originals, and he can get away with it legally. So, what happens in this world where David Guetta is making kind of sounds like Eminem but you know it is not.

HAQ: It also the only time that regulations can actually help a creator is through the idea of being able to prosecute and file a lawsuit, all that entails. And so, in that, the little guy, the younger creator, is going to have a problem protecting themselves as opposed to the bigger studios, the industries that understand how to move the system.


COATES: Right now, every single person is going back to figure out if "Eat It" or "Eat It" or -- what is the other Weird Al song?

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: "Amish Paradise."


COATES: "Amish Paradise."

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: The "American Pie" about "Star Wars" movie.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.

COATES: Clearly, we know Kristen Soltis-Anderson a little bit more tonight on this -- I'm not -- we are going to end it there for a moment.

HAQ: We just have to make sure we all get our A.I., our own A.I. copyrights now to our voices.

WILLIAMS: Oh, before somebody else.

TALEV: Can your A.I. bracket? They are going to be the ones --

COATES: Oh, you know, that is a whole -- you know what? The bracket --

TALEV: Because the robots are going to get it.

COATES: They're going to get it. Let me tell you --

TALEV: -- number is.

COATES: By the way, right now, on the issue of the brackets, they actually predicted it and they have the final eight right so far. They got Princeton wrong so far. But the Princetonians, the Tigers, we surprised you all, anyway.

Up next, everyone, invasive Burmese pythons on the move in Florida spreading out at Everglades. Wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin is here to explain what is going on, next.




COATES: Everyone, pythons -- look at that picture! Pythons are on the move in Florida. Now, a review of python science -- yes, of course, there is such a thing -- finds that the giant snakes are making their way north from the Everglades as far as West Palm Beach and Fort Myers. And did I mention they are hungry? Jeff Corwin, what is going on?

JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE EXPERT: Well, good evening, Laura. It is a big deal. Giant pythons, this is like "Jurassic Park" have invaded Florida. This is a problem that has been about four or five decades in the making, a little bit longer. Now, it has literally reached the serpent boiling point.

COATES: I mean, just seeing and thinking about that, I have to tell you I'm not normally afraid of things, but that is one thing in the area and the size we are talking about. First of all, how is this spreading so far? How is this huge expanse even practical here?

CORWIN: Well, it probably began back in the 50s. It was especially big during the 80s and the 90s. There's a theory behind Hurricane Andrew. It released a lot of snakes from captivity into the environment. But people probably have been negligently releasing their snakes.

And Southern Florida is very tropical. It mirrors a lot of the native habitats like in Asia and Africa where Burmese pythons and African rock pythons are from. The only difference is here, they have an unlimited buffet because they have no natural predators. And with climate change, the species is spreading as Florida is warming.

I was just literally filming in Florida, I think you guys have the footage of that, where we actually --

COATES: You came across one!

CORWIN: Yes. So, here I am, I am at Turkey Point, which is a part of Florida Power & Light, which is a part of NextEra Energy. Essentially, this is an incredibly important wildlife sanctuary that is there to protect endangered American crocodiles. These species, despite all the great science -- that's my good buddy Mike Lloret, expert naturalist with Florida Power & Light -- that these species are having a stranglehold on wildlife.

I was just in the Everglades a couple of weeks ago. It is now eerily silent because small-bodied creatures like raccoons, a possum, even deer are being extricated or eaten to death out of their native habitat because they have no defense against these pythons.

COATES: I mean, so, you're holding one which -- by the way, I'm going to have a little bit of a nightmare about that, but you won't! The idea of thinking about this moment --

CORWIN: Oh, no --

COATES: -- how big these get?

CORWIN: Yeah, you know, when I was a little kid, that was like, you know, in my bassinet with me. That rock me to sleep every night. You know, I'm --


CORWIN: Snakes are my passion. I love snakes. But unfortunately, this really breaks my heart, because now, Laura, there are likely millions upon millions of pythons invading Southern Florida and basically (INAUDIBLE) their way north into middle parts of Florida.

There was one recently captured that was pushing over 20 feet in length. This creature like what you are looking at right there that we caught at Turkey Point, Florida Power & Light, this amazing wildlife sanctuary dedicated to protecting endangered species, that could easily eat a raccoon, an opossum. Within a few more years, it could be swallowing a deer. It is a really big problem with really no clear solutions.

COATES: So, if there are no natural predators, they are in an area where they are thriving because it really mimics the areas that they actually would be native, too. How do you solve this? You're talking about raccoons and deer and the like. Are they aggressive towards -- with humans as well? They must have to be. The problem has to be solved.

CORWIN: This same species of snake that I'm holding right there in its native country of Southeast Asia, very big versions have swallowed cows. And even human beings have been swallowed by similar species of snakes. So yes, they are very aggressive. They are often using the waterway.

Florida is this natural water wonderland. They will use those rivulets of water to migrate into new habitat. So, when animals are sleeping at night, they are totally vulnerable because that's when these creatures are on the prowl.


A snake like that could easily get upwards to 20 to 25 feet in length. It could probably eat upwards to 12 to 15 deer-sized animals every year. As Florida gets warmer, they move more north. It's really the ultimate "Jurassic Park" survival of the fittest example of nature. It comes here with no native predators.

Now, Florida Power & Light has over 70,000 beautiful protected areas and habitat. Thankfully, there are people like Mike Lloret out there protecting this landscape, looking for predators. But it is a big problem. It is a snake invasion.

COATES: There are certain phrases I don't want to hear next to "Jurassic Park," and that is problem with snakes. I tell you that right now. But Jeff Corwin, thank you so much. I hope the best in that story was not accurate. I hope that was just hyperbole, please.

CORWIN: It is pretty close.

COATES: Okay. Well, thank you, everyone, for watching. I'm going to have a different conversation with Jeff Corwin. In a moment, our coverage does continue.