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Trump Faces 91 Counts In Four Cases; Only One Trump Co- Defendant In Still In Jail; Trump Praises Ramaswamy After First GOP Debate; Reggie Bush Sues NCAA; America Marks The 60th Anniversary Of The March In Washington; CNN Heroes: Doctor Offers Free Veterinary Care On The Streets Of California. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 25, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And that's it for me in "CNN PRIMETIME." CNN TONIGHT with Laura Coates starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Abby. Good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates. And you know that moment when you wonder if it's the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? Well, in the words of Al Pacino in the "Scent of a Woman," we're just getting warmed up.

We got four Trump indictments and the real story is really about to begin. Remember, every single thing contained in those indictments, well, they're only allegations. The prosecutor actually has to prove all of it to a jury and not the one in the court of public opinion but in the actual court of law. But the big question, of course, is, which court?

Well, that's the question that Donald Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has been asking and in Georgia because he wants a federal court, not Fulton County. But it takes more than just, well, you're wanting something to then make it so. Right?

You've got to prove why it should be the case. And under the law, any federal employee may remove a criminal case to federal court if they're being prosecuted for things that they did in the course of their official duties. Emphasis on the word "official," of course.

We'll talk more about tonight what exactly the official duties of a chief of staff really are and do they include getting involved in, say, a state election?

But wait, there's more, everyone. You also have to demonstrate that you've got some kind of a federal defense. And let me tell you, I didn't do it, ain't going to cut it. There's got to be some federal law that a judge can look at to have that, aha, he's right, it says it right there - kind of moment.

Now, one law that is being mentioned, of course, is, well, the supremacy clause, the one that tells you the federal law trumps the states. In other words, if you've got a federal law that says, I can do what I did, a state court shouldn't be hearing a case about it. You stay in your lane. I'll tell you what, I'll stay in mine.

But then again, just because you're a federal employee, it doesn't mean that everything you do is untouchable in state courts. Holding the office itself does not hold the prosecutor at bay, no.

Meadows has to prove that what he was doing was actually part of his official duties and that it was authorized by federal law. And he's got to show that he didn't do more than what was necessary and proper to do his job.

Now the allegations in Georgia say that he was interfering with the certification of a state's election. Will the court believe that that could be part of one's job duties? And did I mention, by the way, that what you do can't be done for personal or criminal reasons, only what is authorized by the law, of course.

So, Mark Meadows and any other defendant, they feel, if they feel they can meet those standards, they've got every right to try to get their case removed.

But it's also more than just procedure at the end of the day. I told you, it's about who Meadows might want to hear his case, because if it goes to federal court, then he gets to select from a much wider jury pool in the Northern District of Georgia, not just Fulton County, where Biden, by the way, beat Trump by almost, what, 243,000 votes?

No, it's Atlanta, Gainesville, Noonan, Rome. That also means different counties, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, and Rockdale. That's a lot more.

And you know who are the members of Congress from those different counties? Well, take a look. In fact, Biden did beat Trump in nine -- nine out of these 10 counties. But of course, when it comes to an acquittal, and this might be where someone looking for a move will think (ph) about it, it only takes one.

I want to bring in CNN contributor and former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean, also Chris Whipple, who literally wrote the book on chiefs-of-staff, "The Gatekeepers," as well as "The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden's White House." Also, here tonight is Jason Willick, an opinion columnist at "The Washington Post." I'm glad that you're all here today.


Let me begin with you, John Dean, here because for many people looking at this, and you know this quite well, the web of people who have been involved now or alleged to have been involved in this kind of activity, I wonder when you hear about the allegations of one Mark Meadows and the fact that he was the chief of staff in particular, at one point, the people realize it goes beyond the normal, hey, I'll make a call for you, sir, we'll get someone in contact with you, and it might sound and become criminal. JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It sounded to me as soon as I read that he had actually traveled to Georgia and personally tried to intervene and inspect an audit that was going on. That is not chief of staff kind of activity. That's trying to swing your weight as chief of staff and doing things that normally a lesser light in the White House would do. So, that was the troubling thing for me and looked way beyond the bounds of a chief of staff's responsibility.

COATES: Well, Chris, I mean, you wrote the book literally on chiefs of staff, so I'm really curious to see your take on this. For most people, they might have kind of a pop culture reference of what a chief of staff is supposed to be. West Wing might come to mind. They may have been watching "Veep." I don't know what they've been doing. But they may have some notion of a chief of staff from a more characterized notion or they may actually know about the limitations involved.

When you look at the role of a chief of staff, first of all, tell everyone what it actually is supposed to include and at what point does your job description become confined to this small sphere and cannot touch the campaign or the election world.

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR: Well, you know, the White House chief of staff is many things. He's the president's gatekeeper, his confidant, his so-called javelin catcher. He's the person who executes the president's agenda. And, of course, most important of all, he's the person you count on to tell the president hard truths. That's an area where, sadly, Mark Meadows utterly failed to carry out his duty as White House chief of staff.

And let me just say, as a kind of overarching point, there used to be stiff competition for the title of worst White House chief of staff in history. Eisenhower's Sherman Adams, who was involved in a payola scandal, Nixon's H.R. Haldeman served 18 months for Watergate crimes, George W. Bush's John Sununu has run out of town after using government transportation for personal purposes.

But their crimes, their misdeeds, pale in comparison to what Mark Meadows has been charged with. I mean, I would never minimize Watergate, especially with John Dean on a panel --


-- but think about it.

COATES: Smart man.

WHIPPLE: Think about it. H.R. Haldeman -- H.R. Haldeman was -- went to prison for covering up a botched attempt to bug the opposition. Mark Meadows is accused of orchestrating a mafia-style shakedown of a state official for nonexistent votes and, oh, by the way, enabling the overthrow of American democracy. So, he owns the title of worst chief of staff lock, stock and barrel, in my view.

COATES: Well, you know, I want to bring in Jason Willett to the conversation as well because, Jason, you're an opinion columnist, you've been writing about this. You actually think -- I mean, set aside the list that Chris is talking about of who the worst chief of staff may have been. I don't think anyone wants that title. But you think he might actually be successful in moving his case to federal court. Why?

JASON WILLICK, OPINION COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I do think he might be successful. I think it's telling that he's not charged in Jack Smith's federal indictment with breaking federal law. In fact, in Jack Smith's federal indictment, he is described as urging President Trump to stop the rioting on January 6th. He is described as telling President Trump that the recount, the signature verification in Georgia is going in an exemplary fashion.

So, the way he's portrayed is a lot more mixed than the way he is in Fani Willis's indictment. I think that that tells us at least something about whether he was acting within the scope of his duties because if he clearly wasn't, I think Jack Smith might have been more interested in charging him with breaking federal law.

And as you mentioned, you know, this test is a complicated test. It doesn't -- for his case to be removed to federal court, it doesn't need to be shown that he's totally immune, that he's, uh, totally on the right. It just needs to be shown that he has a colorable defense. I think that's -- I think that that's possible.

COATES: Colorable, meaning straight face, there is some support. Even if you fail in the end to prove that it's true, it will be a kind of evidentiary hearing. But there was a lot of ifs in what you had to say in terms of what needs to happen to get there and the court, well, no, on Monday.

Let me bring in John Dean again on this point, though, because there's a lot of string of ifs in terms of if this is the case and the duties, of course. This all comes down to, in many respects, John Dean, this notion of, look, did you, were you acting under a colorable claim of your official duties, the color of office? The purview of the elections is the purview of the states, of course.


And so, one might scratch their head and say, well, what business would a chief of staff have in trying to talk about the certification of a state's election? What do you say?

DEAN: Laura, it's going to be very difficult for Mark Meadows to get this information in evidence. It's inconceivable they're going to put him on the stand and subject him to cross-examination at this early stage, yet he's got to get this information in front of the judge.

What they did in their motion was cite from, in a selective way, from the indictment and sort of spin it the way they wanted it to appear. And there is an argument if you take their read. I think when they get the court, uh, on the evidentiary hearing on this, it's not going to look as close or as fuzzy as it does right now. I know that, uh, Jack Smith was well aware of the removal problem. And there's also the post possibility that this could stay part of it in state court and part of it in federal court. It -- there is -- that exception is available and could well exist. So, the big loss to me in going to federal court is no cameras, and I think the American public needs to see all this.

COATES: Well, that's it. I mean, certainly we were watching what has unfolded in the past between January 6, the Watergate, the impeachment hearings. There is obviously a huge public interest in all of these things.

Gentlemen, John, Chris, Jason, thank you so much. I'd love to have you back on again.


COATES: Now, also, Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants were charged, as you know, in Georgia's 2020 election subversion case. Well, they all surrendered, all of them by the noon deadline, at least today, some days ago, some a long time ago. You know, one of them is still in jail tonight. I'll tell you who and why next.




COATES: So, 19 co-defendants. Look at this yearbook photo of sorts, everyone, including the former president of the United States. You see him in the top left there, Donald Trump. They have now surrendered in Fulton County. But only one of the people here, Harrison Floyd, is actually still in jail. And remember, he is the leader of the Black Voices for Trump, and he is accused of violating Georgia's RICO statute, influencing a witness, and conspiring to solicit false statements.

Now, unlike his other co-defendants, Floyd was unable to negotiate a bond agreement before his surrender. And today, a judge was refusing to even set his bond.


EMILY RICHARDSON, FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: I do find that based on the open charge against you, there are grounds for bond to be denied at this point. So, I'm going to go ahead and find that you are at risk to commit additional felonies and a potential risk to flee the jurisdiction. So, I'm going to deny bond, but a full consideration of bond will be addressed by Judge McAfee.


COATES: That's, of course, the judge who will be overseeing and has been overseeing a majority of this so far. I want to bring in senior reporter for "The Root," Jessica Washington, and also former Fulton County prosecutor Clint Rucker. So happy to see both of you here tonight.

Now, first of all, let me go with you Jessica, because, look, you've got to piece out in "The Root" talking about this very issue, how Floyd is one of only two Black defendants in this case. He's still in jail. And I might note this has been talked about as a more notorious jail, the Fulton County. What's happening exactly here? Any insight as to why it is he's still there and that judge made that decision?

JESSICA WASHINGTON, SENIOR REPORTER, THE ROOT: Yeah. So, there's kind of two things happening. The first thing is that he did not have counsel going into it from everything we understand, particularly from the hearing today.

And so, unlike the other defendants who negotiated a bond agreement before going in, he didn't do that. So, he was immediately detained once he came to the jail, and the other defendants got to come in and then leave and post their bond. So, that happened initially.

But then at this hearing today, we also saw his secondary charge or the charge that actually came before this in May. That was brought up as well. He was charged for assaulting an FBI officer. And so, that was a reason that the judge found that he should be denied bail today. So, there's kind of two things happening.

COATES: You're nodding along there, Clint. I wonder, first of all, explain to the audience what exactly were the circumstances as we know him as to why there was this assault on an officer. I think it was serving a subpoena in connection with another matter. And tell me what that was about.

CLINT RUCKER, FORMER PROSECUTOR, FULTON COUNTY: Right. Good evening, Laura. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. Jessica is absolutely right, though. I will tell you, the most significant reason why Mr. Harrison is still in custody is he has himself as his lawyer.

There could have been pretrial discussions with respect to that previous case, which we know is the outstanding warrant from Maryland based on the assault of the federal agent who was attempting to serve a subpoena. And you could have also negotiated pretrial release by way of an agreed-upon bond in this case so that he could have had much the same process in effect as the other defendants that we saw.

What we know about the previous case is that Mr. Harrison is claiming that he did not know the identity of the individuals who were approaching him to execute the service of the subpoena. But, of course, that would be a question for a different day, for a different court.

But certainly, the judge in this case found that the two cases combined, in her opinion, showed a propensity for Mr. Harrison to commit crimes, and so she was able to deny bond based on the criteria here in Georgia.

COATES: And really quick, Clint, when you think about that, she seemed to be referencing another judge.


She did not want to be the ultimate decision maker on this case. Tell me why.

RUCKER: Right. Well, in -- here in the Fulton County Judicial Circuit, there are, as in most judicial circuits, there is court rules that kind of govern what judges are able to do and not do.

And in this case, Mr. Harrison, because he was already indicted by a Fulton County jury, Laura, as you know, he was not entitled to what is commonly referred to as a first appearance hearing or commitment hearing, wherein a magistrate will look at his charges, inform him, and will set bond. In this case, because the case is already indicted --

COATES: Got it.

RUCKER: -- it is technically assigned to Judge Scott McAfee. Judge Scott McAfee will make all decisions with respect to his case. And so, as the judge in this case today indicated on the record, Judge McAfee will consider bond for him at the arraignment hearing.

COATES: Important to note. Jessica, thank you. And Floyd is accused of playing a role in arranging a meeting between a fellow co-defendant and Trevian Kutti, who you see right there, and also Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman. She allegedly pressured and threatened Freeman. That's really no small offense considering that we know what they are said to have endured in their testimony about the pressure campaign against them. What more can you tell us, Jessica?

WASHINGTON: Yeah. So, you know, this is a fix of this case, kind of how they pressure -- I mean, particularly we can see that this is something that was really a hardship for Ruby Freeman. And so, it's not to say that this -- the fact that he's being held and we're saying, okay, we're talking about kind of maybe a two-tier justice system or talking about the fact that this is someone who was held while everyone else has gotten off, it's not to say that what happened there isn't important.

But I do think, you know, what happened was really -- was awful for Ruby Friedman, from everything that we know from her testimony. I think we're going to hear a lot more about it as this case eventually goes to trial.

COATES: There is something very telling in just the optics of the appearance of one person remaining in jail in Fulton County and another, the president, former president, within 20 minutes able to leave with that pre-negotiated notion.

And by the way, we're talking about the ideas of a two-tier justice system. While all the attention is on Fulton County and what it looks like in this jail, I hope people are paying attention to the other jurisdictions across this country where we could have the same conversation about a two-tier justice system and some conditions and unsanitary conditions that those who have a presumption of innocence continue to face today. Thank you so much for both of you being here.

RUCKER: Absolutely. Thank you very much.

COATES: Thank you. Look, there are four criminal indictments, everyone. You got a mug shot and you got Donald Trump as the frontrunner still for the republican RNC nomination. So up next, what did President Joe Biden have to say about all of this?




COATES: Well, the GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump, so far, is likely to be bouncing between campaign events and courtroom appearances for the rest of this race. On the heels of his arrest, the former president was actually on Newsmax, where he was asked whether he saw a possible vice president on the republican stage this week.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): As far as the stage last night, I thought, uh, Vivek, as we say, did very well. Actually, Vivek, like cake. But I thought he was very good. I especially like where he said I was the greatest president in his lifetime and long beyond. That's pretty good. I said, are you sure he's running against me?


COATES: I mean, that's actually kind of funny, that he's -- that "I like the part when I was complimented, and I wondered, is he actually running against me?" That's an interesting question.

Joining me now to talk about it is former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain, Mark McKinnon, I call him the man in the hat, and CNN political commentator Van Jones. Van is also a former Obama administration official. I saw you tip your hat. I love it.

Well, let me start with you because you were the most gentlemanly of the bunch just now. Mark, let me ask you, you heard Ramaswamy, right? The lavish praise for Trump. He even said -- I mean, his hand practically flew off of the hinges when he was asked the question whether he would pardon him if convicted.

So, I'm wondering, in a place where everyone is always wondering, you're this distant from the frontrunner and everyone is vying to be the V.P., they say, except Mike Pence, what do you think is his strategy? Is he, in fact, looking for that or a cabinet position, or is he really trying to be the president?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF "THE CIRCUS": Well, anything and all the above. I mean, the one thing we know about President Trump that Vivek, I'm sure, shares, is that he knows that running for president is the brightest spotlight in the world. He never intended to be president. We know that from our own reporting. He was an accidental president, but he ran because it was the hottest, it was the biggest stage in the world.

Vivek Ramaswamy, I wrote about this in "Vanity Fair," he had -- it was no surprise that he exceeded expectations because nobody knew him, he has supreme confidence, and he's not bound by anything he has ever done before because he has never been in politics. We know now that he has almost never voted before. So, he can say anything. He's like the guy running for student council who says, we're going to have free beer.


So, there's just no downside. He's either a Fox commentator or in a Trump cabinet. It's all upside for Vivek.

COATES: You know, well, when I ran for student council, I did a whole Goonies theme. You know, it's our time. Thank you very much. That was my whole thing.


So, it wasn't beer, but I hear what you're saying. Van, to that point that Mark is raising, I mean, it's something to be a kind of outsider when you don't have to run your record. You've got other governors on the stage who really -- and former U.N. ambassadors, just to name a few, who you have a record you can point to, you can pick away if you need to.

And you have President Biden, of course, who, when he was on that stage, in the center, vying for the DNC nomination, everyone was looking at his Senate record, as the vice president, also what his president, Barack Obama, was doing as well. Well, he has now commented on Trump's latest arrests. He did so earlier today. Listen to what the president had to say.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Have you seen Donald Trump's mug shot yet? Mr. President, are you worried about Donald Trump?


UNKNOWN (voice-over): What do you think?

BIDEN: Handsome guy.


COATES: Well, obviously tongue-in-cheek there. Van, what's your reaction? You're smiling.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, that's Biden. He knows better than to wade into those waters too much because if he said more than that, then they would say, look, we told you that Biden had sickened the DOJ on Trump and the whole thing. I think Biden has played this very, very well.

And as far as Ramaswamy, look, this guy has the worst ideas in American politics, except that he has any ideas at all. He doesn't want to help Israel. He doesn't want to defend Taiwan. He wants to give Russia a clean shot at Ukraine. He just has the worst ideas. But he's got a big mouth, and he was able to kind of bully and embody everybody on stage and become the center of attention.

And that lets you know we're in a different political age. This guy has never run anything except a company and his mouth. He has never run a committee, he barely voted, he has never run a city, he has never run a state. But in this day and age, it's like a TikTok kind of approach to politics. Just get attention. Just get likes and shares and you're winning. And so, for me, that's, I think, a very, very sad commentary.

You know, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the same way. She has never run a committee, never passed a bill. But now, she has put the same conversation as president of countries. There's something wrong when we have problems this serious, and people this unserious can get this much attention.

COATES: I mean, Mark, we are in a kind of attention economy in many respects. Sometimes, the point is just attention, which is not the most novel concept over the history of the human race. But certainly, in politics, the amount of credibility that it's now afforded is something entirely different, to Vance point.

You know, Trump's campaign is now telling CNN that he's going to try to capitalize on all this media coverage of all the trials and tribulations of Trump. It could backfire. It could, on the one hand, create some Trump fatigue.

On the other hand, you know full well the media has been criticized, as in the past, having created Donald Trump as the candidate or having catapulted into a different stratosphere. How do you see it?

MCKINNON: Well, listen, I think if you thought that Trump had a lot of attention before, just wait till these trials happen. I mean, it's going to be like OJ on the freeway. The cameras will never leave and it sounds like there's a good possibility there will be cameras in the courtroom.

And this is exactly what Trump wants. He wants the attention. He wants to make the trial his political strategy because that's the only strategy that he's got, that somehow, he beats the rap on the legal front and that he beats the rap on the political front.

COATES: So how do Democrats, Van, how do they try to capitalize or seize the day and reclaim either the attention or just use it in a way that's meaningful for reelection, which is what Democrats want?

JONES: We're in new territory. This is -- the campaign and the trial are the same thing. I mean, if you think about it from a Donald Trump point of view, what do you want with the campaign? You want to be able to raise a ton of money. He's raising a ton of money!

You want to be able to push everybody else out of the media frame. He's pushed everybody out! You've got to be Vivek just saying crazy stuff to get any attention at all. And you also want to get a ton of media attention, which he's getting.

So, we think there's something happening here. This is a campaign, folks. What you're seeing right now is the campaign. And for the next year, what you're seeing is the campaign. And so, Democrats are going to have to go back to the drawing board and wipe it clean, and think what can we do to communicate about the fact that Joe Biden is presiding over one of the most impressive economic comebacks in American history.

The nose of the plane is pointed up. It's a bumpy ride, but it's pointed up. He's creating jobs. He's doing stuff on climate. All this great stuff. Diabetes patients are paying way less money. I mean, amazing stuff that's happened. We got pain out there, but there's also some hope.

We can't break through because this guy is reveling in indictments. He's going to have billboards with his mug shot. It's a different game, and we're going to have to play it very differently.


COATES: Well, we'll see what happens next. We already know that Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene is talking about people creating their own MAGA mug shots to show tributary and support of the former president of the United States. There's a lot there. You had to wonder how the rest of the world is viewing the country that's known for a republic, if you can keep it. Gentlemen, thank you so much. Nice to see you both.

JONES: Thank you.


COATES: Well, the former USC star, Reggie Bush, well, he wants his Heisman Trophy back, and he's suing the NCAA to actually get it. His attorney is Ben Crump, and he'll be here next.



COATES: Former USC football superstar Reggie Bush is taking on the NCAA. He's accusing the NCAA of defamation in a lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday. And look, he wants his 2005 Heisman Trophy back.

In 2010, remember that he voluntarily gave up the coveted award after an NCAA investigation found that he received benefits of several thousand dollars in a vehicle that were not allowed at the time, and he was ruled ineligible as of 2004. When the Supreme Court ruled in 2021, you may recall, college judges could actually receive education-related payments for use of their name, image, and likeness. And at the time, Bush petitioned to get his award reinstated, but to no avail. Bush now claims that the NCAA has defamed him recently and was never involved in a pay-for-play operation.

In a separate petition, he's also asking for a reconsideration of their decision based on what Bush's attorney, Ben Crump, calls a flawed and sloppy investigation. The NCAA has declined to comment on the lawsuit and also the petition.

Joining me now is civil rights attorney and attorney for Reggie Bush, Ben Crump. So nice to see you. Attorney Crump, this is something that so many people remember happening at the time and it has really lived in infamy for a variety of reasons, particularly given the conversations about NCAA athletes. What makes you believe that they might be amenable now to returning it or to even being successful in a defamation suit?

BEN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, Laura Coates, it's good to be with you. My co-counselor attorney, Levi McCathern, and I filed this defamation lawsuit because after the Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA could not continue this plantation mentality where they had college student athletes as indentured servants, that he thought, well, I would get my records restored, I would be able to get my Heisman Trophy back.

But the NCAA then doubled down, Laura Coates, and said that he would never be able to get his records restored because he participated in a paper plate arrangement, which was not true at all. And that's why we filed a defamation lawsuit. And that's why we believe yet again, the NCAA will lose in the court of law as they continue to lose in the court of public opinion.

COATES: You know, when you think about it and just try to unpack it all, you know, and I'm sure -- I hope people realize, it never struck me as about the actual trophy for Reggie Bush. That it was not about the accolade itself. It wasn't about the numbers or the record that he had at USC. It was more than that.

And you mentioned this idea of the NCAA in particular and how athletes had been, many people felt, exploited over time, their name, their likeness benefiting a university setting, but never being able to actually monetize it as many believe that they should.

How do you plan to prove though that the NCAA has defamed them? This is more of a recent statement. It doesn't go all the way back to what happened in the investigation you call very sloppy and flawed.

CRUMP: Well, it's not me calling it that, Laura Coates. It is the district court in California who said that NCAA investigative report was false in several material ways. They decided that.

Reggie Bush was one of the most electrifying and celebrated football players in college history. I mean, he's a very good young man, and he wants his name to be clear. He wants to be exonerated from these allegations that have no evidence to suffocate them. He wants his Heisman Trophy back, Laura.

And most people in America agree with Reggie Bush. They think it is well deserved, well earned, and it is past time for Reggie Bush to get his Heisman Trophy back.

And when you think about how they got thousand-dollar stipends and the NCAA made billions of dollars on T.V. revenue for these student athletes going out to perform, it is not fair. They're on the wrong side of fairness and the wrong side of history.

COATES: Well, Ben Crump, in my experience, if they're not on your side, they're on the wrong side of the law as well. So, we'll have to follow this very closely. I'm so glad that you came by. I'm glad you're illuminating this issue. It's one that everyone is leaning into. Nice to see you.

CRUMP: Thank you so much, Laura Coates.


COATES: Well, up next, everyone, a celebration tomorrow marking the 60th anniversary of the historic march on Washington, one of the pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement.


COATES: Sixty years ago, thousands of people marched on Washington for civil rights, flooding the mall from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. There will be a celebration and march tomorrow right here in Washington, D.C. marking the occasion, which might be best remembered for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s pivotal and powerful "I Have a Dream" speech.


Well, joining me now is the pivotal and powerful Mario Van Peebles, executive director and producer of the upcoming multi-docuseries project, "The Beat Goes On." Mario, I'm so glad that you're here.

MARIO VAN PEEBLES, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR, THE BEAT GOES ON: I'm glad that I'm going to touch you because you're fine and you're not even CGI.


COATES: Look, I mean, I ain't know how to put it, so I'm glad you said it. That's good for me.


COATES: But I'm so glad you're here and you're in town, of course, because you've been following this. You have been in so many great moments as well, and following and documenting --


COATES: -- the power of the image of what we have seen with the march on Washington.

VAN PEEBLES: My dad and I always talk about how, you know, the modern-day colonizer doesn't put chains on your body, the chains are on your mind. And the first step to freeing your mind is controlling your imagery, the image of what you imagine you can be.

And one of my favorite King quotes is where he says, we all have to learn together, learn to live together as brothers and sisters in harmony, but we perish together as fools.

And in my family, we've got all kinds of folks. We've got white, Black, brown. I've got a gay aunt. I've got a Trumper aunt. I mean, every -- so I've got a love with big arms. So, I've always --

COATES: That's a good Thanksgiving table.

VAN PEEBLES: It is. But it forces you to look at the totality of humanity and say, I'm not interested in just what the problems are. We know there's darkness. We know that it was illegal to teach enslaved people how to read. Soon in Florida, it may be illegal to read about an enslaved person.

So, we know you have problems of education. I know my daughters might not have the same freedoms that their moms had. Just the freedom to vote is being encroached on. You know, the right to go to school and not get shot at. So, we know there's problems.

What I want to focus on are grassroots organizations that are doing something to turn the lights on. And that's where the King family comes in and a new company called "Partners in Kind." And we're teaming up to make a multi-part series focused on the boots on the ground, the high heels on the ground, the sneakers on the ground, the folks out there making a positive difference because too many people like my big-headed son over there don't think their vote matters.

They've got to say, I can make a difference and if my vote didn't matter, people wouldn't be trying to squash it. So, I want to focus on folks of all demographics, of all races, that are out there trying to turn the lights on for all of us.

COATES: Well, you know, the boots on the ground notion of it is so important because when you think 60 years ago in the march on Washington, the concept of what it meant to have civil rights, maybe people thought it as more singularly focused on race. They didn't think of it necessarily as expansive and what it would mean and the domino effect of the taking away of one thing and what it could lead to others.

And so, the idea of that big tent that you describe will be very much a part of recognizing the 60 years even tomorrow, knowing how much bigger the tent has grown, but all the work that still needs to be done. VAN PEEBLES: The more things change, the more they stay the same. History doesn't just directly repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And so, you've got to sort of know where you were to know where you're going. And I think it is really time for us to take a look at this gift we have. Our democracy is in peril.

This gift we have -- I mean, so many states are repealing the right to vote for all of us. That it's critical to focus, I think, on the positive, on what we can do to make change. And that's what I want to do. The only problem is, we need a good name. We're thinking about "The Beat Goes On." It's a cool name because of the drum major speech.


VAN PEEBLES: But I don't know. So, if you think of a better name, you let us know for the series.

COATES: Laura Coates is a hell of a name.

VAN PEEBLES: Laura Coates is a hell of name!

COATES: I don't know if you knew that or not, so is Mario Van Peebles in any production you have. I will be looking forward to seeing what it is.

VAN PEEBLES: Power to the Van Peebles and the Coates?

COATES: Power to the Van Peebles? Okay.

VAN PEEBLES: I don't know. That's got a ring to it.

COATES: I want 20%.


COATES: Twenty percent. So nice to see you.

VAN PEEBLES: Will I see you at the march?

COATES: I will see you, but I have my heels on.

VAN PEEBLES: Bring your heels.

COATES: What are you going to do?

VAN PEEBLES: It's going to be hot. But get out there. It's going to be some people you need to hear.

COATES: All right, well, I'd be honored. Thank you for being here today. Everyone, we will be right back.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: The state of California has the highest rate of homelessness in the country. And often, living among the thousands of unsheltered people are their beloved pets. This week's CNN hero has made it his mission to offer judgment-free veterinary care at no cost. Meet Dr. Kwane Stewart.


KWANE STEWART, CNN HERO: I've seen people give up their last meal for their pets. And people who have $3 for their name, and after I'm done with the treatment, they will try and give me that $3.

This is your partner, obviously, huh?

UNKNOWN: He's my best friend.

STEWART: They see me with my stethoscope in my bag.

Oh yeah, you look good.

This little dog was days away from dying.

And then they start sharing stories about their dog and the history.

UNKNOWN: He makes me feel good, and he loves me.


I know he loves me.

STEWART: I can treat about 80% of the cases I see out of a really small bag.

UNKNOWN: Oh, you do vaccines, too? Oh, that's really cool.

STEWART: It's antibiotics, it's anti-inflammatories, flea and tick, heartworm prevention. It's all there. It's at no cost to them. It's free. I'm building a network of trusted volunteers, technicians, but hospitals and clinics we can go to, we can call on.

Let me take a listen here.

It doesn't matter what your situation is or what your back-runner past is. I see a pet in need and I see a person who cares for them dearly who just needs some help.




Well, for the full story, go to Thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.