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New York Judge Finds Trump And Adult Sons Liable For Fraud; McCarthy Says He Plans To Put GOP Stopgap Bill On The Floor; Video Shows A Black Girl Ignored In Gymnastics Ceremony; Supreme Court Rejects Alabama's Attempt To Avoid Creating A Second Majority-Black Congressional District. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 26, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Well, good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates. Tonight, a really bad day in court for Donald Trump. Yes, he is the clear frontrunner in the race for the White House. He is neck and neck with Joe Biden, according to polling. But now, a New York judge says the candidate and his adult sons are also now liable for fraud, saying that they gave false financial statements for years, committing fraud over and over again by inflating the value of their assets.

Now, newsflash, this is the man who could be running the country if the election, of course, goes his way, and on top of, as you know, four criminal indictments as well.

And just when you thought the circus on the Hill could not get any wilder, well, you have Matt Gaetz again issuing this time new threats to McCarthy's speakership. Senators are working together to have a backup plan, of course, and McCarthy is saying that there is a plan, but they won't actually vote on it until Friday. Now, mind you, the government shutdown happens at 11.59 p.m. this Saturday if they're unable to avert it.

And there is a heartbreaking story that's near and dear to my heart. A young Black girl ignored as all the white girls around her were given medals at a gymnastics competition in Ireland. And what if it were your daughter or mine who is now a gymnast? The video has gone viral and even Simone Biles says that it broke her heart.

I want to begin now with major legal trouble for the former president tonight, this time in the New York attorney general's civil case against Donald Trump and his family business. A judge finding that Trump and his adult sons are liable for fraud, also canceling the business certification of the Trump Organization. Now, that move alone deals a major blow to the former president and, of course, his businesses.

Joining me now to discuss is CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen and former Trump White House associate counsel May Mailman. Glad to have both of you, guys, here. I want to begin with you, Norm, on this because this is so significant. Um, this was a summary judgment motion. Taking a step back, tell us what that means and why it's significant.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Laura, when you do a civil case, there are various off-ramps that can benefit the plaintiff, whoever is bringing the civil case, or the defendant, whoever is being sued.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

EISEN: In this case, you have the state of New York represented by the very tough attorney general, Tish James. State of New York is the plaintiff and Donald Trump and a variety of his family members and his businesses are the defendant. The allegation, very similar to the allegations that we've seen from Special Counsel Jack Smith or from D.A. Fani Willis in Georgia, fraud, not election fraud, alleged.

Here, the allegation was business fraud that Trump over and over again -- he said his apartment was three times as large as it was to get loans and insurance. His residence at Seven Springs, his Mar-a-Lago estate, allegedly exaggerated.

COATES: All overinflating assets.

EISEN: That is the allegation. And both the attorney general and Donald Trump tried for summary judgment before the judge in New York.

And the judge granted summary judgment to the attorney general and said, there's no question Donald Trump inflated these properties, there's nothing what it means, there's nothing for us to argue about at trial, this is settled. Also denied Donald Trump's effort to get summary judgment. So, we're going to have a number of other charges that will be tried.

And various damages, disgorgement, how much money Trump has to give up, that's going to be tried as well.

COATES: So important. May, we think about -- I mean, the summary judgment, essentially a judge saying, listen, you only have to go before a fact-finder, the jury, if there is some factual dispute or something they have to actually resolve. But in this case, he said that the facts were essentially so strong that there was no need to actually even go to a jury on these specific aspects of it.

But I can't help but wonder how this is going to play politically because, of course, it was led by Tish James, who was criticized by the Trump family specifically for having campaigned on trying to bring them down. How do you see it?

MAY MAILMAN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ASSOCIATE COUNSEL: Yeah, I mean, I almost feel bad for the New York attorney general because she did want to make a name for herself for being the aggressive Trump prosecutor only to be outshone by like a local Fulton County D.A.

[23:05:06] So, this was going to be her moment and maybe not. Politically, it's tough to say because we're dealing with Trump. So, you really never know. Also, summary judgment motions are appealable, and I expect that to be appealed. I think in Trump world, the thing that people are going to take away is that this judge was so Trump unfriendly, it was really hard for him to mask.

I mean, the opinion he finds the lawyers for bringing legal arguments saying, I've already considered these legal arguments, yeah, you did, at a motion to dismiss stage, they are different under a different standard of review.

So, just the anger and the animosity, I think, really shines through this opinion, and I think that is going to speak a lot to Trump world and the sort of get Trump witch hunt aspect that he really likes to play up.

COATES: And he does play that up, Norm, but, of course, judges are not, you know, always known to be the most pleasant when they have had to resolve an issue more than once, even different stages. But this is a familiar playbook to say that the judiciary is against the particular person who comes out on the losing side. But to May's point, this is appealable and there are going to be issues that they can, in fact, appeal. What do you see as those arguments?

EISEN: Well, the arguments about the sanctions on the lawyers are not going to succeed on appeal because these lawyers were repeatedly arguing that you can describe an 11,000 square foot apartment as a 30,000 square foot apartment as if -- they actually said, well, square footage is not objective. If there's anything that's objective in the world, Laura, it's like you got a ruler, okay? That is the definition of objective.

And it's the same way with these crazy valuations that they were pushing. Seven Springs, the maximum valuation, usually 30 million, one year 56 million. They argued that it was legit to have a $292 million valuation. That is a 400% increase.

So, these kinds of arguments -- the judge warned him. He told him he was going to come after him. I think they're lucky. The sanctions were light, a little over $7,000 per lawyer. In some of the other Trump cases, the sanctions against Trump's lawyers have been much greater. Then in terms of appeal, the judge applied the quasi corporate death penalty here. He's yanking those certificates that you need to do business in New York.

COATES: So, it's done. They cannot operate at all.

EISEN: Well, if there is no stay pending appeal and if it withstands, but it's not as simple as that. You have to appoint. He says, we're going to appoint a receiver.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

EISEN: It's like a bankruptcy, like a chapter seven bankruptcy. Somebody is going to be put in charge of these businesses and figure out how to liquidate them. They're going to sell the properties. They're going to collect the rents. They're going to manage the businesses.

So, it was a very, very broad decertification, taking the certifications away. Not just the companies at issue here, but any other entity-controlled or beneficially-owned by Donald J. Trump, and the family members lose their certificate of doing business.

COATES: Right.

EISEN: I think it'll withstand appeal, but that's going to be a point of attack.

COATES: I mean, May, to that point, when people first learned about, most people know Donald Trump, it really is the brand before it was the president of the United States and before it is who he is now, seeking reelection, as you well know, although you were in the White House's counsel. you know, he has been taking to Truth Social, and he's responding to what he sees as the unfairness.

And one post is saying -- quote -- "They didn't even look at my most valuable asset. They didn't even include my most valuable asset, my brand. But does that really come into play in the fraud being discussed here?

MAILMAN: So, I think it should. So, a couple of things. I think the lawyers were trying to make a couple of arguments. And it was not that the same. You know, 3,000 means 30,000. Their arguments were one, the New York attorney general has power on behalf of the state. And here, the state was not defrauded. In fact, there weren't really parties defrauded. The banks weren't defrauded. They set the interest rates. They got their interest. They made money.

And then two was that the value of the assets, a couple of things. There was a disclaimer saying, this is what I'm saying, you, the bank, do your homework, you value them however you want, but also, yes, I am a very famous person and people would like to buy my properties.


They value my properties. They trust my brand. And that -- that is true. That is something that happens in business maybe to the extent that Trump said, probably not, but that sort of inflation is not like foreign to the corporate real estate world.

COATES: And yet the judge on that point about the disclaimer, the judge was very, very not impressed at all with the idea of having a disclaimer suggest, hey, don't take my word for it, do your own homework. These disclaimers in the judge's mind were something that was worthless to talk about as a way to include in the valuation of things.

But it's interesting to think about that brand politically, Norm, as well because, as May is alluding to, when you're talking about the brand, he has made -- a lot of his campaign was about being a successful, savvy, very wealthy businessman.

Now, in New York which, of course, he has already walked away from, he lives in Florida now, he said he's not a resident of New York any longer, that's impacting how he may be able to present himself.

Also, talk to us why it's only the sons, the adult sons here. Ivanka's case was dismissed back in June.

EISEN: And that is because, um, at that relevant time period, the case was shortened for statute of limitations agreements and that reasons, and there's a tolling agreement that affects the time period. The court found on appeal that in the relevant time period, Ivanka was not yet an officer of the companies. She was not responsible at that time.

I think in terms of Trump's brand, that is not an excuse for some of these arguments that were made. You know, His brand is beside the point here. You are not to maze questions about the so-called worthless clause. The disclaimers --

COATES: Right.

EISEN: -- that were included in these financial statements, it doesn't say, I have it here. You can -- you can read it up and down. It doesn't say, I will lie to you, I will double or triple the value of these -- my statements in here are outright lies. And the judge says that the worthless clause is just that, worthless to Donald Trump.

And then on this argument that it didn't hurt, uh, the lenders or the insurance companies, that's not the way the law works. You know this well. You were a prosecutor here in D.C. If I shoot at somebody and I happened to miss, my fraud doesn't work, you still get prosecuted even though you missed. It's dangerous to lie and the judge makes that point.

New York law doesn't care about the loss or the gain in the end. What they care about is people who do business in New York have to be truthful. They can't have a persistent pattern of major frauds. And that is what the judge found today in ruling for D.A. -- for the A.G. in New York.

COATES: Real quick, May, there is -- there is supposed to be a civil trial beginning on Monday, of course. This is all done at this point now or there's something more to come?

MAILMAN: Well, so, they don't even know whether the trial is actually going to start on Monday. It still could get pushed back. And then, like I said, I think you're going to see an appeal after appeal. But, um, yeah -- and it's a little bit unclear what the effect is of pulling his business certificates. Does he have to cease doing business? You know, what happens next?

So, there are a lot of unanswered questions right now, but I do think your lead is correct in that it was not a good day for Donald Trump.

COATES: Well, thank you, May. My leads are always correct. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. Norm Eisen, May Mailman -- (LAUGHTER)

-- nice to see you both.

Tonight, everyone, more than a third of Democrats in the U.S. Senate are calling on -- and look at this. They're calling on Senator Menendez to resign. Remember, yesterday, this list was like not even a full column. Now, look at it.

And, of course, the floodgates opened when Senator Cory Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey, stepped in. They're calling on him to resign now.

Menendez and his wife, Nadine, are expected to appear in court in the morning for the bribery charges. And, of course, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst says -- John Miller says this case raises some questions for U.S. intelligence, and John Miller joins me now. John, I'm glad that you're with me tonight. You know, we've been talking a lot about, obviously, the gold bars and the amount of money that was found and all of the allegations contained in this indictment.

But there's a big elephant in the room that is not really being addressed. And I know you've had a lot to say about this because it all centers around a New Jersey-born Egyptian businessman. And the question you have is, did the Egyptian government, the government itself, target an influential U.S. senator to be a kind of mark?


Connect these dots.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, it's interesting, Laura, because you can't find the connectors for these dots in the indictment.

But you can find the dots. You've got -- you've got Wael Hana, the New Jersey-based Egyptian-American businessman who is meeting with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, bringing together Egyptian intelligence officials, Egyptian military officers, Egyptian government officials, and getting deals done to unfreeze aid to Egypt that had been put on hold by the State Department and release weapons that was destined to be delivered that was also on hold.

So, he is doing these things in the interest of the Egyptian government as is alleged in the indictment. He's innocent until proven guilty. But then one has to ask why. Is he just somebody who is doing this out of the goodness of his heart? Is it because he got a monopoly to be the clearer for halal beef being shipped to that country at a great profit? Or is there something more?

The question that's on the table, Laura, is, is it possible that they could have actually been using the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as an Egyptian asset in return for bribe money being funneled by a businessman without the Egyptian intelligence services who attended some of these meetings not knowing about it? It sounds unlikely.

COATES: Answer that question for us, though. I mean, the idea, I know it's rhetorical in part, but you're intimating something pretty significant about the unlikelihood that the Egyptian government would have no idea this was happening, as well as the fact that it really does put a huge spotlight on Senator Menendez as particularly susceptible and amenable to this.

MILLER: Well, if you think about it, and I'm speaking as someone who worked in the FBI, who was familiar with counterintelligence operations, as someone who worked in the director of National Intelligence and NYPD Intelligence Bureau, what you're looking for as an intelligence officer is what asset, what source can you recruit? How can you compromise that person? Do they have a propensity towards corruption? Can you fulfill a need or exploit a weakness?

And where you have a U.S. Senator who has received a lot of publicity for being charged in a corruption case, who was a hung jury, the rest of the charges were dropped, he surfaced in another investigation before that one, it does introduce the kind of vulnerabilities that could be attractive to a foreign intelligence service, especially if they have a way in.

Consider this, Laura. Wael Hana, the New Jersey businessman, was friends for years with Nadine Arslanian before she suddenly started dating Senator Menendez, then became his wife. And during that period of years, 2018, 2019, all the way up through recent times, according to the indictment, she was the middle person, the broker, who put together the meetings between the businessmen and the Egyptian officials. So, that's a lot of coincidences.

One other thing, there's a case involving a businessman, a vice president of a bank, name is Pierre Girgis, charged last year, an Egyptian-American who was allegedly trying to infiltrate U.S. law enforcement and recruit U.S. law enforcement, including NYPD officers, to get information on Egyptian dissidents on U.S. soil. He was charged with being an unregistered agent of the Egyptian government.

And something very interesting buried in those court papers was an assertion that there are nine Egyptian operatives aimed at cultivating unwitting assets and recruiting them to carry out the interests of the Egyptian government.

So, it's interesting that someone who was trying to recruit law enforcement to get confidential information is charged as an agent of the government and an individual who was allegedly funneling half a million dollars, gold, and convertible to a United States senator is being described in the case that so far is only bribery, and on the senator's part, bribery and extortion.

So, there's more to this story that may come out in court or may not, depending on how this goes.

COATES: Well, it's so important to think about all those different iterations and an assessment of the key players and the code defendants now. And you and I both know, when you've got a code defendant case, suddenly, you start to see cracks that, otherwise, you would not expect to be there.

And so, if there are those coincidences that the investigators are looking at, if the jury eventually, if they ever see this case in the trial or trying to look and connect those dots, it's going to be a lot of head scratching and the prosecution has their work cut out for him unless, of course, they have somebody willing to flip.


John Miller --

MILLER: Don't believe in coincidences, Laura.


COATES: John Miller, nice to see you. Everyone, thank you so much.

MILLER: Thanks.

COATES: Listen, when we come back, can anything stop the runaway train that is hurtling towards a government shutdown at 11.59 p.m. on Saturday, otherwise known as a minute for midnight? Well, Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell is going to weigh in next.


COATES: Well, tonight, Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the House will consider a conservative stopgap bill with border provisions likely on Friday, regardless of whether leadership is confident the votes are there to pass it and actually daring hardliners to vote against it. Well, the hardliners are not budging. Here is Congressman Matt Gaetz once again threatening to oust Speaker McCarthy.



REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The one thing I agree with my Democrat colleagues on is that for the last eight months, this House has been poorly led. And we own that, and we have to do something about it. And you know what? My Democrat colleagues will have an opportunity to do something about that, too. And we will see if they bail out our failed speaker.


COATES: Let's talk about now with Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Congresswoman Dingell, thank you so much for joining us this evening. You've heard these words. They're not pulling any punches. I am wondering, if this were to happen, what is the plan for the Democrats? Do you intend to bail out, as Congressman Matt Gaetz says, Speaker McCarthy? REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): I think we're not going to get caught in the midst of Republican caucus politics. What we are focused on right now is trying to keep the government from shutting. I wish that we could get a simple continuing resolution.

We've heard that the Senate has a bipartisan bill that they will likely pass by Sunday, which is two days too late, by the way. But I hope that before, uh, the Congress or the government reopens for business on Monday, we will pass a continuing resolution because I do not believe that we should be running the government this way. It's not responsible.

COATES: You know, it has been posed, as you've seen it time and time again, as an either or either Speaker McCarthy keeps his job or the government stays open. This kind of either or is very difficult for the American electorate, obviously, to reconcile. And, as you know, the Senate reached a bipartisan deal to head off a shutdown through mid-November.

Is there a reason that can't happen in the House? Is it because of the Ukraine funding?

DINGELL: It could happen in the House if Speaker McCarthy decided that it should happen in the House. And that's what we're going to have to see this week. I understand why the American people are having a hard time understanding. They're following this. It shouldn't be either Kevin McCarthy stays as speaker or we keep funding the government. Even members of the Republican caucus said, let's just bring it to a head this week.

It's just -- it's not the right way to be running our government. We are irresponsible. If we let the government shut down, we are endangering national security, we are endangering our skies, we are endangering our seniors, we are endangering our children.

And I just -- I wish we could get appropriation bills passed. We haven't gotten any passed this year. Democrats aren't in charge. Republicans are. But I just wish we could work together to keep the government running while we address many of these critical issues.

COATES: So, what is the solution? How do you do it?

DINGELL: Well, the Senate is offering a bipartisan bill that they believe -- well, they had 75 votes today in close cloture. If it came over here, in the form that it is in right now, I think you would get enough votes between both caucuses to pass this and keep the government running until November 17th.

COATES: So, I want to talk, if we can, about something also that has come to a bit of a standstill. As you know, the United Auto Workers strike is happening. It's in the second week. President Biden actually came to your state today and joined the striking workers actually on the picket line.\

You've said in the past that he should not intervene with these strikes, but you were happy that he joined the workers out there. I'm wondering if his presence puts a huge presidential thumb on the scale of negotiations and puts him smack dab in the center of them.

DINGELL: I've been very clear that I do not believe the president or any policymaker has a role at the negotiating table. I do not believe that he should intervene. The president has been strong that he is standing with the workers on this, but he has also said that the negotiations need to happen between the workers and the companies but has talked about the workers' needs being real.

These workers, when the automobile companies were in trouble in 2008 and 2009 and almost went bankrupt, the employees gave up their cost of living adjustment because they didn't want to see their companies destroyed. Now, in real terms, they have not had that COLA restored. They are making 10% less that they were in real terms in 2008 and 2009. That's why these workers are at the table.

I think it's between the companies and the workers at the table to work this out. And as policymakers, we need to understand what the issues are, be supportive, but I do not believe we should be intervening.

COATES: Was his presence interference or just a demonstration of support?

DINGELL: He had talked to -- I know for a fact that the president has been talking to people on all sides. He has been encouraging them to stay at the table. And I think he was showing that he was standing with the workers in the issues that are years raising, but he did, even with the workers today, reinforce it will happen at the negotiating table.


COATES: Congresswoman, you're actually a former General Motors executive, and you have said that they are -- these are not typical negotiations. Can you share some insight into how the companies might be thinking about a strike like this?

DINGELL: Look, I am a card girl, and I have been on all sides. And I think that these are -- in my lifetime, I've seen many contract negotiations. I think that these are the most important I'm going to witness in my lifetime because we're talking about the future of the domestic auto industry in this country.

And this is where the rubber is going to hit the road. We cannot ignore the global climate is real and that we have to do something about it. But as we face the future of technology and electric vehicles, we have to make sure that we're not leaving the worker behind.

So, we have to talk about what is this transition. How do we make sure we're building those cars here in the United States of America by American auto workers? And that is very critical to me.

And I'm not going to cede our leadership to any country. When another former president says, if we build electric vehicles, we're going to build them 100% in China, we're not. We're going to build them here. And we all need to understand what it's going to take to make that transition and keep a strong, vital auto industry in this country. And the country is very quickly being reminded that the auto industry is still the backbone of the American economy. The results of this strike are already being felt by many.

COATES: And will continue to resonate, just the impact of what's happened already, the historic nature, the demands, and as you've mentioned, the cost of living post the bailouts and post pandemic as well.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, thank you so much for joining us.

DINGELL: Thank you.

COATES: A line of children given awards at a gymnastics event except one of them, the only Black girl. We'll talk about that next.


[23:36:29] COATES: Now, imagine that you're a young girl, you've just competed in a gymnastics event, and you're standing in line with all the other gymnasts waiting for the medal that you've earned. But you're the only one who doesn't actually get that medal. And you're not sure why, as a little girl standing there, that you have been skipped over. That's exactly what happened to one young girl, and it was all caught on camera.

There's newly resurfaced video now viewed over 50 million times from a meet that happened a year and a half ago. And it shows an official who's handing out medals, getting to the only Black girl standing in line. She pauses, appears to skip over her, and continues passing out medals to everyone else.

Now, a parent complained about alleged racist behavior and a resolution was somehow reached. But now that the world has seen the video, Gymnastics Ireland has now been forced to comment, telling CNN, what happened on the day should not have happened, and for that, we are deeply sorry.

Joining me now to discuss Fisk University Gymnastics coach Corrinne Tarver. She was the first Black gymnast to win an NCAA all-around title in 1989. Corrinne, a pleasure to see you, especially -- I have a little girl, she's nine years old, she's now on a gymnastics team, so watching through the lens of a parent now, I have a whole different view of the entire gymnastic community and the work that you guys do.

But let me tell you, when I saw this, the mama bear came out through my computer screen on behalf of this young child. What was your reaction when this resurfaced video came out?

CORRINNE TARVER, GYMNASTICS COACH, FISK UNIVERSITY: Uh, you know, honestly, I was -- I was very disheartened. I mean, it's, it has been a long time that, um, we've been around in this sport. So, to see something like that, to see that in 2023 or 2022, it's still happening is -- you know, it's very frustrating.

COATES: I can't wonder --

TARVER: We've made a lot of strides.

COATES: Excuse me, I didn't want to cut you off. I keep wondering if there is an explanation of some sorts. And, of course, as you mentioned, people know Simone Biles, the Dominique Dawes, the Gabby Douglas, the -- of course, Corrinne Tarver, of course yourself, and thinking about all the different things you've been able to accomplish, and yet there's still not this complete dismissal of the role of race in this sport.

TARVER: No, definitely not. It's inherent, unfortunately, in the sport and it's something that has to be looked at carefully. It's something that officials need to look at. It's something that USA Gymnastics needs to look at. It's something that coaches need to look at because, you know, they don't always recognize when they say things to little girls or do things like you just saw in the video that have such a huge impact on these young girls' lives.

COATES: Did you experience something similar to this or in your, um, at least in your early journey as a gymnast? Did you feel like you were the only one?

TARVER: I was the only one on my team for a while there. And, you know, what's sad is that if you talk to most of the girls on my team, they will tell you that they were the only ones in their gym as well, that they were the only ones on the team. So, yes, I experienced that. I would go to competitions and there would be a couple of Black girls in the whole entire competition, maybe two, maybe three.


So, it was -- it was difficult because you didn't have those role models, anyone that looked like you.

COATES: Well, you know, Simone Biles, one of the ultimate role models, of course, says the parents of this little girl actually reached out to her and that she was heartbroken and actually sent a video to the little girl and saying, there's no room for racism in any sport or at all.

Biles is, obviously, a huge star, has completely transformed to many people's view of what gymnastics can be and the trajectory continues. But that must have meant everything to this little girl seeing a role model like her. But what is it meant to even your players to see a young girl treated this way who looks like them?

TARVER: You know, for some of them, it may remind them of something that happened to them, maybe not quite as blatant and obvious, but still the way they felt when they were at a competition and maybe the way other little girls who were in their squad treated them or looked at them or the way parents when they're talking and they think no one can hear that they had to deal with this stuff and they've had to deal with it their whole entire gymnastics career. COATES: So, selfishly, you know I'm mommy, Corrinne, I'm going to be on the sidelines of matches, I'm going to try to suppress the feeling that every mother has, which is you just want people to treat your children well. But you're prepared if someone does not. So, tell me what kind of advice do you have for me as a mom thinking about this?

TARVER: Well, I would say you're just going to have to be there for your child because sometimes, they don't understand why they didn't score better than they did, especially when they do a great routine and then the score just doesn't seem to reflect that.

And there are times when we have to look at that. And as a coach, I'll look at that and say, there's no way. I mean -- and I talked to other judges sometimes and, oh, well, her feet weren't pointed or her legs were so bent and things of that nature. And I'm like, no, they weren't. You just -- you have this thought process or in your head you saw something, but they really -- it wasn't that bad.

COATES: Corrinne, we'll have to all watch out and, of course, what happened to this little girl and just thinking about it. And now, to have it viewed 50 million times, I hope that she sees those views as support for her and not indication of people trying to watch a moment of pain.

Corrinne Tarver, thank you so much.

TARVER: Thank you for inviting me.

COATES: Well, the Supreme Court telling Alabama Republicans no for the second time in months. And that decision will have very big implications for Black voters who were there and possibly anyone else who might have gerrymandering on the brain.



COATES: We meant it the first time. That's the message the Supreme Court is sending Alabama lawmakers today in yet another five to four decision rejecting now their second attempt at a congressional map that fails to add another majority black district.

Now, in a June decision, SCOTUS ordered the state to provide more representation for Black residents. Alabama's population is more than a quarter Black, but only one of the state's seven congressional districts is currently majority Black. Now, the Supreme Court decision could have huge impacts for the state and Democrats' hope of retaking the House.

Joining me now is Alabama's only Democratic congressmember, Representative Terri Sewell, who is the first Black woman to represent Alabama in Congress. Congresswoman Sewell, thank you so much for joining today.

This is quite extraordinary because the Alabama Republicans who drew these maps have now been rebuffed by the Supreme Court twice in a span of months on this issue. Why did they not understand the first time?

REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): Well, first of all, Laura, thank you so much for allowing me to be on your show today. You know, when I went to law school, I don't know about you, but when I went to law school, when the Supreme Court said you won, you won.


So, defying the Supreme Court was not a great idea. But despite the efforts by state officials in my state to obstruct, to delay, to defy, the Supreme Court was unanimous in its decision to stop them from trying to reinstate those old maps.

And I am just thrilled. I think the real winners here is the state of Alabama, all of the voters, because it's about fair representation. Twenty-seven percent of the Black voting age population in my state is African-American. There are seven seats. Only one seat allows us to choose a candidate of our choice and that's simply only 14% representation.

So, this was really about diluting the strength of the Black vote in Alabama. And so, I'm just thrilled that today, we are celebrating that Alabama can't go backwards, we're going forward, and we're going forward with fair congressional maps.

COATES: It clears the way, congresswoman, for maps proposed, by the way, just this week by a court-appointed special master that would create a second district with 50% Black representation or very close to it. You are the only Black representative for Alabama. What are voters telling you about this potential change?

SEWELL: They are so excited. You know, I think that this is really about political power and the struggle for political power. And, you know, power and struggle doesn't come without a fight.


I am just proud of the plaintiffs in the Milligan and the Caster case for sticking this out. But, you know, this is really about fairness. Fairness in representation. I want to make sure that every voter, every voter, despite their race, their zip code, has an equal opportunity to vote in this democracy. It's critical. It's fundamental.

COATES: You know, people might look at this and say, well, adding another majority black district guarantees something for Democrats, but your point is that you have to have the opportunity to elect a candidate of your choosing. It does not guarantee the result that will actually follow, but that you have the opportunity. That would be fairness.

But you also have razor-thin majorities in the House that could actually determine control of the next Congress if you add an additional seat. This is quite significant.

SEWELL: It's very significant because not only does Alabama, we were the first out the gate, but Louisiana, a case in Louisiana is next, and then comes Georgia. And frankly, I can see lawsuits in Mississippi and South Carolina as well.

All of these states -- all of these states only have one majority minority district, one representative in Congress as a Democrat, and yet these are six seats in Mississippi, you know, four or five seats in South Carolina.

So, this is really not just about congressional maps. It also has consequences for our county commission and our state legislative maps. All of these maps, to the extent that maps are drawn by, you know, governments and not these legislatures, and they're not -- and they don't fairly draw Black voters in, that they pack Black voters and try to make sure that we are -- our full voting strength is not there, that those maps will be thrown out.

And so, this is a real warning to state legislatures across this country that the Voting Rights Act is alive and well.

You know, I'm really proud of the fact that last week, we reintroduced the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act because we want the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. As we talked about earlier, Section 2 is just one part, but only Congress can get back a Section 4 by coming up with a modern-day framework for determining which states are discriminated against, you know, minority voters.


SEWELL: And so, we want the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. John Lewis would expect nothing else. So, I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting into good trouble, necessary trouble, in order to make sure that we get the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

COATES: Well, Section 5, that formula that's all -- that has been gutted and everyone is looking at, one that, of course, Congress could act upon. So important to hear your perspective. So important people to realize democracy is in the voting and in the counting, and it sounds like gerrymanders, beware.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, thank you so much.

SEWELL: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: We'll be right back.



COATES: Well, the Powerball jackpot, everyone, it soared to an estimated $835 million bucks after no lucky winners nabbed the grand prize during last night's drawing, which means there's still hope for you because the next drawing is tomorrow.

But that, of course, got me to thinking about the amount of money we're talking about. And, of course, $835 million is a lot of money. So, we asked our Harry Enten how that amount would stack up against some other big numbers.