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CNN Tonight

Trump Expected To Endorse Jim Jordan For Speaker Of The House; Are Cameras Allowed Inside The Courtroom For January 6th Trial?; Trump Allegedly Discussed Sensitive Nuke Sub Info With A Mar-a-Lago Member; Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors Fight For Reparations; Dick Butkus Dies At 80. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 05, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And just in, police are contradicting Vivek Ramaswamy and his campaign after an incident involving protesters and his car. In Iowa today, Ramaswamy claimed that protesters rammed into his car at an event. But police now say that the driver accidentally backed into his car in a parking lot. That driver was not there to protest.

And that's all for me. Thanks for watching. Laura Coates is back and her hour starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: That was a quick turnaround. It's like I was just here. It's like a deja vu of some kind.

PHILLIP: It's almost like you never left.

COATES: I feel like it's the case. Look, our earrings almost match. Look at this. Okay. All right, America.

PHILLIP: That's called -- that's called alignment.


PHILLIP: A smooth handover is what we're doing right now.

COATES: I loved the hand. It was very like air traffic control. Thank you so much, Abby Phillip. Everyone, good evening. I'm Laura Coates.

Can we -- can we talk about the news tonight for a second? Because the former president, Donald Trump, is expected to endorse Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan to be the next speaker of the House. I want you to think about that for a second. It's an extremely important point, an extremely important position. Think about the role of the speaker of the House. The speaker is the second in line to the presidency right after the vice president of the United States.

And the duties, well, they include administering the oath of office to members, giving members permission to even speak on the House floor, counting and declaring all votes, appointing members to committees, sending bills to committees, signing bills and resolutions that pass in the House. That's a whole lot of responsibility. And to date, Congressman Jordan has been prioritizing, investigating what he believes to be a weaponized government.

Now, will that change in light of the other responsibilities? You know, I don't want to get ahead of myself here because there are obviously other Republicans who are vying for that gavel. And even with the expected endorsement by a man who's called the head of the Republican Party, there's actually no guarantee that Jordan will get the job. It's not entirely clear he will get the required 218 votes or, really, if anyone on the bench for the Republicans can get that number, at least for now.

A source tells that the GOP conference is not even going to be meeting until 6 p.m. on Monday, ahead of a candidates' forum on Tuesday, and then the election on Wednesday. Now, that's a pretty quick turnaround from that conference meeting to a vote. I mean, if you don't count the fact that it will have been a week in between ousting McCarthy and that new vote. So, what happens then? The can gets kicked down the road a little bit further.

Remember not just the duties of the speaker of the House. Remember all the things the House itself is not doing right now. There's aid for Ukraine, there's funding the U.S. government, the immigration crisis at our borders being talked a lot about today with the wall, the epidemic of gun violence that's killing thousands and thousands of us every single year, the climate crisis that's fueling wildfires and floods and monster storms. That as the former president, Trump, is facing four criminal trials.

Then there's the report that today, the former president allegedly discussed potentially sensitive information about the United States nuclear submarines. With who? a member of his Mar-a-Lago club. That's according to ABC's reporting.

And did I mention that the government is running out of money in about 40 days? You think this is uncharted territory? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Just wait until the court dates and the campaign events start filling up the calendar, and you're going to have to squint really hard to distinguish between the court of law and the court of public opinion.

Now, people will tell you, this is just politics as usual, kid. But doesn't this just feel different? Is normal in the rearview mirror officially? And this republic, how do we keep it?

I want to dig into all of this right now with Michael Eric Dyson. He is the distinguished professor of African-American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. He's also the co-author of "Unequal: A Story of America."

Michael, I'm so glad that you're here tonight. We think about this step back and what all this means, and the news tonight that Trump is now expected to endorse Jim Jordan as speaker.


Now, he has been in Congress and a public eye for nearly 20 years, but what would that do to the country in your mind?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF AFRICAN AMERICAN & DIASPORA STUDIES AT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, AUTHOR: Well, it's great to see you, Laura, for being a grand marshal at your alma mater back here in your seat at CNN.

Well, I think it represents, again, the extension of a neo-fascist uprising in American culture where if you're dissatisfied with the speaker of the House and you're Matt Gaetz facing yourself in the past at least serious allegations of harm, that you're able to pull down this man with all of the power that you can muster and send the culture into chaos.

I think that Jim Jordan is an extension of that same trajectory, that same kind of right-wing politics that has not done good for the country. There are many conservatives who would do well in this nation because they love the country. Jim Jordan doesn't appear to be cut from that mold.

COATES: Well, there are many who find him to be very polarizing, others who perhaps might support him. But let's break down these issues one at a time because, as you mentioned, a handful of Republican rebels brought the people's work on the Capitol Hill to a shuddering halt. Some say that they had a non-vendetta-related reason. Others are saying this might be the tyranny of the minority. How do you see it?

DYSON: Yeah, it's definitely a vendetta driven by the tyranny of the minority. Um, when you allow emotionally-driven politics to determine the future of America, we're in bad shape.

As you already, you know, illuminated and reiterated, democracy is best when it has a healthy discord, a kind of conflict that is based upon serious intellectual and political differences, not the kind of personal hatreds that have so clotted the American mainstream, that bigotry seems to be normal, and deliberation seems to be out the door.

COATES: You know, it's interesting because it's not the first time in history we've had divisive rhetoric or politics or very personal attacks. But our system itself was designed from the start to make change slowly so we could not make rash decisions to change the entire structure of government. But I wonder in these times we're in, is it too slow to keep pace?

DYSON: Yeah. Well, you know, depending on what side you're on, you think it's too much or too little, too fast, too quick or too slow. Look, that's why moderation has been the ringing endorsement of a Greek-derived sense of democracy. That, yeah, if we go too fast, we'll get there, but we'll be in a ditch, and if we go too slow, we'll wait for the revolution to keep going and we'll miss it.

The question is, are we able to summon the best angels of our nature to moderate either extreme and find ourselves in a position where we reflect not only the will of the people but the best thing for the nation and its healthy democracy?

COATES: You know, I often hear this phrase, someone says, why can't you get the best person for the job of a politician? Because the best person doesn't want that particular job. Maybe for the reasons you're talking about. Who knows?

But, you know, this week alone, Trump is using, well, increasingly violent rhetoric. He is calling for executing -- I mean, executing shoplifters, to saying that migrants poisoned our country's blood. Well, listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will immediately stop all of the pillaging and theft. Very simply, if you rob a store, you can fully expect to be shot as you are leaving that store.


Shot! Who will stand up to crazy Nancy Pelosi who ruined San Francisco? How's her husband doing, by the way? Anybody know?

Nobody has ever seen anything like we're witnessing right now. It is a very sad thing for our country. It's poisoning the blood of our country. It's so bad. And people are coming in with disease. People are coming in with every possible thing that you can have.

This is a disgrace. And you ought to go after this attorney general.


COATES: Now, we use the word "executed." He's talking about the word "shot." You can quibble with what he really means there or not. But you would think that a former president saying these things would be really at the top of every news broadcast. It would be everywhere. But they're not. Is it because we've become numb to this?

DYSON: We have become numb and desensitized. Is the former president willing to subject himself to the same penalty should he be found guilty of some of the pillaging and plundering and thievery about which he has been accused? Whether from his former university or lying about, you know, his money so he could hide them and so on, he has committed, allegedly, egregious crimes. Is he willing to be subject to the same measure? Of course not.

This is about the politics of purity in terms of ideology and the hateful stand that Trump has unleashed in America. And unfortunately, and tragically, too many people have tried to follow suit.


COATES: You know, it is interesting whether he would, in fact, believe to be to part of that own rhetoric. But you know, another thing, you often hear this phrase that people say, we're better than this or this isn't how we're supposed to work in America, this is not us, this is not America. But Americans elected these leaders. He is the presumptive head of the Republican Party, obviously a major party in a two-party system. Is this who we are becoming?

DYSON: I mean, if we look back at Tocqueville (ph), if we look back at Frederick Douglass or Abraham Lincoln or Gunnar Myrdal (ph), look, or any other observer of America, yeah, who America is a choice. So, when we say this is not America or this is America, that's because we make a choice to be one or the other.

This is an American experiment, a grand experiment in democracy. It is not yet settled. It will never be. It is an ongoing evolution of great possibility and dangerous demonizing instincts. The choice is before us. And if we choose people who perpetuate a legacy of hatefulness and bigotry, this is indeed who we are as a nation.

COATES: Well, democracy says America, the choice ought to be yours. Michael Eric Dyson, such a pleasure to talk to you tonight.

DYSON: Always great to talk to you.

COATES: Well, they say that seeing is believing. But what about cameras in the courtroom for Donald Trump's election subversion trial in D.C.? Will it further divide us or people already made up their minds? Minnesota's Attorney General Keith Ellison is here to discuss this, next.




COATES: Tonight, more than a dozen major media organizations are asking the judge that oversees Donald Trump's federal election subversion case for permission to broadcast the trial. Now, they're arguing that the historic nature of this case, and it is historic, warrants an exception to a very strict rule that prohibits cameras in courtrooms. CNN actually is one of the media outlets asking Judge Tanya Chutkan for permission to record and also telecast the March 2024 trial.

I want to talk about all this now with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, author of "Break the Wheel: Ending the Cycle of Police Violence." He has argued against cameras in the past for Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's trial in the murder of George Floyd. But he has since changed his mind. You know, of course, that trial was, in fact, televised.

Attorney General Ellison, thank you so much for being here tonight. I'm so glad to have a chance to speak with you about this because people might not realize, having seen that actual trial televised, you initially did not want to do that. Why?

KEITH ELLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: That's true, Laura, I did not want to have the case televised because I feared that vulnerable witnesses might not be forthcoming if they knew that they were going to be having their image broadcast around the world. I was, uh, concerned about that.

You know, the folks who happen to be on that fateful corner on, you know, May 25th, 2020, they didn't -- they didn't volunteer to be in the media limelight, but they just happened to be on that corner, and I was nervous that they would not come forward.

But I learned that it was overwhelmingly positive. I learned that Judge Cahill was right to order that the case be televised. He did it because of COVID, because we really didn't have a gallery because of COVID spacing restrictions, but it ended up being the right thing.

COATES: And you mentioned also one of the people who was so important to this case. The person who actually captured on a cell phone was really a young girl, a young woman at the time. So, there are concerns about that as well, a minor.

ELLISON: Yeah, a minor.

COATES: And so, it really is an evolution. But some people might look at this and say, well, the reason not to have it is because of the person who's actually the defendant in this case. I mean, Trump's trial is not the Derek Chauvin trial. The nature of the offense is extraordinarily different. And you're well aware of the potential for his antics.

How do you look at the fact that it's the former president of the United States, it's Donald Trump specifically, does that factor into whether you think there ought to be cameras in that courtroom?

ELLISON: Yes. I think, because of those facts you mentioned, that is a -- those facts work in favor of cameras in the courtroom and telecasting that trial because look, there are many people, literally millions, who might believe that he's innocent, and there are some who think he's guilty.

Let's look at the evidence. Let's everybody see the evidence so that we can squash rumor and suspicion and far-out interpretation. Let's just have it all for the world to see so, you know, if Trump wants to testify, he can do that.

But I think that the country will accept the verdict whatever it is if he -- if this trial is televised and the world can see. I mean, if people think these things are being done unfairly, they will let -- they will -- they will see it. If they think the trial is conducted in a professional, fair manner, they will see that, too.

COATES: That's an important point because I've been thinking about this a lot. There are all these polling out there. In fact, there's a Gallup poll that shows the public confidence in institutions is very low. I mean, you have 45% of Americans who have very little or no confidence in the criminal justice system, 50% for television news, that's their feeling of trust, and the idea of the combination of these two things in particular would be very impactful. But you also have to wonder about the fact that you've got Donald Trump, the former president, speaking about this two-tiered justice system and the weaponization of the government and the so-called witch hunt and all the different statements he's making. Having people see it in real time could really give that opportunity for people to see it for themselves.



COATES: It doesn't mean he won't actually say things outside the courtroom. But what about the fact that it would be broadcast during a campaign season as well? Does the politics at play here make an impression to you?

ELLISON: Well, you can't take the politics out of American life. It's just there. I mean, I think it's an inescapable thing. I think the only thing you can do is have some sunshine, have some sunshine on all the facts so people can really know for themselves what happened, so they can make their own mind up about what the evidence means and how to weigh it, whether Donald Trump is being treated fairly or not.

The campaign nature of this is something you simply cannot avoid unless you delay the trial beyond the point where, um, you know, all the -- all the electoral matters are dispensed with, but then you've got the problem of stale evidence, of justice delayed is justice denied, uh, and the fact that there is a lot of things that can go wrong if you put this off.

So, I'd say do it now, deal with the politics, and you should not be able to use an election to sort of avoid justice. I think a public trial is part of the justice process.

COATES: That's fascinating, especially given today, because Trump submitted a motion to have the entire case we're talking about right now dismissed, and part of the reason he's doing so is because of the politics. I don't mean the election-related aspects of it, but he cited presidential immunity, he cited his acquittal --


COATES: -- in the Senate impeachment trial, obviously a political trial and mechanism. But the alleged crimes that are centered on, in this case, are things he did after he left office in part. So, what's this all about? Is it a way of trying to hope that the public doesn't understand the nuance or the distinction or just throwing something against the wall and hoping it sticks?

ELLISON: Well, I think it's the latter. But let me tell you, presidential immunity is a thing, but it exists because when a president is discharging official actions, then there needs to be some protection so that the president doesn't have to second-guess every single thing he does and worry about litigation.

What could possibly be official about committing a criminal act? In fact, the definition of a criminal act is that it exceeds your official duties. It's outside of and in contrary and against your official duties.

So, I think that this simply doesn't work. You cannot, um, commit a crime, uh, in the course of your official duties and then turn around and say, uh, protect me because, uh, I was on the job doing official duties. Crime is a crime. Nobody is above the law. Everybody has to face the law.

COATES: Attorney General Keith Ellison, thank you so much. But there's a new report saying that former President Trump allegedly discussed sensitive nuclear submarine information with a Mar-a-Lago member. The possible national security and legal implications are next.




COATES: Well, there's a new and quite alarming report about what the former president allegedly did with potentially sensitive information. ABC News, "The New York Times" are reporting tonight that months after leaving office, Trump allegedly discussed details about U.S. nuclear submarines with a member of his Mar-a-Lago Club, an Australian billionaire who allegedly went on to share that information with dozens of others, including foreign officials and also journalists.

Now, according to ABC, this information was reported to Special Counsel Jack Smith, but this is not part of the indictment. Tonight, a Trump spokesperson saying the former president did nothing wrong and blasting what they claim are illegal leaks.

I want to get to this now with the former White House ethics czar, Norm Eisen, and Joe Cirincione -- I got the name -- national security analyst and former advisor to the U.S. State Department. Joe, the rule here is if I don't get the name perfect, you go first.


So, here's the rule. Okay. So, this information we're talking about, the significance of it, you actually posted on "X" about why this was so concerning. I want to read for the audience a bit about this. And you say that you held top secret clearance in the past and you never saw this info, and that Trump giving this to a foreign national, even an ally, it is a major breach. Is this what they call actionable intelligence and what does that mean?

JOE CIRINCIONE, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It is actionable intelligence. This is some of the most highly classified information we have. I had top secret code word clearance. I was covering nuclear weapons issues at the House Armed Services Committee. I never knew exactly what the payload was for our nuclear armed submarines. I don't know how close we can get to an enemy's sub before detection. And the reason is that you want the enemy to have maximum uncertainty. You don't want them to know exactly what your capabilities are. It's the essence of our deterrence theory. You want the enemy to be deterred from acting because they fear the uncertainty of what you might do.

If I had done this, I'd be in jail right now. If Norm had done this, there'd be FBI agents breaking down his door. He would be led away in handcuffs, and we might not see him for a very long time. There should be one rule for all. You cannot give away even at a party to a billionaire pal the most closely held secrets of the United States.


COATES: And I would imagine this information is quite evergreen in a sense of it's not going to change month to month, week to week. And so, the fact that he's sharing it anytime, it could actually still be accurate.

CIRINCIONE: Well, it could still be accurate. It could actually -- and so, for example, if we have two submarines in the Pacific right now, they could be having -- they could be carryings between 80 warheads or 320 warheads. You don't want China to know exactly how many. You don't want them to be able to plot their moves based on what they think the United States is capable of doing.

COATES: And to be clear, we don't know if the information that was actually described or shown allegedly is accurate, whether Trump relayed the truth of what he knew or whether he knew anything at all. There's a lot of speculation in that. But legally speaking, if what he has shared at all, the fact that he shared it, are there legal implications?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There are profound legal implications. And the reason is, if it's true that he had this conversation, and there seems to be a lot of corroboration, there has been reporting on ABC News, the "Times," CNN has its own reporting on this now, it shows the risk profile of these documents that Donald Trump -- the many documents containing national security secrets, alleged by the government, innocent until proven guilty, what other information did he share if he would be so cavalier with something that could upset America's nuclear deterrence?

Who knows those alleged dozens of people who were told by Mr. Pratt? Who knows who they passed it on to? What else happened? It shows the danger of him possessing these documents. Now, he's not charged.

COATES: He's not charged. It's not part of the indictment, though.

EISEN: He's not charged with -- he's not charged with it, but it's possible that the government will bring it in at trial. We know there's reporting that the prosecutors have inquired that they've accumulated information. They've asked questions. A lot of different ways it can come in at trial. And it really speaks to why these are such serious crimes, because this information can be dangerous and deadly to all Americans and our allies. COATES: So, coming in as not indicted but part of a kind of prior bad act of a M.O. that someone is using or a pattern of some way as one way to get it in. But that's the court of law. How about the court of diplomacy, if you will?

Because as these reports come out, the revelations, true or not, if we're reading about it, if we're hearing about it, our allies certainly are hearing something about it, perhaps our geopolitical enemies are also hearing about it, does this disrupt our diplomatic efforts, just the revelation of the possibility?

CIRINCIONE: Absolutely. If this is something that Donald Trump would tell an acquaintance, for no monetary gain, it appears, just sort of throw it out at a party at Mar-a-Lago, what else is he doing with some of the other information? Is he actually trying to monetize some of it? What is he telling Saudi Arabia? What is he telling Israel? What is he telling the Russians about this? That's the danger of all this. Once you open up this can, there's really no end of it.

EISEN: As a former ambassador, I dealt every day with representatives of foreign governments. And right now, this story is circling around the globe and people are saying, hey, this guy is the leading candidate of one of the two major political parties, he's in national polls in very close proximity to his opponent, is this kind of a person who would tamper or risk the security of the United States, its citizens, of our allies? Can he be trusted? What does it mean for the U.S. alliance?

And that's why this court case proceeding on time is so important to have the rule of law say, hey, there's consequences when you do this, even if you're a former president.

COATES: And don't forget, we call it the president, but it's also the commander in chief. And so, the implications for our brave service members really important here as well. Joe Cirincione, Norm Eisen, thank you both so much for being here this evening.

CIRINCIONE: Thank you.

COATES: Well, Viola Fletcher survived the Tulsa race massacre 102 years ago, and she is still fighting to this day for reparations. The question is, will the oldest living survivor see the justice that she wants with the case now before the Oklahoma Supreme Court? Her lawyer joins me, next.




COATES: A 109-year-old Miss Viola Fletcher was just seven when she witnessed one of the most significant acts of racial violence in American history. It was 1921, and a white mob rampaged through Tulsa's Greenwood District, a lively Black community also known as Black Wall Street. Now, all of this over false accusations of a 19-year-old Black teen assaulting a white 16-year-old girl. Now, the rampage would later be known as the Tulsa race massacre. Explosives were tossed from airplanes, Black people were being shot dead in the street, and more than a thousand Black homes and businesses were reduced to ashes.


Now, reports at the "Times" say that there were at least 36 people killed, but many historians today believe that number is up to about 300 people, who may have been murdered in the brutal attacks.

For decades, Viola Fletcher never publicly spoke about what she had witnessed with anyone, fearful that she might be attacked for speaking out.

Then in May of 2020, she was tracked down by Damario Solomon-Simmons, who convinced her to join a civil lawsuit demanding reparations for her and the last two remaining known survivors of the destruction. Now, the century-long fight for justice is with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Joining me now to discuss is Damario Solomon-Simmons, a national civil rights attorney.

Damario, thank you so much for being here. We have spoken about what has taken place before. I'm glad you have returned to talk about this because she has been waiting nearly her entire life for justice. Does she believe that she will actually see it in her lifetime?

DAMARIO SOLOMON-SIMMONS, NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yeah, Laura. Thank you for having me on. It's so good to see you. Yes, she believes it. In fact, today, Laura, we were at the Oklahoma State Capitol, also Mother Randle who was 108 years old, and we were there having what's called an interim study with some state lawmakers talking about this very issue.

You know, we had the case in Oklahoma Supreme Court. We're fighting on all fronts. We went there to the state Capitol today, and she was there. Viola Ford Fletcher, 109 years old, was there for four hours with us as we talked to state lawmakers and we talked about the need for reparations to move forward.

You know, 20 years ago, 22 years ago to be exact, the Oklahoma State Legislature published a report about what they call the Tulsa race riot at the time, and they specifically said in four of their recommendations that there should be reparations, cash payments paid to survivors like Viola Fletcher.

So, she's showing up and saying, hey, I'm one of three living survivors, I'm 109 years old, I'm fighting in the courts, I'm fighting in legislative halls, why don't you do the right thing and give us reparations, give it to our community? And so, yeah, she believes with all her heart.

COATES: I mean, 109 years old, none of us have an excuse as to why we cannot speak truth to and about power if she's still fighting. But it's an interesting topic because reparations, as you know, can be very polarizing. And most of the time, it's talked about in the context of slavery and people will say that it's too tenuous a connection between descendants of slaves and those who are here now, of course, even far removed.

But she is a survivor and a witness to what happened. It's a much more direct line. Does that make a difference?

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: It makes a huge difference and that's why I've been saying forever for the last 20 years I've been in this fight that Tulsa is the linchpin to reparations broadly for African-American people because in Tulsa, you have hundreds of pictures, you have video. You show some of that coming into the segment.

We have hundreds of insurance claims, we have over 1,550 homes and businesses destroyed, and we have living survivors who can tell you exactly what happened. Mother Fletcher was seven years old at the time of the massacre. Mother Randle was six years old at the time of the massacre. So, it makes a huge difference.

And I always say, if we can win in Tulsa, then we can win anywhere, but we must win in Tulsa so we can win anywhere. And what we start with, Laura, I always start with, is it old? Is it old? Is the destruction, is it old? It's over the $200 million in property damage. It's something old.

You talked about the historians are now saying, well, maybe 300 people. What we do know is that over 3,000 people were disappeared because of the mass grave. You know, May 30th, 1921, they were in Tulsa, accounted for. And on June 1st, 1921, we never heard from them again. Were they killed? Were they murdered? Were they thrown in the mass grave? Were they thrown in the Arkansas River? We would never know that maybe to this day, but we do know that something is old. We do know that Tulsa is the lynchpin for all reparations throughout this country for Black people.

And reparation is not a revolutionary concept. We do it every single day in our civil justice system. If you're hit from behind in a car, you break a leg, and you're out of work for a month, we pay for your car to get fixed. That's reparations. We pay for your lost wages. That's reparations. We pay for your pain and suffering. That's reparations.

And we pay for your medical bills. That's reparations because we understand we need to make the person whole so they can be better, their family, and they can get back and be productive citizens of society.

COATES: And yet, even knowing that, the concept of making someone whole, the concept, as you know, of reparations, maybe it's the phrasing, maybe it's how it has been described or misunderstood, it's not very popular. A "Washington Post" poll shows that 70% of Americans believe the government should not -- should not pay Black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved, and 28% think that Black Americans don't deserve to be paid at all.

But again, there's a distinction here, right? There's the idea of slavery as perhaps one of the reasons. But now, there's this notion of this is an issue of a living witness and victim to a crime. That might be this distinction here.


Did the legislative branch in Oklahoma, in Tulsa, did they see it that way?

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: Well, we hope so. You know, we had a very positive meeting. It has been 22 years since that report came out and said that they need to pay reparations to the survivors, their descendants, provide scholarships and provide a proper memorial. They haven't done any of those things. Well, they provided some, a few scholarships, but they haven't done any other things.

So, we think in this moment, post George Floyd, post the Centennial that happened two years ago, that we have people like you, Laura, that bring us on to talk about this, that we hope that our state legislators will do the right thing.

We're hoping that our Oklahoma Supreme Court will give us the opportunity to move our case forward in trial, and we're hoping that good people of good faith around this country will stand with us at Justice for Greenwood, stand with Viola Ford Fletcher and push everyone to make sure that we get the reparations we deserve.

COATES: Damario, thank you so much. I've actually taken, as you know, my children and my family to the Greenwood and Tulsa District to see from my own eyes. And if you ever have a chance, you will see the street lined with different plaques and where businesses once stood. They are on the ground and it gives you just such clarity as to the overwhelming tragedy that took place. And then there's the Greenwood Rising Center people should see as well. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: Thank you so much, Laura. Always good to see you.

COATES: Me, too. Thank you. Well, up next, remembering an NFL legend. Tributes are pouring in tonight for the late Dick Butkus, one of the most feared linebackers in league history.




COATES: Well, we have some sad news tonight. Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus has died at the age of 80. He died peacefully in his sleep at his California home, according to his family. He was considered one of the best defensive players in NFL history.

Joining me now is Rachel Nichols, host of "Headliners with Rachel Nichols" on Showtime. Rachel, I'm glad that you're here. You're the perfect person to help us unpack his legacy. People sometimes know him later in his career as a commentator, maybe some of the commercials about him.


COATES: But his legacy was really significant.

NICHOLS: Absolutely. Look, he was an iconic football player. He played with a ferocity that, frankly, is not even allowed, that level of violence in the game anymore. He was the anchor of a defensive unit referred to as the "Monsters of the Midway."

And it's funny, "Sports Illustrated" put him on the cover and said he's the most feared guy in football. He had a teammate who famously was quoted saying, when he hits you, he doesn't want to just put you in the hospital, he wants to put you in the cemetery.

But the thing that always struck me is that he represented so much more to the people of Chicago. He was born there. He grew up there. He went to the University of Illinois. So, for the Bears fans in the stands, he was one of them. And he epitomized to them who they wanted to be, right? He was strong. He was tough.

And frankly, he was something special for Chicago at a time in the 60s and 70s where the mad men of New York and the flower children of California were kind of taking over American culture.

COATES: I mean, he went in the first round. He was his whole career played with Chicago Bears as well.

NICHOLS: Uh-hmm.

COATES: He was so iconic and remained so even after he retired, even actually still commenting even as a retired person as well.


COATES: But you know, one of the things that's really problematic to me, I admit that I'm becoming a bit of a curmudgeon on this issue, that as much as his legacy has been intact, tonight, when you're watching football, he might be mentioned fewer times than Taylor Swift tonight.



COATES: And while I am a Taylor Swift fan, I'm really been honing in on this focus, this fixation. A part of it feels condescending to me. A lot of people talking about, oh, now, women will start to love football. You've got to be kidding me.

NICHOLS: Yeah. Yeah. The NFL already had plenty of female football fans. Now, they've gotten more through Taylor Swift. In fact, last week, they had a rise of two million extra female viewers. But still, I have to say, for people who are upset about sort of the balance of things, the NFL has brought this on themselves. They haven't just leaned into the Taylor Swift phenomenon, they've dived in and brought scuba equipment.

I don't know if we have the social media accounts, what they were earlier in the week, but they were referring -- there you go. This is the NFL account for all 32 teams. It's not the Kansas City Chiefs account, right? And you have Travis Kelce jerseys going up 400%.

Today, "The New York Post" came out with a more serious story saying that the NFL -- look at this. This is the NFL banner.


NICHOLS: That's it. So, of course, Taylor Swift is over -- they're doing it to themselves, right? They're saying it. "The New York Post" came out with a story today reporting that the NFL has pressured TV networks to give up commercial time for free during games to promote Taylor Swift's concert movie. So, there's a lot going on here to the point where they --

COATES: But why? Why do you think that is?

NICHOLS: Because it's so lucrative. Let me give you an example, right? The NFL has 28 million Instagram followers. That's a lot, 28 million. Taylor Swift has 273 million followers on Instagram, 273 to 28. So, they want to suck up as much of that as they can. And unfortunately, in this case, it's overshadowing the passing of legend.

COATES: You know, there are so many people who are going to be looking at this and thinking about those numbers and how it comes down to that. And we've talked in the past about the NFL and how sometimes the commercial gain has overshadowed some of the more significant issues even the players have wanted to focus on.


COATES: We've seen this recently.

NICHOLS: A 100%. And look, Travis Kelce himself said this week, he said the NFL has been overdoing it. And so, we'll have to see whether this Sunday, things get toned down. If she is in the stands again, how many times we see her? In the last game, they cut away to her about a dozen times. We can count and see if they do it any less this time around because it is, it is overshadowing everything else going on in the game right now and there's been a serious backlash among football fans.


And you're right, for women who love football, and there are plenty of them, I'm one of them --

COATES: Uh-hmm.

NICHOLS: -- no one needs to be mansplained about what a football is. And the idea of that, even for people who are coming to the game for Taylor Swift, is insulting. COATES: Thank you. I'm so glad you came on. Everyone knows I've been like, really? Really? Really? Well, really? And by the way, I think she's going to Minnesota, which is my hometown, this weekend.


COATES: We're not thinking about that.

NICHOLS: We've had opposing players who've come out, teams that are on the schedule for the next three or four weeks saying, we don't want her to come, we don't want her here.

COATES: Oh. Well, that maybe -- that's a bridge too far.


But Rachel Nichols, thank you so much as always for being here.

NICHOLS: Than you.

COATES: And thank you all, everyone, for watching tonight. Our coverage continues.