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Laura Coates Live

The United States Faces The Effects Of War; Trump's Sons Testify In New York Civil Fraud Trial; Sam Bankman-Fried Found Guilty Of Fraud; FBI Raids Home Of New York City Mayor's Chief Fundraiser; New Beatles Song Is Released. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 02, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Court on a school night? Well, not if Ivanka Trump had her way. Earlier today, she asked the court to allow her to not testify next week in Donald Trump's civil fraud trial. Her attorney argued that it would be a hardship because she lives in Florida with her three kids, and it's in the middle of a school week. The judge rejected her appeal earlier this evening.

And that's a cue for Laura Coates to make sense of it all.



COATES: Let me figure out a way to remind myself of what it would be like in court to tell a judge or to hear a witness say, oh, I'm sorry, I can't be there, I have kids. We had kids who were in the courtroom because their parents were subpoenaed or they themselves were defendants.

I mean, I remember, Abby, actually being pregnant prosecuting cases and saying, I'm sorry, your honor, we got to move the trial date. I'm actually due to deliver that. And they'd go, oh, really? Is the entire government pregnant? Is that what's happening right now, Ms. Coates? So, trust me, I am a little bit baffled at this particular suggestion.

PHILLIP: Hey, look, it's not -- it's not like she can't afford childcare, you know.

COATES: Look, that's an important point, but I'll tell you, even for a lot of people, even those who can afford or it's taken for granted that they can or cannot, it's a subpoena, it's an important trial, it's a civil trial. People oftentimes think, well, it's not a criminal prosecution, so what's the big deal?

It's a very big deal to at least the A.G. in New York, it's a trial happening, and if there's a subpoena for you to be there, you telling me your kids are in school is not going to cut it. But --

PHILLIP: Sounds -- sounds like a not so great excuse to me. Have a good show, Laura.

COATES: Thank you. Actually, can I go right now? I have kids. It's a school week. Is that okay with you? Can you stay?

PHILLIP: I think you got -- I think you got one more hour left.

COATES: All right. Well, all right. Thank you so much, Abby. I'll see you back here tomorrow, okay?


Look, if you think what's happening over there does not affect us here, well, tonight, right here in the United States of America, sadly, you'd be wrong, tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

You know, there are not any airstrikes happening here. And Americans are not being kidnapped here. Families are not being forced to flee their homes for war here. Thankfully, all that happens to be true. But the hate that's spreading around the world is very much being felt right here in the U.S. of A.

Jewish and Muslim Americans are facing threats in synagogues and mosques on the streets, on college campuses, even in their own homes. And the warning signs, many have said, have not only been there. They are there. They are here. The antisemitism, the Islamophobia, they have exponentially increased.

And it's not somebody else's problem to grapple with. Really, as a society, it is our problem. Antisemitic incidents in this country, remember, they're up almost 400%. Imagine that figure since the Hamas terror attacks on Israel on October 7th.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: In fact, our statistics would indicate that for a group that represents only about 2.4% of the American public, they account for something like 60% of all religious-based hate crimes.


COATES: I mean, the figures are shocking, but the pictures are shocking. We may not want to believe that it's actually happening here, but we are seeing it with our own eyes.

At Tulane University, three students assaulted when a fight broke out at a rally over the Israel-Hamas war. In Minneapolis, a display showing the faces of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas repeatedly kicked over. In Pittsburgh, historically, Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood, graffiti reading, I stand with Gaza and death to America.

Cornell University, we've been following this story all week long, canceling classes tomorrow amid what they call extraordinary stress on a college campus. That after threats to shoot Jewish students in the kosher dining hall led to the arrest of another Cornell student.


UNKNOWN: I really think that it's an attempt to tear us apart. I don't want to be torn apart. I don't want to look at my fellow classmate and think that's my enemy.


COATES: And that came after a history professor at that same school, Cornell, initially said that he was exhilarated overseeing the Hamas attacks.


UNKNOWN: They were able to breathe for the first time in years. It was exhilarating. It was exhilarating. It was energizing.


COATES: Now, he later apologized for his choice of words.


And the hate is spreading in Muslim communities as well. Islamophobic incidents are up 244%. These are astronomical figures. Two hundred and forty-four percent since October 7th alone.

A family in the Chicago area who put up a free Palestine sign in their yard, well, they got a letter saying, remove the sign or burn. In Pennsylvania, a man who allegedly shouted racial slurs and pointed a gun at people holding a peaceful Palestinian rally is facing felony charges.

And a family in Illinois is mourning this beautiful six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume who was stabbed 26 times allegedly by his family's landlord. His mother suffered more than a dozen stab wounds. The DOJ, as you know, is investigating that attack as a hate crime. The boy's great uncle told me that the fear is spreading.


MAHMOOD YOUSIF, GREAT UNCLE OF WADEA AL-FAYOUME: We have a lot of families right now, they're not -- they're not sending their kids to school because they're afraid, because we are getting threats to families.


COATES: Afraid to go to school. Now, I said, if you think what's happening over there does not affect us here, you are wrong. But the real question is not whether it will impact, but perhaps what are we going to do about it.

Joining me now, "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof. I'm so glad that you are here. You had a really thought-provoking piece that I was just pouring over because you really are asking these sorts of questions. And this conflict, as you know, it's happening halfway around the world from where we are right now, yet you just saw what's happening to Jewish, to Muslim communities right here in this country. There's a palpable fear in both of these groups, and it feels like it's perhaps going to get worse.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: That's right. I mean, I just came back from the Middle East, and I must say the Middle East was more on edge than I've ever seen in four decades of covering the area. I do think that the bloodshed is going to get significantly worse in the Middle East, that here's a real risk of it escalating, and that then spreads here in the U.S. and in Europe.

And, you know, frankly, I mean, Laura, I think part of it, problem is our world of the media, not CNN, not the "New York Times," but there are a lot of organizations that are taking advantage of this to amplify hatred toward a particular community and to highlight the worst of one side and then use that to buttress one's own, you know, one's own side and to say, oh, we have to go after them.

I just find this, I mean, as somebody who has been covering the Middle East for a long time, just incredibly depressing, and I do fear it's going to get worse.

COATES: I mean, you think about that and the end game of manipulation, and who would that possibly serve, as you described? And the answer to that question, perhaps bone-chilling for a lot of reasons.

In your time, you spoke to recently a 57-year-old Gazan woman who was in East Jerusalem. In your piece, you said that she said, and I'm quoting, that she approved of Hamas's attacks on Israeli civilians. I pressed her, you say, and she insisted it was fine even to kill a five-year-old Israeli child, because -- quote -- "they are all Jews and Zionists" -- unquote.

That conversation, you say, pretty much broke your heart. And you are seeing similar feelings by some in Israel as well. That is just mind- boggling, that that would be a sentiment that would be not only expressed, let alone actually felt.

KRISTOF: Yeah, I did. I mean, the terrible thing is that it wasn't unique. I had other conversations with some Palestinians who were also, you know, dismissing the Hamas attacks, were saying that they weren't so substantial, you know, once you focus on our pain. And meanwhile, you know, we had Prime Minister Netanyahu cite a biblical passage about the Amalekites who were the target of a -- of a biblical genocide with a Bible -- with God ordering even infants to be killed. And, you know, the implication was the Amalekites are Palestinians. And meanwhile, we have Palestinians in Gaza, children dying at the rate for three weeks now of one every 10 minutes.

And I think that, you know, on each side, that is possible through this process of mutual dehumanization. And I must say, when I -- when I hear people in my world, you know, my fellow liberals in the U.S., a majority of 18 to 24-year-olds in the U.S. said in a poll that Hamas's attack could be justified.


And as somebody -- I've got to say, Laura, as somebody who reported in Gaza a number of times over the years and seen what Hamas is, you know, Hamas is this misogynistic, homophobic, repressive organization that is -- you know, this problem is not just that it attacks Israelis. This problem is it is deeply repressive right there in Gaza.

But this process of dehumanization, I think, is making possible both terrible things happening in Gaza and terrible things happening in the West Bank and, obviously, the Hamas attacks, then rippling out through this country to the -- to the antisemitism and Islamophobia that we're seeing here.

COATES: I mean, mutual dehumanization seems to be a consequence of when people are talking around an issue, being in their conflating topics. They're not taking in to account the nuance that is quite evident in any diplomatic scenario, let alone what we're seeing in a region that has had decades, if not longer, of conflict that needs to be understood. And then you top it off with people who may be using it pretextually to advance a position, as you've said already.

And I do wonder, because the Biden administration, speaking of how politics can often play hand in hand with this, they're out with a warning today, saying that civilian suffering in Gaza will weaken public support for Israel's war against Hamas. That's one consideration. You've pondered whether that would be true, but also whether it will weaken America's moral authority in the region. What do you think?

KRISTOF: I think that there are good practical reasons for Israel to take a more restrained approach in Gaza. And look, everybody believes that Israel has the right to self-defense. Everybody believes it has the right to target Hamas military personnel and Hamas fighters generally.

But there is, you know, it seems to me unconscionable to bar fuel from Gaza in ways that turn off the generators of hospitals so that children today in Gaza hospitals are undergoing surgery without anesthetic.


KRISTOF: You know, I saw a Doctors Without Borders's video of a, I think it was an eight-year-old boy having his foot amputated without -- on the floor of a hospital without proper anesthetic as sister, who was about to have her own surgery, looked on.

And so, you know, I think Israel will be better off and would have its own security more assured if it took a more narrow approach toward Hamas. I think that the United States would likewise have, you know, its own authority, its own moral authority would be in better shape if we encourage Israel to do that. At the end of the day, if your moral compass is sensitive only to the suffering of one side, you've got a broken compass.

COATES: And a very astute point. Thank you so much, Nick Kristof. I appreciate it. So, we'll see what Secretary of State Antony Blinken brings to the region. He's on his way. I wonder if he will share your sentiment and convey it as well. Thank you so much.

I want to bring in Maya Berry. She is the executive director of the Arab American Institute. Maya, I'm so glad you're here. I have to tell you, any time people are hearing about the realities of what is happening in Gaza specifically, within the same breadth, because of the population, you're talking about children, more than half the population actually are children in Gaza, that adds a significant layer of thought and empathy and disbelief, and then at times people wanting to distance themselves from the harshness of this reality.

I wonder with the numbers that we're hearing about, 244% increase in reported incidents of Islamophobia here since October 7th, not there, here, that's stunning.

MAYA BERRY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: It is. I'm one who works in an institution where we tend to rely on the concrete data that's provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when it releases its annual hate crime data, and I will tell you that we've seen an increase in both antisemitic incidents, in anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, regrettably anti-black. Every single category one can think of, we've been having record breaking years in terms of hate crimes in this country.

So, I think we have to understand that's the context in which this latest episode of violence breaks out. And now, we have what we term the backlash effect, which is events that are happening somewhere else in the world tend to kind of seep into our lives here in a way that's really very, very harmful.

I mean, I heard the segment you opened up with. It's devastating to see the pictures of Wadea in Illinois and the situation that's happening on our college campuses. So, yeah, it's highly regrettable and particularly uncomfortable environment for a lot of people.


COATES: You actually -- speaking of the FBI, if that's you're getting your data from, obviously, looking at that org chart, you're talking about the Department of Justice.

BERRY: Yeah.

COATES: You've spoken to the Department of Justice about the concerns that you have raised about those numbers.


COATES: What was that conversation like? And did you feel heard in more of a, I see you, I hear you right now, I'll do something about it sort of way?

BERRY: Very much so. To be frank, this particular Department of Justice has made a priority of combating hate and bias in a very real and meaningful way. And we've seen that for a long period of time, including new legislation that was passed. And this Justice Department has implemented in a way that it's the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act, and they've been really serious about taking this approach.

I will tell you even that when we learned of Wadea's tragic death on Sunday that evening, a statement had been issued from Attorney General Merrick Garland making clear that there's no place in our country for this type of hate. And I think that's important. When leaders speak out quickly and with moral clarity, I think it really does help people and protect people.

COATES: But the White House, I think, came out yesterday to talk about -- they were trying to create a strategy --

BERRY: Yeah.

COATES: -- to counter Islamophobia.

BERRY: Yeah.

COATES: What do you make of that strategy? It seems a little bit ambiguous, and I'm being generous when you talk about crafting a strategy. What would that strategy look like? Is the White House prepared to implement something that would be effective to do that?

BERRY: So, Laura, honestly, I'm going to answer that in sort of two different ways. The first being that as someone who works in the civil rights space to combat hate, one of the things we've told this White House in particular is there is a White House initiative to combat hate crime, and that we think it's important to leverage that work and to engage in that work and prioritize that work because hate doesn't -- hate is really intersectional. It targets all communities equally regrettably.

So, when they released a strategy initially on antisemitism and said there would be one on Islamophobia and what they called related forms of hate and discrimination, put sort of simply, I think all hate is related. All forms of hate are related. And therefore, I think the best approach is one that brings us all together to do that.

Having said that, they released the antisemitism strategy, and then there was this effort to release the one on Islamophobia. It was expected last week. I will personally be honest enough to share that it pushed back and said this is not the right time to release the strategy.


BERRY: Because we're in the middle of a really difficult period with regards to what's happening in the Middle East, what's happening in Israel, what started in Israel on October 7th, and then the onslaught of bombing and civilian casualties that you're talking about in Gaza now.

So, regrettably, I think at this point, it appears like it's a bit of a political move as opposed to something that's important to combat hate and the hate that's growing in this country in all forms. COATES: That's fascinating to think about because one of the reasons that hate crimes and people sometimes were bothered by the fact that you'd have hate crime legislation because he would say, look, we already have murder charges, we already have assault charges, why do you have to add this additional layer there?

And people would say in response, I think is a good response, the right response, hate crimes are so terrorizing because it is indiscriminate based on your perception of who you think I am, and anyone is a walking target based on your exercise of bigotry at any given moment.

So, it's interesting to think about the idea of collectively addressing it and not bifurcating it in the way you're talking about, but there are moments, given the numbers that Christopher Wray has spoken about, is there not a need at times to target and ensure that there is a focus on certain groups at certain times as priorities?

BERRY: Well, without question. And what Director Wray cited, I would say to you, is actually not new. Antisemitism, anti-Jewish hate crimes are always the number one category in religion, just as anti-black are in the racial and ethnic category. So, we have a problem of antisemitism in this country. There's no question about that.

I would suggest, though, that part of the proper approach is to understand that the collective response to hate crime, like the activity that we see out of the Department of Justice, is, I think, a better way to do this.

I want to be clear, having said that, the White House initiated a strategy and they have that, right, and they want to add one on Islamophobia. That's fine. The issue now, though, that we're seeing here is that because of what's happening and because of, frankly, a very failed approach that the Biden administration has taken with regards to the crisis in Gaza right now, it's being viewed as, we just released a poll looking at Arab-American voters.

And to be clear, I also want to emphasize that point, that we ought not to conflate religion and faith. Part of the hate crimes that we're seeing and the bias that we're seeing is really targeting Arab- Americans as Arab-Americans.


There's a university employee at American University after -- a week ago, there were swastikas painted in what is clearly an antisemitic incident on a college dorm room targeting Jewish students. Then there was a flyer that was placed under the office of the employee at A.U. saying all Palestinians must be killed.

So, clearly, we have a situation here that needs to be addressed, and it just doesn't do -- it doesn't do well to both communities, all communities, Arab-Americans, American-Muslims, Jewish community, if we end up appearing to be engaging in politics over this.

Now, I know this administration cares deeply about hate crimes. The president said one of the reasons he chose to run was what happened in Charlottesville. We're just simply saying that that approach needs to be applied equally to all communities, and I think that's the only way we're going to get to a place of doing better by what's happening.

COATES: I hope you're right. I have to tell you, what I'm not hearing anymore is people say, this is not who we are, and the absence of that statement is very telling and scary. Thank you so much. Nice talking to you as always. I appreciate it.

BERRY: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Next, speaking of Trump, another Trump son takes the stand in that quarter of a billion-dollar fraud trial. And things, I'm going to tell you, they got pretty tense. But I'll tell you why, next.




COATES: All right, if yesterday's testimony from Don Jr. was, it wasn't me, it's the accountants, let them do the math-ing, today's testimony by Eric Trump was more about him having only limited knowledge about any of the financial statements, and it got pretty tense.

I got people with me right now who are pretty familiar with what happens inside of a courtroom and when it gets tense in moments like this, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elliott Williams and former associate White House counsel to President George W. Bush, Jamil Jaffer.

Gentlemen, it was tense. People thought it would be it's his kids on the stand. What do you make of it?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: What do I make of it? It's not an unreasonable statement or defense to say that I was relying on the advice of either my accountants or my lawyers. These are voluminous statements of financial information, and not everybody is -- not every manager is going to be deep in the weeds on it.

What it appears that Trump Jr. did not say, and the point he never made was, that he told his accountants, I need you to assure me that everything you're handing me in this document is accurate and true and correct, right?

COATES: Important because he had to sign.

WILLIAMS: He had to sign it, right?

COATES: And attest to that.

WILLIAMS: Right. So, if you're going to rely on your accountants, you need to at least have them assert to you that they're certain that they're right. And so, I think there was a little bit of, look the other way when handing the documents. I don't know what the judge is going to do with this.

COATES: I'll play the devil's advocate, though, because he could just say, look, I'm supposed to delegate. That's the sign of a good leader, right? And so, I delegated people who I thought knew what they were doing. And so, when they hand it back to me, I believe them.

JAMIL JAFFER, FORMER ASSOCIATE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO GEORGE W. BUSH, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL SECURITY INSTITUTE AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: I mean, the problem is you got these emails that say, you knew something else. I mean, this is the problem, right? You can only do the shaggy thing so often. I'd say it was you, right? I mean, he was there. I mean, he got the emails. I mean, this is the real challenge. I mean --

COATES: Receipts are inconvenient on trial.

WILLIAMS: Receipts are inconvenient on trial. And I think that's where it got a little bit tense, when he was confronted with emails. And he also had given deposition testimony in the past as well that he was confronted with. But again, the other thing ---

COATES: Wait, there was an issue with that, because they were talking about which step -- which one we're talking about. It's kind of getting murky, right? Okay, you're mentioning this one. But the last one, he was actually better at. Why was that a tense moment?

WILLIAMS: Right, well, anytime someone is confronted with testimony that they gave in the past, you know, it leads to potential tension because they get tripped up. You know, I think the other problem here is that in a bench trial, there isn't a jury, and the judge is the trier of fact and law and everything else, and it seems that all of the parties here have gotten under the judge's skin a little bit, and they haven't done themselves any favors.

COATES: Prosecutions, do you think of that?

WILLIAMS: No, not necessarily.

JAFFER: I mean, this whole thing about going after the judge's law clerk, I mean, this is just -- this is a terrible plan, right? Judges are very close to their law clerks. The idea that Trump's lawyer, who was the former solicitor general of Florida, is going after the judge's law clerk, complaining about her, complaining of the notes being passed back and forth. The judge is credibly upset. This is not the way to help yourself in a bench trial. It's crazy.

COATES: Plus, I mean, people who don't -- as I know, what happened in the courtroom, a clerk, their job is not to just sit there and be a passive observer and then maybe bring some coffee. Their job is to be able to provide the judge with the information that he or she might need to ultimately fact-check in real time and to aid in other matters. They were mad about the notes being passed, calling it a kind of a co-judgeship.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. We should stay on that for a second. It's really important. I was a law clerk for two different judges.


WILLIAMS: And something that the Trump team had picked on is that this is a second judge sitting up there, why is she whispering to him so much? It is a critical role in courts at the state or federal level that these people work for judges and provide them with assistance on the law, assistance on facts, running down, doing research throughout the course of a trial.

The idea that these very seasoned attorneys think that a law clerk is meddling in the judge and pulling the strings as some kind of puppeteer is just nonsense, and they know better than that.

JAFFER: And it's going to kill you. It's going to kill you in a bad trial.

WILLIAMS: And it gets back to this very point we were talking about a second ago. It just doesn't do any favors with the judge. This man controls your fate. Why are you pissing him off by picking on his clerk and talking, undermining his authority?

COATES: Well, the other part of it, though, is because it's a judge, right, the normal perhaps theatrics that might appeal to a jury who's accustomed to a law and order sort of gotcha Perry Mason moment. Judges sort of see through all that. You can save all that type of charisma. So maybe the judge also would look at it and say, well, I know this is for somebody else's performance.

But what about Ivanka? Because that's my real question. We've heard from Eric Trump, we'll hear about him tomorrow, heard from Don Jr. Ivanka is saying that she doesn't want to appear because she has a scheduling issue with her kids because they're in school. We're all parents. We all rolled our eyes twice at that statement. But can she possibly avoid having to testify?


JAFFER: I mean, it's going to be tough, right? I mean, the judge has not been amenable to these arguments about not wanting to testify, right? Now, she could take the Fifth. Is she defendant? She's not a defendant.

WILLIAMS: Oh, she's very much not a defendant. She was, and then they sort of removed her from the case because she sorts of removed from it.

JAFFER: Now -- but -- if she thinks she might have liability elsewhere, though, she could claim the Fifth, right? I mean --

COATES: But an adverse inference will be drawn in a civil courtroom, which means that, as that judge could say, I think the answer you don't want to give me is the one that makes you look bad. So, we'll see what happens.

Maybe it's smart to point out the kids. I know I use my kids as they used to not go to social events all the time. So maybe that's what's happening right now. Oh wait, I gave myself away. I didn't mean to say that out loud.

WILLIAMS: It's 11 p.m. So, I tried but it's 11:00.

COATES: Thank you for that salvation just now redemption. Okay, everyone. Elliot Williams, Jamil Jaffer, thank you so much.

Well, there's more than just that courtroom in New York. The former crypto billionaire, Sam Bankman-Fried, you know him as SBF, he was found guilty today of seven counts of fraud for his role in the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. We'll tell you how much time he could be facing behind bars. That's next.




COATES: Tonight, the former crypto billionaire, Sam Bankman-Fried, was found guilty on all seven criminal counts of fraud, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

SBF was found guilty of stealing billions, yes with a B, of dollars in customer funds while running his crypto exchange FTX, and then using the money to buy luxury real estate, make investments, and also political contributions.

Let's bring in Teddy Schleifer, co-founder of Puck. He has been covering SBF and FTX for years. He also interviewed Sam Bankman-Fried while he was under house arrest. And you were in the courtroom when he was actually testifying and filing this trial. First of all, the fact that he was found guilty, based on his testimony, are you surprised?

THEODORE SCHLEIFER, FOUNDING PARTNER, PUCK: No, I mean, it took under four hours of actual deliberation by the jury, and that kind of tells you all you really need to know right there. I found the evidence to be -- I'm just a guy, so what do I know? But these --

COATES: So are the jurors.

SCHLEIFER: So are the jurors, right. I found the evidence to be overwhelming. The entire defense case was essentially Sam's word. There were, you know, a single hand's worth of other witnesses. And you had documentation, contemporaneous oftentimes, from Sam's three closest allies, indicating that a pretty massive financial crime was committed.

COATES: His girlfriend testified.

SCHLEIFER: His girlfriend -- his girlfriend cried.

COATES: Ex-girlfriend.

SCHLEIFER: His ex-girlfriend cried on the stand. You have all that and you have this guy saying, no, trust me. You know, essentially, put yourself in their shoes. It's very easy to see why the juror took under four hours.

COATES: But what's he like? I mean, when he was testifying, was he -- did he demonstrate some confusion, some remorse, some shock that he'd been charged? Was there anything that they could hang their hat on to say, he didn't intentionally do this?

SCHLEIFER: You know, the direct testimony that Sam gave was the most charitable version of events that you could ever put on it. There was a lot of passive voice, a lot of mistakes were made, sort of sentiment. And the cross examination, though, his credibility was shattered a thousand times. There were lots of I don't recall, I don't know, sure you could say that.

You know, he was on the stand for a day and a half under cross examination, and I don't see how any single juror could find anything he said to be credible.

COATES: Then why did they put him on the stand? Was that their only means or he insistent? Is that his personality to say, I'm going on?

SCHLEIFER: You know, I actually buy the argument that it was actually rational for Sam to testify at the point that he testified because he was being destroyed for a month and had basically no other defense. Now, that's not to say that it worked because he got convicted on all seven counts out of the way.

But I know ordinarily, obviously, defendants don't take the stand themselves. They think the risk is too great if they're to do so. In this specific instance, I think it was actually rational. That being said, did it also conveniently line up with his enormous ego? Of course.

COATES: I mean, he is facing over 100 years. Is it possible --

SCHLEIFER: Yeah, 110.

COATES: Hundred and ten. I mean, whether he'll get that, who knows? (INAUDIBLE) March coming up.


COATES: But he'll likely appeal.


COATES: How do you think he's feeling tonight, though, about having been convicted?

SCHLEIFER: You know, I think his EQ is not always 100%.

COATES: His emotional intelligence.

SCHLEIFER: Correct. You know, when I would talk with Sam, I think he really believed he was innocent. And I'm not saying he was or whether he should have thought that. But you know, he didn't take a plea deal. His lawyers didn't even want to entertain a plea deal at the beginning of this trial. I think he believed he's innocent. I think, you know, he still believes he's innocent. His lawyer is out with a statement tonight saying that he is innocent and he'll fight this tooth and nail.

But to some extent, you know, he might think he's innocent until the day he dies. There's an element to him that is hubris that I don't think 110 years or seven of sentencing really damages his own impression of himself. So, to some extent, that's pretty human, right? You think you're right until you're in the slammer.

COATES: We'll see until that sentence actually comes down. Really, really interesting. Thank you so much. Teddy Schleifer, everyone.

And there was an FBI raid. I mean, New York City was on fire today, really. FBI raid in the home of the New York City Mayor Eric Adams's chief fundraiser. I'll tell you why, next.




COATES: Well, there are multiple law enforcement officials telling CNN that an FBI raid at the home of New York City Mayor Eric Adams's chief fundraiser this morning is said to now be a part of an investigation to determine if the mayor's 2021 campaign conspired with a Brooklyn-based construction company to funnel foreign money into the campaign coffers.

First day, the FBI agents, they took phones, computers, tablets, and files from the home of Brianna Suggs. Mayor Adam's office referred all questions to his political campaign, which said it will comply with any inquiries as appropriate.

I want to bring in CNN political commentator and Spectrum News political anchor Errol Louis. I mean, Errol, what do you know about this person whose home was searched in an FBI raid?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, listen, Brianna Suggs, she's from a very solid family, very solid and well-regarded family. They're very active in this community. She has been a fundraiser but more in the administrative sense. Not going around organizing big galas and events, but more processing the checks that come in and making sure that all of the paperwork gets filed.

This is, of course, devastating for both the campaign and for this family to have an FBI raid. The allegations, while they might sound a little bit exotic, you got to remember 40% of New York City residents were born outside the country. There are a lot of different foreign ties and companies and so forth, even surprisingly small companies. And so, that might be where things went wrong here.

And the FBI, of course, as you know, doesn't do these things lightly. So, this is really quite serious.


And some of the reporting seems to suggest that they raided a number of different places, including the fundraising.

COATES: And I would mention, I mean, fundraising to support the mayor's campaign has previously been linked to criminal charges. I mean, the Manhattan D.A. charged -- I think it was six individuals earlier this year and an alleged straw donor scheme as well designed to support the 2021 mayoral campaign.

So, and by the way, neither -- I'm going note this -- neither Mayor Adams nor his campaign were implicated in that indictment. That's very clear. But it does make people wonder why this is surrounding him again.

LOUIS: Yeah, it's not a good look, it's a problem. Look, we have the flip side of reform. We have this reform here where if you are a local resident and you're making donation, the government will match that donation 8 to 1 if it's a small donation.

And so, that has really given an incentive to people to do these straw donor schemes where they pretend that it's a qualifying, that it qualifies for this 8 to 1 match, and it then multiplies the amount of campaign money that's available. We've seen this happen over and over again. A fair number of people have been indicted and some have gone to jail behind these kinds of schemes.

COATES: So, what's the political impact on his administration, if any?

LOUIS: Well, calls are going around. You know, the rumors are starting to fly fast and furious that people may jump in the race and try and run against him. There's really no declared Democratic candidate running against Eric Adams at this point. And indeed, his term is not up until 2025.

So, we'll see what develops. But in the short term, it is an embarrassment. It's a distraction. It's not -- it's not much more than that politically just yet until and unless somebody steps forward and says that they want to challenge the mayor. That person has not made themselves known so far.

COATES: Well, I guess they say in politics, the night is always young. Errol, so nice to see you this evening. Thanks for stopping by.

LOUIS: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Everyone, well, it's not exactly Beatlemania, okay, Ed Sullivan, but the Beatles are back. Well, kind of back, because there's a new Beatles song, and it's all thanks to artificial intelligence. We're going to play it for you right after this.




COATES: All right, tonight, the band is back together. Well, sort of. The Beatles dropping a new song more than 50 years after their final performance. Listen to this song. It's called "Now and Then."




COATES: Yes, you are hearing John Lennon's voice as well on that. The first version of it was actually originally recorded in 1978 by John Lennon. After his death, his widow, Yoko Ono, sent the tape to Paul McCartney. AI was used to mix in Lennon's vocals. It also includes guitar and vocals recorded by George Harrison in 1995, six years before his death.

Joining me now is national music writer at "USA Today," Melissa Ruggieri. Melissa, I'm so glad you're here. There are Beatles fans screaming at a black and white television for whatever reason right now.


But I love the Beatles. I'm a fan of them as well. But I don't understand quite how this is AI-enforced or infused. What is it?

MELISSA RUGGIERI, NATIONAL MUSIC WRITER, USA TODAY: It's AI-assisted, is what it is. I think Paul McCartney confused things a little bit. He gave an interview this summer where he said they were using AI to create this song. These are John's vocals that were here.

COATES: Right.

RUGGIERI: Nothing is fake. This is the same stuff that John recorded on a cassette tape in 1978 that Yoko gave to the guys, you know, in the mid-90s. But in the mid-90s, they didn't have the technology. And the tape is tinny, rusty. When Peter Jackson did the "Get Back" documentary in 2021, they have this audio technology now where they can separate the tracks. So, you've got your drums, you've got your vocals, you've got your piano.

And the AI comes in where Peter Jackson can say to the computer, that's the guitar, that's the drums. Those are the -- you know. And so, that's what they did with the song. So, they were able to separate John's voice from the piano, and then also still had the instrumentation from George Harrison from 1995.

Paul and Ringo went back in and said, okay, well, we could put some new base and new drums on this. Paul added a slide guitar solo in honor of George, actually. So, it's really the last time we're going to hear the four of them together on anything. I mean, this is the last song that was left on the demo tapes that Yoko gave to the guys. This will be it. But it is not -- I think people might be a little confused because when you hear AI, you think artificial.

COATES: It sounds -- what you described to me sounds like a remix, honestly, if I'm being honest.


COATES: You remix an album, you (INAUDIBLE) some vocals, you've almost done what others do in the industry to sample certain tracks, and then combine it yet again. But AI more broadly is being used in music in the more traditional, if you can call it that sense.

RUGGIERI: Yes, because what they're doing a lot now with AI is, you know, when they sample stuff, you want to take a little bit piece of instrumentation. It's just so much easier with the technology now to just grab that right out rather than what they used to have to do before with tapes and mixers and all that kind of stuff.

You know, there are other reasons that AI will probably be useful to producers in the studio. You know, they say that it's not going to replace anybody's jobs but it will streamline things, it will augment things. We know that sometimes that isn't always the case when technology enters the picture. But I think --

COATES: When is it bad?

RUGGIERI: It's bad for a few things. It's bad when right now there are demo singers who are out there. So, there's a songwriter. They want to send their song to a major artist. A demo singer will cut that. They will send that to the singer and the person can decide whether or not they want to use it.


With AI, they can mimic the voice, as we heard with Johnny Cash. They can mimic the voice of the singer that they're sending the song to so that person can hear exactly how they would sound if they were going to record the song.

COATES: Well, you mentioned Johnny Cash. I'm going to play it for a second because, obviously, Taylor Swift is literally ubiquitous, everywhere people. Listen to this, what she's mentioning, go ahead.



UNKNOWN (voice-over): Hello. I'm not Johnny Cash.


COATES: That's your point, right? That it's not just a demo singer. Their voice, they're using his voice.

RUGGIERI: They're using Johnny Cash's voice. And first of all, did Johnny Cash's estate approve this? I mean, that's the other problem. There's a lot of copyright issues because there's so many people on the internet. You know, TikTok is wild with all of these various remixes and remakes and taking this voice and mixing it with that voice.

And if you're going to try and release it commercially, you can't do that. There are -- you know, this is property. This is intellectual property that you can't just decide that, oh, you know.

And there was a case over the summer. There is a person, producer out there, who took "Drake" and "The Weekend," mixed them together, made a song, wanted to submit it for the Grammys. And initially, they said, okay, yeah, we think you can, but then the Grammys came out and said, no, you can't because these vocals weren't approved, this is a copyright issue, the song needs to be released commercially. This particular song was not released commercially.

So, the Grammy stipulations are now that you have to have a person who created the song, not just a computer. If you use a computer, that's fine. So, it's a lot of gray area right now, and we'll just have to see where it goes. But as far as the Beatles go, this is definitely the last that we're going to hear of the four of them. It is everything real and authentic and everything. So --

COATES: Listen, for some reason now, computer lab is stuck in my head. Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it so much.

And thank you all for watching. Our live coverage continues after a short break. So, they try to have a Grammy?