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Laura Coates Live
More Israeli Hostages Were Freed On The Fifth Day Of Israel- Hamas Truce; Cheney Blasts GOP As 'Enablers' Of Trump; Sports Illustrated Is Under Fire For Using A.I.; New Fallout For Diddy Amid Sexual Assault Lawsuits; Supreme Court Case Raising Major Questions About Government Power. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired November 28, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Will the truce between Israel and Hamas be extended? And what could that mean for the hostages that are still waiting to be freed? Tonight, in the second hour of "Laura Coates Live."
Well, Hamas has put out the list tonight of now this sixth group of hostages expected to be freed. That after 12 more were released today. They are 10 Israelis and two Thai citizens.
Now, no Americans were in that group today, even though the White House previously said that two women were expected to be freed as part of the deal that was announced between Israel and Hamas last week. There are hopes that some Americans may be released tomorrow. But we're only beginning to learn what the hostages have endured. The father of nine-year-old Emily Hand telling CNN this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS HAND, FATHER OF NINE-YEAR-OLD GIRL RELEASED BY HAMAS: The most shocking, disturbing part of the meeting was, um, she was just whispering. You couldn't hear her. I had to put my ear on her lips, like this close, and say, what did you say? "I thought you were kidnapped."
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She said, "I thought you were kidnapped."
HAND: She thought I was in captivity. They thought they'd kidnapped me. She didn't know what the hell happened apart from that morning. So, she has presumed everyone is kidnapped or killed or slaughtered. She had no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: She had no idea that her father was safe until she was back in his arms. Think about what that means. What the recovery is going to be like for a child who has experienced something that someone like Emily has. I mean, just think of the returned hostages' families. They're saying they won't rest until every hostage is home safe, safe and sound. And then what will that mean for them in the road ahead? There's the family of four-year-old Abigail Edan, for example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ NAFTALI, GREAT AUNT OF FOUR-YEAR-OLD ABIGAIL EDAN, HOSTAGE RELEASED BY HAMAS: There are still many hostages that haven't been released and are not home with their loved ones. Until they come home, every day, we want people to understand these are real lives that have been taken, abducted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: There's a family of 12-year-old Erez and 16-year-old Sahar Kalderon taken along with their father. The father is still a hostage. And their mother, she could not contain her joy that her children are free.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Their family, though, is still fighting for the rest of the hostages to come home.
ABBEY ONN, COUSINS KIDNAPPED AND RELEASED BY HAMAS: We feel truly like a part of a larger family of all the people who have hostages, and we won't rest until every single person is home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I'll talk to Abbey Onn in just a moment. Now these families are dealing with the almost unspeakable trauma that their loved ones have experienced and the trauma that they themselves have been living with. They know the pain that others are feeling still tonight because they have felt it themselves. The fear over what their loved ones, their children might be experiencing. The fear that they might never see or hold them again.
And now, even as they can finally admit to themselves what their dream of being reunited has come true, they can't rest until this feeling is shared by all, all the hostages, the fathers, the mothers, the grandparents, the children, the human beings, until they all come home.
I want to bring in Abbey Onn. Her young cousins, Erez and Sahar, they are free tonight, but that is not the end of her family's story. Abbey, thank you so much for joining us. We are so glad that two of your cousins, Erez and Sahar, they have been released and they are finally safe tonight. But how are they doing?
ONN: Thanks for having me back. I'm definitely happy to be here to share that news. They are physically okay. They didn't come home wounded. They came home skinny. They lost a lot of weight. But we think physically they're okay. We have photos of them with their mom smiling, which is the photo I've been waiting 53 days for.
And the most important thing is that they were reunited with their mother and their two siblings. And now, we continue to fight for their father. I don't think that their healing begins until we get him home and until we get every hostage home.
COATES: Such an important point. I remember when I was speaking to their mother. She would speak about her children and then say, but don't forget their father, Ofer. Don't forget him. He is still being held hostage.
COATES: And they've now learned that their grandmother, Carmela Dan, and their cousin, Noya Dan, that they were murdered. I mean, how has your family --
COATES: -- been coping after more than 50 days now since this attack? What is this feeling like to you?
ONN: I think the night that they were released, it was the first time anyone in the family truly smiled and truly laughed and there was any sort of release. I think we allowed ourselves the few hours of watching that actually happen. I don't think any of us have fully processed it, but there was screaming and laughter and joy knowing that these children were coming home.
And we said, but tomorrow we go back to fight. We go back to fight for Ofer. We go back to fight for Hersh, for Kfir, for that family, for every one of the families until every single person is home.
COATES: You know, it's striking to think about allowing oneself that moment after all of the moments of waiting and knowing still that there is so much more to do. I wonder, when you're hearing and starting to hear these stories of what hostages like your family has experienced in Hamas's custody, are your cousins, are they talking at all about what happened to them while they were held?
ONN: I'm sure they will speak in more detail. But right now, we are focusing on their health, right? They came back from the captivity right to the hospital, so we are focusing on food and physical health. We knew that they didn't eat enough. We knew that they couldn't access bathrooms when they needed to.
And so, it was more critical for us to make sure that they had the food that they wanted, that they could get yogurt with grapes and granola, that was one of the things they asked for, and we'll kind of get the next pieces in the coming days.
COATES: So important to think about and what they'd be asking for and just those moments to give them, frankly, whatever they would want, just to try to give them some semblance of normalcy. I wonder -- I mean, as a parent, how are you explaining to your own children what has happened? I mean, the cruelty that has been involved and to know that it's not in the distance. This has happened to your community, to your family, to their cousins.
ONN: Right. It's so hard because I don't, as an adult, have a good explanation. I can't explain terror or why you would want to steal someone and hold them away from their family.
We showed our older son the photo of them coming home because we wanted them to have -- him to have this concrete image. And he said, oh, my gosh, that's what this looks like, that's what Hamas looks like. And we said, yes.
And it's this moment of joy that they're coming home, but they're being held by masked terrorists with guns. And it's scary. And up until now, they haven't seen any visual. But we explain this as terror, we explain this as evil, and that we as a family don't believe in hate and that this is not an ethos that we operate on, but this is something that exists and something that we need them to be aware of because it is close to us, unfortunately.
COATES: Abbey, I mean, you almost wish you could just go back to the moment when you were telling your kids that there's no monster under the bed. And now --
COATES: Now, the reality of all of this. Abbey, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
ONN: Thanks so much for having me.
COATES: Joining me now, Congressman Jake Auchincloss. Congressman, thank you so much for joining me. Obviously, you're hearing the stories of hostages who are being returned, and yet there are so many others, including particularly men.
And we're learning from some new reporting tonight, congressman. Barak Ravid, who is a CNN foreign policy analyst, he's reporting that his sources are telling him that Israel will not, will not agree to any future deal until all of the women and children under this current deal are released. And there's only one day left of this extension. What's your reaction to that reporting tonight?
REP. JAKE AUCHINCLOSS (D-MA): Thanks for having me on, Laura. I'm not going to second-guess the Israeli cabinet's structuring of these negotiations. If this is the leverage they think they need to get the women and children home within the next 24 hours, then I support that.
And I think to myself, as you were having this conversation of the meeting I had yesterday morning with families of the hostages, they had flown from Tel Aviv to Boston, and in the time of that flight, one of them was able to show me three pictures of her family members who had been released, and it was a joyous occasion for her. And yet there was another family member with them, an orthopedic surgeon, who for the first 27 days after October 7th had thought that her sister, a 27-year-old, at the music festival had been taken hostage as well, and she had been working with the other families to secure her release.
Unfortunately, after day 27, they found out that she had, in fact, been murdered. And it had taken 27 days because her body had been mutilated by Hamas. And yet she was still there with the family. She had traveled to the United States. She was continuing to advocate for medical care for the hostages.
And it speaks to me of the strength and beauty of the Israeli spirit in the face of these atrocities, and what we in the United States owe to our close ally in terms of not just military and financial support but also moral support in rejecting these misguided calls for a ceasefire that rightfully should be directed towards Hamas, the entity that is an internationally-recognized terrorist organization that walked through the last ceasefire on October 7th to murder 1,400 civilians, and that has promised to do so again, absent any military retaliation.
So, we need to be supporting Israel not just in this round of negotiations over hostages but also in the latitude they need to resume military operations in the south.
COATES: You know, it strikes me that some of the criticism surrounding Israel is, in fact, also about the conversations about the civilians in Gaza, the Palestinians who are suffering not only under the reign of Hamas but the reign of the bombardments in response to what Hamas has done in Israel.
As an ally, obviously, the alliance is important to the Biden-Harris administration, to the government, to the United States more broadly. Is it truly misguided, though, to approach Israel with a conversation about how best to specifically target particular areas as opposed to the broader scope of civilians?
AUCHINCLOSS: It's misguided to call for a ceasefire that would be a unilateral ceasefire, that only one side would respect.
AUCHINCLOSS: That's not a ceasefire. That is handcuffing our ally in the face of a terrorist organization that has promised to take more hostages. But to your point, Laura, you're absolutely right. We should always expect our allies to uphold the law of armed conflict.
We have been in close consultation multiple times a day with their war cabinet on better surgical targeting, on humanitarian corridors between the north and the south, on allowing more delivery trucks into the Rafah Crossing from Egypt, all of which President Biden has advanced through diplomacy not just with Egypt but with Qatar and with Saudi Arabia as well.
And so, the president deserves a tremendous amount of credit for really a masterclass in statesmanship over these last 60 days and navigating a tightrope between those who are calling for a ceasefire on the left, which would really benefit Hamas, and also those on the right calling for escalation against Iran directly, which would open up new fronts in the war for Israel without advancing its security or our own.
COATES: And in between maybe the right and the left, sort of smack dab in the kind of increasing middle, are conversations about aid to Israel and just how much to provide. We know, of course, what's going on in Ukraine. We can't forget about the fact that there is an ongoing invasion and war there.
You and I have spoken about this. You yourself are a veteran. You're very wisely in tune with what's going on. On the issue of aid in particular, are you seeing a universal support for continued aid and in what form?
AUCHINCLOSS: Universal, no, but forward progress, yes. I am optimistic that within the next several weeks, we can pass the supplemental security package that the president has proposed.
That would be standing with democracies as they fight against tyranny in Ukraine, as they fight against totalitarianism in the Indo-Pacific and Chinese aggression, as they fight against terror, of course, in the Middle East with aid to Israel, and also investing in border security and making policy changes to enhance border security here in the United States.
COATES: Is that part of the condition then you're saying with the aid or is that the conversation?
AUCHINCLOSS: That -- originally, the president asked for more money for border security, and the Republicans have responded with, we want border security policy changes as well as part of this package. I support that. I think that we should make those changes in negotiation with the Republicans.
Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans are passing paper back and forth right now on that. I think an asylum change, for example, is likely. And that's a triple win. That's a win for border security, that's a win for Ukraine, that's a win for Israel, and it's really about the United States standing with our allies overseas.
COATES: Well, we'll see how this all comes out. I mean, obviously, you've got that tiered system going forward, that can that was kicked down the road with the government aversion.
But the idea of conditioning aid and having the alliance, I do wonder if it can be consistent in the end.
Congressman, thank you for joining us. Thank you so much.
AUCHINCLOSS: Have a good night.
COATES: That was Congressman Jake Auchincloss, everyone.
Now, the question, of course, while the war in the Middle East rages, let's not forget we've got a presidential election looming right here at home, and Liz Cheney is out with a scathing takedown of her own party. Wait until you hear the unbelievable thing she says that Kevin McCarthy told her about Donald Trump.
COATES: Well, tonight, we've got a CNN exclusive, the former congresswoman, Liz Cheney, on just how far she says some in her own party will go to protect the former president, Donald Trump.
The bombshell revelation is coming from her forthcoming book. It's called "Oath and Honor." And she writes in part, I'm quoting here, "Donald Trump cannot succeed alone. He depends upon enablers and collaborators. Every American should understand what his enablers in Congress and in the leadership of the Republican Party were willing to do to help Trump seize power in the months after he lost the 2020 presidential election - and what they continue to do to this day."
I want to bring in former Republican congressman Fred Upton and co- author of The Washington Post's "Early 202," Leigh Ann Caldwell. She covered Liz Cheney's time in Congress as well. Glad to have you both here.
Well, first of all, Cheney is pulling no punches, shall we just say on this. She's talking about her former colleagues. She talks about them as being shameless, to say the very least. Hypocrites who follow him when they knew that he posed a grave danger. But he's still really the head of the Republican Party, even at this moment in time. Will this make any difference?
FRED UPTON, FORMER MICHIGAN REPRESENTATIVE: I don't think it will. I look at the states, the filing deadlines, the change in the rules. I know Michigan is going to be, in essence, a winner-take-all when Rubio got a third of the votes. Kasich got a third of the delegates back in 2016. He got a third. You know, it has changed. He's got a big lead over everybody when you even put them together. So, he is by far the frontrunner and will be very hard to catch.
COATES: Well, I wonder, Leigh Ann, on that point because Trump did some pretty significant P.R. campaigning against one Liz Cheney, even going as far as to call her a rhino, trying to discredit her among the party to make people say, you shouldn't listen to her because she's not even really a Republican.
LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, CO-AUTHOR, WASHINGTON POST'S "THE EARLY 202": Uh- hmm.
COATES: You covered her time in Congress in particular. Did that lay the groundwork as to why it might not make a difference?
CALDWELL: Absolutely. He did a good job of undermining her and undermining her position within the Republican Party, saying that she is no longer a member of the Republican Party.
But it wasn't just Donald Trump either. It was Kevin McCarthy. It was other Republicans who voted to remove Liz Cheney from her position in leadership, where then after that, she became quite alienated and she was trying to continue to stand up for what she thought that the Republican Party should be, the party of the Constitution.
But what ultimately happened is she was outnumbered and people really pushed her aside because Republican voters, base Trump voters, also did not like what she was saying.
UPTON: And they took her out in her own state. Remember, they -- you know, Trump helped engineer a primary against her in her own state. You know, her dad had been a longtime member, secretary of defense, et cetera, and they took her out.
COATES: Vice president as well at one point.
UPTON: Yeah. I mean, it wasn't even close.
COATES: Well, let me tell you -- I mean, there is a striking anecdote about Kevin McCarthy in this. I'm going to share it with you. And this is, by the way, just three weeks after January 6th, when this all happened. We know he went down to Mar-a-Lago. There's that now infamous photo of the so-called kissing of the ring moment.
But here is what she said. Apparently, she said, I'm quoting here, about the excuse that he gave her when she asked him about that trip. She says -- Cheney says, "Mar-a-Lago? What the hell, Kevin?" McCarthy says, "They're really worried. Trump is not eating, so they asked me to come see him." Cheney, "What? You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump is not eating? McCarthy, "Yeah, he's really depressed."
These are actual words on paper. I'm reading apparently a quote. What do you think of it?
CALDWELL: Well, that is not what people close to Kevin McCarthy told me as to why he went down to Mar-a-Lago. I know you're going to take issue with this, but they said that what reason he went down is, of course, because there was a fundraiser close by, and so he decided to drop by, but also because he wanted to protect the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, to try to get Trump off of their back. I know --
UPTON: That's the part that I disagree with, Leigh Ann.
UPTON: I don't think that he was -- Trump, after 10 of us voted to impeach him, I don't think he would have ever softened the slap.
CALDWELL: Right, and that's just what the people close to him were telling me. But what's also really interesting, I was listening to your interview with Adam Kinzinger from last hour, and he said that to the day he dies, he will say that Kevin McCarthy resurrected Donald Trump. I agree with that. The mood on Capitol Hill in the days after January 6, people wanted nothing to do with Donald Trump. Even if they didn't vote to impeach him, Republicans were very hands-off, didn't want to talk about him, didn't want to see him again. And then Kevin McCarthy went down there and sent a very strong signal that it is okay to continue to embrace Trump. And so, Kevin McCarthy has played a very big role in Trump's resurgence.
COATES: Did he resurge him? Is he responsible for --
UPTON: Yeah. I think, you know, on reflection, I think that that's true.
But I think the two of them worked collectively together. You know, Kevin always wanted to be speaker. Trump could have stopped that from happening. You might remember the 15 ballots that they had. A couple of the folks, you know, had the phone, and Trump was calling and saying, you know, vote for Kevin. It put him over the top. But it was -- but Kevin didn't go down there to protect the 10 of us.
UPTON: He came there to do a mea culpa, I think, based on flipping that he had said to make sure that he was still in good graces with him.
COATES: I guess we'll have to wait for his book and the revisionist --
-- history that will surely come. We'll have to wait and see. Fred Upton, Leigh Ann Caldwell, thank you both so much.
Now, one of the most celebrated magazines is now under fire by some of its own staff. Why? Well, Sports Illustrated published articles under fake authors generated by A.I. A former writer for the magazine is my guest, next.
COATES: So, in today's digital dilemma, I want to introduce you to Sports Illustrated writer Drew Ortiz. Now, his bio says that he spends much of his time outdoors. He loves camping, hiking, and enjoying time at his parents' farm. All that makes him the right person to -- quote -- "guide you through his never-ending list of best products to keep you from falling to the perils of nature" -- unquote.
There's a catch, though. There is no Drew Ortiz. And that image you see of him, it's A.I.-generated. That bio entirely fake. Sorry, there is not even a farm.
And this was all uncovered by one Maggie Harrison, a staff writer at Futurism, and she joins me now. Maggie, Drew Ortiz, first of all, just reading that and thinking about how this is all fake is really pretty stunning to think about. You actually found the exact same image on -- that was used on that website, on a site that sells A.I.-generated headshots. Tell me about how you unpacked all of this.
MAGGIE HARRISON, STAFF WRITER, FUTURISM: That's a -- it was several weeks of reporting. We've been working on this for a little while now at Futurism. But, yeah, it was -- once we stumbled across the content, it wasn't terribly -- like you said, it was honestly -- it was a pretty quick -- pretty quickly traceable back to this A.I.-generated headshot website where Drew Ortiz is, in fact, listed as neutral white male, et cetera, et cetera.
It's got a pretty long description, but that's how it starts. And he, along with several other writers that we found across Sports Illustrated, it was very similar. You know, they -- these -- the content itself was very strange and hard to parse. And that's, you know, a separate part of the story.
But the writers themselves -- again, you know, these traceable photos to these generated-dot photos where you can find faces, which, you know, humans don't do. And then these bios that were, you know, really specific in some regards, especially pertaining to an individual's expertise. Like you said, you know, Drew Ortiz grew up in a farm, inspired by nature, he's good at selling camping equipment and fishing tools. And the writers all had a very similar -- you know.
This is what their -- this is expertise. This is what they're good at. But then they've never had, you know, a real publishing history or, you know, a really firm educational background. So, very clearly, you know, orchestrated and set up to sell specific objects to consumers.
COATES: You know, I'm really curious, not just about -- I mean -- and first of all, the fact that there are these headshots and I'm still stuck on the neutral white male, I have all sorts of queries now on what all the images will look like for other matters as well.
But I'm really concerned, too. You're talking about not just the fake bio. How about the content of these articles as well? Was this all some ploy essentially to give some level of credibility where otherwise it would not have been some?
HARRISON: That's what we've -- I don't really see any other reason to use, you know, such specific bios to sell, you know, the products that were being sold. It doesn't -- you know, the arena group, which Sports Illustrated has since come out with a statement saying we were, you know, the company, the third-party provider that we bought this content from, they were using pen names to protect the identities of the writers.
But it's still -- you know, we stand by our reporting fully, but it does seem like these people -- quote unquote -- "people" were fabricated as a means to intentionally mislead and say this is a real person who has -- there was no denotation of A.I. use in any capacity, whether it was the content itself being A.I.-generated with sources close to, you know, the creation of the content, with direct involvement with the creation of the content. They have confirmed to us that there was A.I. used in the process. And there doesn't really seem to be any other reason to use these --
COATES: Wow --
HARRISON: -- fake A.I. profiles in any capacity other than to, you know, yeah, get more in the message of the content and say, this is a person with a specific expertise and this is why they'd be good at selling you this product.
COATES: Wow. Maggie Harrison, such attention to detail. I'm so glad you were able to uncover this as part of your reporting. Thank you so much.
You know, I want to bring in --
HARRISON: Thank you for having me.
COATES: Thank you. I want to bring in Rick Reilly. He is a former Sports Illustrated writer who worked there for 23 years. Rick, you just heard Maggie's reporting, and I'm wondering what your reaction is to thinking about all of it. You're hugging yourself right now. Does it diminish everything?
Is it a hug? Are you shocked? What's going on?
RICK REILLY, FORMER WRITER AT SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: I'm checking to see if I'm real.
I'm checking to see if I'm real because I've been called a neutral white male before, and it's not very pleasing, you know.
But I think I'm real. I was there 23 years. First of all, Maggie, great job. Excellent reporting to ferret this out. Can you imagine what I think is probably the greatest American magazine in history? A magazine that I dreamed of joining.
Every sports writer wanted in the old days to be at SI because it was the best variety, the most amazing photography. I can remember being in college in my dorm and guys, like, callers, Reilly, Sports Illustrated is on the phone. I run to the phone, like, is this really Sports Illustrated? They're like, yeah, is this Rick Reilly? I'm like, yeah, this is my big break. They go -- you know, for only $3 a month, you can enjoy. I'm like, ah, it was just such a crusher.
(LAUGHTER) But I worked my way up and I got there, and I just can't tell you what it meant to be at Sports Illustrated with Dan Jenkins, Jim Murray, Gary Smith, Frank Deford. It was just like a dream for me with the best writers. And the main thing they wanted is great writing and the truth. And it was just such a pleasure.
It's not A.I. It's not robots. It's SI. And the idea that they could hire fake people and come up with fake bios, and then put them out and not say, this is A.I.-generated contact, this is AI-generated stuff, they tried to pass them off as real people. And that poor Drew Ortiz, how are they going to take that back on the fake farm? It's going to be horrible.
COATES: I mean --
I mean, you think about it.
REILLY: You know.
COATES: I wonder how they did think they were going to -- well, how long? Maybe they did they get away with it. Do they think they would go unnoticed? Was it a trial run to just kind of see? I mean, a lot of the writing, by the way, that was highlighted in the piece, are lists on things to buy, not necessarily maybe a summation of what happened. But does that make a difference to you if they use A.I.-generated content for that as opposed to something else, or is it never okay here?
REILLY: Yes, I should never be clickbait. Can I just give you some examples of Drew Ortiz's fabulous writing that recalls George Plimpton and William Faulkner, all of whom who wrote for Sports Illustrated? He wrote this one piece, like, now, if you're going to buy a volleyball, it's going to come with no air in it, so be sure to inflate it. Ah, hadn't thought of that.
And then he goes, if you're going to play volleyball, the robot that is, if you're going to play volleyball, you kind of need to -- he goes, you're going to have to have a ball. It's essential to practice with. Like really?
I mean, this is -- this used to be the bastion of the greatest writing and photography in history. And now, it's -- you know. In fact, I'm kind of giddy because, thanks to Maggie and a lot of people now, they realize that good writing is something A.I. can't do. It can write legal briefs. It can tell you who to draft in your fantasy team.
But to try to -- to try to explain why Tiger Woods practiced eight hours a day since the time he was three or to try to tell someone how a woman turns a perfect double somersault with a broken ankle, that only can be done with real, nuanced, great writing and great reporting. And shame on SI for what they've become. COATES: I wonder if they can course correct now. Maybe there'll be a phone call in your future and have some redemption from that college dorm room experience, Rick Reilly. Is that you, Rick Reilly? Is it really you?
REILLY: No, it'll be a robocall. I know it will be.
COATES: Well, that's a shame. Rick Reilly, tonight, you are real. Thank you so much.
REILLY: Thank you.
COATES: Well, ahead, there is more trouble down the line for Diddy. After a wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, now he is stepping down from the TV network that he co-founded. The latest on the fallout is next.
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(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: More fallout for Sean 'Diddy' Combs in the wake of lawsuits alleging sexual assault and other deeply troubling behavior. The media network Revolt announcing in an Instagram post that Combs is stepping down as chairman. The company saying -- quote -- "This decision helps to ensure that Revolt remains steadfastly focused on our mission to create meaningful content for the culture and amplify the voices of all Black people throughout the country and the African diaspora."
Diddy did settle at least one of the lawsuits against him, but his lawyer still says that settlement was in no way an admission of wrongdoing, stating, Mr. Combs's decision to settle the lawsuit does not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claims.
Joining me now to discuss is Segun Oduolowu, host of Boston Globe Today. Segun, thank you for coming tonight. I want to first start in talking about these allegations because, as you know, what started it all was the one that was initiated by Cassie, a long-time girlfriend, a long-time romantic partner, and also a musician in her own right and singer. The allegations that came out were startling. They have settled it. But now, there are two others. What do you make of these allegations?
SEGUN ODUOLOWU, HOST, BOSTON GLOBE TODAY: Well, Laura, first, thank you for having me. And the allegations with Cassie and the other women, and I remember the last time I was on, I wanted to change the language a bit. And let's use report. Allegation and alleged seems kind of wishy washy. I want to say report. And what has been reported about Diddy is different with Cassie. She has a 10-year bank of receipts about how this man operates, which is very different than these other allegations that are coming out.
I think settling with Cassie was inevitable, right? Because she saw the man behind the curtain. Whoever Sean Combs is, she knew him, right? Diddy and Puffy and Puff Daddy and all those different personas. She saw the real man. And settling with her, I think, will be a different -- it was a different case and will be a different situation than what's happening here where these don't have that type of receipt. I think he had to do this.
I'm surprised that it even got this far because she was with him for a decade, because she had all of this information, because they were so wild, so inflammatory, so salacious that I -- if you're -- if you're Sean Combs, you would never want any of that to ever see the light of day. That it went on this long, I felt, was just bad representation by his people. It never should have gotten this far. We should never have been hearing about it.
COATES: Well, you know, it's interesting because his attorneys, I think, were likely working behind the scenes to stop that from happening over some point in time. But you know that there will be people who will say, hold on, every time somebody makes a report, as you're saying, or an allegation, as lawyers will speak about it, that the settlement is a foregone conclusion. What will that say to people who might be incentivized if they do not have truthful reports to make?
Let me ask you this, Segun. He has stepped down, as you know, from Revolt. Do you think that he should have stepped down?
ODUOLOWU: Yes, that was an inevitability, too. I know some of the people that are at Revolt. They are fantastic in what they're trying to do with journalistic integrity and amplifying the voices of Black people. And to have him looming large with the reports that have been leveled against him was hindering their ability to do that. You saw that a podcaster stepped down --
ODUOLOWU: -- from Revolt. She might have been the tip of the iceberg of more to follow where if you are a woman working at this organization, can you speak freely if the chairman has been accused of abuse towards women? And so, by him stepping away, it shows that Revolt will go on and that Revolt is bigger, and the idea behind it, the goal behind it, the mandate behind it is bigger than just one person.
So, I understand that fully. I think he had to. I think it's good for Revolt that he does and it allows advertisers and their financial books to be in order where they have separated themselves from him and it can be all about the work and the news and the stories that they're trying to tell and the culture that they share and uplift with their work every day.
COATES: You know, Segun, I do wonder why we haven't heard from more of his industry peers coming out in support of him or being very vocal. There's something about it. I don't know if it's the -- you know, silence speaks volumes or it's a matter of a post or even in the midst of, in many respects, a "Me Too" culture discussion and a 10-foot pole distancing. I guess we might not never know at this point in time.
COATES: Segun, nice to talk to you.
ODUOLOWU: No, no -- wait, Laura, really quick.
ODUOLOWU: Their silence speaks loudly. That's what's -- that's the reason because those peers of his that aren't jumping to his defense, that tells us really a lot about what's going on because they know where the bodies are buried. They don't want any light being shunned on them. And the fact that they're not saying, hey, that's not the Sean 'Diddy' Combs that I know, lets us know in the public that there's more out there and that settlements are sure to come.
COATES: Well, we will see. Again, his lawyer saying that his choice to settle did not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claim. Segun, the lawyers have spoken. We'll see who has the last statement, though. Nice to talk to you.
Up next, a major case about to go before the Supreme Court. I want you to hear about it because it could have huge implications for the power of the government and potentially pave that path of retribution that Donald Trump has been speaking about in the campaign trail.
COATES: Well, democracy is only as good as the institutions and, of course, the people that comprise it. And tomorrow, the Supreme Court is hearing a case that could have such huge implications for how our system of government works.
Here is a sampling of some of the headlines and opinion pieces you're going see about it. The case that could destroy the government. A Supreme Court case about stocks could help make Trump's authoritarian dreams a reality. And yes, I said a case about stocks and, obviously, you're thinking, why on earth? Is that what we're talking about tonight?
Well, it goes deeper. This case really is about who can control who is actually able to be hired and fired by the head of the executive branch. This might sound familiar to you because of a thing called the unitary executive theory.
Now, what that really means is essentially the person who is the head of the executive branch of government should get to say, under that particular theory, that anyone under that umbrella of the executive branch of government should be able to be, under the purview, under the thumb, hired and fired by the person who heads it.
It promotes the idea that the president should have full control over the executive branch, and the president could theoretically then get rid of federal employees at will.
Now, why does that matter? Well, because you may have heard one of former President Trump's top grievances. It's his claim that the federal bureaucracy is stacked against him, this whole weaponized government aspect. And he wants to gut it. And that might mean that, well, as he puts it abundantly clear, he might just address what he calls this deep state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to find the deep state actors who have burrowed into government, fire them and escort them from federal buildings and it'll go very quickly.
I will totally obliterate the deep state. I will fire the unelected bureaucrats who have weaponized our justice system.
You'll see that on the first day of my presidency, the deep state, which is destroying our nation, the tables will turn, and we will destroy the deep state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Now, remember that phrase and then think about the unitary executive theory. It'll be before the Supreme Court. And as an old saying goes by one Maya Angelou, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. And that's what Liz Cheney gets to talk about in her new book, writing, "Trump has told us, that in a second Trump presidency, he would seek retribution."
Now, if this case goes Trump's way, could he actually make good on those promises with the civil service and maybe gut it or fill it with loyalists? Left with some legal experts are warning. And frankly, with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court who has even taken up this case, we just might finally find out the answer.
I want to thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.