Return to Transcripts main page

Laura Coates Live

Biden To Donors: "If Trump Wasn't Running, I'm Not Sure I'd Be Running"; Rep. Jayapal Now Condemns Sexual Violence By Hamas; Liz Cheney Explores Helping To Begin A New Party; FBI Director Wray: "I See Blinking Lights Everywhere I Turn"; VA Homes Explodes As Police Serve Search Warrant; A Family Seeks Answers; Marvel Actor Jonathan Majors Faces Trial. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 05, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: So, President Biden says the quiet part out loud: What now? Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

So, it all went down behind closed doors, surrounded by people who want him to win the most. President Joe Biden making an admission of sorts, saying -- quote -- "If Trump wasn't running, I'm not sure I'd be running." Now, look, we all remember that he entered the race over what happened in Charlottesville, right? Talking about battling for the soul of the nation. It was obvious to everyone then that Trump was the catalyst.

But tonight's statements are feeling a little bit different for some reason. Maybe because he was in a room full of donors. Maybe because his campaign has wanted to focus on health care this week and his desire to have another four years to finish the job he started.

And the question people are asking tonight when you already have the polling, by the way, that shows that people might not be too thrilled with a rematch between the two of them, is it a lack of enthusiasm on his part or is it just recognizing on his part that Trump represents an ongoing threat to our democracy, which he has alluded to a number of times?

Now, in 300 and about 35 days, but who's counting, voters are going to let him know. Well, tonight, they've done a little bit of damage control ever since that quote sneaked out. A little while ago, he was pressed if he would be still running for president if Trump wasn't running for president, to which he said this.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Would you be running for president if Trump wasn't running?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I expect so. But look, he is running and I have to run.


COATES: Okay. Well, there might have been some conversations, I bet, on Air Force One, because people running his campaign, well, how did they respond when they heard what he said with a big old "yikes?" That's a quote, apparently.

Look, we know the president has been looking at this election as a kind of existential battle for American democracy. It's a message we've heard from him -- we've heard from him before.


BIDEN: Democracy is at stake and let there be no question. Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to spread anger, hate, and division. They seek power at all costs. They're determined to destroy this democracy. I cannot watch that happen nor can you.

This is the United States of America. In the United States Congress, extreme MAGA Republicans are trying to undo virtually every bit of progress we've made.


COATES: Well, that was all from this year. How about the argument he made when running back in 2020, too? Similar. Right? But the fact is the then candidate, who reportedly signaled to aides that he'd be a -- well, a one-term president, we know that's no longer the case. Remember back when a prominent advisor told "Politico" at the time -- quote -- "If Biden is elected, he's going to be 82 years old in four years, and he won't be running for reelection." Hope he didn't play the lottery on that crystal ball.

Well, Biden himself even said this out loud. There's that phrase again during the campaign in March of 2020.


BIDEN: Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else. There's an entire generation of leaders you saw standing behind me. They are the future of this country.


COATES: Well, we've come to that bridge and he's crossing it all the way into the election of 2024. Now, he did beat Donald Trump once. But is he the only one who can do it again?


BIDEN: I think we have enormous opportunities, and I think I just want to finish the job.

We've made a lot of progress so far, but we got to finish the job.

Folks, we have to keep going and finish the job.


COATES: Joining me now, CNN anchor and chief political correspondent Dana Bash. Dana, it's so great to see you tonight. Man, there is so much happening. I'm so glad that you were able to pick your brain in this moment.

I mean, look, we all know the point that he's making, right? We know what he's trying to say. But how is that supposed to energize voters when you hear the president of the United States saying, you know what, if he weren't in the race, I probably wouldn't be here. Obviously, I'm paraphrasing, but what does this mean?


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It means another day, two days, many days of headlines that Joe Biden and his campaign did not want. They were feeling pretty good about the fact that Donald Trump gave them a gift in saying that he was going to run on taking Obamacare away and other issues like -- I don't know, democracy. And this was a gaffe. I mean, it just was.

Joe Biden, ever since -- and this has nothing to do with age, Laura. I covered him when he was way younger in the Senate, and this was -- this is classic Joe Biden. He also does tend to be a lot more candid when he is at these fundraisers, they're private fundraisers, even though they are open to the press.

And, you know, I was thinking about this. Do you remember when he first ran back in 2020?


BASH: His whole thing was, I'm coming out of retirement because of Donald Trump. I'm coming out of retirement because of Charlottesville. And so, my sense is that --

COATES: A battle for the soul of the nation.

BASH: Exactly, and the people coming out of the woods with talking about the replacement theory and all of that. And so, my sense is that he thought he was just kind of building on that, but it certainly didn't come out that way. And that's not me saying that. I mean, just basic reporting that I've done even since those words were uttered by the president.

There's a lot. If you can somehow get a sense of cringe through a text message, that's what's happening, and I'm sure you understand what I mean. Even more than cringe. They're worried. They're worried.

COATES: Your interview with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, I'm sure you know this, Dana, it has gone absolutely viral. I want to play a part of it just to jog your memory, as you well know. Listen.


BASH: Have you talked about it since October 7th? REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Oh, absolutely. And I've condemned what Hamas has done. I've condemned --

BASH: Specifically --

JAYAPAL: -- all of the actions. Absolutely. The rape, the -- of course. But I think we have to remember that Israel is a democracy. That is why they are a strong ally of ours. And if they do not comply with international humanitarian law, they are bringing themselves to a place that makes it much more difficult strategically for them --

BASH: Yeah.

JAYAPAL: -- to be able to build the kinds of allies, to keep public opinion with them.

BASH: With respect, I was just asking about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I'm asking you about Hamas. In fact --

JAYAPAL: I already answered your question, Dana. I said it's horrific.


COATES: Well, now, she is having to backtrack, saying tonight -- quote -- "that she unequivocally condemns Hamas's use of rape and sexual violence as an act of war" -- unquote. What does this say about, why now, she's saying? Was she under pressure to say this? Is that what has happened?

BASH: Yes.


I mean, in a word, yes. That word that you just used from the statement that she released earlier this evening, unequivocally, that is the word that many of her colleagues, I would even say most of her colleagues, were hoping that she would say.

And you can kind of tell in the interview -- I wasn't sure -- I wasn't expecting her answer to say "yes" to condemn the brutal -- this is what we were talking about, the brutal, barbaric rape, mass rape of women on October 7th, Israeli women, and then to sort of turn it back to Israel.

But I think what it does underscore, Laura, is something that I know you've been reporting on, I've been reporting on. I've been reporting on it since before October 7th, but it has exploded since October 7th, which is a growing hostility towards Israel by progressives who genuinely understand and believe in Palestinian rights. That has been going on for a long time.

There are some in her own caucus who will not condemn Hamas, who will go off on tangents and say that Israel is engaging in genocide. She is not one of them. She has very, very clearly condemned Hamas, has called it a terror attack, and has also spoken out very forcefully against antisemitism. So, as the caucus chair, she has been trying to walk a line, but I think the situation that she is in speaks to the larger churn that is going on inside the progressive movement about this issue.

COATES: It's such an important topic.


We heard, obviously, Senator Chuck Schumer to that effect just last week on the floor of the --

BASH: Yes.

COATES: -- Senate talking about all that is taking place. Well, in diplomacy these days, we know the word, but is particularly fraught. Thank you so much, Dana. It's always a pleasure to pick your brain and gain all of your insight. Thank you so much.

BASH: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Well, now, I want to bring in CNN political commentator Ashley Allison and former Republican congressman Charlie Dent. I'm glad that both of you are here. I first want to play again for a moment, what Biden had to say. He is walking back his comment earlier of, look, I probably wouldn't be running if Donald Trump were not running. I'm paraphrasing, of course. Listen to what he said in a little bit of damage control. Listen.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Would you be running for president if Trump wasn't running?

BIDEN: I expect so. But look, he is running and I have to run.


COATES: Okay. So, you know we like to analyze and overanalyze words in Washington, D.C. and beyond. Are people being too critical of what he said and how he said it or was that the interpretation that many might hear that, I think I got to do it? What do you think?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a couple of months ago when he was deciding whether or not he was going to run for reelection, he said that he was going to weigh a couple of options and who was running, meaning Donald Trump, was going to be one of those things he considered. And so, I think he is reiterating it.

Is it something that needs to be said right now? Probably not. It's not the best -- I mean, it's not the best thing to say right now because the reason why I want people running for president is because they think they are the best one for the job. But I also think Joe Biden does think he is the best person from the job.

Right now, the Democratic Party is endorsing him because no one is -- well, some people are running against him, but they aren't really holding a primary tip for anyone to challenge him.

So, I'm not surprised that that's how he feels, I'm running because Donald Trump is running, because the first time he ran, that was the same thing he said, I have to protect the soul of this nation and we have to stop Donald Trump, and he thought he was the best person to do it. Guess what? He did it.

COATES: In fact, one person you mentioned, somebody who also is running, of course, is Congressman Dean Phillips from my own home state of Minnesota. He is slamming the initial comments. He called it downright delusional, then pointed to Biden's pretty low approval ratings.

When you heard the comments, did you interpret it in the same way that people are looking at right now as he was saying, look, I have to do it, or was it a continuation of, look, I'm the person who can actually beat him because I have, and so I've got to run?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I thought it was a very inartful and not an elegant comment. I mean, if you're asked why you're running for president, it's because I've been a great president, I have a terrific agenda, and I've got more to do for the next four years. Oh, and by the way, my opponent is a menace and a threat to the constitutional order. That's why I'm running, instead of just saying, well, I got to run because he's running.

I thought it was -- you know, I think maybe we are overanalyzing it, but he should have an answer as to why he's running for president better than what he gave. I think Phillips is right to smack him on it.

COATES: I mean, he was talking to donors. So, obviously, he was in a room for people who wanted to see him win and maybe hand over their checkbooks. At the same token, though, it's unfair to say that he is the only one who thinks this way. Right?

You've heard from people like Senator Joe Manchin, who's talking about whether he'll run as a third party or otherwise, or a no party, because he doesn't want to take away votes from Biden in favor of Trump or be that so-called spoiler.

You've heard others have these conversations. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the former congresswoman, has talked about her contemplation of what is ahead. And in fact, she talked to Anderson Cooper earlier tonight. She said that she is considering not necessarily a third party run, but that she'll do all that she can to prevent Trump from getting that victory.

When you look at the landscape of all this, obviously, he's the Republican frontrunner among those left in the race. Everyone is considering Donald Trump right now. Right?

ALLISON: Yeah. I mean, when you look at who is even in your party right now running for the nominee, Chris Christie, he said he's running because we have to stop Donald Trump.

COATES: Right.

ALLISON: Whoa. Some of the people who also said that aren't even in the race anymore because they didn't do so well like Asa Hutchinson. And the other folks that are still here, they haven't condemned Trump as much as they perhaps should. But people are thinking of Donald Trump. People do presume he's going to be the Republican nominee.

I will say, I still think that there could be a primary caucus surprise like what happens a lot of times and it does get drugged out until Tuesday or a Super Tuesday. But I do think people are looking at Donald Trump. All eyes are on. Is this going to be a Trump-Biden rematch?

COATES: Well, I want to ask you, Charlie, because, you know, congresswoman -- former congresswoman -- I keep saying congresswoman -- former congresswoman, Liz Cheney, is contemplating that third party run under a traditional republican value.

She's being very clear about a disconnect between what Trump espouses and making a new party, not necessarily a third party, but a new party of sorts that would go back to maybe, you know, your father's Republican Party, maybe your own Republican Party, frankly.

Would you support that, and would she have other support among Republicans?

DENT: I think Liz Cheney is right to talk about an independent movement.


Some might call it a third-party movement that could unite center left to center right of the country because I think both the -- I think the center of the country has been largely ignored in this country. The extremes are being catered to by the parties. And so, I think Liz is right.

And no Labels is setting her up nicely, actually. No Labels is trying to secure ballot access in all 50 states for some type of a fusion ticket. And I think that Liz Cheney might fit the bill for that at some point.

COATES: A fusion who's on it with her.

DENT: A Republican or a Democrat. But we could -- you know, we could talk. It could be a Larry Hogan or Chris Sununu or Liz Cheney and a Joe Manchin or -- who knows? But I'm not sure who the Democrat might be, but I think there'll be plenty who'd be willing to jump into this because I think a lot of people in the center of the country and certainly a lot of Republicans like me want to be able to vote for somebody other than Donald Trump.

I didn't vote for him in '16 or '20. I voted for Biden in 2020. But we want to be able to vote for somebody. And Biden -- two-thirds of the country thinks, you know, one candidate, Joe Biden, is too old, and the other, Donald Trump, is too crazy. What part of that message aren't the party is hearing?

COATES: What's that saying? Jokers to the left of you, something to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you. I mean, there you go. Who knows what actually happens?

Ashley, Charlie, both thank you so much.

Look, the director of the FBI says that he is blinking red warning lights every single place he turns. Next, we'll talk about what is scaring the director of the FBI. And also, he says the threats are greater than ever before.




CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We're working around the clock to identify and disrupt potential attacks by those inspired by Hamas's horrific terrorist attacks in Israel. I've never seen a time where all the threats or so many of the threats are all elevated all at exactly the same time.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Would you say that there's multiple blinking red lights out there?

WRAY: I see blinking lights everywhere I turn.


COATES: FBI Director Christopher Wray waving a huge red flag about the threats of attacks on the homeland, saying the threats to the U.S. have reached unprecedented levels since October 7th.

Let's talk about it now with Donell Harvin, former chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence for the District of Columbia, and Jamil Jaffer, former associate White House counsel to President George W. Bush, handling intelligence community matters.

First of all, I don't feel very comfortable hearing the FBI director having unprecedented or novel moments that he has never seen before. Not a very ringing endorsement of our collective safety. Why is this happening now, particularly post October 7th, here in the United States?

DONELL HARVIN, FORMER CHIEF OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: He's clearly harkening back to George Tenet, who actually testified to the 9/11 Commission about the system blinking red. And so, he's really honing in on two types of threats.

The first is the international threat from foreign terrorist organizations or FTOs that have sworn attacks against the U.S. and are trying to inspire people within the U.S., which is the second one, so a domestic threat coming from people who are inspired by the events that are going on in Israel, Hamas's mis and disinformation that are online.

And so, when you look at the threat picture, it's rare that you have threats coming from overseas as well as from the homeland simultaneously.

COATES: Well, if he's seeing blinking red lights everywhere, sadly, there are not agents everywhere, nor is there the collective workforce power to handle everything, and so, that might be a national security huge threat.

JAMIL JAFFER, FORMER ASSOCIATE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO GEORGE W. BUSH, FOUNDER: Yeah. Well, I mean, look, Donell is exactly right. I mean, there are threats from the outside. It's not just the Israel-Hamas war. Right? The world is essentially on fire. We've got a war in the heart of Europe as well. We've got threats in the Pacific from China and the like. And on December 31st, we're about to lose our most critical intelligence collection tool, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

If Congress doesn't act in the next three weeks, we're going to lose our best ability to collect on these very terrorists, these very foreign threats. That's going to be a disaster. So, if the system is blinking red and this tool goes away, I mean, red is even close to the color we're going to face with potential threats at home.

COATES: How is the tool being used right now?

JAFFER: So, what we do is under Section 702, we collect against foreign intelligence targets overseas. It can't be used to collect against Americans. Only overseas threats and only non-Americans located overseas.

COATES: What about social media? That's obviously not going to be -- is that developed in that whole conversation?

JAFFER: Open source isn't the use for this. You can click open source just, you know, out there on the internet. Anybody can go out there and read it. This is for the emails, the phone calls of terrorists, spies, foreign government officials and the like.

COATES: Well, speaking of social media, of course, a lot of the information that's coming in that can either radicalize people or further divide people and foster a lot of the disinformation and outright lies with an eye towards propaganda is happening online. When you look at that and see how it is flourishing, how public sentiment is based on it in so many ways, what concerns you?

HARVIN: You know, the world is upside down. Right? Like I woke up two weeks ago and I saw that bin Laden was right and bin Laden letters were trending. And I didn't know what world I was in.

And so, when you can radicalize normal Americans, especially our youth, to take to the streets, we have American children, you know, youth dressing up like terrorists, waving the Hamas flags in the streets of our cities, on the campuses, you know, you have a problem. It all stems from the internet. It's unregulated. It penetrates this misinformation and hate.


It penetrates deep into the social media networks. And it's almost impossible to bring these people back from the brink. What we don't know is if anyone is going to act on it. And that's key, right? And so, it's key to the FISA as far as people may be communicating with foreign terrorist organizations.

We saw this in the mid-2010s with ISIS communicating actively with U.S. persons here on our soil as well as, you know, looking at what people are doing on social media and seeing if they're radicalizing and mobilizing to violence.

COATES: You know, one has -- I always quote this all the time. "Minority Report," that Tom Cruise movie about the pre-cogs deciding whether you've actually committed the crime or not, and can they act on your thought that you might do something? We don't want that to happen in this country, obviously.

But this idea of what might happen is the real conundrum for law enforcement, when you've got all the different threats that are posed, if there are some existing, and then figuring out which to identify, and then thinking about, well, at some point, is there going to be a deeper conversation about surveilling American citizens as a result?

JAFFER: Well, it's exactly right. I mean, look, on this point about what's happening online, a lot of this is happening on TikTok, a Chinese-owned and operated platform. It's no coincidence that this kind of radicalization, this Osama bin Laden letter thing that all these American kids started getting into, happened on a Chinese-built platform. The algorithm encouraged that.

But beyond that, on this question about surveilling Americans, you're exactly right. That's why Section 702 in this law actually protects Americans overseas and in the United States against being surveilled by the government under that authority.

If you want to surveil an American anywhere in the world, you have to go to a court and get a court order, whether that's from a judge on the FISA court, and by the way, those are regular district judges who just serve on that court, or you have to go to a federal court, a federal judge, and get a warrant like you would in the criminal proceeding.

So, the only thing this tool can be used for is for surveilling foreigners located overseas when they're engaged in terrorist activities, intelligence activities or the like.

Now, it's true that you might get communication with Americans, right? But that's exactly when you want to know. When these terrorists are talking to Americans or spies are talking to Americans, that's when you want to know. And then if you want to collect on them, got to go get a court order.

COATES: Sounds like the volume of the possibilities might be ripe for a system to perhaps be abused or be the gift or the curse. Who knows what will end up? Thank you for both of you for coming here tonight. I appreciate it. Donell and Jamil, thank you so much.

Up next, the horrifying moment of a deadly house explosion just outside of Washington, D.C. You've probably seen this video. We're learning new details about gunfire from the man barricaded inside as police were executing a search warrant.



COATES: Well, there was a tragic end to a police standoff Monday night when suddenly, this --



UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh!

COATES: This stunning video shows a home exploding into flames when officers were trying to execute a search warrant. The suspect, 56- year-old James Yu, was barricaded inside his home when the blast occurred and is presumed dead.


Now, if you have a lot of questions and you've certainly seen this footage, so do we.

Joining me now, CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller. John, I saw this. It's really -- I'm not going to spoil it for people, but there's also a similar movie scene about this very thing happening, but it was all booby trap and all these things happening. The magnitude of this explosion in real life, not Hollywood, is shocking. So, what caused it, and do we know if that was intentional?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, it's still under investigation, and that's being carried on by the Arlington County Police Department, the ATF and the FBI. But ATF arson experts have been going through that house. They're taking chemical tests.

But here's the operating theory, Laura. James Yu brought police there because he had fired about 50 projectiles, probably flares, in the direction of neighbors' homes.

When police got there, they say they were fired on again, so they backed out, and they came back with a BearCat. That's that armored vehicle you see approaching the house just before it explodes. They were talking on the loudspeaker asking him to come out unarmed, and they were going to take him into custody. That's when the house explodes. What they think happened, before they did their arrest warrant and tried to get him out, they cut off the gas line to the house. But by then, they believe, you had filled the house with natural gas by opening all the gas lines inside in the kitchen so that it was permeated, then they believe he may have fired an additional flare inside to cause that spontaneous combustion.

But I've seen a lot of gas explosions. I've talked to people on the scene. They think there's something else here. Perhaps additional propane tanks or some kind of accelerant because they said after the gas explosion, the amount of fire, the fact that the flames kept on going, signals to them that he had somehow, as you suggested, rigged the house, booby-trapped it with something more than just the gas.

COATES: So, John, who is this guy? What do we know about him? Is he known to federal authorities?

MILLER: He is. It's really interesting, Laura, because he's totally unknown to the people on his block. The man at 844 Burlington Street in Arlington was never seen by neighbors. They didn't even really know if somebody really lived there. But to federal authorities, to the court system, to attorneys, he was a prolific filer of lawsuits with outlandish claims and paranoid delusions.

Paranoia seemed to be the driver here. He felt that the neighbors were spying on him, that the neighbors' children were spying on him, that his ideas and businesses had been stolen, that people were following him, that the FBI had mics in his house.


It was deep.

COATES: I mean, deep to say the least, and the idea that -- I mean, there were no -- he obviously, they believed, to have been killed in that explosion. But the officers -- I think it was an attached duplex. None of that was harmed significantly. There was no other loss of life. It's really unbelievable. This story, I bet, is going to peel away some additional layers, John. Thank you.

MILLER: It's a miracle that more people weren't injured.

COATES: Now, it's a mystery, and we'll be on it. John Miller, thank you so much.

MILLER: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: There are now more questions in Jackson, Mississippi after another man was found to be buried by authorities without his family's knowledge. Marrio Moore's story is next.


COATES: A second Jackson, Mississippi man buried by authorities without his family's knowledge. A family now searching for answers. Marrio Moore was killed in Jackson by an unknown assailant in February. He was found (ph) along the street and buried in a pauper's field.


The coroner's report said the phone number to reach his next of kin, his brother, was not working and no one claimed his remains. His family did not find out that Marrio had even died until October 9th, only learning about it through a local news investigation that uncovered how the local police never shared the names of over 20 homicide victims with the public.

Now, this all comes shortly after we learned about a man named Dexter Wade, who was hit and killed by an off-duty police officer and also buried without his family's knowledge. But even now, families are saying they're not getting any answers.

I want to bring in Marrio Moore's mother, Mary Glenn, and his sister Mercedes Onuchukwu, as well as their attorney, Ben Crump. Thank you all for being here this evening.

It is so devastating to hear this news. Mary, can I please begin with you, his mother. I am just so sorry to hear what happened to your son. Can you just tell us how you felt when you found out just in October, that not only he had passed away, but that he was buried some eight months after he was first found?

MARY GLENN, MOTHER OF MARRIO MOORE: I feel so hurt, confused, because there were answers -- questions that I had no answers about. They tell me somebody said this, they said that, but nobody is telling me answers. All that I know is that my son has been buried in a pauper's grave.

COATES: Mercedes, just hearing your mother describe what has happened to your brother and the feelings behind it, I mean, he was somebody who was continually on the move, we understand. He had struggled with some substance abuse. But what was your relationship like with him? Why was there so much time between knowing where he was and then these devastating revelations?

MERCEDES ONUCHUKWU, SISTER OF MARRIO MOORE: We feel there was so much time because that's Marrio's norm. That's what he normally does. We were raised in a very strict Christian home. So, because he did struggle with some things, he was more so ashamed. And he knew if he came around, we would tell him, what you're doing is not what you should be doing. And he kept his distance for that reason.

But we always saw him on holidays. He always came around. He always came to my mom's house. So, to us, he wasn't missing. To us, he was basically being Marrio. He was keeping his distance because of the things he struggled with. But we knew, holiday time, Marrio is coming. You know, we're going see him.

So, it's very -- it's very heartbreaking to know what happened to my brother. Not only that he has been buried, but my mother hasn't even gotten any answers.

COATES: I mean, what you've described has been the experience of so many families who are struggling with something very similar, except for what you are specifically going through, Mary, and that is many have the chance to either say goodbye or to at least know where their loved ones' remains are for a proper burial. Do you know where your son's remains are right now?

GLENN: I have been told that he's in pauper's field buried.

COATES: But Ben, I want to bring you in here, Benjamin Crump. There are so many questions and concerns and unanswered questions for this family, knowing that he's in this field, the exact location, not particularly known as well, not known for months where he is.

By the way, when asked for comment, and I do want to read this, by CNN, the Jackson Police Department and the coroner's office sent CNN copies of their reports. The Jackson Mayor's Office declined to comment.

What are you asking for from authorities? Because many people have this question. What should have happened here and why wasn't it done correctly?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, Laura, as Ms. Mary, his mother, told me in an attorney suite earlier, the first captain (ph) came out after the news media said that your son is buried behind the jail.


They said that, well, he didn't have any identification. Then the detective came the next day and said, no, well, he has identification. That's how we knew that he was who he was.

And so, it begs the question, Laura Coates, why can't they just go notify these Black families when they put them in a bag and drop them in the ground?

We are seeking the Department of Justice to open up an investigation to identify every 672 of those human beings that have been buried behind that jail. We now represent five of the families and we're going to try to get their remains dug up and give his mother, just like we did with Dexter Wade's mother, a proper funeral and burial.

COATES: Miss Mary, Mercedes, Benjamin Crumb, thank you all for being here. I'm just so sorry that this is what you are grappling with tonight. I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank you so much. We'll be right back.

CRUMP: Thank you.

GLENN: Thank you.



COATES: Well, a Marvel movie star on trial, accused of violently assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Actor Jonathan Majors plays a villain in "Marvel Universe."


JONATHAN MAJORS, ACTOR: I saw their chaos spreading, so I took control. And I will burn them out of time for what they've done to me.

UNKNOWN: That's what monsters do.

MAJORS: That's what conquerors do.


COATES: But tonight, Majors is accused in real life of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, last March in New York. He has pleaded not guilty to aggravated harassment and assault charges. And defense attorneys say that Jabbari was, in fact, the aggressor, that she physically attacked Majors.

I want to dive in now with Segun Oduolowu, excuse me, I know your name, I don't know why I messed it up just there, Segun, host of "Boston Globe Today." Nice to see you again, my friend.

Segun, there was the testimony from the alleged victim today saying that the fight started when she saw a text message popped up on Majors's phone which said, wish I was kissing you. Apparently, it wasn't from her. And he allegedly then pried her fingers off the phone, twisted her arm, and struck her head. Now, of course, his attorneys deny this entirely, saying that she flew into a jealous rage, clawing and slapping his face.

So, we've got these two competing narratives. How does public perception play into a high-profile case like this one?

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, HOST, BOSTON GLOBE TODAY: Well, Laura, you're absolutely right. Thank you first for having me. This is a tale of two narratives. And honestly, it's playing like the theater of the absurd, like I honestly find it comical, which is sad because violence was involved somehow. Right? Either he was the victim or she was the victim. But --

COATES: Why comical?

ODUOLOWU: -- the prosecution played audio of him claiming to -- well, because the prosecution played audio of him being in a rant, claiming that he's a great man, and he wants this English white woman to act like Coretta Scott King or Michelle Obama. He's showing up to the court dressed like an extra from "Judas and the Black Messiah," like he's in the "Black Panthers" holding a bible as if God has been hiding and he has now found Jesus.

And all of the testimony that we've heard thus far is immaterial until we hear the driver because he said, she said story, he has his narrative. The defense is laying it out saying that she really wasn't injured. She was the aggressor. She went out later to party. They've got video on still footage of her at a bar. She's claiming that, you know, she didn't feel the pain right away. Then, you know, we've got the text message on the phone that she took from him that he tried to wrestle back.

All of this is so ludicrous. You would think it's the script of a movie, except that this man who was 34 and this young woman who is 30, he could really not only lose his career, he could lose his freedom. So, yes, it's the theater of the absurd. But when you start looking at the element, it's comical in that -- it's ridiculous, right?


ODUOLOWU: Until we hear the driver and what actually happened, until we hear what actually happened from the driver, what are we supposed to believe? Are we supposed to believe this man who they've got on tape or are we supposed to believe this woman who we've got video footage of? Where do we go?

COATES: Segun, I got to tell you --

ODUOLOWU: You're the lawyer, Laura.


ODUOLOWU: Help me make heads or tail of it.

COATES: I am. And part of that, of course, I've prosecuted a number of domestic violence allegations with the course of my career. And I'll tell you, the she said, he said or the he said, he said, and she said, she said cases certainly come down to that very idea. The objective third party person who is witnessing it, and we're trying to talk about that in a court of law,

But you rightly point out, Segun, that a lot of this, because of the high-profile nature of the accused, is talked about in the court of public opinion. And, in fact, a lot of cases like that for this reason are settled outside of court.


I mean, you say the fact that he is willing to fight this. Of course, he does have the presumption of innocence. The prosecution, they've got to prove their case. Full stop.

But you say that the fact that he is willing to publicly fight this shows that he is determined to such an extent that it might raise doubts in the court of public opinion as to his guilt at all. Is that enough when someone fights it to say they must be innocent?

ODUOLOWU: It should raise doubts in the court of public opinion. It must raise doubts because what we normally see, to your point, is that this gets settled outside of the public eye. But this man has already lost millions of dollars from movies that have not been -- he's either been cut from or aren't going to run ads that have dropped him. So, he's not -- he's fighting for his livelihood and not being in prison for a year, that he's willing to fight and show up at least says to me that he believes his side of the story.

What I caution everyone is let it be adjudicated in court. Let us hear from the driver, at least a hopefully impartial third party, because we're never going to get the complete truth from Ms. Jabbari or from Jonathan Majors. They have their own reasons to tell their sides of the story.

In the court of public opinion, we want -- justice is ephemeral. We can't -- we don't really know what justice looks like in a trial like this. What we want is accountability. If she's telling the truth, then he should be punished. But if she is lying, then let her be held accountable as well.

And hopefully, the driver can shed some light to it because the court of public opinion, if you're an advertiser, you've been cutting his salary. You've been cutting his checks if you -- if you believe her side or you just want to distance yourself from what looks bad from a man who is so much bigger than this woman, right?

The court of public opinion, at least where the money lies, has been believing her side of the story. We shall see when the driver testifies if it holds up.

COATES: We will see all of that. And, of course, the due process that is supposed to extend in a courtroom and the presumption of evidence and the prosecutorial burden, very different than when there are business decisions being made, particularly in the era of "Me Too."

I don't know if anyone is convinced that just because you fight, it means you're innocent, but we'll see ultimately how this is going to pan out and whether there were statements made closer in time even without a driver or anyone else that might show more credibility one way or the other. Segun, we will be watching.

And thank you all for watching tonight as well and all of our conversations. Our coverage is going to continue.