Return to Transcripts main page

Laura Coates Live

Colorado Supreme Court Removes Trump From State's 2024 Ballot; Trump Repeats Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, Says Migrants Are "Destroying The Blood Of Our Country"; Icelandic Volcano Erupts After Weeks Of Seismic Activity. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 19, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Donald Trump is off the ballot in Colorado. Now, everyone is asking, well, what's going to happen next? Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

How can I put this? Tonight is politically surreal. Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, the current Republican front- runner, campaigning right now as we speak to be re-elected, hoping to sit right back down at that resolute desk, while the Colorado Supreme Court saying tonight, you're going to have to do it in 49 states because Colorado isn't one.

Why? Because they say that he engaged in an insurrection on January 6th. And as a result, they say the 14th Amendment says that he is now disqualified from the ballot and from being the president of the United States of America.

Now, here's what the 14th Amendment actually says. It says, no person shall hold any office who, having previously taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

Sound familiar? I bet it does. Because you heard this argument from some members of the January 6th Investigative Congressional Committee. You heard this in district court trial in the state of Colorado that we here covered extensively. It was the first time that there was a real trial to determine whether Donald Trump had indeed engaged in an insurrection.

Remember the other times we delved in this as a nation. Second impeachment trial. The Fulton County case doesn't actually discuss insurrection. It's more of a RICO case, right? The Mar-a-Lago case about classified documents and Jack Smith's case right here in Washington, D.C. Well, in that case, he doesn't even charge insurrection. So, Colorado was one of the first instances we saw a trial judge, a trial judge, not a jury, examine the issue with Donald Trump smack dab in the center.

But here's the thing. That trial judge, yes, she found that he had committed an insurrection, but that didn't mean he couldn't be on the Colorado ballot. Why? Why that conclusion? Because last month, that judge said that the insurrectionist ban of that 14th Amendment didn't actually apply to the presidency.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking, right? If a Colorado court already decided this, and why are we dealing with this yet again? Well, because the Supreme Court of Colorado disagrees with that trial judge. The Supreme Court in Colorado held tonight that because he committed insurrection, he gets erased from the ballot. In other words, that 14th Amendment, it does apply to the president.

They say, wow, this is so significant. The decision, of course, it was not unanimous. In fact, it was four to three, three dissents, and those dissents certainly have some political tongues and maybe strategists wagging.

The dissents, they make really two main points. One, they don't believe it's appropriate to take him off a ballot, but a criminal conviction for insurrection. And number two, and this is the point the trial judge also raised, the 14th Amendment does not specifically actually name or talk about the president of the United States.

And so, they think if the framers meant for it to apply to the president, would they have just said that? Now, of course, this begs the question, would there be no dissent whatsoever if Trump is, in fact, charged and convicted, or would the fact that the 14th Amendment does not mention the president, would that be enough to give them a pass?

Now, this is not happening today. The election is still less than a year away, but not right now. And this, in fact, this order does not actually go into effect until January 4th.

Now, the next day, January 5th, is when Colorado is supposed to have their ballots ready to print for the election. They do it many months in advance. And, of course, the next day, January 6th, well, we all know why that date is significant. In other words, this isn't the end of any of this. In fact, it'll likely go from this Colorado Supreme Court to the, you guessed it, the United States Supreme Court.


Is anyone surprised that they will, in fact, look at this case potentially? That same court, that's already poised to decide whether to determine whether Trump is immune from prosecution because the behavior he is alleged to have committed happened while he was actually the president.

Now, the campaign is already saying that it's going to swiftly file an appeal. But to be clear, all that got us here, it has been a long and winding road. I mean, Trump was impeached in the House a week before his first term was set to expire for incitement of insurrection. The January 6th Committee referred several criminal charges against Trump to the Department of Justice, including assisting or aiding an insurrection. And remember, well, this from Liz Cheney?


LIZ CHENEY, FORMER WYOMING REPRESENTATIVE: No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office.


COATES: Now, look, this ruling will bring tons of questions. And there's a lot of criticism already swirling all around. And one of the loudest pieces of criticism is likely to be this question. And it's rhetorical. Why not just leave it to the voters? Well, I asked Congressman Jamie Raskin, who sat on the January 6th Committee, about that very point a few weeks ago.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The Constitution is very clear on this question. And so, you know, it would be like saying, well, um, you know, should we have school desegregation or not? Should it be based on equal production within the Constitution or should we just allow the voters to decide? And there are some things that we commit to the Constitution, and then we follow the Constitution.


COATES: That's one thing to address. One more, you're going to hear a lot of claims of election interference. In fact, we're already hearing them tonight. We have been hearing them for quite some time, right? And officials are going to find themselves trying to fend off those very accusations, including Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.


JENA GRISWOLD, COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE: Bringing a lawsuit to determine whether a potential candidate is disqualified by very clear language of the U.S. Constitution is not election interference. It's living in a society that believes in rule of law. Having a proceeding where a judge decides if there's questions about a constitution or the law, the ultimate way things will go is how American democracy should work.


COATES: Well, ladies and gentlemen of the electorate, think you've had enough? Well, as they say, buckle up, buttercups. This just might be the very beginning.

Let's talk about this with our two panelists here. I want to bring in attorneys who are here right now, Bradley Moss, of course, and -- hold on. I'm not going to Bradley Moss. We just looked at Marshall Cohen. I'm going instead to Attorney Noah Bookbinder, the president and CEO of Citizens Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the organization behind this very lawsuit.

Also, here right now, Krista Kafer, a long time Colorado Republican, who is one of the plaintiffs in this case. I'm glad that you're both here with me tonight. This is very significant.

I want to begin with you, Krista, if we can, because you were actually censured by your county GOP for even being a part of this lawsuit. So, what is your reaction to the ruling tonight?

KRISTA KAFER, REPUBLICAN, PLAINTIFF IN COLORADO 14TH AMENDMENT CASE: Well, I laughed about the censure. I've been a Republican for probably 30 years, highly active, ran for office myself, very committed. My time and treasure have gone to that party, so the censure was kind of amusing.

I'm very, very happy about tonight's ruling. I know there's going to be an appeal. This is really about rule of law. It's about the Constitution. The Constitution is very clear. If a person engages in insurrection, having taken an oath of office to the Constitution, tries then to undermine that very document by fomenting an insurrection as Trump did on January 6th, that person is ineligible.

And the Constitution is very clear. There's five different ways in which one is eligible or ineligible. There's age, there's residency, there's, you know, if you've served two terms already, and certainly if you engaged in insurrection having taken that oath, you cannot -- you absolutely cannot run again, and I think it's clear.

COATES: Well, Noah, let me bring you in here because the court agrees with the district. We actually spoke after district court's ruling about this very issue. That finding that they had engaged in the January 6th insurrection, the court, and I'm writing here a quote, saying, "We conclude that the foregoing evidence, the great bulk of which was undisputed at trial, established that President Trump engaged in insurrection."


"President Trump's direct and express efforts, over several months, exhorting his supporters to march the Capitol to prevent what he falsely characterized as an alleged fraud on the people of this country were indisputably overt and voluntary."

Now, when you, of course, see these in writing, my eyes go right back to the idea of the trial, and that's where people are criticizing this particular opinion. Well, hold on, they're saying it wasn't a jury trial, it wasn't a criminal court. Does that disrupt what should have happened here?

NOAH BOOKBINDER, PRESIDENT, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS: It doesn't because this is not about criminal consequences. This is not to put anybody in prison. It's not to convict anybody of a crime. It's a question of whether somebody is qualified to serve in office.

Just as you would look if somebody, you know, was not 35 years old, you'd look at the facts and the law to figure out if they were qualified, and in that case determine if they're not. Obviously, this is more involved than that.

That's why the trial court held a proceeding that lasted for days with multiple witnesses and thousands of pages of evidence and really parsed through that in a very careful way with careful representation from all sides and made this very informed decision that as a matter of fact and law, Donald Trump engaged in insurrection.

And if you look through that 200-page opinion that came out today, you don't really see any disputing of that piece of that. I think that's incredibly significant. So, you know, the judges who have looked at this issue of whether Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and really examined the evidence have found that he has -- that's incredibly important. Thanks to, you know, these brave Republican and affiliated plaintiffs like Krista who got all of this going.

COATES: Now, let's assume for the sake of argument that none of us have ever lied about our age for any reason whatsoever, and I'm going to include myself in this. One might argue, Krista, okay, well, an age requirement, where you've been born, for example, how long you've been in residency in a particular area, these are all objective things that you could determine.

In insurrection, some would look at and say, well, hold on, doesn't that require more than a simple cursory inspection of a document? Doesn't it require more of a leaning in? What is your reaction to that? Because you could imagine, people have quite the bee in their bonnet over this particular issue.

KAFER: And the minority in this decision did raise some concerns about due process, and I would say that due process did occur. I attended parts of the trial and that trial -- but the longest, yeah -- it's a civil trial, and saw the evidence that was put forth. The other side also put forth their evidence. They were represented by some very talented lawyers. Gessler (ph) and Blue (ph) are both friends of mine. They did a great job representing them. They put forth their information.

If you read both of the decisions, both the trial court as well as the Colorado Supreme Court, very thoughtful vetting of that information going through it. So, due process was done, and I think it's very clear.

I believe that when the U.S. Supreme Court looks at this issue, looks at the evidence, looks at the (INAUDIBLE), looks at everything, they will conclude the same thing, which is that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection, he is ineligible to be on that ballot.

And you have to consider that this is really about our democracy. It's about -- you know, Trump involved himself in election interference. He tried to erase the votes of millions of voters. Not mine, I voted for him, but there were millions of my fellow Americans who voted, and he tried to interfere in that.

And so, we need to ensure that the Constitution is applied, is applies as it is written, and that we do the right thing.

COATES: Noah, I mean, probably a stone is thrown away from this Washington D.C. Bureau. There is some law clerk in the Supreme Court who is beginning the research as we speak. I would bet my bottom dollar on it, Noah, that this is going to go to the Supreme Court of the United States. Do you believe it will be held up by this court?

BOOKBINDER: Look, we need to, you know, first take in this really remarkable decision that came from the Colorado Supreme Court, you know, addressing this issue of a former president who incited a violent insurrection to try to keep himself in power. Then we will see what happens. Donald Trump, his people have said that they will appeal. We will see if that happens.

And then what I am confident about is that there will be a fair hearing from the U.S. Supreme Court.


This is a Supreme Court, obviously, that has a reputation as conservative, but it is a Supreme Court that has actually taken a very hard look at potential abuses of power by Donald Trump and been willing to affirm oversight and limitations on that power. It's a court that is interested in originalism, in the language of the Constitution and the intent of the people who wrote it. The language of the 14th Amendment, we think, is very clear and applies to exactly this situation.

So, we can look at a very fair hearing if it does do to the U.S. Supreme Court. You know, that's appropriate for a matter like this, a really great significance to the future of this democracy.

COATES: Oh, it's very significant. And the next date to watch is now January 4th, the appeal date. The idea of January 5th being the ballots being printed supposedly. January 3, we know why that date is important.

Krista and Noah, thank both of you so much for joining us this evening. I appreciate it.

BOOKBINDER: Thank you.

KAFER: Thank you.

COATES: I want to dig more into the ruling with CNN's Marshall Cohen and national security attorney Bradley Moss. You know, Marshall, let me begin with you because you have been following this story all along very closely. I've so appreciated your reporting because you understood the gravitas instantly of what the prospective result could be in Colorado.

When you look at this though, I mean, this was not the first bite at the apple. There was a case considered in Michigan. There was a case in Minnesota, for example.


COATES: Why did those fail and this succeed?

COHEN: Well, the big difference in this Colorado case is that this is the only one where the judge actually let the case go to trial. In the other states, they threw it out procedurally, procedural grounds, early at the beginning of the process. The judge in Colorado had that question in front of her. Trump put that question in front of her and said, throw this out, it's violating my free speech, it's violating Colorado state law.

The constitutional disqualification can't be enforced by a state, has to be enforced by Congress. She had so many off-ramps, but she said, you know what, these are very weighty questions. These are unprecedented topics, we've never had something like this, let's go to trial, let's hear the evidence, question the witnesses, both sides, there is due process, and then I will issue my decisions.

She could have said at the end of the day that she didn't even have jurisdiction. Held the trial anyway. Didn't have jurisdiction because they presented her compelling evidence that none of it should have moved forward. But she wanted to see the facts, lay out the facts. And once all those facts came out, they were devastating for Trump, and that's what brought us to this conclusion here today.

COATES: Brad, you have been skeptical at best. You're already smirking. You're already like skeptical, Laura. Is that the word we're using? Yes, skeptical at best about what transpired here. What's your take on the ruling itself?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: So, the ruling is very nicely done. Let's be very clear. It outlines in extensive detail. It has taken five hours for everybody to read this darn thing, the history of the procedural issues, the political question problems, issues of standing such as these individuals to bring the case, detailed read into the substantive analysis that was done at the trial court in terms of whether or not this met the definitions of insurrection.

The reason I remain skeptical, and it pains me because of my dislike, because of Donald Trump, but the reason I think the Supreme Court will reverse is going to be on a procedural issue. It's going to be on one of two things. It's either going to be the same thing trial court brought up, which is the oath of office for the presidency is not the oath of office that's an issue in Section 3 of Article 14, or it's going to be political question doctrine.

This is something handled by the political branch. Congress passes laws such as those addressing insurrection and rebellion. Justice Department prosecutes cases that has not happened here. This is not for us to decide in a civil context. That is the off ramp I see the Supreme Court taking. I don't like it, but that's where I think this is going to go.

COATES: So, the idea that because there was a political solution, so to speak, in impeachment, and that did not result in this, and the courts may have hands off, interestingly enough, I think you and I are talking about this, can you even write in his name on this ballot?

MOSS: No, you cannot. At least --

COATES: That's surprising. MOSS: At least under Colorado law, and I'm not going to claim to be an expert on all the laws of every state, but at least in Colorado, there's a statement of intent form that even a write-in candidate has to fill out. And on that form, you have to verify that you are eligible to -- you can meet the qualifications. He can't do that right now as long as this ruling remains in place.

COATES: Marshall, they actually mentioned Vice President Mike Pence in this ruling and talking about it. I just want to read a little bit. It's talking about the reaction to it and about the -- repeatedly demanding that Vice President Pence refused to perform his constitutional duty, and by calling senators to persuade them to stop the counting of electoral votes --


-- they say that these actions constituted overt, voluntary, and direct participation in the insurrection. This opinion is pretty scathing, Marshall.

COHEN: It's strong. And the reason why they focused on that is because the Constitution, which by the way, I don't think is as clear as some of those guests were trying to say it was, but the Constitution says that you have to engage in insurrection in order to be disqualified. Engage.

So, Mike Pence, those tweets that Trump was putting out during the siege, during the riot, those are actions. The calls that he was putting into members of Congress and senators trying to prod them to overturn the results even while the mob was breaking the windows outside, those are actions. That's what the Colorado Supreme Court said today. That is what engagement is, that Trump engaged in insurrection.

You know what? It was scathing, but it all comes back to the sort of original sin of this whole scenario, which is that this is unprecedented, yes, but it's also unprecedented for a president to lose an election and try to stay in power.

MOSS: And those actions are ultimately legal conclusions or legal questions and not a factual one of what's your age, where were you born, and that comes back to this original problem of, is this for a civil action to be addressing, to be determining this in a civil context, or is this the purview of the Justice Department through laws set forth by Congress? That's what's going be decided by the Supreme Court.

COATES: Marshall, Bradley, both thank you so much. You know, I'm wondering based on this conversation what the political implications are going to be. I mean, how significant is Colorado in the overall discussion about Trump's 2024 chances. Will it make a difference? I'll ask Harry Enten. You have the magic wall, next.


[23:26:01] COATES: So, the question on everyone's mind tonight, what does the Colorado Supreme Court ballot removal, what does the ruling really mean for Trump and his chances at the 2024 election?

Let's go right now to CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten for this answer. He joins us now from that magical, magical wall. Harry, I have been waiting to talk to you. I want to take a step back, though, for a second because I want people to understand what a path to victory for Trump was like in 2016 to really understand the significance of Colorado here. Remind us what was his path back in 2016.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah, Laura. So, you know, if we look at the 2016 election, the electoral votes that end up in the Electoral College, Trump 304 to Clinton 227, and the key pathway that Donald Trump was able to put forth to win the election was winning in those key Great Lake battleground states, states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, all those covered in red there.

But guess what's covered in blue? We go out west, to the mountain west. We go to Colorado. Donald Trump did not need to win Colorado to win in 2016. He lost it. In fact, every Republican has lost the state of Colorado going back to 2008. The last Republican to actually carry the state of Colorado was George W. Bush in 2004. So, you don't have to be a Republican to win and win Colorado in order to win the electoral college.

COATES: Now, that's really important for people to understand because a lot of people have been really reacting to the idea of him not being on the ballot. Electoral college votes, of course, come to mind and where this fit in 2016. But, of course, it's 2023. We're less than a year away from the 2024 election. So, how about Colorado this time around?

ENTEN: Yeah, what about Colorado this time around? Well, before this decision came down, pretty much all the experts believed it was going to go Democratic. Solid Biden, Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, and safe Biden, according to Sabato's Crystal Ball. So, to be honest, doesn't really change very much and, of course, Biden won it last time around by 13.5 points in 2020.

COATES: So, does that mean that he's in bad shape for 2024? It doesn't sound like it according to the other polls, right?

ENTEN: Exactly right. If we essentially look at Donald Trump's electoral votes, 270 needed to win. Look at the states he won in 2020. That gets you to 235. The states he lost but now leads in gets you to 67. Potential 2024 total, get this, 302. You only need 270 to win. The states he leads in now that he lost back in 2020 include Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Colorado not included in that. But at this point, Trump does have a clear pathway to victory, Laura.

COATES: You know, interestingly enough, one of the big questions in everyone's mind tonight is based on this ruling. Will other states follow suit and how might they rule? And looking at the map you just showed us about the prospect of him not being on maybe a state ballot where it did make a difference for him, that's really consequential here.

But I want to know how voters, I mean, generally are feeling about his actions on January 6th, because this is going to have a huge impact on how people view this decision.

ENTEN: Yeah. You know, is Trump guilty of subverting the 2020 election? The majority of Americans, 51%, say yes. Only 26% say no. But there is this large portion, 22% unsure. You add these two together and you get a very close sort of 50-50 split here. So, I think the sort of response to this verdict may be very split. Americans on Donald Trump, very split. They have been since the beginning, Laura.

COATES: We're going to have an interesting jury selection, it seems, how are jury verdict in all these cases going forward in Fulton County and, of course, in Washington, D.C., and anywhere else it might pop up.

Harry Enten, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COATES: So, what do voters think? CNN's Lucy Kafanov spoke to some Colorado voters tonight.


VERONICA LASPINA, COLORADO VOTER: I mean, that's great. He's a crook. So, good riddance.

YULIYA LOCMELS, COLORADO VOTER: I think court cannot decide who I'm voting for.


LOCMELS: So, because it's my own decision.


It's not the court's decision who I'm voting for.

ROB WINGERT, COLORADO VOTER: I think it's super beneficial. I think during Donald Trump's presidency, there's a lot of dangerous rhetoric used that really armed Americans against each other. I think working to prevent something like that from happening again is beneficial for all Americans.


COATES: Let's talk about this with Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton and CNN political commentator Ashley Allison, who served as the national coalition's director for the Biden-Harris 2020 presidential campaign.

Let me begin with you here, Shermichael. It's quite a night, both of you, thinking about this. SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah, it is.

COATES: I'm not sure everyone had this or anyone on their bingo card after the lower court's ruling that said, yeah, an insurrection, maybe, yes, but off the ballot, no. How is this going to play with Republican voters?

SINGLETON: Oh, God. I mean, look, Ashley and I were talking about this. You saw Speaker Johnson's comments. He said every American should be outraged by this. I received multiple text messages from individuals actively engaged in politics in Colorado and across the country, Republican strategists, and they all said, those who liked Trump and those who disliked Trump, this is not the way, you should not remove voters' ability to choose a candidate that they like.

And electorally, you saw Harry Enten talking about this, this isn't going to change the electoral map for Biden or for Trump for that matter. Trump didn't win Colorado in 2016, he didn't win Colorado in 2020, and he's not going to win in 2024.

So, why do this? You further the argument that Trump will make and some Republicans will make that you are trying to disenfranchise Republican voters from choosing the candidate of their choice.

COATES: But what about the argument that suggests, and I don't take it lightly when we talk about a voter's ability to elect a candidate of their choosing, but we do have criteria. So, I couldn't just -- I mean, you couldn't nominate a 16-year-old all of a sudden because you really wanted to. You couldn't nominate somebody who was not -- who didn't meet the qualifications of the presidency just because you felt like it. That wouldn't be disenfranchisement.

The argument has been suggested that, well, it's not disenfranchising if there were never the criteria for you to be the president in the first place. Is that enough to satisfy voters?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think we all saw what happened on January 6th, and we all know who was the person that told people to come to Washington, D.C. to have an insurrection on our Capitol and overthrow the election results, and that was Donald Trump.

COATES: Was going to be wild, were his words, right?

ALLISON: Was going to wild, yes. But when the folks got there, there were other inflammatory language that was used about from other speakers around, you know, that the election results were not valid and that they should go to the Capitol, and that instruction ended up with people dying, with threats, very dangerous language, and our country being extremely divided.

And so, people who are a part of an insurrection, our Constitution, says they cannot run for president. I will say, I don't think this is the way Democrats want to beat Donald Trump. I think that there is enough evidence on the type of policies that he has, even his most recent disgusting racist antisemitic language, as well as his intention to overthrow the election, is enough to disqualify voters from voting for him.

Unfortunately, many folks in your party are not disqualifying him and are still supporting him, which is why he is the front-runner.


ALLISON: But I hear Shermichael's point in that, I'm not sure it's the way you want to beat Donald Trump, I think you want to beat him on the merits. But also, I kind of say like, well, poor Nikki Haley, like she was the center of attention --


-- getting all this surge momentum. And now, no one is even talking about her because --


ALLISON: -- Donald Trump, once again, takes all the oxygen out of the room and the focus goes back on him.

COATES: Well, hold on, though, because she's talking about him. And I mean, Nikki Haley actually has the -- well, you know what? Let's just play what Chris Christie and Nikki Haley are both saying tonight about all this.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not believe Donald Trump should be prevented from being president of the United States by any court. I think he should be prevented from being president of the United States by the voters of this country.

NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to see this in the hands of the voters. We're going to win this the right way. We're going to do what we need to do. But the last thing we want is judges telling us who can and can't be on the ballot.


COATES: Even if it would help her, even if it would help Chris Christie, and they're obviously lagging behind him as a strong front- runner --

SINGLETON: Substantially, yeah.

COATES: -- but even then, there is a concern about how this will be viewed widely.

SINGLETON: Yeah, I don't think this is really a political question for Haley or Christie, and Christie is a phenomenal attorney. You are a great attorney, Laura. You know this very well. I think this really is a philosophical belief about the role of government. And when you look at the judicial system, should the judicial system make decision for the voter or should that remain, ultimately, with every single individual in Colorado? And I think it shouldn't. I think most Democrats would agree with that, even those who dislike Donald Trump. And for those who say, well, this could help him win, he didn't win in 2020. He lost fair and square. Joe Biden is the president. And there's no guarantee that he would win in 2024. So, why restrict voters' ability to make that decision?


Allow them to hear from both parties, from both camps, from both candidates, and let them decide, judge, on their own recognizance, who should be the person leading the country forward.

COATES: Can I --

ALLISON: And I will say, one quick thing is that I also worry what this does to enrage his base even more when the election results of 2020 were valid and yet we still had an insurrection. If he is removed from the ballot, what type of violence or greater animosity comes from that 35, 45% of the Republican base that really believe in Trump and really want Trump? Does that help our democracy, hurt our democracy? I'm curious to see how that plays out and what his language does to incite them.

SINGLETON: He's going to say they're trying to remove me from the ballot. They don't want me to be president. It's Democrats, it's a deep state. Look at what they've done in Colorado. You can imagine this is going to occur in other places. It's going to further, further distrust in our process.

COATES: Well, we'll see what happens. Stick around. We're going to come right back because why would I let them go? You see Ashley Allison and my outfits match perfectly. She's coming back. Both of them are. And next, Donald Trump doubled down. Now, he's tripling down. The former president, Donald Trump, repeating his anti-immigrant rhetoric tonight, and it involves kids this time.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's crazy, what's going on. They're ruining our country. And it's true. They're destroying the blood of our country. That's what they're doing. They're destroying our country. They don't like it when I said that. And I never read Mein Kampf. They said, oh, Hitler said that in a much different way.


COATES: Former President Donald Trump holding nothing back, dismissing Hitler comparisons over his anti-immigration rhetoric. Shermichael Singleton and Ashley Allison are back with me now. I don't know that it's going to be a great play to say, well, I said it differently, in a different way than Hitler. Doesn't it really ring as great? And it's kind of an unnecessary self-inflicted wound.

SINGLETON: Yeah. I mean, look, unless you're in the halls of the academy and you're discussing history or you're discussing political thought and political theory, then I suppose those conversations can be had there.

But I don't think it's wise for a major candidate of a political party to be making comparisons or using statements that Hitler, one of the horrible people we have ever seen in leadership, one of the most horrendous people we've ever seen in leadership, killed millions of people, by the way, a guy where we see today in this country, many KKK groups, many extremist groups in Eastern Europe, still hold this guy up like a godlike figure in the United States with all of our difficulties in the past, a very diverse country today, and you have a leading figure quoting him or misquoting him, however you want to put it, I don't think is wise.

But I will say this is why I think this resonates. You think about identity, you think about nationalism, right? And you think about a particular type of people from a particular type of place who observe a particular type of values, belief systems, customs of behavior, and you think about Hegel and German idealism, you think about Immanuel Kant who also wrote about identity and nationalism, you think about Rousseau.

And so, you can understand how these people who have been used to being the majority view these other folks who are coming into the country, they're changing these customs, they're changing these ideals about themselves, about the surrounding environment, and then here is Trump further inflaming that, in my opinion, that's very, very dangerous.

COATES: Do you think that he's giving too much credit?

ALLISON: That Shermichael is giving Trump too much credit?

COATES: Uh-hmm.

ALLISON: Look, I don't know if Trump has read Mein Kampf or not. I do know when Nazis were marching in the streets of Charlottesville with swastikas saying, Jews will not replace us, he thought there were good people on that side.

And so, today, when he says similar rhetoric that Hitler has said or when he says words like "vermin," maybe you don't have to read the book to have the hate in your heart, and you have to have policies that really allow for you to call immigrants and call African countries and the most heinous things. And we've seen it in his policies when he was president for four years. And now he is recommitting to that ideology.

COATES: But, yeah, I don't want to interrupt you when you're talking about this, but both of you, it's not hurting him among voters, his voters --

ALLISON: I know. COATES: -- to say these statements. It's also not when Democrats talk about it and vilify the statements that he's making. They're not getting any traction from identifying what they see as wrong.

SINGLETON: Well, because --

ALLISON: Well, I agree. That's the problem, is that there are people in this country who are still really wanting Donald Trump to be president even though he says these things. And I think then we have to realize that after Barack Obama, we don't live in a post-racial society. After George Floyd of 2020, we didn't really have the racial reckoning that everyone thought because we still have the Republican frontrunner who can say those things that are rooted in so much hate.

SINGLETON: But I don't think that --

ALLISON: On the democratic side, I will just say, I don't think the comparison right now is who the Democratic candidate is to who Donald Trump is. When that argument comes, I think it will get some traction and people were disgusted. I think communities that were attacked by Donald Trump are acutely aware of his threat.

The comparison is why you might see a Joe Biden's poll numbers. It's not about Donald Trump. It's actually about what Joe Biden is doing for them. So, I think the comparison point gives you some fun.

SINGLETON: I don't think it's only the majority population that's experiencing this crisis of identity because I would argue that even within the minority communities, there's going to be some discord at some point about which community is the largest, which community has the greater political power.

That is also going to be a crisis of identity where at some point I would predict you're going to see conflict. I think about what happened in Los Angeles a couple months ago where you had the Latino leaders there using some very racial phrases to describe African Americans and African American political leaders. So, this isn't just something that's encapsulated with the white population.


I think this is going to only get worse.

COATES: Well, hold on, this isn't -- we're going to talk later about this in a break. I wanted more about this (INAUDIBLE) as well at the same time. Right now, I got to go to a break. Discuss your thin men orders (ph) with me, next.


COATES: Shermichael, Ashley, thank you so much. I'm coming right back. I'm serious. Lava is stewing from a volcano in Iceland as officials are warning more events could still open up. CNN is on the ground. We're going to get to the person on the ground right by the eruption, next.


COATES: Fountains of lava are setting the night sky a glow above southwest Iceland tonight. The eruption splitting a hole in the earth, get this, roughly two miles long. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen getting as close as safely possible tonight. Fred, what are you seeing?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Laura. Well, it's a massive volcanic eruption that's taking place here in the southwest of Iceland. It started late last night and it's happening along a fissure, a crack, in the ground that's about -- I'd say about two and a half miles long. And in the early stages of that eruption, you just saw magma spewing from that large crack, really dozens of feet into the air.


Also, there was a lava flow that was happening as well, laterally moving away from that crack. So definitely a huge spectacle that people were seeing. We also saw the Icelandic Coast Guard flying missions around here. Of course, they have to see whether or not there might still be any people out there.

This is an extremely concerning situation for the authorities here. They cordoned this area off a long time ago. There's a village close to where the eruption is taking place. It's called Grindavik. Normally, it has about 4,000 inhabitants. That was also evacuated a long time ago. We were able to fly over that area a couple of weeks ago and there were already cracks in the ground there as well.

As of right now, the authorities are saying they don't believe that anybody was injured. They don't believe that right now anybody is in danger. But if you look at this eruption, they say that there's really not that much ash spewing into the air, that could be an issue for air travel, but they do say that there's toxic gases that are being released, and that could be a problem because also, the capital of Iceland is close to here as well.

This is a major eruption that's happening in this part of Iceland, and the authorities say they're not sure when it's going to end, Laura.

COATES: Wow. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much. Let's say one day you're opening up photos you picked up from the local pharmacy, but it's not exactly what you expect. It's this, Tom Brady and his kids. The CBS photo mix-up is next.



COATES: A photo mix-up involving NFL legend Tom Brady. A mother of a San Francisco 49ers player was picking up a family photo at the CVS in the Bay Area. And she got home, she opened the photos, and realized they were pictures of Tom Brady and his family instead.

The Tonges family was expecting a photo that looked, well, like this, but instead got this, of Tom Brady and his kids from the Patriots' first game of the season. Her daughter shared the mix-up on TikTok and, of course, it went viral. And the Super Bowl champ himself commented, writing, "My mom must have been printing some photos out in San Francisco."

My team spoke to the Tonges family tonight, and they hope to eventually get the photo back to Tom and his mom, but that doesn't happen. They'll keep it as a memory, maybe to look back on.

Thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.