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Laura Coates Live

Supreme Court Refuses To Fast-Track Trump Immunity Dispute; Laura Coates And Guest Answer Questions; DHS: Surge At Southern Border Nearing A "Breaking Point"; Laura Coates Interviews Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson; Laura Coates Interviews Shawn Ryan. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 22, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, put on your dancing shoes, everyone, because the Supreme Court wants us to boogie all the way into the 2024 election. Tonight on LAURA COATES LIVE.

If you've paid attention to all the legal cases this week, well, you'd think it's one big tap dance, wouldn't you? Ruling after ruling, appeal after appeal, and today, a two-step by the Supreme Court itself. It rejected a request by Special Counsel Jack Smith to fast- track a decision on whether Trump has immunity from federal prosecution for crimes that he committed allegedly in office.

The Supreme Court, now they didn't explain why and there were no noted dissents. In fact, the release was a single sentence ending with the word "denied." So, what does all this mean? Well, you know that March 4th date that Jack Smith wanted for (INAUDIBLE) Trump's election subversion trial? Yeah, well, that likely ain't happening. It could be much later than that now, just so we're clear on that. We'll talk more about that tonight.

But the question remains, why kick the can down the road? It's almost a surefire bet that SCOTUS will have to take up this again at some point and maybe even sooner than you think. An expedited review of the case is already underway in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear oral arguments on January 9th. It's pretty quick.

And how ever that court may rule either side, guess what? You guessed it, is likely to appeal. So why wait? I mean, don't the American people have the right to know the answer? Does he have immunity or not to this right now? But, I mean, given the zipped lip with justice, I mean, it's hard to know which way they're leaning or how they're thinking about this very important issue.

But could it have something to do with a big landmine right in the middle of this dance floor? You know I'm talking about the 2024 election. It's the thing that makes this critical legal question so fraught with politics.

For a deeply unpopular court, you know why. In a deeply divided country, I guess we know why. It's inevitably going to anger a whole lot of people no matter what the decision ends up being. You rule against Trump and part of the country thinks it is thumbs on the scale of justice in one direction or another. You rule in his favor and the other part sees those scales tip in the other direction.

Getting a little notch from the seesaw, I'm sure, action you're talking about, well, even Jack Smith seems aware of the political peril because remember, his filings on the immunity dispute talked a lot about the -- quote -- "public interest." But as my friend and colleague Elie Honig points out, Smith didn't mention the election specifically.


ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: When it comes to the question of whether it needs to be expedited, it's, is there a need for speed here? And because Jack Smith was unwilling or unable to say, I'm trying to get this in before the election, all he was able to give was a bunch of generalities. And apparently, the court found that, you know, unpersuasive.


COATES: Well, as for Trump, well, he wants this dance to go on. He's the one that set the landmine in some respects. He would be in a much more favorable position. If all this were decided, let's just say after the election, then he could cut the lights and stop the music. And that's it. If he wins, of course. Whether it's this case or any other, if he wins the presidency, we're talking about a federal action, he could have them all dropped. Poof. Gone.

As far as that landmine goes, he's still out there trying to set more for every legal issue he's facing. He's saying this today after Colorado Supreme Court took him off the ballot.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): They're trying to take the election away from the voters. And they sue any time they can. And this one is really a crazy one. And if they ever did that, it would be so bad for this country. You have no idea. And you understand it would be, it would be a big problem for the country.


COATES: So, how long can we dance as a country before stepping on one of those landmines? Or can we maybe avoid them altogether? Time will tell.

Let's get right into all of this with the former Trump White House attorney, James Schultz, he is there, and CNN legal analyst Michael Moore, the former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Gentlemen, good to have you here. Do a whole lot of dance analogies. So, get ready to swim with me on this one.

James, let me begin with you, okay? So, look, no explanation was given, Jim. No noted dissents.


The question on everyone's mind is, why won't the high court just answer this question? We know what's going to get to them eventually. Why not answer it now?

JAMES SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: So, as far as the expedited piece of this goes, clearly, the Supreme Court wasn't buying what Jack Smith was selling here. I thought that they were going to take it up. Yet they didn't take it up.

But there is some -- there is a bright spot here in that, you know, we know that the -- that the D.C. appellate court is taking this very seriously. They already have an expedited hearing on the thing. It is going to have an aggressive briefing schedule.

This thing is going to get before an appellate court very quickly. I don't think the former president has a strong case on this immunity. He's trying to apply something that is traditionally in the civil context to the criminal context. I don't think the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is going to go his way on it.

It'll be right back in the hands of the Supreme Court. They can make decision at that point whether they want to have an expedited briefing schedule. And depending on outcome, who knows, maybe they don't take it up at all. But that remains to be seen.

COATES: You know, Michael, that's a good point, the idea of the why and, of course, process. And there's normally an order of things, right? It goes from the lower court --


COATES: -- to the appellate court, and then can find its way for (INAUDIBLE) to say, I want to hear the Supreme Court hear the case at all. They try to leapfrog all that, as you well know, knowing the gravitas in this entire case.

But the D.C. Court of Appeals, the circuit court, is going to hear the oral arguments. It's not that long away. It's January 9th. I mean, we're showing everyone the calendar right now. It's coming up pretty quickly. It's days before the Iowa republican caucuses. The trial is supposed to begin on March 4th. Is this likely now they're not going to take up the case to push that trial date out of March and maybe much later?

MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALSYT, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: Yeah, well, I'm glad to be with all of you and happy holidays to you. I do think it's likely that the March trial is moved. I mean, I just can't see how that date holds given where we are.

And really, this is a witch's brew of their own concocting, if you will, and that being the department. They've waited. We're now in the -- you know, we're right before an election. These events that we're talking about happened right after the last election. So, we've had about a three-year period that this case could have been brought. Instead, for whatever reasons, not pointing fingers at anybody, we find ourselves here heading right into an election.

And the Department of Justice is typically very loathed to give the appearance, at least, that they're interfering with an election.

COATES: Of course.

MOORE: That doesn't seem to bother them at this point because we're -- there's all these things that have been put in place and these machinations, and nobody wants to just say that this is about trying to get the case tried before the election. So, we try to say, well, it's an urgency. Well, the people need to know. We try to -- we talk all around it or dance around it, as you say.

COATES: Thank you. You listened to my analogies. All right, Michael. Well, thank you.


MOORE: But that's -- that's taking them nowhere. Right? I mean, the Supreme Court is nothing if not a body that is concerned with process, procedure, and rules. I mean, they tell you what kind of paper you can write on and how big the print can be and what you wear. I mean, all those things.

And so, taking it out of line was a big deal. I mean, taking this out of time and out of turn and trying to leapfrog over a case that was pending already in the D.C. Circuit, I think, was a bigger deal than maybe Jack Smith anticipated. But I also think it will push this case out.


MOORE: No question we're going to end up at the Supreme Court to make these ultimate decisions, but it's going to push the case out at some point.

COATES: Jim, you're agreeing or what?

SCHULTZ: So, yeah, I think it is going to have some delay, but I think there is potential that this thing goes to trial in May, June rather than March, April, right? Given the schedule from the D.C. Court of Appeals, I do think there's an opportunity for them to get this in prior to the conventions, if you will. They have been dancing around it.

It is about the election. There's no doubt about it. They want to get this in earlier rather than later so that this information -- and when they talk about public interest, they're clearly talking about getting this information before the American public getting a verdict in the trial, in a criminal trial against the former president who is running for president in before the election, so the American people can make that decision one way or the other if we have a convicted felon on the ticket, right? So, I think that's something that's going to be, you know, front and center. They have been dancing around it. You're absolutely right. But I do think there's an opportunity for them to get it in beforehand.

And as it relates to not bringing cases around an election, DOJ's policy typically in those instances applies to bringing indictments, right? No October surprises, no September surprises, you know, in terms of indictments of elected officials or candidates who are on the ballot. This is something, again, that has been going on for a number of years.


No surprises in terms of the fact that they have -- he has been indicted. It's going to go to trial. And what happens at that trial really is -- you know, the DOJ is prosecuting it. But then it's in the hands of the judges. So, I'm not sure that longstanding policy applies in this instance.

COATES: Well, you know, also, we're all assuming here that Jack Smith contemplates that it's only going to be one candidate at the time that he actually brought the trial and brought the case and asked for all this. Obviously, Trump is a political front-runner.

But part of the entirety of this case involves whether someone is above the law, whether one is going to simply say, by virtue of being a president of the United States, I will forever have cover or not for anything I may have done while office and beyond. So, I think there is a really vested interest in all of this even outside of a presidential election year.

But I do wonder about this point. You both raised it in different ways. Do you think the Supreme Court, knowing full well that they are not the most popular as they were in the past, there's a lot of doubt in terms about their objectivity and beyond, are they looking to this moment to say, we want this process, we need this process to take its absolute by the book, step by step, because we want to make sure the public thinks that we are not taking it out of their hands?

Are they looking for a little bit of cover here, Michael, to suggest, look, it might get to us, but it's got to be the proper way that everything else has to?

MOORE: I think that's right. I mean, I think they're looking at it to try to give the appearance, at least, that this is a legitimate process and they're not bending any rules to try to get to the former president no matter what their dislike or disdain for him or the public, you know, maybe or some statements of the public, you know, maybe.

But the reality is -- I mean, we keep talking around this idea that a normal criminal defendant would oftentimes waive their speedy trial, right? They have a lengthy time period before they could go to trial. There would be discovery. There would be all these things that happen. There would be people with the gas pedal on from the prosecution side trying to get the case except that in this circumstance they want to get, you know, to trial before the election. I mean, that's --

COATES: Well, hold on, Michael. I don't want to -- I don't want to cut you up. I don't want to cut up. I think I want to understand something you said. You don't think that -- you've been a prosecutor. You think that they want to slow roll something even -- I mean, for the average defendant, they want to drag it out. I don't think that's true. They don't want to have a lengthy period. What are you really saying?

MOORE: I'm saying that typically, the speedy trial rights are something that the defendants are very protective of. And so, when they were willing to waive those rights, you don't find prosecutors very often saying, well, there I no problem, we'll schedule the trial. There is going to be a lengthy period of discovery.

There is no question here that there has been an effort both in the federal courts and in the state court to move this case expeditiously. I mean, we had the state -- the district attorney here in Georgia try to move a RICO case with 19 defendants ahead after 60 days. I mean, that's just unheard of and was illogical, frankly, to even try to get the case there. So, there has been an effort to try to move the case forward.

And again, we've talked a lot about are we going to treat Trump as a normal person, that is nobody is above the law and it applies to all people the same way. That may be the case except, here, you have people who are sort of twisting themselves into a pretzel to get things done before he happens to be in an election. And, you know, like it or not --

COATES: Let me get Jim in this real quick. I want to get his take on this, Michael. Excuse me. I want to get Jim on this at this point because, obviously, you're talking about Fulton County and there's a very lengthy indictment.

Jack smith, though, Jim, has four counts against Trump. You know, not the number of codefendants in Fulton County does not appear to have quite the scope of the case, but point well taken about the gravitas and about the novelty of it being a former president. What do you see in terms of what Michael had to say?

SCHULTZ: So, I think he's absolutely right as it relates to Georgia. Right? That case is enormous. The RICO case is a big case, lots of defendants, very -- you know, that case in a normal course would probably happen in 2026. I don't believe there's any chance that that case is going to happen in 2024.

You know, they can talk about it all day long, that they're going to have a trial in August on that. That's never happening in August. That's pie in the sky.

Now, as it relates to the federal case, Jack Smith was pretty surgical about his indictment, right? He didn't go broad, he went very surgical in terms of the case he has brought. The information has been exchanged. Discovery has been -- was exchanged. And yeah, it's an aggressive schedule, but it's a tight case. COATES: Well, we'll see who is right. You guys agree on a lot of things. I wonder what the Supreme Court will ultimately agree on. I bet it's a take up this case, but when is the question. James Schultz, Michael Moore, thank you so much for joining me.


If I don't see you, happy holidays and maybe the best of New Year's to you.

MOORE: Thanks. Same to you. Great being with you.

SCHULTZ: Me, too.

COATES: Thank you. Well, look, it has been a very long week, long as in L-A-W-N-G. See what I did there? If you've got questions about what's going on with all these complicated legal cases, you're not alone. They're involving Trump, they're involving Giuliani, they're involving a lot of people. Guess what? We've got answers. We're going to go through some of your questions at the magic wall next.


COATES: Look, there are plenty of legal headlines this very week to sort through regarding former President Donald Trump's candidacy in 2024. With us now to break it all down is CNN's Marshall Cohen. He has been closely following every single twist and turn. Marshall, I'm so glad that you're with me today at this magic wall.


And you match the magic wall.


COATES: Look at you. I see what you're doing. This is wonderful. We have a lot of questions from people over the weeks because --

COHEN: It has been a busy week.

COATES: -- it has been a lot. There's so much to unpack. And so, I want to go to the first question we're getting from a lot of people here. It is, if the Supreme Court is not taking up the Trump immunity dispute, then who is, Marshall?

COHEN: It's a good question. So, look, in the federal system, you got the trial court, the circuit court of appeals, and the Supreme Court. Trump is on trial and asked for immunity. The judge said, absolutely not. So, he's appealing to the middle court, the circuit court of appeals. But Jack Smith was trying to jump all the way to the Supreme Court. They said no today, so it will go back to the regular process, the way it usually works with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are scheduled for January 9th. But we all know what's going to happen after that. Probably go right back to the Supreme Court.

COATES: Oh, take out the probably, it's going back to the Supreme Court.

COHEN: It's going.

COATES: It's why everyone is saying, why not just answer the question right now? But they want the process, as you lay out, to go for it. It's still a really big question, though.

COHEN: Yeah. All right, let's move on to the next one. This one is for you, Laura.


COHEN: Okay. Has any president ever been granted the immunity that Trump is asking for?

COATES: Oh, no. We're in the wild, wild west, everyone, to think about where we really, really are. And the reason this is so important is because we have seen, when it comes to maybe a civil matter with President Clinton, action before he was in office, a different ballgame, this involves a request for immunity for criminal conduct that is being alleged while one is in office.

It has never been asked before in this degree and for these reasons. And so that's why everyone is leaning in to figure out how the Supreme Court rule. Don't they want to weigh in immediately? Because they've got to resolve this really important issue. So, we are in novel territory. But, as you can imagine, there's another question.

COHEN: A lot of novelty.

COATES: A lot of novelty here as well. Does Trump have to be convicted of insurrection before getting kicked off the ballot? Talking about Colorado here.

COHEN: Colorado 14th Amendment. It's a great question. I've been getting this question all week. So, the answer is not necessarily. The 14th Amendment, the text does not say anything about requiring a conviction of insurrection to disqualify someone because they engaged in insurrection.

Look, the Colorado Supreme Court decided that Trump is disqualified even without any criminal convictions. There was a dissenting opinion. There were three dissenting opinions. One of them was all about this. And he said, you know what? I don't think we can take this extraordinary step without a criminal conviction.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

COHEN: Let's be clear, Trump is facing criminal charges regarding the election, but not insurrection. He was charged with conspiracy and obstruction. Jack Smith did not go nuclear and hit him with the insurrection.

COATES: And there was that lower court finding of an insurrection, but not a criminal actual finding in a trial, a very different ballgame for so many people. COHEN: That's right, civil case versus the criminal.

COATES: Got to keep it all straight.

COHEN: All right, let's wrap it up --


COHEN: -- with one of the most notorious legal figures of our time, Rudy Giuliani. All right, Laura, after declaring bankruptcy, as he did just a few days ago, does Rudy Giuliani still have to pay the $148 million defamation judgment? The backstory here is that last week, a judge here in D.C. ordered him to pay that massive bill --

COATES: Uh-hmm.

COHEN: -- to the two election workers that he defamed in Georgia, whom he falsely accused of rigging the election. So, he's bankrupt. Now, does he still have to pay?

COATES: He even doubled down on it as well. And remember -- I mean, if you think about this, the little question is, if you don't have the money, what do you do about having to pay? Well, in some instances, in any bankruptcy court, the whole goal is to clear away your debts. You can't afford to pay him, not going to him them on the books, except if you're talking about willful and malicious behavior and conduct.

Think back to Alex Jones, who infamously had a very high punitive damage against him as well, had the same bankruptcy discussions there. Because it was willful and malicious behavior towards people as he was alleged and convicted, that was enough to say, no, no, you still have a responsibility. Now, what order you get paid, a very different story. You're talking about creditors in line.

COHEN: Do they get paid right away?

COATES: Oh, I doubt they'll get paid right away, but they will still have to be able to have themselves in line, number one. But also, for willful conduct, as is alleged here, it doesn't go away. Really important conversation.

Marshall Cohen, thank you so much for helping me today. You can always ask us your questions on any social media platforms using the hashtag "ask Laura." Marshall Cohen, so great to see you. Thank you so much.

COHEN: Happy holidays.

COATES: Thank you. Well, next, a crisis at the border leading to a record setting surge of migrants is a political solution in sight. We're going to discuss.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: The major crisis unfolding at the southern border is leading authorities to warn the situation is at a breaking point. Right now, it's a complete bottleneck. Federal authorities are reporting a seven- day average of nearly 10,000 migrant encounters along the border this month.

Numbers like that have not been seen since before the lifting of a COVID-era restriction that allowed authorities to turn back migrants at the border. And it's got politicians and border states, both Republicans and Democrats, fed up.

Look, it's the issue that everyone has long wanted to reform. Needless to say, it's entirely complicated because no one can agree on the best solution. Every president, since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action, we know that, but this is still a problem today. It's an issue that has real political consequences. In fact, a recent poll shows that overall, people see immigration as the second most important issue in America, that just after inflation.

And among Republicans, it's the most important. Just to show the stakes for 2024, take a look at this. Back in 2020, Trump and Biden were neck and neck on who voters thought did a better job on the border and immigration. Now, well, Trump is ahead by a whopping 23 points. Now, for his part, Biden is trying to take an action. He wants to make a deal with Republicans in exchange for more money for Ukraine.

But do you think that's enough to bring on a kind of kumbaya type of moment where everyone is happy and braiding each other's hair?


Well, you can think again, because Democrats on Biden's left flank are not having it. Some progressives say they cannot defend concessions from Biden on the issue of immigration. So, with so many different voices, with so many different views, and one of the biggest issues in this country, the question really is, can a solution even actually be found?

Joining me now is Mark Esper, the former defense secretary under President Trump. Secretary, good to see you this evening. Thank you so much for joining. I'm sure you have been watching the news, and this surge is absolutely enormous. I mean, a seven-day average of more than 9,600 migrant encounters along the southern border. By the way, that's just this month, secretary, and that's up from 6,800 in November. Why is there such a sharp increase now?

MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Yeah, first of all, Laura, it's great to be with you this evening. In fact, I just saw numbers come across that said that November was another month where the numbers exceeded 300,000. It's the fourth month in a row. Now, that may be an inaccurate report, but it just tells you the scale of the numbers coming at us now.

And one of the reasons, people believe in some ways it pent up demand from COVID still and people are making the track now when the weather is maybe a little bit more amenable to making the crossing. Other factors, maybe they believe that the administration is going to impose new policy soon. Who really knows? But the fact is it's out of control. Certainly, many Republicans and many Democrats now see this as a crisis on the border, which it is.

You know, the other startling numbers, too, Laura, are that in FY23 alone, there were over 20,000 non-criminal citizens that were caught to include 169 people on the terror watch list, and then that's not even accounting for Iranians and Chinese and Russians and people from Yemen and Syria, you name it. We just don't have control of who's coming across our border and into our country.

COATES: Well, you were just talking. We were showing images of what is actually happening, what it looks like. The images are quite stunning. You add those to the figures you're citing and what we've just said. And people are tuning in. They are leaning in, trying to figure out what's next.

Actually, the White House is now considering new border restrictions, turning back migrants at the southern border without the ability to seek asylum. Another one is expanding a fast-track deportation procedure. Another one is raising the credible fear standard for asylum seekers. And you look at that list of things that are the possible compromises, the possible new border restrictions. Would any of that work to try to stem what we're seeing right now?

ESPER: I think so. I think that's why that's on the table between White House and Republican negotiators right now as we speak. And clearly, President Biden has said -- quote -- "he is willing to make a significant compromise." And so, we know that's on the table.

And look, this isn't just the United States. I think just this week, the European Union began changing its rules as well, some of which looks much like what you described. So, I think if those items end up being in the policy changes, it's being negotiated, that we probably won't see now till mid-January at the earliest.

The belief is it will deter further migration, it will allow the president or require the president to push people back much more quickly, and accelerate deportations and prevent them from getting in the first place.

So, that should have a dramatic impact on the numbers. If you can couple that with spending on additional border agents, customs officers, judges, et cetera, they're talking about numbers in the thousands to raise those levels, then that could have a pretty good impact.

COATES: Secretary, you know, as you can imagine, and I really appreciate you saying in the beginning, talking about the potential reasons for why we're seeing what we're seeing, it went beyond politics. It gave us information about the scope of it.

It didn't start with this year or last year or the year before that or really the last five years. This really has been, in some respects, a continuation and a culmination of a lot of different things that have been happening over successive presidential administrations.

But it always seems like immigration, secretary, becomes this political cudgel. No long-term solution to truly be found in the immediate run, at least. Is there a way to get past this without all of the politics undermining the ability to move the needle?

ESPER: You know, you're right, Laura, it goes back many years, multiple administrations, although we have seen a big uptick here since '21 or so. But look, I remember working for the Senate majority leader in -- I think it was 2005 or so. When we actually had a plan on the table and required members, senators from both parties got together and decided to come to an agreement on this, because at the end of the day, it is about immigration law, and Congress needs to make these changes.


I think the law was first passed in 1965, amended in 1993, but boy, it's well overdue for an overhaul. And if you can make some of these changes -- and look, for Republicans, they're going to be demanding border security upfront. I'm sure for Democrats, they're going to be demanding action on dreamers and others.

But if you can get people into the room and everybody lock arms and willing to kind of both share the pain and compromise, then you could get something going. But it's going to take a lot of leadership. And I think it has to begin in many ways from the White House. But then you got to get the House and Senate leaders on board as well very quickly.

COATES: It is important, the idea of immigration laws, legislative branch but, as you know, as you mentioned, the executive branch being so, you know, important in this as well.

You know, we spoke earlier this week, secretary, about this, frankly. But today, the former president, Donald Trump, is now defending his use of the phrase "poisoning the blood" to describe illegal immigration. Listen to what he's saying now.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): When you look at it, and you look at what's coming in, we have, from all over the world, not one group, they're coming in from Asia, from Africa, from South America. They're coming from all over the world. They're coming from prisons. They're coming from mental institutions and insane asylums. They're terrorists. Absolutely, that's poisoning our country. That's poisoning the blood of our country.


COATES: I mean, you've heard that so many migrants, they're fleeing sometimes life or death. I mean, asylum by its very nature sometimes contemplates those very dire conditions to flee from. I wonder what you make of comments like this and really the explanation of them when we are talking about how much humanity factors into diplomacy and immigration law.

ESPER: Yeah, look, that language is not defensible. It's abhorrent. I think it's un-American. We are a nation of immigrants. I'm a grandson of immigrants. I think immigrants bring a lot to this country with regard to their dynamism, their entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, et cetera, et cetera. And my view is most of them are good people, just here -- just want to seek a better life.

The problem is there's truth in some of what the former president says when he talks about, you know, terrorists because, as I cited earlier, we know last year alone, 169 persons were on the terrorist watch list. And we know over 20,000, based on CBP numbers, had criminal convictions or had criminal records.

So, you know, it allows them to use that language because there is an element of truth into that. But look, I just think it paints the wrong picture of who we are, who most Americans are. We need immigration, but we need legal immigration. And we need immigration based on merit, not just on who can make their way to the southwest border and get in and ask for asylum.

COATES: Well, as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. Sounds like what you propose won't be either, but we will see how it all pans out. Secretary Mark Esper, thank you so much.

ESPER: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Well, up next, a very special guest is here with me tonight, Chef Marcus Samuelsson. He's here to talk about elevating Black chefs like himself. Back in a moment.




COATES: Well, you know I'm from "Top Chef Masters," "Chopped All- Stars," "The Taste," how about no passport required? I could really go on with this list. But you know my next guest. It's not just an award- winning chef and restaurateur. He is truly committed to giving back to the community.

And ahead of the holidays, Marcus Samuelsson is partnering with Heinz's Black Kitchen Initiative to launch a brand-new event series where veteran chefs like himself will open up their restaurants and share resources with up and coming Black chefs. He joins me now in studio.

Marcus, I'm so happy to see you here.

MARCUS SAMUELSSON, CELEBRITY CHEF: We were doing so good. We were talking food and kids --


-- and then you throwing a term I've never heard, veteran chef?

COATES: You know what?

SAMUELSSON: Oh, my God, Laura.

COATES: I said it. I heard it. I heard it and I was like, he's going to give me a lot of --


COATES: -- for suggesting that he's old, but that's not what I mean. I mean season.

SAMUELSSON: I get that, season. Season sounds better.

COATES: Season, although I feel old these days with my kids who want to remind me that I'm old at times, but I'm young.

CAMEROTA: You are very young.

COATES: I'm young.

SAMUELSSON: Absolutely.

COATES: Thank you. Well, you can stay now.


COATES: Thank you so much. But you know what I love about you is many things.


COATES: But one thing I really love is that you really are intentional about --


COATES: -- using your platform to elevate --

SAMUELSSON: Absolutely.

COATES: -- to like all -- a rising tide lifts all boats. You embody that. Why is that so important?

SAMUELSSON: Well, I mean, first of all, as a Black chef, you know, I grew up in Europe and I cooked in three-star Michelin restaurants in France. But America gave me the opportunities. And I am also extremely fortunate, right? Think about what the civil rights law changed and did for someone like me as a Black immigrant coming in. So, it's not just being a Black chef, also being an immigrant, having the opportunity to live out my dream here in America, right?

I have to pay back. I have to give back because if that wouldn't have happened, if civil rights movement wouldn't have happened, if laws wouldn't have changed, I wouldn't be here. COATES: It's not just about sort of the illusion of access where anyone can be whatever they want to be. They actually have to have a network, a community, a tribe, and someone to look at them and say, I think you got something.

SAMUELSSON: First of all, I think it's very important to understand that representation matters. And I just think that being a chef that has a large platform, my job is also to create opportunities for the next generation. You see it in music, you see it in sports, you see it in law. Right?

And you had a mentor that guided you through a very, very difficult process. So now, and I had an amazing mentor, Ms. Leah Chase from "Dooky Chase." She guided me through this process, how to navigate right when I came up in the 90s and early 2000s. And I'm forever grateful to that.

COATES: I went back in sort of our files back in 2015. You're with our beloved colleague, Anthony Bourdain.


COATES: And you had a chance to take him with you on a bit of a very personal journey.


COATES: And you spoke about who you are and the comfort with it. Listen to this.



SAMUELSSON: When you're a Black man, when you're an immigrant, when you're Ethiopian, when you're Sweden, I've been put in so many situations that I've put myself into.


So, I'm actually very comfortable in being uncomfortable.


COATES: I mean, that's something that is so moving because it's a level of self-awareness some people don't have. The fact that you have grown accustomed to all aspects of your identity and comfortable in that space. When you hear that, what do you think?

SAMUELSSON: Well, the first thing comes to mind, wow, I miss that man so much. I get really emotional because he gave us so much and shared it with everybody. So, rest in peace, rest in power, Mr. Anthony Bourdain. Thank you for everything you gave us.

But I think food identity matters, right? And the representation on our cooking is not seen in major media or in major print. The aspiration, why should we enter food? Why should cooking be on the same level as other crafts or art form?

That's why I've been committed to writing because you have to document the journey. You have to actually show that whatever you read -- you know, if it's hard to get access to the information, then the value proposition is not there.

COATES: So, what are you most proud of? I've always wondered.

SAMUELSSON: Yeah. I would say, beside my family, of course, the fact that I could stay in business in New York City, in the hospitality business over 30 years, and navigated through pandemic, 9-11, financial crisis, and being able to do it through my restaurants. And obviously, I haven't done it by myself. I've had an amazing team. The fact that Metropolis is, you know, at the PAC NYC Center --

COATES: That's the site of the World Trade Center.

SAMUELSSON: That's the site where the World Trade Center happened, right? Where it was. It's a privilege. And every day, when I walk up the steps and get ready, I think about that. And I have a certain level of pride.

There are also no coincidences in life, right? You know, you're speaking to someone that's, I was born in a hut, I was adopted, I came to this country as an immigrant. So, I -- you know, there's a lot of events that have happened in my life that you're like, oh, my God, how is this happening? And opening Metropolis is one of those.

COATES: What is so -- been hard for me during this interview is the entire time I've been salivating.


COATES: Thinking about all the things you have made and talk about. So, I'm just going to end this interview because I actually have your food with me.

SAMUELSSON: Oh, yes, yes!

COATES: And I don't care. I know -- I know we are at CNN. I'm supposed to be fancy.


COATES: But can we just end because I'm going to have this? I'm eating the --

SAMUELSSON: Mac and Greens --

COATES: -- Mac and Greens.

SAMUELSSON: -- from Red Rooster.

COATES: -- from Red Rooster and some cornbread.

SAMUELSSON: Some cornbread. COATES: Now, I don't know how many primetime shows will have Greens during their show.

SAMUELSSON: Yes. Nice. We're having them right now.

COATES: I don't even want to offer you any.

SAMUELSSON: No, don't.

COATES: Am I being rude and not giving you any of this?


COATES: We're done with the interview, but I'm going to keep eating --

SAMUELSSON: Keep eating.

COATES: -- because I'm having a good time. And I want to talk to you. I want you to tell me the secret recipes. I know you gave me in the cookbook. This is really good.

SAMUELSSON: Did that smoke good up?


COATES: We have an inside joke now.


COATES: Marcus Samuelsson, everyone. Go ahead. Go to break.


I'll be right here. Thank you so much. Bye.





UNKNOWN (voice-over): FBI is the United States' premier law enforcement agency.

UNKNOWN: Ma'am, I need you to take my seat.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): With a zero-fail mission to uphold, which means that we expect nothing short of perfection.

UNKNOWN: FBI. I need everybody to exit the train right now.

UNKNOWN: Now, please stand as I administer your oath.


UNKNOWN: Welcome to the White House, Peter.


COATES: Man, that show is called "The Night Agent." It's actually the biggest title on Netflix. Next on the list, season two of "Ginny & Georgia," followed by season one of the Korean drama, "The Glory," fourth with season one of "Wednesday," and then "Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story."

I want to bring in Shawn Ryan, creator and showrunner of Netflix's "The Night Agent." Shawn, congratulations. I mean, we don't normally get this data from Netflix, first of all. And for those of us who have seen "The Night Agent," it's really not surprising. But more than 800 million hours, more than 800 million hours have been watched for this show. That's unbelievable.

SHAWN RYAN, CREATOR AND SHOWRUNNER, NETFLIX'S "THE NIGHT AGENT": We had an idea back in March when the show premiered that the numbers were really huge. But as time has gone on to see the list come out like this and to see the wonderful company that we're in, it's really graphite. It's really hard to make TV shows. And so, when you make something and it resonates with the public, in this case, all across the world, because Netflix is global, it's pretty great.

COATES: I mean, it tells you a lot about what people are leaning into right now. I mean, obviously, we're a year before a major election here in this country, but the idea of what it's about, a political thriller, it follows an FBI agent who works in the basement of the White House, people are already leaning in even more, he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy.

I mean, given the kind of political environment we're living in these days, I wonder if that's what made people say, I've got to watch this show.


RYAN: I think the show has got a great hook, which is due to the author, Matthew Quirk, whose book this is based on, also called "The Night Agent." We found an incredible cast, Gabriel Basso, who plays Peter, Luciene Buchanan, who plays Rose. There are two leads. I think people just really responded to the chemistry, to the fresh faces on the show. I think we've got some incredible stunt work.

So yeah, the political climate may have had something to do with it. I think there's a lot of interest on what really goes on in the inside of curiosity, what's really happy in the world, and we tried to touch on some of that.

COATES: (INAUDIBLE) right now to this camera. Stop watching this show without me because then he spoils everything for me. I'm telling you right now on television, stop watching it without me. Shawn Ryan, thank you so much.

RYAN: Watch together.

COATES: Well, I would, but they've got me on at 11:00 at night on CNN, and he wants to go to bed. So, what am I to do? What am I going to do, Shawn?

RYAN: Well, the beauty of that is you can watch it any time you want. So, you can schedule it yourself.

COATES: It's like you're in my head planning date night as we speak. Thank you so much. I'm so glad you stopped by, and congratulations.

RYAN: Thank you so much.

COATES: Everyone, thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.