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Laura Coates Live

Trump's Christmas Message To His Enemies: "Rot In Hell"; Year 2024 Will Be The Year The Law Rules U.S. Politics; Migrants Wait In Mexico Amid Border Surge; 2023: Year Of The Woman In The Economy; Black Girls Code Holds "Build A Beat Challenge With Ciara"; Cousins' Surprise Christmas Visit To Grandparents Goes Viral. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 26, 2023 - 23:00   ET


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: I'm so glad to have had a chance to speak with Myles Frost. And for those of you across the pond, you might get a real treat if you see him on the stage at any time.

Well, it's our second hour of "Laura Coates Live." Did you get your holiday greeting from the former president? Wait till you hear what he's saying.


So, it was not exactly a silent night for one Donald J. Trump. He shared his seasonal wishes on social media in exactly the way that you might expect. But I warn you, some of this stuff would make even The Grinch blush.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Hello, little girl.


COATES: On Christmas Day, the former president posting a message that was just a big old lump of coal in America's stocking writing "Merry Christmas to all," but then going on to call Special Counsel Jack Smith an out of control lunatic, calling his political opponents "thugs," and wrapping it all up by wishing -- and I'm quoting here -- "May they rot in hell. Again, Merry Christmas" -- unquote.

Now there are lots of ways to wish America Merry Christmas: Feliz Navidad, season's greetings, happy holidays, merry Christmas. But may they rot in hell is not exactly a phrase you'd want to see on a card. Not that I've gotten my cards out yet, but here's to February.

It's obvious what has got the former president, though, so worked up. He's got 91 felony counts and any one of them could potentially land him behind bars. And at this point, it's anybody's guess which of all those legal cases will be the most crucial.

This is going to be the year the law rules our politics in a way it never has before, with the presidential campaign about to kick into very high gear and the Republican frontrunner urging a federal appeals court to throw out the federal election subversion case out of right here in Washington, D.C. You know, the one over what happened after the last presidential election, claiming he is protected by presidential immunity.

That is, you could say, Republicans are trying to make fetch, that's legal trouble, happen for President Joe Biden. Love a "mean girl" reference.


UNKNOWN: That is so fetch.

UNKNOWN: Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen. It's not going to happen.



COATES: So, the big question is, what will all this mean for Americans who are going to the polls in 315 days to choose a president?

Joining me now, Harry Litman, a former U.S. attorney, and Philip Bump, national correspondent for "The Washington Post." So glad to see you both here. And I brought you both a "mean girl" reference. You're welcome, America.


Harry Litman, let me begin with you here.


It's going be a very busy 2024 for Donald Trump. And you've got the special counsel's classified docs and January 6 trials, you got the Georgia election interference case out of Fulton County, the Stormy Daniels's hush money payments trial. Which of these, in your opinion, poses the greatest risk to Trump?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Man, it is all crazy you didn't even list the civil cases, including the --

COATES: I didn't.

LITMAN: -- one in New York that's about to revive. The one of these, I think, that is the biggest threat to him is the election interference case in Washington, D.C., and we're watching that closely now because that's where the immunity motion is going on and that's where all the action is.

But there's still a lot of space even if we lose a couple months for that to be tried and go to the jury conviction, one might think, in plenty of time before the election, though, not in plenty of time before he secures the nomination, but that, to me, is coming at him with the most seriousness.

COATES: I mean, that trial is supposed to be in March. But just this weekend, Trump's legal team asked an appeals court to throw out that election subversion case, saying that it would violate his protections against double jeopardy as well. Explain to people what this means because people think about double jeopardy. They don't often think impeachment plus criminal case.

LITMAN: I'll try. So, the argument is --


-- if you've been -- if you've been impeached and haven't been convicted for impeachment, then to be tried again in court would be double jeopardy. You only have to go to the impeachment clause itself, which talks about people being criminally prosecuted after an impeachment. Impeachment is a separate political remedy, really has nothing to do with it. That is his much, much weaker argument.


He's also got the immunity one there that I think is a loser and is moving very quickly in the court of appeals. But that's the one that is making -- putting everything on ice for now and is delaying. You're right, that March 4th date will never hold. But even if we go to June, you know, that's still plenty of time before November 2024 for Americans to know whether one of their candidates is a convicted felon.

COATES: Let me bring you in here, Phillip Bump, because with all of these legal cases that are swirling around, the former president had the most delightful of Christmas messages to his opponents and President Biden. That message was to rot in hell, by the way, a really wonderful addition to the hallmark repertoire of cards, I'm sure.

Do you expect his rhetoric to get more divisive in the run up to 2024 election? Is this going to be par for the Westminster course?

PHILIP BUMP, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, consider that he just shared on Twitter Social his word cloud of the responses his supporters had to his candidacy. And the main thing they said they were looking for was revenge, right?

He's walking this very narrow path here where he understands that his legal fight is best won politically. That by being elected president once again, he is able to potentially absolve himself entirely, but at the very least, potentially stall any indictments or any -- not indictments but in any criminal trials. And so, he has been fighting from the very outset, this legal fight as a political fight.

And so that's why he has that message, in part because it's what his base expects him to lash out at his enemies, but in part because he's using the legal fight to bolster his political position successfully so far, and then hopefully use that political position then to actually offset the legal threat that he faces. So, it's all part and parcel, and I think that it is by no means an accident.

COATES: What an interesting point that we hear, but the way you distilled it, really fascinating, the idea of kind of being a kind of currency, right? He needs to have something in the bank to be able to then spend that capital of saying this is a witch hunt and here's my proof.

It might explain why he didn't want the Supreme Court to take this case, Harry, immediately on the immunity and decide the issue even if it might mean, look, okay, there was a chance the Supreme Court might say, you know what, Trump, you're right, you ought not to be prosecuted. He didn't take that opportunity.

I do wonder, though, when it comes to what's happening in the classified documents case in particular, we talk a lot about the --


COATES: -- election subversion case, but that classified documents trial is coming up. I think it is set for May 20th, May 20th, 2024. I do wonder if that case will even be done before January 20th, when Trump or potentially Republican, if they're successful in general election, could take the White House.

LITMAN: Yeah. First, it's a cleaner case and an easier case in a way and immunity would not apply to it because it's after he's out of the presidency. On the other hand, forget about that date. She, Judge Cannon, has arranged it so that there are interim deadlines that she has moved right up against them and it will definitely get pushed and pushed a fair bit. To date, she has really helped with Trump's overall delay agenda.

So, that would be a really excellent one, but I think because of the contrast between Cannon and Chutkan, most people sort of despair of the possibility of that actually happening before.

The other possibility seems to be Fulton County or maybe even remember this old one, the Alvin Bragg case, which is before he was president, also no immunity, but doesn't feel -- doesn't really have the oomph that these other cases do in terms of going to what makes him so dangerous and insidious as a president.

COATES: Well, that was the case. Remember, everyone was critical of Bragg, thinking, why would you go first?

LITMAN: Right.

COATES: Why are you going first? Right? But, you know what, Philip, we're hearing that really, according to Harry, these dates mean nothing at all. But you've got a piece out reflecting on the different months of 2023. It's a really, really important, I think, fascinating piece. You look month by month at how Republicans are trying to replicate Trump's legal nightmares for President Biden. But nothing is sticking as we talk about -- the fetch isn't working. What are you seeing?

BUMP: Yeah, it has been really fascinating. So, in September, Kevin McCarthy, then House speaker, announced this impeachment inquiry. The response to it was largely sort of, okay, you know, here we go again. There -- you know, people were skeptical of it, certainly. But people didn't really understand the -- what this was resting on, the foundation upon which this sat, which was these months already by that point, by September, of Republicans really trying to gin up outrage at President Biden, doing so really unsuccessfully.

They managed to do it in a way that really only the conservative media was paying attention to it. They all got really excited about it. They all thought it was really damning to President Biden. The left and the mainstream media didn't pay a lot of attention to it.


So, they didn't see this pattern unfolding. And so, what I did is I went back and I looked at the course of the year, and I articulated, look, here are all the things they tried over the course of literally in every single month, say February, because they were just started, they'd only taken power in January, they had tried to come out with some new allegation against Biden, which completely collapsed very, very quickly.

But it really shows how what they're trying to do, what they're targeting Biden with is just so entirely hollow. And if you look back at it, it's like basically what happened in September. It was Kevin McCarthy who said, look, everyone, I don't want to freak you out, but there's a wolf. And what America wasn't aware of is that they've been crying wolf for seven months, right?

And so, this piece goes back and looks at, look, here's where they said there's a wolf, then they said there's a wolf, then they said there's a wolf. And so, you should understand going into 2024 that if James Comer from the Oversight Committee or Jim Jordan from the Judiciary Committee says, hey, we've got this new damning thing on Joe Biden, you might be cautious before assuming there's a wolf.

COATES: I mean, "the boy who cried wolf" is a tale that we often know and hear, and yet in Washington, D.C., I hear a lot of howling. Philip, you know, just last week, the Colorado Supreme Court voted to remove Trump from the ballot in that state. Today, the FBI is now investigating threats made against those justices.

And you have to wonder, I had the same conversation earlier with Congress and Ritchie Torres out of New York about 2024, and the potential it could bring political violence as these cases play out. What are your thoughts?

BUMP: Yeah, it's bleak, right? I mean, you know, there's no way to talk about it in a way that isn't disconcerting. And I think that it's important to recognize that January 6th was a very specific thing that occurred and required very specific factors.

But there had been a whole slew of January 6th, like many events, of individuals or very, very small groups acting in a way that expresses political violence on behalf of Donald Trump, particularly individuals. You see this all the time.

People forget that right after the Mar-a-Lago search that was conducted by FBI, guy -- this guy in Ohio goes into an FBI headquarters with a rifle and ends up getting shot to death by law enforcement in the field. But this was a manifestation of that.

And now, as we get into 2024, I think people have very, very acute memories still of how toxic and threatening 2020 felt, obviously for a lot of reasons, including the pandemic. But that is looming once again, 2024 is looming once again. I don't mean to be unnecessarily pessimistic, but it's grim. There's no upside to it. And then we have Donald Trump today celebrating this idea that revenge is what his people are seeking. That's just concerning.

COATES: Okay, well, then I'm going to turn to something that's happy. I mean, they say it's the happiest place on Earth, Harry Litman. I'm going to talk about Disney World for a second. Can we? Because I just need a moment.

LITMAN: There you go.

COATES: It's not bleak all of a sudden. On January 1st, Disney's copyright for Mickey Mouse is expiring. You thought I was kidding. I'm serious. Talked with Mickey Mouse. It'll be entering the public domain. Yes. I wonder if you could explain the significance of this being able to go into the public domain.

LITMAN: A mere 95 years after it was created. So, what happens is -- by the way, you saw what's going in the public domain. It's not our cute Mickey of our childhood. It's Steamboat Willie who was a very different figure. But what it shows, Laura, is there's supposed to be a balance. You want to give artists and creators some incentive to do works of art so they can -- they can really exploit them for a period of time.

But Congress has again and again and again extended it under pressure from the industry. So, if right now you want to do a little thing about Steamboat Willie, you may hear from the lawyers at Disney, and that's 95 years after Steamboat Willie was created. And so, it really does go to show that something seems a little whack, out of whack about the balance.

COATES: So, what I'm hearing is 95 years from now, there's going to be a caricature or cartoon of all that we've experienced in the last year or so. I'm looking forward to seeing --

LITMAN: That's right.

COATES: -- how history remembers all of us.

LITMAN: Can I finish with a quick couplet? It's a real poem.

COATES: Yeah, do it.

LITMAN: It's a real poem that he should have quoted. May all my enemies go to hell. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel. That's Hilaire Belloc (ph) --

(LAUGHTER) -- and that's what Donald Trump's sentiment is this season.

COATES: Philip Bump, I'm not going to make you come after that. I'm just going to say thank you --

BUMP: I appreciate it.

COATES: -- and good night. Thank you so much, Harry Litman and Philip Bump.

LITMAN: Thanks. Thanks, Philip.

COATES: Well, look, desperate, desperate migrants on the streets of cities like Chicago. If you've been to Chicago, you know I'm talking about freezing temperatures. Where do they sleep? What about their children? I'll talk to a man who may have some of those answers next.



COATES: Right now, thousands have joined a migrant caravan that is heading north from southern Mexico toward the United States border. This Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to visit Mexico City tomorrow in an effort to address the migrant surge.

And tonight, new criticism aimed directly at the Biden administration. The mayor of Eagle Pass is slamming the White House's handling of the crisis, adding that he feels his city has been ignored by the federal government. CNN's Rosa Flores is in Eagle Pass with more.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura, we're not out of the woods yet. Those are the words from a senior CBP official talking about this ongoing migrant crisis on the U.S. southern border. Look, the reality is that border patrol is stretched thin. That means that there are gaps in border security on the U.S. southern border.

Why? Because border patrol agents normally patrol the areas. Now, these are the officers with the guns and the badges that are interdicting drugs. Well, they are reassigned to apprehend or process migrants, which are usually moms and dads with their children turning themselves in.

For their part, the Biden administration has surged resources to the U.S. southern border. These are personnel and also transportation assets to move migrants to areas for quicker processing. And they've also closed several ports of entry in several states. Now, that is to reassign those port of entry employees also to process migrants.

But the stream of migrants seems never ending. There's that migrant caravan that formed in southern Mexico with thousands of migrants from central and south America, that those individuals are moving to the U.S. southern border.


And then there's those 11,000 migrants in northern Mexican cities. Now, from talking to one director from a shelter there, this individual tells me that some of the migrants know that they don't qualify for asylum but they plan to cross anyway. Laura?


COATES: Rosa Flores, thank you so much. My next guest has actually been to the border to witness this surge in migrants firsthand. Lamont Robinson is a Chicago alderman, and he joins me now. Alderman Robinson, thank you so much for joining me.

I mean, as someone who is on the ground in Chicago when these migrants are bussed up to the city and, of course, freezing temperatures, walk me through what happens next. When they arrived and you've seen what happens, what is the next step?

LAMONT J. ROBINSON, CHICAGO CITY COUNCILMEMBER: Laura, thank you so much for the opportunity. I've personally been to the landing zone here in Chicago when migrants come to our city. I've seen personally babies get off buses, wet, wrapped in t-shirts, with little to no clothes, with no shoes. This is a humanitarian crisis.

And I have to commend my city, the city of Chicago, that has stepped up in a big way. Residents, community stakeholders, even the business community, the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association stepping up to make sure that the migrants that come to our city are prepared for the winter months.

COATES: I mean, it is something to behold, that level of humanity that's extended and obviously kindness. But it's not a policy, as you can imagine, to have this idea of just relying on a case by case. What resources do you need as a city to be able to really address what's happening because it's not sustainable?

ROBINSON: It's certainly not sustainable. We need the federal government certainly to step in with resources. Chicago is spending about $36 million a month for this humanitarian crisis that we were not prepared for. But again, as I mentioned a little earlier, we as a city has stepped up to make sure that we make sure that the migrants have what they need to be able to assimilate into the city of Chicago.

COATES: You know, I just think about it. I'm from Minnesota, so I know what cold feels like. I often joke about Chicago being much colder than even Minnesota is in the winter months, and I wonder about what resources can be provided in a long-term basis. But also, you mentioned the children. I mean, are the children enveloped into the school system when they arrive? How is food given out? How is it? How is nutrition maintained? What happens?

ROBINSON: Well, look, I can speak to this week -- excuse me, last week before the Christmas holiday where Amazon was in a local school. Jackie Robinson (ph), Amazon gave hundreds of tablets to inner city -- inner city school in my ward. Many of those kids that were at that school were migrants. And so, again, as the city of Chicago, we have made sure that no family is left behind, that no child is left behind in the city of Chicago. And although we don't have the resources, we need the federal government to do more, we have done our best to make sure that, again, no child is left behind, Laura.

COATES: What does the federal more look like for you?

ROBINSON: Resources. We need to put people to work. The parents of these children need to be able to go to work to be able to provide for their families. That's one of the reasons that they have left their country. We need to be able to put people to work. We need to make sure that we have the resources and our neighborhood schools to continue to do the work to educate the migrants that are coming here as well.

COATES: You've actually been recently to El Paso to meet the city's mayor down there. I mean, how much has this crisis been made worse at a federal state or local level? I mean, is there coordination? Is there communication?

ROBINSON: The reason that I went to the border is to do exactly what you just mentioned, is to have coordination. Again, we're having buses to come to Chicago where families do not have clothing items to be able to live in the city of Chicago.

You mentioned where you grew up and it is a city that has very cold temperature. And so, we went to the border to make sure that we build relationships so when the families do come, that they're prepared, that we are able to prepare for them when they come to Chicago. And also, that many of our border cities have been for years grappling with this issue as it relates to immigration reform.

COATES: Alderman, thank you so much for bringing us your insight and also exercising the foresight to visit and see what ought to come next. I appreciate your time. Thank you.


ROBINSON: Laura, thank you for the opportunity.

COATES: A new era for the economy. Next, the women who were the irreplaceable force this year, from Beyonce to Taylor to Barbie.


COATES: Ladies first because women headlined all over in 2023. You had Taylor and the Swifties. They grossed $2.2 billion bucks, $2.2 billion in North America ticket sales for her "Eras Tour." Her concert film's opening the weekend, it raked in $96 million in the box office in this country and Canada. And she was named Time Magazine's 2023 "Person of the Year."

And that's just one Beyonce. Remember that one as well? Of course, you do. Beyonce and the Bey Hive also helped boost the U.S. economy this year. A film about Beyonce's record-breaking World Renaissance Tour, it topped the box office with $21 million on its opening weekend alone.

And how about Greta Gerwig's movie "Barbie?"


It became the highest-grossing film this year with a domestic haul of over $570 million in August. It wasn't just a Hollywood hit, it was a cultural conversation.

And joining me now to discuss, women who will be ringing in the 2024 new year from Austin, Texas as part of our CNN New Year's Eve live special. I am so excited for them, Sara Sidner and Carrie Champion. Yay, ladies! I can't wait to watch you both.


First of all --


COATES: -- I am so excited to watch you. I know I have questions to ask you, whatever. I'm so excited to watch the two of you specifically on New Year's Eve, start my new year off right with the two of you. I'm so excited.

SIDNER: I mean, we could all wear matching pajamas or they have to be silky or coo1 or like -- I don't know. Something like wild. It's going to be a little cold in Austin. But this is amazing.

COATES: Carrie is bedazzled right now.


COATES: Bedazzled.

SIDNER: Cari has a red idea.

COATES: I wear -- I wear old lady pajamas, so I'll be pretend cute from home. How about that? There you go. Just comfortable. Adult onesies, whatever. I'll wear them.

SIDNER: I'm down for onesies.


COATES: Let me put you, though, Sara, on this because you heard me talk about this. I mean, the impact that women have had on the U.S. economy has been unbelievable this year. Help me put it into perspective and what you've made of all of it.

SIDNER: Yeah, I mean, you heard those numbers. You just reiterated. These are two women, Taylor Swift and Beyonce. And then we can add on Greta Gerwig and "Barbie" and that whole genre. And you saw this explosion of showing not only Hollywood but the world that women have the power right now. Women are on the upswing. I was looking at some of these numbers and I even surprised myself. Forty percent -- about 40% of all businesses in this country are women-owned small businesses. And guess how much of a punch that they make, $2.7 trillion in annual revenue. That's employing about 12 million people.

So, do not sleep on women. We are coming up again. We never left. We were never any -- we were never gone. But there is a real juggernaut. Women are seeing that other women will support them as well. And that's a huge thing. When you find out that it's a woman-owned business, I know Cari and I are like, hey, how can we help? What can we do? What can we buy? How can we do something?

So, I think there's a real camaraderie that we're starting to see bigger and bigger and bigger, and it's wonderful to just imagine the possibilities when you consider that almost 40% of all businesses in this country is run by small businesses, women-owned.


COATES: I mean, that's why we love both of you all so much, because both of you uplift other women. I can't tell you how often I've gotten a text or a supportive comment from either one of you and have been so glad that you've come on the show or have talked to me in any way because I love you both so much.

And Cari, as Sara talked about, women supporting women is a phenomenal thing. I mean, this points to how important it was. It wasn't just seeing them from a distance. It was putting your money and your spirit where your mouth and interests were.

CHAMPION: Yeah, I think that, to Sara's point, women are looking at other women, and whether we're doing it knowingly or unknowingly, and I think it is intentional, we're saying, if I see Beyonce, I'm going to go to two of her concerts, not just one.


CHAMPION: If I see Taylor, I'm going to go and support her, too. There is always this inevitable situation in our world, if you will, in our social world where they always do a versus. They always try to take women and pit them against one another --


CHAMPION: -- which is why it's so exciting to see the fact that Beyonce showed up to support Taylor and vice versa.


CHAMPION: And I'm so excited to sit with Sara Sidner and support her. I'm so excited to support you and Abby and every woman in this business that is trying to make a way for herself. And that was the message with Barbie while we're speaking of what Greta Gerwig was able to do. The message was free and it was clear. I think that we're aware of it. Ten percent, if we're just going to throw some numbers at it, 10% of these Fortune 500 companies are run by women because we take no prisoners. We are out here and we are very unapologetic about the fact that we want not even just the table, we want to build our own. And that is what we're doing.

I am -- when I -- when I found out I was doing this with Sara, I called her. I was, like, should we dress alike? What do we do? What do we do?


Should we dabble ourselves together?

SIDNER: Zero shame.


COATES: I am so excited. First of all, you guys have nailed it right on the head, thinking about all that we're excited to watch. Watching the two of you, first of all, this is pretty phenomenal, to see you two co-hosting CNN's New Year's Eve special. It's live from Austin this year. Aside from whatever bedazzled pajamas you're planning on wearing, what do you two have planned?

And by the way, don't worry, Anderson, Andy, you all will be enough. Don't worry.


But these two bad Barbies, I want to actually watch as well. So, Sara, what do you have planned?

SIDNER: Good. Okay, here's how I'm going to describe it. It's a southern fried brisket eating, line dancing, country music playing, gospel singing, comedy hour, snd you best believe there's going to be some black girl magic mixed in for the new year to bring it in.

This is -- this is actually a historic moment actually. Two females, we haven't done this before, doing the next two hours of New Year's Eve so that we can ring it in with the West and we can ring it in with the folks in central time zone.

And we are together in this wonderful, warm, quirky city that we cannot wait to show you. There are going to be some weird things. I'm just letting you know right now, like I will do any kind of weird thing. So, Cari might be like, girl, what is happening?

CHAMPION: Sara, you are -- you're forgetting to tell the people about the dancing that I think you're going to be doing, the off-camera drinking that I may not participate in, but dancing some side to side. It'll be a lot of fun.

And also, also like you, guys, you know I got to bring my world of sports into this. Austin, I believe that Texas is going to win it all, and we're ultimately there. We might have some surprises from the University of Texas and this team as they try the next day later on, actually, because we're doing it early in the night, later on a few hours from when we air to try to win part of this, their road to the national championship.

There is to me, Austin, represents everything. We got culture, as you mentioned, we got food, we have dance, we have sport is the intersection and it's perfect. They describe it as the New York of the South. Sara and I will decide if that is true. So, we need you guys to join us.


When I tell you not to go out there, if you're not having a nice party, it will happen.

COATES: Well, you guys forgot to mention the most important part of Austin. It'll have Sara Sidner, Cari Champion. So, if everything is bigger in Texas, it is about to get big and huge and bad and wonderful all at once. Sara, Cari, I cannot wait to watch you all. I'll be in my sweat suit. You will be beautiful in front of the camera, but I'll be supporting you from the sidelines. And I may have some barbecue as well, just in your honor. Thank you so much, both of you.


SIDNER: Thank you.

COATES: Bye, Cari. Bye, Sara. Look, everyone, do not forget to watch Sara and Cari as a part of our New Year's Eve special coverage. They'll be up later for you Central and West Coast viewers, starting at 12:30 a.m. Eastern. You get it, only here on CNN. We'll be right back.



COATES: Putting pen to paper and putting together some catchy lyrics is an art for female rappers. As you probably know, artists have grown more tech savvy when putting together their beats. And there's a nonprofit. It's called "Black Girls Code," and it's launching a nationwide contest called "Build a Beat Challenge with Ciara." The intent is to spark a musical coding revolution for kids.

Well, joining us now, I'm so happy to say, is rapper and hip-hop pioneer, MC Lyte, and she will be one of the celebrity panelists for this coding challenge. MC Lyte, I'm so glad you're here. How are you doing?

MC LYTE, RAPPER: I am doing well, and I'm excited about this "Build a Beat" with Ciara. You know, we've been using technology forever in hip-hop. My first track ever in 1986 or 7 was done on a TASCAM, which is a piece of technology that is used to make music. And now, to see where it has gone, you know, three, four decades later, I am just elated that young people are getting involved and wanting to merge those worlds of technology and music. You have to really be something to bring those two worlds together.

COATES: Well, look who I'm talking to, someone who really is something. And by the way, there's a whole generation right now googling TASCAM. So, it's T-A-S-C-A-M, everyone. I remember, I know that we're talking about it, and there you have it.

But look, when you were emerging on the scene, I mean, you were grassroots, you were underground, you were figuring out the genre of hip-hop with your peers, and I know this is an opportunity now to really help inspire the future generations of rappers right now, tell me why this is so important to you.

LYTE: Because we're at the precipice of something new. Actually, we're always at the brink of something new. And I think with the knowledge that this younger generation has and all that they would like to say because of all that they now know, I mean, the truth is being told on so many levels in different areas.

It just makes sense that we would be able to see young people infuse new thought, new knowledge into music. I think it's a -- it's a great way to start off a whole new level of consciousness within hip-hop.

COATES: This is a really exciting competition show, and this actually shows you just how far the culture has come since the 70s.

LYTE: Yes.

COATES: I mean, tell me about this challenge and why it's so exciting for people to tune in.

LYTE: Well, first off, I think given the layout of what it is that we see on TV, online, wherever in the competition space of hip-hop, it is always just inundated by men and by young men and old men and just men.

And so, now to be a part of something that allows the, you know, the young women of hip-hop, young girls of hip-hop to come in and use their savvy and use their femininity but use their assertiveness, I think it is really going to be great. And I can't wait to see what it is that they do and what it is that they build.


And also, not just being a judge and a supporter of this movement, but also of Ciara. She has really had a career that has lasted the test of time. She's also in a position now where she is a wife and a mother and very nurturing to those who are around her. She's always been so lovely to me as a person and as a sister. And so, to see her take this challenge and make it what it is, I'm happy to participate.

COATES: Well, I'm excited for both of you. I'm a fan of both of yours. I can't wait to be a fan of those who are coming after you as a part of this challenge. So, congratulations to you. What a role model you have been and will be to keep inspiring so many people. MC Lyte, what a pleasure.

LYTE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

COATES: Hey, if you're between the ages of 13 and 18, you can enter the challenge by December 31st. Head to for more information. MC Lyte, thank you so much. We'll be right back.


COATES: Well, it's a holiday moment that has gone absolutely viral. Take a look.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Hello.

UNKNOWN: Oh, my God.


UNKNOWN: Our favorite people in the world.



UNKNOWN: Oh, my God.


COATES: That was Emily Sindoni and her adult cousins arriving at the home of their grandparents, Tony and Pat Sindoni. They're all wearing Christmas-themed pajamas. They're bringing food, they're bringing games to recreate the family Christmas gatherings they all had as children.

Tony and Pat Sindoni and their granddaughter, Emily Sindoni, are here with us now. I can't help but smile when I look at this video in all of the world and all of the news we always seem to hear about. What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays. It put a smile on so many people's faces. Emily, walk us through for a second. What was behind the surprise? Why you did it this way for your grandparents?

EMILY SINDONI, ORGANIZED CHRISTMAS SURPRISE: Well, we've been talking about this all weekend long, all holiday long, but our grandparents always say, you know, we don't need anything, we just want to spend time with you. And, you know, I had seen a few ideas floating around the internet about people doing this kind of surprise. I looped all my cousins into a group chat and said, we've got to do this. They would just lose their minds. So --



COATES: And you did.

P. SINDONI: I did, yes.

COATES: Pat, tell me about what that was like. Tell me about -- I mean, you're seeing the -- hear the doorbell ring. I hear your husband saying, you know, it's our favorite people in the world. How cute was that moment? But Pat, walk us through when you first realized it wasn't just one or two, it was going to be all of them.

P. SINDONI: When they just kept coming. And they didn't all arrive at the same time. So, Em came with her brother and sister-in-law, and then a little later, her sister and -- oh, this is very nice. Look at you when you're in your comfy clothes and all. And then all of a sudden, Mort (ph) came.

And I'm trying to order pizza and telling AJ, you got to get -- we're going to get pizza, get us steaks. All of a sudden, he's on the phone. And then more grandchildren are walking in carrying five pizzas. And behind them, some more kids are coming in. And I was shocked, shocked to the point I had to sit down because I couldn't breathe.

COATES: Tony, how did you feel in the moment watching this, getting the Christmas pajamas, I understand, for the first time ever as well from the grandkids? Tell me about that, Tony.

TONY SINDONI, HIS GRANDAUGHTER ORGANIZED CHRISTMAS SURPRISE: They were all in their pajamas. It was great, you know. Then we had two presents. We opened them to one another. They were matching Christmas pajamas. It was great. And not only that, they brought all the food, they brought their drinks, they brought dessert, they brought everything. We didn't have to do a thing. And that was making -- starting to make cookies.

And luckily, they came at the right time. We could start putting them in the cellar. It worked out so perfectly. And it was history. They were really, really good, really great.

P. SINDONI: We're very proud of them.

COATES: Yeah, you should be very proud. And Emily, for you to organize all this as well and for everyone to get on board to do it. You guys are looking at this viral moment.

But for all of us, what I'm seeing is the two of you, Tony, Pat, what your love created and whatever lessons you taught your family through the years. Look at what it demonstrated to you, about the kind of people you obviously are to have that much love and for the whole world to watch and lean in and for a moment smile.

Thank you so much, all of you.

P. SINDONI: Thank you.

E. SINDONI: Thank you so much.

P. SINDONI: Love and wishes for a healthy, happy, peaceful world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

COATES: We want that, too. Tony, Pat, Emily Sandoni, thank you all so much. Happy New Year.

T. SINDONI: Thank you.

P. SINDONI: Thank you.

E. SINDONI: Thank you.

COATES: Well, I want to leave you all with something special tonight, and something personal. Now, you know I never show my kids. But this time, I think you'll understand why I will.

Every parent knows that feeling when you watch your child watching the world. You want to see their reaction, all of the emotions. Well, my plan was to watch my son, Adrian, watch his favorite basketball player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, favorite because of his game and his personal journey and his unparalleled humility.

And I was lucky enough to get seats in Madison Square Garden on the day the Bucks were playing the Knicks. And unbelievably lucky to even have floor seats. Now, for the teenager in me, who wore the number three in honor of John Starks, it was a dream come true to just be inside of the garden.

Now, as mommy, I couldn't take my eyes off my son watching the game, twinning in a matching jersey with his favorite player.


For me, that was enough. Hell, it was more than enough because who am I to be on the floor of a Knicks game? For my grateful son, it was enough to be in the room to get a high-five from the gracious players as they checked into the game. And when he was able to touch one of their NBA towels, I thought the boy was going to float away.

Until the moment that came after the game, when my heart leapt out of my chest, and I would need that NBA towel to dry my tears, because Giannis motioned for my son to come on to the court. He took off his game shoes, he signed them and, you know, he handed them to my son. And he even wished him a Merry Christmas. And you can see my son, he's grabbing his head, trying to even process this moment.

You know, they say that you never want to meet your heroes. And I've met some of mine and, well, I wish I hadn't. But here was my son standing next to his. And Giannis, he just saw a kid and remembered what it was like to be one.

You know, it's funny, because my son woke up with a start later on that night. And he asked me to see the pictures on my phone because my baby boy thought that he dreamed it all. And you know what? I feel like I did, too.

Thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.