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Laura Coates Live

Judge Threatens To Kick Trump Out Of Court For Being Disruptive; Laura Coates Interviews White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre; Haley Calls Trump's Recent Attacks On Her A "Temper Tantrum"; Attorney General Merrick Garland Meets With Uvalde Victims' Families Ahead Of Report Release; New Evidence Discovered In D.B. Cooper Skyjacking Case. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 17, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: You know, there's a word for what happened in New York in a courtroom today. And that word is a Latin term. It's bonkers. Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

I have been waiting to talk to you, guys, about this all day. What a day in court today. Donald Trump clashing with the judge, loudly talking during E. Jean Carroll's testimony. Loud enough, by the way, to be heard at least two rows away, claiming it's -- you've heard these phrases before -- "it's a witch hunt and it really is a con job" -- unquote.

Shaking his head. Throwing his hands up in the air. Oh, wait, I do that, too, throwing his hands up in the air. It was quite a performance and one that didn't fool the judge, not even for a millisecond or maybe a New York minute, I guess you say, because here is something you don't usually hear in a courtroom. The judge saying that he hopes he won't have to kick Trump out of court, and then Trump responded -- quote -- "I would love it."

The judge, I know you would. Of course, he likely would. His goal is actually not maybe to win in court. It's to win at the campaign. And frankly, if we're being honest, it's working for him so far with the polls.

Let's not forget that this is the man who fundraised off his mugshot in the Fulton County election subversion case. Pretty much any attorney I've ever met would be saying, I need you to stop talking. No, for the love of God, stop talking. Maybe a muzzle will do.

It has already been established lately that Donald Trump sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll and defamed her. That was legally established before. The price now is what this is all about. What he has to pay in, really. The liability cost, the damages, as they say.

He didn't show up for that trial. He didn't testify before. And so now he's trying to get maybe a second bite at the New York apple and trying to have a trial on his very own terms. And he will not stop talking about E. Jean Carroll even though this is just the kind of talk that landed him in court in the first place.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The witness today, the person I never knew, I never had anything to do with. This is a totally rigged deal. This whole thing is rigged, election interference. But this is a person I have no idea until this happened. Obviously, I have no idea who she was and nor could I care less. It's a rigged deal. It's a made up, fabricated story.


COATES: So now the question I have for you -- I mean, have you ever thought to think and stop for a moment to try to imagine, just for even a second, what it's like to actually testify not only against Donald Trump, but in the case of today, in front of Donald Trump?

Well, joining me now is Natasha Stoynoff. She's a friend of E. Jean Carroll and testified in her first trial against Trump. Stoynoff also alleges that Trump assaulted her back in December of 2005. Natasha, thank you so much.

The word I described today was "bonkers" and the idea of what he was and how he was behaving in the courtroom. I mean, it goes without saying, Natasha, Trump is very well known, obviously. He, frankly, was one of the most powerful people in the world at the time and a prior president in this country, and he very well could be again if he is reelected. What is it like testifying against someone like that? It was something so deeply personal. What was that like for you?

NATASHA STOYNOFF, ALLEGES TRUMP ASSAULTED HER IN DECEMBER 2005: Well, fortunately, when I testified last May, he was not in the room, in the courtroom. So, it was nerve-racking enough just doing, as you say, just testifying against him. But I did not have to look at him in the eyes. E. Jean today, I assume, had to look at him in the eyes because she was, I assume, facing him. I wasn't in the courtroom today.

So, I can only imagine that the nervousness that we both felt last May would have been multiplied by a million. Looking at man in the eye, looking at your abuser in the eyes.


I can't imagine.

COATES: What was it in particular for so many people to try to really -- I mean, it's hard to fathom what that must have been like, but what was the cause and the source of your nerves? Was it talking about something so personal? Was it about really the anticipation of the backlash that I -- I'm sure followed? What was it specifically for you at that time?

STOYNOFF: A few things. First, on the stand under oath, it was the first time I was ever telling my story verbally. I had only written about it in People magazine in 2016. I had never done any interviews or anything about it. So, not only was it my first time talking about it, but I was doing it in a court of law. So, that was a bit nerve wracking.

Second of all, not knowing what he would do or his supporters would do because, you know, when me and the other women came forward in 2016, we all had death threats and all sorts of hate mail. So, you know, we had to -- I had to prepare myself for that as well.

COATES: You know E. Jean Carroll. Any idea of what she is going through with all of this? Again, this is a second trial. And this time, Donald Trump is in that courtroom.

STOYNOFF: First of all, the first time she testified, it was -- you know, she was like interrogated for two or three days. It was grueling. I can't imagine just going through that again, just what I'm assuming is happening. Now -- but I got to say also, this has been building up for her for decades. So, I think there's also -- and she is one tough cookie, let me tell you.

And I also think that it was probably a very -- although nerve wracking, a very empowering moment for her, is how I imagine it, knowing her, because she's finally able to sort of be in that courtroom and just like pointed him and say, you, you did this, and you can't deny it. And as far as I can tell, she did a great job today.

COATES: I mean, the idea of being able to confront one's accuser is something that a defendant wants to be able to have, to look the person accusing him in the eye. But then there is the verse you talk about, about what it's like to then draw your attention and focus on the person, and in front of a jury and a judge no less in a courtroom in this fashion.

You accused Trump of assaulting you back in December of 2005. Now, he has denied it. And frankly, he insulted you, saying something, you know, very deplorable, like, take a look at her, I don't think so, which even gives me pause even repeating something as rude.

I know you have concerns over talking about the specific details of your case. I don't blame you. You've already testified in the court of law under oath. Naturally, having to repeat and go with specificity again is not what I'm asking. But how did you deal with that kind of attack and the backlash that ensued? I mean, when he said it, you're talking about somebody who was a front-runner and wanting to be and then became the president of the United States.

STOYNOFF: I think I -- you know, at the time, I was writing this book in New Jersey with this mafia guy. So, I actually was in this hotel room away from everything where no one could find me and very well protected.

So -- but I really kind of hid for a while because I -- you know, it's crazy. You write something like that and you're sort of writing the story at three in the morning and it appears online, and I just didn't think about the reaction. And it was like a tidal wave.

So, I really sort of removed myself for a while. I'm Canadian and I -- the night of the election, the night before the election, I got on a plane, came back to Canada and just stayed here for a while, thinking that things would calm down. Of course, then he won. So, that didn't work.

But I think I just removed myself for a while. And then I had to deal with emails and hate mail, and I had to learn to just sort of ignore them and delete them. That's what I had to do.

COATES: That's a daunting proposition in and of itself. Natasha, thank you so much for joining us and giving us some insight perspective on what this experience is really like. Thank you, Natasha.

STOYNOFF: Thanks so much.

COATES: I want to bring in CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams, who I've been frankly wanting to talk to about this as well because, you know, I -- you and I have appeared in federal court. The idea of somebody stepping out of line, the idea of a defendant talking out of turn -- I mean, these judges, they really enjoy that lifetime tenure and they will exercise the authority to tell you that it's their courtroom.


In this case, just think about how that looked in that moment and what he was doing. Why do you think he was operating in that way?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's a political stunt for the former president. Look, you know, I clerked for two different federal judges. I've been in federal courts a long time over the course of my career. You know, there's a little bit of almost a pedantic adherence to rules in federal court. They tend to be a little bit stuffy more often than not. And judges really control their courtrooms. And the idea of walking in and saying -- what was the line? I would love it. That kind of bluster might work on the campaign trail but really does not fly in federal courts. And frankly, I'm surprised he has made it this far, to be quite candid, without being sanctioned in some way or just kicked out. The judge doesn't have to allow him to stay there.

COATES: Well, and that's true, he doesn't have to be there. Right?


COATES: It's not a criminal proceeding. He is not required to be there. In fact, he wasn't there for that first trial. But I think about this from the perspective of the defense counsel as well, trying to get in the minds of what they're thinking. He doesn't have to be there.

You heard Natasha say the empowerment aspect of an accuser confronting the person that she is alleging to have done this --


COATES: -- and a court jury found he has. Why allow your client --

WILLIAMS: Yeah. COATES: -- to be present? Because you can imagine the optics of a jury going, you know, the sort of head turning moment of what's he going to say, what's his reaction going to be. Why have him there?

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Your problem, Laura Coates, is that you are a sensible human being --


-- who's thinking about this --

COATES: That's one of my problems.

WILLIAMS: -- in terms of winning and losing as if he wanted to win or lose a trial.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

WILLIAMS: This is not about winning or losing the trial. This is about winning the hearts and minds of people in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina and so on. There is no reason that one should, number one, put their defendant on the stand here, number two, have the defendant out giving press conferences outside of a courtroom where every single statement he made can be used against him.

Now, they could tomorrow -- literally tomorrow go in and play the tape of that press conference because they step up to the line of defamation of the defendant -- pardon me, of the plaintiff. Again, it's not about winning the case or winning the money. This is about voters and nothing else.

COATES: You know, that's a sad state of affairs and, of course, he'll use this moment and suggest, what, I can't defend myself?


COATES: As if there's no defamation law in this country.

WILLIAMS: And people buy that! I mean, the unfortunate thing is he can make a statement such as, can you believe this is such a witch hunt? They won't even allow me to speak out my mind. They won't even allow me to defend myself. And there are people that believe that he's actually being persecuted when, in fact, he has been given a far longer leash than any defendant should ever be given in a civil case based on the kinds of statements.

The mouthing off to the federal judge -- and again, I don't want to keep talking about the judges I clerked for, but if that kind of thing happened in the courtroom, I've seen people get sanctioned or kicked out or warned very sternly. And the idea that, yes, he's a political candidate, yes, he's entitled to a little more latitude, but he has been given -- whew, you know.

COATES: Let's not forget, though, we did watch a member of Congress challenge a union boss to a fight.


COATES: So, we've seen some things happen this last year. Elliot Williams, thank you so much.

You know, Nikki Haley, she started quite a political firestorm when she said that America -- and it's the important word here -- America has -- here's the word, never been a racist country. I'm going to ask White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre what she thinks about all this next.



COATES: Well, Vice President Kamala Harris was asked to respond to presidential candidate Nikki Haley's comment saying this country has never been racist today on "The View." Watch.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I think about it, I think we all would agree that while it is part of our past and we see vestiges of it today, we should also be committed collectively to not letting it define the future of our country.


COATES: Just to remind you, this is what she was responding to.


NIKKI HALEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not a racist country, Brian. We've never been a racist country. Our goal is to make sure that today is better than yesterday.


COATES: This, of course, comes on the heels of Haley flubbing the answer to, well, really a very simple question: What was the cause of the Civil War?


HALEY: I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run, the freedoms and what people could and couldn't do.


COATES: Hmm. Note the lack of the word "slavery," of course, and maybe it's far more nuanced, it seems. But joining me now to discuss this and so much more, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. I'm so glad you took the time to be here today. I know --


COATES: -- you're very busy. Thank you for taking the time. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate it. Thank you for having me on the set. It's great to be here.

COATES: It's good to have you here.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, yeah.

COATES: I love the outfit. I'm just going to say that right now.


But I want to ask you, especially about this point, because this is something that has really ruffled so many feathers, I think for good reason --


COATES: -- about somebody asking to, of course, be the leader of what we call the free world, unable to address this issue about race in America. You know, President Biden ran on a campaign of battling for the soul of a nation. The underlying context, of course, also included race. What is your reaction to this idea of the state and the history of America as it relates to racism?

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity because I think it's important to have this conversation. I'm going to be really careful as speaking to Nikki Haley. Obviously, she's a candidate for 2024. I'm a federal employee. I got to be careful not to speak to an upcoming election.

But I can speak to the reality, right? Which is we cannot rewrite history. We just cannot. And anyone who is a leader, a political leader, has to be truthful.


They have to be honest about that. You know -- and it is not helpful. We were talking about our kids, right? As our kids are growing up and learning about our history, it is not helpful to our children. We have to be honest with who we are as a country, where we're going as a country, and that is something that the president talks about.

You just mentioned why the president essentially jumped into the race back in 2020. When he saw in 2017 in Charlottesville what we saw, he talks about this. The tiki torches going down -- going down Charlottesville and the streets of Charlottesville where you had the president at the time, President Trump, saying that there were good people on both sides, and the vile, the vile things that they were saying.

We lost someone. A young woman who was fighting anti-racism died that night. A mom lost he daughter that night or that day. And so, it is -- you know -- and he said -- he saw that, and he said to himself, we're in trouble here as a country, we have to save the soul of the nation. He has to -- he believed that it was important for him to run. And he did that. COATES: You know, when you think about these issues and why it's so pressing for so many people, is that you really cannot begin to change something or have a workable solution unless you first identify a problem. It really is the underpinning and the crux of every issue that anyone in politics must address. Here is a problem, here is a solution, here are the potential hurdles. How do you overcome them?

This is very, very relevant, of course, in the field of what I like to call feel-anomics (ph).


COATES: I know it's maybe not a term that Janet Yellen would talk about, but it's one that Laura Coates talks about.

JEAN-PIERRE: We love Janet Yellen.

COATES: Right. I won't pretend to know as much as she does about economics, but I know how I feel about things. I know how the average person goes to the grocery store, has a big bill and a small bag, and they obviously forgot the reusable bag. They can buy another one when they get to the store. It's a whole thing right now, the grocery stores. And we know our personal budgets.


COATES: Why is there such a disconnect between what the administration wants people to feel and believe about the strength of the economy and how so many people ultimately are feeling personally, day in and day out?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. There's a lot to unpack, and I appreciate the question and the opportunity here. So, there's some data that we saw coming out of 2023 that actually showed, you hear the word "consumer confidence," where you saw consumer confidence and it went up in a really -- in a big way and kind of that we hadn't seen a long time in the month of December. That's important.

COATES: Did you expect that increase?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, here's the thing. The economy is actually very strong right now. I know -- I know the feel -- the feel-enomics (ph). I think that's how you say it. I get that. But unemployment is at a historic low. Twenty-two months, more than 22 months has been at under 4%.

The president has been able to create 14 million jobs in the last three years. Remember, when he walked in, we were in a pandemic. People were losing their jobs, small businesses were shutting down, schools were shut down.

And now, because of the actions that he has taken, whether it's the American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure legislation or the Chips and Science Act where we see manufacturing coming back, we're seeing good paying jobs. That's a fact. We're seeing --

COATES: There's also a fact that there is, I think, 71%.


COATES: And you can distribute polls differently.


COATES: Why does 71% of Americans think the economy is not doing well? I mean, you've listened a litany of things already.


COATES: Why the disconnect?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, we know that it's going to take time for people to fully feel what the president has done. But, again, we've seen consumer confidence go up. So, people are starting to feel it. And not only that. Last month, in the month of December, people actually spent money, right? But we understand that we have to lower costs.

COATES: You know, when people talk about -- when I think about the big issues people are always facing --


COATES: -- the economy, obviously, comes in number one.


COATES: The James Carville, it's the economy. Stupid comment. But then there's immigration.


COATES: And immigration has continued to be, not just through this administration, it didn't begin the issue at the border.

JEAN-PIERRE: For decades (ph).

COATES: You're talking about the six -- all -- I mean, from Biden to Trump to Obama, before that. This has been a continuing issue. But as the incumbent president, he is where the buck stops.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, yeah.

COATES: It has been such a source of tension, whether it's how to describe it as a crisis or not, what's happening in terms of blocking access for the federal government to go to places in Texas and beyond. What is the plan --


COATES: -- for the Biden administration to address and resolve this, at least soon as they can?

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. So, almost three years ago, the president put forth a comprehensive immigration proposal because he understood just what you laid out. This has been an issue for decades under Republican, Democratic presidents. This did not just start today or a year ago or three years ago. And so, he put that forward and nothing happened. Really, nothing happened in Congress.

Now, you fast forward to today, there is something happening in the Senate where you have Republicans and Democrats coming together. They've been talking for months, talking about how they can come up with a bipartisan agreement to deal with what we're seeing at the border.


And we understand you need both sides. You need Republicans and Democrats to deal with this issue. The president is encouraged by that. He had Republicans and Democrats at the White House today to talk about primarily Ukraine. That was the important part of that meeting, to talk about the importance of funding Ukraine and making sure that they can continue to fight against the tyranny and fight against the aggression of Mr. Putin and what's happening there, especially the last two years.

COATES: How did that meeting go? Because, obviously, the border --


COATES: -- plus Ukraine are sources of extreme tension between Republicans and Democrats.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. And it is part of that national security supplemental that the president put forth a couple of months ago. It's important. The reason why it's a supplemental is because it's an emergency request. We have to continue to fund Ukraine because it's about our national security, not just about Ukraine. Obviously, Ukraine is doing something that's really important against -- fighting for their democracy.

And the border security, he included that in our national security. We're talking about important issues that you said that matter to us as Americans, matter to our national security.

Look, that conversation went well. There was -- everybody that came out of that, there was a bipartisan understanding that we need to deal with the border, right? And there was a bipartisan understanding that we have to make sure we deal with Ukraine as well.

COATES: But we've had that understanding, Karine. We haven't had -- it's a resolution with an eye towards evading particularly a shutdown.


COATES: Do you feel optimistic based on what came out today, that Friday night at midnight, we're not going to be sitting here wondering, is the government open or not?

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, it is Congress's number one duty, to keep the government funding.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

JEAN-PIERRE: We cannot continue to do what Republicans have been doing. It is like kicking the can down the road. Let's not forget, back in spring, the president came together with Republicans and Democrats in Congress. They had a bipartisan agreement that two-thirds of the House voted on, and it went through the Senate. They had a bipartisan agreement in the Senate side. The president signed that into law. There was an agreement.

So, there's no reason, there's no reason that the government should be shut down. It'll be partially shut down if it does on the 19th, sadly, but we can't. That is that is not acceptable. The American people deserve more.

COATES: There's pressure coming from within the Democratic Party towards President Biden on his support for Israel in particular. Is there a plan to try to resolve and unify the party on that at least?

JEAN-PIERRE: It is not a monolith, and we understand that people have feelings and people have thoughts. The president, as you just stated, is a commander-in-chief. Israel, obviously, is an ally and it has been for some time. And 12,000 -- 1,200 -- pardon me -- 1,200 souls were massacred, right, on October 7th.

And you have Hamas, which is a terrorist organization, a terrorist organization who have said, they have said -- leaders in that organization have said they will do October 7th over, over and over again.

And so, while we want to, obviously, we do not want one more life taken in Gaza. We do not want that as it relates to the Palestinian people. It is not something that the president wants. That's why we've had these diplomatic conversations, these conversations with Israel on them being really precise and more accurate on how their -- what their actions, their operations.

They said that they're going to lower their intensity of operation. They have. They've removed some troops out of the northern part of Gaza. That's really important. A lot of that is because of what this president has been doing.

But let's not also forget there's been humanitarian aid that's been going in to Gaza, and that is because of the leadership of this president. And so, we want to make sure that we're getting that really important humanitarian aid, as I just mentioned, whether it's water, medical assistance, medical aid into Gaza, and that's what we've been doing.

These are all important conversations to have and questions to answer, and I appreciate, truly, truly appreciate this opportunity.

COATES: Well, he's got all that to reconcile, as many others, and he is still actively -- you know, he's going to North Carolina tomorrow, I understand. JEAN-PIERRE: He's going to North Carolina, yes. He's trying to promote --


JEAN-PIERRE: So, thank you for that as well. So, he's going to go to Raleigh -- Raleigh, Durham, which is also known as the Research Triangle. He's going out there. He has been going across the country to different states, obviously, and cities, talking about Bidenomics, investing in America.

COATES: You should call it Philonomics (ph).

JEAN-PIERRE: Philonomics (ph).

COATES: It's a vibe. I'm just saying.

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I was talking earlier about the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, right? He's going to talk about how we're repairing infrastructure. He's going to talk about how we're continuing to lower costs.

One of the things that's so important because of the president's economic policy and his plans, what he's been able to do, is because of what he has done. You're seeing the private sector investing in North Carolina alone, $31 billion, investing in manufacturing, making sure that we have good paying jobs. So, he's going to go to North Carolina, speak directly to the North Carolinians and talk about what his administration has been able to do for them.


COATES: Well, my mom is from Fayetteville. She calls that God's country. So --


-- good luck down there. I don't know if I agree about the actual barbecue, the vinegar versus other, but you know what? It's fine. I'm not going to go into the debate. I won't get you in trouble for any reason about that. Let's not go there. Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you for stopping by.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you so much, Laura. Thank you. All right, thank you.

COATES: Up next, former President Trump stepping up his attacks on rival Nikki Haley. And tonight, Haley is calling it all a temper tantrum.



COATES: Well, things are really heating up. There were dueling campaigns in New Hampshire tonight. Nikki Haley was in Rochester, Donald Trump in Portsmouth. And Haley had something to say about some late-night attacks from the former president. Listen to this.


HALEY: I know Trump threw a temper tantrum about me last night. I heard that. And I've seen the commercials you see. I will always tell you the truth.

So, one of those things that my friend Trump said was that I didn't want to close the border. You saw what I said about the border. He said I didn't want a wall. What I said is I don't want just a wall. We've got to do more than that.


COATES: I'm joined now by former Obama White House senior director Nayyera Haq. Also, Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton is here with us as well.

Okay, the temper tantrum discussion, you can say that's not particularly novel, but the fact that he is going after her --


COATES: -- tells you a lot about how he sees her. He has ignored most of the field up till now.

SINGLETON: For the most part.

COATES: Why her now?

SINGLETON: I mean, look at her standing in New Hampshire. I mean, Donald Trump obviously wants to make sure that he wins New Hampshire by a resounding margin similar to Iowa so that there is no doubt in mind comes South Carolina that the race is over.

And I think if you're advising Nikki Haley, you have to beg the question, do you want your candidate to lose her home state by 25, 30 points, particularly if you want that candidate to be in the best position to run in 2028? I think most seasoned strategists would probably say no. And so, Trump is betting on that.

COATES: She's fact-checking in real time or she's trying to fact- check?

NAYYERA HAQ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's also a little personal, right? She did serve in his cabinet and had made phone calls to him as he was fretting about keeping his seat in the White House and not being kicked out after the insurrection, and apparently calls him and asks him, you know, how are you doing? Are you okay? And even starts off the set of remarks we saw right now, saying, my friend Donald Trump.

She's trying to have it both ways, cater to the MAGA wing of the party but trying to set herself up as an alternative, and he sees right through that. SINGLETON: She doesn't want to turn off those (INAUDIBLE). I mean, Donald Trump is what, 40 points ahead of her in South Carolina come Super Tuesday. Litany of those states are more conservative, likely Republican primary voters. Nikki Haley is well attuned to the politics of this, and she gets it.

And so, she understands it is very critical not to isolate those voters while also defending herself for the moderate leaning Republicans, more centrist-leaning Republicans who want a candidate to stand up --

HAQ: Those who are still left in the Republican Party in a primary --

SINGLETON: It is about 25% of the party.

HAQ: Right. Versus the 60% of general Americans who are unaffiliated right now because they're just done with the partisanship. So, you know, her comments fit in a very general election-type situation --

SINGLETON: Yeah, I agree with that.

HAQ: -- but trying to make it out of a primary field that is dominated by Trump. It is going to be hard. He's going for the easy wins for him, right? The temper tantrum she's referring to is the fact that he once again is using her ethnicity to launch the equivalence of birther attacks, right? So, he's playing and messing around with her name the same way he did with Barack Obama and, you know, Ted or Rafael Cruz. This is what he does.

SINGLETON: But I think it's obvious -- but I think it's obvious looking at Nikki Haley that she's a woman of color. It's obvious. Okay? I mean, she can't hide that any more than I could, any more than Tim Scott could. So, I don't think that Republicans are somehow naive to the fact that she's not a white woman.

And so, I'm not exactly sure if voters are buying into the games that Trump is playing. I think it's more of an entertainment for him. But I don't think that's really going to move the needle one way or the other for those who are listening to this message.

COATES: Shermichael, I mean, I go back to this and maybe I'm being nitpicky when I say this, but if you're telling people you want to be the president of the United States, that we call him the leader of the free world, right?


COATES: You're going to go up against people who are not going to be pleased with the policies of this country and beyond.


COATES: Why isn't she going back on the offensive when it comes to the issues of birtherism, when he is promoting this totally false claim that she wasn't eligible to run for president? Being a part of the administration in the past, not wanting to alienate some of his voters, at some point, you got to fight back. Otherwise, can you be commander-in-chief?

SINGLETON: You do have to fight back, but I think she wants to be careful with appearing to lecture Republican base voters about race.

COATES: It's not lecturing, though.

SINGLETON: But that is how it would be perceived, though.

HAQ: Exactly, and this is part of the challenge of the modern Republican party. Standing up for yourself as a person of color would be seen as pandering to this idea of diversity when clearly, as you said, you know, she has a name that has family origins overseas, as do many people in the United States right now.

But that is not something that President Trump wants to embrace and actually wants to remind people of the differences of what his version of, you know, making America great again, rewinding the clock pre- civil rights era, pre-immigration, Naturalization Act, what that would look like.


And, you know, those are the strains of the Republican Party and nationalism that he's appealing to.

SINGLETON: But I would say from the perspective of many of those individuals we've seen for the past couple of years now, this idea of a racial reckoning, that we need to all talk about race, and if we can talk about it and if we can deal with it, we can finally move on. And anyone who dares not to do it, then you must be a racist.

And so many white Americans, particularly blue-collar folks, I'm definitely not a racist, so I will participate in the process of having this national dialogue. And then you fast forward and then DEI sort of became more mainstream. Then you add the gender influx. And then people start saying, well, wait a minute here, I'm not too sure about some of these things.

And so, from their perspective, you see these individuals, as I would call East Coast hubris, if you will, these individuals who say, well, we're well-rounded, we're well-traveled, we're well-cultured, and this is how you should behave, and these are the things you should accept. If you're not willing to accept these things, then you must somehow be bigoted.

And Donald Trump comes along and say, well, wait a minute, accepting some of this is okay, but we got to draw a line in the sand. We have to protect our cultural norms, our cultural identities, if you will.

COATES: Whose culture and whose identity is the question, right?

SINGLETON: Their cultural norms, their cultural identities. And to them, those things are fundamentally important. And so, I think that's why Nikki Haley has been very, very careful not to lecture those voters because she's politically astute enough to be aware that they don't want to be lectured on those particular issues. They've said, we've had enough, we don't want to hear this anymore.

HAQ: Which I think is fascinating, right? Because this is very much a perspective of backlash to Obama as opposed to this whole other part of the conversation that has existed for, you know, multiple years about what it means to have women's rights, abortion rights, what it means to have voting rights, all of that. And so, it's, you know, what Shermichael is speaking to is a segment of the population that is catching up and not having like that.

SINGLETON: We have an identity issue in this country that we have to deal with, Laura.

COATES: We do. We do. But I think if you're going to try to define who is America and only have one face looking back at you, you got a problem. Nayyera, Shermichael, thank you so much.

Attorney General Merrick Garland meeting with families of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting, and the parents of one child ended up walking out. I'll tell you why next.



COATES: We have news tonight on the deadly Uvalde school massacre. Attorney General Merrick Garland meeting tonight with families of some of those who were killed and injured. The meeting comes ahead of tomorrow's planned release of a Justice Department report on law enforcement's response to the mass shooting that killed 19 children and two of their teachers in 2022.

Family members were not given a copy of the report, but were briefed by Garland about its contents. The responses from families, well, they were mixed. The families of Khloie Torres, who survived the massacre, left early, saying they didn't hear anything new. And Berlinda Arreola whose granddaughter, Amerie Jo Garza, was killed, said this.


BERLINDA ARREOLA, GRANDMOTHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM AMERIE JO GARZA: It was a lot of information, and I guess the next step is to find out what will be done with this information.


COATES: Another family member, the father of Noah Orona, who was shot in the back and survived, says that he's hopeful that people around the world will -- quote -- "finally see the abysmal failure that law enforcement had." We'll be right back.


[23:52:25] COATES: It is the only unsolved airplane hijacking in the whole history of this country. Now, tonight, there are new clues and this is 52 years after the infamous D.B. Cooper hijacking mystery.

Now, I'm going to paint the picture for you, set the scene. It all began on a rainy night in November 1971. A man who identified himself as Dan Cooper boarded a flight from Portland to Seattle. He was wearing a suit and a trench coat along with a black clip-on tie and sunglasses.

Now, a little after takeoff, Cooper ordered a drink and handed a flight attendant a note saying that he had a bomb. Cooper demanded $200,000 in cash and told the pilot to fly to Mexico. Then, the unthinkable. With the cash strapped to his waist, D.B. Cooper parachuted out of the plane and then disappeared.

But now, there is new evidence that has emerged from cold case investigator, Eric Ulis, and he joins me now. Eric, I mean, I remember hearing about this story one day from my father who was telling me about this unsolved mystery and what could have possibly happened. And here we are all these years later, new evidence leading you to focus on a particular person who died last year. His name, Vince Peterson.

But I want to be clear, this is 2010 -- excuse me, 2002. This is actually your theory, and CNN has not reviewed the information independently on this matter, but his daughter has provided you with an envelope, I guess, that has his DNA on it. What's the latest now?

ERIC ULIS, D.B. COOPER INVESTIGATOR: Yeah, basically, there was a skinny black clip on tie that D.B. Cooper left on board. The jet was retrieved by the authorities. It was analyzed in 1971 but wasn't of much value at that time.

Recently, it has been analyzed under a scanning electron microscope and there were several unique particles, metal particles, that were found on the tie that point to a specific company in Pittsburgh, and I think to a specific division within that company.

There is a person of interest, a guy named Vince Peterson, who was a metallurgist there that I'm particularly interested in. I am working with his daughter to try to ascertain whether or not this guy was D.B. Cooper. If he wasn't D.B. Cooper, who was D.B. Cooper?

COATES: And we've reached out to the FBI and Peterson's family. They have declined to comment. But his daughter, she doesn't believe her father was D.B. Cooper. It's repetition to have the FBI release the files in this case. What has she told you about her father and the kind of person that he was?


ULIS: Well, she was six years old at the time of the skyjacking, again, back in 1971. So, she remembers her father being a very, you know, a very kind person and just the kind of person that wouldn't be involved in anything like this. But at the end of the day, you know, there are stories out there of people that pull off crimes or things of this nature and they managed to get away with it for a couple of reasons. The most prominent of which is people that were around invariably say there's no way in a thousand years we would ever believe that this person was involved.

At the end of the day, it's simply a matter of appealing to the FBI to get access to that clip on the tie and try to run a DNA test on it. Once we do that, if we're successful in convincing the FBI to give us access to the to the tie, very briefly, we're talking 10 minutes here, we can determine once and for all whether her father actually was D.B. Cooper.

Again, if it wasn't her father, who it was, because at that point, we would have a DNA profile to work with using 2024 state of the art technology.

COATES: Eric Ulis, you've got to keep us posted. This has always been a very fascinating story as to what happened. I mean, parachuted out of a plane, whoever this D.B. Cooper really was. Thank you so much.

And thank you all --

ULIS: My pleasure. Thank you.

COATES: Thank you. Thank all for watching. Our coverage continues.