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Laura Coates Live

Jury Says Trump Should Pay $83.3 Million In Damages To E. Jean Carroll; Defendants Ask To Get D.A. Dismissed From GA Case; Cornell Donor Calls University's Environment "Toxic"; CNN Presents "Overtime With Bill Maher"; Explicit, AI-Generated Taylor Swift Images Spread Online; Super Bowl Logo Is At The Center Of Conspiracy Theory. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 26, 2024 - 23:00   ET



LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Today's verdict will hit Donald Trump right in the wallet. But will it hurt him or help him on the campaign trail? Tonight on LAURA COATES LIVE.

An $83.3 million in damages for defaming E. Jean Carroll. That's a pretty bitter pill for Donald Trump to swallow, for anyone to swallow, really. But after he built his political career, of course, on the notion that he's a billionaire, maybe not so much, whether or not, of course, that's literally true. And none of this, by the way, is final until the judge signs off on all of it.

But it hasn't stopped and it has not stopped yet the former president from making hay of it politically. He went on social media with one of his all-time favorite charges, that phrase, you can say it with me now, witch hunt, and claiming that our legal system is being used as a political weapon.

But here's the thing: Do damages that are vastly bigger than anyone expected allow him to frame all of this as an attack against him, and frankly, would help him politically? After all, more than half of voters, more than half of voters in our New Hampshire exit poll said Donald Trump would be fit for the presidency even if he is convicted of a crime.

Joining me now are Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, a former DA in DeKalb County, Georgia, and Republican strategist Rina Shah. I'm so glad that both of you are here.

First of all, I just got to get your reaction to this, Gwen, in thinking about the fact that this is an $83 million verdict. I mean, this is not the five million from last year. This is also not a trial about whether sexual abuse occurred. That has already been decided. But what was your reaction to that number?

GWENDOLYN KEYES FLEMING, FORMER DEKALB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: So, it's a statement number. I think all of us can agree on that. Again, to break it down, there's a certain element that compensates Ms. Carroll for to repair her reputation. I believe that amount was about $18.3 million, and then it's a $65 million statement in terms of punitive damages. That's the punishment aspect.

And so, I think the jury again making this decision in less than three hours was very convinced based on the evidence that they saw and they wanted to send a message.

COATES: They did send a message and it was unanimous, of course, as well. And, of course, his message on the campaign trail, Rina, has been everyone is against me, they're really after you, they're trying to get through me, and this is yet another example. But it might not square because, of course, this is not a criminal trial, it was a trial that was brought by a plaintiff in a federal court at the civil level, but that doesn't seem to stop them.

RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well -- and it doesn't really make its way down to many people. They don't see the difference between criminal and civil. They just see Trump is being --


SHAH: -- you know, victimized again. And it's almost one of those moments in which you have to say, well, who's really the victim here? Because this is not the "believe all women" crowd when you talk about today's right.

I mean, they've been this way for a while. They don't want to believe that E. Jean Carroll suffered anything from Trump. He has even said he didn't know her. So, they believe that. Anything he says is fact to them, right? So that's the place you're operating from, number one.

But with E. Jean Carroll in particular, one thing that has been so troublesome for me in watching how the right has treated her for years now is that Trump continues to perpetuate the myth, and his cronies do, too, that she has been put up to this by someone else.


SHAH: And this is a moment in which I have to say, why would a woman in the twilight of her life, having achieved what she has achieved in her life, why would she want to go down like this? Why would she pursue this? She is in pursuit of the truth, it seems, and she wants accountability for something she was wronged for. But again, this is not a message I expect to make its way through the noise.

COATES: You know, interestingly enough, you heard Alina Habba, the attorney for Trump, on the courthouse steps afterwards attacking not only the system itself, that the New York jurors -- there was a foregone conclusion. She talked about people being influenced, you know, in ways they shouldn't have been to even bring the case.

But on that last point about defamation, defamation, as you know, requires there to be a lessening of one's reputation. They're arguing, no, no, it was enhanced, you are now heroic to people, what's the damage?

KEYES FLEMING: I think that is an argument that is a huge stretch. Again, as Rina said, any woman that has the courage to bring charges and hold folks accountable, either for prior sexual acts or just the types of horrendous things that we've heard said, that takes real courage.

And so, to say that they somehow benefited from that, nothing could be further from the truth. I think we've seen quite a few people that have been on the other side of these types of attacks, and all of them are looking to get some sort of compensation for their reputation to be put back to where it was.

COATES: What do you make of this claim, this is all Biden's doing, right? This is a Biden DOJ. You're smiling because you know the attention between all the different types of courts and who really is the puppet master of all these things. The question presumes the conflation that everyone is doing, that there is one mastermind behind all these cases.


It's not so here.

KEYES FLEMING: No, that is definitely not true. And again, let's realize we're talking about civil cases and several different criminal cases. And so -- particularly in the criminal realm.

We have grand juries that have come in. Those are ordinary residents that have evaluated the evidence and determined that there's sufficient evidence to go forward. In many of the cases, they will ultimately go to a jury, we can presume. And so, again, somebody will -- and citizens will be making those ultimate decisions.

But on the civil side, again, these are individuals where there is documented evidence and the courts have ruled in their favor on various motions throughout the trial. This is not a larger conspiracy with all of these different players in all of these different cases.

COATES: You know, you wouldn't know that it's like 284 days away from a general election because right now, we're not talking about somebody who wants to be the presumptive nominee in terms of policy arguments. We're talking about 91 charges, 83 million bucks.

And in fact, Nikki Haley, who is vying to be the Republican nominee, posted on X and said this: "Donald Trump wants to be the presumptive Republican nominee and we're talking about $83 million damages. We're not talking about fixing the border. We're not talking about tackling inflation. America can do better than Donald Trump and Joe Biden."

So, obviously, Rina, there is the political aspect of all of this, of what's not being talked about. The oxygen in the room, the distraction. He's using that to his advantage.

SHAH: More than a distraction. In the court of public opinion, he knows he wins every time that he spins, and that's why he has Alina Habba, a woman who I think is grossly unqualified to represent him, yet she does the job that he wants.

Every time she leaves the courtroom, she goes out to the cameras and she spins it because, again, with his base of support, and it's made its way to even more moderate Republican members, I've seen it, they have drunk the Kool-Aid saying that it does feel like conspiratorial.

So, what Nikki Haley is trying to do in bringing an honest message of saying, this is too much for us, let him go deal with his problems on his own, just cannot work because in the past few years in particular, Laura, there have been overtures made to try to have Trump's legal bills paid for by the RNC. We have not yet even gotten fact enough to know, has that even happened?

I'm actually -- I feel that there have been legal bills paid by various entities that go right back to the RNC. But are any members of Congress willing to talk about it? They will squash all this so that the general public continues to think Trump is being victimized, Democrats are the demon, and you need to show up at the ballot box because he's putting you first.

COATES: Speaking of the ballot box, I mean, there is a focus on a number of states. I mean, Ray Charles talks about Georgia on our mind. It's true when it comes to not only voting. It's true when it comes to Fani Willis and the state level prosecution of the election subversion in RICO charges.

I mentioned the word "distraction." We're talking about from the perspective of Nikki Haley politically of Donald Trump. But there is also a scandal that is brewing in Georgia with respect to whether what's being alleged there is a distraction. What's your take? You were a Georgia prosecutor. You must have an opinion.


COATES: Oh, she leaned forward.


COATES: Wait, let me see. Where's my seat? Okay, here. What? Go ahead.

KEYES FLEMING: Look, we all know that divorce cases are emotional, they're messy, and very often, they leave people in their wake. And unfortunately, that's what we're seeing in this case there.

Regardless of what happens in that case, the fact remains, one, that we are not talking about the evidence anymore. Remember, this is a case where two sets of grand jurors, again, total of about 40 or so ordinary citizens, passed judgment and decided there was sufficient evidence to bring the charges.

This DA has now four defendants admit guilt in open court, going through their rights, admitting under oath that they committed various elements of the charges that they ultimately pled to. And what people are forgetting is that all of that is proceeding. We have the calls on tape from January 2nd. That's not a question. But we're not talking about that evidence anymore.

And so, again, I think we all need to wait and allow D.A. Willis to respond officially, she's required to do so by next Friday, and then let's see what the judge does. But based on Georgia law, even assuming all of it is true, she is not required to be disqualified based on Georgia law because none of it describes a personal interest in the outcome for her.

And that's what's required. This is not a situation where there's a contingency fee, that you only get paid if you get a conviction. This is not a situation where there's a relationship alleged with a witness that may lie to improve their relationship with the DA's office.

Again, it is a distraction. And we all -- there's many of us that hope that we can get back to talking about the facts of the case and letting that work its way through the justice system.

COATES: Bless your heart for the focus. Oh, I love it. I'm -- I like you. I'm eager to hear about the facts and the meat of the matter, and we'll see if we get there on all of these fronts.


Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Rina Shah, thank you both so much for your insight and intellects tonight. I appreciate it.

Meanwhile, there's new pressure tonight on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Georgia State Senate, creating now a special committee to investigate allegations that she had an improper affair with Nathan Wade, who was hired as lead prosecutor in the 2020 election subversion case.

A Georgia State representative separately introduced a resolution to impeach D.A. Willis today and a third co-defendant in the case joined Donald Trump to ask that Willis be disqualified from the prosecution due to the allegations. Judge Scott McAfee will hold a hearing on all of that next month.

My next guest is an expert in legal ethics in a "New York Times" op- ed. He argues that for the sake of the case, D.A. Willis should take a personal leave of absence and step aside. Professor Clark Cunningham joins me now.

Professor Cunningham, thank you for joining. You just heard my colleagues discuss the nature of the allegations and not being a disqualification or disqualifying factor. You say that if the judge decides, well, this is disqualified, people might not realize it's not just her, the whole staff is disqualified, and a separate state agency then has to appoint someone to take over. Tell me about what this could mean down the line if this threat is followed.

CLARK CUNNINGHAM, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, I certainly agree with your prior guest that it's too early to decide one way or the other or have an opinion about these motions to disqualify the district attorney. I myself have said I want to see her reply when it comes in on February the 2nd. So far, the defendants haven't actually put any evidence in court. They say they will do it at the evidentiary hearing on February 15th. So, it's definitely too early, in my view, to actually say one way or the other whether the disqualification motion will be granted, but what I believe is that the risks are very, very great of going forward and fighting the disqualification motion, even if District Attorney Willis eventually prevails because of the reality of delay, and that's what you're asking me about, Laura.

If the motion is granted in February or whatever by Judge McAfee, then her entire office is disqualified because the power to act derives from the district attorney, then a state agency is charged to appoint a special prosecutor, and that really could take a long time.

She has already been disqualified for one defendant back at the stage of the special grand jury. It is now 18 months since that disqualification decision and there's still no special prosecutor appointed. So, we could --

COATES: So -- but hold on, professor.


COATES: On that point, if the whole office would be disqualified and that's, of course, an if, and we don't know the outcome, whoever would replace, whoever might replace, might decide not to even pursue the prosecution. They're not -- their hands are not tied. They're not bound to do whatever their predecessors have done, right?

CUNNINGHAM: Right. That's the even greater risk for the case, is not just delay, but that the new prosecutor who is appointed will take a look and decide to reduce charges or maybe even dismiss everything. That's the end of the case.

So, even though people say there's no risk of the indictment being dismissed because of these charges, you could end up in the same place. In fact, that again happened in a disqualification involving this DA's office couple of years ago involving Rayshard Brooks.

This leads to situation where District Attorney Willis voluntarily disqualified herself because of the conduct of predecessor, Paul Howard. Again, went to appointment of a special prosecutor, nothing happened for two years, and then the special prosecutor dismissed the charges, decided the police officers committed no crimes. So that's a real risk.

COATES: So, who is in charge of the agency that would be appointed a new prosecution team?

CUNNINGHAM: Right. Pete Skandalakis is the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia. He actually was the special prosecutor who decided to dismiss those charges against the police officers in the Rayshard Brooks case. He could appoint himself, but he could appoint a private attorney, he could appoint an existing district attorney.

Part of the problem I gather is it may not be used to find somebody who wants the job. There's not, I think, good resources to pay a private attorney and the existing DA offices that are large enough still don't want to take on this case.

The other problem is that, as I say, even if she prevails, Donald Trump and his lawyers are going to ask for interlocutory appeal. You're very familiar with that, of course, Laura. That would be up to Judge McAfee.

COATES: My audience might not be. Let's explain what that is, professor.



COATES: Hold on a second.


CUNNINGHAM: Interlocutory appeal -- sure. You know, that's an opportunity to appeal an issue before you go to trial. That's exactly what's happening in the Jack Smith case in the District of Columbia. The judge's decision there on presidential immunity is being appealed to the Court of Appeals, and there's a halt while that decision is being made. That could happen here as well.

So, she could win for the moment in front of Judge McAfee, but if Donald Trump succeeds in getting a temporary appeal to the Court of Appeals and then a stay, then it could be in the Court of Appeals for months, and then whoever loses in the Court of Appeals could go to the Georgia Supreme Court.

If this case does not complete and Donald Trump -- before the general election and Trump is elected again, he is going to argue that he cannot be prosecuted even in state court while he's a sitting president. So, the case might then go on hold for four years.

COATES: My goodness.

CUNNINGHAM: So, delay is -- delay is fatal, potentially.

COATES: Professor Clark Cunningham, we've learned a lot, and we know now that next week's hearing, a lot is on the line. Thank you so much.

CUNNINGHAM: A pleasure to be with you tonight, Laura.

COATES: Up next, trouble in the Ivy League. Why a big donor says Cornell has a toxic environment, and why he says the university's president should step down.




COATES: Tonight, a bit of a nursery rhyme for Ivy League schools in trouble. First came Penn, then came Harvard, next comes Cornell and its president. Out with the bathwater? Donors have now made a big ask of that school's trustees to fire Cornell president, Martha Pollack. They want her out over what they call is her shameful response or lack thereof to antisemitism, especially when compared to her swift response to the George Floyd tragedy.

The open letter written by Jon Lindseth outlines seven demands. They include scrapping DEI staffing and canceling the opening of a proposed center for racial justice on Cornell's campus.

Joining me now, Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy. Professor, thank you so much for being here this evening. Do you believe the Cornell president, based on these seven different points, will soon be out of a job or ought to be?

RANDALL KENNEDY, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Well, on the question of will the president be ousted, two other presidents have been ousted, so that could certainly happen. On the question of whether this should happen, you know, on the basis of what we know thus far, you know, the details are rather murky.

There are a couple of things, however, which seem to me quite troubling. One, the whole question of, you know, donors, big donors. You know, just because you've given money to an institution doesn't mean that your complaints should be taken more seriously than the facts warrant.

And my sense is that in the reporting about this, the fact that some of the donors are big donors is used as an excuse to give their complaints more credence. That's one complaint that I have.

There's a second one that focuses on the attack on DEI.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

KENNEDY: You know, in this -- in the attacks on DEI, there's a sense of restoration. You know, the idea is sometimes that DEI has really hurt the universities. Let's get rid of DEI and make our universities great again.

There's a reason why DEI came to the fore. It was a well-intentioned effort to make elite institutions more welcoming to people who had long been excluded or marginalized. Women, people of color, people whose sexual orientations were heterodox. DEI is an effort to make these institutions more welcoming to those people who had been excluded. And that's a good thing. Now, of course, sometimes people with good --

COATES: Professor, there are some who look at DEI -- excuse me, I was going to say, there are people who one would say, you know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I've often heard that phrase. They would look at DEI as something that is exclusionary now as a result. You don't share that particular opinion, but what do you say to those who say, well, that may have been the intention, but the result is different? What's your reaction?

KENNEDY: My reaction is that, first of all, DEI is a catchword, a catchphrase. It covers a lot of territory. I think that there is a lot that is good about the DEI enterprise. Like I said, these institutions are considerably more welcoming than they used to be, and that's a good thing.

On the other hand, that's right, there are aspects of the DEI bureaucracies that are problematic. I think sometimes that people who have good intentions, you know, they go too far.


One aspect of DEI that bothers me is the impulse towards compelling people. So, for instance, if you want to apply to many universities actually or to get promoted at universities, you're required to file so-called DEI statements in which you are required --


KENNEDY: -- to talk about how you would effectuate DEI in your research or your teaching. I think that's bad. I think that it seems like a loyalty test.

COATES: Interesting.

KENNEDY: That's not a good thing. So, I think in certain ways, DEI goes overboard. But in general, I think it has been on balance --


KENNEDY: -- a useful intervention.

COATES: Well, regardless of that position, it certainly has come under attack. We'll see where it leads next. Professor Kennedy, as always, a pleasure to pick your brain. Thank you so much.

Coming up, CNN's presentation of HBO's "Overtime with Bill Maher."




COATES: Right now, let's turn it over to our friends at HBO, because every Friday after "Real Time with Bill Maher," Bill and his guests answer viewer questions about topics in the national conversation. Here is "Overtime with Bill Maher."



BILL MAHER, HBO POLITICAL TALK SHOW HOST: All right, hi, CNN. Here's our panel. He hosts ESPN's first take in the "Stephen A. Smith Show" podcast, Stephen A. Smith is over here, and he's a comedian, writer, and producer whose new series "Ted" is streaming on Peacock, Seth MacFarlane is over here. (APPLAUSE)

And the Democratic congressman from California, Adam Schiff. He's going to be the senator from California.


MAHER: All right, here's what people want to know. What are the panel's thoughts on the jury awarding -- oh, this happened just before we went on the air -- the jury awarding E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in damages in her suit against Donald Trump? Donald Trump, what do we think? Not good, right?


SETH MACFARLANE, COMEDIAN, WRITER, PRODUCER ON PEACOCK'S "TED": This was the suit that he got threatened to be thrown out of several times, right?

MAHER: Right.

MACFARLANE: Like how toxic do you have to be where you're too rude to be on trial for sexual assault.

MAHER: Right.



REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think it's -- I think it's true justice. The only thing he cares about is himself and money, and going after the money is a way to bring about some real justice.

MAHER: Do you think he did it?

SCHIFF: Yes, I do.

MAHER: You do?


You think -- you think he raped her in Bergdorf Goodman's?


MAHER: You think he raped her in Bergdorf Goodman's?

STEPHEN A. SMITH, HOST/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ESPN'S "FIRST TAKE": I have no idea. Here's what I will tell you. It means --


It means absolutely nothing. Doesn't mean a damn thing.

MAHER: Right. SMITH: And I get tired of people trying to act like it. First of all, the man is running for president of the United States, and part of the reason he's running for it is because he's getting those campaign dollars so he can pick up the money to pay for his legal bills. That's what he's going to do. He's not going to lose any money.

Secondly, it ain't going to be $83.3 million. He'll appeal it. It will get knocked down. I'm just getting tired of seeing so much stuff targeted in his direction but somehow, someway, he still survives. I mean, we're talking about a situation where he's still going to be the GOP nominee. He's still going to be running for president.

Your president-biding, that's the individual that you're going to have to beat. Four indictments, 91 counts, they ain't even bringing up the bankruptcies, they ain't even bringing up this particular issue with this civil case, and somehow, someway, he puts cats to shame because he clearly has more than nine lives.



MACFARLANE: The most perfect disparity between these two people is that he cares about himself, he cares about money, and you have Joe Biden who put forth the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains climate provisions that are going to probably bear fruit long after he's gone.

SCHIFF: Uh-hmm.

MACFARLANE: Long after he's gone.

SCHIFF: Absolutely.

MACFARLANE: What does he have to gain by that? Nothing except -- God forbid I use the word "altruism."

SCHIFF: Well, you know what?


I don't share your pessimism about this or your pessimism about the general election. The reason why Joe Biden is going to beat Donald Trump is because at the end of the day, America is going to want a president who is a decent human being, who doesn't -- who doesn't shit on other people --


-- who has some interest in the American people, some interest in something beyond himself. I think at the end of the day, people are going to reject this bigoted, divisive figure. They're not going to want to put the country through four years of that.

MAHER: Well, they have every time except that one time.



MAHER: No, really. I mean, he didn't --


-- he really lost every election except the 2016. And that, of course, he didn't really win that one either. I mean, he's not the popular vote.

SCHIFF: Right.

MAHER: And I also -- you know, I don't know whether he did it, but I don't put anything past him. I also think Bergdorf should have better security.


MACFARLANE: Has there been any point in history in which not to say it's a cult, but has there been any point in history in which the same candidate has been put forth three times in a row, three elections in a row by the same party?

MAHER: Three elections. That's a great question.

MACFARLANE: Three elections in a row.

MAHER: Um, it could have happened with -- who's the guy?

MACFARLANE: Teddy Roosevelt. But I guess --

MAHER: Well, Roosevelt -- Franklin Roosevelt won four elections in a row. So, there you go.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, but, you know, given the circumstances like --


MAHER: Well, there is something. Well, there is always something going on in the country. No, really, you can't do that.


You can't be like, well, there is a war on, we have to -- stick with me. I mean, that doesn't work. There is depression, stick with me.

SMITH: Lost the popular vote in both elections. But the bottom line is this: I respect the fact that you don't share my pessimism. I truly do. I understand where you're coming from. But I think that's part of the problem. I think the Democratic Party should share my pessimism. I think they should be on high alert. I think they need to treat him with the seriousness that it deserves because you're having a lot of faith in the American people.

The man did get over 74 million votes. You've got people that are looking at Joe Biden. I'm not going to call him a cognitive mess or anything like that. That's very disrespectful. I would never speak about our president that way. But when you're 82 years of age, it's not offensive to say you're no longer spring chicken and you don't seem to have the level of five and the energy that you want you to have.


So, you take that into consideration. You take that into consideration. You can't ignore the fact that this man is a threat.

SCHIFF: Oh, make no mistake, I take him as serious as a heart attack.

SMITH: Okay.

SCHIFF: I'm optimistic, but we're going to have to fight tooth and nail, and one of the biggest obstacles we're going to have to overcome is all the efforts to prevent people from voting.

SMITH: Okay.

SCHIFF: We're going to have to turn out our people.

SMITH: Yeah.

SCHIFF: We're going to have to work like never before. We're going to have to work like our democracy is on the line because it damn well is.

SMITH: Right.

SCHIFF: And --


MAHER: Let us interject one thing into this discussion about Trump that we've been having all night. There was a question I was going to ask you, we ran out of time.

SMITH: Sure.

MAHER: "The Atlantic" put out an article last year and it was called, "Separating Sports by Sex Doesn't Make Sense," and talked about how we separate sports like the WNB and the other just because it's just socialization. This is insane.

SMITH: I agree.

MAHER: Okay. That's why people vote for Trump.

SMITH: Uh-hmm.

MAHER: Because there's stuff like that on the left that people just go, I know Trump's horrible, but separating sports by sex makes perfect sense.

SMITH: Uh-hmm.

MAHER: And if you think it doesn't, you can't leave the country.

MACFARLANE: That's cutting off your nose to spite your faith.

MAHER: I'm just giving you the answer to the question you're asking all night long. Why do they vote for Donald Trump? It's not always because they like him. It's because stuff like that is kookier to them.


MAHER: And there's lots of kookier --

MACFARLANE: It's kookier than trashing the Capitol? What the fuck it --


MAHER: In a way, it is.


MACFARLANE: How is it?

MAHER: It's apples and oranges. It's apples and oranges. One is more evil, one is more horrible. But thinking that -- I mean, what would happen if we combined the WNBA and the NBA?

SMITH: Well, LeBron would go from average in 25 to average in 70.


Because half the team would be, you mix it up, and he'd hold the ball and create the mismatch and take advantage of the mismatch.

MAHER: I'm just saying --

MACFARLANE: You know what? You're both right. And I'm going to tell you something, like, when you donate to the Democratic Party, which I have, you get to do certain things and I got to --

MAHER: I didn't even get a thank you.


MACFARLANE: I got a --

MAHER: I gave him a million dollars twice. I didn't get a --

SCHIFF: I got on a Zoom thank you.

MAHER: Thank you very much.



MACFARLANE: I got on a Zoom with Biden for like 10 minutes. Oh, you can talk to Biden for 10 minutes alone. Like, okay, great, wow.

MAHER: That was AI Biden.


MAHER: That was not Biden.

MACFARLANE: Yeah. Trust me, it wasn't AI Biden. But what I took away from that was that, oh, this guy is not the world's greatest public speaker.

MAHER: Right.

MACFARLANE: But I'm now getting why people like Lindsey Graham are defending him and saying, like, if you don't like Joe Biden, there's something wrong with you, which you can look it up. He did say -- I'm paraphrasing because I've had a hundred drinks, but --


-- he did essentially say that, like, if you don't like Joe Biden as a person, there's something wrong with you, you need to look yourself in the mirror.

SMITH: But there's a flip side, and here's the flip side. You can like Joe Biden, but hate Capitol Hill --

MACFARLANE: Of course.

SMITH: -- as it -- as it has been for so many years. When you look at people and think about Trump, you ever watch Trump debate? This is why I was joking around and said I'd challenge him to a debate. What would I have to worry about? He doesn't say anything. He goes up against Democrats. It's going to be very, very good. It's going to be fabulous. You watch. You'll see. He hasn't said anything.


Right? And nobody on the democratic side has, what is it? The pizzazz. I know you got the substance, but you've got a lot of people out there that are preoccupied with their own lives, and they want somebody that knows how to ingratiate themselves.

MACFARLANE: But that's what in debates is called a Gish gallop. It's called a Gish gallop.

SMITH: I understand that, but does it work?

MACFARLANE: It's when you disseminate so much bullshit, you're like Biff in "Back to the Future" getting fucking dumped on by the manure truck.

SMITH: But does it work? MAHER: We are on CNN.

SCHIFF: If you think Trump doesn't say anything during a debate --

SMITH: Oh, shit.

SCHIFF: -- you should see --



SCHIFF: Oh, man. Oh, boy.

MACFARLANE: Now, you tell me? (ph)

MAHER: All right --

SCHIFF: If you don't think Donald Trump says anything during debate, you should watch Steve Garland (ph).

MACFARLANE: In a debate, you can't defend yourself against an onslaught of lies and bullshit --


MAHER: I just said we're on CNN.


MACFARLANE: I'm on Fox, what's the difference?

MAHER: I know, but we're not supposed to swear.



MAHER: On CNN? No. You're going to lose this gig for me. We got to go.




COATES: And you can watch "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday nights on HBO at 10:00 p.m., and then watch "Overtime" right here on CNN Friday nights at 11:30.

Up next, Taylor Swift becoming the latest person to fall prey to AI deepfakes. And now, the White House is weighing in.




COATES: You know, if you've been online in the past 24 hours, you might have heard about pornographic, AI-generated images of Taylor Swift that were spreading across social media like a plague. That is until an army of Taylor Swift's fans, the Swifties, rolled in to save the day. They posted under the hashtags, protect Taylor Swift, coupled with tons of real, decent images of the pop star.

The social media flood served as an effective stopgap measure that was enough to push the images off the main page of X to the company themselves took an action. But at that point, the images had already been viewed tens of millions of times.

And just in case you're curious about just how good deepfakes have gotten today, take a look at these. This is a fake AI-generated image of Donald Trump being arrested, and another of the Pope in a fantastic looking puffer jacket. Both of those are fake.

I want to bring in Taylor Lorenz, a columnist for "The Washington Post." Taylor, thank you for joining us today. I mean, there are reports that it took nearly 17 hours, I think, for X to take down these images, but once something is online, the concern that everyone has is, can it ever really go away?

TAYLOR LORENZ, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Unfortunately, no. I mean, once something is out there on the internet, you can be removed from one platform, usually temporarily, but that just means it makes its way all around across, you know, deeper and darker corners of the internet.

These videos and images are already being disseminated in Telegram groups, Discord servers, group chats, message boards. Once they're out there, they're out there.

COATES: I mean, just thinking about the violation of one's privacy. Even if it's not an actual image of yourself, the suggestion that it is the way that people are going to try to use it in these salacious and disgusting ways, I mean, the White House is even commenting on these images, calling it alarming, and actually, they're calling on Congress legislation to try to tackle the issue.

I mean, is it even possible to regulate something like this, not just being reactive, but maybe preventing it in the first place?

LORENZ: Well, it's really hard to prevent this type of thing in the first place, but I think the social media platforms can undeniably do better. As you mentioned, it took 17 hours to get these images taken down. There's no way that that kind of timeframe is acceptable.

We've seen this type of stuff spreading previously, not just about other celebrities, but other random women, you know, even teenagers. You know, this kind of thing can happen to anyone and it's a growing problem. So, I mean, I think it's hard to kind of stop all of it from being uploaded, but we can certainly take it down in a faster manner. COATES: I mean, if it takes 17 hours to get it taken down and it's purportedly an AI image of Taylor Swift, a huge celebrity, what would it take the average person to try to use that system to get it taken down? Just think about that, America, what that would look like.

I mean, next week, Congress is going to hold a hearing on how to protect kids online with the CEOs of some of the entities you just named, Discord and Meta and Snap and TikTok and X. Can you talk about how all of this will really impact regular people?

LORENZ: Absolutely. I mean, look, this AI deepfake porn images are being created about high school girls. You have girls as young as 13 and 14 dealing with, you know, sexually-explicit images, often synthetically made by other teenage boys. Writer Kat Tenbarge has done excellent work on this.

So, you know, it's affecting children, and I think this goes back to protecting children online but also protecting women online. Ultimately, the root of these attacks is misogyny. You saw SAG-AFTRA actually speaking on behalf of Taylor today, you know, in support of her sort of calling out those motivations.

So, I really wish that these tech platforms took online harassment against women more seriously. I think had they done that and built a lot of these features in years ago, we wouldn't be in this tough position that we are today.

COATES: Well, let's hope at least the hearing next week moves a needle towards trying to not only condemn, but deter and prevent and hold accountable those who are engaged in this behavior, particularly as it relates to children.

Taylor Lorenz, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

LORENZ: Thanks for having me.

COATES: Up next, can we learn anything from the Super Bowl logo? Conspiracy theorists think it reveals the whole thing is scripted. Yep. We'll explain it next.




COATES: It seems no aspect of life is untouched by conspiracy theories these days, not even the sacred annual Sunday event otherwise known as the Super Bowl. Well, there's a bizarre theory that is going around and gaining some momentum that the colors of the game's logo are spilling the tea. And the whole shebang is predetermined. As I like to say, what the Friday? Well, CNN's Coy Wire descends into the madness.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COY WIRE, CNN HOST: All right, something is going on with the Super Bowl logos. Is this magic coincidence, something supernatural, or maybe it's part of this giant league-wide conspiracy? As some have said, are the NFL season scripted?


What's going on here?

UNKNOWN: Welcome to the table read for the 104th season of the NFL. Let's get to work.

WIRE (voice-over): At the start of the season, the NFL launched an ad, joking that the games were scripted. But many online, they think it's true.

For the last two seasons, the Super Bowl logos matched the color schemes of the two teams playing in it, but the league tells us they designed these logos up to two years in advance.

In 2022, the Super Bowl 56 logo had the orange of the Cincinnati Bengals and gold of the L.A. Rams. The following season, the colors were replaced by Philadelphia Eagles green and Kansas City Chiefs red. Is this some master plan and we're all just drinking the Kool-Aid? Was I predetermined to play for the Falcons and the Buffalo Bills before that? No.

Some online are calling foul, suggesting some nefarious conspiracy theory that the league already knows what teams it wants to make the big game and they flaunt a predetermined outcome right in our faces.

This year's Super Bowl logo colors? Purple and red, leaving only one possible outcome for this weekend's conference championships. Time will tell if the Ravens and 49ers prove the Super Bowl logo right yet again. The NFL has denied any conspiracy theory. They would say that, wouldn't they?



COATES: Not the tin foil hat. Coy Wire, thank you so much. And thank you all for watching. I'll be live on Instagram at "The Laura Coates" just a couple of minutes for the after show. Be sure to tune in. Our coverage continues.