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Laura Coates Live

Border Talks Still Underway; House GOP Moves To Impeach First Cabinet Member In 150 Years; Judge In NY Civil Fraud Case To Rule Any Day Now On How Much He Will Pay For Inflating His Wealth; CNN Shows More Never-Before-Seen Police Video In Jennifer Crumbley Trial; CNN Remembers Chita Rivera. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 30, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: You know, it's almost like some people on Capitol Hill don't actually want to solve the immigration crisis. But that couldn't be or could it? Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

Let's be clear, there is no border deal yet. Senate negotiators are still trying to dot the I's, to cross the T's, you know, to actually have text, and there's no clear sign when they might actually get there. That, of course, has not stopped Republicans in the House from declaring the not-yet-final deal dead on arrival.


MIKE JOHNSON, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We have a responsibility, a duty to the American people to insist that the border catastrophe has ended. And just trying to whitewash that or do something for political purposes that it appears that may be is not going to cut it. And that's a non-starter in the House.


COATES: Now, Senate Republican John Cornyn says the GOP is debating whether to ditch the border deal and move ahead with a separate bill with money for Ukraine and Israel. One senator, Democrat Jon Tester, has had, well, just about enough of the entire thing. And yes, I'm quoting here, "This place is so goddamn dysfunctional that it was a little too natural." I admit that, mom, it's not part of my Lexicon normally, but I was quoting somebody in Congress.

Okay, there has been a lack of and a lot of back and forth all day on immigration, but tonight, we're going in depth on the crisis and, of course, the politics behind it all, including the House tonight kicking off their attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over, you guessed it, immigration. We'll dig into what's really behind all of the drama tonight.

And joining me now right here is CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona and White House correspondent for "The New York Times," Zolan Kanno-Youngs. Youngs, I'm so glad that both of you are here today. I mean, just thinking about the rhetoric, what's happening, the lack of text, I mean, I say dotting their I's, crossing their T's, Melanie, but like, what is there right now? Is there anything to actually sink one's teeth into?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: No, there's no bill text yet, and I would say this deal right now is on life support. You know, you have these Senate Republicans who are now actively discussing whether to just walk away from this deal entirely and just try to put forward a more standalone, straightforward bill just for Ukraine and Israel.

Now, they have said no decisions have been made, but there are very serious questions and doubts about whether this is even going to come to the Senate floor. And even if it does, Speaker Mike Johnson has made very clear that this has zero pathway in the House.

And so, what you have is Senate Republicans who are very reluctant to back this deal because they know former President Donald Trump is against it and they don't want to vote against it and have him bashing them. They also know it's going nowhere in the House anyway, and that has caused a ton of frustration inside the GOP.

Just listen to Kevin Cramer, who is normally someone very closely aligned to Donald Trump.


SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): CORKE, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Here's what I worry about. If we don't try to do something when we have the moment to do something, all of those swing boarders in swing states for whom the border is the number one priority have every right to look at us and go, you blew your opportunity.


ZANONA: Yeah, and the other thing is that we've heard from Republicans -- they are starting to change their tune. First, they said they want border policy changes on the border in exchange for Ukraine aid. Now, some of them are openly saying that Biden already has the power to act and there's no need for legislation. So clearly, they're moving the goalposts here, but the likelihood of a deal right now looking very, very grim.

COATES: I mean, which brings us really to the White House again. You did this really in-depth dive. I was talking to you about it in the green room, really. We're in makeup but, you know, I don't wear makeup, so I was going to say the green room instead. But, you know, thinking about it, it was such a deep dive in "The New York Times." You go into detail about how really this is horrible news on top of horrible news for the Biden administration.

Although it has been decades in the making of an immigration crisis, he chose to lead with compassion, be the foil to his predecessor, Donald Trump. It has not worked out. It has been exacerbated. Republicans and Democrats are extremely frustrated.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Now, that's absolutely right.


Look, I've covered this issue going back to the Trump administration and there is definitely a difference between the Biden who campaigned for president talking about this issue, talking about moving away from the Trump era policies, talking about expanding asylum, restoring compassion, humanity when it comes to the approach at the border.

COATES: Good to campaign on.

KANNO-YOUNGS: Good to campaign on, very hard to govern on.


KANNO-YOUNGS: And we've seen that through key points in this administration. Almost as soon as coming into office, you see a record number of children coming from Central America and the president did say that he was not going to rapidly turn away those children crossing alone from the border like President Trump did.

But even at that point, you did also see the White House delay something like the refugee camp in the country. Let's then keep going. You go to a surge of Haitian migrants crossing the border, crowded on a bridge in Del Rio. Well, we talked to advisors, we talked to officials in the government that said that that moment there was almost a breaking point for them and the administration.

COATES: You mean the border patrol agents who were on the horseback?


COATES: That scene, the optics?

KANNO-YOUNGS: Now, a lot of people focus on the border patrol agents --

COATES: Right.

KANNO-YOUNGS: -- on the horseback. Right. That is the moment that I'm talking about. But actually, the president did come out and condemn that action. What -- the officials, current and former, that we talked to who were so angry said, yes, there was a lot of attention on those photos, but not as much on the fact that the administration was still putting migrants on planes and sending them back to Haiti that we know is in turmoil at this point.

Now, Port-au-Prince is almost 75% controlled by gangs, sending some of those asylum seekers there. That was a breaking point. Taking a step back throughout the Biden administration, there has been a push and pull between his advisors, some advocates that -- or former advocates that have now left the administration, others --

COATES: In protest, by the way.

KANNO-YOUNGS: In protest, including some who left in protest during that moment in 2021. And then on the other side, you have people that are a bit more enforcement-minded as well.

And this push and pull has existed throughout the Biden administration, how fast to unwind Trump-era policies and what to replace them with to the point where you have a president who came into office, again, pledging compassion and humanity and expanding asylum programs to one that just recently in the last week echoed language from the former president when he said that he was ready to shut down the border.

COATES: So, when you hear all that, Melanie, you've been covering the Hill so thoroughly and you see this give and take, this push and pull, and the inability to take yes for an answer, I mean, when I hear you say they could go back to having a separate bill for Ukraine and Israel, isn't that where we would have started before all of this frustration happened in the first place?

ZANONA: Right.

COATES: But when you hear his description of how much this has been a problem within the administration, is it a wonder it's now leaking outside?

ZANONA: Yeah. Well, you're so right to point that out, and we should also point out that there were some Democrats who were opposed to this emerging Senate deal and the contours of this proposal. This is the most conservative immigration proposal that has been discussed on Capitol Hill in probably decades.

And Republicans realize that, too, at least privately. They know this is probably their last and best chance to actually do some of the things they have campaigned on and talked about for so long, and yet they see it slipping away from them right now. And if they don't get this done now, I don't see this getting done at all, at least this Congress.

COATES: Well, you know, I always invite the audience into our conversation. I want them to feel as though this is part of our collective platform, and they've invited to ask some questions from the audience who have been going on my social media to ask you all. Here is one of the questions from the audience.

Republicans now saying Biden doesn't need legislation. He has executive power. There's the question from the viewer who asks, "Many Republican lawmakers say that President Biden already has the authority to solve the problem at the border. Many Democrats say it must be solved through legislation. What can actually be done while members of Congress squabble like children?"


COATES: Zolan? Melanie?

KANNO-YOUNGS: Sure, sure. So, I think it's important to note some of the things that Republicans are calling for have been tied up in the courts, restoring something like the remain in Mexico policy, which forced migrants to wait in Mexico. Yes, that was executive action for that forced migrants to wait in Mexico until their asylum decision was settled -- excuse me, until their asylum case was processed. That's caught up in the courts.

Title 42, which rapidly turned away migrants, that was a COVID authority, the pandemic is over. I also think it's worth noting for this question too, that yes, Republicans are now calling for executive action. I remember not too long ago, Republicans were saying, we need a legislative fix.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

ZANONA: Right. About maybe three weeks ago --


ZANONA: -- they were saying that.

KANNO-YOUNGS: Correct, correct.


COATES: As in yesterday.

KANNO-YOUNGS: Correct, correct. So, now, on what the administration can do in the meantime, look, there is -- this is intractable issue and they have limited options here.


But one thing that I would watch out for is, just a couple of weeks ago, when border crossings surpassed or were about 11,000 a day at the southwest border, the administration had a pretty pivotal moment where President Biden was on the phone. We report on this with the president of Mexico, with AMLO, Lopez Obrador. And Lopez Obrador urged him to send his top officials to Mexico.

Now, some of the things that the United States has done in the past when confronted with this crisis -- yes, there's only limited options you can do at the U.S.-Mexico border. What I would expect them to continue to do is to push Mexico, to increase enforcement at the border with Mexico and Guatemala.

The Biden administration has said that they have a more collaborative approach, a more regional approach with some of these countries to almost stop migrants before they get to the border.

I spent about three months in the region in our Mexico City bureau and actually found that that's not always too much of a seamless relationship, that you do have some countries busting migrants north. So, I would watch that in terms of what the president could do alone, working with other nations in the region to deter migrants from getting to them.

COATES: Melanie, Zolan, thank you so much, and thank you to you all for inviting your questions into it as well. Thank you. Also, tonight, we've been telling you House Republicans are moving that much closer to impeachment, impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Now, they claim he committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Why? For allegedly mishandling the southern border even though multiple constitutional experts say the evidence doesn't actually reach that high bar.

Let's bring in CNN contributor and former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean. John, it's always good to see you, and I have been honestly eager to talk to you about this because every time I think about the high crime and misdemeanor standard, you know, over time, especially in this instance, it has been questioned as to whether it meets it.

And Republicans, they can claim high crimes and misdemeanors, but Democrats and others are arguing this is just a policy dispute, not a high crime and misdemeanor. How do you see it?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Laura, there is no defined term for high crimes and misdemeanors. And Gerald Ford, when he was minority leader before becoming vice president, famously or infamously said, a high crime or misdemeanor is whatever the House of Representatives votes that it is. And that's very true in a very practical kind of sense.

So, there is no standard. It was considered before to be a criminal activity. That was the law and sort of the norm but that has been abandoned and certainly by the current Republican thinking.

COATES: While we're looking right now, you and I are having this conversation, we're seeing inside of the committee room where they're debating this very issue, and we will see how all of this unfolds. The expectation is a resolution maybe in the wee small hours of the morning. What else is new, Congress?

But, you know, no cabinet member, John, has actually been impeached since what? The Grant administration is 150 years ago, I would add. So, have we lost this sense that impeachment was absolutely a last resort? I mean, my children, they're 9 and 11. They're well versed in impeachment at this point in time after having at least two from a president and now this. Are we long past the time of the means of last resort?

DEAN: Well, cabinet officers have long been immune from this kind of politics and performative politics we're seeing by the current Republicans. This is reaching way beyond the boundaries of what is the norm.

Is it possible? Is it permissible? Is it legal? Yes. Is it acceptable? Is it a good policy or good process? No. This is taking advantage of a very important tool of democracy and using it as a tactic that's going to weaken democracy ultimately.

So, it's kind of shameful what we're seeing, Laura, but it is what we've got today.

COATES: I mean, let's follow that thread, though, right? I mean, if it's diluting the process, if it's considered to be this political weapon that can be wielded in the instance it is warranted, I mean, here, you mentioned the word "performative." The Senate is likely to never reach that two-thirds majority to actually convict Mayorkas.

So, is the performative aspect of this part of the political process to either raise awareness or serve as a notice to other governing bodies?

DEAN: I think in this instance, it is pure harassment of a cabinet secretary, sadly. But what they're doing is, yes, they're all focused on the issue of what we should do with the border. They're not willing to have a legitimate discussion where they'll commit to doing something that is actually useful.

So, this is a substitute. They say, oh, they can go home and say, oh, well, we impeached the secretary of Homeland Security for not enforcing policy, which they won't really give him the strength or the manpower to enforce in an effective way now that the president has said he's ready to go.


So, that hasn't been resolved yet, but this is one of the substitutes they can slide in there as a sort of a pretend that they have taken some action for their constituency. I'm hopeful that their opponents will run on this and say, this is just pure show. This is just -- this is theater. This isn't accomplishing anything.

COATES: I mean, I can imagine the retort is, hmm, pot calling kettle black, even if it's not warranted, John Dean, and you and I both know that. Thank you so much. And, of course, we're continuing to watch what's happening inside of that committee room. We'll bring you the very latest when we have it. John Dean, thank you as always.

DEAN: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: A bipartisan effort? No, that's not an oxymoron but a bipartisan effort, an issue that voters really care about. So, why can't Congress get a border bill done? That's next.



COATES: "This place is so goddamn dysfunctional" -- unquote. See, mom? I was quoting someone again. Those are the words of Democratic Senator Jon Tester, laying bare the growing, well, acrimony over the state of affairs on where else? Capitol Hill. Will they be able to actually solve the border crisis?

Let's talk about it now with CNN political commentator Ashley Allison, who served as the National Coalition's director for the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign, and also former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, Charlie Dent.

Okay, Charlie, you've been hearing about the bipartisan effort, the role of Donald Trump in all of this. Senator -- I mean, excuse me, Speaker Mike Johnson saying it was laughable or whatever his phrase was, that they would stop because of Trump. But why can't this get done?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, because a rump wing of the House Republican GOP is trying to insist on a policy outcome. They don't want Ukraine funding. So, many of them said, both the House and the Senate, that we need a border fix in order to justify a vote for Ukraine funding.

Well, now they're saying they don't want the border fix, even though Senator James Lankford has negotiated right-of-center policy that many Republicans would like.

So, this is a very cynical ploy to simply blow up the deal to benefit Donald Trump who, of course, is stirring the pot here. He doesn't want a deal. He thinks it helps Biden.

In the end, it's probably going to hurt Republicans because now they will also own some of this border dysfunction by failing to do anything. And so --

COATES: But on that point, Charlie, when you think about that, the blame, will the blame be the failure to accomplish or the coddling of a candidate? Which is the blame?

DENT: Well, it's -- I think a lot of this has to do with Donald Trump. Donald Trump wants to blow up this deal because he sees Joe Biden benefiting politically. I think that's a miscalculation. Biden is definitely being harmed by the border chaos. But Republicans are failing to act while there is a crisis going on right now. I think Nikki Haley is already attacking Donald Trump over this. So, I think this is a mistake.

But the bigger issue then becomes, what happens if there is a failure in Ukraine, if Putin prevails? Well, the Republicans own that just as Biden owned the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is the problem that the GOP faces. It's a very cynical ploy.

A lot of Republicans in both the House and the Senate want to fund Ukraine. And if they can't do the border, then the speaker is going to be under tremendous pressure from some of his own members to bring up a Ukrainian funding vote. It's going to have to do it, I think. I don't know how you can just do nothing.

COATES: And separately -- by the way, we should bring you back to square one before the discussions around attaching it and lumping it together with border security. If that's right back where you started from, what does that mean for the Democrats, though? I mean, obviously, Republicans could be blamed for a lot of this, but Democrats don't escape the wrath of voters who say Congress is dysfunctional.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think we all can start with the beginning point, is that we need to do something because there is a problem with our border right now, and we need a broader approach to immigration reform. The question is and what do Democrats do is, it's not a popular answer, but in 10 months, there are elections. And so, this wing of the Republican Party that you're talking about, it's up to Republicans to get them out because they are dysfunctional and they are preventing any type of governing from happening.

Democrats should go hard at some of these districts, particularly districts. Some of them are super red and will never flip. But the majority in the House is so slim that if Democrats play their cards right, they might be able to take the House back.

Now, the Senate is a whole another thing. The map is a lot harder. But when you have people -- this is a split government. We have the Democrats having the White House and the Senate, but Republicans have to take some responsibility, and they are not trying to -- the overwhelming majority are not trying to find a solution.

And the final thing I'll just say on this is Republicans often say Joe Biden is so radical. He's so to the left. Charlie just pointed out, this is a pretty conservative bill. It's not like that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are running laps of victory, but he is realizing he only has so many levers right now he can pull because it is a split government.

Democrats are working for solutions and some Republicans are as well, but will they remain hostage to the folks in the Republican Party who just don't want solutions at this point?

COATES: Will they?

DENT: Well, right now, it's really up to the speaker. We'll see if the Senate passes this bill. I hope they do. If they pass this bill and they send it to the House, the speaker has to make a choice, to do nothing on the border mayhem and not to fund Ukraine.


I think -- I think the consequences of doing nothing would be terrible for the GOP, both on a geopolitical level with Ukraine and certainly as it relates to the border. So, I think they're under -- I think the speaker will be under tremendous pressure to act. He does not have a functional majority in the House to begin with. It's razor-thin. Even if he had a few more votes, he still can't come. He can't pass an appropriations bill.


DEAN: He can't even bring up a rule.

ALLISON: So, we were on Capitol Hill when the last speaker --

DEAN: Yeah, we were.


ALLISON: -- vote was going, right? DEAN: We were.

ALLISON: We spent some time together. So, if he does this deal, is he the next Kevin McCarthy?

DEAN: No. I think Republicans would be crazy to vacate the chair given the political dynamics. There's a good chance they could lose the House majority anyway. Why would they do that, walking up to the eve of the election? So, I think he's going to be safe, but that doesn't mean his right wing is happy with him. If he goes in minority next session, they might not keep him.

COATES: While I have you here, I've got to know about this Cori Bush, Congressman Cori Bush's investigation by the DOJ, where they are alleging that she hired her now husband as security and, of course, you can have bona fide purchases if it's a fair market value, that's going to be the crux of the investigation, I understand it.

But when you look at this and are seeing not only this investigation, whether it is fruitful or not, Menendez being indicted, you've got Jamaal Bowman having the issue with the fire alarm pulling, censures and what's going on, how have you been looking at your former colleagues as a whole in terms of how people are viewing the very institution? I mean, everything points to and away from the core issues and to the distractions of all the individual issues.

DEAN: Well, this is always a bad look when they're members of Congress who are under indictment or under federal investigation. It's a terrible look. And in the case of Cori Bush, I mean, I don't know if she used federal funds or not, but you really can't use federal funds to pay members of your immediate family. I don't know if she used federal funds. If she used campaign funds, well, you know, members of Congress have always paid members of their family to run their campaigns.

COATES: She says she didn't, of course. She says she did not.

DEAN: Okay. So, I don't know, but it's a terrible look. I was chair of the Ethics Committee. You know, when the public sees members of Congress indicted, you know, we get back to the whole culture of corruption issue. We have, of course, George Santos most recently. You know, there's both sides of the aisle, so it's a fox on everybody's houses. It helps explain why both parties' standing in the eyes of the public is very low right now.

COATES: Really quick, what's your reaction?

ALLISON: Well, again, I don't know the details of all of this, and I think let the investigation play out. What I don't like is the response that a congressman made, saying -- calling her husband a thug, saying that basically she was quiet, she wouldn't need so much security.

That kind of language is inappropriate. It is not one that people who hold the title congressman should have, but also not something that a human being should be saying to another human being. I think that, you know, we need people in our elected offices who have a little more integrity with their words than that.

COATES: Mud-slinging on Capitol Hill.

ALLISON: Surprise, surprise.

COATES: Who would have imagined the day? Ashley, Charlie, both thank you so much. Now the question, how do you beat Donald Trump in court? There are a number of prosecutors and litigants who are asking that very question. I have someone who did, who will explain his take, next.



COATES: Some pretty major legal decisions are hanging in the balance for the former president, Donald Trump. Questions like, is he immune from prosecution? Will he be barred from primary ballots for being an insurrectionist, although he's not been charged as one? Is his New York business empire or career over? And will he have to pay perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars?

Learn all of that very soon, presumably. But in the meantime, prosecutors involved in all those cases, take note of my next guest. He is a lawyer who prosecuted the fraud case against Trump University and won. Tristan Snell is here and he's the author of the brand-new book, "Taking Down Trump: 12 Rules for Prosecuting Donald Trump by Someone Who Did it Successfully."

Well, prosecutors across the land are now leaning in officially to wonder about this very notion --


-- and I got to start with this because you actually won a major fraud settlement, $25 million against him. We know that E. Jean Carroll, $83 million plus. I'm not besting you in any way, but I do wonder --


COATES: They fare it well. I'm wondering how you -- how you viewed that trial.

SNELL: I thought that they handled it very well. And, of course, this is really piggybacking off of the trial from earlier -- from last year. Things that were decided in that were carried over to this next one.

And then Trump and his lawyer, Alina Habba, did not make matters better for themselves by continuing to try to relitigate the findings from earlier trial. All it did was make them look terrible and lacking in any kind of contrition in front of this new jury. And they threw a huge punitive judgment at him.

COATES: Tell me about his conduct in these courtrooms. I mean, you must have been watching, comparing your own experience. What did you make based on your experience actually suing him?

SNELL: You know, we never got to actually have him come to court with us on the other side of it, so we never got presented by the lovely prospect of having him storm off in a huff. That must have looked really good in front of the jury, too. You know, there --

COATES: Why didn't you get there?

SNELL: Uh, we never got to that point because we never went to trial. So, it settled right before trial, and he hadn't shown up for any of the other proceedings running up to trial. It was just going up against his lawyers.


Now, that was -- there are some similarities between that situation and what you see now today with Habba. But Trump really made his situation a lot worse going to court. Every time he steps inside the courtroom, he makes his situation worse.

COATES: You know, I ask viewers oftentimes their take on it, and they ask questions of my guest. They have one for you as well and it says -- this is somebody on Instagram following me at the "Laura Coates" and it says, which upcoming court decision, motion, appeal, or verdict involving Donald Trump will have the most impact on his behavior? What do you think?

SNELL: Well, I would actually go and say that that would be the January 6th criminal trial, which we've kind of forgotten is coming. We're thinking about SCOTUS and the D.C. Circuit and all this stuff. They're going to rule and it's probably going to result in saying that he's not immune, Trump is not immune.

Then we're going to actually have trial on this. We were supposed to have it as early as March 4th. It's five weeks from now. I think we might be talking about it happening a few weeks after that, but I think we're talking a delay of weeks, not months.

So, if I'm going to answer that question, it's going to be, I think we're going to get a guilty verdict on at least one count in that D.C. case and, you know, nothing like a criminal imprisonment to change someone's behavior.

COATES: Well, right now, he has been pretty quiet with an $83.3 million verdict. We haven't heard much from him, which is in stark contrast to how he has been in the past. I wonder if there's a monetary incentive as well. But you've also written about this in your book where we might think about Teflon Don. You think about stonewalling instead. Why do you think?

SNELL: I think the -- you know, the stonewalling is definitely part of his playbook, which I go through a lot in my book, and then how do you overcome his playbook. The stonewalling and the delays and the character assassination, the counterattacks, that's all part of his playbook there, and you've got to be able to overcome that. E. Jean Carroll and her legal team led by Robbie Kaplan did a masterful job of being able to handle all that. They just didn't pay any attention to any of that. They just kept on pursuing their case. I think Tish James in New York, the New York A.G. has also done a great job of that, not paying any attention to the counterattacks and the clown show that shows up with a lot of these cases.

And that's really a lot of the key to beating him, is you can't let him make it about something else. You need to focus on your facts, your law, argue the case in front of the court. Just keep pushing, don't give up, don't get distracted, and you see what the outcomes are that we're now getting. They're following the playbook that the A.G.'s office originally kind of came up with in the Trump University case, and you now see the results.

COATES: Well, tell me about D.A. Fani Willis because, obviously, there is a distraction happening in Georgia.


COATES: Will Trump capitalize on her being the story?

SNELL: Look, I believe personally that there's a very good chance that Trump is part of all of that. I don't believe that it's just one of the other defendants happened to come up with this idea that maybe they would go after that. And the ex-wife of the -- or soon to be ex- wife of this one gentleman, you know, suddenly decided to make it an issue.

It very much looks like the Trump playbook in action, to come up with some sort of sideshow thing that can hopefully divert everybody's attention.

So, I think the key there is for Willis is to not bring it up at all, like just don't say anything about it, keep pushing ahead. The best response she could make would be to flip another witness because she has done a very good job of that. That would be the best move, the best countermove, be like, I'm just continuing on with my case, your move.

COATES: Wow! Well, whether that's checkmate or not is anyone's guess. Really interesting. Really great book. Again, the book again is "Taking Down Trump: 12 Rules for Prosecuting Donald Trump by Someone Who Did It Successfully." His name, Tristan Snell. Thank you so much.

There are also big developments in the trial of the mother of the Michigan school shooter, Ethan Crumbley, including newly-released video of her in the back of a police car after the shooting. I'll tell you about the dramatic day in court next.


JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, MOTHER OF ETHAN CRUMBLEY: He has never done anything wrong. He's a good kid. This is (bleep) up. My son just ruined his life. I'll probably never see him again. Like what the (bleep). (END VIDEO CLIP)



COATES: Another day of shocking testimony in the involuntary manslaughter trial for Jennifer Crumbley. Newly-released police video shows her in the moments after her son, Ethan, carried out his deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, telling police -- quote -- "We're not bad people."

We also got to see photos from inside the Crumbley home and you can see two bullet-riddled gun range targets hanging on Ethan Crumbley's bedroom wall and a bowl of spent shell casings on his bedside table. And inside the parents' bedroom, a gun safe that held two firearms. The password to that gun safe, the default code, 0-0-0.

You also heard testimony from the former dean of students at that Oxford High School. He spoke about the meeting that he had with Ethan Crumbley's parents on the day of the shooting. Now that meeting was over concerns raised from this drawing that included a picture of a gun and the words, "The thoughts won't stop. Help me."

And the dean explaining that he returned Ethan Crumbley's backpack to him without searching it because there was no reason to suspect any wrongdoing, according to the testimony. The bag contained the weapon used in the shooting.


Let's talk about it now with CNN legal analyst and defense attorney extraordinaire, Joey Jackson. Joey, I have been thinking about this trial, the testimony that came in today. I thought of you because the dean also had this to say today on the stand. Listen.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Did Jennifer Crumbley ever tell you that she had given her son a six-hour, nine-millimeter handgun just four days before this drawing was created?


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Would that have been important to you?

EJAK: Absolutely, yes.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Would that have helped complete the full picture?

EJAK: It would have and it would have completely changed the process that we followed.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COATES: How do you think a jury is going to see all of that?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Laura, nice to be with you. You know, this cuts in both ways. In the first instance, a jury can evaluate this and say this is the school misplacing responsibility. This is the dean. The dean had reason to know and see that there was a photo, there was a gun on the photo, there was blood on the photo.

Sir, you had an opportunity to stop this. You saw and noticed that photograph, didn't you? You have the ability to see that bag. You have the ability to rummage through that bag. This is the photo here. You sat on the stand. If you learned about a gun, it would have changed the equation. Did you ask that question? Should you have asked that question? Could you have asked that question?

And so, on the one hand, it's the school deflecting blame and saying, hey, no. On the other hand, you're the school, you're the dean, and you should know. And these are going to be the arguments. And, you know, Laura, as we see the photo there with respect to the bullets and the house and everything else that we're looking at, this also cuts both ways.

In terms of the, you know, the photo we were looking at just before with the bullets and the pictures, the reality is that we are a big Second Amendment country. People have a right to bear arms, not 15- year-olds. But the reality is that people hunt, people use weapons, et cetera. If you have something in your home which reflects bullet casings or the fact that you went to the shooting range and shot up different things, so what? The reality is people do that. Is that indicative of a person who is going to go to a school? And is it foreseeable that just because you shoot with your family as a hobby, you're going to do that?

So, these are things that certainly are fair game to argue. The prosecution will argue it for its purposes. The defense will say it was our right to do that. And, you know what? She just had no idea that her son was capable of this, and that's what you're seeing.

COATES: When I hear you, I think about foreseeability, who had the duty to act, to do the search, and what was knowable at the time. This is going to be the crux of the entire argument. And again, she is being tried separately from her husband. That dean is not on trial. And I sense a moment of pointing fingers in different directions. You used the term "deflection" in this instance. And we've seen a little bit behind the scenes as to whether or not she was on notice, that she could expect this behavior.

Jennifer Crumbley's former boss testified, discussing these texts with her on the day of the shooting. Joey, here is what Crumbley said. Quote -- "I need my job. Please don't judge me for what my son did." What do you think about that text making its way into evidence in terms of how the jury might see this? Obviously, they're going to be scrutinizing everything that happened that day, her demeanor, her words, now her texts, and her concern about her livelihood.

JACKSON: Without question, Laura. First, to get to your issues before what you summed up perfectly, foreseeability is at issue. To what extent if you have a gun that a child has, is it reasonably foreseeable that a child would do this? You can argue it is. To the issue of notice, were you not on notice of your son's maladies and did you do enough? You were. But did the school do enough? And then you get to the issues of the text that you just showed, that will cut both ways also.

On the one hand, the jury could say, how selfish of you? You're thinking about your job and the reality is that your son just engaged in such carnage, that the school for precious lives of children are lost and you're worried about your job? Really? How dare you?

On the other hand, people know and understand that self-preservation is important. People need jobs to survive, to live, to support themselves and should not be judged, right, by what their children do. And so again, like all evidence, it's going to be evaluated in one way if you're the prosecutor and in another way if you're the defense.

COATES: Joey Jackson, seeing both sides of the issue, the jury is going to have to weigh all of this. Thank you so much. We'll keep on this story. It's that important. Thank you, Joey Jackson.

JACKSON: Always.

COATES: Up next, remembering Broadway icon Chita Rivera.





COATES: I can't help it. I'm singing with her. She painted the town every imaginable color. Tonight, Broadway is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic and pioneering actresses, the great Chita Rivera. Her publicist tells CNN Rivera died in New York following a brief illness. She was 91 years old.


Her career spanned decades as a singer, as a dancer, as an actress and, frankly, as a star. She was the original "Anita" in the 1957 Broadway musical "West Side Story." She starred in 18 Broadway shows and won her first Tony Award in 1984 for "The Rink." She won a second Tony Award in 1993 for "Kiss of the Spider Woman."


Rivera became so legendary that she amassed heaps of awards during her lifetime. It would take me all day to talk about it. I mean, in 2002, she became the first Hispanic woman to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center's Honor. Former President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. And in 2018, she got a special Tony Award for lifetime achievement. Now, along with Rivera's rise to stardom in New York City, she also forged a path for other Latino artists. As a proud Puerto Rican, she entertained generations for more than 60 years. Chita Rivera, what a life.