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Laura Coates Live

White House On Damage Control; Battle Of Oldies Candidates; Usher To Perform In Vegas For Super Bowl's Halftime; Chinese Prepares For Lunar Holidays. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired February 09, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Well, it's been a hell of a week, people. TGIF, tonight on LAURA COATES LIVE.

So much has happened. It's hard to keep track of all that has actually taken place. This past, what, five days? Do you even remember all that's happened with all that we have seen in the past few days?


UNKNOWN: Name them.

UNKNOWN: That was.

UNKNOWN: Name them.

UNKNOWN: Well, what you did was ridiculous.

UNKNOWN: Name them.


COATES: All right, Sutton, I will. There is the Supreme Court handing Donald Trump a great big no, sir, on his novel claims that he could commit crimes and get away with it in the name of presidential immunity.

There's the utter failure of House Republicans to do that thing that they really wanted to do, impeach this guy, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the mess of the border.


MIKE JOHNSON, U.S. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: On this vote, the yays are 214 and the nays are 216. The resolution is not adopted.


COATES: Now they're going to take a little bit of a do-over next week. And then there's the bipartisan border deal, the one that, you know, is dead because you know who does not actually want maybe to solve the problem right now before a general election.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Actually, it's one of the worst, one of the dumbest bills I've ever seen. I think it's dead, totally dead at the House.


COATES: Then we go back to the Supreme Court. These nine justices, we go there because they sure seem to be siding with the former president in his battle to stay on the ballot in Colorado.


ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: The question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States.


COATES: Then the special counsel, no, not Jack Smith, the other, special counsel, we have more than one these days, he dropped quite a bombshell. Well, good news, bad news report on Joe Biden's classified documents case. Now the good news for the president, there are no criminal charges. The bad news, well, getting called, what was the phrase? A well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory. And the really bad news, when he accidentally called the president of Egypt, the president of Mexico.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As you know, initially, the president of Mexico, Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in.


COATES: And that brings us to that age-old question of, well, old age and one very angry president.


BIDEN: I'm well-meaning and I'm an elderly man and I know what the hell I'm doing.


COATES: That, by the way, was the past just five days. Forget the criminal trial of crumbly and all the conversations around the novelty of that and what is taking place in this country. That was just the past five days. Now, everyone, of course, is making predictions about who will be on the ballot and who will win 269 days from today.

Yes, I have done the math and now you do the math. Imagine this. Imagine there's just one crisis per day over the next 269 days. That might be optimistic at this point. I grant that. That's 269 to deal with by election day. What could possibly go wrong? And maybe what could possibly go right?

I want to bring in Republican strategist, Shermichael Singleton to the conversation. He was deputy chief of staff of housing and urban development under President Trump and also Alencia Johnson, a former senior adviser for Joe Biden 2020 campaign.

So glad to have both of you here this evening. That's first of all.


COATES: That's a lot of math for a Friday.

SINGLETON: I have to say.

COATES: I admit it and the lawyer in me does not want to do the math thing. That's why I went to law school. That's just five days.


COATES: I mean, this is one of those no good bad, what's that book? No good day for whoever the kid was. Look, this is five days in an election year, Alencia.


COATES: It's a problem.

JOHNSON: I mean, we're not even through the primary. And I love that you brought up Real Housewives because this is like the Real Housewives gunning for the White House, right?

Look, this is going to continue to be the chatter among those of us who pay attention to politics all day, every day. I feel like by the time we get to the summer, a lot of voters will be paying attention to what is happening.

But as you mentioned, if this is what we are starting in this new year in a primary season, we're going to continue to see this as we get to election day.

The beginning of the week around immigration, I thought it was actually going to be a great week for Democrats because Republicans were giving us a lot of campaign material between what was happening in Congress. I kept saying, cut the ads, the DCCC, please cut all of those ads.


And then unfortunately, these special investigation that came out, around President Biden, yes, it relieved him of any wrongdoing, right? He has cooperated with the DOJ and it's a stark contrast to what President Trump did not do. However, some of the comments people are picking up and they are not

helping us as we are trying to get over this conversation about his age. And so it'll be interesting to see how we continue to try to climb uphill on this uphill battle to make sure that we get over the line at the election.

COATES: I mean, it is true that there are no criminal charges against Biden, right?


COATES: And there are going to be comparisons that will be drawn between him and Trump. And of course, Trump has all these legal troubles. It was the appeals court, not the Supreme Court this week, talking about absolute immunity. And we're still waiting to see if the Supreme Court is going to pick up that issue.

But they are leaning towards him, at least in the Colorado issue. But you can't help but look at the comparisons between the legal weight and troubles of Donald Trump and those that Biden has escaped, but the polls still are in the inverse.

SINGLETON: Yes, they are. I mean, I think that the biggest issue for the president is that people aren't certain or determined whether or not the president can actually lead the country for another four years. He's 81 years old. By the end of his second term, he's going to be 86. That's almost 90.

I mean, I just want to put that in perspective for the people who are watching this program. If you have someone in your family, that's almost 90. Do you want that person running the country? And this isn't to take anything away from President Biden.

COATES: Well, he's 81. I mean, -- but no, but hold on. I do the math and math thing right now. He's 81. So, he's not almost 90 yet.

SINGLETON: He is. But he's going to be 86 by the end of the second term, is my point, Laura.


SINGLETON: The president has served the country for five decades.

COATES: And Trump is how old?

SINGLETON: Seventy-seven. But the difference is, when you look at Donald Trump, and I'm not talking about the veracity of his claims, which there's a whole lot to take apart there. I'll acknowledge that part.

But you see this guy, he goes in front of 10, 15,000 people for two and three hours unscripted, one piece of paper and some notes with a Sharpie, and he can go and stand and continue and go on and on.


JOHNSON: But he makes --

SINGLETON: President Biden -- no, no.

JOHNSON: But he mixes that names as well, Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi.

SINGLETON: No, no, I'm not saying he doesn't, but President Biden has not showcased the ability to do that. The White House rarely makes him available for in-depth interviews. He's rarely at large rallies talking to, energizing Democratic voters for an hour or two.

And so this release that came out from the special counsel is sort of reaffirm, Laura, what people are seeing with their real eyes, which is, can the president do this for another four years? I'm not certain that he can. And then you have the special counsel saying, well, I'm not going to go after the president because he's an old, feeble man who may have some memory issues.

And again, this is to take nothing against the president. I respect him. Most Americans like him.


COATES: Everything you just said was against the president when you were talking about him.

SINGLETON: But I do think, Laura, is it not fair to say, you know what, Mr. President, thank you for five decades of service. You have more years behind you than ahead.


SINGLETON: Go to Delaware and spend time with your family.

COATES: Let me hear from Alencia.

JOHNSON: But my hard -- the hard part about this whole argument is the fact that also Donald Trump is quite up there as well.


JOHNSON: And the reality is the policies and the positions that President Biden has put forward are very much popular with the American people.

I know there is a disconnect that we are trying to close that gap. We are trying to close that gap between what people understand that President Biden has done. But listen. Yesterday at the press conference, I liked seeing that President Biden. He was fiery, he was out there, and that's who people fell in love with.

And so this is who our candidate is, and we are going to get him over the line to get to reelection. But I understand the age question is a very real question.

COATES: It is. JOHNSON: However, he has done historical things in these first four years.


SINGLETON: And we should thank him for the four years and say go on home, Mr. President.

JOHNSON: And we are so grateful for -- and we will continue to do even more of those as he is reelected. And I do believe some people can get past some of that.

COATES: I will say, and I just want to put this in there, because the lawyer in me is persnickety, as they say. And the special counsel report did mention how he might present sympathetically to a jury, but it also talked about the way the documents were retained. It also talked about the cooperation.

There were other factors at play there. I know we're focusing on the real political headline, but just to clarify, stay tuned.

Shermichael, Alencia, don't go anywhere, and don't fist fight while we're on. No arm wrestling. Just hold on a second. The truth is, we're 269 days away. Who's counting from Election Day, and a lot can still happen. And you know what? History tells that our elections are full of upsets and a whole lot of surprises.

CNN's senior political data, Harry Enten is here. He's a reporter and he is so remarkable. Tell me what I need to know, because how accurate, Harry, are the polls at this point?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, Laura, I just want to say TGIF, when I was growing up, was a big thing. I was such a fan of Urkel and Step by Step.

COATES: My god, you're talking to a black girl named Laura whose best friend's name was Steve. I get the whole Laura, my sweet. TGIF, baby.

ENTEN: Anyway, OK. Winners who trailed at this point, just to name a few, all right? It's still very early. Jimmy Carter was down at this point to Gerald Ford in the polls back in '76. Ronald Reagan trailed Jimmy Carter in 1980 at this point.


And Bill Clinton trailed at the polls at this point in 1992 against George H.W. Bush. I will note, Laura, I went back, the polling errors at this point average about, well, I can't get it there, we'll get it down here, 10 points, 10 points.

So it is still very early. There's still a lot can change as these examples illustrate.

COATES: Let's walk back to maybe the TGIF of our days and tell me, what are some of your favorite surprise wins that we have seen? Remind us of those moments. ENTEN: Yes, you know, what are some? I mean, look, remember Donald

Trump back in 2016? Very few people gave him a shot at winning. So, this was Trump chance of winning in 2016. After the conventions, it was just 12 percent. The post Access Hollywood tape, it was 13 percent. Even on election day, it was just 29 percent.

So he had about a three in 10 shot at winning, yet Donald Trump was able to go on, win that campaign, despite a lot of people, especially that post Access Hollywood tape, there were people asking him to leave his campaign, not just independents, not just people in the press. But Republicans in his own party were asking him to leave the campaign, yet he was able to go on and win despite the odds being against him.

How about Harry Truman in 1948, right? Thomas E. Dewey up by five points in the final Gallup poll. Harry Truman won the popular vote by four percentage points. He won easily. He held up that newspaper essentially saying, I believe it was that Chicago Tribune essentially saying that Dewey had won the election.

But Truman had won the election, and now it's on election eve, and the poll deficit that Biden faces at this point, significantly smaller than that five points.

So there's a lot of things that can change, and there are a lot of things that could change, even as we get close to the election, Laura.

COATES: I mean, don't count anything out right now. What was the -- what is one thing though that might be able to change this election?

ENTEN: Yes, what's one thing? We've spoken about it. We spoke about it last night. So this is Biden versus Trump in the polls among registered voters.

Donald Trump is up by two points. Of course, he faces four criminal indictments. If Trump is convicted, these same polls in fact show that Biden would lead in the polls by four points.

This is something that is unprecedented, Laura. We've never seen a potential nominee be under four criminal indictments. Let's wait and see what happens. But the fact is Trump leads right now, but with 269 days to go, there is a lot, a lot that can change, Laura.

COATES: Certainly is. Thank you so much, Harry Enten. I'm going to go home and watch old episodes of Stefan Urkel, not the Steve Urkel part of it.

Let's bring back Shermichael Singleton and Alencia Johnson. We don't have a whole lot of time, but wait, we do, 269 days until the actual, that's a very long time, Alencia.

JOHNSON: It is. I mean, look, we haven't even gotten to the October surprise yet, right?

SINGLETON: Will there be one this year?

JOHNSON: I think we are going to have a March, April, we're going to have a surprise every single week. And look, it is a lot of time. Voters don't really start paying attention until the summer, until the conventions, again we have to out of the primary.

There is so much ground to be covered. And I want Democrats, particularly, I hope they're listening to me, to kind of calm down a little bit. Yes, be alarmed, be concerned, change your strategy, but actually realize that we do have a lot of time to turn this thing around.

And maybe that's the church girl in me, the faith in me, the optimistic, but we've got some time. And Donald Trump hasn't even faced all of his trials yet.


JOHNSON: Again, that polling around if he's convicted, that changes the game dramatically.

SINGLETON: Yeah, I agree with that.

COATES: You agree with that?

SINGLETON: I agree 100 percent with that. I mean, I think the best bet for the former president is for the Supreme Court to say, we're going to put an issue, a stay on this thing, to try to delay it as much as possible. If they can delay it, we see what the numbers indicate.

And even though President Biden has seen his national numbers increase, some polls even indicate that he's usurped Trump compared to several months ago, Donald Trump's standing and several crucial battleground states, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, have increased. If he can win back those states, Donald Trump is sailing back to the White House.

COATES: Well don't worry, Congress. You got about three weeks until you have to fund the government again. So, I mean, talking to timelines, let's just don't get too comfortable, as they say out there. Really important. I mean, I cannot believe this has been the week that we have had.


COATES: And there's, I mean, TGIF.

SINGLETON: It's a crazy week.

COATES: I can't say, but I will say, when you think about this, Alencia, and you're going forward, how do you turn around? Do you hope for electoral amnesia? Or is Biden needing to be more proactive?

JOHNSON: It's actually a both strategy. I have been very public in that some of our strategy has to be a little bit different, particularly with some of the issues that Democratic voters have said are their top issues.

Listen, the Israel-Hamas war has been a shifting thing, particularly for young voters, progressive voters in our party. We also do have the abortion issue on our side. We have got to run a campaign like we've never run before. We can't run a campaign like we did in 2020 or 2016. And we have to have the ability to let go of the tried-and-true strategies from decades before and actually do something new.

And so long as the campaign is doing that, and I believe that they are open to it, we can turn this around.

COATES: Well, we shall see. Thank you, Shermichael.

SINGLETON: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Alencia, always good to see you all.


Up next, a lot of Usher. I mean, a lot of Usher.

Yes, that's Usher, the one who is doing the Super Bowl halftime show. We'll explain more in a moment.




USHER, SINGER: These beautiful ladies wanted a show, so I gave them a show.



COATES: He's at Daddy's Home. Taraji, my goodness, well can I hear a yes for the home time, halftime show I should say, to be headlined by none other than R&B superstar and legend Usher, teased there by Taraji P. Henson, Lil Jon and Luda.

The countdown is on for not just the halftime show, which I'll be watching. But biggest, this biggest sporting event in America, the 58th Super Bowl. And contributor for CNN, Cari Champion is here, and contributing writer at the Atlantic, Jemele Hill. They are in Vegas, where all the action is taking place.

I'm hating a little bit, ladies, I have to say. I'm really wishing I was with you right now, but let me ask you both to tell me, Cari, drop your confessions right now. What have you been up to out there?

CARI CHAMPION, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't know if you know this, Laura. I had the opportunity to sit and talk to Usher. And so that is my confession.


CHAMPION: I am so excited about this Super Bowl con -- no. Can you believe it?


CHAMPION: This Super Bowl concert. Last night, I had a random call. Thank goodness. Someone I work with really closely, Dom. Dominique is a caller. Said, hey, do you want to hang out with Usher? I said, you got it.


CHAMPION: And so I talked to him about his songs, his new album that's coming out that dropped last night. And he also told me, Jemele, --


CHAMPION: who, what the first song would be.

HILL: What is it? What is it?

CHAMPION: But I can't tell you guys.

HILL: What?

CHAMPION: I can't. No, I can't.

HILL: Wait.

CHAMPION: I can't.

HILL: You going to do us like that?

CHAMPION: I'm going to do you like that.

HILL: That's messed up.

COATES: So how about Jemele, you and I trade places right now. Let's talk about this David and Goliath of swords quarterback matchup between Brock Purdy and of course, Pat Mahomes.

HILL: Yes, I mean it is very different because you have Patrick Mahomes who right now, I think a lot of people feel like he's next in line and maybe being the greatest quarterback ever.


HILL: That title belongs to Tom Brady for the moment, but they -- we see the trajectory of Patrick Mahomes' career. I mean the MVPs, the fact that he's a multiple Super Bowl winner, that he only has played in this game or he's played in this game multiple times.

So there's legacy with him. Brock Purdy who looks like the biology teacher, who could be your IT guy.

CHAMPION: Mr. Irrelevant.

HILL: Mr. Draft at Last, OK? CHAMPION: Mr. Irrelevant.

HILL: Mr. Irrelevant. And he is on a stage that a lot of people who are drafted where he's drafted never get to, but he's been an excellent quarterback, a bit of an undiscovered gym, if you will.

CHAMPION: Are you a 49ers fan?

HILL: We're not going to talk about that, Cari.

CHAMPION: Did you sound like a 49ers fan?

HILL: I am a 49ers fan.

CHAMPION: Perhaps, maybe.

HILL: I don't know.

CHAMPION: Listen, you sound as if perhaps.

HILL: But for a Brock Purdy this is an opportunity for him to answer a lot of questions.


HILL: People have been -- he's become I wouldn't say polarizing but people have wondered like how good is he this guy? Is it just he's with a great team.

CHAMPION: I have an answer.

HILL: We want to be friends after this. Is he just with a great team or is he actually a good quarterback and I think he has an opportunity --


CHAMPION: Is he a great quarterback?

HILL: -- to sign -- to silence all the naysayers.

CHAMPION: Is he a great quarterback?

HILL: He's good enough to win a Super Bowl.


COATES: Somebody please bring me some every quarterfinal needs more infants? This is a popcorn moment, ladies. I just want to watch you guys do this.

Jemele, though, I want to ask you this question. I'll go nice and slow. See, I'm going to put every Usher song in this for a moment here. You all know there's all these Las Vegas.

CHAMPION: Wait. Laura? COATES: What?

CHAMPION: Laura, time out. All of your Usher references are amazing.

COATES: They are.

CHAMPION: Amazing.

HILL: First in fashions, then nice and slow.

HILL: Where Usher was at 7 o'clock on the dot?

CHAMPION: Where was he at 7 o'clock on the dot?

COATES: I mean, in his drop top, cruising the street. We already know. At 7 o'clock on the dot, he's in his drop top. Wait a second, this is my era, Jemele.

HILL: Amazing.

COATES: But I have to say, we are all going to be watching. And of course, I'm looking for the Usher halftime show. I'm looking for the game. Now, the rest of America might be looking to see if there's going to be some sort of an engagement after this.

You know, there's all this Las Vegas odds, the engagement rumor mill between, I don't know, Taylor and Travis. Maybe he'll say, there goes my baby. Will she even be there? What do you even know about it?

HILL: My god, what a moment. You know what, honestly, it has been very interesting to see just how much scrutiny this couple is under and just all the fanfare around it, be it good or bad, like they become polarizing.


HILL: And it's kind of, it's odd, I will say that, but you know, she's the biggest pop star in the world. He's arguably, maybe by the time his career is finished, is going to be maybe the greatest tight end ever.


HILL: And so, yes, it is. I think it's a great storyline. Look, every day on social media, people complain about how dating is the ghetto. And yet, that's why you have to be happy for them like they stumbled upon something. Like, why is everybody hating this? Like they just, you know,

CHAMPION: Well, --

HILL: -- in like a situation I don't know whatever.

CHAMPION: She's a woman, you know.

HILL: Right. CHAMPION: And in the world feels away. No one is complaining about Spike Lee on the sidelines.


CHAMPION: No one is complaining about other athletes Jack Nicholson for that matter.

HILL: Yes. Yes.

CHAMPION: And it's somebody in L.A. Yes, I've seen this up close and personal. No one complains. Taylor is receiving what I call a cultural hate that this is imbedded. But we are excited about them.

HILL: Yes.

CHAMPION: And guess what, the only thing I request, if the NFL is watching, we cannot show Taylor while Usher performs. Because there goes my baby.

HILL: My God, that would breaks.


HILL: My god, that would break.

COATES: My God. By the way, if that happens, there'll be no love in the club left. Thank you very much. Cari Champion, Jemele Hill.

Well, I'm going to go back and play all the albums, all of them. All of them tonight.

CHAMPION: You're good.

COATES: You know what?

CHAMPION: You're good.

COATES: Remember, but call me if that call if you need a sidekick, a third wheel, I could come. They're very easy flights. I'm OK. It's all right. Don't say anything now. Don't commit now.


COATES: Don't say no now. Just, you know, just think about it. OK. Thank you so much. Bye ladies. Have fun.


COATES: Yes. Bring the private jet. Let it burn. Bye.

Look, coming up, CNN's presentation of HBO's Overtime with Bill Maher.


[23:30:00] COATES: 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 that are in the national conversation. Here is Overtime with Bill Maher.



BILL MAHER, HOST, HBO: OK. Here we are at CNN. There's our panel. He's the author of the new book "The End of Race Politics, Arguments for a Colorblind America." Coleman Hughes is over here.

She's a staff writer at the Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan, our new all now CNN contributor and 29-time winning broadcaster with MLB and TNT, Bob Costas over here.

OK. First one is for you, Bob. With the allegations against Vince McMahon, now he's the head of the --


MAHER: World Wrestling.

COSTAS: Right, World Wrestling Entertainment.

MAHER: Entertainment. It better be, because it's not real.

COSTAS: Yes. Well, you know, part of the reason they labeled it that way --

MAHER: What?

COSTAS: -- was so that the various state governments wouldn't subject those athletes or performers to drug testing, to performance-sensing drug testing.

MAHER: Because they're all on.

COSTAS: Yes, they basically conceded that these are scripted matches. They don't like to blare that out to their fans, some of whom actually think it's real. But as the long-ago wrestling trainer Bobby the Brain Heenan said to me, there's only two things that concern me about wrestling fans. They can vote and they can breed.


MAHER: Wow. Bob, my core audience is wrestling fans. All right. Well, anyway, the question is,


MAHER: -- would the allegations against Vince McMahon, yes, now he's, for people who don't know, I read this in the paper, some really, I mean, --


MAHER: -- like Weinstein level stuff.

COSTAS: Or worse.

MAHER: Worse. Worse than Weinstein?

COSTAS: Well, sex trafficking and sexual abuse. We'll see how this plays out.

MAHER: OK. Would they have been overlooked for so long had he been working in an industry like Hollywood instead of sports?

COSTAS: Well, you just brought up a name that would refute that, --

MAHER: Yes, right.

COSTAS: -- at least until recently. I think the difference is that if you talk about something like that, it's not covered in the same way as baseball, football, basketball would be covered. You don't have a press corps that's covering them and holding them to account.

MAHER: But Netflix --

COSTAS: They operate on their own.

MAHER: Netflix just gave WWE, is it now?


MAHER: A $5 billion deal.



COSTAS: It has a television audience. It's one of the few things that breaks through.

MAHER: Five billion dollars? I would guess so.

FLANAGAN: But knowing Netflix maybe not.

MAHER: But usually, like a deal like that, usually gets stopped when a guy like this is attached to it. And he's ahead of it.

COSTAS: It could be.


COSTAS: Or someone else takes over and the basic product is appealing to enough of an audience that they roll on.

MAHER: All right. For Coleman, is the woke kindergarten controversy in San Francisco an example of DEI running amuck in schools? Well, first of all, we'll have to explain what the woke kindergarten controversy is.

COLEMAN HUGHES, AUTHOR, THE END OF RACE POLITICS: Yes, so the woke kindergarten controversy is that a school in San Francisco that is majority Hispanic, that is to say two-thirds of these kids are speaking Spanish at home, they need to be taught the basics, English, math, et cetera.

That school decided instead of focusing on those things to hire an organization called woke kindergarten, pay them a quarter million dollars over the years.

MAHER: Literally called it woke kindergarten.

HUGHES: Literally called it woke.

MAHER: It's not what -- I see. I thought that was the name that the guy who wrote the article gave it.


MAHER: That was their name.

HUGHES: The common writers in the U.S.

MAHER: They're owning it. OK, got it. Owning it. Owning it. Woke kindergarten.


COSTAS: Self-awareness is a wonderful thing.

MAHER: It really is. Boy, can't start them too young, huh?

HUGHES: And rather predictably, what happened is that their math and reading scores have been declining for several years. And it's become yet another example of precisely the opposite priorities that typical normal Americans want, which is we want to send our kids to school to learn the basics as we decline worldwide, not to be taught why math is racist, for instance.


And the final thing I'll say, I think.

MAHER: What about six?

HUGHES: What about?

MAHER: That number I always.

HUGHES: Yes, yes, a little bit suspicious, right?

MAHER: I think.

[23:35:00] HUGHES: I think that the basic problem with wokeness, one of the basic problems is that it views kids as somehow inherently racist and the racism needs to be hammered out of them in some way, when the reality is that among all the kids, the problems kids have. For instance, being selfish and needing to learn to share, racism is not one of them.

So really, in the same way we want to protect a child's sexual innocence for as long as possible, we should want to preserve that racially innocent mindset for as long as possible. Not hammer these.


MAHER: OK. Caitlin, as an educator, what do you think of Dartmouth announcing it will bring back the SAT as a, yes, as a requirement for all the kids? Now, if people don't know, all eight Ivy Leagues got rid of the SAT in the name of equity about, I don't know, three or four years ago, and now Dartmouth is saying no.


FLANAGAN: Well, there are reasons for it, I can tell you, it's absolutely true that all over the country, people don't realize this. There are kids who didn't have an access to go to a good secondary school or their parents moved a lot or there's family's chaos.

And they'll pop up with these great scores, individually. And these are the kids that, you know, they can, the old idea was you could test into certain schools. You should be able to test into the University of California. And it was a tremendous benefit to kids who had every disadvantage along the way.

And now, and the other thing is, we don't want to admit this, and it's irrelevant for well-off kids, but the SAT truly is the best single predictor of can the kid get through the school? Is he going to -- is he or she going to show up and say, yes, I can do this coursework.

You know, maybe I'm not as wealthy as the others or gifted in sports or whatever, but I'm not having problems here. I'm moving through the curriculum. And --

MAHER: And you can't lie on it. I read that 60 percent of college applicants admit they lie on some part of their application.


MAHER: You can't lie in the SAT.

FLANAGAN: Well, unless you're Felicity Huffman.


MAHER: Well, but that's not the SAT.



FLANAGAN: That's the ACT, I guess.

MAHER: All right, for everybody, is there any merit in Tucker Carlson's interview with Vladimir Putin? I guess that was today. I read that Putin went on for a half hour. The first question. He just gave him a history lesson, an erroneous history.

FLANAGAN: It's reprehensible.

MAHER: That he would even do it?

FLANAGAN: It's reprehensible.

MAHER: Well, I mean, we, interviewers have done that. I mean, I remember Mike Wallace with the Ayatollah.

FLANAGAN: Of course, but under the kind of rules of engagement --

MAHER: Right.

FLANAGAN: -- that that interview was conducted. And with a certain acquiescing lens through which Tucker put the answers.

MAHER: Right. I mean, Tucker has already been part of Putin's propaganda apparatus for a few years now.


MAHER: It would have been like if Mike Wallace had been on in Iran for three years.



MAHER: Hey, the Ayatollah -- that's the difference.

HUGHES: I have to imagine if for some reason you were interviewing Putin and he started going on about how Poland was to blame for World War II, you would say, hold on a second, Vlad.

MAHER: Right.

HUGHES: And you would give people -- Tucker just lets him go on with basic historical facts that --


MAHER: That's what he said, that Poland was --

HUGHES: Well, yes, he held Poland responsible for --

MAHER: For being attacked by Hitler?

HUGHES: Correct. Yes. MAHER: Yes.


MAHER: Yes, I would definitely flag that.

MAHER: For whatever it's worth. I mean, when the Olympics. Were they doing this interview on the ground floor or was it up by a window?


COSTAS: For whatever it's worth, when the Olympics were in Sochi, Russia in 2014, --


COSTAS: -- we requested for many months prior to and during the games, whether it would be me or someone from NBC News, and Putin turned that down flatly.

MAHER: Right.

COSTAS: So, he wasn't -- he wasn't going to sit.

FLANAGAN: And gave you pink eye.

COSTAS: Yes, he did. A whole --


MAHER: That's right.

COSTAS: A whole cloak and dagger operation --

FLANAGAN: Operation.

COSTAS: -- that Putin and the KGB obviously undertook --

FLANAGAN: I saw immediately.

COSTAS: -- just to screw me up.

FLANAGAN: I knew it.


FLANAGAN: I knew that.

COSTAS: Yes. Yes. People to this day, they'll say, conversational icebreaker occasionally. Bob, you remember that time you had pink eye at the Olympics? No, I don't recall. Refresh my memory.

A 100 million people with memes all over the internet and ridiculous, untrue theories as to how I contracted. I have no idea. Remind me again what that was.

FLANAGAN: But now we can say it.


COSTAS: Yes, yes.

MAHER: You still don't know why you got it?

COSTAS: I don't, I honestly don't.

MAHER: OK. All right, what do you --

FLANAGAN: Dirty tricks.

MAHER: What do you think that the government is now banning Enginia, Tavium, and XtendiMax?


FLANAGAN: Well, I have a lot of feelings about Enginia, Tavium, and XtendiMax. What are you talking about?

COSTAS: What is that?

MAHER: They're weed killers. I want to know what they did to us and why they sound like bonefill.

COSTAS: They do. The last one does.

MAHER: All right. All right.

COSTAS: The last one does.

MAHER: All right. Thank you. We're right out of time. Thank you CNN. We'll see you next week.


MAHER: All right.


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

Up next, the Super Bowl isn't the only big event this weekend, it's also the start of the Lunar New Year, celebrated by billions of people all around the world.

Celebrity chef, Lisa King, is here to mark the year of the dragon and bring us some of her very favorite holiday dishes.


[23:45:00] COATES: You know, this weekend, people all around the world will be

celebrating the Lunar New Year, ushering in the year of the dragon. It's a major holiday for some two billion people. It's often called Chinese New Year, but in reality, many Asian cultures take part.

The global celebrations feature gifts, traditions, decor, and of course, my favorite part, tons of food.

Here to talk about the delicious tradition, celebrity chef Melissa King. Yes, the one of top chef fame.


UNKNOWN: Melissa, you are a top chef.



COATES: Melissa is one of the only Asian-American women to win Top Chef. She started cooking at the age of just six years old. Can you believe it? And is known for her unique style that combines modern techniques with Asian flavors.

Melissa, so happy to see you. My mouth is watering a little bit. Thank you for joining us tonight.


COATES: How are you?

KING: I'm excited to be here. Let's talk about the Lunar New Year.

COATES: Let's talk about it. I am so happy that you're here. I mean, talk to me about, you know, how growing up with your mom, with your grandmothers, that Chinese cooking inspired your own career right now.

KING: Absolutely. You know, when I was young, as you said, from the age of six and nine, I would just hang out in the kitchen with my mom, my grandma. We'd make dumplings, especially during the Lunar New Year. We would do a big hot pot feast. So there was always food all around me.

COATES: I love it. You're putting of course the rest of us who at age of six, we were just walking in and trying to steal the food from the kitchen, but good that you were actually participating, Melissa.

No wonder you are a chef extraordinaire, but let's talk about some of your favorite dishes. We're showing on the screen some of the beautiful dishes that you've made and it's making us all very happy. You talk about hot pot, dumplings, both of these are great communal ways to cook and eat during the holiday.

KING: Absolutely. So the Lunar New Year, the foods are all about family, bringing everyone to the dinner table. It's really about fostering community. And hot pot is one of my favorite ways to do that. And it is this communal dining experience where you have a big pot of broth right in the center of the table and a big array of vegetables, proteins, you know, all these different beautiful things that you can like dip inside of the broth and you cook it together.

COATES: I love that because you know, it brings the families together, it brings extended family together. And it's a time that everyone hopefully has their devices off. They're focused on sharing.

And I can only imagine the stories that are swapped over the hot pot as everyone is talking and reminiscing and really engaging in that beautiful time that families should be together.

What are some Chinese New Year foods that bring luck? Because I want those.

KING: There are lots and I would say dumplings is certainly one of them. It really started as a tradition of they look like money pouches, like these traditional Chinese money pouches. And so, it does bring good fortune and prosperity. It's something that I do with my family.

I have two little twin nieces and we center around the table and we just put a big pile of filling in the middle and everyone grabs a wrapper and we fold dumplings together. And the beauty is they never look perfect, but everyone works together to put on this beautiful meal. And At the end of the day, you get some beautiful dumplings that you can cook in your hot pot.

COATES: Consider me recruited, and I look forward to this year of the dragon. I'm excited for whatever it might very well bring. As long as it doesn't mean winter's coming, I'm with you, because I'm on the entire aspect of it.

Melissa King, thank you so much for joining us. If you want to try any of her amazing dishes, just go to We'll be right back.



COATES: If you don't know Michael Oher's name from his eight-year career in the NFL, then you probably know it from the movie "The Blind Side." It's the Hollywood story of how Michael Oher, who is black, was rescued from poverty and homelessness by a wealthy white family who positioned him for success in college football and beyond.

But last year, you may recall, Oher alleged that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never adopted him, but instead filed a conservatorship and profited from a false narrative about him, which they deny. The conservatorship has since been terminated, but Oher's case against the Tuohy's, asking them to provide information about his finances over the years?

Well, that's ongoing. Now, the new CNN flash doc Blindsided examines the story behind Hollywood's take on Oher and the Tuohy's. Here's a preview.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Controversies surrounding the hit movie "The Blind Side."

UNKNOWN: Michael Oher, blindsided, he says, by his family at the center of the Hollywood blockbuster.

COOPER: Alleging they were in millions from pushing a false narrative that they adopted him.

UNKNOWN: The movie depicted a totally different person.


UNKNOWN: Michael really didn't like the movie from the very beginning. They followed him everywhere while he was in the NFL. There's no escaping it.

He felt like someone was making money from this movie, and it wasn't him.

UNKNOWN: They said that they never intended to adopt Michael. I think that, you know, as they kind of say in the south, he has some

explaining to do.

UNKNOWN: It seemed to be all love and a lot was offered.

UNKNOWN: He was portrayed as unable without the help of the Tuohy family to have made his way in the world.

UNKNOWN: The movie is great. It allows us to go around and talk about the Michael Ohers of the world that need a forever family.

UNKNOWN: I know what a conservatory ship is now, thanks to Britney Spears to hear that something like that had gone on. It struck some nerve.

UNKNOWN: They blindsided him from the start.

UNKNOWN: Blindsided, tomorrow at 8 on CNN.