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Laura Coates Live

Trump And Special Counsel Propose New Trial Dates In Classified Docs Case; Revelations Revealed From Hunter Biden Deposition Transcript; SCOTUS To Decide Trump Immunity Claim, Delaying Election Subversion Trial; Laura Coates Interviews Kara Swisher. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired February 29, 2024 - 23:00   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: -- Joe Biden won or was it not real? Some of that belongs in the category of just whether it's grievance or whatever you want to call it, it's not actually talking about the things that affect people's lives.

CUPP: It's outrage. And keeping people angry and afraid has become their bread and butter. And as long as they're angry and afraid, which they'll stay if you don't solve problems, then they're going to line up to vote for these figures. So, it's sort of a cycle that kind of never ends.

PHILLIP: A vicious, vicious cycle.

CUPP: A vicious one.

PHILLIP: Yeah. S.E. Cupp, thank you --

CUPP: Thank you.

PHILLIP: -- for all of that.

CUPP: Sure.

PHILLIP: And thank you for watching "NEWSNIGHT." LAURA COATES LIVE starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: More than meet the eye in Donald Trump's classified documents trial. We'll tell you what's really going on, tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

All right, wake up. Don't sleep on the Mar-a-Lago trial. Sure, the Supreme Court has been getting all the attention with arguments on Trump's claims of presidential immunity set to come before them the week of April 22nd, but there is some big news tonight out of Florida.

Looks like Jack Smith wants to get the classified documents case moving as soon as possible. And he's asking for a new trial date, this time in the month of July. So, while you're on summer vacation, Donald Trump could actually be in court.

Smith is saying in court filings tonight that he believes Trump and his two co-defendants, body man Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos de Oliveira, should go to trial on July 8th, now coincidentally or maybe not coincidentally, one week before Trump is all but certain to become the nominee at the republican convention. Funny how this works, right?

Meanwhile, his attorneys, who with this he cannot have a fair trial before the election, are now saying, well, how about August 12th? So, what happens if this case goes to trial before millions of Americans go to the polls on election day?

Joining me now to discuss, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe. So glad that you're here with me tonight. I mean, look, this is like an Energizer bunny of things. He is going to keep going forward so the Supreme Court be damned. He wants these cases done. What do you make of this idea of July 8th? Why would he want to do that?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Really interesting pick on behalf of the special counsel team. So, you know this, Laura, from your old days at work --

COATES: Uh-hmm.

MCCABE: -- where we used -- where we used to work. Everything about a trial is strategy. Everything is gamesmanship. So, we knew that this scheduling conference was coming up tomorrow. We've known about this for a couple of weeks. This is Jack Smith going into that conference asking for the world, asking for the best-case scenario, but prepared to settle with something that he can live with, kind of the compromise in between. So that's the date that he thinks he can push aggressively to the earliest, earliest point. Interestingly enough, it's sending us another maybe subtle signal that Jack Smith is saying, hey, I think I'm not going to be on trial in D.C. --


MCCABE: -- that month, and so let's get Mar-a-Lago in there.

COATES: A good point because we don't know yet when that trial, if it goes, with Judge Chutkan here in Washington, D.C., because April 22nd is the oral argument for the immunity issue. Everything is sort of put a pause on right now and they have till June, although, can you imagine if the Supreme Court takes until June to decide the issue of immunity?

MCCABE: I mean, for my money, outrageous. This is not an expedited schedule for a hearing and consideration of this issue. Expedited would have been getting it done along the lines of what we saw with the Colorado 14th Amendment case, but that's clearly not happening here.

COATES: That was much quicker, right?

MCCABE: Much quicker.

COATES: It had an expedited oral argument schedule. We don't have a ruling yet, but that was much faster.

MCCABE: That's right. This case, the immunity issue that we heard about yesterday, it's likely we won't hear a decision on that case until the end of the term, which is the end of June.

So, if that holds true, Jack Smith would then just be starting -- let's say we get that decision and it goes against President Trump's claims, now the case goes -- starts moving forward again. You have about another three months of pretrial machinations before that thing could finally get in front of a jury.

So, yeah, that puts him with something else to do in July, and he's now trying to squeeze Mar-a-Lago in there.

COATES: Well, he's saying, Jack, they're saying July 8th. The Trump team says they want it after the election. But they're also saying, well, also maybe August 12th is it. What is the tactical advantage to that date?

MCCABE: So, like Jack Smith, they're asking for the world.

COATES: Yeah. MCCABE: They want it after the election. They know they're not going to get that. They asked for that once before earlier in this case and that was rejected. So now they're saying, if you're going to put it on before, let's have it start on August 12th.


Coincidentally, August is the month that the D.C. case could possibly, if everything goes right for Jack Smith, could possibly get on the calendar, but not if Donald Trump is already scheduled to be on trial in Florida. Right? He can't be in both places at the same time. He has to be present for both trials. So --

COATES: Because it's a federal case.

MCCABE: That's right. So, I think this is a deliberate kind of strategic move by Trump's legal team. They would rather -- if he has to go on trial for one of these federal cases before the election, they'd rather it be the Mar-a-Lago documents case than the case about the 2020 election.

COATES: Isn't it interesting, though, because when you look at these two cases, right, you've got the January 6th for conduct while in office, the Mar-a-Lago is for conduct after one has left, that's the whole tension here, are they looking at that case, you think, in the sense of, well, President Biden, he wasn't charged, maybe someone will find a double standard?

You have former Vice President Mike Pence, wasn't charged. Maybe there's that as well. Are they looking at the post-presidential conduct as maybe less significant even though it deals with classified documents?

MCCABE: I think there's a lot of factors like that here. The ones that you just mentioned, absolutely. Also, the fact that if -- when that case goes to trial in Florida, it will be in front of a jury that is likely much more favorable to the former president than a jury here in D.C. would be. So that's probably pushing them a little bit in that direction.

The thing that I find fascinating is that Trump has now filed a similar immunity motion in the case in Florida. So that, to me, is the wild card. We'll have to see how that plays out in the scheduling conference tomorrow.

But it's possible that Judge Cannon will say to the parties, well, now that I know the Supreme Court is going to weigh in on presidential immunity, I may just stay the Mar-a-Lago case until we get a resolution on that Supreme Court matter before she has to decide the immunity issue in her own case.

COATES: Let's talk about the jury selection because -- I mean, the voir dire or maybe they say voir dire down in Florida, I don't know, I say voir dire, but the voir dire process is happening. There's a question there, I'm going to ask you about it, for these classified documents case. I'm going to put the screen up there because the special counsel wants to ask potential jurors if they believe the 2020 election was stolen.

You mentioned a more favorable jury. I mean, if that's where we start in the jury selection, that's a hill to climb for Jack Smith's team.

MCCABE: It certainly is, right? He's looking for, well, jurors who would be disqualified on the same standard. In any case, you'd be disqualified if you could not be impartial in your consideration of the evidence, right?

So he is asking this question to try to identify people who, four years after the election, despite zero evidence of fraud in that election and all the January 6th Committee hearings and everything else we've learned since 2020, if you are a prospective juror and you are still holding on to this fiction, this belief that there was fraud in that election, then you are someone who Jack Smith's team is going to want to try to get off that jury.

COATES: By the way, the defense team wants to know if they are registered to vote. They want to know their party affiliation. If they voted in 2020, I mean, obviously, they are thinking about this through a political lens.

But let me ask you, just in terms of the investigation, we're talking a lot about the legal stays of these cases, but are the investigations just stopping right now? I mean, obviously, you can do an ongoing, you know, superseding indictments at different times. You can have more evidence up until trial. What's the investigation like at this point? Is that on hold and just complete?

MCCABE: Most of the investigative effort at this point is geared towards preparation for trial, right?

COATES: Uh-hmm.

MCCABE: It's getting your witnesses lined up, it's preparing those witnesses, it's identifying items that have to be turned over to the defense and discovery, things like that. So, they have, if anything, a little bit more time to work with in the standard pretrial preparation phase.

It's probably unlikely that they're looking to supersede or add to those indictments this late in the game because doing so would further delay these prosecutions.

But the investigators, I'm sure, are watching these developments on the motion hearings and certainly the Supreme Court issues very closely every day. As you know, the investigators have deeply, personally invested in the outcome of these cases, and they want to see these cases go to trial.

COATES: They do, and they want their witnesses protected because there's a lot of groundwork --

MCCABE: That's right.

COATES: -- to actually get them to be either indicted or subpoenaed or cooperating in some respect. And now, a lot is on the line.

Andrew McCabe, looks like a heck of a summer ahead of us. Thank you so much.

Next, we want -- what went on when Hunter Biden testified behind closed doors in the impeachment investigation inquiry of his own father, the president. Well, Republicans may have gotten a little bit more than they bargained for. I'll talk to the congresswoman who was in the room where it happened.



COATES: All right, so here we go. This new tonight, we're getting our very first look at the transcript of Hunter Biden's six-plus-hour closed-door definition before the Republican-led House Oversight and Judiciary Committees.

At times measured, at times defiant, the president's son was pushing back against allegations that his father profited from his business dealings overseas, saying, "All I know is this, my father was never involved in any of my business, ever."


"Never received a cent from anybody or never benefited in any way. Never took any actions on behalf in any way. And I can absolutely, 100% state, that is not just in my case but in every family member's case." Joining me now, Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett of Texas. She's a member of the House Oversight Committee. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being here this evening. I was really eager to talk to you because you were in the room. And we read the exchanges. I gather that the tone was at times quite heated. But was there a piece of evidence that actually incriminated President Biden in any of this?

REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): No, absolutely not. First of all, it's great to see you this evening. And actually, what's very interesting is that Hunter, he did really, really well. Like I was sitting there thinking like, you know, I'm ready to get up and rumble based on --


-- the attitude that people had. But he actually was very even keel. And when it came to his attorney, I mean, his attorney could give a masterclass on what it is to be an actual trial attorney. As someone who has 18 years under her belt, I felt like I was in my first year of law school because he was excellent.

And I think what happened is the Republicans kept thinking, well, Hunter is just this dope head and he's just stupid and he's nobody, so we're just going to talk to him crazy instead of recognizing this is a trained attorney, this is someone who has an amazingly trained attorney, and someone who understands the stakes. And Hunter never, ever gave in to their antics. He actually was very level-headed the entire time.

COATES: And that's interesting, particularly, because there was clearly an attempt to provoke him to act very differently.


COATES: Right?


COATES: And there was even a moment where Republicans questioned Hunter Biden about, I think, was a WhatsApp message that he sent to a Chinese associate demanding payment in which he said he was sitting next to his father. But he testified to the committee that he was drunk and probably high at the time, saying -- quote -- "I was out of my mind. My father was not sitting next to me. My father had no awareness."

Obviously, in some respects, congresswoman, his struggles since 2019 with addiction to alcohol and drugs has been very much a part of the conversation, and he has said that he is carrying so much weight about trying to remain sober as a fight for democracy. Did any of that play out in the hearing?

CROCKETT: Absolutely. He made it very clear. And, you know, what's interesting is that this wasn't my first hearing like this. This wasn't my first behind closed doors, but this actually was the one where everyone really wanted the fireworks.


CROCKETT: And it was the least sparky one that we had, to be perfectly honest. He obviously talked about Tony Bobulinski, who came before us, who was a complete clown. I wish that the chairman would go ahead and release that video so you all could see how he acts and then compare that to what you were able to read about Hunter.

And, you know, what really came across to me was his humanity and their demagoguery came across. Right? Like when we took the first break, one of the things that hasn't been talked about, that a lot of people probably didn't see, but I was sitting next to Robert Garcia and next to him was Nancy Mace, and Hunter decided to walk directly up to Nancy Mace, no one else, and he said to her, I hope that you learn that I'm not the person that you think that I am --


CROCKETT: -- and she was disturbed (ph) and she was rude. But like literally, like this guy is trying to explain to them that, like, you're attacking me and you're all trying to break me, but the reality is that, yes, I've had my struggles, but at the same time, I have been a child who has been engaged in politics since I was two, the only father that I've known has been a politician.

And I think that that was there was just a lot of really moving points of his testimony to me. They came off very, very, very much human.

COATES: That's really incredible to hear. What was Nancy Mace's reaction when he said that? Did she mean -- there were no cameras present. So, I often wonder about just how much more genuine people's reactions can be in the absence of them. What was her reaction?

CROCKETT: She was still Nancy. She was still Nancy.


She was still Nancy. No, her response was, well, you've just sat up here and you've lied and you've been defiant. And he, you know -- I mean, he didn't engage in a back and forth with her. But --


CROCKETT: -- I do think that it was -- it was also really good that he continued to try to, like, re-center the Republicans and say, you know, you're asking me, like, they tried to delve into issues as it relates to his divorce.


His divorce has nothing to do with an impeachment whatsoever of his father. Right? And so, he would remind them and try to put them back on track and make sure that he was speaking with specificity on the things that they felt like could be on track.

But again, his attorney was masterful in making sure that there was going to be a clear record where he was constantly saying, hey, just so the record is clear, when you say the Chinese, who are you talking about? Like, you need to be very specific before he answers this question. And, you know, I think that it was much to do about nothing as we know this entire time.

I think what's really interesting, though, is that they did release the transcripts.


CROCKETT: Right? There are so many other transcripts that they have refused to release and they don't want to release these videos. And I think part of it is simply because, you know, we've made it clear that Hunter didn't say anything that would make them feel as if they have any more evidence.

And because now they want to go into the public sphere with a public hearing, I think that is going to be more so like, hey, look at what you said here. Now, we're going to try to trip him up over here and maybe at least get him in trouble in some way.

COATES: Congressman Jasmine Crockett, you brought this to life for us behind closed doors. Thank you so much for being here.

CROCKETT: Absolutely.

COATES: You know, it may be the biggest looming question right now amid all of Trump's legal problems. How and when will the Supreme Court of the United States rule on this very important immunity question? Guess what? I've got the court of public opinion here to talk about what they think about it next.




COATES: In a matter of weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on a question that goes to the very heart of our democracy: Does a president have immunity from prosecution for crimes that he or maybe one day she may have committed while in office? Essentially, is the president above the law?

Now, the court will consider whether Donald Trump has immunity from prosecution on charges of trying to overturn the election of Joe Biden back in 2020. Tonight, we're taking you inside our own virtual courtroom where our court of public opinion will hear legal arguments on that very question.

You're going to hear from two top lawyers who do some role playing tonight and lay out the arguments on both sides. We have national security attorney Bradley Moss, who will argue against immunity, and CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics czar who will argue in favor of immunity.

Then our jurors will weigh in. This is a diverse group of everyday Americans meeting tonight for the very first time to share their opinions with each other and, of course, you.

Now, you know, this is not an actual court of law. Our jurors are not rendering a verdict, but they will tell us what they think of these arguments that they have heard tonight.

So, let's begin with Norm Eisen. Norm, make the argument for us. Why should a president have absolute immunity for acts that were committed while in office?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, a president is already absolutely immune for acts that were committed in office with respect to civil cases, to damages suit.

That is the law of the United States under the case of Nixon v. Fitzgerald, which says that a former president of the United States is entitled to absolute immunity from damages liability predicated on official acts. If that's the law for money, how much more important is it when your liberty is at stake as president that we afford that protection?

Why? Why is that so necessary? A president has to make the most agonizing decisions when they are in the Oval Office. I know, having had the honor of advising a president, how difficult those choices are. They protect all of us with those choices. How can they function if they think their choices will be second guessed?

Don't pay attention to who the president is in this specific example. When the Supreme Court decides, they decide for all presidents for all time. Imagine President Obama. He ordered a drone strike in order to protect Americans. And not just a federal D.A., but wherever he is in the country, when he orders that drone strike, the D.A. can create open season all over the land.

People can be prosecuting former presidents. You'll hear from my distinguished opponent outlandish hypotheticals about presidential assassinations of political opponents. That's not an official act. That is not covered here. That is not what we're talking about.

Presidents need the freedom to protect all of us. And only absolute immunity from criminal prosecution can give them that freedom. Thank you.

COATES: Well, we've heard now from one side of the argument as presented in the court filings and beyond. Bradley Moss, now, tell me, make the case of why a president should not enjoy the absolute immunity just argued for.

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: It's really simple in the end here. Is a president a king? Is the office of the presidency created over two centuries ago imbued with the same monarchical privileges, authorities and immunities of the very same monarch we threw off over -- back in the 18th century? The answer is no.

But to address what my distinguished colleague here had brought up, the president is immune so long as it's within the outer reach, the outer perimeters of his official authority. That is what the case law with respect to the civil litigation has said.

[23:30:02] What is at issue in this indictment, what Mr. Trump has been charged with, are alleged criminal acts that do not come even within the outer perimeters of his official authority.

To be clear, the alleged criminal acts involves things such as having coordinating with state officials, trying to have them submit false slates of electors. Neither the Constitution nor any part of federal statutory law gives the president any authority to intervene there. It gives the president no authority to intervene with respect to having states change how they tabulate votes. There is no role for the executive branch of the U.S. government to be involved in that.

Similarly, when it comes to how Vice President Pence was going to handle January 6th, there is no role for the president, for the office of the president, to be involved in that day. The 12th Amendment gives power to the vice president. The Electoral Count Act gives the rest of the power to Congress. The presidency is excluded.

So, even if there could be some narrow carve out for immunity for certain official acts for a president when it came to criminal charges, the facts in this case do not apply to that. What Mr. Trump is alleged to have done in this indictment does not fall within the outer perimeters of his authority and, therefore, immunity should not apply.

COATES: Brad, Norm, thank you for making these very important arguments. There is one person that we have not heard from today, and it was actually the former president of the United States making his own argument for presidential. I want to hear that before I turn to the jury and ask their opinion as well. Let's hear what the former president had to say making his own case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If a president is afraid to act because they're worried about being indicted when they leave office, a president of the United States has to have immunity, and the Supreme Court is going to be ruling on that. If they don't have immunity, no president is going to act. You're going to have guys that just sit in office and are afraid to do anything.


COATES: Well, we've heard various arguments. I want to turn to the jury right now and get your take as to what you have heard here today. Do you think that a president of the United States ought to be immune from criminal prosecution for things that they did while they were in office? A show of hands initially as to yes or no. Jury number one, yes or no?

KENDAL MCBROOM, JUROR, LAURA'S COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: No for absolute immunity. No for absolute immunity.


COATES: Jury number three?


COATES: Jury number four?


COATES: Let's begin with jury number three as to why you have that particular opinion. Why do you believe that the president should not have or should have absolute immunity? Excuse me.

DAVIS: I think it's important because as we're talking about this, with what's going on, it's not about President Trump. This is setting precedent for all of presidents.

And I think to answer something that is emotionally-charged and not letting the law play out, again, this is all alleged. President Trump hasn't been charged with anything yet criminally.

And I think that in America, we get emotional and we're not able to think clearly and let the law play out, and that's going to be very important for the Supreme Court as they make this unprecedented decision moving forward. So, I do think that presidents should have that.

COATES: To be clear, he has been charged with criminal acts. He has not been convicted of, I think is the point you're making on that point. Jury number four, you were nodding, but not in agreement. Tell me why.

ANTRUM: Definitely not in agreement. I do not believe that he should have absolute immunity. And I'm concerned because on January 6th, when things were happening, he basically put up the vice president. And if he's willing to do that, and I know one of the examples that they used was, what if he orders someone to kill a rival? That would be okay? And so, I'm wondering, who might he turn on? So, I don't think any president should be given absolute immunity.

And I'd like to hear from our past presidents who are still living, are there things that you think you do in office that really require absolute immunity?

COATES: What an interesting point. Jury number two, you're nodding.

UNDERWOOD: Yes, yes, I definitely agree with you. And I also agree with you partially because I think it is a very difficult decision to make. It's a very gray area. I think when we heard the pro-argument, you mentioned that, you know, this isn't a hypothetical. You know, there hasn't been -- Donald Trump has not ordered the assassination of an opponent.

But like you were saying on January 6th, I think that he almost did, whether it was suggested or implicated or anything. But I think just that action alone shows that Donald Trump specifically is willing to take those risks.


And I think that setting that precedent coming in 2024 in that election, I feel like if he is reelected as president, I feel like that will definitely go to his head. And I just think that presidents have to make very difficult decisions. And whether I agree with them personally or not, that's whatever. But the example you use with drone strikes, like that could have threatened national security.

I don't think -- thinking about Donald Trump specifically because this is his case, I think that the actions he did, especially in January 6th, I don't think that had to do with his duties as a president. I think that has the -- you know, I think that's just a thing with his personality because he didn't want to lose and he couldn't accept that. I don't think that pertains to his job as the president.

COATES: Jury number one, you're seeming to agree with that.

MCBROOM: Yeah, because I don't think it was in inciting or being accused of inciting a riot and an insurrection. I don't think that in any way protected democracy, and I don't think that was in his presidential duties, even as he's on his way out. Right? So, I think that -- that's why I agree with that.

And there were three things to that point and to -- as juror four has stated, juror two, and I do agree with juror three in the sense that we are an emotional -- that we are an emotional country.

However, I do think in that, we have to recognize that one taking a step like this to give absolute immunity would be both a dangerous and illogical -- it would set an illogical and dangerous precedent for future presidents who could possibly hire or send out a call for the murder of their political opponents.

And this is not far-fetched. Right? We've seen this globally. We've seen this happen. And I don't think we should think of ourselves as a nation that is above something like that happening. So that is why I would say it's illogical and a dangerous precedent.

Secondly, I think it is a danger to our domestic and international security because if we have a president who is or in a Supreme Court, which is a third point, but if we have a president that is above the law, which we are stating, no one is above the law, if we have that, what does that do for everyday citizens who say, well, the president got away with this, so why can't I?

COATES: Stick around, everyone. Jurors, it's your turn next to ask the questions.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: We're back now with a jury in our court of public opinion. Attorneys Bradley Moss and Norm Eisen are still here as well. They're not going to take off their role-playing hats and answer some questions from the jury about this question, an important one, of presidential immunity. So, gentlemen, take off your caps.

Jurors, do you have any questions about this? I noticed that the overarching theme was there was a question of democracy and the question of the specific person who is appealing this case. Any questions for attorneys?

DAVIS: Yes, I have a question. And I also, too, have a comment. The question that I do have for one of the lawyers that are actually against immunity, I would like to hear a little bit more about your thought process in terms of why, what are some of the important points that you would be against presidents as a whole being?

COATES: Question goes to either, actually.

EISEN: Well, since I'm actually strongly against presidential immunity, I will explain why. Having advised the president, President Obama, our country has endured for almost two and a half centuries without moving this civil immunity where you have so many lawsuits that can fly at a president over to the criminal side.

We need to -- I agree with my friend, Brad. We're friends away from the court of public opinion, too. I agree with my friend, Brad. The founding idea of America is that we are all equal. Our country was built to get rid of a king who had a special set of rules.

So, it seems to me that it's important both for accountability, but also the awesome power that a president has, the danger that that power can be abused, and because what Donald Trump is accused of doing, he's innocent until proven guilty, but what he's accused of doing is something that no president has ever done before in our history, try to overturn our democracy from inside the Oval Office.

COATES: I want to ask, when you guys have asked the question, and most of you mentioned the official acts portion of it, whether or not what he is accused of doing constituted an official act, Brad, when you hear them converse about that particular point, that might very well be a very important question for the Supreme Court, too.

MOSS: That is the question the Supreme Court is ultimately going to be looking at. When you look at the way they framed it, the question presented, as it's called, before the court, it's coming down to, if the criminal acts implicate alleged official acts, can the president still be charged?

And, you know, just speculating here as to how this will play out, I think most of us ultimately expect them to rule against Mr. Trump with respect to his immunity.


The sort of consensus that's forming is that they're going to carve out, similar to what Norman mentioned from the civil side, sort of an official -- you know, within the outer perimeter of presidential authority immunity for presidents, which I think we always sort of assumed existed, while framing what is alleged against Donald Trump as falling so far out of the scope of that as to not enjoy this immunity, because if he would have immunity for these acts that have no basis in his authority, then the president is a king, there is nothing he cannot do.

And Richard Nixon was right. When the president does it, it's not a crime.

COATES: It's an interesting point, the idea of trying to figure out, look, is it a part of a presidential duty? If it is, they can't be held liable. If it's not, he can. And that's the big question. You had a question as well.

MCBROOM: Yeah. I'm wondering what, to the lawyers in the room, what -- this case going before the Supreme Court, what does that do for the integrity and the -- the domestic view as well as the international view of the integrity of that court? And should he -- should they grant him immunity or just by being presented in the first place?

COATES: It's a great question. We've been talking about this behind the scenes for weeks. Right? The idea of why would they want this case, what would it do to their credibility, and why they wait so long to actually decide to do it.

EISEN: The impact that this will have on the credibility of the court is yet to be determined. If they take so long to decide this, that the American people cannot get a trial of this case and cannot know if Donald Trump previously abused the powers that he's trying to recover, that'll be on the Supreme Court. That will be bad for their reputation. It will be bad for American democracy and our reputation around the world.

But if they do what they did in U.S. v. Nixon, 16 days in the Watergate tapes case after oral argument, that kind of fast time table will allow the trial to happen. They'll be heroes. So, democracy will rise or fall at home and abroad, depending on what speed the court moves at.

COATES: What about Merrick Garland, though? Do you have any blame for the delay there?

MOSS: I don't think you can put this all on Merrick Garland coming into office in 2021 as the attorney general. You have to think of it in the sense of what was -- what was the Department of Justice facing in the aftermath of January 6th and taking over after the Trump administration.

There were all the people who had stormed into the Capitol that day. There was the sort of the seditious -- you know, the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, people who had truly been the organizers on the ground that day. Arguably, they had to be dealt with first while you separately still looked into this weighty constitutional issue we're all debating now of, do you bring charges against a former president? The idea that, oh, they should have rushed, it would have been totally ripe for political criticism and it may have raised all sorts of different pre-trial motions from Donald Trump about them rushing to judgment on it.

I don't think you can blame Merrick Garland. Justice does not move very fast. It's always slow in the end. The courts have actually moved very quick on this, given how slowly they generally move. So, I don't think you can blame him or the courts. Supreme Court wants to be the final word. They are the Supreme Court. They get that.

COATES: Too bad you didn't quote Elvis. Only fools rush in. It would have been a good moment on television.


Let me ask you, guys, as I do see your hand, for a second. We're talking about the calendar here. Is it important that you get a resolution to this question before the general election? It's a show of hands, yes or no. Is it important you get it? Yes or no?

MCBROOM: Yes. Yes.




COATES: Well, we got a lot more to work on and talk about there. I want to thank all of you for engaging in this really important discussion. Thank you, Bradley Moss. Thank you, Norm Eisen. And a special thanks, of course, to our jury.

If you would like to be a juror on the next court of public opinion, get in touch with us by filling out the form you can access by scanning the QR code on your screen next to that lovely lady there or email lauracoatesjury at We'll be right back.




COATES: Well, she has had a front row seat to the rise of the tech industry, and nobody knows it better than Kara Swisher. For more than 30 years, she has asked the toughest questions, putting tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, all in the hottest of seats, breaking major stories all along the way and making some friends and frenemies.

Now, she's got a searing new memoir detailing the ways that she has built and what she has learned. It's called, lovingly, "Burn Book: A Tech Love Story." Kara Swisher joins me now. First of all, you've got your own swag. KARA SWISHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, AUTHOR: That's right.

COATES: It says, swishy, super fan.

SWISHER: Yeah, I had some fans tonight at an event. Yeah, I had some fans tonight.

COATES: I'm a big fan, so I'm going to have it here.

SWISHER: They rushed the stage.

COATES: They rushed the stage.

SWISHER: They did.

COATES: You know why? Because you're wonderful. But they also want all the gossip.

SWISHER: Oh, right.

COATES: Your book came out, and I cannot tell you how excited I was to go --


COATES: -- who's in here, what's going on?


COATES: I was combing like this.


COATES: You tell all.

SWISHER: Yeah, I do some of it. Not everything. Stuff that was off the record, I can't. But, you know, I think probably people really like the scene from Google, from the Google founders' baby shower where they had an ice sculpture with white Russians coming out of the ice sculpture's breast for the baby shower. And everyone was dressed in onesies and diapers. And so, stuff like that is in there. But also --

COATES: You did not dress up, did you?

SWISHER: I did not. It was just me and Gavin Newsom that were without the baby outfits.


And he said, how did you get out of it? And I said, dignity. That's all it has to do.


And he said -- he got out of it because he told them I'd take a picture of him and ruin his political career. So, it's stuff like that. It's like -- that's the fun stuff. And then it's the very serious stuff, which is things they did that led us to where we are today.

COATES: You know, of course, I noticed I was focusing on the onesie and not the fact that there were white Russians coming out of breasts --


COATES: -- as if it was a lactation party. That's an oddity. There was no focus group for anyone to say?

SWISHER: No, nothing. That's just what they were like, and they were wacky. And it's all fun and games until someone loses a democracy, right? That's kind of how I look at it. And then it led to, like, monopoly power, decisions by people inept at it, and things like that.

COATES: What I love about it is the idea that, you know, everyone can pretend it's not about capitalism. It's about the greater good and how the service can be used.

SWISHER: That's correct.

COATES: And AI is one of those things where people are even looking now and saying, you're putting too much emphasis on the potential bad. It's all the good. The first line of your book addresses this idea that it's about capitalism after all.

SWISHER: Yes, that's the first line, because I think one of the things the techies wanted to do, as opposed to, say, Wall Street people or lawyers or doctors, is no, we're here to help you. You know, this idea of we're here to help you, when, in fact, they're here to help themselves, just like everybody else.

Which I don't mind. It's fine. They built the most astonishingly valuable companies in the history of the planet. But the question is, should they be in charge of vast swaths of our society and making decisions for the rest of us without any accountability? And that's my big issue. And are they able to make these decisions?

COATES: Well, AI has an interesting intersection with your book, right? There is some AI trying to take parts of your book. Is that right?

SWISHER: Yes, that's right. Yes. No, what's happening, it's actually not just me. It happened to Savannah Guthrie, a whole bunch of authors that are doing well. General AI is making books with my face on it and other things, saying that Kara Swisher -- finally, Kara writes the biography. And Amazon is selling it. And so, it's crazy.

But this is going to happen over and over again. They're going to have your show, and the AI is going to make a Laura Coates show that isn't Laura Coates and stuff like that. And so, things are going to change really quickly with this heavy-duty computing we're going into. That's a technical term, heavy-duty computing. (LAUGHTER)

But it's -- you know, there's things happening that are even -- you think you've seen damage and wondrous things. You're about to see astonishing things that are both going to be scary and also really great for humanity. So, let's focus on the great stuff and mitigate against the bad stuff.

COATES: Well, you ain't said nothing yet. I'd be astonished if you can try to capture the essence of Kara Swisher.


You could probably capture Laura Coates, a little bit of attitude.

SWISHER: AI Laura Coates.

COATES: A little bit of 5'3".

SWISHER: Well, no, you'd be taller in AI.

COATES: Why? I'm perfect now.

SWISHER: Okay, right, sorry.


Kara Swisher, you, perfection. I'm a Swishy super fan.

SWISHER: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: A great book. Thank you so much for being here. Be sure to check out "Burn" book. You know you want to.

Thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.