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Laura Coates Live

Historic Moment, Trump's First Criminal Trial Set For April 15; Diddy's Homes Raided In Ongoing Sex Trafficking Investigation; NBC Hosts Blast Network For Hiring Ex-RNC's Ronna McDaniel; Son Of Oath Keeper's Founder Runs For Office As A Democrat; Laura Coates Discusses The "Preachy Female" Remark. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 25, 2024 - 22:00   ET



DAN ALEXANDER, SENIOR EDITOR, FORBES: And so it's a really cynical play to try to keep everybody along with him for as long as he can until he finally pulls the rug out from under them. And then at that moment, if he does dump, except for one, he's still because of an unusual provision and how this deal is struck, we'll still be able to maintain control of the company.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Dan Alexander, I mean, it will be a fascinating six months to see what happens there in the end with his shares. Great to have your reporting on this, thank you so much for covering it so closely.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

COLLINS: And thank you so much for joining us. Laura Coates Live starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: All right. Tonight, on a special two-hour edition of Laura Coates Live, a court injects a little bit of, well, March Madness into the history books, breaking civil fraud and judgment against Donald Trump at this point in time. We'll talk about it.

Good evening. I'm Laura Coates in Washington, D.C. Tonight, a moment for the United States, one you really have to step back and, well, think about. A New York judge saying the former president, Donald Trump, will be the first former president to ever stand for a criminal trial. That's 248 years of the, well, American experiment, and Donald Trump will forever enter the history books as the first leader of the free world to face a jury of his peers. More on that with a former Trump lawyer in just a moment.

But, first, we're going to do a little bit of basic math, $454 million minus 175 million. That equals, and I cheated here to use the calculator, $279 million. You can call that, well, the Trump discount. With the clock running out on Trump, a New York appeals court showed Trump the Art of the Deal.

Now, they didn't produce the actual judgment, mind you, but they did produce the amount he has to put up as a bond to pursue an appeal of that judgment, and that's quite a discount.

Now, don't get me wrong, $175 million is not chump change, as my father would say. It's more than the GDP of some small countries, but Trump now gets ten more days to put that lesser amount for a bond together. And let's just say the former president, well, he was pleased.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I greatly respect the decision of the appellate division, and I'll post either $175 billion in cash or bonds or security or whatever is necessary very quickly within the ten days.


COATES: Very quickly within the ten days. Can he do that? Well, Trump says he can.


TRUMP: Well, as they say, I have a lot of cash. You know I do because you looked at my statements. I mean, you've been examining my statements for a long time, and I have much more than that in cash. But I would also like to be able to use some of my cash to get elected.


COATES: Joining me now, Jim Trusty, a former lawyer for one, Donald Trump. I'm so glad you're here, Jim, thank you for joining.

First of all, let's just start for a second there and the amount of cash in this ten-day window. It's a discount, number one, not on the underlying judgment. He still can talk about why he thinks it's excessive. But the ten-day window he has now to come up with this cash, can he do it?

JIM TRUSTY, DONALD TRUMP'S FORMER ATTORNEY: It seems like he can. I mean, or he's a tremendous bluffer because he seemed very happy today. And I took it to be genuine. I thought he was really acting like he was under the gun for the last couple of weeks dealing with this bond and whether the appeal would essentially be negated by the practical reality of not posting a bond.

Now, he's in a position where there's kind of two things that are good for him. One is he got some time and an obviously reduced amount. But it's also a signal, not a perfect indicator, but a signal from the higher court that he might be in good shape on appeal.

You know, this isn't the merits of the appeal yet, but to get a stay, you have to establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.

Now, that's a very squishy phrase, but, ultimately, you can read into it, not perfectly, that the court might be looking at the judgment and the liability below with a little bit of suspicion.

COATES: Well, they didn't say why they were reducing it, but it's important people to understand the purpose of that bond, right? On the one hand, it's to make sure that if you're the one that owes the money, you're not just paying out to the person who wants the money and then can't get it back if you win on appeal. On the other hand, I got to know if you owe me money, you're actually good for it in some respect. And they thought this amount of money is probably enough to satisfy that.

But when you look at the arguments they're going to make in terms of excessive and beyond, I don't know if we can read the tea leaves in the same way, but he certainly believes that this is an indication that the public thinks that this is telling.

TRUSTY: Yes. I mean, look, again, it's not a perfect science because you can get a stay and then lose on the appeal. But I think there were enough irregularities about the New York trial. I mean, when you have a Deutsche Bank witness come in and say we don't care what he puts as an estimate, we do our own due diligence, which makes sense to anyone in the banking industry that he would say that.


And we're looking at it and saying you know we were fine with this guy, we'd love to do business with them. And, again, I think it's a zero loss loan application fraud case. That's why Southern District of New York wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. They're not real gun- shy about going after President Trump but they looked at and they said it is a zero-loss case, we are not going to do it.

So, this whole kind of manufactured academic idea of loss to the community, I'm not sure it's going to hold off. It's lawfare, and sometimes lawfare collapses of its own weight over time, and that's what we'll find out from the appellate division and perhaps the court of appeals if it goes that high in New York.

COATES: Well, they're going talk about the idea this being a so-called victimless crime. I don't think it is a requirement. You have to show the victim in the same way under the statute. It is probably a legislative argument that can be made as to whether you think the law is accurate or should be make that way, but they have raised the arguments about his competitors not being able to get the same rates, the idea of the general public, they'd have to be held to account. They filed false documents and the like. And then, of course, either the bank has not said they have a problem with it, but it's all really in the rearview mirror now, right?

Now, there's a judgment happening until the appeals goes down. But what's not in a rearview mirror for Donald Trump is that he thinks this is a political witch hunt and led by his political opponent, President Joe Biden. I mean, listen to what he had to say when he was pointing fingers right after this whole ruling.



TRUMP: This is a Biden trial. These are all Biden trials because Colangelo works for Biden.

It could also make me more popular because the people know it's a scam. It's a Biden trial. This is Biden. There is no trial there's a Biden trial.

This is all done by the Democrat Party and it is all done by Biden and his group. I don't know if it is Biden because I don't' know Biden is even sharp. I don't know if Biden knows what's happening. He wouldn't know the truth. Maybe he does. He probably does. But this is all done by Biden and the thugs that work for Biden. And it's a very bad thing.


COATES: I don't know how many times we've had the word, Biden, but, obviously, if there was a drinking game, Biden had you drunk for a second. But when you think about this, you and I know in the court of public opinion, maybe that is worth the whole lot.

But the basics of the law, this not a Biden court. This is not Biden attorney general. This is a state litigation and prosecution. and they're not beholden to what President Biden would say.

TRUSTY: Well, I'd say a couple of things that are maybe contradictory, in a sense. The first is, you know, you can have a problem with like- minded individuals doing something that's wrong, being creative, using law in an aggressive lawfare way and maybe incorrectly over the long run. And you can dislike that and think that this is terrible without actually having to establish that they are conspiring. In other words, they could be like minded, but not conspiring, I think that's a possibility in terms of what's animating Alvin Bragg and Letitia James when it comes to the New York cases.

But there is this one little nugget that he latches on to in these comments, which is Mr. Colangelo. You've got a guy that is the associate attorney general in DOJ, which was kind of a political spot to be in. He leaves that office in the end of 2022 to come be Alvin Bragg's right hand, and Bragg reverses himself on this case. Originally, he said he wasn't going to do it, which sent others into apoplexy and they're writing books about it. Suddenly, he's got somebody that comes down from main justice, says, I'm happy to prosecute this case, and he changes course.

Now, I'm not saying that's a dynamite case of collusion or whatever you want to call it but it's an issue. And local prosecutors don't get visits to the White House. I was ten miles away from D.C. when I was in the Montgomery County state's attorney's office for ten years. I had some high-profile cases. I didn't get invites to go down there. But everybody from New York to Georgia and in between seemed to have an opportunity to go to the White House.

Now, maybe that's just political support, we love you, we think you're a good person, but it feeds the distrust that you see or that you feel if you are President Trump when you already wondering why you were being treated differently than any other figure in history.

COATES: Well, it certainly fuels that distrust by suggesting that the decisions to go from one aspect of DOJ to another is problematic. It doesn't seem to work the same way if you're talking about Mr. Hur, a special counsel, and the saying he bounced around from DOJ and wasn't given the credit for having been appointed in other respects by Trump, and then eventually, obviously, by Merrick Garland as special counsel.

But let me just talk about the heart of the matter here and the timing. This judge today in case involving the hush money payments, they have now set a trial date for April 15th. He says, look, yes, you weren't giving the documents initially. They were withheld from SDNY, as you mentioned, who didn't give it over to Alvin Bragg and then you didn't get it in time. He does not think that was enough to delay this trial or that somehow they have their due process undermined. Do you agree with that ruling?

TRUSTY: Well, I don't disagree with it. I do not know the vivid details of what's in the discovery. And that's really what drives it. If you sit there and say, judge, they just dumped 10,000, 30, 000 pages on us, that's a bad moment for the team that's turned that over.


However, on the eve of trial, it's very typical to get a lot of information late. The system kind of allows for witness statements and dirt on these witnesses to be turned over on the eve of trial. So, conceptually, the volume might be high, but the basic instinct of receiving this stuff late is nothing new.

So, I don't know. I think the question is, you can't go into court and say, this is ridiculous. They've dumped on us. If you can't point to examples of information that you're just learning that you have to follow up on.

Now, I suspect, and maybe we'll still hear from them between now and April 15th, there's probably information in there that, believe it or not, reflects on this Michael Cohen guy's credibility, basically a guy that wouldn't know the truth if it hit him between the eyes. And there's going to be documentation, probably, from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office of examples of this that may be new.

Now, you may not need a whole lot more to challenge the guy's credibility, but, again, that's the kind of thing that if you're going to go to court and complain and say, I need more time, point to something specific or you're going to get run out on the rails, just kind of like what happened today.

COATES: Well, that didn't happen today, right? He didn't he didn't go into details or specifics about that, which is really a question as to the why. You know, you would have some people usually coming up and saying by the wagon load, here's all the exculpatory evidence I think is available in these documents and trying to pound that desk. And, in fact, the judge didn't even give the 30 days Alvin Bragg would have agreed to. He gave 20 days until trial. So, that tells you a lot about how he was convinced by the argument. Hey, Jim Trusty, nice talking to you, thanks for stopping by.

TRUSTY: All right, thanks.

COATES: Breaking tonight, also a stunning development involving one of the biggest names in hip-hop and American culture, heavily, and I mean heavily armed guards and agents from Homeland Security have now raided the homes of rapper Sean Diddy Combs. This aerial footage that you're seeing of the raids in not only Los Angeles, but also Miami.

Now, sources telling CNN the search warrants were related to an ongoing sex trafficking investigation.

Now, it is unclear who exactly is the target, but it's come out through a string of high-profile and disturbing accusations against Diddy since at least November, including his ex, Singer Cassie Ventura. She alleged years of sexual assault and physical abuse.

Now, he and she settled just one day after that suit was filed, but he has denied all of the claims against him. We have reached out to his representatives here at CNN for comment.

Joining me now is Rachel Lindsay. She's an attorney and the co-host of the Higher Learning podcast. Rachel, thank you so much for joining me this evening.

I have to tell you, and we both know this, of course, that there is a presumption of innocence in this country with good reason. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He has not even been charged. But given what we know about the allegations from at least Cassie Ventura's claim and claims made by other people as well, what kind of evidence could the agents have been looking for in these homes?

RACHEL LINDSAY, PODCAST CO-HOST, HIGHER LEARNING: Laura, thank you so much for having me.

It's really hard to say because they've been so general in the information that they've given us thus far. We do know, as you said, it's an ongoing investigation at this point. We do know that they have talked about sex trafficking, but we don't know the specific details. We know that there's a search warrant for both the homes. We don't know if there was specifically an arrest warrant at the moment.

We know that Diddy wasn't at the homes when they did raid, but we do know that this goes beyond reasonable suspicion. And it's interesting when you talk about Cassie and her filing that lawsuit and then them ultimately settling.

A lot of people doubted Cassie for whatever reason. And then there were similar allegations that came out and you saw that same sentiment within the community. But when you have the Homeland Security come to his homes, you know that there is beyond this reasonable suspicion and there has to be probable cause.

They were able to convince a judge that there is some sort of evidence that was connected, was or is connected to a crime. COATES: And, of course, that standard of probable cause, not beyond a reasonable doubt, again, there has not been an indictment, but to convince a judge to allow there to be what we know, we talk about in American case law, the home as the castle, right, having the ability to protect it from unreasonable searches and seizures. You have to make this case to a judge.

It was made in a coordinated raid across multiple jurisdictions, multiple homes. That's pretty stunning to think about, but to go back to, and we haven't heard from the Department of Homeland Security or the search warrant as to what specifically is the nature of the investigation.


COATES: Just going back to November, I mean, you look at this, Rachel, could we see more people coming forward? I mean, it's only been four months since Cassie's bombshell lawsuit was dropped. Now you got the other ones that came after this, as you mentioned, and now this.


LINDSAY: No, I absolutely think that you can, and we did see that with Cassie. I mean, when Cassie filed that lawsuit back in November, shortly after that settlement, you started to hear of other women coming forward and even men.

And I think that we might continue to see that as people may become more brave to be able to do that, may have the courage to step forward, it's really hard to say at this point, but I do think that what you can reduce from this is that this is going to be ongoing.

I think people thought that this would stop after Cassie's lawsuit and after that settlement. But we're continuing to see more and more fallout from that investigation, from other allegations that have come, and now with the Homeland Security raiding not one but two of Diddy's homes.

COATES: It's really a stunning revelation and a turn of events today. I don't know how people had this on their perspective BINGO cards, but let me tell you, the amount of guards, the amount of security, the amount of actual agents who were dispatched to these locations and the weapons that they had on them as well, it is mind-boggling and really makes you want to know precisely what they were searching for, what they may have recovered, and who is the specific target here.

Rachel Lindsay, thank you so much.

LINDSAY: Thank you so much for having me.

COATES: Well, up next, NBC is under fire for their hire of former RNC Chief Ronna McDaniel. But very little criticism actually involves one key issue. I'll talk with a former NBC conservative commentator.

Plus, a T.V. exclusive, I've got the son of convicted Oath Keepers Founder Stuart Rhodes. Do you know that he is running for office? And get this, it's as a Democrat. Don't miss this interview.



COATES: All right. So, let's just go there, can we? Let's just talk about this maybe elephant in many a room. Ronna McDaniel, who just left the RNC at Donald Trump's -- how do I want to put this -- at Trump's urging, well, it didn't take her long to land a brand new job. She's now a paid talking head for NBC. And, well, she's not making any friends over there.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: The fact that Ms. McDaniel is on the payroll at NBC News, to me, that is inexplicable. I mean, you wouldn't hire a wise guy. You wouldn't hire a made man, like a mobster, to work at a D.A.'s office.


COATES: Well, here are some of their arguments as to why they think she should not be there. She's been known to lie, they say. She's an election denier. She's villainized the very media from which she's now collecting a paycheck. She admitted just yesterday that she refused to call out Trump's worship of January 6th insurrectionists because she was, well, repping the RNC.

Now, keep in mind, this is years after deflection when asked questions surrounding it. When Americans could have heard her actual views and truth on the issue, she had a six-figure salary when real journalists at this point are, in fact, losing their jobs. And, again, she's not making any friends.

Here's one problem with NBC making the hire that few seem to be talking about. And, of course, the prosecutor in me looks at it from this angle. She happens to be a key witness in at least one of the cases against the former president, a key witness involved in the efforts to overturn the election.

That's right. The judge in the Georgia election interference case, you got to keep up with all the cases today, don't you, compelling McDaniel to testify at the trial whenever it really begins, quote, Ronna McDaniel possesses unique knowledge concerning communications between herself and Donald Trump regarding the conspiracy to cause certain individuals to falsely hold themselves out as the duly elected and qualified presidential electors, unquote.

An example of that knowledge includes a 2020 phone call that she made pressuring Michigan officials to not certify the vote in the Detroit area.

Joining me now is Hugh Hewitt, conservative commentator and host of the nationally syndicated Hugh Hewitt Show on the Salem Radio Network. He was also a political analyst and host on MSNBC and a panelist, of course, on Meet the Press. Hugh Hewitt, thanks for joining me here. The lawyer can't help myself. I want to start with the witness issue for a second because the fact that she was on that call and the fact that this is going to be likely brought up at a prospective trial, does that give you any pause about her talking so freely as a pundit?

HUGH HEWITT, FORMER NBC HOST: No, not in the least. In fact, one rule is what I usually use, and the one rule is if there's a standard for hiring at NBC, let's make sure that that standard applies across the board for everyone regardless of ideology. I think a double standard is being held up to Ronna.

Now, full disclosure, she's my friend and has been for a long time. When I was with CNN pitching her for the debates that CNN didn't get for a lot of reasons unrelated to Ronna McDaniel or me or CNN, just didn't work out, everybody loved her at CNN, everybody loved her at NBC, because knows Ronna knows every single person in town. There will be one thing on which she cannot comment, that trial, but there will be a whole bunch of things that she can't comment on.

My one rule point, Jen Psaki, I think she did a great job over at MSNBC, but she was routinely accused of lying to the press about the Afghanistan debacle, so much so that chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the House, Mike McFaul, wanted to subpoena her.


I thought that would be a silly reason not to hire Jen Psaki, she was in the White House. When people have sources, when they have news, when they have the ability to communicate, when you are as happy as Ronna is, and when you are in the heart of the demo, meaning you're a Michigan mom, she's a 51-year-old Michigan mom, and she's the heart of the demo for the news business that has to attract an audience, it was a brilliant hire.

And the people who are complaining may have their own particular reasons for complaining. Some are ideological, some are personal. But the people at the top of that network, Rebecca, Cesar, other people, they're very smart, they're very good, just like at the people at the top of your network, and they made a choice to try and get back part of the middle of America, and the news business is dead if it doesn't get back to that middle.

COATES: Well, you know, as you mentioned, Jen Psaki, part of the distinction, I think, would be easily raised in response is that it seemed that Ronna McDaniel in her conversations in her recent interviews has done an about face on what she believes to have been the truth or not, and essentially saying, I was taking one for the team, I was not being authentic or truthful before, and now I'm being truthful about this issue now, unlike, say, statements made as a part of one's job at presenting what the White House administration wanted to do.

The fact, in fact, I'm going to play for you for a moment here of what she was asked about the insurrectionists initially, and then how she changed her statements talking to Kristen Welker. Listen to this.


RONNA MCDANIEL, FORMER CHAIR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I do not think people who committed violent acts on January 6th should be freed.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: , So you disagree with that. He's been saying that for months, Ronna, why not speak out earlier? Why just speak out about that now?

MCDANIEL: When you're the RNC chair, you kind of take one for the whole team, right? Now I get to be a little bit more myself, right? This is what I believe. I don't think violence should be in our political discourse, Republican or Democrat. And I disagree with that. I agree with him on a whole host of other things.


COATES: Obviously, she's saying now, before I was a spokesperson, now I'm my own person, talking about these issues. And one can see that particular point. But the idea of authenticity, I think, is what is coming back for many people. Am I to believe you now or to believe you then because, essentially, you're being paid in two different ways? When is authentic authentic?

HEWITT: Well, I think the same rule that would apply to Jen Psaki should apply to Ronna McDaniel. You'd better persuade me in the here and the now that you're telling me the truth.

Now, when Jen came off of the White House podium, or when Tony Snow went to the White House podium, they came in with baggage or they left with baggage. It did not disqualify them. When Mike Huckabee went to Fox or George Stephanopoulos went to ABC, or I could go right down the list, I saw Carville the other night, James is a friend on CNN, and he's a paid contributor, and James is in the heart of the (INAUDIBLE).

COATES: But, Hugh, before you go down that line -- I don't want to cut you out, but before you go down that line, though, just I want to be clear on what we're talking about and why specifically they have criticized Ronna. It's been about election denialism, not just generally views about relating to the policy considerations or relaying what the administration thinks about a particular issue. It is really at the core of democracy.

HEWITT: I must disagree with that. I don't believe that's why they're really criticizing her. I think they're really criticizing her because she's a conservative. I worked there for four years, all right? For four years, I did that. And it's the most left-wing network in America. It's more left-wing than your network. It's certainly more left-wing than ABC. MSNBC is. It owns its space. And that 1 percent is very important to their profit volume.

NBC News has to hit a much bigger demo. So, they're doing the best they can to bring in people like Ronna, who knows everyone. So, I ask you as a news person, you're a professional, if you want to find out, let's say, what John Thune and John Cornyn are doing in the Senate race, who's ahead to succeed Mitch McConnell? There are only two people really in the running. Maybe Rick Scott gets in. Who are you going to call? Not Ghostbusters. Are you going to call up Ronna McDaniel and say, would you run this down to us and come on and Meet the Press this weekend and give us an informed point of view, as opposed to journalists talking in a green room about who they think has got strengths and weaknesses.

To me, it's very, very easy. Do you want to attract an audience? And NBC is a publicly traded company, and they need to bring in audience, and they need to bring in ratings. And so Ronna is perfect.

COATES: But is that the standard for a news organization that you want, that the goal is not to convey information and report but instead to have an eye simply towards the race? I mean, you're a conservative you said it yourself. You're there for four years. I don't recall, and maybe I've missed all of your negative press and that respect to you, but you didn't get this backlash.

HEWITT: Oh, I did. You're too young.

COATES: Well, thank you and I do look the part. But when you talk about the level of criticism in terms of not just based on your ideology but she is being attacked because they do not believe that she is saying information but that she is trying to serve and please two masters as it's convenient. That wasn't your standpoint, was it?


I can't read her mind. I can't read her critics' minds. All I can tell you is that she's a superb professional who knows everyone in town and will be a fine journalist, just like George is on ABC, and he was in the White House for eight years with Bill Clinton, just like Tim Russert was -- and Tim Russert used to work for Mario Cuomo.

Just like a whole bunch of people in this town move from the activist to the position of being an analyst or commentator. And it's perfectly fine. One set of rules for everybody. And unless you're going to be a purist and you come up for the ranks and you never work in politics, and that's not me, I worked in and out of politics very, very closely with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and all sorts of different people along the way, you just bring it with you and then the audience will judge.

What ought not to happen is there to be a gatekeeping set at MSNBC, typically on the hard left, that does not want America to hear a persuasive point of view from the center right. And Ronna is from the center right, and she's the demo they need to get in order to win audience back so that everyone can hear NBC, not just a little slice of the left.

COATES: What about the idea that she -- they believe, vilified the media more broadly now as a part of it?

HEWITT: Well, I vilify the media every day on my radio show, yes, and I vilify myself, too, because I get things wrong. I got something wrong last week, I think, on a special report when I said the Georgia governor ought to pardon somebody to Brett, and the Georgia governor doesn't have pardon power.


HEWITT: We all make mistakes. Every single person in journalism, if you meet me, if you introduce me to a journalist and they don't make mistakes, they're not a journalist, they're not honest with themselves. I don't think some of her critics are being honest with themselves, Laura. She'll be a fabulous commentator.

COATES: Well, we shall see. The critics are not silenced and perhaps not persuaded by what you've said, but we'll see what happens.

HEWITT: You bet.

COATES: Hugh Hewitt, thank you so much for joining.

HEWITT: Thank you. Laura.

COATES: Next, his father is serving time for organizing militia violence on January 6th, but Dakota Adams is now running for office as a Democrat. Hear why in his first T.V. interview and what he reveals about Oath Keeper's founder and his father, Stewart Rhodes.



COATES: Tonight a T.V. exclusive, the son of Oath Keeper's founder, Stewart Rhodes. He's now running for office as a Democrat. In just moments, he joins me, but first, a little bit of a reminder. His father was convicted of seditious conspiracy for his actions around January 6th.

Remember that he organized the militia members during the Capitol riot. Oh, and he's currently behind bars serving an 18-year sentence in federal prison. Now, Dakota Adams and his mother escaped Rhodes' control in 2018, and he is now running for Montana's state house. And joining me now is Dakota Adams. Dakota, thank you so much for joining me this evening. Why are you running for this state house seat?

DAKOTA ADAMS, SON OFF OATH KEEPERS FOUNDER AND IMPRISONED SEDITIONIST STEWART RHODES: Well, fundamentally, and thank you for having me on. I, as an advocate for more ordinary people stepping up to be part of the political process and fix this country, I have to practice what I preach, or I'm just another guy yelling at other people to do something, anything, on Twitter.

I have to walk the walk. And beyond that, fundamentally, I think that the Republican Party has become an unsavable disaster that needs to be gotten rid of, and I am doing all that I can to help uproot that mistake at every level of government.

COATES: And why do you think they have gotten to this level, as you describe, in terms of being unsavable?

ADAMS: Well, internally, I believe there has been a lot of putting strategic goals ahead of morality and accepting corruption and accepting creeping authoritarianism for the sake of short-term wins or to advance a long-term agenda.

And we've hit the point now where the Republican Party is completely beholden to corrupt ideologues at the highest level and even down to the state level is overrun by frothing demagogues and small-time grifters alike, all pulling it in whatever direction most benefits them, but always advancing power and control for their own ends and the ends of a close circle of friends, effectively.

COATES: You paint a very bleak picture, and yet what you describe, it sounds like, is in part on your personal experience. Your father is Stewart Rhodes. Tell me what it was like growing up with him.

ADAMS: We lived in an extreme bubble of fear and isolation and paranoid ideology. Starting well before the founding of Oath Keepers in an environment of general terror at the coming downfall of society that served as inspiration for Stewart to capture the now aimless energy that was left in the wake of the collapse of the Ron Paul movement.

And direct it into his own thing, into what was inevitably going to become a radical private army answering only to him, just because down to his bone marrow, Stewart Rhodes is a pure authoritarian. And that was very much reflected at home, where an environment of fear was cultivated just inside the house that anyone we talked to would be a government informant who was out to get us.


And the good example is the sabotage of our homeschooling as children to make sure that we were always behind and so that Stewart could use the threat of Child Protective Services being involved as a lever of control to get all of us to conceal what our home lives were like, even from other people inside the militia movement.

Because as long as the house was maintained in a state of chaos and we were all educationally and medically neglected, then fear of outside authorities worked with Stewart as a lever to maintain control. And the cultivation of just everyday fear, isolation, the feeling of constantly having to hide yourself and hide your activity from some kind of all seeing authority that all very much played into his hands and also reflected how he sees the world and the kind of change that people like Stewart would like to work on the country.

COATES: My God, Dakota, to hear you describe it, it is heartbreaking to think of, one, just how you're able to articulate that what must have been a terrifying and painful experience as a childhood and in your family to a greater degree. And it strikes me as you're talking about that isolation, about sort of living in the shadows.

A lot of the conspiracy theories, a lot of the messaging from extremists and beyond at one point in our own political history, they were in the shadows. Now it's become far more mainstream. It's far more accepted. They're more vocal about it. What do you think caused it to go from the shadows to more mainstream? ADAMS: Well, we have a long running trend in this country of what

begins as legitimate mistrust of the government based on past misdeeds that is then used as a catalyst and grown by groups who want to encourage a specific brand of fear or paranoia for their own ends.

COATES: Obviously, you are not your father. You have distanced yourself clearly from him, as well. But I am curious as to what made you make the change to have the clarity that you speak of now.

ADAMS: Well, a lot of it is that my two choices were to fall apart in fear and isolation and succumb to paranoia in a basement surrounded by freeze dried foods or to lean into every single thing that frightens me all through the Trump administration. The foundations of the belief system I was raised in were being increasingly undermined by the actions of Donald Trump and specifically by the eerie similarity between.

For example, how Trump ran his cabinet and how Stewart Rhodes ran the Oath Keepers Board of Directors. In the aftermath of January 6th, I had to look back and really reckon with the fact that all the people I've been raised to see as political enemies living in a world of delusion separate from the objective truth had been right the entire time.

COATES: You know, you mentioned January 6th and some of the beliefs and statements that have been made. The former president, Donald Trump, has called people like your father, hostages. He has saluted them. What is your reaction to that?

ADAMS: I think that if it becomes convenient to Trump, he will pardon any crime and really only believes that treason exists as far as treason exists as a personal betrayal of him being the embodiment of the United States as effectively a king.

I think that his belief that the January 6th insurrectionists are political prisoners is performative. And if it's not convenient to him, he will allow them to continue throughout in prison and not care. But if it becomes convenient to him regaining or keeping power, he will pardon them, including my father, who will become immediately a threat to the country again the instant he hits the streets. It all depends on what personally benefits Donald Trump. There's no morality.

COATES: You know, Dakota, it strikes me that you are running for office in Montana's House District No. 1 as a Democrat. By the way, it's mostly made up of Lincoln County in the northwest corner of the state.


And that county supported Trump in 2020, I think, to the tune of something like 73 percent. Now, obviously, with numbers like that, perhaps a shot of running as a Democrat will be described as a long- shot. What do you hope to achieve in this campaign?

ADAMS: Well, fundamentally, voters deserve to have a choice always. They especially, I believe, the people of Montana deserve to have candidates competing for their approval to do a job for them and to serve the people.

And more to the point, I believe that the Montana Republican Party, in particular, has failed the people of the state with a disastrous legislative session of mismanagement, performative, virtue signaling, culture war issues, hovering over real problems and utter disregard for the welfare of the people of the state that is about to, I believe, blow up in their face. And I need to do my part to kick that legislature out so that the damage can be undone.

As far as being a county that has gone very heavily for Donald Trump, there are a lot of people who feel left behind, voiceless and unrepresented in national politics who, because of the information that they consume and the culture that they're in, see Donald Trump as an outsider to corrupt power structures who is not beholden to the same forces that are running the country into the ground.

And while you would have a very hard time convincing a lot of people that Biden is doing a better job, you might have an easier time reaching a lot of them on other important issues than you might think. And that is where I'm at, and that's where I'm at, is I believe that I don't have to flip people away from still supporting Donald Trump for the presidency based on that outsider politics perception in order to convince them to vote for a progressive Democrat who is honest about going to hell enough to fight for their best interests and protect their rights.

COATES: Dakota Adams, I have found this conversation really fascinating and I thank you for joining me.

ADAMS: Thank you very much for having me and thank you for the opportunity to talk about the necessity of, figuratively speaking, snapping the Republican Party's spine over our knee in this coming election and have a good night.

COATES: Thank you. Well, a prominent Democrat says that the party has too many, quote, "preachy females". Yep, he said that. We'll talk about it next.



COATES: Well, Democrats have a preachy female problem, at least according to James Carville. In a "New York Times" op-ed, the mastermind behind Bill Clinton's 1992 election weighed in on President Biden losing support among black male voters, telling "The Times" he thinks there are, quote, "too many preachy females", unquote, dominating the culture of his party, "Don't drink beer", "Don't watch football", "Don't eat hamburgers", "Message is too feminine".

He says, "Everything you're doing is destroying the planet. You've got to eat your peas." For more, I want to bring in Democratic strategist and former strategist for the Biden 2020 campaign, Adrienne Elrod, and the former Hillary Clinton spokesperson, Philippe Rains. Thank you both so much for being here. Okay, "preachy women" -- is that true or not? You agree? PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON SPOKESMAN: I do not. I agree

with the sentiment that he was making. And I would replace the word woman with "left". If he had said "preachy left", the "left" tells you to eat your peas, not have hamburgers. I would like to think that's what he meant. I'd also like to think that given how honest he is and how open to hearing people, that he will realize that he should have used different words and not focus that way. But no.

COATES: Well, you heard what you wanted to hear. He said what he said. So, which is to believe? What do you think?

ADRIENNE ELROD, FORMER SENIOR AIDE, CLINTON 2016 CAMPAIGN: Well, look, I think James Carville likes to say things. He likes to be provocative. He likes to be a provocateur. That's always been kind of his thing. But I agree with Philippe here. I mean, I, you know, I think there was some point parts --


ELROD: -- of the story -- I know it's kind of shocking, right? Philippe, I'm just kidding. There are -- there are parts when you read Maureen Dowd's piece, there are parts in it that, you know, I think are somewhat accurate. But "preachy women" -- let me tell you about preachy women.

Preachy women saved democracy. They over performed in the electorate in the 2017 elections. They delivered the House and sent it back to Democrats in 2018. They delivered in many parts ways, especially suburban women. The, you know, Biden, the presidency in 2020, they over performed in the 2022 midterms. I think they're going to turn out in droves again. This election cycle, especially because women's reproductive rights is on the ballot, among a number of other issues, gun safety, you know, you name it.

So, the fact that like he thinks that preachy women, whether or not he meant it that way, he said it is the point. I think he's got to do some clean-up on all seven.

REINES: I think he meant it. I think he's going to realize how bad it was. I think James is, to the extent, we've both known him for a long time. And by the way, Adrienne and I know each other because we've been working for Hillary for a long time. So, I'd like to think that I know just by seeing this, that this is a stupid thing to say.

I think James was reacting to that moment to something that was directed very personally at him, the story he was telling in terms of his teaching at LSU. And he reacted badly and he spoke badly about it. I say that having no idea what the joke in the aristocrats movie was, I'd never seen it. So, it could be really, really horrible.

COATES: Well, let me ask you this, though. So, you said he likely should have used the word left in lieu of women. Do you think the left is too preachy? And what specifically aspects of it?

REINES: I think the idea that you can't speak, I mean, obviously you should not be saying things that are offensive, that are racist, that are homophobic, that are anti-Semitic. There's this middle ground that seems to be a little overdone. As an example, I have a close friend that's taking his kid college shopping and he went to two colleges on the East Coast and two in the Midwest. You can guess which two started the meetings with acknowledging indigenous people's rights to the land.

Now, I personally find that sort of funny because when you acknowledge it, you're basically saying, I confess to robbing the bank, but I'm not giving you back your money. But that is an example of --

COATES: By mentioning indigenous people?


REINES: By acknowledging the land rights, that you basically stole the land from it. And I think, what I'm trying to get at, inartfully, is the culture wars are based on things like this. And James basically knows how dangerous that is for Democrats.

He knows how potent these arguments are. He also knows that they are exaggerated, that the things that the right throws at the left, whether it whatever happens to be, I mean, paper straws, Democrats hate paper straws. It's not something specific to -- to Democrats that we are just holding on tight to these things.

COATES: So, you think that the preachiness is taking the bait on issues of culture wars in particular?

REINES: I don't take the bait.

COATES: You don't take the bait but the argument is what?

ELROD: Look, I understand where Philippe is coming from, but I actually think the left has been very effective in terms of driving major, major policy decisions. I don't think that we would have had historic climate change legislation under President Biden as much as we did if the left hadn't been pushing for that, especially the like, you know, left has been so focused on climate.

You know, I do think that wokeism is an issue that the right likes to target Democrats for being, you know, a little, you know, too aggressive on. You talk about paper straws. I completely agree with you. I don't like them either. But boy, the right sure does like to pretend that we are the paper -- the party of paper straws.

So, I think it's, you know, there is that fine balance there. But ultimately, James Carville has been an institution in our party for a very long time. He's incredibly smart. I hope that he does some clean- up on this. And, you know --

REINES: -- like what she said. I associate myself with the gentlelady from Arkansas.

COATES: Well, hopefully he won't use it.

REINES: But there is a -- COATES: Maybe there's a paper mop.

REINES: There is a point to wokeism to the point of insomnia. That -- that's the point that I would like to think, because I know James has made that point so many times as a -- as a danger zone. If we're here in a week and he hasn't taken this back, I would be very disappointed. But I would also be very surprised.

COATES: Well, we shall see. Thank you both for joining me this evening. There's people who love paper straws who hate you both right now. Up next, more on Donald Trump's mixed news and two separate court hearings. Yep, that was just today. We're going to break everything down.