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Laura Coates Live

Trump Faces Bad News; Appeals Court Lowers Trump's Bond To $175 Million; Harry Enten Reports The Impacts Of Trump's Trials On His Presidential Bid; Diddy's Miami And L.A. Homes Raided By Homeland Security; RFJ, Jr. Is Set To Announce His VP Pick; NBC Faces Internal Backlash Over Hiring Ronna McDaniel. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 25, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: The feds raid Diddy's California and Florida home as part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation. We are live outside of his Miami mansion. And a Diddy insider joins us in just a few moments. But first, Donald Trump ducks and weaves but a bunch may have just landed. Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

Some bad news for the former president, current candidate. His hush money trial, you know, the one over his alleged attempt before the last election to cover up an also alleged affair with adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels, well, that's now been set for April 15th, whether he likes it or not, by the way, and apparently, he does not.

During a hearing today with Trump in attendance, the judge threw out his motion to toss out the indictment altogether or even to delay the trial any further. Now, that trial is just three weeks away.

Remember when it seemed everybody was questioning why the Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg's criminal case against Trump was going to be the first one out of the gate? Remember all the headlines? Well, here are some of them. Why did the Stormy Daniels case lead to Trump's first indictment? Bragg's case is a legal mess. What is he even charging Trump with? Bragg's case against Trump hits a wall of skepticism, even from Trump's critics. Now, it's the only criminal case so far with a firm start date.

But wait, there's more. Control room, music please.


Tonight, who wants to bail a billionaire? Hmm. A New York appeals court gave Donald Trump a lifeline. Anybody got a spare, a $175 million bucks? See what I did there? That's the size of the bond Trump has to now put up in the next 10 days. This after Judge Engoron ruled he fraudulently inflated his net worth.

And let's be clear, this did not somehow lower the $464 million civil fraud judgment against him, his sons Don Jr. and Eric and, of course, his company. This just simply lowers the amount of the bond to go forward with the appeal.

Now, only in Trump world would having to post a bond for $175 million be considered a victory. But it is roughly a 60% discount. Hey, bonds are on sale.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will be my honor to post, and we'll post whatever is necessary, whether it be cash or security or bonds.


COATES: Most people would not be honored to post a multimillion-dollar bond to appeal a civil fraud judgment. But I mean, I digress. So, you may be asking yourself, how will these two cases play out? And, of course, now what? And what is going to happen next?

Joining me now, Tiffany Wright, a former law clerk with Justice Sotomayor, and Tim Parlatore, who is a former Trump attorney, also tried a case in front of Judge Merchan, the judge in this case, who will be presiding over Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial. Good to have you guys back here together.

Look, Tim, let me start with you for a second because he is saying, okay, fine, since it's a problem, it's an honor, I'll pay this money. I don't know if I buy it being quite the honor, but can he come up with this money now that has been lowered by more than half?


TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Oh, I think he can. I mean, he has been working, you know, to try and raise the full, you know, half a billion. And so, when you --

COATES: Unsuccessfully.

PARLATORE: Unsuccessfully. But when you shoot for half a billion, hitting $175 is a whole lot easier.

COATES: It's like my mom says, shoot for the stars, shoot for the moon --


COATES: -- let them run the stars. Okay, that was not this kind of money, of course, Tiffany, but does it signal anything to you? A lot of people are trying to read these appellate tea leaves and say, okay, if they cut this bond in half or more than half, they must have thought that the actual judgment was excessive. They haven't said why they've cut the bond in half. What do you read into it? Anything?

TIFFANY R. WRIGHT, FORMER LAW CLERK FOR JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR: I think we shouldn't read anything into it. I think the appellate court will speak when they get to the merits. I think what this signal is that they had a short period of time to review the record in this case, and this is the decision they reached. I'm not quite ready to read tea leaves and say that it means something bigger for the merits.

COATES: This timeline of this case, I want to put it on the screen for everyone, just to give people an idea of what we're talking about here. So, in September, Trump was liable for the civil fraud. You've got February, he ordered to pay the half a billion, almost a bunch of money. One month, it was a deadline. March 25th, he was granted that 10-day extension for the bond that has now been lowered. You see September now, the appeals court ready to actually hear the arguments.

And so, this is actually going to prevent Attorney General James from being able to actually enforce this judgment until I think, what, the appeals court rules September at the very latest or even beyond? Is that timeline squaring up for you?

PARLATORE: Yeah, I think that's about accurate, although, you know, the one thing it's missing is whoever loses may try to appeal it to the next level or even over to the Supreme Court. So, it could go even longer than that. But yeah, I think that that's about right.

Now, they're going to argue it in September, but that doesn't mean that they're going to issue a decision in September. I mean, I've appeared before that court. They can take, you know, six, 12 months sometimes before they issue a decision.

COATES: Well, they might take that. I mean, the judgment is still there. It's probably why you have the bond, right? You don't have to run out your resources, the person you owe money to can get the money and if you say, well, I've now lost the money, and also if you have to pay the money over. If you are successful on appeal, you can get that back, not from a creditor and collector, but from the court with interest, hopefully.

But the idea here is to push his trial. That's always been his goal, Tiffany, to push his trials after the election. He is now saying that there's a, you know, a pre-trial publicity issue and that he couldn't possibly have this case before the election. Never mind that he has really talked a lot about this case and given that publicity.

But this is on track, as of right now, for April 15th. Does the prosecution in this case have an uphill battle to you?

WRIGHT: To get to trial? It doesn't seem like it. It seems like the D.A.'s office was ready to go forward on March 25th. And it's President Trump or former President Trump who waited until now to ask for access to information. He waited until January, knowing that he had a trial in March.

And so, it has not been the D.A.'s office that's delaying this. It has been President Trump who's pushing delays. And I think part of the frustration on behalf of the judge this morning might have been that, which is that he's not confronting legal arguments. He's confronting delay tactics which, as a judge who's here to do law and do justice, that has to be very frustrating.

And so, I don't think it's the D.A.'s office. They're ready. They said they were ready, and I think they will be ready to go forward on April 15th.

COATES: Well, you know, they have to prove their case, obviously, beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, it's a criminal trial, a criminal matter. Trump also has to be there. He can't just sort of put his toe in the water and test out the temperature.

But there'll be testimony from people like Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen, obviously, a convicted person and has served his time. Stormy Daniels, she is being raked over the coals, as she has said in her own documentary, about her career and beyond. As a defense attorney, how would you approach these two witnesses?

PARLATORE: Well, Michael Cohen is not just a convicted person. He's a convicted perjurer. He is somebody who has lied so many different times. And, you know, you really have to attack not only his credibility, which is going to be pretty easy, given his record. I mean, he just recently submitted a brief where he used chat GPT and it had invented cases. So, you know, attacking his credibility is easier, easy.

But you have to go one step below that to attack the story, too. And what he's saying, that not just -- not just he's somebody who can't be believed, somebody has a motive to lie, and what is wrong with the story that he's telling and how, you know, by changing it a little bit, does it make it something that the defendant is not -- you know, is not a criminal for?

COATES: Well, I'll tell you what, this trial date is April 15. That's when the jury section begins. I want to see that voir dire. As they say in the South, voir dire. I want to see what the questions are and how easily they can pick a jury in this case. That's really the next step.

Tiffany Wright, Tim Parlatore, both of you, thank you so much.


So, what impact may this all have on Trump's chances come November? We are 225 days away from the election. I mean, I'm counting. I don't know if you are. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten pulled up some numbers for us. Harry, what can you tell me?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: So, Laura, as we look at the effect of the Trump court cases, obviously, the Manhattan hush money case is going forward. And if there's one case that Trump would perhaps be okay with going forward, given the politics of it, it is, in fact, the New York hush money case because -- take a look here.

View charges as very serious. Only 32% of the public view the charges in the New York hush money case as very serious, significantly less than the classified docs case at 51%, the Georgia election case at 54%, or the federal January 6 trial at 56%. So, New York hush money far below those other cases.

But, of course, let's broaden this out and let's just talk about the effect that the indictments have had on the general election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. So, this is the Biden versus Trump matchup, and this is among registered voters. Let's look at March 20, 2023 pre-indictments. Biden was up by two points. Look where we are today in the general election matchup. Trump is actually up two points. And keep in mind, this isn't just among Republicans. This is among the electorate at large.

There is one thing, though, that I would worry potentially about if I were Donald Trump. Go back to 2016. Why Trump is the best candidate to help you on your finances? Among those who said that Trump had the best policies on this, what was the plurality reason for it? He's a successful businessman at 32%.

So, if all of a sudden Trump can't pay these fines from the Trump civil trial, fraud trial, this may, in fact, impact his support because if voters don't think he's rich anymore, that may, in fact, drive his support down. Laura, back to you.

COATES: Oh, thank you so much, Harry, on this. Now, I want to bring in CNN political commentators Shermichael Singleton and Alice Stewart. I'm so glad that you're both here with me today. Look, this has been quite a whirlwind.


Everyone is like -- I mean, it's been Trump, Trump, Trump, but that's what's happening in Manhattan, and it's a really consequential moment for a lot of reasons. He does seem to enjoy playing the political martyr or victim. It's part of his campaign tactic at this point in time. It's the us against them. And he's this outsider, although as a former president, I think you're the ultimate insider.

But talk to me about this and this today's win. Does getting this bond reduced, does this undermine his ability to say the courts are all out to get him?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think so because when you talk to most Republicans, including strategists who are tied to the re-elect or the campaign, not re-elect, they will all say that there shouldn't be a judgment at all. Oftentimes, you will hear, who's the victim of this crime?

And that's a legitimate point. I mean, you're a lawyer, Laura. You could talk about this better than I could. I think that's a fair point to ask. Who's the victim? Who has been harmed? The money was paid back. The bank was satisfied, whatever the interest was, although it was reduced interest, clearly, right, because of how he appreciated the assets. But nevertheless, they're saying there isn't anyone harmed, so there shouldn't be anything.

Would this be the case if it was someone else? And often, you'll hear them say, we believe that individuals who support President Biden are looking for any way possible to negatively taint Donald Trump in the eyes of the public to help Biden. And that's just the way these people see this.

COATES: Well, I don't -- I don't buy the victimless crime scenario, but I'll give you a pass because your time matches myself.


Alice Stewart, let me bring you in to this because Trump is saying these are all Biden cases, all Biden cases. Now, of course, a Manhattan D.A. or a New York A.G. is no more beholden to the president of the United States in the federal office than, say, the mayor of New York City or the mayor of a town to the president of the United States. But that's part of his narrative. This is all conflated.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And that's what he's saying on Truth Social and that's what he's saying in the countless fundraising emails that I've received. I'm sure you've received many today that these are Biden trials. It's not Jack Smith, it's not Fani Willis, it's not Alvin Bragg, and it's not Letitia James. These are Biden trials.

He is saying that and his people are believing it. They are also believing the fact, as he walked into the courtroom this morning, he said this is a hoax. And as he walked out, he says this is further evidence that this is weaponization of the DOJ, I'm a victim here, and if they're coming after me, they will come after you next, I'm happy to stand in the way. And that works fine in the primary. And that is why he has won every state in the primary except for Vermont and the District of Columbia.

The question now is we have shifted to the general election, and we know in general elections, those are decided by the independent voters, as we call them, the mushy middle.

And polling shows, recent IPSOS poll shows that of independents, if he's convicted in Manhattan, and this is an if he's convicted, that almost more than half of them say that may give them pause to vote for Donald Trump if he's convicted.

So, they are looking at these legal issues and that the independent voters are the ones to watch out for.


Look, it's not going to doom his campaign, but it will do a little damage. So, they have to shift quickly to other issues.

COATES: I'm curious from both your perspectives, I want you both to weigh on this issue, and that is particularly this case about hush money payments.

At the time, this was originally, you know, revealed, Stormy Daniels, there were concerns it would hurt him with evangelical voters, it would hurt him with women. It was an extramarital affair that was alleged. The nature of her employment as an adult film actress and director, given that Access Hollywood tape, of course, that can be talked about, but not played in the courtroom in this case.

Is this now the revival of this going to harm him with those same demographics? SINGLETON: I don't think so. I think from the perspective of a lot of those conservatives, this is sort of existential at this point. I think it's fair to say they really view Trump in many ways as the last defender of what they think the country should look like politically, socially, culturally. I mean, he is that final arbiter, if you will.

And if you get rid of Trump, then who is going to stand up for the religious right? Who's going to stand up for the pro-Second Amendment guy who says, I want to keep my guns? Who's going to stand up for just the lay conservative, generally speaking?

And as imperfect as he is, and they'll acknowledge that there's a lot of imperfections there, God, I wish he wouldn't say certain things, but he is the best defender. He's that knight.

And I just want to quickly touch on something Alice mentioned about that.

COATES: Before you do, I want to hear this reaction.


STEWART: With that constituency, the social evangelicals, you also have to remember, dialing back the time, we had Stormy Daniels, but we also had the Access Hollywood tape.


STEWART: And that was disgusting, we can all agree. But the social evangelical crowd and demographics stood by him for several reasons, not the very least of which is Donald Trump's support for Scalia-like justices to the Supreme Court.

And he was able to campaign on that and keep their support and galvanize their support, along with Mike Pence appealing to them, because he would nominate a conservative justice to the Supreme Court.

So, they are standing by him. They gave him a mulligan. They've given him many, many mulligans. But they're going to stand by him on the policy. So, Supreme Court being one. Also, the economy was better under him, the border was more secure, and they felt safer. So, that's why --

COATES: A political trade-off that's happening in real time. And we'll see. And again, every time he has had these indictments, he has been able to fundraise, not to the tune of what Biden has, we've seen in recent months, but it's still very real.

Shermichael Singleton, Alice Stewart, we'll have to leave it there. Thank you both so much.

Next, we are live at Diddy's Miami mansion where the feds executed a search warrant today. I'll talk to a man who knows him personally.



COATES: Heavily-armed law enforcement officers raiding the homes owned by rapper and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs today. A source telling CNN the Department of Homeland Security Investigations was executing a search warrant, and it's all related to an ongoing sex trafficking investigation. But the source would not confirm if Diddy himself was the target.

Now, law enforcement, they did not leave empty handed. A photographer captured these images at Diddy's Miami home showing law enforcement loading what looks like a box of some kind of evidence into a van. What? We don't know.

Joining me now, CNN correspondent Carlos Suarez, who was outside Diddy's home in Miami Beach that was raided just a few hours ago. Also here, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe.

Carlos, let me start with you here because the raids went down not just at one property but two different properties on two different coasts. What can you tell us?

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Laura. These two raids took place, one here in Miami Beach, the other took place in Los Angeles. Now, just a few minutes ago, Homeland Security investigators wrapped up their work out here, and they cleared the scene. They spent a good part of the day out here collecting all of this evidence from one of the two homes that were raided.

Earlier tonight, we saw them carrying a cardboard box as well as several bags from the second story of this 11,000 square foot property here in Miami Beach.

Now, a Homeland Security official in Miami tells me that the agents arrived at this property at around 3:00 this afternoon and quickly got to work. Around that -- around that time across the country out in Los Angeles, they were spotted walking the property of a house that also belongs to P. Diddy.

Now, neighbors out here in Miami Beach tell me that when all of this unfolded, anywhere between 30 to 40 law enforcement officers lined up the street where this house -- this home is located.

And so, again, Laura, at this hour, we're being told, at least we've witnessed, that Homeland Security investigators appear to have finished their work here in Miami Beach, having collected, as you noted, some evidence, though they have yet to detail exactly what that evidence is, and we're told that the work out in Los Angeles is still ongoing. Laura?

COATES: Well, I mean, it has been over eight hours this point in time. Andrew, this raid is connected by the Homeland Security investigations. We know it is part of a sex trafficking investigation, but we don't know if Diddy was actually the target. But tell us what it means to even be investigated by this group. Did that strike you as odd? ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, for common, it's not something that people hear about every day but, in fact, Homeland Security agency is the primary investigative agency for DHS.


There are about 6,000 agents spread out around the country and actually some internationally. They derive most of their authority, Laura, from DHS, it's responsibility to regulate the borders and ports of entry and transportation systems. So, they essentially have the authority to investigate the illicit movement of all sorts of things: People, drugs, money, contraband across border lines, essentially.

That makes sense if this is actually a sex trafficking investigation which is, of course, the investigation of people across borders for immoral purposes and that sort of thing. So, it's not maybe the agency that everyone thinks of first, but it is a very active one with strong legal authority, and they're clearly working with prosecutors in New York.

COATES: Andrew, why so heavily-armed?

MCCABE: Well, there's a couple of reasons there. One, you're talking about very, very large places that have to be searched. Any time you're going to do that, you're going to want to clear those places of threats before you send in the investigative team. So, the simple fact that these residences are so large mean you need more people.

The other factor is when you are writing a search plan, if you have any intelligence whatsoever, even if it's old, that the target or any persons who are suspected of being in that location have a history of carrying weapons, then those people are thought of as what we call armed and dangerous. Just the possibility of having a weapon kind of raises that specter in law enforcement's mind.

We know that in this case, Mr. Combs has been investigated several times in the past for assault, some of which involving weapons, and so that alone would be enough for law enforcement to take every precaution they think is necessary, and that usually involves people with, uh -- you know, people who, like you saw today, were armed and wearing body armor and that sort of thing to make sure they don't get hurt.

COATES: Carlos Suarez, Andrew McCabe, thank you both so much tonight. Now, I want to bring in Rahman Dukes. He was a co-founder of Revolt Television, which Diddy also launched. Rahman, thank you for joining me tonight. First, I want to get your reaction to these raids today. Did you ever think he would do something like this?

RAHMAN DUKES, LONGTIME ASSOCIATE OF SEAN "DIDDY" COMBES: Never in a million years did I ever think that 27 years since we lost arguably the greatest hip hop artist, Notorious B.I.G., on the day where we celebrate his album, that here we are with this tragedy that has been going on around the bad boy camp and Puff.

COATES: I mean, as you know, there have been multiple lawsuits against Diddy since the fall. I mean, each one --

DUKES: Yeah.

COATES: -- has become increasingly more salacious. I mean, the most recent from a former employee. Rodney, I think, "Lil Rod" Jones accusing Diddy of sexual assault and sexual harassment and grooming. These are extremely serious allegations. And Diddy denies all of them.

Then there's a lawsuit brought by his former girlfriend, Cassandra "Cassie" Ventura, who alleged she was raped and had years of abuse that she was subjected to. He settled that case but also denied her allegations. And he, frankly, has denied the claims made in all of these lawsuits.

Did you ever see any of the behavior that has been alleged when you were working with him or did this come as a complete shock?

DUKES: Uh, to answer your question directly, it was a complete shock. Um, Puff is probably about as big as a star that you could ever get. You know, this is transcending outside of the lines within hip-hop. You know, he's a guy who us as young Black men looked up to. We had great times. He made great music.

You know, around my time around Sean, you know, he kept -- he kept a nice, you know, atmosphere around him. They love the party. They love feeling good. They love good vibes, good energy.

Um, you know, unfortunately, on the flip side, when you're this larger than life figure, you know, you have to prepare yourself for things that come along the lines. I myself have never personally seen it, but, um, you know, it's an environment. You know, it's part of what comes with our culture. Um, you know, justice is definitely deserving to anyone who has been victimized, but I myself have seen none of this at all.

COATES: Well, you know, not everyone has agreed with the atmosphere that you say he has created around him. In fact, there are some in the industry who are poking fun. And 50 Cent posted this to Instagram. And we know, of course, there perhaps no love lost here.


But he has said, now, it's not did he do it, it's did he done. They don't come like that unless they got a case."

Now, of course, I'm a prosecutor by trade. I know there's a presumption of innocence as there should be. But I have to wonder, in terms of the court of public opinion, why do you think 50 Cent is getting involved here? Is it some reputation that he has outside of what you've personally seen in the industry?

DUKES: Uh, 50 is a -- 50 is a guy who I know from the Queens neighborhood. I'm a Queens native as well. Um, 50 -- you know, hip-hop is competitive, you know, and it's like the big dogs' clash at the top. You know, 50 and Puff had a relationship at one point. You know, musical relationship friends. You know, along the lines. You know, it just tends to get competitive, you know, with the music and, you know, your net worth, etcetera.

You know, this is -- this is just where we come from. I know deep down in his heart, you know, 50 doesn't want to see anyone go to jail. You know, 50 is also speaking from the perspective of, you know, this being a case that it looks like is being initiated from out of the offices of the Southern District in New York.

You know, I just spent about a month in that -- in the courtroom, you know, which was filled with some of these prosecutors and these agents, you know, in the trial and the murder of Jam Master Jay.

And, you know, us within the black community, we know there's a difference between, you know, the white and blue, the N.Y.P.D. versus when the feds come. When the feds come, they pretty much have an 80 -- you know, airtight case. Their conviction rate is something like 90%, I believe it is. And if you look, you know, you look at the scene and you see all the police, then, you know, the area was all tapered off.

You saw his kids, you know, being detained. You know, it really hurt my heart. You know, I know his kids first. I know Christian, Justin, you know, the girls. They're all really good kids, you know. So, they see them go through that.

And to see the media, you know, I'm a member of the media myself. And we have a responsibility, you know, as far as, you know, protecting our legends, our heroes. And this is outside of the personal factors we're speaking of.

You know, as far as profession, you know, Mr. Combs has done a lot of stuff for the black community, you know. And so, I hated to see that some of these things are kind of swayed that way. But, you know, with a guy like 50, he is just -- he just had a little bit of fun at Puff's expense.

COATES: Well, you know, I understand the idea of heroes and the presumption of innocence. But certainly, if there are revelations that counter the points you have raised, I know that collectively, as any community, you believe in the pursuit of justice. But he has not been charged. We don't know if there -- if he, in fact, is the target of this.

But your point is well taken about the shock that you are experiencing with this and arguably his family as well at this point in time. We'll continue to follow. Rahman Dukes, thank you so much for joining me this evening.

DUKES: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me, Laura. You do a great job. Big fan of your work.

COATES: Very sweet of you to say. Thanks, Rahman. Well, the Indy presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is set to announce his running mate. Not right now, not today, but it's coming. And all eyes are on the tech attorney, Nicole Shanahan. So, who is the rumored pick with strong ties in Silicon Valley? Kara Swisher is going to spill some tea next.



COATES: All right, so between you and me, I'll give you a little bit of heads up, you might be hearing the name Nicole Shanahan a lot tomorrow. Does it ring a bell? Well, you're not alone. But RFK, Jr. knows her, and she is widely expected to be the likely person that he names as his running mate tomorrow.

She's a California-based tech entrepreneur. She rose from poverty to become a tech lawyer, founded a data analytics company, was once married to one of the richest men in the world, Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Their divorce was finalized last year after allegations surfaced of an affair with Elon Musk, reported in "The Wall Street Journal." Now, both Shanahan and Musk have denied, denied those allegations.

She reportedly has donated large sums of money to Democratic candidates. He also says she paid $4 million to help fund this controversial RFK, Jr. Super Bowl ad.



COATES: Remember, RFK, Jr. is a third-party candidate for president and is trying to get on as many ballots as possible, a process that can be, well, pretty expensive.


Let's bring in CNN contributor Kara Swisher and the author of "Burn Book." Kara, I just saw your book in every airport I ever go to. It's everywhere, and I love it. So, there you go. I was like, buy this book, and they'd already bought it. So, anyway, let's talk about this. You know Nicole from the Silicon Valley scene. What do you know about her? What can you tell us?

KARA SWISHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Barely. She was Sergey's wife, second wife, I guess, yeah, after Anne Wojcicki. She wasn't on the tech scene in any way I covered in any way, so she didn't have companies I understood to happen.

I didn't know about her data analytics company. All I knew was she was married to Sergey and then got divorced. She had a child with Sergey, then got divorced from Sergey, and got a pile of money.


So, at this point, that seems to be her qualification for this job. But, you know, she wasn't a big figure in Silicon Valley by any stretch.

COATES: Well, she's a VP running mate. We're about to know a lot more --


COATES: -- about her qualifications. I mean, Kennedy did cite deadlines in at least 23 states that require him to name a vice presidential candidate in order to apply to gather ballots for November. So, what does Nicole bring to Kennedy's campaign? Is it just a pocketbook?

SWISHER: Cash, I guess. You know, I know there's other names floated. I mean, someone not a particular fan of Tulsi Gabbard, but she certainly qualified comparatively. She brings a pocketbook. I think he needs money. He obviously needs money. He wants to make some kind of splash or point. And so, she brings money. She paid, what, $4 or $5 million dollars for that ad.

She, obviously, got a lot of money in that divorce, I guess. I don't know. I've tried to find out how much money she got, but nobody seems to know, but enough so that she can help fund this thing.

COATES: Well, we shall see more about her if she's named tomorrow.


COATES: But I want to talk about -- speaking of money, I want to talk about Donald Trump's Truth Social --

SWISHER: Uh-hmm.

COATES: -- because the newly merged social media company will begin trading on the Nasdaq under --


COATES: -- the stock ticker DJT, for Donald J. Trump, tomorrow.


COATES: Now, Trump owns at least 50 -- I think 8% of the company. That's worth at least $3 billion, although he can't actually sell the shares for six months. Does it offer him some kind of a lifeline here?

SWISHER: Well, you know, he could possibly, because the board could give him dispensation to do so, although you could see shareholder lawsuits going anywhere. I don't understand how this is going public. It makes $3 million in revenue, three and a half. My podcast makes a lot more money than it does --


-- and it loses 49 --

COATES: Go ahead, Kara Swisher.

SWISHER: -- I mean, a lot. I'm just saying. I should go public at that many billion. And then it also, it loses $50 million, and its users have declined precipitously 39% this year. This is not a business, it's a meme stock. It's the -- I think -- I forget which website called it, but I think maybe Axios.

It's the meme-iest meme stock in all of meme land. It's just -- it will be supported and possibly a way to get money to Donald Trump. And, you know, if he sells it early, the stock is going to go down. But, you know, there's probably a lot of people going to short this thing. But, you know, you never know. He has a lot of supporters.

So, GameStop was worth a ton of money even though it didn't have the business to support it. So, this will, and it could -- if he sells some, it could make him some. But I suspect there'll be shareholder lawsuits everywhere which is, I think, on brand for Donald Trump if he does anything sketchy. And also, the people who founded are fighting with each other, too.


SWISHER: So, there's that happening. So, there's a lot. You know, it's a Donald -- you know, it's not -- it's not Trump's stakes, but it's right up there.

COATES: I mean, it sounds like a DJT sort of moment. But Bloomberg was reporting, just to your point, that Trump's new net worth, including Truth Social, is $6.4 billion, which would make him --


COATES: -- one of the richest 500 people. I mean, look at this for a second, if you will. According to data from similar web, Truth Social is still tiny on scale of monthly active users when compared to Facebook, X, and Instagram threads --


COATES: -- and likely the Kara Swisher podcast as well. So, what happens --

SWISHER: No, no, no.

COATES: -- if he doesn't live up to expectations?

SWISHER: There's nobody on this thing. This is not a business. This is a meme stock, okay? Let me be clear, it is not. There are really significant small businesses in social media like Snapchat. But this is not. This is a pimple on the whatever. You know the expression.

COATES: No, I want you to continue with that. Pimple on what?


SWISHER: No, I can't. I believe I can't say it. I think they have trained it out of me. So, you know, it's just not a business.

COATES: Kara Swisher --

SWISHER: But it can be a meme stock. And so, it could go up quite a bit, then then it will be shorted, and then there'll be lawsuits. That's pretty much where this is going.

COATES: Another lawsuit. I'm trying to keep all of them straight in my head already, Kara Swisher. Just give me until the end of the year. Kara Swisher, always great to hear you.


COATES: And again, read her book. It's called "Burn Book." It's wonderful. Thank you so much.

SWISHER: Thanks.

COATES: Well, the former RNC chief, Ronna McDaniel, facing an escalating revolt over her hiring at NBC News.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: To me, that is inexplicable.




COATES: Well, tonight, a kind of revolt was underway at 30 Rock. Big names across NBC, MSNBC. They spent the last 24 hours blasting NBC's decision to hire the former RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel, as a paid contributor. Among their many gripes, her promotion of false claims about the 2020 election.

Now, it's not every day that network hosts take time to criticize their boss's decision, at least publicly, but the hiring of McDaniel appeared to be a bridge too far.

In extraordinary on-air remarks, anchors Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough, Nicolle Wallace, Chuck Todd, they all questioned NBC's hiring decision. And tonight, MSNBC's arguably biggest star, put the exclamation point on the collective complaint.


MADDOW: Ronna McDaniel will not appear on MSNBC, so says our boss since Saturday, and it has never been anything other than clear. The fact that Ms. McDaniel is on the payroll at NBC News, to me, that is inexplicable. I mean, you wouldn't -- you wouldn't -- 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, right?


You wouldn't hire a pickpocket to work as a TSA screener. And so, I find the decision to put her on the payroll inexplicable, and I hope they will reverse their decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [23:50:04]

COATES: Let's bring in CNN political commentator, Republican strategist, and former Trump campaign advisor, David Urban, along with NPR TV critic, Eric Deggans. Thank you both for being here tonight.

I want to begin with you, David, here because as you have seen, the hiring has upset top network journalists on and off air. She has been an election denier. She has defended Trump's lies many times over. But the question for so many is, does she now have the credibility to speak as a reasonable Republican who should have this platform? What do you think?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, listen, I don't -- so Kristen Welker did a pretty good job, I thought, on "Meet the Press" at grilling her and asking her tough questions, right? So, if you want to ask her tough questions, put her on and ask her tough questions, let her defend herself. This is a marketplace of ideas.

If people don't like her ideas, they can reject them. NBC and MSNBC can punch holes in them and show how lightweight they are, how dangerous they are, whatever you like to say.

But I think by, you know, getting so triggered and just so crazy, the people at MSNBC really show their -- they're showing their true colors. I think Kristen Welker did a great job on "Meet the Press." Ask tough questions, push back, hear divergent viewpoints. I don't understand what the crisis is at MSNBC.

COATES: Following, of course, the interview, you had Chuck Todd, the former host of "Meet the Press," come on to even say to Kristen Welker, notwithstanding her own skill as an extraordinary journalist, and she is, that the bosses owed her an apology, Eric, for putting her in this situation.

Why do you think NBC executives decided to hire Ronna McDaniel? I mean, should they have anticipated this kind of backlash and tried to avoid it entirely by not hiring her? What do you think?

ERIC DEGGANS, NPR TELEVISION CRITIC: Yes, they should have anticipated it. No, they shouldn't have hired her. Chuck Todd talked about it on Sunday. The suspicion is that they want to have access to a higher level of Republican leadership and also perhaps a sense that they want to be positioned, if Trump does win in November, that they have someone on their payroll who worked closely with Trump.

We're not talking about the ethics of having someone on air who is Republican or head of the RNC or even spouted election denialism. We're talking about someone getting paid by a traditional news organization. And reporting from Puck, Puck's Dylan Byers, indicates it might be as high as $300,000 a year. That provides a level of validation of that person's past.

NBC News is saying this person's opinions and their credibility is worth $300,000 a year. I think that's what people are objecting to. I think the people at MSNBC who have criticized this hire have a perfectly valid point. I think they make a great point. I don't understand why a news organization would hire someone who has helped a former president try to overthrow an election, why they would pay them to be on the air.

COATES: David --

DEGGANS: It doesn't make sense to me.

COATES: Excuse me, Eric. I didn't mean to cut you off. Excuse me. But David, what's your reaction to that in terms of the forum itself? It seems to go more than just the idea of hearing, as you mentioned, divergent viewpoints, a marketplace of ideas. What do you make of this decision given it's a news platform? And by the way, you heard Rachel Maddow talking about the reconsideration. Would that possibly mean firing, even after they were well aware of who she was?

URBAN: Yeah. So, for people at MSNBC to talk about being a news platform, right, is a little bit laughable to me, right? It's an opinion platform. It's not really a news platform, right? NBC may be --

COATES: They would disagree.

URBAN: -- reclaiming credibility and say, we're a news platform. Oh, okay. Well, I know 74 million plus people. Okay, Eric, well, you have your opinion. And listen, it's great. People on this network, you and I can disagree.

DEGGANS: It's not an opinion. Half of their -- half of their programming is hosted by news anchors.


It's true.

URBAN: Eric, it's an opinion that's held, I'm sure, by -- Eric, I'm sure it's an opinion held by 74 million people that voted for Donald Trump. That's what I'm saying. Okay? So, if you're looking to have divergent --

DEGGANS: Tons of people --

URBAN: I'm just saying -- Eric, listen --

DEGGANS: That doesn't mean it's accurate.

COATES: I want to hear both of you. David --

URBAN: Eric, listen --

COATES: -- I might not hear back from you. Go ahead, David.

URBAN: Yeah, exactly. So, all I'm saying is simply that, you know, if NBC was looking to somehow curry favor with the Trump administration by hiring Ronald McDaniel, who was shown the door by former President Trump at the RNC, that obviously was probably a bad business decision on their part.


If they're trying to get some divergent viewpoints, you know, which I probably think that they're trying to do in an upcoming election season where Donald Trump is on the ballot and they could ask her tough questions, I don't think that was a terrible decision at all.

COATES: What's your last word on that --

URBAN: Kristen Welker did a great job. She's tough.

COATES: What's your last word on this, Eric?

DEGGANS: Why would -- why would you pay someone $300,000 when the first thing you have to do when you have them on air is grill them about their past statements? It doesn't make any sense.

Of course, that person can be a guest in the way that I'm a guest. I'm not being paid to be here. But why would you pay that person for their expertise if their past is so questionable that they have to be grilled on what they've said in the past and they have to say publicly that they believe the last presidential election was valid and that Joe Biden was lawfully elected president?

It doesn't -- that's what beggars people's imaginations. It's not about having a divergent number of viewpoints. Of course, you want that. But why is NBC News paying for these opinions when they have to have a whole segment of "Meet the Press" where she gets grilled on what she said in the past? That's what doesn't make sense.

COATES: Well, I'll tell you what. I -- you know, you came here live for this fabulous show, Eric. I'll throw in some Thin Mints, some cookies for you. I don't know how much more I can give you. But David Urban, you don't get cookies, okay?


You got to buy them today. David Urban, Eric Deggans --

URBAN: Come back in -- come back in, Eric. We love to have some more robust debate with divergent viewpoints.

COATES: All right, now, you get some cookies when you have those divergent viewpoints. There you go. Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.