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Laura Coates Live

New Revelations About The Baltimore Bridge Collapse; Judge Recommends Ex-Trump Lawyer John Eastman Be Disbarred; Obama Jumps In To Help Biden Defeat Trump Again; Outrage Over Killing Of NYPD Officer; Team Targeted With Racist Slurs During NCAA Tournament; Laura Interviews Mike Rowe. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Tonight, a new theory emerges. Could dirty fuel have triggered the disaster in Baltimore? And let's not forget the human toll of all of this. Baltimore native Mike Rowe is here to talk about the underappreciated migrant bridge workers doing a dangerous job in the middle of the night. Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

We're learning much more tonight about the devastating and deadly bridge crash in Baltimore. Now, the headlines from the NTSB press conference tonight, 21 crew members and two pilots were on board the Dali cargo ship when it crashed into the Key Bridge. Six construction workers on the bridge presumed dead.

The NTSB interviewed the ship's captain, his mate, the chief engineer, and one other engineer today. The ship's cargo, well, it included 764 tons of hazardous materials. Some of the hazmat containers were breached, others seen in the water.

The bridge did not have any redundancy, which is the preferred method for building bridges today, and that means that one point of failure could take down a portion or the entire bridge.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy says the investigation could take up to two years. But the human cost of all of this, frankly, it's almost incalculable.

In a moment, Mike Rowe joins me to talk about what this means for a Baltimore community and the families who depended on tough jobs on the bridge.


JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NTSB: Bans. That is pretty much gone. That is -- it's just utter devastation. And when I look at something like that, I am thinking not about the container ships that are coming through, not about traffic getting back up and running on the bridge, I'm thinking about the families who've lost loved ones and the families who are waiting to reunite with loved ones, and what they must be going through.


COATES: I want to go right now to CNN's Pete Muntean, who was at the press conference this very evening. Pete, I'm so glad you're here and with your reporting because we got a lot of information coming from the NTSB tonight, including the possibility that contaminated fuel may have played a role. What more can you tell us?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a theory, but not one that the NTSB has given all that much credence to yet. They say that they will do a test of the fuel on board the MV Dali, something they typically do during any investigation like this. Investigators were on board the MV Dali today, and they say that they have been able to determine that there was some sort of power outage on board the ship, although they do not yet know the cause.

The big stumbling block right now is the voyage data recorder, the ship's black box. It only records limited parameters, a few things like the engine RPM, the position of the ship's rudder, and the heading of the ship's bow. And NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy says she would love to see more data from ships like this to help in investigations like this. Listen.


HOMENDY: It is very basic compared to, say, a flight data recorder where we would have a thousand parameters. So, it would be good to have that information, key to have that information for an investigation.


MUNTEAN: Even still, the NTSB says it has been able to glean a lot of data from the voyage data recorder's audio recording portion. They were able to tell that during the first 46 minutes of this voyage from the port of Baltimore, things were relatively normal. Then at 1:25 a.m. on Tuesday morning, that is when things really went sideways.

Numerous alarms lit up on the ship's bridge, and there were desperate moves that followed by the crew, dropping the anchor, commands for full rudder, commands that they were going to hit the bridge in front of them. All of those maneuvers, emergency maneuvers, proved futile in preventing the disaster that occurred there.


COATES: You know, part of this disaster, we're learning, I'm learning some new terms on all of this, they keep talking about the bridge being what they're calling fracture critical. Pete, what does that mean and does it explain why it went down so quickly?

MUNTEAN: It's a new term that I learned tonight as well, and it essentially means that the bridge is prone to failure. It doesn't have all that much redundancy. There are three spans of the bridge, one on each side, and then a center truss portion with two pylons at each end of that center truss portion. It's almost like domino effect, and the ship took down one of those pylons, and because that pylon got taken out, the rest of the bridge came down.

It is a sad reality, Homendy says, that the Key Bridge is not alone in the United States. There are 17,000 more bridges like this in the U.S. It is the norm now to make bridges redundant. So, this is sort of an older style when this bridge came to be about 47 years ago.

Right now, the NTSB is looking at the records of this bridge. They say it was last inspected May of 2023, so not all that long ago, and it was in satisfactory condition then.

COATES: Pete Muntean, so illuminating. Thank you so much.

We are learning much more tonight about this tragic bridge collapse. And joining me now, veteran ship captain, Allan Post. He is the deputy superintendent at Texas A&M Maritime Academy.

Captain Post, thank you so much for being here. I have to ask you, I mean, as a captain, what did you think as you heard the timeline and the actions of the crew in the final seconds before that collision?

CAPT. ALLAN POST, VETERAN SHIP'S OFFICER: Thank you for having me. I thought it was absolutely amazing that they were able to do all they were accomplishing in that short timeframe. Being able to get an anchor down, getting the rudder commands out, and getting the Mayday call out to be able to close the bridge in less than five minutes is truly an amazing effort by the pilots and the team on the bridge of the ship.

COATES: I mean, the investigators, they now have the ship's data tracker, which includes apparently six hours or so of audio. Now, most people are familiar with what data might be contained in, say, an airplane's black box, but what kind of data would you find on this tracker and what might it tell them?

POST: Well, in the voyage data recorder, it's going to record snapshots of the ship's radar. It's going to record your rudder angle, perhaps RPM and some other additional parameters. It's also going to record what was being displayed on the ship's electronic data chart system or ECDIS. And that information, along with the audio recording of the conversations on the bridge, is going to tell them the events that happened on that night.

COATES: So many of us are trying to climb this steep learning curve of maritime terminology, and I want to lean into your expertise here, because we learned that the pilot ordered something called a hard rudder to port and, of course, for the anchor to be dropped when the ship lost electrical power and the ability to steer. What does that entail exactly and was this the right series of moves one would follow?

POST: This is absolutely consistent with best practices. What he was attempting to do was bring the ship back towards the center of the channel and away from the span. Moving the rudder hard to port would bring the stern to the right and the bow to the left. Dropping the port anchor, the left anchor, would also induce drag on the forward portion of the ship and also assist in moving the ship back towards the center of the channel. But they just ran out of time.

COATES: Uh, just thinking about just a few more stretches of the water, everything could have been different here. Now, there are also sources that are familiar with the investigation, and they told "The Wall Street Journal" that officials will look at whether contaminated fuel may have played some role or any kind whatsoever in what happened. Can you help connect the dots here because, I'm wondering, under what kind of scenario would fuel lead to a vessel losing control?

POST: Well, contaminated fuel can cause the engine to basically stutter. It could cause it to shut down. It could cause it to trip alarms that say, hey, something is not right, the engine is not working correctly, we need to stop it before something completely catastrophic happens.

If that is the case here, and the NTSB will certainly be investigating that, it would be very, very interesting to see, and especially in a ship of this age, how the engine automation responded and also what data that they can pull from the engine automation system.


COATES: You know, we are really in the beginning of this investigation. I mean, it's hard to imagine less than 48 hours ago, the Francis Scott Key Bridge was standing.

Captain Allan Post, thank you so much.

POST: Thank you.

COATES: You know, now, I want to turn to the race for 2024. Lara Trump, the new RNC co-chair and also the wife of Donald Trump's son, Eric, well, she has a message for voters.


GARRETT HAAKE, SENIOR CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Is it going to be the position of the RNC in 2024 that the 2020 election was not fairly decided or that it was stolen somehow?

LARA TRUMP, CO-CHAIR OF RNC, WIFE OF ERIC TRUMP: Well, I think we're past that. I think that's in the past. We learned a lot. Certainly, we took a lot of notes.


COATES: Well, that's right. The co-chair of the RNC thinks that we are past the 2020 election lies. So, I guess that means we could ignore the RICO charges in Georgia or Jack Smith's federal election subversion case, all irrelevant, I guess.

Well, maybe someone ought to tell her father-in-law that everyone is past all of this because he's certainly not, making this same statement at nearly every rally since even the new year.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The radical left Democrats rigged the presidential election in 2020. We're not going to allow them to rig the presidential election in 2024.


COATES: Oh, you know, maybe someone should also tell the former Trump election lawyer, his name is John Eastman, that we're also past it because a California judge just recommended Eastman to be disbarred. Why? Because of his actions that he took to challenge Trump's 2020 election loss. This would mean he could not practice law anymore if, of course, it's adopted.

Now, Eastman's lawyer is responding tonight, saying that Eastman maintains that he worked as he should have on legal issues after the 2020 election for his then client, Trump.

Well, joining me now is CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen. He was also a part of a group of 25 bipartisan ethics experts who called upon the California bar to investigate Mr. Eastman. Norm was not named in the decision and order today.

Norm, so glad you're here and good to see you. I mean, we had been wondering a lot about what would come of this particular hearing. He's got a lot of due process about this very proposal. Now, they are placing him on involuntary inactive status right now. Can you walk us through why this court is saying that he should be disbarred?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Laura, we all remember that Donald Trump and his team, including John Eastman, one of the lead counsels, said there was widespread fraud. There were 63 cases claiming there was fraud. And that in part because of that fraud, under the Constitution, Vice President Pence had the power, nobody ever heard of this, had the power to delay the January 6th meeting of Congress to recognize the winner, maybe even throw out some of those electors.

The court today, the California bar judge said that John Eastman's role in that basically was false. He put forward false information about the facts and the law. The facts, there was no widespread fraud, and the law, the vice president has no such powers, and it wasn't a close case.

That's why as a lawyer, he was recommended for disbarment. The California Supreme Court will have to approve it. You can't lie about the facts. You can't lie about the law.

COATES: Will this have any impact on the actual legal cases that Trump is facing? Obviously, the nature and the substance of the facts are alleged in current lawsuits and prosecutions.

EISEN: I think it's a powerful indicator of the trouble that Donald Trump will face, both in the federal election interference case here in D.C. and the state one in Fulton County, Georgia. Why? The essence of the prosecution's case is that Donald Trump was in a conspiracy, no facts, no law.

He wanted to hang on to the office even though he knew he lost and Biden won. Well, that's what was found by a clear and convincing standard, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. But boy, that's a big step in that direction. Powerful evidence. So that is a sign the prosecution will succeed.

Donald Trump's defenses were also implied to be weakened today because he can't say I relied on counsel if he had an agreement, if he was in a conspiracy with his counsel. And that's what this judge found. So, very ominous for Donald Trump, both prosecution case and his defense.


COATES: This isn't the first time, by the way, that lawyers for Trump are facing consequence. I mean, he now joins a longer list. You've got Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark, Kenneth Chesebro, Rudy Giuliani. You have to wonder, is the law closing in on Trump if it's going through his lawyers as well?

Norm Eisen, thank you so much.

EISEN: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Coming up, an all-hands-on-deck kind of moment in the 2024 campaign. Can his former boss, you know, President Barack Obama, turn the tide for now-President Joe Biden? We'll talk about it next.




BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm so proud to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States.


COATES: That was former President Obama's April 2020 endorsement of Joe Biden, delivered early in the pandemic, you might recall. And now here we are, four years later, almost to the day, Obama is once again trying to help Biden defeat Donald Trump.

Sources are saying that Obama and Biden talk regularly, and the former president stopped by the White House just last Friday for a meeting. And according to sources familiar with Obama's thinking, he's saying 2024 is going to require a -- quote -- "all-hands-on-deck" -- unquote approach. I tried not to emulate his voice. It may have come across. I didn't mean to.

It also begins tomorrow night with a star-studded fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall featuring President Biden and Obama and Clinton. Now, the tickets range from $225 a pop, all right, all the way up to half a million dollars. Hmm. Joining me now, Gabriel Debenedetti, who quite literally wrote the book on the Obama-Biden relationship. It's called "The Long Alliance." He's also a national correspondent for "New York Magazine." Also here is CNN political commentator Ashley Allison, former national coalition's director for Biden-Harris 2020.

I'll start with you, Gabriel, since you are not with me, beside me. But the event tomorrow is sold out, even with those prices, by the way, sold out. You got Biden, you have Obama, you've got Clinton, and it's going to be quite the glittering night at Radio City Music Hall. How much could this realistically help President Biden?

GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI, AUTHOR: Yeah, it's a good question. An event like this is really about sending a message. But there is a short-term goal, too, which is to raise a ton of money.

And it's pretty, you know, important to remember that when it comes to President Obama, President Clinton, too, that's a big part of the role early in the campaign, that they're going to be playing for President Biden's reelection.

They're just trying to raise as much money as possible to make sure that Biden is in good position and that his campaign has what it needs because, you know, the message that Obama in particular has been sending when people ask him about this is it's going to be really tough.

The overall message that they're trying to send, though, by all appearing together is one of unity and one of really trying to say the entire Democratic Party, all of these past presidents, you know, are here with Biden, it's really important to support him, and there is, of course, an implied message.

It's, you know, certainly not lost on them that previous Republican presidents, even his own vice president, are not with the alternative, and that's Donald Trump.

So, there's a little bit of, you know, multilayering here. But again, the primary goal, raise a lot of money, and it's pretty clear that they're going to do that.

COATES: It's a really important point you raised, too, Ashley, about the message it sends because clearly, you're not talking about the same unified approach or fraternity of sorts for the Republicans as relates to Donald Trump.

And we also know that Obama is tremendously popular. I mean, he really is. He was when he was president and also still is, especially among Black and Latino voters, and younger voters as well.

I'm wondering, though, I was talking to Chris Wallace earlier this evening, and his statement was something like, well, the popularity he has is necessarily translated, he can't bestow it on somebody else. Can he send some of that to Biden? Will it stick? ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, when you're building a campaign, you want to have surrogates and trusted messengers. And like it or not, President Obama is still one of the most famous individuals in the world and definitely in American politics.

And so, I do think there are voters, some who voted for the first time for Obama and never came back, back to the Democratic Party or back to democracy and cast a vote.

And he could potentially be the person to reach out and say, listen, folks, not just the president, President Obama, but the first lady as well, listen, folks, we have a job to do, let me explain to you why this is just as important as voting for me as it is to vote for Joe Biden.

And so, to the point of being all-hands-on deck, that's what the president is doing because he knows the stakes of this election if Joe Biden does not win, not just because of Donald Trump, but also because of third party candidates.

So, the Democratic Party, it's great that they have these past presidents and are able to continue to build their robust coalition with this diverse set of formers, but it's also important that they can talk to various communities, Bill Clinton being some and President Obama.

COATES: You know, I went back to look and see that by the time -- I'm always wondering, why now, why not before, why not later, and just the timing of all that looks like, and at the same time in Obama's presidency at this same time.

By the way, his approval rating was about 10 points higher than Biden is right now. And so, if you just look at this and also about the timing of when he endorsed, again, it was on April, the same presidential election year.

So, Gabe, I'm going to go to you here because in terms of the why now, you've written about this quite extensively, that Biden and Obama weren't always on the same page when it came to whether Biden ought to run.


And here we are now, an endorsement four years ago, now another one coming. Tell me a little bit about this relationship and how you think --


COATES: -- publicly this is going to be additive.

DEBENEDETTI: Sure. Well, there's a whole long history here. I mean, we can't forget that in 2008, they actually briefly ran against each other before they, of course, spent eight years together in the White House. They didn't always see together, see eye to eye together. You know, in 2016, Biden was quite hurt that President Obama quite clearly preferred Hillary Clinton over him for a number of personal and political reasons that were going on at the time.

But then you look at 2020 and Obama was skeptical of the idea that Biden was the right person for the party and for the country at the moment. He did not endorse him during the primary, though he was keeping in touch with Biden, he was willing to be helpful. He only came out and fully endorsed Biden once that primary was over, and he did help him get over the line there at the end.

But what was not publicly appreciated at the time was just how much work Obama was doing for Biden behind the scenes once Biden did become the nominee in 2020, partially because he likes Biden and partially because he thinks that's the responsibility of someone like himself and all of his, you know, fame and influence, but also because of the threat that he perceives in Donald Trump. He really thinks that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy and a threat to the country.

So, it's important to remember that there are a lot of people around Biden who are also former Obama people. The two of them certainly keep in touch. But even more than that, Obama and those around Obama still do talk to the people who are running the Biden operation just to make sure that they're all on the same page, that they're seeing everything eye to eye strategically, and I expect that that's going to be the same now.

So why now? Because Obama does perceive that this is the time that is needed. You need a lot of time to build up credibility with a lot of these voters who are questioning whether Biden is ready for this election.

COATES: Gabriel and Ashley, we'll continue to lean on you. And Ashley, of course, with your experience as having been the former national coalition's director for Biden-Harris 2020, we'll look to you to see what you thought about the fundraiser tomorrow and where it goes from there. Thank you both for joining us.


COATES: A New York City police officer shot and killed during a traffic stop. The tragic death touching a nerve. And now, Donald Trump is entering this story. I'll explain how and why next.



COATES: Donald Trump will be in New York City tomorrow. The former president attending the wake of an NYPD officer, Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed earlier this week during a traffic stop in Queens.

According to the police and State Corrections Department records, the suspect, Guy Rivera, has 21 prior arrests and had previously spent seven years in prison for first-degree robbery and attempted murder.

Officer Diller leaves behind a wife and a one-year-old son.

Joining me now, CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller. He was the deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism at the NYPD. John, thank you so much for being here this evening. This incident with Officer Jonathan Diller is truly heartbreaking, especially leaving behind the family that he is.

Here is what New York City Mayor Adams, a former officer himself, said about it.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: We have a real recidivist problem. You will see it's the same people over and over again.


COATES: He has been discussing recidivism as part of his overall conversations about crime. How big of a problem is this issue of repeat offenders?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, as you know, as a former federal prosecutor, there are certain crooks who commit certain crimes as their job, meaning they show up for work every day.

Part of the debate here is the criminal justice reform laws that were passed to bring more equity to the criminal justice system and how they were constructed along with district attorney policies to lean away from putting people in jail or prison if there were alternatives.

Some people who could be put back on the right path after committing an individual first or second offense may have benefited from that, but those who have those certain crimes that they commit as their profession have benefited from it a great deal.

Take two numbers into stride here. Last year, there were 64 assaults on transit workers in the subway system. Thirty-eight of those cases resulted in arrests. And when you take those suspects and you run their records, they have a collective 1,100 prior arrests together. These are people who go into the subways to commit crimes on a regular basis, and the system is not dealing with them in a way that makes them less of a danger to the community.

The second one is a more benign crime but very concerning to business, which is shoplifting. You've got 543 people who have been arrested and charged with shoplifting 7,500 times, and their universe of arrests when taken together is 31,000. That's like 57 per person. So, you see that there's a system where the revolving door is spinning very fast.

COATES: You know, this is the idea when we're talking about crime and, of course, incarceration. We talk about the different competing, you know, motivations, whether it's to prevent recidivism, whether it's to, you know, deter and, of course, to punish, and the aspects of justice encompass all this.


And yet we so often don't hear about the recidivism aspect as much as we do the arrests, the bail reform discussions as well.

I want to talk about some disturbing incidents that have happened as well of women being punched in New York City. I mean, CNN producers have spoken to three women who have detailed being assaulted in the last couple of months, but they didn't report it to any officers. These assaults, they seem random, they seem entirely unprovoked. Why is this happening?

MILLER: Well, it's an interesting question, and it runs into the intersection of a few different problems. Number one, stranger assaults, meaning assault complaints where the person on the form says relationship to offender, never met them before, are up 13.9%.

And when they looked at those numbers again in the transit system, they looked at it a different way, which is they said of the people we're catching and arresting for felony assault, how many of them have documented mental health histories with the NYPD? And the answer was a shocking 40%.

Now, the important caveat here, Laura, and I know you know this, people suffering from mental health issues are no more likely or prone to violence than anyone else in society.

But in a city of 8.6 million with a serious homeless problem or the subset of people who suffer from mental illness has been a struggle for the city, the mayor has been fighting with Albany for two years now to get them to pass legislation that makes it more effective to get people committed to hospitals for treatment, and then to mandate treatment and after care on an outpatient basis, and still fighting to get that passed.

But even at that, they're doing about 130 involuntary removals for mentally-ill people, not necessarily concerned with violence, but who are either a harm to themselves or potentially to others every week.

COATES: You know, what you describe as the intersection, there are so many layers of this conversation that needs to continue to be unpacked and very much part of an expansive conversation when we talk about justice and law enforcement, and priorities and policing measures and beyond, all of it. And, of course, we can't forget about the loss of life for one Jonathan Diller.

John Miller, thank you so much.

MILLER: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Utah's women's basketball team, well, they say they were targeted not once but twice with racist slurs and threats while at the NCAA tournament. Former WNBA player and Olympian Angel McCoughtry weighs in next.




COATES: I know what you're thinking. An athlete crying in a post-game presser?


COATES: Must be because he lost, right? No, that's not what this is. This is Vinicius, a 23-year-old soccer star for Real Madrid who, in a room full of reporters, broke down in tears not because he lost, but because of recurring racial abuse.

Fans from opposing teams have been throwing racial slurs and chants at him repeatedly. He says that it's so bad that he is -- quote -- "losing the will to play." Now, you're probably thinking, all right, well, that's just Europe.

All right, well, let's go to Idaho. The University of Utah's women's basketball team is on the road for the NCAA tournament in Idaho, and they're just trying to go out for a team dinner when they say a truck flying a confederate flag pulls up alongside them and people start shouting racist language, the N-word.

And then after dinner, they say it happens again. This time, the driver brought reinforcement, engines revving, people shouting and threatening the team.

So, what, then they're supposed to go back to the hotel and just say it's all fine? Wake up in the morning to play and then win, and not be afraid of retaliation if they do? But how, when they're afraid that they could be harmed by the people they say threaten them, all while they're what, 18, 19 years old?

These are students in college to learn and to grow and to excel at their sport while under a tremendous microscope. They're just kids, and they just want to play. And their head coach was visibly upset when she addressed it.


LYNNE ROBERTS, HEAD COACH, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Racism is real. And it happens. And it's awful. It was really upsetting. And for our players and staff to not feel safe in an NCAA tournament environment, it's messed up.


COATES: Joining me now, WNBA legend and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Angel McCoughtry. Angel, thank you so much for being here.


You know, I can't tell you how many times I have heard about or covered these stories or experienced racism, even while I was a high school player on a soccer field in Minnesota. I have to get your reaction to this.

You've been in these athletes' shoes. You've played for your university. You've played in the NCAA tournament. You felt all the excitement, all the pregame jitters, and then something like this. What's your reaction?

ANGEL MCCOUGHTRY, WNBA LEGEND: Yeah, that's the thing. It's March Madness, baby. This is what we all dream of. This is what every athlete wants to do and play in March Madness. And people don't realize it's so tough already being a student athlete. We work hard, we lift weights, we got to do what other students don't do.

But to experience this, this is totally uncalled for. If you don't like the team, all you have to do is go to the game and cheer for the opposing team. That's it.

COATES: And yet, these players, as you mentioned, not only are carrying in many ways the weight of the university and the microscope, but then they're also thinking about their own personal safety. Why? Because someone feels entitled to be able to hurl these racial epithets and to threaten them in these ways.

I mean, you've traveled across the country. The world, in fact. You've traveled for basketball, and you have been extraordinarily successful. Have you ever experienced anything like this yourself?

MCCOUGHTRY: I have to say that I have. I have experienced these kinds of things. But what I have done is I had to learn to kind of tunnel vision it out, and it didn't take away from the success.

And for those kids, I want them to know that we are behind them, we support them, and they should not have had to go through that. You already have the pressure of trying to win the NCAA game. And now, you have to have this fear of oh, my God, what's going to happen? Is something going to happen to me? For what reason? We don't know. So, these things should never happen to 18, 19-year-olds.

At the end of the day, if we take it a little deeper, we're all Americans here. We're all on the same team if we dig a little deeper.

COATES: Coming from a true Olympian at that, by the way. How do you as a team pick each other up after this? Because, obviously, the experience of one when you are part of a team impacts them all, impacts the morale, impacts the feeling that they are supported or not. What do you do?

MCCOUGHTRY: We have to show them that we support them. I think this is where the NCAA gets involved and does an investigation just to let them know that all NCAA athletes are safe. Doesn't matter, basketball, soccer, football, that they're all safe.

And just for the fans, we're human beings, we're not machines. I know we make it look easy, but that's because all the hard work we put in. We just want to be appreciated for what we do.

We understand that you have opposing teams that you cheer for, but racial slurs, no, no, no, no, no. Never, never, never. Just go cheer for the team you love and let these student athletes just be student athletes. They're about to go into the real world. They don't have to, they should not experience this. Nowhere.

COATES: Well, sadly, some would say that this indeed is part of the real world, and that might be the most telling of all. And speaking of even Real Madrid, you saw the video of Vinicius's breaking down because of racist attacks. Now, just this past Sunday, the US-Mexico game was suspended for the second straight year, by the way, because of homophobic chants.

So, you see that he is talking about even losing the will to play. Why do you think, and why do people think that they can say things like this to athletes, to strangers? What is it about the donning of a uniform, the perhaps entertaining showmanship of extraordinary athletes that makes someone think, I get to do this?

MCCOUGHTRY: I think that's an answer that none of us know. But I will say this, if I can put it into perspective, if everyone was the same color, same race, what a boring world we would live in. Everybody would just -- people would just commit suicide because of boredom. You couldn't travel to other countries because everything is the same.

That's the beauty of the world we live in, is that there's different races, different cultures. I love going to different countries traveling because I can see something different and learn something new.

So, when we see these racist attacks against people, it just shows maybe just a little lack of education. People maybe need to travel more and see what's out here because it would be a boring world if everybody was the same.

COATES: Well, Angel, I hear you, and I also see the fact that, and you mentioned this, these are human beings that are impacted. And just because you may be the exceptional athlete who is thriving, it doesn't mean that empathy is not owed and dignity should not be guaranteed. Angel McCoughtry, thank you so much.

MCCOUGHTRY: Thank you so much.

COATES: Six men are presumed dead after the bridge collapsed in Baltimore. Six men who were working to make the bridge safe for all the people who drive across it. Well, Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs talks about them after this.



COATES: At a time when there has been so much backlash against migrants in this country, the bridge collapse in Baltimore offered the country another view. All six of the victims were, in fact, immigrants native to Latin America. They were working construction the night of the collapse. Their company, Brawner Builders, says they were -- quote -- "hardworking, wonderful people, and now they're gone." Let's bring in the CEO of Mike Rowe Works Foundation and a Baltimore native, Mike Rowe. Mike, thank you so much for joining. I mean, I still can't believe what has happened for this bridge and the images, what has happened in the community, the response. And we've heard President Biden talk about Baltimore strong, or should I say, Baltimore strong?


I mean, look at these six hardworking construction workers we're learning more about who lost their lives working in frankly now dangerous conditions in the middle of the night to help ensure that there were safe road conditions. They are valued members of their communities. What -- tell me a little bit about what your reaction was when you heard about this and those that were impacted.

MIKE ROWE, CEO, MIKEROWEWORKS FOUNDATION: Well, as a Baltimore guy, it does hit pretty close to home. You know, I'm normally not at a loss for words on social media, but there wasn't much for me to do except post a picture of the bridge with me at Fort McHenry and the bridge in the background.

I've driven over that thing probably a thousand times, you know. and I've -- I've sailed under it almost as much over the years. And -- and to see what I'm looking at right now, I mean, it's -- it's very strange. Your -- your brain understands it, your eyes see it, but the message doesn't quite land.

Honestly, I felt the same way on September 11th. Not that the two are comparable, but in the sense that you just -- it takes a minute. You see it, but it just takes a minute to land.

COATES: I interviewed a man last night, an eyewitness who woke up thinking that it was an earthquake, only to have the same reaction that you had. He talked about the areas surrounding it, talking about this being a working-class town, a tight-knit, a resilient community. They rely on the bridge for so many aspects of it, commuting one, their livelihood and beyond.

I know that the government always comes to rescue communities that are particularly wealthy. Sometimes, they get the most swift response of all. Are you worried that this community will get left behind?

ROWE: No. Well, possibly in relative terms, but I don't worry about Baltimore from a -- from a character standpoint. You know, my first reaction was as a native of the hometown. My second reaction was a guy who hosted Dirty Jobs for 20 years.


ROWE: And I've worked on a lot of bridges. I worked on the Brooklyn Bridge, I worked on the Golden Gate, the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, uh, and The Mighty Mac up in Michigan, one of the biggest suspension bridges in the world.

And these men, you know, I -- when you say risky conditions, I don't care if it's 72 and sunny in the middle of a glorious day. You're 4, 5, 600 feet in the air. You're wholly focused on both doing a job and not falling down. The last thing on your mind is a giant ship coming out of nowhere and running into a support.

And on a bridge like that, Laura, you know, that's a single trust bridge, and people might not understand at a glance, but in order to make those lanes wider so it could handle the amount of traffic it handles, it's just one big piece of construction. So, when it goes, it goes.

COATES: I'm so glad that you brought in the perspective of just how difficult the work is. And so sadly, underappreciated by far too many people who I think have -- should have a new appreciation for what it takes to be up there, what is being asked of people to do so, and just the reliance on a structure that is, well, vulnerable to what has happened here, and those who are working to make sure that it is maintained and that it is going to have the structural integrity that it needs to have for everyone to be able to use it in the ways that create commerce and trade routes and beyond.

I mean, according to the Maryland government, there are over 15,000 direct jobs in the Port of Baltimore, over 139,000 related jobs. I mean, the idea that this is stopping, coming to a halt, the ability for these jobs to be performed, what kind of job losses to the economy do you even expect here? It's mind-boggling to think about the scope.

ROWE: Yeah. I mean, look --


-- 16,000 is the number right out of the gate. This is a port city that is now effectively closed to the ocean. That bridge is now a giant underwater barrier, and just getting it out of the way is going to take a while. Those jobs are gone. The trickle-down effect is going to be staggering because, as you know, the transportation industry and logistics and supply chains, these things are all connected in so many ways.

So, I don't know what it means to get, you know, a few hundred thousand light cars and trucks delivered to another port. I don't know what it means for the trucking industry. I don't know what it means for any number of other things, but it's not going to be good, and it's going to be a major, major adjustment.

Permission for a shameless plug, really quick, regarding jobs? My foundation gives away a couple million bucks a year to train the next generation of skilled workers. Sadly, the skills gap gets wider every year.


These jobs, these men, they're doing some of the most important work in our country. And to your point, many of them labor out of sight and out of mind. I know from Dirty Jobs that they're a band of brothers, I know they're resilient, but I also know our country depends on them. And we've got a couple million bucks right now at We're giving it away in the next series of work ethics scholarships. Your viewers are more than cordially invited to check it out because these men don't grow on trees. These workers are not a dime a dozen. They need to be picked, they need to be trained, they need to be respected, because without them, the toll is, frankly, something we don't want to pay.

COATES: Thank you for pointing out not only as many people are talking about the supply chain, you're talking of any industry, you're talking about the human beings that make the world go round. Thank you so much, Mike Rowe.

ROWE: Any time. Appreciate it.

COATES: Thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.