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Laura Coates Live

Biden, Obama, Clinton Attend Historic $25 Million Fundraiser In New York City; Trump Calls For Law And Order At Wake Of Slain Officer; Trump Now Attacking Judge's Daughter By Name After Gag Order; Trump Attacks Judge's Daughter Overseeing Manhattan Hush Money Trial; RFK Jr.'s Running Mate Is Outspoken Critic Of IVF; Biden, Obama, And Clinton Attend "Historic" Fundraiser In NYC; Multiple Women Reporter Being Sucker-Punched On NYC Streets; Woman Punched By Stranger On NYC Speaks Out. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 28, 2024 - 22:00   ET



DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And we saw this a bit with all the conspiracy theories immediately about the Baltimore bridge collapse as well, is that every single issue, every single story, every single day online is used as political battering rams in the culture wars, all tied up in misinformation. Everything is blamed on whatever the issue people want to choose it to be blamed on.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And as Pete Buttigieg said earlier, I mean, this has like a real life impact. It's not just for us to laugh about at our dinner parties.

Donie O'Sullivan, happy belated birthday. Thanks for joining us.

O'SULLIVAN: Oh, thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And thank you all so much for joining us for a very busy hour. LAURA COATES LIVE starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the Big Apple tonight is now one big stage. That's tonight on a special two-hour of LAURA COATES LIVE.

Well, good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates here in Washington, D.C.

And, you know, you say politics, what do you normally think about? Well, where I am right now in Washington. But today, all New York was a stage for the 2024 presidential contest because both men who are currently on that ballot, they're trying to turn New York, New York, the big city of dreams, into a dream come true for them in the form of a re-election. Call it who wants to be a fundraising bajillionaire.

Well, Joe Biden's campaign tonight says they are breaking records and they are doing it in style, holding a star-studded fundraiser at, where, Radio City Music Hall, an event that just ended a few moments ago. People like President Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Stephen Colbert, and plenty more were there, including big names like Lizzo, who turns out took a DNA test and found out she's 100 percent in the audience.

There's even the fanciest photo booth in the history of photo booths with Annie Leibowitz manning the camera. I'm serious. This whole thing is supposed to bring in $25 million.

The Trump campaign, they now want to show anything Joe can do, they can do godier, maybe glitzier, even better. They've got a planned Palm Beach fundraiser for the former president and that's supposed to rake in $33 million from the donor collection plate.

Part of today's hoopla, kind of three amigos sit down with the Smart List podcast hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. The Biden campaign wants to make voters feel like everything is everything, the vibes are good again.

But, you know, even at this fundraiser, there is a dramatic split screen that signals that all is really not well with the Democratic base. Because outside that glitz and glammy Radio City Music Hall, a protest. Pro-Palestinian voices rallying against the president's handling of the war in Gaza. And inside too, by the way, reporters in the room where it's happening say at least four of those demonstrators have interrupted the big Biden cash bonanza.

Just hours before Donald Trump delivering his own version of a contrast, his campaign says they actually want knotting together politics and solemnity. He spoke at the wake for a New York City police officer, Jonathan Diller. Jonathan Diller was murdered on Monday during a traffic stop. Guy Rivera, the accused killer, he now faces first degree murder charges. This officer leaves behind a one- year-old-child.

Now Trump apparently steered entirely clear of his campaign rival, ticking to a script of sorts and focusing his outrage on the alleged assailant.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A sad event, such a horrible thing, and it's happening all too often, and we're just not going to let it happen. We just can't 21 times arrest it, this thug.

We have to get back to law and order. We have to do a lot of things differently because this is not working. This is happening too often.


COATES: CNN's M.J. Lee joins us right outside the Radio City Music Hall with the presidents apparently have just left the stage. M.J., what can you tell us?

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura, it seems like the fundraiser has just wrapped up. This is the word that we've gotten from some of the reporters that are in the room. And we seem to have seen some movement in the motorcade that is behind us. Obviously, this has been a high security area a couple of blocks here around Radio City Music Hall.

Just some of the details that we have gotten from inside the room so far, obviously, this was, in some ways, a lighthearted event. The three presidents were on stage with Stephen Colbert. And one of the details that we've gotten so far is that the two former presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, did a little bit where they pretended to be Joe Biden by putting on Aviators. Obviously, that is a tribute to sort of that classic Joe Biden look.

But, look, there's some signs, as you mentioned, of some of the political troubles for the president. The event was interrupted multiple times, we are told, by pro-Palestinian and pro-ceasefire protesters, and that very much reflecting the scenes that we saw earlier in the evening, probably some a couple hundred protesters outside of this event, trying to make clear that they are very unhappy with the president's handling of the Israel-Hamas War.


Now, this evening was highly produced. As you mentioned, we expected there to be a number of celebrities and musical artists inside that room, people, some members of the audience paid up to half a million dollars to get their tickets, and had the perks that you were talking about, getting their photos taken with the three presidents, getting an invitation to an after party that is hosted by the first lady, and all told, they did say that they had raised some $25 million.

I definitely wouldn't be surprised if that number ended up inching up, given that the donations were continuing to come in, and certainly just a big moment of symbolism for the Democratic Party, these three presidents, current and the two former, coming together to try to send a message that they are not okay with former President Donald Trump returning to the White House, Laura.

COATES: A really important show of unity, at least from the former presidents of the United States, but I'm glad you're pointing out what's happening outside and inside in terms of the political issues that are still very much happening.

M.J. Lee, please stand by and come back to us. I know there will be more headlines coming from inside. Tell us what you have.

Listen, with both the Biden and Trump campaigns hoping for big fundraising hauls as we're, what, 222 days away from the general election.

Here to explain what the numbers look like in context is CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten. Harry, how you doing? What are the numbers showing you?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Far too much traffic in New York tonight. That's how I'm doing. But --

COATES: You would say that. That's your concern. I know. I'm with you.

ENTEN: I'm out looking out for number one and looking out for my fellow New Yorkers, although the smart ones are taking the subway.

All right, this is some context for you on where we are in the cash race, right? Joe Biden well ahead of Donald Trump in terms of cash on hand at the end of last month But in terms of money raised right Joe Biden's fundraiser tonight, $25 million. Trump, for the entire month of February, only raised $20 million. That's how big that $25 million is. It's a large chunk of change, a historic chunk, as the Biden campaign was hinting at.

And, again, a little bit more context, how much would Trump need to sell to reach $25 million? You know, he's selling those Bibles though. God Bless the USA Bibles. He would need to sell more than 400,000 of those to reach $25 million and he would -- and those -- remember those Trump Never Surrender sneakers, he would have to sell approximately 620,657 of them. So, that's why he's looking forward to that big fundraiser next month.

But simply put, this type of stuff, this gimmicky stuff ain't going to get him there, Laura.

COATES: I got to tell you, that kind of reminds me of the old school Tootsie Pop and the owl, how many licks to consider the Tootsie Pop thing? That -- I don't know, we're both older. Okay, fine.

Anyway, Harry, can you put into context how much the top tickets are going for at this fundraiser, because it sounds like a lot of money?

ENTEN: Yes, it is going for a lot. So, the top tickets at the fundraiser, the highest tickets for the fundraiser, $500,000. Put this into some context, all right? The top Taylor Swift Eras ticket, that often went for about $20,000. How about a Super Bowl top sweet seat? $125,000, far less than that, $500,000 for the hottest seat at the bottom fundraiser. In fact, the only thing I could really find that would match it or exceed it is a trip to space on Virgin, $600,000. That would be the only thing that to exceed it.

But, of course, Laura, what we were talking about, Trump wants to get in on the action. So, Trump has his own big fundraiser heading into August where he may, in fact, outrace Biden's big bash. He's hoping to raise $33 million, my goodness gracious. And how much for the top ticket? At this point, it's looking like $814,600. So, the fact is Biden is doing a lot tonight but Trump made you a lot come April, Laura.

COATES: Wow, that puts into context that this is a lot of money being spent.

ENTEN: Oh, yes.

COATES: Harry Enten, oh my goodness, we'll come back to you. Thank you so much.

To talk about all this, William Jawando, a former White House official under President Obama, and a council member in Montgomery County, Maryland, also Lee Carter, a pollster and president and partner at Ms. Lansky and Partners, and Matt Mowers, a former Trump administration official and president of Valcor Global Public Strategy. Good to have all of you here.

That's a lot of money we're talking about, first of all, in terms of from the White House to the Great White Way and Broadway and, of course, Radio City Music Hall.

I want to start with you here, Will, on this because it is significant to have Biden, Obama and Clinton in this room.

WILLIAM JAWANDO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: It is. It is. It is. It is party unity. And look, the protesters outside. That's also Democratic Party unity. That's our big tent. That's what happens, you know. And if you saw President Biden in North Carolina the other day when he got interrupted, he said they have a point.


There's too much destruction going on there. He's moved. The administration has moved. The protests have worked. That's what happens in the Democratic Party.

But I think it's such a big deal when you have a contrast when the President Trump's vice president refuses to endorse him, and here, and let's go even further, Mitt Romney, the last standard bearer for the Republican Party, refuses to endorse him. Mitch McConnell had to have his arm twisted.

So, here, you have two presidents saying, look, not only do we support the president, we support his agenda, look at our economy, we're going to raise him some money, and the stakes are high. Democracy is on the line. And I think you have Democratic unity, and we're going to need that going into November.

COATES: Do you see this as Democratic unity when you have the protesters outside?

MATT MOWERS, FORMER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No. And, look, I think you're going to see this type of division continue to happen well into the Chicago Democratic National Convention. I mean, this is going to look, you know, make a lot of Democratic conventions look like kids play compared to what we're seeing.

This is a consistent problem for Joe Biden. You see it in poll after poll after poll. It's the reason why he had to have Barack Obama and Bill Clinton with him on stage tonight.

You look at some of the polling in states like Michigan, where his numbers with not just Arab voters are down right now, but also voters of color, particularly in the Detroit metro area and Wayne County. You look at a number of other areas in key swing states that we saw even in some of the primary turnout elections, whether it's Hennepin County in Minnesota or whether some of the counties in Texas in the results of Super Tuesday elections.

Joe Biden is underperforming key elements of his base right now. You saw that by the star power he had to bring out tonight inside the room just as much as you saw from the protests that you saw outside that room.

COATES: Two different positions here, Lee, in thinking about what this represents, either it's a good thing or it's a sort of a scarlet letter to have them there. What are the polls suggest in terms of how voters might view the presence of people like Clinton and Obama?

LEE CARTER, POLLSTER: Well, I think it's really interesting because, on the one hand, it does show party unity. They're all standing behind each other. On the other hand, I don't think it's going to help Joe Biden have these visuals because the star of the show isn't going to be Joe Biden.

When you know what everybody is going to be looking at. They look at Bill Clinton, they look at Barack Obama, and Joe Biden doesn't have the same kind of thing. So, I think, in some ways, that is going to hurt him.

Now, the other thing I do want to say about, I don't agree with you that it's party unity to have the protesters outside. I think this is a big issue. And I think it's why, when you start looking at polling when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. comes into the mix, it actually hurts Joe Biden. That's because he is -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has now gone all in. He's anti-war. He's picked an anti-war candidate to run with, and that's now going to be his big platform. And I think that's going to be enough to really spoil the election should Robert F. Kennedy Jr. get in.

COATES: But your point about the unity is that there is a political safe space where the person in charge could be persuaded as well.

JAWANDO: Absolutely. Like you can actually -- the process can work. It's not a -- we don't have dictators, right, like the President Trump wants to be a dictator just for one day, he says. No, we have a democratic process And, oh, by the way, the economy is great crime is down, inflation is going down, the two former presidents, more jobs created than any other president.

So, this is -- that is what the Democratic Party is. It's not, pretty democracy is not pretty, but it's listening to folks, it's changing your position, it's compromise. That's what Joe Biden has done his whole career. And you remember he was Vice President Biden first. I was in that White House and President Obama needed him in 2012 when he was running against Mitt Romney to come and help him, and he needed him in 2008 to help validate him because he was the young freshman senator. So this is what you do. And we needed President Clinton to be the explainer-in-chief. I mean, when -- so all of these things for President Biden.

So, that's what you do and you're seeing unity. Meanwhile, most of Trump's cabinet wants -- want nothing to do with him, his former vice president. So, I just think it's really stark. He's playing golf and going to court meanwhile President Biden is going around the country and touting his agenda. That's -- those are two really stark contrasts

COATES: I'm going to come back to you. I want to go back to M.J. Lee as well, who's got some more headlines out of what is happening at this Radio City Music Hall fundraiser. What's going on?

LEE: Yes, Laura. We're unfortunately still waiting for more pool reports to come out of this event. That's the only way we're going to get some editorial from inside the room, but we did just flag down somebody who was inside the room and asked them about what the three presidents talked about.

And one thing he said was that the president talked about how Israel has a right to defend itself, but what's happening inside Gaza is horrific. He also pushed for a two-state solution. Obviously, these are lines about the Israel-Hamas war that are not surprising at all.

We hear these lines from the president consistently. It's just significant given that we know that this was an event that was interrupted multiple times and there were hundreds of protesters outside.

This person we spoke to also saying that President Trump, former President Trump, was mentioned, but it sounds like not by name, and that President Biden said, my predecessor wants to rip up the Constitution and has talked about wanting to be a traitor on day one.


So, again, I think all of these themes that we are hearing about are not at all surprising. These are themes that we have heard a lot from President Biden and, of course, the former president's weighing in gives all that more weight.

And as we were talking about before, it is this idea of all three of the presidents coming together, being on stage together, and really talking the stakes of election. The idea behind this was really to signal that there isn't really anybody else other than the former president who would know better, would be able to explain better the states that the Biden campaign sees for the November election, and particularly when it comes to the threat that they see from former President Donald Trump.

So, just really interesting, we'll see if we can flag down anyone else to get a better sense of what else was said in the room, too.

COATES: If anyone can do it, you can. M.J. Lee, we will come right back to you. Thank you so much.

I want to bring back in my panel here, Matt, because, look, the reality is they're going have to grapple with foreign policy elements of this, whether it's Ukraine or Gaza, the humanitarian crisis, the looming famine, the looming ground operation, all that's going to come into play. They didn't mention Trump by name, but, obviously, he is the giant elephant in this room.

MOWERS: Well, look, and I think the challenge for Joe Biden on this is that this is a change election. And whether it's on national security issues, whether it is on the economy, you look at poll, any polling right now, voters are looking for a change almost two to one, they're looking for a different direction on leadership in the country, they're looking for different directions on the economy.

And the problem is when you surround yourself with two former presidents, it's the embodiment of the establishment. It's embodiment of what voters are looking to go against right now.

And that just plays right into what Donald Trump has successfully played since he came down that elevator in 2015. He has embraced the fact that he's not surrounded by a bunch of political leaders, political luminaries, whereas Joe Biden is.

That's going to be the challenge for Joe Biden. He has a challenge with his base right now his enthusiasm issue gap right now with this base. How can he get them enthusiastic without also looking like just a typical politician, the same old same old, that voters are clearly frustrated with right now when they clearly want a change.

COATES: You know, I had to chuckle a little bit every time I hear about Trump being a political outsider, I mean, the definition of the insider is the president of the United States. I mean, outsiders are on Air Force One, and yet that's his history.

CARTER: That is his history, and it's what he became known as, as he ran, as a political outsider coming in to fix things, use his business prowess, if whatever you want to call it, let's make a deal, and he's going to go and fire everybody in Washington, D.C. So, that's part of his story, that part his legacy. And it's what people think of him as. When people talk about what they want, they do want change.

And a lot of people, when you go through issue by issue, they say they felt better about the economy. They felt about a whole number of issues under Donald Trump than they did on Joe Biden. And, certainly, when look at the polling head to head on economy, 55 percent favor Donald Trump over Joe Biden, only 33 percent, you go on foreign affairs. And it's a surprising a lot of people how popular Donald Trump is in hindsight.

Now, my big question is, we kind of forgot what it was like to be barraged by Donald Trump all the time. We have heard about him, but not from him.

COATES: Who forgot? Okay, there you go. I welcome your enemies (ph). So, go ahead. Let's keep going.

CARTER: But, I mean, you forgot about all the tweets and what it was like to have the news constantly change and to hear from him all the time. We're starting to hear from them all time and people are going to remember.

And the question is, is that going to be something that people want again? Right now, it looks like it is.

COATES: By the way, it's not just the voters, right? It's the members of Congress who are trying to come out of the halls and answer questions about legislation. And they go, well, there was a 5:00 A.M. tweet. There you go. Everyone, please stand by. And don't forget, we are expecting headlines from what they said any moment. I want to know more about this bit that was done about the Aviator glasses. Was there a whole dark red in theme, what they say, what was going on.

Also tonight, Donald Trump speaking outside the wake of a fallen officer in New York. I'll talk to the group paying off his widow's mortgage.

Plus, Trump is now attacking the judge's daughter by name in his hush money case despite a limited gag order. Is it really a violation or not? The answer may surprise you. His former lawyer will also join me live.

And RFK Jr.'s new running mate is a fierce critic of IVF. Hear why.



COATES: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton weren't the only former president in New York tonight. Donald Trump attending the wake of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller on Long Island. The officer was killed on Monday during a traffic stop in Queens, and a suspect has now been charged with first-degree murder.

Diller leaves behind his wife and a one-year-old baby boy.

At a vigil, Diller's brother-in-law got emotional while explaining why Diller became a police officer in the first place.


JOSEPH LINEHOP, OFFICER DILLER'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: He loved what he did. He was a cop, he was born to be a cop. He was born to be a hero, okay? He was born to be a hero, he died being a hero. He died doing what he loved.


COATES: Joining me now is John Huvane. He is a retired NYPD detective and vice president of Tunnel to Towers. That organization was founded after 9/11 and in part provides mortgage-free homes to fallen first responder families, injured veterans, and also gold star families. And they are doing exactly that for Officer Diller's family. John, thank you so much for being here this evening.

I mean, what a tragedy to leave behind his loved ones, including a one-year-old. You've spoken to the family and you will actually be in attendance for the funeral on Saturday. How is the family doing?


JOHN HUVANE, VICE PRESIDENT, TUNNEL TO TOWERS FOUNDATION: Well, thank you, Laura. The family is devastated. They just had their world turned upside down as they approached the Easter holiday. And the baby is actually nine months old. And they won't get to celebrate that one- year birthday. And they won't get to celebrate that Easter with, you know, the whole family, mom, dad, and little Ryan.

And this is a very young couple. They're only married three years. And Jonathan has only been on the job for three years. Like his brother- in-law said, this guy was born to be a police officer. He had 70 arrests in three years. That number is insane. He was a very active police officer and was serving his community well.

COATES: Just think of the crimes he could have prevented and did, and, of course, the dreams of his wife and their child together. It's just heartbreaking to think about and to think of who is responsible as a suspect here, because both suspects arrested apparently have a very long history of getting arrested for violent crimes. In fact, Guy Rivera, who was charged with first degree of murder, was arrested, I understand, 21 times before, including nine felonies, and he was actually in prison for nearly five years. Meanwhile, Lindy Jones was arrested 14 times before and was out on bond.

When you hear those statistics, what do you think needs to be done to prevent tragedies like this one, if anything?

HUVANE: Well, when I hear those statistics about those individuals who are career criminals, I, as a former detective, wonder why were they both sitting there with guns? What crime were they about to commit?

They were two individuals that understood, you know, you sit there with a gun, you've got a good chance of -- especially being illegally parked, got a good chance of being confronted. And what lives did Jonathan and his team save that evening? If they were willing to shoot a police officer, a civilian, that would have been easier.

But what we do at Tunnel of Towers is when we have our military and our first responders go out there and they don't come home and they leave a young family behind, we pay off that mortgage. And Frank Siller and the Siller family has made this commitment since 2001.

And to give you an idea, last year we paid over 200 mortgages, and the year before, we paid off 200 mortgages. And it's our honor and our duty, and that's what we're here to do, is to fill that little void where that family does not have to move and take that financial burden off their shoulders.

So, yes, it's a tragedy. We see the community come together and in all different ways to support this family. So, that's a beautiful thing. And, hopefully, someday we won't be paying off as many mortgages.

COATES: What a beautiful act of service. Thank you so much for sharing that, John Huvane. Our thoughts are with the family. I know the funeral will be on Saturday and we'll be thinking of the loss. Thank you.

HUVANE: Well, Laura, thank you. You have a great evening and take care of yourself. Bye-bye.

COATES: Thank you. What a tragedy.

Well, tonight, he called her by her name. Donald Trump name-checking the daughter of the judge overseeing his Manhattan hush money trial in what can only be described as a kind of rambling, Truth Social post, Trump calling Judge Juan Merchan's daughter, quote, a rabid Trump hater.

Now, she worked for Democratic political campaigns and has become a frequent Trump target online. And yet, Trump's words don't violate the gag order issued against him just a day ago. Why is that?

Donald Trump's former attorney, Tim Parlatore, joins me now. It might surprise people to know, Tim, that this was a limited gag order. Now, you hear the phrase, gag order, you think, muzzle completely. That wasn't the case here. Why do you think the judge was not over- inclusive in including himself or his family?

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: You know, it did jump out at me that he kind of excluded himself, you know, all the other core personnel. But I think that, you know -- look, I've been in front of Judge Merchan plenty of times.


And I think that it kind of speaks to his own personality, if he doesn't want to put himself in the middle of it and say that he himself needs to be protected, he wants to protect the other people here. So, it did jump out at me that he was excluded there.

COATES: Maybe he's doing it because he wants to take away ammunition to suggest he's somehow biased or has skin in this game?

PARLATORE: I think so. I mean, you know, he is -- you know, he's a good judge. You know, when I tried a case in front of him, he beat the hell out of me when the jury wasn't in the room. But as soon as the jury came in the room, he put on a great show of letting the lawyers try the case and really let the jury decide the case based on the merits and didn't let them think, you know, what does the judge think one way or the other?

COATES: That's really important in the trial because you don't want to show the jurors that there is some level of favor or disdain for either -- for legal reasons. How will that play in a trial with Donald Trump, though? Will he want to bring that still in front of the jury with sort of talking objections and beyond?

PARLATORE: No, I think that the judge is going to be extremely careful to keep all of that out of the view of the jury. And I think that he's going to try and keep people on a tight leash to make sure that they try the case. You know, go ahead and ask all the questions you want, but when it comes to these, you know, types of speeches and where you're going to get into the back and forth where the judge may, you know, say something that could influence the jury as to what he's thinking, he'll be very quick to push them out of the room and say, you know, go back to the jury room and then talk about it outside the presence of the jury. COATES: It is interesting. There's a parallel in Georgia happening in the Fulton County courtroom today in front of a different judge, Judge McAfee, where he was hearing argument about a motion to dismiss the entire case against Trump and a co-defendant because Trump's lawyers say they've got First Amendment grounds here, that it's all political speech and you can't touch that. That does stretch credulity.

PARLATORE: You know, when you're talking about a case that, you know, there's no violence or stealing or things like that, where it really is all based on speech, you know, there's an attractiveness to try and make a First Amendment argument.

And, you know, simply making speeches, even if it's false, you know, that's not criminal. It's -- you have to tie that speech to some other goal. You know, fraud, you know, cases are all based on speech, where you're telling a lie for the purpose of getting money that you wouldn't otherwise be entitled to.

COATES: Defamation, hiring a hit man, right, threats.

PARLATORE: Defamation is not a crime, though.

COATES: Well, civil remedy, yes.

PARLATORE: But, you know, in this case, if it's, you know, speech -- you know, false speech that is done for the purpose of, you know, trying to get public officials to, you know, violate their oath or do things against the law to change the outcome of an election, it's not just the speech, it has to be the speech tied with an illegal target objective.

COATES: Well, they're saying it's a conspiracy to commit crimes.


COATES: That's the underlying objectives. They want to move it to -- in front of a jury argument to suggest, look, you have an issue with whether we can prove you made a false statement. That's for the jury to decide. If we can prove it, you get convicted. If we can't, you're acquitted.

PARLATORE: But what they really need to show in front of the jury is more than just the false statement. They have to show the false statement and that illegal target objective. And so, that's why I think a lot of these arguments are going to be rightly kicked until after the trial because whatever the facts that come out of trial, are you just going to show a bunch of false statements or are you going to be able to show them tied to an illegal scheme?

COATES: You're going to have to as a part of a RICO case, right?


COATES: The overall conspiracy. That's the rub and that's the burden for the prosecution, as you know, Tim Parlatore, thank you so much.

PARLATORE: Thank you.

COATES: Next, IVF has become a hot button issue in politics. And now, we're learning RFK Jr.'s running mate, you see her right there, is a big critic of it, calling it a big lie. I'll tell you why.

Plus, new developments tonight in a disturbing action that's taking on the streets of New York, women being randomly sucker-punched. I'll speak live with one of the victims.



COATES: As you know, IVF has become quite a flashpoint in America's debate over reproductive rights. And tonight, we're learning that RFK Jr.'s new running mate apparently is not a fan.

A new report in Politico highlights Nicole Shanahan's skepticism of invitro fertilization. Last month, she told the Australian Financial Review, we just don't have enough science for the things that we are telling and selling women. It's one of the biggest lies that's being told about women's health today.

Now, to be clear, she is not called for the banning of the procedure. But those comments do take on a new meaning, given her new venture into politics. She made those comment, says, Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos are children, a move that briefly shut down IVF clinics in the state.

Joining me now, politics reporter for Politico, Brittany Gibson. She has the byline on that new report. Brittany, thank you for being here. You compiled all these comments from Shanahan. And what is she skeptical about when it comes to IVF?

BRITTANY GIBSON, POLITICS REPORTER, POLITICO: She's mostly skeptical about the motivations in what she would call the fertility industry behind promoting IVF and egg freezing for women. She has called it a commercial endeavor more so than a scientific one.

COATES: And did she think that it's exploiting women in some respects by trying to capitalize on it? Because the cost we know is very high.

GIBSON: Absolutely, I haven't heard her -- or I hadn't read any interviews where she said that it's exploiting women, but she more so describes it as a false promise for women, and as you just said, you know, it's a lie being sold to women.


In one interview she said that she felt like she was told and women her age were told that IVF would be an option. You could have children later in life and this is going to be something that will help you if you have infertility. And of course, we know now in the U.S. about 2 percent of all children are born through IVF. So, it is a viable option for a lot of people, but it didn't work for her and she's become more and more skeptical of it, including comments up until February of this year.

COATES: That's fascinating because she's been talking about, I think, the phrase is championing reproductive longevity. What is that?

GIBSON: Yes. So, that is the buzz phrase for essentially research that she's been funding through her private foundation and a -- to a research institute to help women -- to help understanding what they would call women's reproductive decline and ultimately, with the goal of helping women having children later and later in life, preventing menopause, and I believe the goal of stopping it all together so women can have children at any point in their lives.

COATES: So, it sounds like -- and I don't want to put words in your mouth, but it sounds as if she's saying that IVF as an option should not replace scientific research into extending the reproductive fertility of women?

GIBSON: Yes, I think --

COATES: Am I making it too clear? Because I'm not going to -- I don't put words in your mouth. I just want to understand what she's saying.

GIBSON: No, I think that's fair. I think she -- she's criticized the amount of funding into research of IVF as well as marketing of IVF and wishes that that research would go into what she calls fundamentals being the research that she funds into the longevity side of things.

She describes this, and I think this is where it gets even more serious, is the next frontier in the women's rights movement. And that's how she sees this issue.

COATES: You spoke to experts, what did they say about her statements?

GIBSON: They're not within the typical conversations. I think every policy has been asked their views right now on women's reproductive health, whether it was during 2022 after the overturn of Roe v. Wade or with the Alabama Supreme Court decision. So, people do have to weigh in on it, and politicians in particular, they're not having this conversation about reproductive longevity.

COATES: Really fascinating. Thank you so much, Brittany, for this reporting.

There's also anger on the streets of New York tonight. Why? Women are apparently being randomly sucker-punched. I'll speak live with one of the victims, next.



COATES: More now on the big fundraiser with President Biden and Former Presidents Obama and Clinton at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Full disclosure, we're waiting on the pool report to see their specific comments, but our own MJ Lee spoke with one attendee who says they barely mentioned Donald Trump by name. Joining me now is CNN's Political Commentator David Axelrod. He's also the host of "The Axe Files."

David, it's so good to seeing you tonight. What is your interpretation of the fact that they didn't mention Trump?


COATES: Hello.

AXELROD: Yes. Well, I think that the message was one of unity. I mean, I'm surprised honestly, that that wasn't part of discussion. And it may be that the other presidents didn't want to engage in that at this point. Maybe that was the instruction. But look --

COATES: I think it was by name, they didn't mention him. By name. But obviously eluded to him.

AXELROD: By implication, by implication.


AXELROD: By implication. Yes, I haven't see the -- I didn't the event. So, I don't know. But I'm sure that's what the other presidents were comfortable with. And I suspect that the rhetoric may become a little sharper come summer and fall.

But look, the event was meant to raise a lot of money. It did raise a lotta money. That money's going to be very useful to Joe Biden. It also signaled that the leadership of the party was very unified behind Biden, which strikes a contrast with President Trump.

Look, he's going to need that money, and he is going need the support of those presidents because this is going to be a very close race. And some of problems that he has were evident with the presence of protesters outside around the war in Gaza.

So, you know, on the whole, that the money that they raise tonight is going to prove to be important, and it gives him a bit of an edge against Trump, who has had difficulty raising money and is, of course, siphoning a bunch of it off to pay lawyers.

COATES: David, why don't we see more side by sides of Biden and Obama?

AXELROD: You know, Laura, if you look at -- it isn't that customary for former presidents to be out there actively campaigning. And Obama has done that because these are extraordinary times. But if watch what he's done, he tends to get engaged in the fall when voters are engaged. And he tends to pick his spots, because I don't think he wants to be -- he doesn't want it to be a tag team match. It doesn't -- I don't think it's his view that that is appropriate or even that useful. You and I are paying a rapt attention to this race now. Most Americans are not. And they're going to start paying attention after the conventions in the fall. That's when the final arguments are going to be made that are going to turn this race. Maybe some in a courtroom and some on the campaign hustings.



AXELROD: But I think that's when you'll see President Obama out there just as he was in 2020, just as he was in 2022.

COATES: Well, we will see, at least after March Madness as well. David Axelrod, thank you so much.

AXELROD: Always good to see you. Thanks.

COATES: For me too.

I don't know if you've seen this. Surely, you've seen on social media a number of young women who are taking to social media. And they are sharing horrific and horrifying stories about being assaulted while they're just walking down the street in New York.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, I have a black eye. My face is really bruised, but it could have been a lot worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little bit over a month ago, I was assaulted. The man swung at me while I was holding my Kindle, hit my Kindle, spat at me and was yelling at me.


COATES: Earlier this week, TikToker Halley Kate first detailed even her own experience. And that video has more than now 47 million views. Police are now looking into as many as six attacks dating back to just March 17th.

Sarah Harvard is one of those victims of these attacks, and she joins me now. She was assaulted while heading to perform at a comedy show around 7:00 p.m.

Sarah, thank you for coming. I cannot believe that this is happening. What an attack on women and violence. Can you just walk us through what happened to you?

SARAH HARVARD, PUNCHED IN HEAD ON NYC STREET: Yes, of course. Thanks again for having me, Laura.

So, it was around -- I came from Penn Station after hanging out with some friends to Delancey Essex Station. I live in the Lower East Side. And I got a station and I walked on the sidewalk around -- it was on Tuesday, March 19th. And I want to say it was around 7:30, between 7:30. and 8:00. I walked up on the sidewalk, and out of nowhere someone from behind just hit me on the back of my head, just punched me in the back of my head.

And I just remember, at first, I was just panicking. I was like, oh, my god, oh, my god, oh, my god. I was kind of frightened that like I might have been stabbed or someone injected me with some things. You always hear all these crazy stories about people getting shot, people getting stabbed in New York City and they don't realize they were until moments later.

So, I was freaking out. But I turned around, didn't see anyone, and I turned back around to where I was facing and I saw the assailant running away. And for me, I'm just kind of just feeling really violated because I wasn't looking down my phone, I wasn't wearing my headphones. I was walking home and out of nowhere someone came from behind and just, you know, struck me in the back of my skull. And that's something I'm kind of dealing with post-traumatic, the stress, the anxieties of it. It's just kind of been a little bit unbearable lately.

COATES: Oh, my god. What you describe -- and I think everyone needs to hear why you pointed out no headphones, not looking at your phone. We as women are so often trained to conduct our lives to avoid being harmed. And that is a sad reality for far too many people. And the immediate reaction from so many who might have heard might be thinking things like, well, let me figure out a way to make it your fault. Having you've done wrong. And you did nothing wrong.

And this has happened, as you said, a little more than a week ago. What has it been like as you have obviously had to still go out into public? Had to be on the streets of New York? Have you made any changes to how you are moving?

HARVARD: Yes, of course I have. I'm -- it's kind of been really difficult. I've tried not to go out as much as possible. If I do, I usually have a friend that walks me somewhere. I'll have to take an Uber.

I've canceled some shows. I canceled some appearances, places to hang out with friends just because it just didn't feel safe walking around, you know, near my neighborhood or also, I don't take the subway anymore. I'm just kind of shocked and scared to hear not only that women are being punched and attacked, but like hearing stories of people getting pushed onto the train tracks. Like I think a six-year- old girl was recently killed. So, for me, I just don't feel entirely safe.

But I also do want to make the note that I don't want this to be permanent. I want to get my life back to normal. I'm not trying to let these people win. I'm trying to -- you know, I'm giving myself time to kind of heal and kind of like process what's going on.

But it's just a portion right now. I have to lose out on opportunities and, you know, not really hang out with people that support me or really see my support for physically just because I'm a little bit scared or freaked out what's happening right now around the city. COATES: It's completely understandable how you must be feeling. And we've been hearing a lot about this, particularly in New York. And obviously Mayor Adams, who is also a former officer. Has he reached out to you about your assault? Have you heard from the high reps and law enforcement and of course the leadership?

HARVARD: No, no, no statement, no reaching out from anyone in the city, no one from the New York State. The only people that reached out were the New York Police Department and the press like you. New York Police Department only reached out because last night I submitted a file -- a police report, and showing -- you know, giving the description of my -- I can't talk today, description of my actor -- my attacker.


And so, yes. No one reached out. So, I'm kind of been dealing this on my own and it's really hard to navigate, you know, alone. And I just can't imagine for all the women out there who don't have resources, who don't have a platform, who probably don't have -- you know, who don't speak English, who don't have a support group. So, I can only imagine what it's like for them.

COATES: What an important point. And normally, the following words, I would say that you are not alone is some source of comfort, but that's really the scariest and saddest part that you, in fact, are not alone in what has been happening in these random attacks. Sarah Harvard. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I wish you the best.

HARVARD: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

COATES: We'll be back in a moment.