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Laura Coates Live

DA Seeks Broader Gag Order as Trump Attacks Judge's Daughter; Trump Trials Continue; TX Woman Acquitted in Voter Fraud Case; CNN Remembers Trailblazing Actor Louis Gossett, Jr.; Laura Interviews DJ Premier and Ian Schwartzman. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 29, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's a new twist in Donald Trump's war against the judge in the New York hush money case. And we remember the legendary Louis Gossett, Jr. His "Roots" co-star, LeVar Burton, is with me tonight on LAURA COATES LIVE.

All right, so here is what's happening. Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg is apparently fed up with Trump's war of words against the judge in the hush money case. The D.A. is now asking Judge Juan Merchan to expand the gag order against Trump.

Now, right now, the gag order does not apply to the D.A. and it doesn't say anything about it applying to the judge or his family. It does apply just about everyone else, court staff, their family, et cetera.

So, what does that mean? Well, that Trump saw a window. And Trump, well, he jumped right through that window. He has been attacking the judge and his daughter in Truth Social, writing that judge is totally compromised and that his daughter, Loren, is a rabid Trump hater. Just so we're clear, the daughter is not a part of this case at all, full stop. It's random and yet oh, so calculated.

And it seems that this may have been the last straw for D.A. Bragg. And by the way, that straw landed on several camels' backs because also, it led to a stunning moment that took place right here on CNN. A sitting federal judge, Reggie Walton, telling our own Kaitlan Collins this.


REGGIE WALTON, JUDGE, U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: It is very troubling because I think it is an attack on the rule of law when judges are threatened and particularly when their family is threatened. And it's something that's wrong and should not happen.


COATES: Now, just so we're clear, that does not happen, that federal judges often speak out or seldomly speak out. They don't really speak out on issues at all. That tells you a lot.

And if for some reason you think this is all hyperbole, that the judge is somehow overstating this threat, then just consider what happened in Texas late last year.

Prosecutors say a woman threatened to kill Judge Tanya Chutkan. That is the judge overseeing Trump's federal election case right here in Washington, D.C. The woman left a voicemail that said, and I'm quoting here, "If Trump doesn't get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, B." Now, she pled guilty and is now serving three years in prison.

So, again, you got to understand that sitting federal judges do not come out and regularly speak on television. That's why some have called this appearance by this judge nothing short than an act of bravery.

And it also raised a question for retired Judge Michael Luttig, the question of why it had to be a sitting judge to be the one to speak out when, frankly, there are so many others who could or should.


J. MICHAEL LUTTIG, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: No one, not one single person in a position of responsibility to address this issue has done so for want of courage and want of will. And until or unless we as a nation address this issue, then we're careening toward the effective end of the rule of law in America.


COATES: Joining me now, former January 6th investigative counsel Marcus Childress and former White House communications director under Trump and managing partner of Sky Bridge Capital, Anthony Scaramucci. Thank you both for being here. Guys, hearing those words from that judge, from both judges, frankly, is really stunning to think of where we are.


Let me ask you first, Marcus, on this, whether you think that Trump is baiting the judge here and if you think that the judge will consider the expansion of a request to broaden the gag order.

MARCUS CHILDRESS, FORMER JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: I'm not sure it's that calculated. I think this is just the former president doing what the former president does, which is attack people who he thinks might hold him accountable.

It has been judges throughout. It was, you know, the A.G., the judge in the A.G. case, in the New York A.G. case last year, going after his wife, going after him personally, going after the clerk, going after Judge Chutkan. Now, he's going after Judge Merchan. It's just -- it's the same kind of pattern that has always been present with the former president. And that's why you saw Judge Walton, I think, taking it out and speaking publicly about, look, if we don't have a functioning judicial system, if people are going to attack our judicial system and our institutional norms, then we're going to have tyranny. And that has been the theme throughout this entire experiment of Trump, is just tearing down institutional norms and heading towards tyranny.

And as a lawyer, it really stood out to me that a sitting federal judge, as you said, went on national TV and talked about the threats that him and his family have received. And I hope it's starting to reach Americans as well because otherwise, we're going to pay the price when these norms are no longer existing.

COATES: Anthony, let me turn to you here because clearly, we have seen Trump in attack mode in different sectors and facets of his career. What do you make of this behavior in terms of attacking not only the judges but the daughters and the family members?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, I agree with Marcus that it's not isolated or premeditated. He's not waking up in the morning and saying, let me attack the judge's daughter. But what it is, is blanket bullying.

And so, Laura, his whole game is about bullying people, pushing them, intimidating them. He has found throughout the course of his five- decade career that lots and lots of people cower to him. And what he's hoping with this wave of bullying in the judicial situation is if it's not this judge, it'll be another judge that's working on a case with him that may throttle down a little bit as a result of the bullying. And so, it's intimidating. It's wrong. But no one is standing up to him.

And so, I just take you back to "The Wizard of Oz." When the water got thrown on the witch and she melted, the guards were like, you know, sorry, Dorothy, you know, somebody got to stand up to him in a position of power and melt him before, frankly, it's too late. I mean, this is the type of stuff that you look back on historically and say, why didn't anybody do anything?

COATES: You know, that's a great analogy, Marcus, especially because part of what those guards were thinking was that somebody finally had the guts to do it. And this person who seemed weak compared to this big, bad, evil witch suddenly just had the strength to say no.

Why is that happening here that they're not? I mean, you have been very complimentary of Judge Walton. He's in the same fraternity as you as well.


COATES: Why do you think he was the one to speak out?

CHILDRESS: I think this was an amazing display of leadership, which is what alpha men tend to do. But I agree with the -- I think bravery is an understatement, right? I mean, Trump is in the news every single day, in the same court that Judge Walton sits on with his peers. He's seeing the stress that this is causing to the court.

And he's not the only one speaking out. Other judges are speaking out to their court orders. I mean, just a month ago, Judge Lamberth, a Reagan-appointee, in a pretty regular sentencing memo, talked about how we are politicizing January 6th in a way that's going to be dangerous for our country moving forward.

Judges are repeatedly putting out these signs of where we're heading as a country. Hopefully, the former president be held accountable for his actions. I think April 15th will be the start of that. And maybe once we start seeing some accountability, other people might have the bravery that Judge Walton showed this week to continue holding him accountable in their own courts of law or cases that are being brought against the former president.

COATES: Marcus, thank you so much for being here. Anthony, stick around. I'm going to start to ask you more questions about this yellow brick road because I want to know more about this wizard and who is behind the curtain.

Also, Donald Trump is trying to attract pretty big donors that had once ditched him.


UNKNOWN: Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.


COATES: I almost talked over Al Pacino. This is mortifying for me. That's a great scene from "The Godfather." "The Washington Post" is reporting that earlier this month, Trump has had breakfast with some pretty big names, including several who wrote Trump off after January 6th. The reason -- quote -- "their affinity for the former president over taxes" -- unquote.

Now, Trump's team is hoping their next big fundraising event will bring in $33 million. And then there's this. Trump's campaign is establishing tiers for their donors, kind of like your airline mileage points. Donors ranked by how much money they're going to give.


You got the back of the plane, that's the group MAGA 24 for those who donate up to $24,000. Up next, you got the Club 47 for those who donate up to $50,000. Next is the Team America First for those who donate up to a hundred grand. And then business class is Team Trump 2024, bringing in up to a quarter of a million dollars. And first class, now that's Team Ultra MAGA for those who give up to the max. What is that? Eight hundred and fourteen thousand dollars, $814,600 to be exact.

Hmm. Back with me now is Anthony Scaramucci. Anthony, look, you've seen this report in "The Washington Post." It reminded me of the moment during Davos in January when JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon had this to say (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMIE DIMON, CEO OF CHASE: Just take a step back. Be honest. He's kind of right about NATO, Kind of right about immigration.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Uh-hmm.

DIMON: He grew the economy quite well.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): China virus.

DIMON: Tax reform worked. He was right about some of China. He wasn't wrong about some of these critical issues, and that's why they're voting for him.


COATES: Hmm. Is it all about the money, do you think?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, you know, listen, I want to -- I want to defend Jamie for one second, I think, because that clip has shown a lot. I think he was just trying to make the point that there's 74-ish million people that voted for Trump. We have to look at why they voted for him.

I've said this to people on the Biden campaign. Don't demean these people. Reach out to these people. Explain to them the sinister danger of Trump and pull them to the other side.

And so, I think that's important. If you're making a case that there are billionaires out there that like cuts in taxes, they like cuts in taxes. That's how they got to become billionaires.

And so, there's a group of them. It's much smaller than it was in 2016 or 2020. They're going to highlight those people.

He's very upset, Donald Trump is, about the $26 million that was raised this week by President Biden with the help of President Clinton and President Obama. And so, he's going to raise more than him because that's Mr. Trump's personality.

But he's going to run out of money, Laura. Okay? You'll see that happen. He's got a 40, 50 billion-dollar spread right now with the president. He is bad for business. If you're a billionaire out here watching Laura Coates's show, bad for business. I'd be running away from Mr. Trump right now because he does really harmful things to people.

And he's also very transactional. So, he's your friend today, but he's going to back the truck over you tomorrow. And so, that $860 or $816,000 that you're spending is going to go into the toilet. And last time -- he's going to lose the election. So, this is a really bad investment for these people.

But have at it, it's your money, and that's the way it works in America. And you can sell anything to a group of Americans. Mr. Trump is selling a lot of bunk right now.

COATES: How did you know, Scaramucci, that my preferred rating demographic are billionaires? Did I tell you that in some way? Did we have that conversation?

SCARAMUCCI: I think everybody -- I think everybody loves Laura Coates.


COATES: I do not --

SCARAMUCCI: That's demographically limited to the billionaires, you know.

COATES: That's not -- but look --

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah, you're kind of why demographic --

COATES: Let's not argue. Let's not argue. I'm just saying. I love everyone who watches the show. Let me ask you this, though. Speaking of Trump's money and maybe running out, maybe a contributing factor to that could be these legal cases. He has a reduced bond, as you know --


COATES: -- in the civil trial. It's coming due next week. Will he pull together that money? I mean, it's $175 million in cash or cash equivalents or through an insurance company.

SCARAMUCCI: So, he'll likely pull together that money. He's got enough friends in different places to pull the money together. He's not going to get it from disinterested third parties. They tried that on Wall Street 10 days ago.

No distressed debt lender, no direct lender wanted to lend Mr. Trump any money. He's just bad credit. He doesn't pay his bills. And so, this would have to be a politically-motivated loan or this would have to be him coming up with some collateral for that loan.

I think the real big issue, and this is going to happen in in the end of the election, is what happens with this D.J.T. stock, which is a meme stock that's virtually worthless, but it's trading right now for billions of dollars. Will he get the opportunity to sell some of that? And then what does he do with that money?

And then I think the big question is, is that a backdoor way of avoiding a lot of our campaign finance laws? And by the way, when I say backdoor, it's actually going to be done legally. And so, this will be something that we'll have to ask ourselves when 2024 is over.

COATES: Well, from backdoor to out the door, how many Scaramuccis did Ronna McDaniel last?


SCARAMUCCI: Okay, well, you know, it depends on how you characterize it.


So, at MSNBC, she lasted 0.1 Scaramuccis. But at NBC, it was actually 0.27, Laura. But I round up because I'm a generous guy. So, I'm going to say that she lasted 0.3 Scarammucis. You know, Kevin McCarthy, by the way, he only lasted 24.5 Scaramuccis as a speaker.

But, you know, listen, you know, she'll -- she'll come back. You know, she's a -- she's a formidable force, Ronna Romney McDaniel. She'll come back. But she's got to face the music about all of her lying and her election denialism. It was a mistake to hire her, but it would have been an even bigger mistake to put her on the air.

COATES: I'm frankly impressed by the math on a Friday night. Anthony Scaramucci, thank you so much.

SCARAMUCCI: I'm the official scorer of Scaramucci, Laura. Don't you think that that's fair at this point?


COATES: More than fair. We'll bow down for that. Thank you so much.

SCARAMUCCI: Good to be here.

COATES: Well, it was a story that made national headlines. I know you've heard about it. Crystal Mason is her name, convicted of illegally voting and facing five years in prison despite the fact that she said she didn't even know she couldn't vote. But tonight, she has been finally acquitted. You know who's here with us to share her story? Crystal.




COATES: Nearly seven years. Imagine for a second having the threat of going to prison hanging over you for nearly seven years, all for an honest mistake that you made at a polling booth, of all places. And that's exactly the nightmare that Crystal Mason has been living. A nightmare that came to an end just last night. And it all started when Mason cast her vote in the 2016 election.

One problem, though. She, at the time, was on a supervised release after having time for tax fraud when she filled out her provisional ballot, something not permitted for felons on probation under Texas law, and something that she says she had absolutely no idea about.


CRYSTAL MASON, ACQUITTED IN 2016 VOTER FRAUD CASE: I thought I was exercising my civic duties (INAUDIBLE) about voting. I thought I had that right. And yet I am facing five years for innocent, non-violent (INAUDIBLE).


COATES: You heard her right. She was facing five years in prison and in that time became a kind of poster child for the right's steady drumbeat of voter fraud. But last night, a Texas court of appeals threw out the conviction.

Crystal Mason and her attorney, Justin Moore, join me now. Crystal, thank you so much for being here. I could not believe when the news of this story came out, let alone what you have been through, which has been a nightmare. Now that you have been completely exonerated, how are you feeling, Crystal?

MASON: I am right now just overwhelmed. I am just overjoyed with my fate. Thanking God for just keeping me sane through this whole journey. It has been seven years, seven years. Six years, I've been out on an appeal bond, one foot in and one foot out, not knowing if I'm going to prison or not. So, this has been very, very hard. But I am just so grateful. I'm really in shock right now. Like, is this real?

COATES: You also -- you're a mother just like me. You have three children now. I wonder what it has been like for you and your family to cope with this threat hanging over you, guys, for all these years.

MASON: Very difficult. You know how you don't want -- you hope for the best, but you got to prepare yourself for the worst. So, you want to make sure that you have someone in place that can maintain your bills, maintain the things that you have, so if I do have to go, I'll at least have somewhere to come home to. So, you know, it has been very, very, very hectic on my family.

COATES: I mean, Justin, I can't imagine this. And just thinking about -- parents want to know who their emergency contact might be for their children. They want to know that they'll be provided for. For seven years, she has had to battle this, for what the court has obviously found to be a completely innocent mistake.

And one of the things that Crystal has said in the past is, I was thrown into this fight for voting rights and will keep swinging to ensure no one else has to face what I've endured over six years.

Justin, what is this fight been like?

JUSTIN MOORE, ATTORNEY FOR CRYSTAL MASON: Well, I mean, the fight has been very stark and bleak at times, but we always maintain hope. When I got involved, this was after the trial court made their determination to convict her to five years.

And when we got involved, me and the other attorneys, we filed our motion for a new trial. We knew that there was something there to make sure that Crystal didn't have to spend the five years of her life in prison for something so heinous.

And I'll say this. I know everybody is casting this as a mistake, but this was a malicious prosecution. There was nothing that Crystal could have done to prevent that. Right? She went to her polling location. She spoke with the poll workers there, and they should have told her about her inability to vote. But instead, they allowed her to, and they insidiously reported that to the district attorney's office.


And we all know that Tarrant County is one of the largest red counties in this country. We know at the time that that district attorney was someone that really liked to play and be involved in political theater. And they used that. She used that and she used Crystal's life as cannon fodder for this continual drumbeat of this very false narrative of illegal voting that we know is a false narrative.

COATES: And I'm not mistaken, it was a provisional ballot. Right? So, you routinely will cast these ballots. And for people who are not sure if they're supposed to and whatnot, that's almost the crux of why you have them.

But this case, Justin, was thrown out by the Court of Appeals because the prosecution didn't have the evidence. I just want to read for everyone here, Crystal, what the court said.

They said -- quote -- "We conclude that the quantum of the evidence presented in this case is insufficient to support the conclusion that Mason actually realized that she voted knowing that she was ineligible to do so and, therefore, insufficient to support her conviction for illegal voting."

What was, Justin, the key piece of evidence that led to this acquittal? And by the way, what took so long?

MOORE: Well, the key piece of evidence was that there wasn't any evidence. And, Laura, you're a former prosecutor. We know that prosecutors around this country, they're charged with the -- with the ability, but also with the burden to not bring forward cases that they can't meet all the elements to.

And the fact that they pushed this case through to essentially try and throw this woman's life away is completely heinous Now --

COATES: I mean --

MOORE: Yeah.

COATES: It's unbelievable. Think about that. And also, I want to -- I don't want to judge you, but everyone is very interested these days, Crystal, it seems in the two systems of justice. Right? There seems to be a drumbeat that suggests that it's a novel concept that some people are treated differently in our criminal justice system.

I'll point out that over in Georgia, the state GOP vice chairman just pled guilty to illegally voting nine times over several years. And by the way, his punishment was a little more than a five-thousand-dollar fine. No jail time. When you hear that and what you were facing, Crystal, and what this has been like, what is your reaction to the inequality of these systems?

MASON: Obviously, you can see it's two systems. That's -- that's exactly what I saw. When I realized that I filled out a provisional ballot, I didn't vote, and I was sentenced to five years. And where these people have actually voted and did mom's names and did wife things, going up there to vote in their own son name? This was showing me that there are two systems.

COATES: Crystal Mason, Justin Moore, thank you both so much. Crystal, thank you for continuing to fight. I know this must have been heartbreaking and difficult every day, and I sincerely hope that it is behind you. Thank you.

MASON: Thank you.

COATES: Well, we are remembering today a trailblazing actor, Louis Gossett, Jr. His former co-star in "Roots," LeVar Burton, will pay tribute to him next.




LOUIS GOSSETT, JR., ACTOR: The hood, when I put it on, you felt what I felt?


UNKNOWN: And that's what I thought, too. But it wasn't. It was fear and hurt. You can't heal under a mask, Angela. Wounds need air.


COATES: That was the late, great Louis Gossett, Jr., a Brooklyn native, a much-beloved actor on the stage and on the screen in one of his most recent roles, playing the character of William Reeves in the show "Watchmen." It earned him his final Emmy nomination.

Gossett, Jr. passed away today at the age of 87. You may have last seen him in his latest role in last year's remake of "The Color Purple." He is perhaps best known as Sergeant Emil Foley in "An Officer and a Gentleman." Take a look.


GOSSETT: In every class, there's always one joker who thinks that he's smarter than me. In this class, that happens to be you, isn't it, Mayonnaise?

(END VIDEO CLIP) COATES: That was an Oscar-winning performance, a groundbreaking Oscar- winning performance at that because Gossett, Jr., well, he was the first Black man to take home Best Supporting Actor.

And to think he only got into acting because he had a basketball injury. Really? This man was multi-talented. He went to New York University on a basketball and drama scholarship.

He was at rookie training camp for the Knicks when he got a call to be in "A Raisin in the Sun" on Broadway. He starred in the play and the film opposite one Sidney Poitier.


And the kits, it kept coming. We saw him back in uniform in "Iron Eagle" as a boxer in the movie "Diggstown," a villain in the movie "The Deep," and even an alien pilot in the movie "Enemy Mine." That's just a few.

In his memoir, Gossett, Jr. wrote, "Sometimes, I believe that the reason I have been able to do such exemplary work on the screen is because this is the only place I can be free, neither censored nor judged."

And who better to remember Louis Gossett, Jr. than one LeVar Burton, who starred in "Roots" as Kunta Kinte, a young slave mentored by Fiddler, Loui's character. LeVar, thank you so much for joining us tonight. How are you dealing with the news of this beloved friend and mentor?

LEVAR BURTON, EMMY AWARD-WINNING ACTOR: You know, Laura, it has been a great day because Louis is being celebrated all over this planet for the phenomenal talent, the exuberant life force, the remarkable human being that he was. And that's a -- how can that be a bad day, right?

COATES: A true celebration of life and remembering the legacy. And people all day have been thinking, oh, my God, yes, I remember that. Oh, I loved that. And what a testament to his artistry. I mean, he played, as I mentioned, a mentor figure to you on screen.

BURTON: Uh-hmm.

COATES: But was that more than just a role? Was he a mentor to you in real life?

BURTON: He was. The very first day I met Lou was on the set of "Roots." We had just come back from Georgia shooting the first three hours. He immediately invited me to his home in Malibu. He cooked dinner. We drank wine and swapped stories almost all night long. By the time we got to set the next morning, Kunta and Fiddler were bonded for life.

He was just an open-hearted giant. He was absolutely a mentor figure for me. I felt like that he took me under his wing and -- and -- and ushered me into the fraternity of Black performers. And -- and he was absolutely cut in the cloth of -- of performing artists who use their celebrity for social justice and change. And -- and that is certainly something that I have -- I have tried to emulate in his career as well.

COATES: You indeed are apparently cut from that same cloth, LeVar. You know, you were asked, what was your favorite scene with Gossett, Jr.? I want to play for everyone what that was.


GOSSETT: It could be another day. You hear me? It could be another day.


COATES: Oh, that scene --

BURTON: That was ad-lib.

COATES: -- was so powerful. I mean -- what? That was ad-lib?

BURTON: That was not in the script. He says, don't you worry what that white man calls you. There's going to be another day. You know who you is. You're Kunta Kinte. That's who you is. There's going to be another day. That was Lou in the moment as Fiddler putting it down.

COATES: You know, we found an interview where he was speaking about that very scene. I want to play for you what he had to say about it.



GOSSETT: Involuntarily, probably one of the first times in my acting career, I couldn't -- I didn't have to summon up anything. It just welled up, and I just had to hold it. I don't know what I meant, but I think I do know what I meant because it's very, very important. It was another day other than being handcuffed to trees, another day where there's no more lynching, another day when we're equal.

There's going to be another day when we have a first Black president. It's going to be another day. And it's another day comes day in and day out. We're getting better by the day.


COATES: What's your reaction to hear him say that?

BURTON: Hey, he's absolutely right. I mean, it's another I've been to the mountaintop moment in culture, right? I've seen the promised land. And you know what? Having been there in that moment, I can attest to the fact that he was not acting.

That was -- I mean, he was acting his ass off, and he was channeling ancestor energy. He absolutely was. He was he was that kind of actor. He was able to bring in energies from, you know, the ethers and ground them for storytelling for the people. COATES: You know, he, in his memoir, he recounts an experience that he had.


Perhaps this is part of the source of that summoning in some respects. He was driving in a convertible car that the studio had rented for him. He gets pulled over by police. And they made him lean against the car, made him open the trunk while they called the car rental agency before letting him go.

Here's a quote he said, "Though I understood that I had no choice but to put up with this abuse, it was a terrible way to be treated, a humiliating way to feel. I realized this was happening because I was Black and had been showing off with a fancy car, which in their view, I had no right to be driving. Now, I had come face to face with racism, and it was an ugly sight. But it was not going to destroy me."

I mean, just hearing those words and reading his memoir and his struggles in life when -- during lulls in his career, his struggles with drugs and alcohol at one point in time, he said that the addiction was fueled by racism throughout his career. Did he ever speak to you about those moments in his life?

BURTON: We didn't talk directly about -- about his addictions and his demons, but it was clear to me that he was the kind of actor who could channel those lessons into his work. He utilized those experiences in service of his storytelling. He was phenomenally talented.

You know, Lou, he was also a folk singer. I mean, he had -- there were so many dimensions to him. You mentioned he was an athlete, right? He was an actor. He was a singer. He -- he -- he had depth. He had absolute -- he had a deep, deep well, and he used it all.

COATES: Draw from that well. If you had one more conversation, what would you say to him, LeVar Burton?

BURTON: You know, I would just make sure that he knows how much he is loved and how much I love him and appreciate his kindness and generosity toward me. He took a young kid under his wing and and -- and -- and made me feel welcome.

COATES: Well, think of all the young children that you took under your own wing and made them free through literacy and beyond. LeVar Burton, thank you so much.

BURTON: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: We'll be right back.

BURTON: Appreciate you.








COATES: I love it. That song brings a slow smirk to your face when you realize how she flipped it completely. You were just listening to Beyonce's rendition of Dolly Parton's classic record, "Jolene."

That means "Cowboy Carter" is officially here. And the album is currently sitting at number one on Apple Music, although what else did you expect? But the early reviews are calling the album -- quote -- "a masterpiece."

Well, someone who knows a lot about making those is joining me next. He is the legendary producer and three-time Grammy Award winner, DJ Premier, and entertainment executive Ian Schwartzman is beside him as well.

You both just stand by for just one moment because I don't want to have any moment when everyone does not know the legend that I'm talking to. I want to make sure that everyone knows just a few of the hits you are behind. So how about this? Ever heard of Notorious B.I.G.?




COATES: Hmm, or how about another man by the name of Nas?




COATES: Oh, or maybe a rap pioneer, KRS-One.




COATES: I made you all really happy just now, America, didn't I? Well, those are all produced by DJ Premier. And now, Premier and Schwartzman have a new independent imprint where they've got a collaboration with Snoop coming out. Let's get right into it. This new album has come out and you are known for mixing and blending genres and not being pigeonholed. And now, you've got part two in a trilogy. The first part, "Renaissance," was dropped two years ago, a dance album. Now, "Cowboy Carter," heavy on the country. You are excited to see so many different genres blending. What do you think about this?

DJ PREMIER, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING PRODUCER: She can really do whatever she wants because she really respects the music. And she does it with respect. That's why it comes out so well.

When the respect part is given as an artist, I think you can tell the difference. That's why when she chooses to do that, even if she gets flack, like, oh, you're doing a country album, yeah, she knows and respects what it is.

When I heard "Jolene" playing, when I was a kid, it was Dolly Parton. She used to sing that all the time. So, for her to do a remake, she's cut out to do it without even having to try.

COATES: You do have a new single. It is out today with Snoop. It's called "Can U Dig That?"

PREMIER: Let's check it out for a second.

PREMIER: All right.





COATES: I mean, you have worked with so many different legends. You've created legends as well. What was it like to work with Snoop again?

PREMIER: It's just always fun because you know you're going to get something good out of him. I was telling Snoop, God bless him. You know, both of our moms have recently passed. My mother was 91 years old. She goes, I love Snoop Dogg.


You know, and she probably couldn't even say bow, wow, wow and yo, you'll be here, but she really under -- she's like, oh, I love what he's doing with Martha Stewart. Like she picks it up, the vibes, to see that there's something that she likes about him that makes her not look at him as all these rap guys and all the language and all that type of stuff. She just -- she picked up the same vibe that makes it, like, who does not like Snoop?



SCHWARTZMAN: Is there anyone who doesn't know who Snoop Dogg is?


COATES: I mean, I'm sure there's someone who is buried in a cave for the last 30, 40 years who maybe hasn't. Everyone else, I don't know who they might be. But you make a really important point that, you know, the idea that there are some artists who refuse to be or were never able to stay and rejected the pigeonhole, right? And they are very -- quote, unquote -- "mainstream." A lot of crossover appeal. Everyone knows who they are.

And one in particular happened to have a heck of a week this week, and it's Diddy. And you all both know that his homes were raided in connection with what is said to be federal sex trafficking allegations. There have been so many pieces written just this week alone about what impact, if true, and, of course, he has not been charged. There is no crime that he has been alleged to have committed that has been indicted or otherwise.

But the legacies are already being debated, what this would do based on his widespread appeal as an artist. Have either of you thought about what this moment has felt like hearing this news?

SCHWARTZMAN: I mean, I don't like to take the stance ever of speculating because I think it just leaves you looking dumb in the end. But --


SCHWARTZMAN: -- I also believe that his musical legacy is his musical legacy. For me, personally, I never had a close enough personal relationship with him to ever know what he was doing or not doing personally, so it's hard to make any comments or speculate on any of the allegations you're seeing today.

But in terms of his music -- in terms of his music, it's hard to ever argue or debate the legacy that he left behind.

PREMIER: Yeah. And for the fact that I've worked with Diddy on both of his first three albums, even the one after he passed on, which was "Born Again," that we all put together, he always let me be me as a producer and never got in the way when I did my job. And then on top of that, the music legacy is just so vast that who's not going to party and still enjoy the music?

And as far as what's going on, as far as the allegations, we're still in, I guess, movie mode. We're watching it. And then when the credits roll, it's going to be like, what did you think once everything has completely ended? But the ending has not gotten here yet, so we're just watching just like anybody else is.

COATES: You came up in an era, DJ Premier, where everyone was battling to be the best emcee, and the competition to see who was the best was a healthy one. It did change at a certain point, too, to become toxic and violent and at times even deadly. There has been some new in the music world this week. There's a beef that's brewing between, say, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole. Kendrick Lamar saying that he's number one, trying to take that particular spot. How do you feel about these new battles? Healthy or not?

PREMIER: Healthy. It has been that way since day one, especially even in our era, before the internet and all of that. People would come to the neighborhood and go yo, so-and-so, want to battle you, and you'd be like, where? Oh, he's up the block. And you would actually go to them like a fight, just to battle.

And it derives from that because that is always a competitive thing. I mean, LL Cool J did it with Hammer and Ice-T and Kool Moe Dee. And Jay-Z and Nas is one of the most enormous battles ever. And no one got hurt even though the outside world would add extra salt and pepper on it to make it look like it's way worse than what it seems. But it has always been kept music.

SCHWARTZMAN: And Laura, I have a question for you. Battle in hip-hop is the competition element.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

SCHWARTZMAN: But don't you think there's a sense of battling between you and other programs on CNN for ratings? It's similar to that. like you guys are all --

COATES: No, because I'm the best. There's no competition.

PREMIER: All right.


COATES: What do you mean? Who do I have to meet up the block right now, Ian?


Hold on a second.


What are we suggesting? No, I don't know what you're talking about.

SCHWARTZMAN: Are there broadcast disses that ever happen from show to show?

COATES: Hmm. Are there other shows?


SCHWARTZMAN: I don't think there are. You see?

COATES: There we go. (LAUGHTER)

SCHWARTZMAN: I like that.

COATES: I like that trend. Let's just end it there. DJ Premier, Ian Schwartzman, I get your point. Thank you so much. The new song --

PREMIER: Thank you.

COATES: -- with Snoop is called "Can You Dig That?"

PREMIER: "Can You Dig That?"

COATES: Make sure you go check it out. Thank you so much.

SCHWARTZMAN: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Hey, thank you all for watching. I know I'm going to get a lot of heat for that. And to play us out, a little more Beyonce.