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Laura Coates Live

Stormy Daniels To Return To The Stand; CNN Interviews Joe Biden; RFK Jr. Says Doctors Found A Dead Worm In His Brain; "A Different World" Reunites To Help Historically Black Colleges. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 08, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Well, the fireworks show in the Manhattan courtroom may be going a whole lot longer. Why Team Trump is planning for a longer cross-examination of one Stormy Daniels. Plus, an exclusive CNN interview with President Joe Biden, his message to pro- Palestinian protesters on college campuses. And look, you can't make this up. RFK Jr. says that a parasite once got into his brain and may have eaten part of it. Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

Okay, so now after Stormy's testimony, it's probably safe to say that half of America forgot this case came down to the documents. I know it doesn't sound like it, doesn't seem like it. Right. But tonight, we know that it's actually a documents case. But tomorrow, do not expect the testimony to just let the alleged fake business records do all the talking. It'll still be Stormy Daniels.

And when the cross-examination picks back up by Trump's defense attorney, I'm told you should get ready. We're learning that his legal team is planning for a much longer cross-examination of Stormy Daniels.

The question is, why? Well, a source telling us that Trump's lawyers are concerned that her testimony may have made a dent, at least in his reputation. They want to protect the reputation. And they believe that her insinuation at the encounter that she said was entirely consensual, she seemed to insinuate, may have been, well, something else.

It's important to note again and again that she said on the stand that she never felt verbally or physically threatened in any way in that Lake Tahoe hotel room back in 2006. But given Trump's claim that they never even had sex and he didn't even know who she was and the salaciousness of her testimony, it's no surprise that he wants to go a little bit further in trying to discredit her entire story.

Here's the thing, though. I mean, the cat is out of the bag. The bell has been rung and the jury, well, they heard what they heard. How they interpret it? Anyone's guess, including Daniel's admission that she does not like Trump. In fact, she says she hates Trump. So, it's a delicate balancing act for the defense and, frankly, for the prosecution.

And what does it mean for how both sides question her going forward on cross and, of course, potentially on redirect? And will it impact the way the jury sees what this case really is about?

The charges, 34 of them, of falsified business records, not whether or not this alleged affair or encounter actually happened, but what the motivations would have been to potentially falsify the records as a result of it and, of course, to keep her story out of anyone's conscience. We'll soon find out, won't we?

Now, I want to bring in Michael Moore, CNN legal analyst. Also, here is Brandi Harden, a criminal defense lawyer. I'm so glad that both of you are here because I have been wondering -- let's start with you, Brandi, for a second.

Um, I have to tell you, a lot of information came in in the testimony and even the judge said, is there a reason that you're not objecting more to the defense counsel? I have to know from you who I've seen in the courtroom. I've seen you object, maybe in my own case or maybe not, on your feet. What would you have found so objectionable and why didn't they do more?

BRANDI HARDEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER: Oh, some of the details were just unnecessary. There was absolutely no reason to go into some of the things that they had her talk about. And so, I would have been objecting way more. And I think some of the details, this rolled-up magazine spank, some of those kinds of things --


-- that just didn't need to come out, I mean, again, it is a document's case, so there's -- obviously, there's a sex situation here, but the details just didn't need to come out. I would have had a standing objection. I may have even got caught up making a speaking objection because, again, some of that just didn't need to come out.

COATES: And speaking of objection, for people to know, usually you stand up and you say just objection, the judge has to interpret it, and there's need to ask for why, they can bring you to the bench.

But in front of a jury, you know, they've watched a lot of "Law & Order" and television and they believe that someone is going to all of a sudden -- who said -- who ordered the code red. That didn't really happen. But this might have been a moment when you wanted your voice heard. But what's the strategy behind why they want to ask these details? To buttress her credibility?

MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think it's probably to shame him as much as anything else, to try to get the details out. I think that the defense made a mistake by not making the same objections, the right objections we're talking about, by letting some things lie.

[23:05:04] At the same time, there's a reason sometimes not to do that. You know, if you're on your feet all the time objecting to something, all it does is draw attention to the jury that there's something coming out. And usually, by the time you object, they've already heard it. And so, you really have a little bit of a tightrope to walk about.

COATES: But the judge is going to say, you know, strike that.

MOORE: Well, that's --

COATES: And we all know jurors will listen every time you say, don't hear what you just heard.

MOORE: That's right. I mean, that's like saying, you know, don't look at the -- you know, you didn't see what you just saw, that just didn't happen. So, you know, I think, tactically, the prosecutor went too far. I think the judge let the prosecutor go too far to get in some things that just were not relevant. I mean, this is -- it is not a sex case. If we were talking about a sexual harassment claim, a rape claim, something like that, all this would have been relevant. We're really talking about, you know, records and whether or not they're categorized, the expenses of an accounting case, whether or not those things are listed under the proper designation. And so, this had nothing to do with whether he wore silk pajamas or like to get spanked by a magazine. It had nothing that just had anything to do with this.

HARDEN: I do --

COATES: Who among us? I don't know. But on that point, do you think it's important? Why take it further? If this is the point, right, if what she has to say is irrelevant, other than the fact that -- look, doesn't matter if it happened or not. All that had to happen is that Trump and his camp had to believe that she would put the allegations out there and they had this NDA. Then why as defense counsel would you try to take another day at cross?

HARDEN: Well, I do think one of the things that you want to deal with is that the prosecution is trying to make it seem like the worse the story, the more likely he would be to cover it up. But if you can sort of dispel that it ever really happened, then it makes it look like she's just not telling the truth about this. This never even happened. And so, why would Donald Trump be concerned about it so much?

And so, I think it's a good strategy in some ways to make it look like she's just not telling the truth about this at all, and that's why he would not have any interest in covering up anything because it never really happened.

COATES: How about the fact that she says she hates him? How's that play?

HARDEN: I think, really, it helps her credibility in this way because I think people know she doesn't like him. If she had said, no, I don't -- I don't feel any kind of way one way or the other, I think that would have destroyed her credibility. I suspect there was some witness prep around that and that they told her, look, however you feel about him, say that. And so, I think it's fine that she says she hates him. She also said she wants to see him in jail if he's convicted. And so, I think there's not that much the defense lawyers can do with that.


MOORE: You know, I've kind of questioned from the beginning why we've seen lawyers on the jury. You know, that's just not something we usually do. This might be --

COATES: Two of them.

MOORE: Well, right, and this might be the reason because, you know, the defense didn't strike the lawyers. I mean, they could, they knew who they were. I mean, they could have asked and use their periphery (ph) challenge. But, you know, it may be because they knew the lawyers are trained to sort of see through the sideshow of the sex and not get swayed by that and focus more on what the case really is. So --

COATES: Speaking of a sideshow and sex, we go to Georgia.


MOORE: Well, yeah, that's why --

COATES: I mean, I'm just -- you open the door. Pandora's box is open.

MOORE: Somebody else may open the door. But right --

COATES: I mean, I will give credit to Georgia. Thank you for having courtroom cameras --

MOORE: Yeah.

COATES: -- so I can rely on more than the sketch artist to really unpack what was going on. But there is some news out of Georgia. An appeals court is saying that they will hear an appeal from Trump --

MOORE: Uh-hmm.

COATES: -- that is challenging the ability of Fani Willis to remain on this case. That doesn't surprise you, does it?

MOORE: It really doesn't. I mean, I don't know that I put a lot of stock and saying, you know, they're hearing it because they're going to necessarily find that the judge's order was wrong.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

MOORE: I just -- I really think it's more like this is sort of a case of first impression. We frankly don't see prosecutors doing this and certainly not paying $600 and $700,000 while they're in a relationship, you know, in a case like this. The disqualification issue is unique. You know, the judge even sort of recognizing his order. There's not a lot of law on this to go on. So, it may be that the Court of Appeals is simply going to take it, make some law.

So, this is how we're going to define now whether or not a prosecutor is conflicted out of a case, whether or not there's a disqualification issue that has merit and move forward. But at the end of the day, I mean, it's -- it's a delay in the case. I think we all see that. That's a win for the defense because the case is clearly pushed off.

But the truth is, I mean, if we really take the Court of Appeals out of it, this case was never going to get tried before the election anyway. Sort of this whole idea that the case might be somebody wanted to try it in August or whatever, that was a pipe dream.

COATES: Well, she just said she want it all done in six months. That was never going to happen. But you agree. I mean, this is, by the way, three out of four trials that have been delayed.

MOORE: Right.

HARDEN: None of these trials are happening except this New York trial.

MOORE: Right.

HARDEN: No other case is going to trial before the election. It's just not going to happen. And I think -- you know, I'm not so sure that the court won't change their mind because we have these two cases in D.C. There was a lower court opinion and they have all gone up to the Supreme Court. We're not so sure that the ruling won't be changed.

MOORE: Uh-hmm.

HARDEN: So, I guess we'll see what happens in Georgia. But I'm not so sure. Them taking it up seems like not the best sign for Ms. Willis.

COATES: Do you think that the jury verdict in the Manhattan case has any bearing on the progress of the other three?


HARDEN: No, no. I don't think so at all because I don't -- I think the Florida case, they've already said it's not going to happen. I think Judge Chutkan, who's amazing, I don't think they're ever going to get that case tried before the election. I mean, again, if they -- if they make a ruling in July, I couldn't be ready by November, September. So, I think that the only verdict that we're going to have is this New York case.

COATES: Well, we'll see and what it will actually be. We're told maybe a week or two more of the prosecution's case. and then we'll see if the defense puts one up, including if Donald Trump takes a stand.

Michael Moore, Brandi Harden, both of you, thank you so much.

Up next, the CNN exclusive interview with President Joe Biden, and he is speaking directly to pro-Palestinian protesters. Congressman James Clyburn is here to weigh in in just a moment. Plus, RFK Jr. says doctors found a dead worm in his brain -- yes, I just made that announcement -- as his campaign announces that they are getting on the ballot in yet another state.



COATES: Tonight, President Biden sitting for a rare exclusive interview with CNN's Erin Burnett, weighing in on the recent pro- Palestinian protests that are sweeping college campuses all across this country.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There's a legitimate right to free speech and protest. There's a legitimate right to do that. They have a right to do that. There's not a legitimate right to use hate speech. There's not a legitimate right to threaten Jewish students. There's not a legitimate right to block people access to class. That's against the law.


COATES: Well, joining me now, Democratic congressman from South Carolina and co-chair of the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign, Representative James Clyburn. Congressman, thank you for joining us. How are you tonight?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I'm just fine. Thank you very much for having me.

COATES: Well, I wanted to join and ask you this question because you had recently said that Senator Bernie Sanders had made a good argument, you said, when he suggested that maybe this may be Biden's Vietnam. I do wonder how badly the war in Gaza is hurting President Biden and, frankly, how might he be able to turn it around.

CLYBURN: Well, I associate myself with his sentiments, that is, senator -- the senator's sentiments on that, because I've been a part of these First Amendment freedoms for a long, long time. I started marching and demonstrating as a 12-year-old. I organized sit-ins as a college student. In fact, the first sit-in in Orangeburg, South Carolina was one that I organized. And I was a part of the hospital strike in Charleston back in '69. So, I know these issues very well.

And so, I also know that when you start a movement like that, it gets infiltrated. And sometimes, people are involved in the movement for their own personal interests. And that's what has happened in some of these instances when students are out demonstrating as they want to, and then others invade the campus who aren't even students. And so, that's the kind of thing we have to guard against.

And I was around in the 60s when we lost the efforts because of the Vietnam War, when people started sloganeering. I will never forget. Burn, baby, burn. That was not what we were out there for. We were out there for an effort to make the First Amendment of the Constitution a viable amendment, to make the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments of the Constitution real for people. We were not there to burn down anything. We were out there to build up America.

COATES: Congressman, I want to turn to the issues that are really the impetus for the protests more broadly, and that's what is happening in between Israel and, of course, Gaza. And one of the things that President Biden said to my colleague, Erin Burnett, is that if the IDF goes into Rafah, which is this crossing where most of the aid, frankly, is supposed to be coming through, that he would no longer supply certain weapons. Do you stand by that decision?

CLYBURN: Absolutely. The president made it very clear there was a red line on this invasion. He also made it very clear that he is doing everything he possibly can, and he supports the implementation of a two-state solution. And he said, we will defend Israel's right to defend itself, but we're not going to fund an offensive invasion that will expand this effort.

And so, I think that what President Biden is doing and saying at the moment is absolutely the right thing to do and say, and that is we will defend the people of Israel in their attempts to defend themselves, but we're not going to carry out the wishes of Netanyahu, who seems not to be in favor of a two-state solution, and the things that he seemed to be doing will not support that effort.

COATES: You know, there is, of course, commencement season that is happening right now. We've been talking a lot about the college protests and you yourself were an educator. President Biden has been invited to speak at the prestigious Morehouse College. That is drawing a lot of backlash from some students and faculty.


A graduating senior is saying -- quote -- "Don't try to use us for political clout. We are not pawn. We do not wish to be a part of your campaign."

Now, I do wonder, do you think that the president, having been invited, having committed to give the commencement address, should he somehow be reconsidering withdrawing from the commencement?

CLYBURN: Well, I will say to that student that made that comment, the president did not invite himself to the college. He was invited to give a commencement address. I'm going to be at the campus of South Carolina State on Friday for its commencement. I was invited to be there. I was at Denmark Tech two weeks ago, responded to the invitation.

So, the president is not going down there to run a campaign. He's going down there to address the students, to congratulate those who have made this significant milestone, thank their parents and guardians and the school for getting them this far, and to lay out a vision for the future of this country.

He is not there as a part of the conflict in the Middle East, but simply to do as presidents do, attend commencement and offer as much encouragement as he can to students. And that's all the president is going to be doing there. And I would hope he can do that in a peaceful way. So, he's not there to further a campaign.

COATES: I think part of the reason that student made that comment is because, as you know, there's polling that suggest that there are, as there always are, key demographic and voters. Not that there is any one monolith among the groups but, somehow, this would be an intentional act to try to address Black men specifically. But you don't think that has been the calculation for why he has chosen to accept the invitation?

CLYBURN: Well, I don't think that's a calculation at all, but I think that's a good thing to do. If Black men seem to be wavering in their support of his vision, lay out the vision for them so that they will be able to make up their own minds rather than the stuff they may be getting off of the internet and these other social media tropes that are out there.

Lay out his vision. They would seem to me that the students want to hear it. And then let them make up their own minds. He will not be doing anything nefarious about that. That's what presidents do. That's what commencement speakers do.

COATES: You just described democracy, a candidate laying out the vision and voters make up their own minds. Congressman James Clyburn, thank you so much for joining us.

CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me.

COATES: Still ahead, did a parasitic worm eat part of RFK Jr.'s brain? Well, that's what he's claiming. We've got a doctor here to discuss next.



COATES: Well, this morning, we all woke up to a headline that took some of our brains some time to process. "The New York Times" reporting that RFK Jr. says doctors found a dead worm in his brain. A spokesperson for the longshot independent presidential candidate confirms that doctors found a dead parasite in his brain about 10 years ago. He took tests after complaining about brain fog and memory loss. He also said that he also suffered from mercury poisoning at the same time, but had recovered.

And the frightening story coming as RFK's campaign draws more focus as he vows to get on the presidential ballot nearly every state. His campaign saying today they have collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in Ohio.

And he used the parasite story to challenge the presidential candidates to a debate, posting this on X -- quote -- "I offer to eat five more brain worms and still beat President Trump and President Biden in a debate." I want to bring in CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Thank you so much for being here. As many people looking at this, as you've said, this wasn't on the bingo card of anyone thinking about this. And you have not treated RFK Jr. But I mean, how common would something like this be to have this happen?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, if you -- if you grew up or lived in Latin America, Southeast Asia or sub-Saharan Africa, this is a pretty common thing to encounter. It's -- it's what it is, basically. An infection caused by ingesting, eating or drinking the water and of -- that has been contaminated with the eggs of the tapeworm that comes from eating raw or undercooked pork. So, it's largely a preventable disease in places that practice, you know, good hygiene.

COATES: And that would go not to the stomach, that would go to the brain, potentially?

REINER: Well, it can go to any tissue, and it's called cysticercosis. When it involves the brain, it's called neurocysticercosis. And basically, the affected person ingests eggs. The eggs hatch in the intestines, and they release the immature forms of the parasite which are called larvae.

Larvae are really small and they can travel in the blood. And because they can travel in the blood, they can travel anywhere in the body. And if they go to the brain, they can create these cysts in the brain, which it sounds like his doctors found about 10 years ago when they were concerned he might have had a brain tumor.


REINER: The CAT scan appearance of these parasites can mimic that of a brain tumor.

COATES: Well, he's claiming that it may have gotten into and ate a portion of it, and then the worm died. Is that possible?

REINER: No, not really. The worms don't eat your brain. What it basically does --

COATES: I'm sorry you had to make that statement just now on television. The worms are in your brain.


I feel like a zombie apocalypse is happening right now. But go ahead.

REINER: In a week of graphic revelations on television --


-- maybe we didn't need to hear this or that.

[23:30:00] But the parasites, when they basically embed in the brain, create an inflammatory response that can be very destructive. People often present with seizures.


REINER: In fact, it's the most common cause of acquired, not congenital seizures, can cause bad headaches, you know, memory loss, and some people can even -- even die from this. It's very rare in the United States. There are only about a thousand or two thousand cases of this every year in the United States. But I was talking to one of my fellows at work today, she's from Honduras, and she says, oh, you know, we see this all the time.

COATES: Wow. This is -- I mean, it's very scary to think about just the prospect of it. But also, he also said in that discussion that he was hospitalized four times for atrial fibrillation and irregular heart rhythm, but he hasn't had an episode in a decade and believes it disappeared. Is that how that works?

REINER: No, it doesn't -- it doesn't disappear. He's probably on medication to control it. But his revelations of A-fib for decades since he was a young man, hepatitis C from sharing needles when he was a heroin user, and now this crazy brain parasite, really just go to show you really can't judge a book by his cover.

He's 70 years old. He has significant medical problems. And, you know, despite his attempt to look, you know, virile from his YouTube video from doing pushups and lifting weights on Venice Beach, he's a 70- year-old with A-fib and former -- and treated hepatitis C. So, he has his own medical problems.

Other candidates have released their medical records as well. The president has. Unfortunately, we know very little about the health of Donald Trump. His physician a few months ago released a letter, basically, that was just three paragraphs long that basically said he's fine, nothing to see here.

COATES: It's very important for voters to understand, given all the age issues and beyond, but just more broadly about the overall health of a candidate to see what their health is like. Do you support this tension, though, between the privacy of the individual person and the right of the electorate to know?

REINER: I don't think, when you're running for president, you really have the right to privacy as it pertains to your medical history. It's amazing to me that in the United Kingdom, the health of their royalty is completely kept private. They announced that the king has cancer. They don't tell the public what kind of cancer. But in the United States and in this democracy, when we're looking to elect a candidate, we need to know that their health will allow them to fulfill the requirements of their job. And I completely support a full disclosure from all three of the campaigns about the health of the candidate.

We know nothing about Donald Trump. We know the least about Donald Trump. We don't know what medications he takes. We don't know anything about his medical history other than his doctor in New Jersey basically just blanketly saying he's fine.

COATES: Really important points to consider as to what the transparency ought to look like. Thank you so much, Dr. Reiner, for being with us today.

And you know what? With the RFK campaign claiming now enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in Ohio, should President Biden be worried? How about former President Trump? We'll talk about it next.



COATES: So as uncanny as this RFK Jr. worm story is, because it is, what may be more consequential, politically speaking, is what his campaign is achieving.


ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, JR., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will have ballot access in every state by the end of July.


COATES: Well, CNN's Eva McKend reporting tonight, and it's great reporting, that the independent presidential candidate has picked up incremental wins, making it officially on the ballot in now five states. And that's not all. The campaign says they have enough signatures to put him on the ballot in a growing number of key battleground states.

I want to bring in former senior advisor for the Biden 2020 campaign, Alencia Johnson, also a CNN contributor and former deputy chief of staff for HUD under the Trump administration, Shermichael Singleton.

So, obviously, a lot of people are talking about the worm --


-- but he's inching his way into a lot of races here, Alencia.


COATES: And he -- he's right there.



COATES: But he couldn't actually -- I mean, you can't ignore him at this point, right? I mean, he is somebody that people are looking at. But they keep saying it'll affect Biden. Do you believe that?

JOHNSON: Listen, it's actually very interesting. There are polls that actually say he hurts Trump more than he hurts Biden. And there are folks who want to leave the Republican Party and don't want to necessarily go to President Biden. They are looking at RFK. And I do believe that Biden supporters and independents and people who would be persuaded to be Democrats find RFK a little bit too far out there.

And so, I'm not going to say it's not a concern, right? Any third- party challenger is going to be a concern in these battleground states. But I don't think it's going to be the same type of concern as the Jill Stein. However, we will learn from those mistakes, right? We won't take for granted the voters who are undecided. We still got time between now and November.

COATES: Do you see him as a wild card as well that would hurt Biden or Trump?

SINGLETON: I mean, you have RFK Jr., Jill Stein is running again, Dr. Cornell West. I'm not convinced that more Republicans will vote for RFK Jr. Trump's voters are going to be reliably in his corner. The more moderate-leaning Rs would probably vote for Biden over RFK. I mean, these are usually astute, well-educated people. They're not going to him.

So, I would presume that more than likely it's going to be some younger male voters who probably lean towards the left, center left, if you will, that will vote for RFK.

COATES: Well, there's a new Quinnipiac University poll of Wisconsin voters, or as they say, Wisconsin. They show Biden six points ahead of Trump, notably. They had the margins shrinking drastically when RFK Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornell West are all factored in. And RFK Jr. has sizable support compared to the others. It's still unclear, though, of who he would draw more support from. But just given that, should Republicans be a little bit worried?

JOHNSON: Listen, I think Republicans should be absolutely worried.


I think both parties should be concerned. And this is when you have to get there and talk to the base about the issues that they care about the most and show where your positions are. I think it's -- I think these are indicators for us to go into November. We are -- what? Seven months, at six, seven months out. We're talking about this every single day. Voters aren't paying as much attention. They will closer. And hopefully, this gives information to the campaigns to figure out where do we need to move the needle and who are the voters that we need to really talk to at this point.

COATES: I mean, we really are six months away from Election Day.


COATES: I think one day less than six months, frankly, on that very point. Biden is out there. He's campaigning. He's in Wisconsin. Trump not campaigning as much. He said he was concerned about not being able to campaign with the trial. But today, he's not campaigning, on a Wednesday. Is Biden running out of time, though? I mean, six months is not a long time.

SINGLETON: I'm excited about Joe Biden.

COATES: Well, obviously, you're not by the --

SINGLETON: I saw the interview with Erin Burnett and it was a boring interview. I mean, no one --

COATES: Shout out to Erin Burnett and the enthusiasm she brings. How dare you?

SINGLETON: No, Erin was great. It was Joe Biden. That was just not interesting. Erin asked very piercing -- very piercing questions. And a couple of times, I had to make sure the president was still awake. I've just been honest. When people see Joe Biden, they don't see someone who's -- who comes to it with vigor in terms of addressing their problems. They don't see someone who they believe can deliver for another four years.

I mean, this isn't just my opinion. These are the things that regular everyday Americans are saying about the president. His reelect campaign needs to figure out a way to reconnect with many people who don't think Joe Biden has any fuel left in his tank to continue on.

COATES: Well, I do wonder what you make of that because there are those who came after the last election and Biden's victory and suggested that they were exhausted by the level of excitement that Trump brought.


JOHNSON: Look, I think with Joe Biden, we're saying this, we're having this conversation, but Joe Biden is actually on the campaign trail. He's on the trail. Trump is in trial.


COATES: Well, no, Trump actually had dinner with people who bought his NFTs tonight. That's what he's doing.

JOHNSON: That's what he's doing.


And listen, as people -- I have been out there and I have seen when people are engaging with President Biden. They're understanding the achievements and going through his record. He knows how to govern, and people appreciate that steady hand. And at some point, we're going to have to move away from the personalities and understand who is it -- who is it that we want to govern for the next four years.

SINGLETON: But do they appreciate it, though? I mean, his approval rating isn't all that great. He's having few supports among very key --

JOHNSON: He is still doing better now in the polls than Donald Trump. SINGLETON: People aren't excited about him.

JOHNSON: He's doing a lot better now than Donald Trump.

SINGLETON: It's arguably a statistical tie between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. And considering everything that Donald Trump is going through, you would think there is no way in the world this guy would be in a tie with the stable hand.

COATES: Well, you know, what's always true? Statistics never lie.

SINGLETON: Yeah, that's a fact.

COATES: I'm being sarcastic. I hope you've got that (INAUDIBLE) Shermichael.


Alencia Johnson, Shermichael Singleton, thank you so much. And up next is the sitcom that dealt with some seriously heavy themes at the fictional historically black university college of Hillman College. Now the cast is getting back together. And guess who's here? Jasmine Guy to tell us why and relive the show's best moments.


UNKNOWN: Will you have me, Dwayne, as your lawfully wedded husband, from this day forth, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer? Baby, please. Please.



UNKNOWN: You all heard it. You heard it. She said, I do.

UNKNOWN: But to whom?





UNKNOWN: You have been admitted to the 1991 Pledge Club of Alpha Delta Rho Sorority Incorporated.

UNKNOWN: I'm going online! I'm going online!

UNKNOWN: You're going to pledge?

UNKNOWN: Yes, yes!

UNKNOWN: By the end of the week, Kimmy, you can add your name to a distinguished list of lawyers, judges, doctors, entertainers.

UNKNOWN: All the women in her family.


UNKNOWN: First of all, you'll be pledging under me, the new dean of pledges.

UNKNOWN: Oh, God, that's so great! We're going to be sisters.

UNKNOWN: We're going to be sisters.

UNKNOWN: Oh, I'm going to be sick.



COATES: For those of you who don't know, that's from "A Different World" and it aired from 1987 to 1993 as a spinoff of "The Cosby Show." One of my absolute favorite shows, "A Different World." The show focused on the lives of students at Hillman College, a fictional, historically black college in Virginia.

And now, shockingly, a little more than 30 years after the show ended, the cast is getting back together. They're doing a 10-city tour of HBCUs. Their goal? To help inspire the next generation to enroll in HBCUs. And you can bet they're the right folks for the job, because during the years the show was on, HBCU enrollment went up about 19%.

Here to talk with me about the tour, the star of "A Different World." I, of course, love Whitley Gilbert, but the one and only Jasmine Guy. So nice to see you. How are you?

JASMINE GUY, ACTRESS: Hey, Laura, it's so good to see you. I watch you often, so --

COATES: Oh, I -- okay, my heart just fluttered because I grew up watching "A Different World." All of my sisters and I, we would watch it. We all wanted to go to Hillman at that point and be friends -- we wanted the Kadeem Hardison glasses. We wanted all of it.


We were all, all in. So nice to talk to you. And you kicked off this tour at the end of February. So, what has it been like to reunite with the cast and spread the word about HBCUs again?

GUY: Well, it's always wonderful when we're all together. The special thing about this tour, going to historically black colleges and universities for those in the country that doesn't know what HBCU stands for. We are reunited and it's seven of us on this tour. So, we're having a ball.

COATES: Sounds like it's so much fun. I mean, I remember watching the show and, obviously, we know that Hillman was a fictional school, but the show premiered 37 years ago. And HBCU is very real. And you tackled major topics that weren't being discussed really on national television at the time. I'm talking about classism and racism, the AIDS epidemic, sexual assault. I mean, let's just watch one scene in particular.


UNKNOWN: All that was written on the car was N.I. Maybe whoever spread it was spelling nice, as in have a nice day.

UNKNOWN: You know, I'm about ready to slap that stupid smile off your face.

UNKNOWN: See, there it is again, the violence.

UNKNOWN: You think you can get over on anybody, right? Anywhere. No, not me and not today.

UNKNOWN: Who are you?

UNKNOWN: That's just cities. Nobody.

UNKNOWN: No, I am an educated Black man. Your worst nightmare, punk.


COATES: I remember that episode.

GUY: Wow.

COATES: And I can't -- I mean, you said, wow. Can you imagine thinking about all the topics you covered then? Do you remember that episode and what it meant?

GUY: Oh, I definitely remember that episode. And it is Kadeem's and Darryl's favorite episode --

COATES: Really?

GUY: -- of the six seasons that we did because we were challenged in a way on a sitcom to deal with very heavy issues, which I think is the blessing of the show, is that Debbie Allen and Susan Fales-Hill made sure that we were still topical, that we were young people on a college campus. And that's what young people do. They address issues.

But the chance to also make it humorous was always lurking, you know, in the midst of the AIDS show and the riot episode. The L.A. riot episode was another heavy one. And when I say heavy, I mean, these are particular episodes that we have to go to NBC and get their blessing on.

COATES: Really?

GUY: Yes. They -- they really loved that we were funny and gifted and talented and all that, but they didn't necessarily always want to do heavy shows like the AIDS episode starring Tisha Campbell and Whoopi Goldberg.

COATES: How did you convince them that the moment was then and, really, in so many ways, still now?

GUY: Well, I think Debbie Allen had the most to fight with, armed with having graduated from Howard University, armed with her background on fame and understanding how young people need to see the things on television that they care about that's affecting them.

The divestment episode with South Africa directly affected the Kimberly Reese character played by Charnele Brown because her scholarship was given by this fictitious soda company, and we were trying to get them to divest from South Africa. Now, of course, Whitley's stance was that, but don't, you know, lose your scholarship over that. And Kim says, well, what about all the people in South Africa? And Whitley says, I don't even know them!


Why would I care about them? Yeah, I had the -- I had the opportunity to say all the wrong things I missed.


COATES: I am laughing because how much do I love it? You went right into character and it just took me back. I may have been seven years old or 12 years old or however else how old I was the time.

Before I let you go, I know you and the cast were recently at the White House and, in a few weeks, President Biden is going to be delivering -- oh, there is Karine Jean-Pierre. Oh, we're going down the line. I love it, seeing everyone there delivering a kind of commencement speech, of course, at Morehouse College.

And there are some students and faculty that want the school to rescind the invite due to the administration response to the war in Gaza. You know, your topics in your show focused in many ways on the power of students harnessing and having their voice.


What is your message to students who are considering protesting and finding their voices that way?

GUY: Well, I -- you know, I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and I saw student protests all the time on the news. And I just hope that we don't totally shut down listening to all sides of a story and just focusing or dictating who the students can listen to and not listen to. I'd rather my kid go to a school and hear a diverse opinion and be able to make her own judgment from that than to be censored in some way from being able to hear other people's point of view.

COATES: Well, Jasmine Guy, it may have been a different world, but I'm certainly glad you're in it. What a pleasure to talk to you, Jasmine Guy.

GUY: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Thank you. And hey, everyone, thank you so much for watching. Our coverage continues.