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Laura Coates Live

Disturbing Video Shows Diddy Assaulting Cassie Ventura In 2016; Morehouse Braces For Protests During Biden's Speech; Kansas City Chief's Harrison Butker Slammed For Graduation Speech; Trump Demands Drug Test For Biden Before Debates; World's Top Golfer Arrested, Still Makes Tee Time. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 17, 2024 - 23:00   ET



UNKNOWN: I was smoking crack and fentanyl and drinking and ended up getting Narcan and was in the hospital. Keith was like a really big support through all of that and would just continuously show me that he loved me and cared about me, and I've been sober since then, and now I have 17 months.


UNKNOWN: Thank you.

GUPTA: Do you dream about the future now?

UNKNOWN: Yeah. A few years ago, I didn't think I'd be alive. And so, it is really weird turning 18 and having plans to go to college and just all of the things that I get to do now.

UNKNOWN: At one point, I didn't know if Lucy was going to live or die. And now, I know Lucy is going to do whatever she wants to do in this world. Every single of these kids gives us all hope today, that no matter how hard your life is, things can get better one day at a time.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Be sure to tune in tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time for the "Champions for Change" one-hour special right here on CNN.

And thank you for watching "NewsNight." "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Well, by now, I'm sure that you've seen it. The video that CNN obtained showing Diddy assaulting his then- girlfriend Cassie Ventura in 2016. And this video, to me, is horrifying. It is truly shaking me to my core. And how dare anyone treat another human being like this? I have been thinking about this video all day, and it has really taken me back to my days as a domestic violence prosecutor, watching women and men brutalized by their lovers, abused manipulated, debased. Now, in a moment, Cassie's friend, Tiffany Red, will be my guest on this very difficult night. Difficult because the nature of the video that we are about to show you now, it's hotel surveillance video, so it doesn't have any audio. The context is that, according to Cassie's civil lawsuit, Diddy had become extremely intoxicated and punched Cassie in the face. According to the lawsuit, that's why she decided to try and leave the Intercontinental Hotel room in Century City, Los Angeles.

The video, it shows Cassie walking down the hallway with her purse. She doesn't have any shoes on. She gets in front of the elevator. She puts her bag down. She starts trying to put her shoes on. And then, she hits the button to call the elevator. Then Diddy, he comes running down in a bath towel and does this. He throws her at the ground. He then kicks her. Then, still holding his towel, you see him grab her bags, and then he kicks her one more time. He's not done. Watch, because he then starts dragging her back into the hallway. Now, there's more that happens, but we're not going to show it. At one point, he lunges her in the elevator bank and throws some sort of object at her.

Frankly, the cruelty will never cease to amaze me. This isn't some Hollywood depiction. It's not even fiction. And sadly, it is representative of what so many people face on a daily, if not, hourly basis in their own homes.

Now, some people right now may be watching and gulping down that realization as I'm speaking. They may be walking on eggshells in their own homes, waiting to see what kind of mood their partner is in to determine who they need to be to stay safe, what you have to do or say to protect yourself or the vulnerable people around you. And I'm asking you, what did you see?

Well, let me tell you what I saw today while I watch this video. I saw someone who tried to wait until an opportune time to flee. Someone who had to make a split-second decision to run, weighing the consequences if she were caught. I see a woman trying to survive, fleeing with no shoes on to the nearest exit. And I see a violent, barbaric attack by a man more self-conscious about his towel flying open and the dignity of a person who he thought had no right, was not entitled to agency over her own body or even to safety. I see a human being kicked repeatedly in ways we would consider inhumane even for non-humans. I see torment, I see pain, I see abuse of power, throwing objects at a person who is already in danger.

You know what I don't see? Any provocation.


And I see a woman enduring it alone. I see an act of violence that also includes snatching her belongings, her purse, which could mean her identification, maybe even her wallet, likely her telephone. And I see her continue to try to find a lifeline through a hotel phone.

Now, CNN reached out to Diddy's team for comment, but we have not heard back. But remember, when Cassie sued him, alleging this abuse and even raped, Diddy denied those allegations and settled the lawsuit. Now, this reminds me, we are seeing this at all because it is not a private home. It's a surveillance footage from a hotel. At some point, someone must have seen this video. Someone knew that it existed. Someone saw that she was trying to get away.

Now, even if it wasn't seen in real time, there was likely some visible damage to the property from where the objects were thrown. Maybe someone, maybe, was curious enough to roll the tapes. So, if that happened, what if anything was done about it? We don't sit in here today. No.

CNN did reach out to the Intercontinental Hotel Group, who told us in a statement, "This hotel is no longer under IHG management, and we do not have any access to prior incident records or footage." You know, we live in a world where there needs to be signs to remind people that if they see something, they should say something. Well, a lot of people see abuse. And what they say about it, well, should have never been thought, let alone said.

So, let me talk to you directly. If you're someone out there seeing this kind of violence, seeing any violence, and you are blaming the victim of that violence for that violence or explaining away the violence by your perception of that victim's choices, no matter how illusory, or you're asking some judgmental rhetorical question about why they didn't just leave, well, why don't you do us all a favor? Save your breath. We don't need you drowning out those of us trying to speak up and maybe save a life.

I want to bring in Grammy Award-winning songwriter and one of Cassie's close friends, Tiffany Red. She wrote a public letter to Diddy in December of 2023 called "Sean Combs Traumatized Me" in order to corroborate the claims Cassie made in her lawsuit against Diddy. Tiffany, thank you for joining us. It is so difficult, so horrific to watch this, and wonder what life must have been and may have been like. Can you take us back to that time, Tiffany, and tell us what Diddy was like from your personal observations? What their relationship was like? Is there context you can give?

TIFFANY RED, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING SONGWRITER: I mean, I can definitely provide context around like this incident.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

RED: Cassie confided in me about this incident when I was working with her. Around this time, around 2016, we were working on her sophomore album, and she told me about this situation. Their relationship was volatile, for sure. And he -- like, you could tell that she was afraid of him, you know, and that there was a lot of control. And yeah, I don't just -- sorry. It's witnessing --

COATES: What do you --

RED: -- like seeing --

COATES: What are you feeling? RED: Well, I mean, the thing is it is like -- this is something that -- that Cassie confided in me about back then. And like the one thing specifically that always stuck out to me about the story was him throwing the vase at her. And to see it like -- to see -- like I remember her saying, you know -- you know, I remember it being at the Intercontinental. I remember that like -- that whole -- the whole situation. But to -- to like know a story is one thing, but to see it is something different.

And then also to see it, somebody that you care about, like, you know, it's -- that a video of my friend getting violently assaulted is all over the world and no one was there to help her.


It just -- I don't know. It makes me really sad.

COATES: I mean, Tiffany -- excuse my voice, but to hear and your description of it, I mean, a lot of this is detailed in her lawsuit. He is denying, by the way, excuse my voice, he is denying all the allegations against him from that suit. But now, we're watching this video in -- in real -- in real time now. Is this --

RED: Yeah.

COATES: -- vindication for Cassie, do you think, or -- I mean, I can only imagine the trauma of having the world now having seen what she endured.

RED: Yeah. Uh-hmm. I mean, I definitely think that it is -- it validates what was in the lawsuit. It validates what she said happened. And so, I definitely think for anyone who was, you know, oh, people are just making up stories, it was a money grab, it was -- all these things, you know, you're trying to take people down in the culture, all this crap, I think like it -- as somebody who loves her, it's hard to watch.

You know, it makes me sad that it takes people having to see it this clearly for them to believe it. And, you know, from for that perspective, I think that, yeah, I think that now it's like see. You know, we're not being dramatic. No one is lying. It's -- this is -- this is real.

COATES: Tiffany, when you mentioned the idea that she was trying to take down the -- I mean, I heard that stupidity. I heard what -- I remember when this news --

RED: It's so annoying.

COATES: -- of the claim. I mean, annoying is one way to put it. It was just so unsettling.


RED: Yeah. COATES: -- as a woman, as a human being, as to hear people, you know, describe, you know, her as an opportunist, to try to in some ways re- victimize her and suggest that they knew what she was thinking, feeling, doing, her motivation, what the context, was all of it. As much as people talk about the presumption of innocence for somebody who might be a defendant, there is none given to --

RED: Right.

COATES: -- somebody who might be a victim. There's never a presumption of truth in those. And she actually alleged more than a decade of abuse. She was only 19 years old when they first met. He, I think, was 37. And so often, you know, and this idea of power dynamics and people are blamed for not leaving. What do you say to those who -- who seem to have that thought about your friend who you love?

RED: I mean, I think that most people think that they can understand what it's like to be abused by a billionaire, but they don't. You know, I think that a lot of people think that they get it, that are not in the lifestyle of entertainment and the lifestyle of money and power. And, you know, you can clearly see in that video, she's trying to leave, you know, and he didn't allow her to leave. Leaving is not that simple.

And you would think that with as common as domestic violence is in America, you would think that because it's so common, because it's going on in so many people's households, that they would understand that breaking the cycle of abuse is not that simple, let alone your abuser being the most -- one of the most powerful people in the music business, someone who has massive influence in the culture, who has political ties, who has, you know, a lot of resources.

And, you know, so, for all of the people that are like, why didn't she leave, I say to them, why didn't you leave? Why don't you leave the abusive -- you know, your -- whatever your crappy situation is, whatever -- whoever your abuser is, like it's not that simple. If it was, everybody would leave, but that's not the case.

COATES: I mean, people are very judgmental, Tiffany, and they -- and they think they know. One thing I tell you -- I mean --

RED: What they would do --


RED: They think they know what they would do.

COATES: You're right.

RED: It's like you don't know what you would do.


RED: You know, there are so many people that said, when I first came out, like talking to me, you know, saying like, you know, what kind of friend were you? Why didn't you do something then? You know. And it just is like, do you see now? What was I supposed to do? What were we supposed to do outside of just try to, you know, stick by her side and -- and -- and hope that that's not what happens? But what were we supposed to do?

COATES: It's interesting to think about all the finger pointing to everyone besides that --

RED: Yeah.

COATES: -- person who has been accused of the abuse. Let me -- I remember, as a prosecutor, I can tell you --

RED: Exactly.

COATES: -- there were so many -- I have done so many prosecutions and investigations of domestic violence.


And one of the themes I always saw and always emerged was that every single person who would find themselves meeting me, as somebody who had been victimized by a partner, they never thought they would be in that situation. They themselves never thought that it would be them. They thought -- and there was a great deal of shame, unjustifiably so, in my mind, they're going to feel that way, but that's how they felt. Shame. They thought of embarrassment. They felt fear overwhelmingly. And it is such a terrifying circumstance to be in.

I do want to just point, you said, you have said that you felt threatened by Diddy when you were around him and Cassie, and that you say you still suffer from a kind of PTSD. You said in your own Rolling Stone piece, "I continue to work through the PTSD, paranoia, and anxiety from these events." Are you worried about having spoken out today?

RED: I mean, at this point, I just -- I feel like it's the right thing to do, like, I mean, is it -- is it scary doing stuff, doing something like this? Absolutely. But, you know, I can't sit and watch a video of my friend getting kicked in the face and not come sit with you and talk about this because it's not acceptable, period. And, you know, from my mouth to his ears, I'm saying, puff, it's not acceptable. And so, yeah, this is scary, but so?

COATES: Tiffany Red, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate hearing your perspective in particular. Thank you.

RED: Thank you for having me.

COATES: I want to bring in Neama Rahmani. He is the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, also a former federal prosecutor. I mean, Neama, you and I have spoken in the past about cases, and we know that Cassie has settled her lawsuit with Diddy, but he does have multiple other civil suits against him. Also, a federal investigation being carried out by the Department of Homeland Security team that handles human trafficking crimes. I wonder, does this video now and its introduction into the general public, does that contribute to additional troubles for him?

NEAMA RAHMANI, PRESIDENT, WEST COAST TRIAL LAWYERS: Oh, I think so, Laura. The statute of limitations may have run on the domestic violence and assault. I live a mile away from Century City where this assault happened. It's a three-year statute. But you can use types of violent offenses as RICO predicate act, RICO indictment or prior bad acts evidence, as you know, a pattern of physical and sexual abuse that -- look, ultimately, Diddy and his lawyers denied it. But you know what doesn't lie? Video doesn't lie. I think this is going to put pressure on prosecutors to finally return an indictment.

COATES: Now, the hotel where the surveillance video is from says that they are under different management from the time the alleged assault occurred. Cassie's lawsuit against Diddy alleges that he paid $50,000 to buy the video. Could the previous owners of the hotel face some sort of legal repercussions given the statute of limitations on the actual alleged abuse may have run?

RAHMANI: Unfortunately, as we know, paying to keep a story quiet is not by itself illegal. Donald Trump is dealing with that issue right now. But I wouldn't be surprised given the severity of the other allegations. We're talking about rape, we're talking about sexual abuse of minors, and we know this may not be the only video, Laura.

When law enforcement went into Diddy's homes in Miami and L.A., they were looking for video. According to Cassie, Diddy would record sex acts and there were cameras in his home. So, if any physical or sexual abuse occurred there, law enforcement has it. And it's not a matter of if, but when he's charged. I think this is going to be the straw that broke the camel's back, and we're going to see it very soon.

COATES: Well, we will see how all this unfolds, even if this does not lead to a criminal prosecution, which I know someone has and ought to have a presumption of innocence. I can tell you, it is stomach-turning to see this video and to just think of what Cassie must be feeling tonight. I understand she's a mother, she has a family of her own, and how her loved ones must be feeling on her behalf as well. Neama Rahmani, thank you so much.

RAHMANI: Thanks, Laura. Heartbreaking, you're right.

COATES: You know, if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and need help, you can call the Domestic Violence Hotline. Here is the number. It's 800-799-SAFE. 800-799-7233.

Up next, President Biden is getting ready to speak at Morehouse College. And the school's president is issuing a warning. The entire graduation ceremony could be stopped on the spot if there are protests.


And just in, Donald Trump voices a new demand for his debate with President Biden. We'll tell you what he says he wants to see.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: We are 171 days away from Election Day. And this week, President Biden is making a direct appeal to Black voters. Now, you might think, why, when looking at recent polls? Because they show Biden holding a commanding lead over Trump with Black voters. But, and yes, in politics, there's always a but, those polls are down nearly 20 points compared to Election Day just four years ago in 2020. So, from meeting with the Divine Nine to an NAACP event, Biden is trying to shore up a key part of his base.

Now, on Thursday, he marked 70 years since the end of legal segregation in schools by meeting with plaintiffs and their families from the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.


Today, he gave a campaign speech at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. And on Sunday, he will give the commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta, one of the most famous historically Black colleges in the country. But that speech could bring a different problem for Biden. Possible protests, like the many pro-Palestinian protests we've seen hitting college campuses and disrupting graduations all across this country. Now, the president of Morehouse has a message for anyone who is planning to disrupt his commencement.


DAVID THOMAS, PRESIDENT, MOREHOUSE COLLEGE: We will allow silent, nondisruptive protest. So, you know, I had students asked me about it. What if we, you know, turn our backs on the president or turn our chairs? And I said to them, I'll be embarrassed, but that's not your problem. What we won't allow is disruptive behavior that prevents the ceremony or services from proceeding.


COATES: Well, joining me now are two Morehouse men, Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton and CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers. Gentlemen, so glad to have both of you here on a Friday night, eager, frankly, to hear both of your views on this. Let me begin with you, Bakari. I just read your fabulous book, so I'm going begin with you. Commencement addresses are rarely high-stakes political events, but this one could be different and could very well be one for President Biden. So, what should he be expecting on Sunday?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think that this is a unique opportunity for him. And one of the things that Joe Biden has to do is take advantage of this opportunity. I give him props for meeting people where they are and meeting voters where they are, going to places like Michigan, and then coming to the hallowed grounds of Morehouse College. The world is going to be watching, particularly what he's going to say to Black men, how he's going to encourage them and give them hope about the future.

This speech has to be forward-looking. This cannot be one of the speeches in which he gets caught in talking about the nostalgia of the past. He has to give those young voters, those young Black men, something to cling on to in terms of hope for what tomorrow will look like. That's what I'm expecting from him and that's what I believe he has to do.

COATES: Shermichael, let me bring you in here. Do you think that Biden should even be speaking at Morehouse this Sunday?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, look, I personally don't agree with it --

COATES: Why --

SINGLETON: -- because it's a political climate. I understand why the administration wants to, because the president is obviously having issues with Black men in particular. But look, I think it's a great opportunity for the college, for the world to once again have a spotlight on the greatness that is Morehouse.

With that said, though, Laura, I mean, I think the brothers have an opportunity here to peacefully protest. That is going to be expected. There's a lot going on around the world right now that these brothers feel they have a moral obligation, an ethical obligation to speak out against, whether it's from the issues in Palestine or issues in the Sudan or Congo or Haiti. And I expect those young brothers to rise to the occasion however they so choose.

COATES: Why do you think that Biden should not speak?

SINGLETON: Well, I just think that this is a very divisive climate right now. And I just don't want to see what should be a great opportunity for these young brothers and their parents, particularly their moms, to be used as sort of a political campaign stop. And I just think what Morehouse represents, what this moment means is so much bigger than that. There's a huge disconnectedness right now, I think, with a lot of African-Americans in general about what they're seeing in the country. I just don't think this moment should be politicized. I really don't.

COATES: Bakari, what's your reaction to that? I mean, the idea of the president of the United States speaking at a commencement address is extremely significant. If I remember correctly, there was a former president that, at least one that spoke in there, President Barack Obama. What is your reaction to Shermichael's statement that this might be a campaign stop?

SELLERS: Well, I mean, I think it is a campaign stop. I think that, you know, I understand where Shermichael is coming from when he's talking about this particular moment and all of the, you know, blood, sweat and tears and prayers that were poured into these young men just to make it here.

But the fact is this is Morehouse College, and the president of the United States is more than welcome at any point on to this campus to speak not only to these students, but speak to the world. We have had, you know, Barack Obama speak on this campus before. You know, so -- so Joe Biden being there is not necessarily unusual. And look, I think that we're also judging this man's speech before he gives it. And so, let's actually see what he says.


This may be a moment of upliftment. This may be a moment of virtue. This may be a moment that these young people can remember for the rest of their lives in terms of the positive effect of a Joe Biden speech.

COATES: Certainly, we are waiting, frankly, with bated breath to see what he'd have to say. I think, Shermichael, we have you back for a moment here. I think we lost you just for a second. Shermichael, why -- why not wait? I mean, the idea of hearing what President Biden may have to say, yes -- I mean, obviously, it's a campaign season. We're less than six months away from the general election. Students are well within, as you heard the president of Morehouse talking about that, the idea of upholding the ability to peacefully assemble. Do you think that there is too much prejudgment of what Biden might say?


COATES: Is that your answer, Shermichael? I know you. I'm wondering because I've never heard you just give me a one-word answer. I don't think you've heard me.

SINGLETON: Yeah, you know, look, he's the president.

COATES: Okay, there you go.


I love -- I asked you a question. You know, I asked you a question and you were like, yeah. I'm like, there's no way that was Shermichael's full answer. Go ahead.


I'll ask it -- I'll ask it again. I'll ask it again. Do you think there is too much --

SINGLETON: I'm having like internet connection, so forgive me.

COATES: I know, so I'm going to ask you again. Do you think there's too much prejudgment on what President Biden's speech may entail?

SINGLETON: Yeah. I mean, look, I think Bakari is right. You got to give the president an opportunity. Politics aside, he's the president of the United States of America. It's a great opportunity. And this is an opportunity for President Biden to speak directly to not only Black men, but to African Americans writ large about what the future entails under his administration.

Look, I'm a conservative, but I'm under no inclination that a whole bunch of Black people all of a sudden are going to vote for Donald Trump. So, if you're Joe Biden and you're recognizing that you're having some serious issues and concerns among your most loyal voting bloc, number one being Black women, number two being Black men, you have to address some of the plight that people in our community are talking about, are experiencing.

Whether I -- you know, I have different opinions or not, I recognize where most of the people in our community are or at. And so, this is an opportunity for the president to address some of those things, Laura. And I hope that he actually does because I think the community deserves it. We have been loyal as hell to the Democratic Party. People are sort of tired of waiting. So, this is an opportunity for President Biden to address some of those serious issues.

COATES: I'll give you the quick final word, Bakari. What's your thought?

SELLERS: I'm excited about it. I mean, anytime you have an opportunity to have the president of the United States come and address you. In 2005, my speaker was Judge Hatchett, and she actually wasn't able to speak because it was raining. Morehouse's graduation is outside, rain, sleet or snow, and it was raining cats and dogs. And so, she stood up and said, it's raining. I know you guys don't want to be sitting out here listening to me. Congratulations.


So, that was my graduation speaker. I expect Joe Biden to be a little bit more thorough than that and have this amazing opportunity. But Morehouse is an amazing institution. And this is why individuals choose to go, to have moments in front of the world like this.

SINGLETON: That's right. I agree.

COATES: Well, Bakari Sellers and Michael Singleton, thank you both so much. I had an opportunity to speak at Macalester College in my home city of St. Paul, Minnesota this past weekend and deliver that commencement speech. I'll be at Connecticut College. And if there is rain, my hair is sensitive, it's a fresh blowout, and I may cut it short. I'm just letting you all know that right now. Okay? Rain, sleet or snow, but maybe with an umbrella. Thank you so much.

Up next, everyone, the Kansas City Chiefs kicker. Well, he is under fire for comments taking aim at working women. But he's got some defenders that, well, they might surprise you, and maybe some that don't.

Plus, a trip to jail for the world's number one golfer. What landed Scottie Scheffler behind bars and how he still made his tee time?


UNKNOWN: He's going to jail, and it there's nothing you can do about it. Period.



[23:37:27] COATES: Well, Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Harrison Butker, is facing a lot of backlash over controversial comments that he made at a graduation speech. But now, he's getting some key blocks from top Republicans. Here's a reminder of what he actually said.


HARRISON BUTKER, KICKER, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you're going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.

As men, we set the tone of the culture. Be unapologetic in your masculinity, fighting against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy.


COATES: You know one of the people who is backing him up? Senator Marco Rubio. He says that Butker never told women to stay home and have babies. Senator Josh Hawley, he's also defending him.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO) (voice-over): If you listen to the left-wing nutcases, they're saying, "oh, he said women can't work, women can't have a job." He said none of that stuff. What he said is, don't miss the great joy of being a father, and a husband, and a wife, and a mother. And it was the same message to both people.


COATES: Well, on this show, we just played his own words. You decide.

I want to bring in former National Republican Senatorial Committee aide, Liam Donovan, and CNN political commentator Ashley Allison. Glad to have both of you here.


Liam, let me start with you here because conservatives are rallying behind Harrison on this. You've seen just a few of them. Is it because the principles they share or it's politically expedient at a time when, frankly, culture wars are top of the ticket sometimes?

LIAM DONOVAN, FORMER NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE AIDE: I think the culture war element plays into all of this. But I think we have to take a step back for a minute.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

DONOVAN: You have to think about the context this is happening. We just did a segment talking about the president being protested at Morehouse. If you're watching nationwide, Jerry Seinfeld getting walked out on Duke. You have to think about the context. This speech was delivered as a traditional Catholic speech delivered to a traditional Catholic audience at a traditional Catholic school. He got a standing ovation at a time when everybody else was walking out. So, he knew his audience.

I think there was some chum in there that got everybody knowing who Harrison Butker is, where Benedictine College is. So, in that sense, it succeeded and it played into probably what he was looking to get at. But at the same time, he's talking to women who self-selected to go to that particular college and probably took that in the way it was intended. It was genuine, it was earnest.

And quite frankly, having talked to my wife before I would go out here and talk about these things, it spoke to her as somebody who is a professional woman, led me in a lot of ways throughout my career, but has four kids at home and sees, you know, the role as mother first and foremost in her life. So, I think it was delivered and received to the audience as it was intended, and I think that's why you're seeing Republicans rally around him.

COATES: Yeah, interesting. He describes -- know the audience. I mean, in a sense, he was preaching to his virtual choir. And he was invited. His views are not unknown to those who've invited him there. And yet it does speak, in that setback moment, it speaks to a larger discussion that's being had. There are many people who were shocked that that would be said in 2024. And yet, if you were to observe some of the politics, some of the policies, some of Supreme Court decisions and beyond, is it that far out of line from what we are seeing being talked about?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I'm actually glad he said what he said, not because I agree with him, because I want to know where people actually stand on issues. And then I want to see who does defend them, because then that means that's where you also stand on those issues.

Those two, Rubio and Hawley, are senators. They are people that if Joe Biden wins election again and he tries to stop a or get an abortion bill passed to let women have a right to choose, they will block that. Guess what? Those people in their states get to decide whether or not those individuals get to still be senators or not. So, I am glad that people are speaking their truth, even if I don't agree with it.

I think the thing that is problematic -- look, I told your producer I was never going to forgive her that she made me watch that speech because I had -- I only heard the clips --


-- because that speech was wild. It was -- it was really extreme. I went to Catholic school for 12 years of my life, so I understand the protocols and the procedures of the Catholic church. However, I think the thing that bothered me the most as a woman who is 41, who is not married, who doesn't have children, is that that doesn't mean like I don't have the greatest wins of my life also. I remember the day I graduated from college, and I did not think about getting married on that day. I can tell you that much. I didn't think about having children. I thought about how hard I had worked. I was excited my family was there, and I was ready for the next chapter, which was graduate school and to become public school teacher to teach our youth, which is also a thing I'm very proud of.

DONOVAN: Ashley, there's something that's really important here. I think if you watched the full 20 minutes, which most people didn't, you're only pulling out the clips, if you watched it, you might be puzzled by it, because it's only legible to a very specific audience --

ALLISON: That's right.

DONOVAN: -- of Catholics. You know, I went to a Catholic high school, Catholic college, but not the sort of Catholic college like Benedictine College is. If you go back to Georgetown during my time there, we're arguing about whether crucifixes belong in classrooms, whether you could be passing out birth control in the dorms, whether the pro-choice group could even be recognized and use the name.

This is, in many ways, a reaction to a lot of Catholic schools not necessarily being seen by traditional Catholics as fulfilling their traditional role. So, it doesn't make sense unless you understand the context in which this is playing out. He talks about the traditional Latin mass. He talks about a lot of parochial, in the literal sense, things that only matter to Catholics.

ALLISON: He said, do not use the rhythm method. Now, that might not -- it's --

DONOVAN: That's why I said.

ALLISON: But that's like --

DONOVAN: It goes back to who the audience is.

ALLISON: It is about who the audience is.

DONOVAN: It's not meant for us, necessarily.

COATES: Don't point to me after the rhythm method talk.

ALLISON: Sorry, I forgot.


COATES: This is Friday night, whatever. But, you know, I will say, though, I mean, he does quote Taylor Swift in his speech at one point. He knows he's the Kansas City Chief, and there's obviously a lot of attention at that point. Also, Whoopi Goldberg came out to say, essentially to each their own, and I'm a huge fan of what she had to say, but it's interesting to hear what she thinks in the context. There's a lot of people who are viewing this in different ways. And as you said, there is the idea of saying it, and then there is the idea of agreeing or disagreeing with it.

But I want to get to another point here because I do think it's important. We're debating these issues and seeing it. And certainly, I called it culture wars. It's also discussions about what people believe and who you're appealing to and who your audience is going to be.


Both candidates, Trump and Biden, have the electorate as their audience. They're going to have a debate. CNN is going to be hosting it. There's not going to be a physical audience, but they know they're playing to the cameras. When you look and think about what's happening -- and by the way, the Trump campaign tonight is criticizing the Biden campaign after indicating that he would not participate in an NBC Telemundo debate. He is saying that he is turning his back on Latinos. I do wonder what you make of the decision to try to bait what they're doing now and what they're not doing.

ALLISON: Look, I mean, this is going to be the longest general election that America has seen in my lifetime and for some time. Maybe ever, actually. I'm not sure about that. But I think that both candidates know that they have to talk to the American public. I think they both know that debates could go in either one of their favor, quite honestly, for various reasons.

Trump is an unhinged debater that overrides moderators no matter if they do their best. He doesn't follow the rules. And when Biden debates, he is a traditionalist. He is going to want to speak the facts. And so, I think that they need to debate. The American people deserve to be debated. But there also are other ways that they're going to have to communicate to voters. I probably will suspect only a quarter of the electorate will actually make decision based off of the debate. It's the things like going to Morehouse College and making your case, going to Minnesota where the former president just was at and speaking to voters. So, it's a yes and. But I also don't need five debates from Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Like, that's enough. That's too much for me.


DONOVAN: Well, I'll take the under. I don't think 25% of the electorate is -- you know, they might be tuning in, but they've already got their minds made up. We're talking about a sliver of that. But no, I think Ashley is exactly right. And look, you know, I think we spent the last week trying to figure out who got who and who baited who and who wins and who loses. No, the incentives line up for both of these guys.

You know, Biden has a threshold to achieve. He needs to go out and show he can do it. We saw it with the State of the Union. The bar is pretty low, so he can actually get some pretty good news cycles if he goes out and acquits himself well. Trump and Republicans generally are convinced that Biden either won't go out there or if he does, he'll, you know, drool on himself or something. And so, they are not going to let him off the hook. So, I think the incentives just happen to line up in this case. Now, with your going on to like a third debate and fourth debate, I think that's where it becomes, okay, let's not get carried away here.


DONOVAN: We're going to go out here, check the box as early as possible so people hopefully forget about it and you can recover from it. I mean, this is going to be the longest general election we can think of.

ALLISON: I'm also really excited about the VP debate because we don't know who is Trump's VP is and I want to see who Vice President Harris goes against.

COATES: I'll be excited to see what that is. But, you know, the only people that really can call the bluff of a candidate, the voters, when it's time to actually tell them what you want them to do.

Ashley Allison, Liam Donovan, thank you both so much.

Look, the top ranked golfer, Scottie Scheffler, he got sent to jail and charged with assault right before he started the tournament. What exactly happened? We'll try to tell you next.




SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER, MASTERS CHAMPION: I feel like my head is still spinning. I can't really explain what happened this morning. I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell. That was a first for me.


COATES: From the course to jail to the tea, the golf world waking up this morning to the shocking arrest of the world's number one player, Scottie Scheffler, as he tried to navigate around the scene of a fatal accident near the site of this year's PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.

Scheffler is now facing four charges, including second-degree assault of a police officer. The Louisville Metro Police Department saying in part -- quote -- "We are in the process of conducting a thorough investigation. We are appreciative that all parties involved are fully cooperating." Scheffler's attorneys say that the golfer will plead not guilty.

Joining me now, CNN sports analyst and sports columnist for USA Today, Christine Brennan. So great to have you here, Christine. How bizarre is this? I mean, Scheffler, he's known to be a pretty mild-mannered guy, I understand, but he's calling this arrest a big misunderstanding. What happened here? CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: It was early in the morning, it was dark, and it was raining, Laura. And after this terrible accident in which there was a fatality, a man named John Mills was killed crossing the street, getting to the golf course, the police obviously were redirecting traffic. And Scheffler says that he continued on because he was told it was okay for the golfers themselves to work their way to the golf course. And he has called it both chaotic and a misunderstanding in terms of where he was supposed to go, what he thought he could do versus what the police were telling him he could do. That's his story.

As you alluded to, of course, the police report, the police are saying that's not the case and, in fact, one of their officers was dragged 10 feet by Scheffler's car once that car accelerated, the SUV accelerated, and that officer went to the hospital, and actually had abrasions, and that's in the police report.

So, did that happen? Was an officer dragged by Scottie Scheffler's car or was it all just a misunderstanding? Obviously, that will be determined later because that is certainly a contradiction in the stories.

COATES: That sounds like two very different narratives, and I'm so glad that you have mentioned the person who lost his life today, just crossing the street, and what his family must be thinking about, and just the sadness of it all.


And yet we also heard from Scottie when he was actually doing a post- tournament discussion, a post-interview, and that means he participated in some way. Did it throw him off his game? What happened?

BRENNAN: You know, this is as bizarre as it gets. He actually played great. He came to the golf course and he got back, he got out of jail, came to the course, and he shot five under 66, and he is tied for fourth, and he is certainly in contention during the weekend to win this golf tournament. He's the masters champ, the world's number one. And it's really bizarre.

And one of the things, Laura, that was so troubling, I think, was that -- whether it was social media or just golfers in general, fans were all worried about his tee time. Is he going to be able to make it to the golf course? And yeah, that was weird and it was different and certainly understandable. Meanwhile, as I mentioned, of course, John Mills lost his life, this man, and it seemed as if the entire golf world pivoted to the question of Scottie Scheffler's tee time.

A really bad look and a really dark day in golf. And, of course, a mugshot of the number one golfer in the world, that's not going to help the game of golf, men's golf, with TV ratings that are sinking, and the game really looking for a new star in the wake of Tiger Woods, obviously, not being around very much. And this, you know, is a bad, bad, bad look for Scottie Scheffler and for the game of golf.

COATES: Christine Brennan, thank you so much for being so illuminating as always. Always great to talk to you. Thanks.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Laura. Thanks.

COATES: And thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues. "Anderson Cooper 360" is next.