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Laura Coates Live

Biden And Trump Battle For Critical Black Vote; Laura Coates Interviews Haley Supporters; DOJ Sues To Split Up Ticketmaster And Live Nation; American Arrested In Turks And Caicos Speaks Out. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 23, 2024 - 23:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Yeah. I mean, it would be huge for anyone, except that that is not really a great image to have.


I mean, it's a -- it's a crazy -- it's a crazy photo. But I guess whatever you all press is good press --

FISCHER: Right. And it's not like he did anything so catastrophically terrible --


FISCHER: -- that any kind of press could impact his career so negatively. He's golfing just fine.

PHILLIP: Yeah. All right. Sara Fischer, thank you.

FISCHER: Thank you.

PHILLIP: We appreciate you.

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

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Well tonight, MAGA in the Bronx. Donald Trump tries to rally Black and Hispanic voters while President Biden punches back at Trump's record on race. Dr. Ben Carson is with me tonight to respond. And just in, Donald Trump breaks his silence on Nikki Haley's support for him. What he's saying about the possibility of her joining his team. Tonight on "Laura Coates Live."

You know, just this month, President Biden told a room full of Black supporters that their way -- they were the reason he won in 2020. Without them, he wouldn't be president. Now, he says he needs them again. But winning him over in the same numbers isn't looking easy. And Biden knows this, by the way, and so does Donald Trump.

Tonight, Trump went to one of the most diverse and democratic counties in America, also my husband's hometown, the Bronx. Now, there's no chance Trump will actually win New York. But this rally didn't seem to be about that. It was about trying to gain support among that key demographic.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These millions and millions of people that are coming into our country, the biggest impact, and the biggest negative impact is against our Black population and our Hispanic population.


COATES: Trump has been trying to win over Black voters ever since he ran in 2016. Do you remember his message back then?


TRUMP: What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?


COATES: Well, in 2016, he won 9% of the Black vote. In 2020, it went up. He won 12%. In 2024, polls show Trump gaining 18% with Biden slipping to 72%. Still overwhelmingly for Biden, of course. But in a race as close as this one, the margin in some swing states might be extremely critical. And, you know, President Biden knows that, and it's why he's getting more aggressive and maybe hitting back this time by using Trump's own words against him in this new campaign ad.


TRUMP: Of course, I hate these people.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Donald Trump disrespecting Black folk is nothing new. He was sued for refusing to rent his apartments to Black families and called for the execution of five innocent Black and Brown teenagers.

TRUMP: And it's more than anger. It's hatred.


COATES: Joining us now, Trump's former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson, thank you so much for joining me. How are you this evening?

DR. BEN CARSON, FORMER SECRETARY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: I'm doing well, Laura. It's good to be with you. Thank you.

COATES: I'm really glad you're here and looking forward to your insight on this because you know there was this huge rally today in the Bronx. It's a democratic stronghold, everyone agrees on that, where Biden did get more than 80% of the vote back in 2020. Why do you think the former president made this stop there now?

CARSON: Well, I think he wants to make sure that people understand that he wants to be the president of all the people. He doesn't want to just choose one demographic and place them ahead of everyone else. That seems to be a growing problem in our society, dividing people on the basis of race, age, income, political affiliation, religion, gender.

And, you know, we need to stop it. And that was the atmosphere that was -- that I saw at that rally today. You know, we are one people. We're not this group versus that group. And if he can continue to work on that, I think it will be wonderful for our country. It's not so much about Democrats and Republicans. It's about whether we are one nation, indivisible.

COATES: With liberty and justice for all. Don't forget this part. However, on those issues of liberty and justice, those seem to be the points in which people focus on a lot of the disparities among the different groups of people that you have articulated. And certainly, Black voters, Latino voters, women voters, none of whom are a monolith. But there is a specific appeal that is made to what are the perceived policy interests of each of those groups.


Why do you think that the support among Black voters, in particular, is increasing for Trump since 2016, decreasing for the current president, Joe Biden?

CARSON: Well, that's not just the case among Black voters, that's the case among all voters because they're facing the same things. When they go to the gas station, you know, and fill up their car, they're feeling the pain. They're feeling the pain when they go to the grocery store. They're feeling the pain when they see the utility bills and their rent bills or their mortgage. And, you know, that is something that affects people, particularly when you've had a chance to juxtapose these two political philosophies side by side in recent time.

COATES: Do you think that there are particular policy interests that the former president, Donald Trump, should be looking at, particularly when it comes to Black voters? I'll tell you that the former president has said that he thinks one reason that Black voters embrace him is because of his four criminal indictments. And I'm wondering what you make of that given the intimation that one's contact with the criminal justice system would be more prominently felt among Black voters.

CARSON: Well, he's making a reference to things that have happened in the past in this country that we all know were markedly unfair. Is there still some unfairness? There is. But, obviously, that has decreased markedly.

You know, just in my lifetime, I remember as a child going down to the Deep South and seeing whites in colored signs and people saying, be careful about this and be careful about that and the other. And in the same lifetime, we have Black admirals and generals and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and heads of foundations and university presidents, we've had a black president. I mean, things have changed. Is it nirvana yet? No, it's not, but it's moving in the right direction.

COATES: Certainly, what you describe, I know you mentioned it was not yet nirvana, I wonder how close we are to reaching any of those things. And certainly, you are a scholar of history. I know that you are quite prolific in your ability to retain and convey it, and we have moved the needle in some direction. But there are still a lot of things, there are a lot of things in this country that do spell out that we are still a work in progress as a country.

You know, I've always wondered this, Dr. Carson, because I've seen over time the way people have looked at race and politics, particularly with respect to Trump, that Black supporters of Trump are treated differently and villainized in a different way than, say, even White supporters of Trump. Have you experienced that, and what is your response to those who wonder why, as a Black man, you would support him?

CARSON: Have I experienced it? Of course, because there are a lot of people who see anybody who associates with Trump as the double incarnate. That's a very micro view of things.

And we have to have a much broader view of things in terms of who has policies that work for you, who has policies that improve the prospects for your children versus who has policies that increase criminal activity, releases repeat criminals into your neighborhood to threaten you and your children, lets people come in from all over the world, many of whom may be terrorists to threaten your viability, has energy policies that are driving inflation, that are hurting you economically.

Those are the things you have to look at. And more and more people, particularly in the Black community, are starting to look at those things rather than being led around by the nose.

COATES: Many have been looking at those issues, and they still come to conclusion that Democrats are in a better position to do just that. That's up to the voters in the end, although I can't help but wonder, while I'm hearing you articulate different policy stances or questions in particular to ask, whether if you were asked to be the vice- presidential running mate of Donald Trump, you would say yes. Would you?

CARSON: I would prayerfully consider it, recognizing that there's a lot of baggage that goes along with that, and I have to make sure that my family would be okay. But I can guarantee you this, whether I do it from inside the government or outside the government, I will continue to focus my efforts on trying to bring our country together and to save it.

COATES: You know, several Trump allies on that very point have been asked this very question, about the country and saving the democracy, or public if you can keep it.


Some have given a definitive answer. Others have not. So, I wanted to give you an opportunity to have your say. Will you accept the results of the 2024 election regardless of who wins? Yes or no?

CARSON: I will accept the results if it's done in a fair and transparent way.

COATES: Do you have reason to doubt that it would be done in a fair and transparent way?

CARSON: Well, let me put it this way. In the 2020 election, there were a lot of irregularities. I think everybody on both sides should be aware of that and should be working to try to satisfy that.

COATES: Well, the empirical, and frankly, I know that you're somebody who is drawn to that. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed any result in the 2020 election. Does that suggest to you that the elections and our democracy remain intact?

CARSON: The fact that there are so many people who are skeptical should raise questions for us. The fact that a country like France outlawed general mail-in balloting in 1975 because they said there were too many opportunities for mischief that just could not be controlled. You know, these are all things that we should look at. We're smart people. We can put a man on the moon. We can figure out a transparent way that is satisfactory for the entire population, not for just one segment thereof.

COATES: Do you think that we shouldn't do mail-in ballots?

CARSON: I think mail-in ballots for people who can't get to the polls are appropriate. But I think having an election season versus an election day is a mistake.

COATES: Why is that?

CARSON: Because there are too many opportunities for mischief. And, you know, when France changed their system, they have their results the same day or the next day.

COATES: That is true, although the United States has yet to endeavor to resemble France in the way that you described. I will say, though, it does provide greater participation, and Republicans often have used mail-in voting as a feather in the cap to promote increased electoral participation.

Dr. Carson, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

CARSON: It has been a pleasure. Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Thank you.

Let's continue the discussion now with former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, also CNN political commentator and former National Coalition's director for the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign, Ashley Allison. So good to have both of you here.

I want to get your reaction to what we've just heard from Dr. Ben Carson. First, you know, Joe, he is seemingly going to talk about mail-in balloting as a problem, that it could create opportunities for mischief. Republicans have used mail-in ballots the same way Democrats have. It increases participation among the electorate. What's your reaction to this?

JOE WALSH, FORMER ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE: The leader of the party, the Republican Party, still has not conceded. I mean, Laura, think about the context here. That's why Ben Carson and all these other Republicans cannot say -- when you ask them, will you accept the results of the election if you lose? -- and they can't answer that question because Donald Trump won't answer that question. Because four years later, Donald Trump still hasn't acknowledged that he lost the 2020 election. That's why so many Republicans are skeptical about our election process.

COATES: I mean, Ashley, he talked about being unwilling to unconditionally, frankly, unconditionally accept the terms. Earlier with Ashley -- excuse me, with Abby on her show, she had Congressman Byron Donalds on, who had a similar response about sort of a conditional response. You've heard that time and time again.


COATES: And how is this telling you what will happen in November? I mean, obviously, baked into the question is, assuming we have fair and free elections, will you accept the actual election results? And we should assume we have fair and free elections.

ALLISON: Yes. So, I want to go back to 2020, and the Republican Party was playing the same game around this time period. We were entering COVID. They were casting doubt on the U.S. Postal Service. They were casting doubt on vote by mail. We were in a global pandemic. Of course, we needed to adjust because we were restricted to our houses under Donald Trump's leadership during that pandemic. And so, they started to see doubt in our election so that when, if and when he lost, which he did, they would be able to mobilize their base for a January 6th, which they did.

And so, they're playing this playbook again, and they're trying to give their base a permission structure that if and when Donald Trump loses in the November election, that they should perhaps recreate January 6th, but not stop when it doesn't go as planned.


Fight until the end. And that is why so many people are talking about the danger for our democracy, is because the people in, not just Donald Trump, but the people he is surrounding himself with, will not just answer a simple question to accept the results of the election.

COATES: But going back to -- I want you to respond to this, Joe --

WALSH: Yeah.

COATES: -- going back to the pandemic, don't we remember when RNC was really clutching their pearls and thinking, well, hold on, candidate Trump, do you really want to suggest we don't want mail-in ballots? Because that actually is a nerd to our benefit for a very long time and there's a pandemic, obviously. But also, before the pandemic, we want mail-in ballots. Are you sure we should sow the doubt? WALSH: Laura, the difference this year with 20 is Donald Trump was the only Republican before the election who said, if I lose, I won't accept the results. You've got almost every --

ALLISON: Everyone.

WALSH: -- single Republican now refusing to answer that question.


WALSH: This is scary. And the endgame, Laura, is violence. Plain and simple. It's violence. It's scary.

COATES: Well, that wasn't -- that wasn't obviously encouraged by Dr. Carson, but the thought of the American public is --


COATES: -- remembering what took place when one does not accept or encourages something other than the peaceful transition of power.

ALLISON: Exactly.

WALSH: Yeah.

COATES: That's the concern here. Stick around, both of you, please, Joe and Ashley. Do stand by because ahead, the battle for Nikki Haley's supporters. President Biden is already trying to woo them. And tonight, well, Trump is breaking his silence. Want to know what he says? I'll tell you, next.



COATES: Well, just in tonight, Donald Trump extending an olive branch to Nikki Haley after his rally in the Bronx, hoping that she'll join his campaign.


TRUMP: Well, I think she's going to be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, the same thoughts. I appreciated what she said. You know, we had a nasty campaign. It was pretty nasty. But she's a very capable person, and I'm sure she's going to be on our team in some form. Absolutely.


COATES: Absolutely, huh? Well, he didn't elaborate and didn't say if she was on his V.P. shortlist or what it meant to be on the team and what that some way would be. Trump's overture coming a day after Biden held a Zoom call with Haley's supporters just last night hours after her announcement that she would vote for Donald Trump. It was actually scheduled before she announced her decision. The Biden camp emailing out this very message saying, quote, "To Haley voters, there's a home for you on Team Biden-Harris." They even released this video showing some Haley voters saying what they would do if Haley wasn't the nominee.



UNKNOWN: That was your priority?

BINDRAM: That's my priority.

UNKNOWN: Is that the biggest reason you supported Nikki Haley?

BINDRAM: Yeah, I'd say.

UNKNOWN: Because of Donald Trump?

BINDRAM: Yes, yeah.

UNKNOWN: I would vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in a heartbeat.

UNKNOWN: Republican, right?


UNKNOWN: What do you do when that event, if he is the nominee, and it's he and Joe Biden? What do you do?

UNKNOWN: I vote for Joe Biden.


COATES: Well, joining me now are two Haley supporters, Chris Rauen and also Logan Williams. Thank you both for being here. Let me begin with you, Chris, because I am really curious. Given your support of Nikki Haley, what was your reaction to her decision to vote for Trump?

CHRIS RAUEN, HALEY SUPPORTER ON CALL WITH PRESIDENT BIDEN: Oh, gosh, I was deeply disappointed because I'd worked so hard on our campaign, but also because she had called out Trump on all of his faults during her campaign. And to say that she was going to vote for someone who had that many faults was -- again, it was disappointing.

I'm still wrestling with it. A lot of my friends that I speak to who were Nikki Haley supporters are also dealing with it in their own way. But at the same time, at the end of the day, I still respect her very much and respect her decision. She's a very smart woman, and she's going places.

COATES: Will that respect translate to you following her decision to vote for Trump and translate to how you will vote as well?

RAUEN: No, certainly not. I consider myself not just a principled Republican but country first, and I will not support her vote for Donald Trump.

COATES: Logan, let me ask you the same question. How did you react when you heard that Haley would vote for Trump?

LOGAN WILLIAMS, HALEY SUPPORTER OPEN TO VOTING FOR TRUMP: Well, first, Laura, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here. I don't believe Nikki's endorsement will immediately have her supporters flock to President Trump. But Laura, growing up, my mom always told me to eat my vegetables and mow at the time. I don't think it was the most enjoyable thing for her to do. It was probably the best thing to do with her having my best intentions at heart.

And so, I think the endorsement for Nikki Haley probably wasn't the most enjoyable thing for her to do. But factoring in party unity, I think that she had the party's best interests in mind by endorsing President Trump.

COATES: So, are you also going to eat this Brussels sprout then -- and go ahead and vote the way she does?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. I think that President Biden has failed our country in a variety of ways, from open border policies to bad economic policies. Just this week alone, he has announced more student loan forgiveness and depleted our oil reserves. Folks that chose to work hard and not go to college shouldn't have to pay for mine. We should be unleashing American energy and building up our reserves. And so, I think that decisions like these are why I will choose to support Donald Trump this November.

COATES: Chris, let me go back to you on this because some of the issues that were raised just now by Logan, energy, the economy, obviously, a number of other factors, are going to be top of mind.


Some of these areas are the precise ones in which Nikki Haley disagreed vehemently with the former president of the United States. I understand you were on the call with President Biden after Haley announced her decision to vote for Trump. Can you describe a little bit about what that call was like?

RAUEN: Well, actually, it wasn't President Biden that was on the call, the representative's campaign --


RAUEN: And in discussing it, it was to try to reach out from the Biden campaign. And that felt -- it was very genuine, actually, that they wanted to see if there were some ways where we could come together. And they wanted, I think, genuinely to hear from us in that group exactly what our feelings were. The border was actually one of the biggest topics for us. Foreign policy. Where can we, you know, find middle ground, common ground?

And we wanted to see the president move a little bit more toward the center and particularly on the border. And that's not so much a center issue. That's an issue that affects the entire country, Republicans and Democrats. And we haven't seen much effort there except for the failed attempt at the bill again today. But we'd like to see an executive order or just some action on that.

COATES: You know, this, of course, as you mentioned, would happen in the Senate today. But many believe that every state is becoming ever so a border state, another issue top of mind.

Logan, there was a comment that the former president made today while he was campaigning in the Bronx. He said that he's sure that Nikki Haley will join their team in some form. Do you want to see Nikki Haley, A, campaigning with the former president, and B, do you think she ought to be a running mate?

WILLIAMS: That's a question on everybody's mind, Laura. And for me, one of the reasons I chose the caucus for Nikki Haley here in Iowa back in January was her ability to tackle some of these social issues in a way that could unite voters on both sides of the aisle. And so, I think for strategic reasons, Donald Trump should definitely consider Nikki Haley as a vice presidential candidate.

COATES: Chris, really quick to you, if Nikki Haley is the V.P. running mate, would that change your mind about voting for Trump?

RAUEN: No, it wouldn't, because I still consider Donald Trump, unfortunately, to be just too much of a threat to democracy with many of the statements that he has made as well as a lot of his own base supporters and the people who would be surrounding him.

As Congressman Walsh pointed out in the previous segment, that's why so many people who worked with him previously won't work with him again. So, who's he going to surround himself with? And he has been throwing out verbal verbiages on his Truth Social about Third Reich. These are Nazism statements.

And taking over an entire Republican Party, throwing out 60 people at work there and putting in yes men, that sounds like Mussolini and dictator-type stuff. I know that sounds dramatic, but we don't want to see that in this country. That's why I put our republic first. I'm hoping to see America survive this.

COATES: Chris Rauen, Logan Williams, thank you both so much.

Joe Walsh and Ashley Allison are back with me now. Pretty remarkable to hear. Even that if Nikki Haley were a vice presidential running mate, it still wouldn't change his mind, of a former Haley supporter, to vote for Trump.

WALSH: Two takeaways. Nikki Haley will embrace Trump, will campaign with Trump, will speak at the convention and could be the V.P. But the bigger takeaway, Laura, is these voters are gettable, these Haley voters, because they weren't pro-Nikki voters, they are anti-Trump voters. So, they're gettable for Team Biden. But Team Biden, pardon my language, needs to get off of its butt and go get these voters.

COATES: Well, they had scheduled this call prior to even maybe knowing the announcement. But, of course, the timing is not ideal for them to have the perception that they were following the actual ball.

ALLISON: Yeah. I mean, I think that that will -- that concern might fall to the wayside in the next 24-hour news cycle. I think it is important that they continue to engage those voters. I have to say that I am encouraged to hear that voters say that he is choosing party over country, and I wish more Republican leaders would follow that voters lead because Donald Trump is a threat to our democracy.

Joe and I's politics might not be the same on many things, but we know Donald Trump is a threat and glad to hear that voter realizes that as well.

COATES: David Frum of "The Atlantic" questioned why Haley made the decision to even choose Trump. And some look at it as maybe -- maybe self-interested. He wrote this: "Haley is making a calculation about 2028. Perhaps it will work out for her. I doubt it, but who knows? The question before those who once backed her is more immediate."


So, what is behind her decision? Is it 2024 running mate, 2028 future?

WALSH: It's simple. Her career. She wants to remain a Republican. If you do a Joe Walsh, a Liz Cheney or an Adam Kinzinger and you publicly oppose Trump as a Republican, you're done as a Republican. She doesn't want to do that.

ALLISON: I'll just also say, like, I'm not surprised this is what Nikki Haley is doing. She stood on the debate stage and raised her hand and said, I'm going to support the Republican nominee. We were looking for people on that moment to have courage and say, no, we won't support Donald Trump to put a disruption or intervention into the current Republican Party. And they were -- I think Chris Christie, maybe Asa Hutchinson at that time, were the only two that said, no, they would not.

COATES: So, if the Haley voters were gettable, was Nikki Haley gettable to support Biden?




WALSH: No, because Nikki Haley wants to remain a Republican and get elected again as a Republican.

ALLISON: Yeah. She's a politician.

COATES: Well, there you have it. Really important. Joe and Ashley, thank you both so much.

Ahead, a groundbreaking lawsuit against the biggest concert giant in the nation. Will it cut down all those fees you got to pay? Senator Amy Klobuchar is backing the lawsuit and is here to talk about all of it.

Plus, five Americans each facing a dozen years in prison in Turks and Caicos. One joins me to explain why.



COATES: The Department of Justice is suing to split up Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the biggest ticketing website and concert promoter in the entire country. Now, they're alleging that Live Nation, Ticketmaster's parent company, has a monopoly in the live entertainment industry.

So, how do we get here? Let's go back to November 1st, 2022. Taylor Swift announced the Ares tour. Fans rushed to get tickets, but Ticketmaster could not keep up, eventually canceling the general sale and leaving many fans in the lurch and furious. Taylor Swift spoke out, calling it excruciating to watch, and Ticketmaster apologized.

Now, fast forward to January 24th, 2023, the Senate holds an antitrust hearing and, well, it's full of Taylor Swift references.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-(CT): Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, I'm the problem, it's me.

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): A lot of people seem to think that's somehow a solution. I think it's a -- it's a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): You can't have too much consolidation -- something that, unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say, we know all too well.


COATES: Well, this brings us to today, the DOJ's lawsuit. And it's not just Taylor Swift that brought this about, by the way. Fans for a long time have been complaining about Ticketmaster's exorbitant fees.

So, let's take a closer look. Now, say, for example, I wanted to go with my husband to see Bad Bunny this Sunday in Miami. As an example, two good seats go for $303.90. But when you get to check out, the price is nearly 100 bucks more. So, let's break it down. $303.90 for the tickets, $59.80 for a service fee, $9.50 for a facility charge, $6.35 for an order processing fee, and then $21.28 for tax. That brings your grand total to $400.83.

So, what does Live Nation have to say about the suit? Well, they're calling it -- quote -- "baseless," saying, in part, the DOJ's lawsuit won't solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows. Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment.

I want to bring in Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, chairwoman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. And did I mention a fellow Minnesotan? Good to see you, Senator. How are you?

KLOBUCHAR: Great to be on again, Laura. Thanks.

COATES: Now, senator, you've heard a lot about this lawsuit. You're embracing this lawsuit, frankly. What is your response to what Ticketmaster is claiming, that this isn't going to have an impact on all the things that are infuriating to consumers, those service fees? Is that true?

KLOBUCHAR: I think this is going to have a big impact for consumers. First of all, the mere fact that this lawsuit was filed in which the Department of Justice, the United States attorney general, stands up in front of the nation and enumerates this monopoly conduct in which they're retaliating against venues and others, the partners that won't go with them won't use their services.

And what is really going on here? It's really a three-headed monopoly. One, they have a monopoly over ticketing, 90% of Billboard Top 40 tours and professional sports venues. They have 80% of large venues and 70% of all ticketing. That's monopoly number one.

Monopoly number two, promotions. They have 60% of promotions in large venues, Laura. And then number three, they're owning a whole bunch of arenas as well or they're asking for long-term contracts in order to get their promotions and their acts in order to lock in those venues so others can't compete.


So, if you're someone like me that believes in capitalism and believes in competition, some of the solutions here, a number of them, are if you had competing venues, they could offer more innovative services. If there were other ticketing services, if there were other promoters, they could offer better deals.

COATES: You know, Gordon Gekko may say that greed is good, but you're right, consumers are benefited by competition. But there are those who are looking at this suit and intimating, if not outright, saying that the DOJ is just caving to political pressure, trying to do something to appease and placate the consumer.

The DOJ, in turn, is saying, no, no, they're not suing because of Ticketmaster's frustrating business practices. They're doing it because of illegal practices. So, when you look at this, the consumers, this is -- do you think this is political pressure or this is them actually targeting illegal activity?

KLOBUCHAR: Not one bit. I mean, it is Ticketmaster Live Nation that has basically hired every lobbyist, people that are trying to stop this in its tracks. So, I don't believe that at all. When I look at this, I look way back. This deal should never have been approved to begin with, and it's one of the problems with our antitrust laws right now.

COATES: I want to turn for a second to a court that we often look to when there are disputes across circuits and people are wondering about major issues. I'm talking about the Supreme Court, of course. You know, the Supreme Court is back in the news, as you know, Senator, for, again, the wrong reasons, they would say. Supreme Court Justice Alito flying what's known as the "Appeal to Heaven" flag at his beach house. The American flag upside- down at his home in Virginia. Here's what some of your colleagues had to say about this.


UNKNOWN: My understanding is his wife, you know, turned it upside- down.

UNKNOWN: At least in one case, I think it may have been a spouse.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): He said he didn't have anything to do with it, that it was his wife.


COATES: So, these flags, they are embraced by the far-right. Whether they originated with them or not is a different question. But they are embraced by the far-right. What is your response to having these flown at a Supreme Court justice's home?

KLOBUCHAR: What bothers me about this is that the justice has cases pending before him and has been adjudicating cases that are about this very issue. This is something where I think if there is a conflict of interest or there is an appearance of conflict of interest, then other judges recuse themselves from the cases. That means they let the other justices decide them, they stand out that case, they don't even have to give the reason why. But right now, there's such a breakdown of trust with our court system, with the Supreme Court. They have sort of fiddled around with saying we're going to have ethics rules.

But I think Congress actually needs to pass a law that says they abide by the same ethics rules as other federal judges, and that includes rules of recusal. That's a bill that my colleague, Senator Whitehouse, is leading, that I'm supportive of and a co-sponsor of. So, I just think we need to make this very clear because people are going to lose trust in this when you see this kind of conduct.

Justices have recused themselves for all kinds of reasons. Clarence Thomas recused himself from a case regarding Virginia Tech because his kid went there. And then you see him making decisions regarding January 6 cases when, in fact, we know the activities that his wife was engaged in. So, I don't buy this at all, and I think that they should be recusing themselves for the good of the court and the good of the country from these cases.

COATES: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for joining us.

KLOBUCHAR: It was great to be on, Laura. Thank you.

COATES: Ahead, several American tourists facing 12 years in prison in Turks and Caicos. One of them is my guest, next.



COATES: They were supposed to have holiday vacations on sunny, white sand beaches in the middle of the Caribbean. But now, five Americans are facing up to 12 years in prison for allegedly bringing ammunition into Turks and Caicos. And here's the thing. These are all different instances happening in the last six months. None of them knew each other. They say it was all an honest mistake, that the bullets inadvertently ended up in their luggage, and they didn't notice them.

But Turks and Caicos has strict firearms and ammo laws. And now, the whole saga is turning into a diplomatic dust-up. Several U.S. politicians are calling to hit Turks and Caicos where it hurts, their bottom line.


UNKNOWN: I think Americans need to know, hey, let's -- let's hit them in their pocketbook. Let's stop traveling to the Turks.

UNKNOWN: If they're not reasonable with how they treat our citizens, then I think we ought to issue a do-not-travel advisory. We ought to also look at cutting off any funding to Turks and Caicos.

GUY RESCHENTHALER (R-PA): The Biden administration should warn of a do-not-travel for Turks and Caicos to make sure that we're getting these Americans back, and warning other Americans not to go to Turks and Caicos because of the danger that we face.


COATES: A group of lawmakers even traveled to the islands this week to press for the Americans' release, but they came back empty-handed. And the premier of Turks and Caicos is accusing one congressman of spreading what he called diabolical falsehoods about what's going on.

Joining me now is one of the Americans who has been detained. His name is Ryan Watson. He was arrested in April while returning from a birthday celebration with his wife. He has a court appearance in two weeks and is now out on bail.


Ryan, this sounds like a nightmare scenario. Your wife was released from charges and also able to return to your home in Oklahoma where she is with your two young kids, as I understand it. But you, you're still there. What happened? How did the ammunition end up in your bag? You say it was inadvertent.

RYAN WATSON, DETAINED IN TURKS AND CAICOS FOR AMMO FOUND IN LUGGAGE: Oh, yes, ma'am. I have no recollection of ever putting ammunition in that bag. However, I do know that there was a time back in the fall whenever I was hunting deer in Texas that I took the bag and had the rifle that uses that very specific ammunition with me on that trip. So, I'm only left to assume that the ammunition had fallen into the lining of the bag during that trip somehow.

COATES: Was there a weapon in your bags or the ammunition alone?

WATSON: Oh, no, ma'am. There were just four rounds of hunting ammunition.

COATES: Was it discovered through one of those magnetometers or had you checked this bag?

WATSON: No. So, I carried the bag on through Oklahoma City. It went through the scanner in Oklahoma City. Nothing was detected. I've since learned that TSA has come out and admitted that they had missed that ammunition. And it was discovered while we were leaving the Turks and Caicos Island after our vacation. Apparently, they do not scan bags upon entry on this island.

COATES: This must be a terrifying experience for you, to know what you're charged with, what you're facing. I understand that one of the other Americans arrested, his name is Brian Hagerich (ph), he has pleaded guilty. He's being sentenced beginning tomorrow morning. How are you feeling tonight knowing that there's a possibility, according to their laws, of a 12-year sentence, Ryan?

WATSON: I'm learning to pray and trust in God in new ways. Brian (ph) is like a brother to me now. He and I have been living together as well as Sherita (ph), and we've become a huge family. So, I'm going to be watching my brother up there, but my fate is in the courtroom tomorrow as well.

COATES: You know, Oklahoma's governor is urging the White House to get involved. What do you want President Biden to do? Is he and do you feel that he is fighting for your release in any way?

WATSON: I've not been made aware that he's engaged at all. I'm not sure what he could be capable of doing. But if there is a phone call to be made, you know, I just pray that there's a -- that there's a reasonable solution to all of this.

Since Brian's (ph) arrest, we've been made aware that there were three other travelers to the Turks and Caicos Islands that were discovered with ammunition upon exit. And those travelers were apparently charged under the Customs Act. And, man, I can only sit back and just wonder why that couldn't have been the case for the five of us. But this is what we're facing, and we're just remaining in prayer.

COATES: It sounds unbelievably difficult to think. And as you mentioned, the others who you have known, you all did not know each other before now. Here you are in this kind of collision course, meeting each other at this point in your lives. How are they dealing with all this? How are they doing?

WATSON: You know, I think it's an overwhelming scenario, and it's just riddled with unknowns. I think, you know, it's amazing to see how God has worked and woven us together. We're a very uniquely woven quilt at this point.

I call Sherita (ph) my sister. We cook and have fun. We joke with each other. Brian (ph) and I share a couch. Whenever we got Sherita (ph) out on bail, I gave up my bedroom so that she'd have a comfortable place to sleep. Bless her heart. After being chained to a chair for three nights in a row, sleeping on a floor, she deserves a bed.

And so, these people are like family to me now. And it's the strangest fraternity I've ever been in, but I will love -- I will and support these people until I die.

COATES: It is so heart-wrenching and heartwarming to hear about the support that you all are providing for each other. And I know they've become family. You also have a family back home, including two young children. How are they doing? How is your wife through this?


WATSON: I'm the luckiest husband in the world to have her at home with my kids during this time. She's just had so much grace and handled this amazingly. I know my kids are struggling. We're starting to see cracks, you know. There's only so much a father can provide through FaceTime, and I need to be home with those -- with those babies.

COATES: How old are your children, Ryan?

WATSON: My daughter, Ellie Mae (ph), is seven, and my son, Van (ph), is nine.

COATES: We have children similar in age. I can't imagine you being away from them and for this, to know you were just trying to have a vacation for your wife's birthday. And you and others now find yourselves in this situation. Ryan, thank you so much for joining me, and we will continue to follow what's happening. We certainly hope that all of you and the family you have now created get to go home.

WATSON: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

COATES: Thank you all so much for watching. Our coverage continues with "Anderson Cooper 360" next.