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Laura Coates Live

GOP Gushes Over Trump In First Visit To Hill Since Insurrection; Trump Calls Milwaukee, Host City For RNC, A Horrible City; Biden Says He Won't Commute Son's Sentence After Conviction; Laura Coates' Guests Discuss Presidential Candidates' Cognitive Fitness; Congressman Jamaal Bowman Weighs In On The Israel-Hamas War. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 13, 2024 - 22:00   ET


ERROL LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Reporters don't do that to the mayor of New York.


And I think, in some ways that's the whole point.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: He might be fine if they did.

LEWIS: Well, you know, that's true. But there, again, as your H.R. director will explain to you, it doesn't matter if everybody thought it was a joke. You're just not supposed to do that.

COLLINS: Errol Lewis, quite a time to be following politics as closely as you are. Thank you so much for being here.

LEWIS: Thanks.

COLLINS: And thank you all so much for joining us on this Thursday night. Up next, Laura Coates Live with that interview with the mayor of Milwaukee. You won't want to miss it. Laura Coates Live starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: You know, I feel like we already knew the ending of this story. Donald Trump goes to Capitol Hill. Forget a handshake. He was greeted with more than open arms. That's tonight on a special two-hour edition of Laura Coates Live.

Well, good evening. I'm Laura Coates in Washington, D.C. Abby Phillip is off tonight.

And tonight, we pass the magic moment. Republicans today openly admitting what might be obvious to so many of you. They are all in on Donald Trump. Not dipping a toe, not a Midwest smidge, not a little bit, all in, no one trying to distance themselves, at least on the Hill, from the Republican nominee who is just waiting for the confetti to fall on his shoulders at the upcoming convention, no ten-foot pole. No, they can't get close enough. Not a triumphant, but maybe a Trumpian return to the building, the one that was ransacked by those who believed the big lie that was told. And the truth is the show of party unity was sealed with a kiss of the ring. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): It was our great pleasure to host the president this morning.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): We just had a great resounding speech by President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is fired up, he's in great spirits.

SCALISE: And if you look at the applause standing ovations.

REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): The president was very eloquent.

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): He was warmly welcomed by the House Republican Conference.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I really found his speech to be one of my favorite speeches.

BURCHETT: And I said, Mr. President, I said, you do an excellent job of telling us what's wrong in this country.

GREENE: He was joking around constantly with everyone. He was really sweet to me.

BURCHETT: I felt like, at that point, he was very Reagan-esque in his explanations of those things.

GREENE: He saw me in there and he was like, hello Marjorie. He's always so sweet and recognizes me.

M. JOHNSON: He said very complimentary things about all of us. We had sustained applause. He said, I'm doing a very good job. I mean, we're grateful for that.


COATES: So, that was probably expected. But I'm telling you, this next clip may be a little less so.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Yes. We shook hands a few times. He took questions from audience. And it was an entirely positive session.


COATES: Well, that's the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, talking about, well, glad-handing with Trump inside of Congress. So, why is that so surprising? Well, again, this is Trump's first time back in that hallowed building, the one that a mob was marching through the marble halls of the Capitol since 1,000-plus people have been charged for crimes committed on January 6th. Now, arrests are still happening. And Trump faces criminal charges for his actions on or around that day. McConnell once so reviled Trump that he said this out loud.


MCCONNELL: The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.

There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day, no question about it.


COATES: But, I mean, the GOP seems to now be willing to let bygones be bygones. They don't maybe have a choice, really. That's what one Republican congresswoman said to CNN, revealing a little more than maybe she intended.


REP, MARIA ELVIRA SALAZAR (R-FL): He is the leader of the party and he happens to be the guy who was chosen by the overwhelming majority of Republicans to be the nominee. Who are we to say no? Just like the overwhelming majority of the Dems decided for Biden to be the nominee. That's a reality. Welcome to the United States.


COATES: Welcome, indeed.

Well, joining me now, Pam Hemphill. She was part of the January 6th mob and spent time in jail for the January 6th attack. Pam, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

I have to wonder, what is your reaction to seeing the former president at the Capitol, at the scene where you are intimately aware of what went down on January 6th?


What's your reaction to how he was received?

PAM HEMPHILL, SERVED 2 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR INVOLVEMENT IN JAN. 6 RIOT: Well, to be honest with you, it was disgusting, you know, because we all know that he planned it and it was his fault that it all happened, but there's more to it than a lot of people realize. It's actually the Republican Party that has picked Trump. They call him the wolf king. It's all about Project 2025. And in order to bring their project into place, they need Trump because he's a chaos junkie, and he's a perfect person to help them bring their plan and to implement Project 2025.

This started back in 1935, when they started the National Prayer Breakfast, because they want to turn this into an all-white national country. And so they're using each other, the Republicans are using Trump and Trump is using them to implement their Project 2025 plans. And I'm really grateful to hear that the Democrats now are talking about Project 2025 and how (INAUDIBLE) it is, because it is a plan to destroy our democracy.

COATES: Well, Pam, for those who might not be as familiar, Project 2025 is referring to a body of policy initiatives that are the, I guess, kind of a guide and a blueprint for how the Trump administration would be run. And I guess to your point, as long as people are talking about him and his statements are not focusing on what might be behind the curtain, is that why you think Mitch McConnell, who called Trump morally responsible for the insurrection, somebody who -- frankly, politically speaking, Mitch McConnell has been known to compartmentalize more than once for an objective, do you think that was his motivation?

HEMPHILL: Absolutely. They're all in it, the whole Republican Party. As you know, the National Prayer Breakfast is part of their -- it's deep seated. This has been going on since 1935. And so he was there today to make plans and get all his allies in line.

But this is not new. It's new Project 2025 to a lot of people out there, but not to the Republican Party. They are so excited to have Trump, because Trump iss going to be their puppet, and he'll do exactly what they want. Plus, he can get out of anything he thinks he can get out of. His only goal is to become a dictator. That's all. He doesn't care what he's going to do for the people. He just wants to be able to have an opportunity to dictate our nation. And the Republican Party want him to do that.

COATES: You know, and I'm not sure exactly what you're referencing, National Prayer Breakfast, but I do take your point, especially about how you perceive Trump as being a puppet. I think he does not see himself that way. I think he would say that he is the one dictating the terms of the Republican Party, but you shake your head and suggest, no, no, you think it's the other way around, even though Donald Trump has been speaking about his control over the Republicans and his ability to be a kind of -- you call him a wolf king, he might say he's a king maker. Why do you shake your head to think that he believes he's in control?

HEMPHILL: Because Trump is delusional. He's not in the real world, okay? He's a dangerous narcissist. And everything he puts out there is nothing but a lie and there's never any receipts. When he tells you something, like the Capitol Police were in charge of starting the January 6th insurrection, where's his receipts? You know, he just throws out garbage, lies.

And so people run with it, you know, and believe him, they don't check anything. But the Republican Party love it, because he's talking for them. And they're using each other. They're puppets for each other. Trump has his agenda, why he's using the Congress. The Congress have their agenda. Unfortunately, we're going to see some horrible things start to happen because it's getting worse, starting with Garland, how dare them pick on him. That's disgusting. And look at our Supreme Court. But it's all been a plan and it's finally coming to -- well, I don't know the word, but it's coming. Yes, it's coming to a head. And if you watched the documentary, The Family on Netflix, it explains the roots of Project 2025. It's been going on forever and they finally are very happy now they found Trump and they're going to be able to implement their policies.

COATES: I have not watched that, but what I have watched over the last several years, let alone over a decade, is to see what is happening in the public perception and the trust or lack thereof of what's happening in our institutions.

And, you know, I can't help but wonder, Pam, on a personal level.


And you spent time in prison for your role at the Capitol that day. And yet in our conversation, you have clearly had a 180 in your viewpoints towards him. Do you -- what's behind your epiphany of sorts, or your change of thought? And do you think that Trump even should be allowed on Capitol Hill?

HEMPHILL: Oh, absolutely not. We're all restricted, all January 6ers on my probation. I cannot go to any Capitol. And he is -- it's surprising that they've allowed him to be there, but he hasn't been to court on that. He's dangerous and he's setting up a coup. This is my belief. This is how I see it, that he's getting everybody in line to go along with what he wants to do. And he's going to see who's behind him and who's going to support him.

But, no, my God, that was the worst day in our history and Trump should never have been allowed to go there. They should have met somewhere else, but I guess we don't have any control if he could go there or not, I suppose. That's sad.

COATES: But an important point -- I don't want to talk over you, Pam, but an important point that you're unable to based on what you have in the time you've served on this point. You know, I do wonder for so many people who are listening, you know, he has and has maintained quite a following, Pam, as you well know. And it extends to, you say it's, you know, one person scratching the other person's back and there's some sort of symbiotic relationship going on in Capitol Hill. But what do you think the average voter who is so supportive of Trump, why is there such a stronghold on them? Why is he so mesmerizing to those who have supported him throughout?

HEMPHILL: Because he hijacked their brain with fear. They're not coming, they're coming after me, but they're actually coming after you and I stand in the way. So, they are frightened that the DOJ is weaponized against the whole nation, you know, which is insane. When you're listening to him, it sounds like you're talking to somebody that just broke out of a mental ward because everything he's putting out there are lies.

So, he's brainwashing them. Nobody's checking, doing any fact checking or they've lost their critical thinking and they have put it out there that God wants this, you know, the Christian nationalists, what they're wanting, that God wants this for our nation. And there's so much more that they're putting out there that's hitting the hearts of most people believing that the Democrats want this to be a communist nation, which is so far from the truth, you know, because it's the Republicans that are actually doing projection with everything. It's what they're doing. It's what they want that they're accusing the Democrats are doing.

COATES: Pam Hemphill, thank you so much for joining. It was interesting to hear your insight in particular in your own experience. Thank you so much for joining.

HEMPHILL: Well, thank you very much.

COATES: You know, in that closed door meeting on the Hill, a source in the room where it was happening, tell CNN that Trump went off topic a number of times when ranting about crime rates and election integrity issues. He apparently called Milwaukee, where the Republican National Convention is going to be held next month, quote, horrible. Republican Congressman from Wisconsin Derek Van Orden who was there made clear that Trump was, quote, specifically referring to crime in Milwaukee, unquote, and not the city itself.

Democrats, including President Biden, while they seize the opportunity to call out Trump over those comments, Biden tweeting, I happen to love Milwaukee with a picture of the 2021 NBA champion, Milwaukee Bucks at the White House. And, by the way, who doesn't love Giannis? So, just put that out there right now.

Also the mayor of the city, Cavalier Johnson, tweeting back, Milwaukee loves you back, President Biden. And Mayor Johnson joins me now. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us this evening.

A lot of attention is coming to your city this summer with this convention, where we might even learn instantly who will be the running mate of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Welcome. How are you tonight?

MAYOR CAVALIER JOHNSON, (D) MILWAUKEE: Excellent. How are you doing, Laura?

COATES: I'm doing good. Thank you for joining. You know, Trump, he's been trying to clarify tonight that he was talking about the crime rate and the 2020 election, not the city overall. What's your response?

C. JOHNSON: Well, you know, it's quite interesting. There's a company here called the Milwaukee Pretzel Company. And as I heard all the responses from Republicans that were in the room, they were twisting themselves into so many different ways, kind of remind me of a pretzel. But the fact of the matter is this, Milwaukee is a wonderful city. It's a splendid city. It's a city that the Republican National Committee, Donald Trump's fellow counterparts in the Republican Party, chose as the host city for the Republican National Convention this year.

[22:15:02] So, even according to Republicans, Milwaukee is a great place. And you don't even have to take the word of Republicans, Milwaukee is a great place. And you don't even have to take the word of Republicans for that. Look at all the accolades that are coming to Milwaukee over the course of the last number of years, from Nat Geo, to Conde Nast to the businesses that are investing in the city. This is a great place. And the former president and every Republican who will have the chance to come to our great city, they'll see that when they're here on the ground in Milwaukee for the convention.

COATES: Well, if you were to take Republicans at their word that the comments were about crime and not the city itself the website I love to say called Money Geek, compiled data from violent crime and property crime data from the FBI and research from the University of Miami, University of Colorado, and found that Milwaukee has the ninth highest cost of crime per capita in the country.

So, I mean, what do you say about the conversation around crime that's happening in Milwaukee? Does it stand alone or is it indicative of a larger national issue that must be addressed?

C. JOHNSON: Sure, absolutely. This is a part of a national issue around crime and particularly gun crime in the United States. We've got far too many guns in the hands of people who just should not have them. That's not a Milwaukee thing. That's a United States thing, unfortunately. But this is the key though, right? Over the course of the last two years, right, crime in Milwaukee has steadily been dropping because, in my administration, we've been offering solutions that have focused in on accountability and prevention.

And you got to remember too, that we're pulling ourselves out of, you know, issues around crime that raged after the pandemic, when the Trump administration didn't properly respond to the issues that had come to Milwaukee and other communities across the country as it relates to the pandemic. Only when President Biden got into office, got a handle on the pandemic, and provided true leadership where we able to make the investments necessary and the focus necessary to bring crime down, and that's exactly what we've been doing in Milwaukee.

COATES: I mean, you know, there's a saying right don't bite the hand that feeds you. How about politically don't bite the hand that could potentially feed you because Milwaukee is a very blue area. As you know, Wisconsin maybe, broadly, has a different spin. But you have said today there are roughly 50,000 Republicans in the city in a state that Biden only won by fewer than 21,000 votes. I do wonder if a comment like that coming from Trump could actually cost him the state in November.

C. JOHNSON: Yes. As you correctly point out, Laura, in Wisconsin, we're a purple state and election -- statewide elections are decided on a razor thin margin. And so for the former president to call Milwaukee a horrible place, that's insulting the home to roughly 50,000 people who vote Republican here in this city, who have been here for a long time, who are raising their kids in the city, who spend time at all of the places in Milwaukee, who are integral members to our community right here in Milwaukee. So, to call their home horrible, I think, is just -- it's not the right move. It's kind of bizarre in a way.

So, I think at the end of the day, when it's in a state that's decided on a razor's edge, that may ultimately cost Donald Trump the election. What I said earlier today was, look, if he thinks that cities are horrible, then we should work in this city and cities all across the country to make sure that he doesn't have to live in another city that he probably thinks is horrible as well, and that's Washington, D.C.

COATES: Well, look, I happen to be a fan of Milwaukee. I'll be there for a wedding this coming fall and cannot wait to partake and for the conventions as well.

Really quick, Mayor, before I let you go you know, given the dynamics at play and the demographics perhaps, it's always interesting for me, the (INAUDIBLE) looking in to see what the reaction is among your constituents, when something like the RNC or a convention is coming to town, there's on the one hand, the economic benefit of having it in your city and the thousands of people who will descend, the other hand, there can be controversies surrounding being the location for that. Are you seeing or experiencing that in Milwaukee now?

C. JOHNSON: Well, fortunately, Milwaukee is in some really rarefied air and that we were selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Now, that didn't happen, of course, because of the pandemic. But what it did do is give us the runway in order to build the infrastructure for a proper national political convention.

And so we've used some of the lessons of 2020. We built on those things. We've have relationships in place with law enforcement here and law enforcement nationally. Our police chief has done a great job of bringing in law enforcement from across the U.S. is going to help us with this. And our partners over at the Secret Service and other federal law enforcement agencies have been critical partners in this. And we worked in a bipartisan way with Republicans and Democrats in order to boost the security grant, which had been stuck at $50 million since 2004 and got $25 million more for that effort here.


So, we've all been coming together around this. We want this to be a safe convention for everybody involved. That's what my priority is.

COATES: Mayor Cavalier Johnson. Thank you so much for being here.

C. JOHNSON: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Well, the president says that he won't pardon his son, Hunter. But will he possibly commute his sentence? The answer is ahead.

And Hillary Clinton stunning Democrats by endorsing the primary challenger of Squad member Jamal Bowman instead. The congressman is here to respond.


COATES: Well, tonight, a presidential promise to put the law before a family.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm extremely proud of my son, Hunter. He has overcome an addiction. He's one of the brightest, most decent men I know. And I am satisfied that I'm not going to do anything. I said, I abide by the jury's decision. I will do that, and I will not pardon him.


COATES: Well, that's President Joe Biden in a critically important global huddle, letting the world know that he will not wipe away the decision of 12 of his son's peers to convict him of federal gun charges. Donald Trump asked about the current president and his son's addiction struggles sounded well a rare note of sympathy today.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand that whole subject. I understand it pretty well because I've had it with people have it in their family. It's a very tough thing. It's a very tough situation for a father. It's a very tough situation for a brother or sister. And it goes on and it's not stopping. Whether it's alcohol or drugs or whatever it may be, it's a tough thing. And so it's a tough moment for their family.


COATES: Joining me now is former Hillary Clinton Spokesman Philippe Reines and also former Deputy Communications Director for Trump's 2016 campaign Bryan Lanza. Good to have both of you here.

You know, Philippe, do you think that Biden should pardon Hunter?

PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON SPOKESMAN: Politically, no. I mean, I can't imagine how hard it is to be president of the United States with this unfettered power and not be able to use it. I hope he wins. If he doesn't, I -- if I work for her, might say, Mr. President, on your way out the door, if he's still in jail, you can't either commute the sentence or whatever the access you have to it, but politically, he can't.

COATES: Do you think he should?


COATES: Absolutely, interesting. Why?

LANZA: Yes. Listen, I think we made a public policy decision probably about 30 to 40 years ago to treat addicts different, and Hunter Biden is an addict. And the worst part is, is the why, what I see with this prosecution is he was singled out because he's the president's son. We're now weaponizing our judicial system, and that's a problem. When it becomes red and blue, it's sort of tainting the judicial process. It hurts.

And so I think, you know, President Biden should pardon his son. I think President Biden should put pressure on the governor of New York to pardon President Trump. And let's get the politics out of our judicial process. Let's stop playing that and let's go back to a normal sense of our judicial system staying out, not creating creative laws or stretching the laws or untested theories to bring down the president. Let's go back to the normal process and get this out. And I think the pardon of Hunter should be the first step.

COATES: I mean, if you look at this issue, and, of course, you hear his point, would this do something to undercut --

REINES: I wish it was that simple, because it's not.

COATES: Well, why do you think it's not?

REINES: Because the world would blow up. I mean, you know, it's his son, and it's heartbreaking. And he's a father. And he happens to be -- look, half the country is not fond of him and half the country is not fond of Donald Trump, and that's putting it politely. But, you know, Donald Trump in that situation, and Bryan would know the details better, but he lost a brother, I think, in his 40s to alcoholism. And that's why he doesn't drink, I believe.

COATES: Is that why you think he was sympathetic in his commentaries?

REINES: I do. I think most families can identify with a problem in the family that you don't want 300 million people knowing details about. I mean, my God, these text messages between him and his ex-wife and women he's involved with. I mean, to some extent, this is punishment in and of itself. But it is true, would this have happened but for him being the president's son? But just on a human level, it's just so terrible that it's -- you almost wince at it happening. And the idea that he would go to prison, I'm not sure that that would happen for other people.

COATES: Well, many a cynic would look at the statements that Trump made and thought perhaps he's aware of the risk of alienating what is so increasingly a universal experience, even if -- I mean, I'm not judging his sincerity on that point. He has his own views on the issue and opinions, but, politically, it would be likely disastrous to not acknowledge the breadth and the scope of addiction in this country. We've got, you know, drug courts for that very reason as well.

But one of the people who was in the courtroom, Behind Hunter was Dr. Jill Biden, the first lady, obviously his mother. I want you to listen to what the first lady had to say about her husband's age. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. JILL BIDEN, U.S. FIRST LADY: This election is most certainly not about age. Joe and that other guy are essentially the same age. Let's not be fooled.

Joe isn't one of the most effective presidents of our lives in spite of his age but because of it.


COATES: Bryan, how does that set with you around voters, do you think?

LANZA: Listen, I think the problem is not Joe Biden's age, it's his cognitive fitness.


I mean we saw it today. We saw you know the Prime Minister of Italy having to guide President Biden to where he needed to be because he was wandering off. He needs -- we see it all the time as he speaks He starts having sentences and then sort of conflates decades.

So, I think people see that and it's a cognitive decline. It has nothing to do with his age. Trump's not that far along but I also point to look at Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett's 91-year old -- I will take his stock advice.

I'm just not going to take Donald -- I'm just not going to take Joe Biden's governing advice because he clearly has had a cognitive decline and it's just on the world stage. It's troubling. It's dangerous. I mean these people have seen him for 40 years on the world stage. They've seen the decline. We see the decline. Why aren't we talking more about it? It's dangerous.

REINES: See, this is what I love -- is that we have two guys running against each other. He's not running against Warren Buffett. He's not running against a 35-year old. He's running against Donald Trump. First of all, we should all take -- take a step back and wish Donald Trump an early 78th birthday. I believe it's tomorrow. When your dad is 70 -- is 81 and your mother is 78, you don't say dad married a younger woman.

These guys are the same age. They are basically in the same -- I wouldn't want either of them on the road driving. In terms of cognition, Donald Trump in the last six months has said we're up to World War II. He has multiple times said that he is running against Barack Obama.

LANZA: He always knows where he is walking. He always knows where he is walking.

REINES: Hold on a second. I wish we had the footage door. I was surprised -- I saw that footage earlier and I knew I did Fox earlier today and I knew he's going to get hit with it and then this evening, I saw that apparently what was happening was that there was a skydiver demonstration and he was looking at it and he was applauding the demonstration. And of course that's represented as, oh my God. Right before that, there was a -- he did a press conference with President Zelenskyy.

LANZA: But the thing is --

REINES: Biden is on the ball.

LANZA: But the thing is, the voters see. But the thing is the voters see that.

REINES: And they get to vote on that.

LANZA: And they absolutely will. But for them it reinforces the problem that they have is that Joe Biden is always seen wandering, tripping. He can't even take the full flight of stairs on Air Force One. They have to give him a small one and he still trips. That's a cognitive decline.

REINES: If this is what you guys want to go on, bring it on.

LANZA: No, we're going to the economy -- inflation.

REINES: Because you did it -- you did it before State of the Union. You know, the guy can't even make it through 75 minutes. And what does President Trump do? He says, oh he must have been on drugs. Before, I mean two weeks from last night is the debate. Sometime between now and then Donald Trump is going to say, I demand drug tests. And then, the Republicans -

LANZA: You know what Donald Trump is going to say? We have to take the big stairs back on Air Force One again because he knows Joe Biden can't complete that steps.

REINES: That's -- that is quite the bumper sticker.

COATES: That's quite physical.

REINES: I'm looking forward to the next four years. I'm going to bring back the forward stairs.

LANZA: There you go. And a better economy.

REINES: Joe Biden --

LANZA: Endless wars during the Biden's watch we have heard was about to start.

REINES: Joe Biden's created more jobs in the last four years than President Trump.

LANZA: Do you really believe that? Do you really mean just flipping the switch on because of Covid is job creation?

REINES: The numbers are the numbers.

LANZA: But I'm saying do you --

REINES: Do you want to blame Covid? Blame Covid.

LANZA: No, let me ask you, do you believe Joe Biden actually created these jobs?

REINES: I believe that Joe Biden's priority is not to give tax cuts to the rich.

LANZA: So that means no. Okay, good. As long as we're clear.

REINES: I believe that his priorities are the right priorities.

LANZA: Yeah. Just seconds ago, you said he creates this record job creation.

REINES: He does.

LANZA: I'm asking you do you believe if he actually created these jobs, his policies created these jobs or the end of Covid which Donald Trump was responsible for --

REINES: No, let me be very clear. Joe Biden's policies created these jobs the same way that Donald Trump's policies -- we're going to Covid -- probably led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. You're responsible what happens on your watch.

LANZA: Vaccine led to the saving of this world, one would say, and President Trump was the most responsible for this vaccine.

REINES: I'm happy to sit here all night talking about four years before January 20th, 2021 and the four years since if that's the debate that people want to have.

LANZA: Do you don't want the economy debate? People want to know about inflation. Here's what I'll say about inflation.

REINES: They want --

LANZA: You heard it today. You heard it in the last couple of days is that -- is that he has not hit his own target for inflation. Thirty- six months he's been in office, a little bit more than 36 months. He said we have a target inflation of two percent. He's never hit that target.

So, every month he's failing. If you're a baseball player, if Joe Biden were a baseball player and he was not able to hit the target, he'd be known as a pitcher that never threw a strike. So, I'd gladly talk about the economy because inflation has decimated the middle class and he's failing at that.

REINES: He's not. He is not a baseball player. He is the President of the United States. Every time he goes to try to do something with Congress the Republicans in Congress stop vote.

LANZA: Congress' fault.

REINES: Well, hold on. Why is there no immigration security package? Because Donald Trump, no. Donald Trump told them not to pass it.

LANZA: No. Let me answer. An absolute. Because what Donald Trump said --

REINES: Why is there no --

LANZA: What Donald Trump said to Republicans --

REINES: -- is don't pass it.

LANZA: He said to the American people, are you really going to trust a person who started the border fire to fix the border fire? I'm not going to trust a person --

REINES: You made me simplify it. You simplify it. Donald Trump told them not to pass the --

LANZA: I'm not going to trust the arsonist. I'm not going to trust the arsonist who started the fire to put it out and don't -- Joe Biden started the arson on the border and why would you trust him to fix it? The American people don't.

COATES: Hold on. Don't talk over. I want to hear your point. Next.

REINES: Donald Trump told House Republicans.


REINES: -- to not vote for the immigration security.

LANZA: Don't trust the Democrats in their bill. Correct He said that.


He said you can't trust them because they started the fire.

REINES: I give Bryan a lot of credit for that because that's the first time I've heard someone admitted that straight out.

COATES: If only there was a debate happening on June 27th on CNN between two presidential candidates, we'll have to watch that. As long as you're debating these issues and not maybe the big or the little stairs, the American people will certainly be leaning in. Thank you both for being here.

REINES: Thank you.

LANZA: Thank you.

COATES: Hillary Clinton surprises Democrats and endorses the Challenger of Congressman Jamal Bowman. He joins me live to respond, next.


[22:40:08] COATES: Well, it's one of the most heated primaries in this whole country. Incumbent Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Westchester County Executive George Latimer fighting to be the Democrat on the ballot for New York's 16th district. And last night's debate didn't ease any of the tension.


REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN, (D-NY): Let's do this say anything.

GEORGE LATIMER, WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE: I think it's time for us to pull the truth alarm, Jamaal, because you constantly misrepresent the truth.

BOWMAN: Please stop it. Stop your lying. We almost have another President Trump because of the lack of action from my opponent so many others on these issues.

LATIMER: We may have a President Trump because Jamaal is good at talking but not good at delivering. Let's talk about how you rush to the scene to get press coverage when there's a tragedy. No, that's exactly right

BOWMAN: You know you were nowhere to be found.

LATIMER: Do I have the rebuttal?

BOWMAN: He's nowhere to be found. Get out of here, man.


COATES: Well, with two weeks into the primary election, this race has become somewhat of a litmus test on how Democrats can navigate the politics of the Israel-Hamas war in this election. Bowman has been one of the most vocal critics of Israel and the administration's handling of the war. But Latimer, on the other hand, has remained steadfast in his support of Israel and hasn't been shy about his campaign receiving millions of dollars from the pro-Israel group AIPAC.

And now, Latimer has scored a major endorsement from Hillary Clinton who wrote on Twitter, "With Trump on the ballot, we need strong, principled Democrats in Congress more than ever. In Congress, Latimer will protect abortion rights, stand up to the NRA and fight for President Biden's agenda just like he's always done." New York Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman joins me now. Congressman, welcome to the program. I'm glad that you're here. How are you this evening?

BOWMAN: Good to see you. Thank you so much for having me

COATES: You know, let's start where we just ended and that is this endorsement now by Hillary Clinton for your challenger. What's your reaction to that?

BOWMAN: No real reaction. I definitely wouldn't call out a major endorsement with all due respect. I mean we are endorsed by sitting U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, sitting U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and the Minority leader of the Democratic Party Hakeem Jeffries. We're also endorsed by Planned Parenthood 1199 and many others.

So, I love our endorsements and they are going to help us win this race. You know, unfortunately, my opponent and Secretary Clinton do not support a permanent ceasefire. They support Benjamin Netanyahu and they support billions of dollars of our money going to Israel and Netanyahu for an unjust attack on civilians in Gaza Versus those billions come in here to our district to help people with childcare, housing, transportation and so many other issues.

So, it's unfortunate that my opponent and, unfortunately, Secretary Clinton seemed to both be out of touch with this district.

COATES: Well, I certainly won't speak for either one, but I would presume they believe that their support is far more nuanced. But it's interesting, Congressman, because there's been a lot of attention, less so on your policy positions and more so on who is choosing to endorse you and who is not.

We've heard, obviously, from today with Latimer and Hillary Clinton also a former Congressman Mondaire Jones who used to be kind of a Progressive darling and now running for New York 17th congressional district. He also endorsed Latimer but he was citing to the point you just raised your position on Israel as a top reason.

I'm going to read a few what he said. He said, quote, "-- my own sense of morality compelled me to intervene given how God-awful Mr. Bowman's conduct has been," going on to say "Mr. Bowman specific actions have caused anxiety fear and anger among my Jewish neighbors." What is your reaction to a statement from a former member of Congress in your own party?

BOWMAN: This is why we need more educators in Congress and less career politicians or those who seek to be career politicians. I am an educator. I worked in public schools for 20 years. I have a doctorate in education leadership. I'm actually Dr. Bowman and I've spent my entire life keeping kids safe, teaching against hate and fighting racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Sexism and all the isms that continue to plague us.

After we condemned October 7th, we formed -- we had a healing breakfast with our Jewish constituents to hear from them listen to them and learn from them, and then figure out how to govern with them. Critique of Israel is not anti-Semitism. Critique of Zionism is not anti-Semitism. The ICJ has stated that Israel, at the moment, may be committing a plausible genocide.


The U.N. has stated that famine is sitting in.

So, when we talk about morality, morality is not our taxpayer dollars going to bomb Infants and babies and children and civilians. It's about bringing that money back here and leading with peace to get us to a place to a free Palestine, a safe Israel and that's how you end Hamas.

COATES: Well, be far from me not to give you your due title, Congressman and Dr. Bowman on these issues. But there has been statements not without controversy and you of course are intimately familiar with this regarding the stances that you have taken. And voters are keyed into this likely for the very reasons you talk about that people are very leaned in to thinking about foreign policy, not just what's happening in their own home states.

Back on October 8th, the day after Hamas attacked Israel, the Democratic Socialists of America held a rally in New York. I understand where attendees chanted, quote, "Resistance is justified when people are occupied." And one protester even displaying a swastika in what has become pretty widely circulated photo.

At the time, I remember you came out and you condemned the rhetoric and your office said that your membership that organization had lapsed. But then "The New York Times" has been reporting this week. I'd love for you to address this, that you told the group in a private video meeting last month that you never actually left the organization and that you -- you never let your dues lapse. Is that true, the way that it's being reported? Can you comment on what you want to clarify, if anything?

BOWMAN: Well, first of all, thank you for stating that we condemned the rally on October 8th with that horrible swastika and even holding a rally at all. We completely condemned that, so, thank you for stating that. I don't have much to say about "The New York Times" article. It's not an issue that's really important to the people of our district. Our district wants to know -- what am I going to do to decrease gun violence? What am I going to do about affordable housing? What have I done about, you know, education and climate?

COATES: Congressman, excuse me. It is it is important. I don't want to cut you off, I do want to hear your response. But voters also are interested as well and understanding what memberships you currently hold. They often look at that as indicative of your value system, politically. Are you a member of the organization?

BOWMAN: Oh Yes, I'm a member of DSA. Yes, absolutely. That was a logistical error on their part that led to me saying that I wasn't a member because I thought once we stopped paying our dues, we were no longer members. That wasn't the case.

My point is, it's not about the membership or lack thereof It's about us discussing a logistical issue and not talking about gun violence in the district or affordability or education which we have brought in tens of millions of dollars to the district to start programs to deal with all of those issues throughout the district, as well as climate justice, and that's what people hear, when you pull them, that's what they want to talk about not about the gossip that unfortunately too many people are writing about. Not you, of course, Laura, but I mean others.

COATES: Well, of course, never me, but thank you so much for clarifying. I appreciate it. Well Congressman, thank you for articulating some of your other policy positions, as well. You know, obviously the ultimate judge will be the voters this coming fall and we look forward to hearing of course ultimately what they choose. Thank you for joining us today, Doctor and Congressman Bowman. Thank you so much.

BOWMAN: Thank you for having me.

COATES: Well, you perhaps have ogled at its pictures. But who is really behind the images taken by the Webb telescope that's been orbiting a million miles from Earth? Well, maybe I'll have the answer, next.



COATES: The Webb telescope is one of the most incredible things ever to have been built, but it's only as good as the scientists, they get to use it.


UNKNOWN: It's because of these stellar explosions that we're here today. The iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, the oxygen that we breathe, and they're just these incredible displays of fireworks and colors and knots and bubbles and all sorts of exciting things that are going on.

UNKNOWN: Until now, Dan and his team had to rely on optical telescopes like the Hubble telescope which only captures visible light at shorter wavelengths. But the Webb telescope --


COATES: Joining me now to discuss her upcoming whole story, in-depth report on the James Webb telescope, "Are we alone?" is CNN Space Correspondent Kristin Fisher? Very cool. I cannot wait for this to air. It's so beautiful to look at the images overall, but to look behind the scenes. You're the daughter of two astronauts so you really grew up in the industry. What was it like working with these scientists compared to your other experiences with NASA?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: The uniting factor here is that when you talk to astronauts or when you talk to these scientists that finally get a chance to work on the Webb telescope, there's something about space and whatever is out there that unites this kind of like childlike wonder in everybody from the astronauts to the astronomers.

And so, what we tried to do with this show is there's -- there's so much that's been done about the telescope itself, the hardware. And it is of course one of the most incredible machines that's ever been built.

[22:55:02] So much has been said about the images, too, that have come back from the telescope. But what we tried to do is really follow the stories of the scientists that became the first scientists to ever get to actually use the most powerful telescope ever built.

And what was so fascinating in following them is, you know, some of them were scientists that had been trying to do this their entire lives. This is a telescope that's 30 years in the making. But others never even dreamed that they get a chance on a telescope quite as powerful as this. This is a telescope that's open to anybody, and so that's one of the things that makes web so unique. So, for this show airing on Sunday. We really just tried to tell the scientist stories as opposed to just the telescope itself.

COATES: Well, that's so exciting to think about the vantage point in the perspectives It's very informing to talk about an informative think about whose eyes were seeing the images through and why they're drawn to it, as well I'm really exciting be sure to tune in Sunday for a new episode of the whole story with Anderson Cooper. It airs Sunday at 8 P.M. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN. We'll be back in a moment.