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Laura Coates Live

Trump Goes Off-Topic During Return To Capitol Hill; Trump Makes Conviction Request To Speaker Johnson; Senator Menendez Faces Trial; Caitlin Clark Speaks Out About "Weaponization" Of Her Name; Laura Coates Interviews Mo Rocca. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 13, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Welcome to the second hour of "Laura Coates Live." Remember when I told you that Republicans were expecting Donald Trump to outline maybe a second term agenda today when, of course, he met with all of them on the Hill? Well, he made a few points here and there, but mainly he went off topic, like real off topic.

He talked about Taylor Swift, questioning her support for President Biden, though to be clear, she hasn't endorsed anyone this year. According to people in the room, Trump said, why would she endorse this dope? He doesn't know how to get off a stage.

He talks about Nancy Pelosi, but in a bizarre way. And again, the story he told is apparently not true. According to people in the room, Trump said Pelosi's daughter once told him that he and the former House Speaker would have had a great romance in another life. Cue the Lady Gaga. Pelosi's daughter, Christine, immediately posted to say, "Speaking for all four Pelosi daughters -- this is a lie."

But wait, there's more, because Trump also talked about Hannibal Lecter, called him a nice guy. Now, this he's actually said before, by the way.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The late, great Hannibal Lecter is a wonderful man. He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner.


COATES: Hmm. Playing a dad joke. Okay. And then Trump decided to criticize the city that's actually hosting the Republican National Convention. He apparently called Milwaukee a horrible city while referencing crime and election issues there, though, again, we don't know what election issues he's talking about. The mayor of Milwaukee told me this just last hour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR CAVALIER JOHNSON, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN: 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 an excellent city.


COATES: So, to recap, he complained about the city of Milwaukee, Taylor Swift gave some weird story about Nancy Pelosi, and brought up Hannibal Lecter, all unprovoked. The Republicans in attendance were also unbothered. In fact, they said it was a great day.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It was a pep rally environment for President Trump.

SEN. J.D. VANCE (R-OH): Frankly, some of his -- some of his critics were in the room and were supportive and are supportive. So, I think it's a good thing.


COATES: So, what did Trump say on policy? That's what I would like to know. Well, today, he told Republicans to follow their hearts on abortion, he floated the concept of getting rid of the income tax and funding the government with tariffs instead, and said he'd undo Biden's electric vehicle mandates. But there is much more to the plans for a second Trump term, right? Even if he didn't necessarily articulate it today.

Joining me now, CNN opinion contributor and former House Republican Investigative Committee counsel, Sophia Nelson, former special assistant to President Biden, Meghan Hays, and CNN political commentator and high deputy chief-of-staff under Trump administration, Shermichael Singleton. Glad to have all of you here.

Of course, all the different like pop ups that were coming around me was like old school VH1 pop-up videos, right, which -- oh, God, that just aged me. Whatever. You remember what I'm talking about. Maybe not you, Shermichael. I'll start with you, Shermichael --


-- because you always give me hell for being a little bit older than you. Whatever. Let's talk about Project 2025 for a second because this has really become kind of a blueprint for the Trump second term. It was written by the Heritage Foundation.

Some of the highlights include, well, it proposes the entire federal bureaucracy be placed under direct presidential control, including the Justice Department, it purges federal workers, it increased funding for the border wall, cuts climate research funding, and Democrats say this would be kind of a wrecking ball to democratic norms.


How do you see this Project 2025?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, a lot of it is wishful thinking. I mean, I know quite a few of the folks over at Heritage who worked on writing the final product, and they're hoping to accomplish some of this stuff. But for anyone who has worked in government, we all know that there are checks and balances for a reason. Most of this, you cannot do without the legislative branch.

If Trump were to win in November, more than likely, Democrats are going to control the House, probably by a pretty comfortable majority, I would argue. So again, wishful thinking, but I just don't see how they legislatively would accomplish most of this.

COATES: Well, whose wish is this?

MEGHAN HAYS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's Donald Trump's wish, but I also think that this isn't something that's going to play to those undecided voters and those Nikki Haley undecided voters. This is something that plays towards their base. And I just think it's not a smart strategy to put all this out there when the people, they actually need to vote for them. This is not what they believe. This polls terribly with independents.

COATES: Let me ask you on this because, you know, this is -- a picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. You look at it, Sophia. I want to take a look at Trump for a moment and Senator Mitch McConnell. They're shaking hands and the two have not spoken directly, apparently, since the end of 2020. I love the great deep exhale you just gave. Explain what that sigh was about.

SOPHIA NELSON, CNN OPINION CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, I mean, anybody that remembers the second impeachment trial when the Senate decided not to, you know, convict, Mitch McConnell took to the floor and gave this amazing speech about the criminal law, right, and how it would hold him responsible. And then after January 6, Mitch McConnell said he was responsible. His own wife resigned from the cabinet. He was disgusted and appalled.

But now, he shakes his hand as if nothing has happened. You said it was wishful thinking. It's -- I can't say this on TV. It's crazy thinking. And it is not something that, you're absolutely right, place to middle America or to independent voters. It is to the raw meat of the base. And Heritage wrote it. It tells you everything you need to know. I mean, they're the most conservative think tank, I could say, arguably in the United States at this point.

COATES: Well, what do you think is behind his decision to have that be public? Is it that he has, you know, had a 180 viewpoint about Trump or that he is recognizing something about Republican voters?

NELSON: I think Mitch McConnell is the most craven Senate majority/minority leader we have ever had. His recklessness and his relentlessness in taking the seats that were rightly Barack Obama's to appoint to the Supreme Court and then doing what they did to then reverse that when it was time for Trump up for reelection, they let him go ahead and appointed justice, I mean, he just is raw, naked politics, he has no shame, and that's what that picture represents.

And it's a disgrace for an 80 something year old man who should be thinking about his legacy and what he's going to leave because this is what he's going to leave. And it's not --


COATES: Someone else who doesn't mince words, by the way. I want you to comment on this and, oh, enter Liz Cheney because she said this, the former congresswoman, and she didn't mince words about this reunion, probably to a larger point, that I want you both to comment on, please, posting this on X.

In part, "Mitch McConnell knows Trump provoked the violent attack on our Capitol. He knows Trump committed a 'disgraceful dereliction of duty' and is a danger to our republic. Trump and his collaborators will be defeated, and history will remember the shame of people like Leader McConnell, who enabled them."

That's quite a scathing remark to the point about legacy. How do you see this playing?

SINGLETON: Yeah, I don't think the minority leader is thinking about it from that perspective. I mean, he's on his way out, and he's thinking about being on a cusp of retiring with a Republican Senate majority. I know a lot of people have issues with Mitch McConnell, but in terms of raw political tactics, the guy has been incredibly successful, whether you agree with his positioning or not. He's probably going to go down in history, Laura, as one of the most successful majority/minority leaders in terms of his accomplishments for the Republican Party.

COATES: Meghan?

HAYS: I mean, I just think that this is disgraceful, as politicians do, but this is politics at best right here, and he's being a politician. And yes, he's being successful and he is looking towards his Senate seats because he does want to leave the Senate and the majority. But this is -- I mean, this is just very political.

NELSON: I go back to my friend, Liz Cheney, when she was talking on the January 6th meeting. She said, there will come a time when Donald Trump will be gone, but your shame will remain. And ask Joseph McCarthy how it worked out for him, ask Richard Nixon how it worked out for him, ask George Wallace how it worked out for him. In the moment, it looks good when you're doing the nasty stuff and you're doing raw politics, but it doesn't look good in the books of history.

I just think that Mitch McConnell has no center, no soul, no core. And that is today's Republican Party. And I say this as somebody who spent 25 years of my life in that party.

HAYS: Yeah. I just also think that the people in the room were going to be not forgiving to Mitch McConnell if he didn't go forward and embrace Donald Trump here. So, I just think that he doesn't really have a choice.

COATES: You're right.

HAYS: He's stuck between a rock and a hard spot here. I mean, I agree with you that his legacy is -- and what he's going to go down in history. I just don't think the people in the room are also going to be forgiving of him.

SINGLETON: I think, another thing, McConnell wants to maintain his sway in the party right now.


I mean, Republicans in the Senate are arguing about who's going to be the next minority or majority leader. The last thing McConnell wants to see, a diminishment of his sway to sort of choose the individual that he wants versus someone like Senator Scott out of Florida, who McConnell absolutely doesn't want.

COATES: Well, you look at this -- I mean, also, we're talking about the legacy and obviously the Supreme Court. You mentioned the Supreme Court had a pretty consequential ruling today, one of the two cases that are before this court following the Dobbs decision. And it was about mifepristone, in particular. And this issue of reproductive rights obviously continues to be top of mind for voters, frankly, across the aisle.

Meghan, what do you see as the significance of this particular ruling and what it could do to entice voters to come out to vote?

HAYS: I think that this was the best that the Supreme Court could do here and where they are completely staying out of the politics of this. Republicans know this is a losing issue. This is why Donald Trump today said that you vote for what's in your heart or do what's in your heart here. He knows and is being repeatedly told over and over again from folks that this is a losing issue for them. I think the Supreme Court -- I'm not exactly sure why the Supreme Court heard the case if they knew that the people didn't have standing originally. I'm not a legal scholar, so I'm not exactly sure how that works, but I just -- this is -- this is them trying to stay out of politics. But this is a losing issue for Republicans.

NELSON: But Laura, once again, Trump is double-minded, unstable in all his ways. What he says is, I am the guy that undid Roe versus Wade, and he's proud about it when he's talking to one group. But then he says, this is a losing issue for us, we need to have exceptions, we need to be more like Reagan, you need to vote your conscience. So, he's trying to have it both ways. So, who is Donald Trump? Who is Mitch McConnell? Who are these people? That's the problem I'm having here. I don't know what to believe because it changes every day.

SINGLETON: It's definitely a losing issue.


I mean, we have two years of electoral -- (LAUGHTER)

HAYS: Yeah.

SINGLETON: -- data that showcases --

NELSON: IVF issue to me is wow.

SINGLETON: -- special election, congressional election. We lose election after election. And to your point, I mean, I think if you look at republican politics, evangelicals really have had an outside sway, particularly during the Trump administration. And now, as the party is trying to move back to the middle, it's really difficult, Laura. I mean, it's like the story of the dog catching up with the car. All right, here you are, what's next?

COATES: What about the IVF issue? You're both all talking about this issue. I mean, all but two Senate Republicans blocked a democratic effort to try to protect IVF access nationwide today. And notably, Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin, who actually has a personal story, an IVF story, voted no, and he called this effort by Democrats -- quote -- "a calculated attempt to scare the American people through a summer of show votes." What do you say to this being performative? Is that what Democrats are doing?

HAYS: No. I think that they're actually trying to protect reproductive freedom for women. I don't think that they are trying to do anything performative here. And it has been -- this is -- I mean, Democrats can take this in November, and this is a winning issue. So, I'm not sure why they would -- you know, like voting on it now is actually not the exact opposite of performative. They are trying to protect these rights.

SINGLETON: There's not a Republican candidate who's up for reelection or running for a seat who wants to be talking about reproductive rights because they know it's not a winning issue. I've talked to a plethora of friends or campaign strategists working on races across the country, and they would prefer to talk about kitchen table issues and not this thing.

NELSON: Michael, why not extend an olive branch and protect IVF pro- life people? I know pro-life Christians --


NELSON: -- who've had their kids because of IVF.


NELSON: So, I don't understand this not reaching out saying, well, let's do something to at least show that we're not so over the top, but they --

SINGLETON: Some moderation, right?

NELSON: None. HAYS: That would have been smart for them to do today.

NELSON: It would have been very smart. Would have, could have, should have.


COATES: Sophia, Meghan, Shermichael, thank you both -- I thank you all three so much.

Next, there's a new reporting tonight, Donald Trump is apparently trying to pressure Speaker Mike Johnson to do his bidding and use Congress to find ways to overturn his state level conviction. Democratic Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett is here to discuss in just a moment.



COATES: Well, Donald Trump today complained to Republicans about his New York conviction. That would come as perhaps no surprise to anyone, Speaker Mike Johnson, especially, because according to Politico, Trump called Johnson in the days after the verdict to tell him -- quote -- "We have to overturn this."

Now, Johnson, he can't actually do that, but he is doing what he can. Just yesterday, House GOP leaders were looking for votes for a bill that would allow state level prosecutions against a president to be moved to federal court. That sounds awfully specific for a reason, right?

But that's not all. Speaker Johnson now appears willing to go after Special Counsel Jack Smith using the appropriations process that he was unwilling to do as recently as just a month ago.

Democratic Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett is representing the U.S. Virgin Islands. She's also on the House Select Subcommittee on Representation of the federal government. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being here today. Welcome. How are you?


COATES: I'm glad that you're here. Thank you for coming. And, you know, this reporting from Politico about the president lobbying Speaker Johnson perhaps is unsurprising, that he would want that help.


COATES: But yet the type of help to help overturn a state level conviction --


COATES: -- how can he? PLASKETT: Well, he can't. Uh, they're trying to change the law. They're trying to change the basic jurisprudence and judiciary system that we have in this country. And even more shocking is the fact that a Republican would want the federal government to usurp a state's rights, right, which seems anathema to the Republican Party.


But this is being played out over and over again. On the Weaponization Committee, we're having hearings based upon, um, provocations from individuals like Steve Bannon and others, who on their podcast will constantly tell, Jim Jordan, Mike Johnson, what are you guys doing? You need to be going after this. And it's a projection on their part. The weaponization of the federal government is actually being executed by Jim Jordan, Mike Johnson, and Donald Trump himself.

COATES: Now, all three likely would believe that to be nothing further from the truth.


COATES: They are holding committees, especially your colleague, Congressman Jordan, on this very issue. He is actually looking at the Manhattan D.A., Alvin Bragg --


COATES: -- to have him come in and testify. He wanted that to happen today.


COATES: He's instead coming after the sentencing of the former president, Donald Trump. He's agreeing to voluntarily testify. First of all, do you think that's a good idea, and especially given what you know about the goals of your Republican colleagues for this committee?

PLASKETT: Well, I think that at every turn, when they have these hearings, it ends up falling short of what they -- they've wanted. Whether it's an indictment of President Biden, whether it's the indictment or impeachment of any number of cabinet members, they fall short because they do not have the facts. You can have as many opinions as you want, but the facts still remain as facts.

And I think that that's something that's going to be borne out by District Attorney Alvin Bragg. I can't state for him whether or not I think it's a good or bad idea. I believe that there should be a separation between what happens in our judiciary and what happens with our legislature.

But my assumption is that he believes after that, here after the sentencing, that he would be free to answer at least some of those questions and as well present to the American people, which is really the audience that Jim Jordan is looking for, how in fact this case was valid. COATES: Well, one of the questions that seems to keep coming up, and we heard this narrative frankly throughout the trial, and that was about a man by the name of Michael Colangelo.


COATES: And the theory goes that the Department of Justice specifically placed this person --


COATES: -- into a state prosecution to be a kind of disruptive mole --


COATES: -- and an additive in some ways. I am concerned as a viewer and a member of the electorate, when you look at everything, that how does one disprove the negative? What would be enough --

PLASKETT: Exactly.

COATES: -- for the committee for that to actually suggest? If there's the absence of anything to support it --


COATES: -- what would be enough?

PLASKETT: Well, it's never going to be enough because they have, in fact, invented things that are not in fact facts, that are not truth. And if they believe that if they say them over and over and over again, eventually, they'll stick in the American people's mind.

Our job on my side as the ranking member has been to constantly at each and every point identify falsehoods, let the American people know that they're false, and as well show them what, in fact, the truth is and what the facts are. What I find so interesting about this entire thing with DA Bragg --

COATES: Uh-hmm.

PLASKETT: -- is the continual placement of other individuals on him as if he as a district attorney does not have the intellect or the capacity himself to be able to prosecute this case, whether it's George Soros, whether it's Merrick Garland, whether it's Colangelo, any of a number of people who are not, in fact, a Black man --


PLASKETT: -- who was the prosecutor in this case, and that it has to -- he has to, in fact, be the pawn of other people. I find it offensive that they don't think that he has been able to do this.

And in fact, we've seen that now a jury of 12 Manhattan residents of varying degrees, of educational work experience, believed what Alvin Bragg's office put forward and found former President Donald Trump guilty of all 34 counts.

COATES: You know, interestingly, when you raise the issue of the intersection of race and the approaches people are taking to craft narratives and then perpetuate it --


COATES: -- you hear this not just with Alvin Bragg, the DA in Manhattan, you certainly have heard this in Fulton County --


COATES: -- and Fani Willis has become outspoken on her perception that this -- she herself is being targeted --

PLASKETT: Letitia James.

COATES: -- based on race. Letitia James is another person, as example. We could frankly go through a number of people on that very front. I want you to listen to what she had to say, Fani Willis, the Fulton County DA, just recently about the perception -- the perception of the attacks.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: They get mad when I call out their lunacy. I mean, you can't piss on me and tell me it's raining. I live the experience of a Black woman who is attacked and oversexualized.



COATES: What do you make of her statements there? And does that ring true to you? And just what you've been seeing in the experience, obviously, her case against Trump is stalled, she is up for reelection in November, and the appeals court holding it indefinitely in limbo at the moment.


COATES: What do you think about what she said to say?

PLASKETT: Well, I think that that's something that a lot of women of color experience in their professional lives, particularly if you are attacking an individual that is not a Black woman.

If you are going after or holding accountable a white male, you wouldn't believe the amount of phone calls that our office gets or comments that come after me when I'm holding Jim Jordan accountable. When I'm as performing my duties as the ranking member and pushing back against him, then all kinds of comments related to my not being a professional.

And everyone knows I do not raise my voice in that scenario, and I'm always speaking in a very collegial, professional tone, but I'm disrespectful, I don't know my place, I need to go back to where I came from.


PLASKETT: You know, all of those kinds of comments which are to degrade the veracity of what it is that we're saying. And it's just an angle at which they use. And I'm sure they come up with many others for other people of other races, other genders, but that one seems to be a particular one that they're very happy to fall into.

You know, I think that Fani Willis is speaking her truth. I know that she is focused on her case. And whether it's stalled or not, justice still continues. We've seen that a number of times in a number of instances, whether it's the case that has happened in New York or all of the cases that have happened in New York. The stalled matter on the classified documents, which I believe is probably one of the strongest cases. And we'll see what happens in all of them.

COATES: Well, congresswoman, thank you for first articulating what so many professional women of color endure daily, moment by moment, but also for taking the time to join me this evening.

PLASKETT: Thank you.

COATES: I appreciate it so much.

PLASKETT: Thank you.

COATES: Thank you, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett.

Up next, the high-profile corruption trial of a Democrat and the wild testimony to go with it. The latest in the saga of Senator Bob Menendez, including a bizarre story involving a bell, his wife, and an alleged bribe.



COATES: Now, you may not know it because there has been so much on Trump's trial, and then Hunter Biden's trial, but one of the most powerful U.S. senators has been in court for the last month facing conspiracy and bribery charges. The senator is the Democrat from New Jersey, while now an independent, he says, Bob Menendez. And there's still weeks of testimony to come.

But so far, witnesses are painting a pretty damning picture of the senator, alleging a pay for play scheme that includes gold bars and envelopes full of cash and a gifted Mercedes Benz.

Now, throughout the trial, Menendez has maintained his absolute innocence. And his primary defense, his wife, Nadine, was the mastermind behind the schemes, the schemes and the scenes, and he was essentially taken for a ride. Now, Nadine will be tried separately with her trial to begin in August. But so far, multiple witnesses have linked Menendez to criminal involvement. And the government's star witness, a man by the name of Jose Uribe, testified that in a September 2019 meeting, he flat out bribed the senator. He alleges that Menendez asked him for names of associates that he wanted shielded from prosecution.

Joining me now, Dana DiFilippo, a senior reporter for the "New Jersey Monitor," who has been in the court covering the trial. Also, with me, Alyse Adamson, a former federal prosecutor.

Let me begin with you here, Dana, because you have been in court nearly every day of this trial. It has been more than a month. Tell me more about this testimony from this star witness, Uribe, because there was an anecdote of some kind about Menendez summoning at the time his then girlfriend, Nadine, with -- with some kind of a bell? What happened there?

DANA DIFILIPPO, SENIOR REPORTER, NEW JERSEY MONITOR: Sure. So, at the time, the senator and Nadine Menendez were just dating, and so this was her house, and she set up a meeting between the senator and Jose Uribe in her backyard. So, he came over to the house. She went back in the house. The men were sitting on the patio, the back patio for about an hour. They had over cups of Grand Marnier.

And, you know, he said they talked a little bit about everything, but his main ask was, can you help me with this -- this investigation into my friend? He was worried the investigation would reach his own company. He was an insurance broker, and he was concerned that it would reach his own company. And so, at this meeting, I guess the senator asked, well, who's involved? What are the names of the companies? And they didn't have paper.

And so, he said the senator shouted Mona Moore, which is his nickname for Nadine. That's one of the things that's come out in this trial, they say all their nicknames for each other, which I'd rather not hear.


And -- and -- and she -- and she -- he -- the senator then picked up a little bell and rang it. And that apparently summons his -- his girlfriend, Nadine, to come outside. He said, we need some paper.


So, she went and got paper, and that's how the bell came into testimony. And it has been, you know, in the words of the one of the defense attorneys, he called it a super weird story. So even the defense thinks it's super weird.

COATES: I mean, the idea of being summoned by a bell, I have to reserve my comments on that for a moment, just go right to the heart of the matter. Alyse, let me bring you in here because on cross- examination, Menendez's attorney opened by asking Uribe, you're a very good liar, aren't you? And he made allegations about prescription drug use and tried to undermine the credibility. What do you make of that tactic? Would it be effective here?

ALYSE ADAMSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yeah, I think this just demonstrates both the power and the pitfall of a cooperating witness, right? So, just zooming out for a moment, the defense had to start that way because Uribe's testimony was very damning. He directly linked the senator to this bribery scheme, which had been kind of lacking in some of the other witnesses. Indirect, but more his wife, Nadine. And here, Uribe kind of closed that link.

And so, that's the power of the cooperating witness because they're the inside man in the conspiracy in cases like these. But just by virtue of being a cooperator, we already know they're coming with baggage. They have been charged, they're testifying under a cooperation agreement. And here, Uribe was even more damaged because he has prior convictions for fraud.

And so, yes, he has pled guilty, and so that is a proper question for the defense to ask. It immediately starts undermining his credibility. And we just saw this at length in the other trial of former President Donald Trump with Michael Cohen. But we also saw in that trial that sometimes, while it's an effective tactic, it's not enough for the jury to completely discredit them.

COATES: And we saw that in the conviction in that case. And then, of course, another Manhattan courtroom where you have been, Dana. This trial has been going on for a month now. I mean, there have been weeks of testimony and there might still be testimony left as well. Do you get a sense of how the jury is taking all this information in?

DIFILIPPO: So, they've been interesting to watch. You know, some of the testimony has definitely been very dry there. You know, they had a whole section on DNA, a whole section on fingerprints. They're even talking about the series numbers of dollar bills. They have experts that come in and talk to -- talk to the court about it. And the testimony is so dry that some people are -- you know, they definitely look bored. Some of them are nodding off.

But there have been other great, really interesting moments where the prosecutors wanted to show like all the cash and gold bars that they had seized from the couple's home because the senator moved into Nadine's home. They actually passed it around in evidence bags. And, you know, they were -- they got to feel it through the evidence bags, they got to feel the heft of it, they got to see what a gold bar looks like close up, and there was definitely some -- some -- you know, they definitely perked up for that and looked really interested.

So, they definitely seem to be, for the most part, engaged except when it veers into the science of things, which is important but, you know, definitely the drier part of the testimony so far.

COATES: Well, Dana, Alyse, I know quite well the battle of law and order and CSI when you've got the case, the crime identified, the defendant, everything wrapped up in 48 minutes with commercials and a potty break all in one, and then you had a real trial that actually happens. Dana DeFilippo and Alyse Adamson, thank you both so much.

DIFILIPPO: Thank you.

ADAMSON: Thank you.

COATES: Up next, Caitlin Clark sounding off about the weaponization of her name in the culture wars.


CAITLIN CLARK, INDIANA FEVER GUARD: Just treating every single woman in this league with the same amount of respect, I think, is just a basic human thing that everybody should do.





UNKNOWN (voice-over): When people use your name for racism, misogyny, whatever, what is your response to that?

CLARK: Yeah, I think it's disappointing. I think, you know, everybody in our world, you know, deserves them the same amount of respect. The women in our league deserve the same amount of respect. So, um, people should not be using my name to push those agendas. It's disappointing. You know, it's not acceptable.


COATES: That's Caitlin Clark tonight addressing the toxic public debates surrounding her sudden stardom in the WNBA and, of course, her rise to fame. Of course, the NCAA is a change of tone from earlier this morning when she was asked, well, a similar question.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): I wonder from your standpoint how you feel about people using your name in whatever culture wars or whatever wars they're fighting. How do you feel about that?

CLARK: It's not something I can control. So, you know, I don't put too much thought and time into thinking about things like that. And to be honest, I don't see a lot of it.


COATES: So, what happened from this morning to tonight? Well, maybe for one, Connecticut Sun guard DiJonai Carrington tweeted this: "Dawg. How one cannot be bothered by their name being used to justify racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia and the intersectionality of them all is nuts. We all see the S.H.I.T. We all have a platform. We all have a voice and they all hold weight. Silence is a luxury."

I want to bring in former NFL wide receiver, Donte Stallworth. It has been a minute. Glad to have you back. Dante, I'm wondering from you tonight, did DiJonai have a point or are people unfairly putting the commentary about Caitlin and her name on her shoulders? What do you think?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL WIDE RECEIVER: I think it's a little bit of both, right?


I think that, number one, Caitlin Clark is dealing with a lot as far as, you know, basketball wise, dealing with being the number one pick, and dealing with people trying to put the entire league on her shoulders even though she has spoken out about it before that she is coming behind a long line of women that have really set the stage for her to even be in this position.

So, I think she has respect for the game, number one, which is very important for the people that came before her. She has been a big fan of the WNBA. She's talked about that explicitly over a long period of time.

And to have one of her colleagues kind of, you know, call her out about being silent, I think that was probably one of the things that made her come out and be a little more forceful in her conversation, because initially, I think, you know, for an athlete, professional athlete, you kind of want to stay out of things, you want to focus on what you need to do, you got practice, you have so many things on your shoulders.

And again, her being the number one pick and all this conversation around her, I think she was initially trying to just push it away and say, hey, I'm just here to focus on basketball, I have a lot to do, my teammates, you know, they're not the best team in the league, but they're focusing on that.

And then one of her colleagues calls her out and says, hey, like, you know, silence is a luxury. And I think she took that to heart. I mean, I don't know her personally, but it seems like she took that to heart, which is why when she was asked the second time, she came out a little more forcefully. And what she said and having respect for the women that came before her, predominantly the Black woman that came before her, was really important for her to speak out the way she did.

COATES: Well, you know, people are speaking out, and not just the WNBA on issues that are about racism or struggles, the racism as well, and the different inter-sectionalism that was talked about by the DiJonai.

This week, a court in Spain ordered eight-month prison sentences for three men who made racist remarks and racist gestures toward Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr. And the men are also now banned from stadiums for -- for all Spanish football matches for now two years. And these were fans from an opposing team that had been throwing racial slurs and chants at him.

And back when this happened, remember that he was crying at a press conference. This is a 23-year-old who just wants to play without having people engage in this disgusting behavior. He said that he was losing the will to play at this time. But this decision is a huge victory for him now.

STALLWORTH: Yeah, he has spoken about it, you know, time and time again. And it's really sad that we still have this going on. Obviously, racism is as old as the earth is basically -- as long as humans have been on this earth. But for him to have to deal with that or anyone who have to deal with any racist remarks while you're trying to just do your job is a really tough thing.

And, you know, I'm not -- I don't really know how to handle the, you know, the juxtaposition of handling like the jail time. I'm totally on board for, you know, for them being banned from stadiums because you don't -- no one wants that in the stadiums. You don't want that. The players don't want that. The teams don't want to deal with that. You want the competition.

It's fine to get yelled out in your opposing team. All that is fine. The competitiveness, the competition is totally fine from the fans getting jeered and all that stuff. But the racist remarks really have no place in sports. And, you know, like I said, I'm not really sure about the jail time. I don't know how I feel about that, to be honest. But as far as them being banned, I think that was a good decision.

COATES: Well, I encourage everyone to read what he had to say about this as well, calling himself a tormentor now of this, not a victim of racism.


COATES: Donte Stallworth, thank you so much.

STALLWORTH: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Well, the question of age in politics is growing louder with North Dakotans approving an age limit for congressional candidates. But how old is too old? Mo Rocca might have an answer, and he joins me next.



COATES: It has quickly become the question of our ages, I mean, and it's precisely a question, frankly, about age. Can someone be too old to serve in politics? I mean, lately, that question was everywhere you look.

Just this week, voters in North Dakota approved a ballot measure that sets an age limit for congressional candidates, barring anyone who would turn 81 during their term. And, of course, there's the conversation around the two top 2024 presidential candidates. And tomorrow, happy birthday to Donald Trump because he turns 78. Now, if President Biden wins in November, he would be 82 at the start of his next term. Now, according to polling, more than half the country thinks that both Biden and Trump are too old for a second term. So, what happened to the phrase age is just a number? Well, my next guest has something to say about all that.

Joining me now is "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent Mo Rocca, who's out with a new book. It's called "Roctogenarians: Late in Life Debuts, Comebacks, and Triumphs," profiling people who have flourished in their later years.

First of all, Mo, welcome. I'm such a big fan of your work.


COATES: You have this uncanny knack of being able to use your name, whether it's mobituaries or other. I'm jealous of the fact you could do this every single time. Now, a new book.

ROCCA: I know. And now I'm running out of names. I'm going to have to do something with my middle name, I guess, next.


COATES: That's the next solution for you. I'll wait for that book next. Listen, I mean, the age question, it's -- it's all over, especially in politics.

ROCCA: Right.

COATES: Why do you think it has become such a huge issue?

ROCCA: Well, I think ageism is a real thing. I do think it's real. I think there is this idea that in the last third of our lives, we're supposed to sort of wind things down, get ready to clock out. And -- and my co-author, Jon Greenberg, and I wanted to write a book, and we did, that shows people achieving greatness in the last part of their lives. It's not a new thing. It has been happening for a long time. I mean, I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV.


Those of us who are old enough will get that reference. So --

COATES: I get it. Thank you.

ROCCA: Thank you. Okay.


I'm surprised that you're old enough to get that. And I'm not just flattering you. Yeah. And so -- and look, I think that there is a legitimate, real concern not just about the White House but the Senate as well about a gerontocracy, about, you know, entrenched power like that. But I think what's getting overlooked are the great strengths that come later in life, you know, and, you know, history is a strong guide for that, people who did do great things late in life. COATES: You know, the idea of, we've heard late bloomers, but we -- and we hear about the idea of, you know, there's always this counterpoint, which is that age brings wisdom and experience, and it's a good thing to have that. What are those merits? And also, maybe the downsides to older political candidates, is it being out of touch, is it being that much more experienced to know what in touch means?

ROCCA: I think the upsides that I have found, and I'll just be blunt, old people are my jam, I've been interviewing them for a long time.


I had a cooking show where I went around the country cooking with grandmothers and grandfathers in their kitchens. And what I learned is that the older you get, the less likely you are to care about what other people think --

COATES: Uh-hmm.

ROCCA: -- which is a quality I think we'd all like to have. I'm working on that myself.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

ROCCA: And I think that there's a kind of grace and wisdom certainly that come. These aren't just cliches. You know, one of the stories we tell is about Mary Church Terrell, who was a great -- older in life, civil rights leader. I mean, she had -- all of her life, she had fought for civil rights. And then at the age of 86, she rejoined the fight to lead sit-ins at segregated Washington, D.C. lunch counters.

And I think what's so powerful about that, for people who do public service late in life, is that they're fighting for a world that at best they'll be able to enjoy for a few years. Okay? So, they're not doing it for themselves, they're doing it for their sometimes literal or metaphorical children and their children's children.

So, I do think that there's a grace that comes. I think the recall of proper names we know starts to slip, but there's a clarity and judgment that sets in in many cases. These are generalities, but I think it's true.

COATES: I think that's a fascinating principle. And really, when you think about the ultimate act of selflessness, it is doing something that will benefit society even if you are not a direct beneficiary of it.

And frankly, your book points out a lot of well-known people who peaked, as they say, maybe later in life. And some were really interesting to think about. You've mentioned one incredible example. Another one, you talk about KFC's Colonel Sanders, 66, when he began touting his famous chicken recipe. You got Diana Nyad, 64, when she completed her swim from Cuba to Florida.

I do wonder, you run the gamut on a lot of the people I just named, just but a few, but are there specific traits that you have noticed among the people that you have profiled that could inspire even people who are set in their ways today?

ROCCA: They look at endings as beginnings. I mean, the great modernist painter, Matisse, was that way. I mean, obviously, he was successful early and in the middle of his life. In his 70s, cancer robbed him of the ability to paint. He could no longer sit upright. He had to be reclined in a wheelchair or in his bed.

But instead of just playing a highlights reel of all of his achievements through life, he traded in his paintbrush for a giant pair of scissors, and he began cutting out shapes from colored paper, and this began his very celebrated period of paper cutouts. This was its own brilliant artistic chapter for him. And in a way, it was a return to a kind of childlike, not childish simplicity, a fascination with bright colors and bold shapes that I find really powerful.

And in other cases, you had people like Frank McCourt and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Frank McCourt, you know, was a high school English teacher who spent his life struggling with whether he should even tell his story. His students thought that his childhood in Limerick, Ireland, as he described it, would make for a great book. But he was ashamed of his poverty. He thought that his story might not be worth telling.

And finally, he committed it to paper because, as he put it, he would have died howling if he hadn't told his story. It was a literary sensation. At 66, Angela's ashes took the world by storm. And he said, finally, it took me two years and all of my life to write this story.

And I find that powerful because I think people, especially late in life, who don't think that their stories are worth telling, that's a very, very sad thing. So, I'm glad he did it. It was a great book.

COATES: Well, may none of us ever be left howling at the end --

ROCCA: Yeah.

COATES: -- and get our stories out on paper --

ROCCA: Yeah.

COATES: -- for so many to see. And obviously, your book, again, called "Roctogenarians," is helping in that feat.


What an incredibly inspiring set of stories that I think will resonate with so many people. So, take that for everyone who thinks Sophia Petrillo was the least of the Golden Girls. She was a star. Okay?

ROCCA: She was a star.

COATES: She was a star.

ROCCA: Yeah. And by the way, by law, we had to include at least one Golden Girl. You can't write a book with this title and not have a Golden Girl. Sixty-two when she made her television debut. And for all of you down in Houston, Mr. Pickles, the Houston Zoo tortoise, became a first-time father at 90. And you thought Al Pacino was impressive.


COATES: I mean, with a name like Mr. Pickles, what are you going to do, kid? Mo Rocca, thank you so much.

ROCCA: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: The book, again, is called "Roctogenarians." Really, really fascinating. What else would you expect from Mo Rocca?

ROCCA: Thank you.

COATES: Thanks for watching. "Anderson Cooper 360" starts now.