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Laura Coates Live

George Latimer Ousts "Squad" Member Jamaal Bowman; Biden And Trump Face Off In CNN Presidential Debate In Two Days; Judge In Hush Money Case Partially Lifts Trump Gag Order; Jury Deliberating In Murder Trial Dividing Massachusetts. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 25, 2024 - 23:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: They're asking to gag him from attacking the FBI --



MILLS: -- the process -- the process, but they're not witnesses, they're not jurors, they're not family members, which is what the gag order covered in New York.

PHILLIP: I think it's fair to say -- I mean, look, I was sitting in the hearing with Judge Merchan. He -- he -- he tries to walk that line very carefully. He -- he is not a frivolous judge.

MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY IN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: No, he's -- he's exceptionally experienced. You know, he's an intelligent guy. He's fit as a fiddle. He's like got a central casting.


-- You know --

PHILLIP: As Donald Trump would say.

-- if you want see a perfect judge, you'd get him.

PHILLIP: All right, everyone. Donte Mills, Michael Van Der Veen, thank you both very much. And thank you for watching "NewsNight." "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: We begin with that breaking news out of New York today. One of the most progressive Democrats in Congress is now out of a seat. CNN projects George Latimer has now unseated Jamaal Bowman in a historic and bitter primary in New York's 16th congressional district.

Pro-Israel groups had backed Latimer, a moderate, and funneled millions of dollars into this race to unseat Bowman and they were successful. It is the most expensive House primary race in all of American history. Now, this could have implications far beyond just this 16th district in New York. It's not just a local race we're talking about. For one, it shows just how divided the party is on Israel's war in Gaza, which is a critical issue that has frankly dogged Democrats and President Biden's re-election bid. Bowman, a two-term progressive, has been one of the loudest critics of Israel's war. Latimer, on the other hand, he has expressed support for Israel.

To be clear, this election had a lot of other dynamics at play. It was not a one-issue race, with Latimer accusing Bowman of caring more about his national profile than his local constituents. Here's Latimer on that point just last hour on CNN.


GEORGE LATIMER, WESTCHESTER, NEW YORK COUNTY EXECUTIVE: When you lose touch with your district, when you're not on the ground enough, and when you're more concerned about your national profile that you're on, you know, the major media outlets, but you're not in the neighborhoods that you need to be in, all the neighborhoods you need to be in, then you lose the focus and you lose support in your district.


COATES: Well, nationally, this is an undeniable blow to the party's progressive wing. Bowman is now the first member of the Congresswoman AOC-led Squad to lose a primary challenge this cycle. Now, there's a lot of coverage on all this ahead, and a lot more races to go.

In a minute, we'll hear from former New York Congressman Joe Crowley. But our Miguel Marquez, he is at Bowman headquarters with his reaction. But let's first for a moment get to CNN's Harry Enten at the magic wall. I've got quite the spread here of people to give their expertise and talk about the issues.

Harry Enten, good to see you. Talk to me about this race. How did Latimer pull this off? This was a two-term incumbent.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: You know, you mentioned spreads. I should note I was up in the 16th district last week. I was getting Carvel. You got food on my mind.


Anyway, anyway --

COATES: I can talk food all day, my friend.

ENTEN: You know, we have -- we still have to hit up a diner. Anyway, all right, let's talk about New York's 16th district. We got the yellow checkmark by George Latimer, a clear victory here, we're talking double digits. You rarely ever see an incumbent lose by double digits, and you'd speak about how did he do it.

Well, let's go in on a county level. All right, you know, Jamaal Bowman held that rally this past weekend in the South Bronx, which I should note is not actually part of the 16th district. But, you know, he basically said, we're going to show what the Bronx is made of. Well, the Bronx actually went for Jamaal Bowman. Look at this, an 84% to 16% margin.

Here is the problem, something I saw throughout this entire campaign. It seemed to me that Jamaal Bowman didn't know who his constituents were and George Latimer did, because the fact is, you see this margin in the Bronx, but let's go up to Westchester County, what do we see? Westchester County, which makes up the vast majority of this district, George Latimer, 62% of the vote, Jamaal Bowman, just 38% of the vote.

You know, one other thing progressives like to argue, they like to argue, okay, you know, when our voters turn out, we win. But look here, in 2022, there was just a little bit less than 40,000 votes. Already was still a lot of votes to be counted. Look here, already about 61,000 votes already cast in this race.

So, the fact is, Laura, more people turned out this year than turned out two years ago, and it seemed to me that those voters, especially in Westchester County, overwhelmingly went for George Latimer.

COATES: Now don't think for a second that John King didn't notice that drag from the bottom you did on that magic wall. I'm just saying, I saw it, kudos to you, but the outside spending is what people have been talking about in this particular race. I mean, it was through the roof.

The most expensive primary in American history. We're talking about the 16th district in New York. My husband is from the Bronx, so shout out to the Bronx. But the idea here, you had all this outside spending, is very telling.

ENTEN: It is.


But, you know, a thing I should point out about this, you know, I want to go back two years ago, and I want to note that Jamaal Bowman was in trouble in this district long before any of that spending started. You know, you go back to 2022, Jamaal Bowman for an incumbent got just 54% of the vote. Yes, the spending helped, but here's the deal: George Latimer has been a politician in Westchester County before I was born.

Also, notable that George Latimer was somebody who was well-liked completely across the board, got endorsements from all over Westchester County. And more than that, he led in this race basically from the start. When he got in, he was leading an internal polling in January before any of this money got really spent on the air. Yes. Did the money help? Yes. Did Israel play a part in this campaign? Yes.

But as you hinted at in your opening, this election was more than just about Israel. It was about local politicians. George Latimer was known throughout Westchester, and it paid off tonight.

COATES: Hmm. That's really a telling figure you just gave us there. Harry Enten, thank you so much. I want to bring in CNN's Miguel Marquez, live outside campaign headquarters for Congressman Bowman in Yonkers, New York, just outside of New York City. Miguel, Bowman, he just spoke. What was his message to his supporters?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not surprisingly, he was defiant, saying that he would continue to fight for all the issues that they were fighting for, whether it's Medicaid for all or Medicare for all or for free Palestine. When he said that he would continue to fight for free Palestine, that got the biggest cheer in the House.

But, look, he was upset about the money. His campaign, the progressive left that worked with his campaign, was extremely upset. Twenty-five million dollars spent in this campaign. About 15 million of it came from the Super PAC associated with the American Israel Political Action Committee. He was very upset about it. When he conceded today, he said he didn't have one opponent, but opponents.

COATES: And the other --


REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Now, our opponents, that opponent, may have won this round, at this time, in this place, but this will be a battle for our humanity and justice for the rest of our lives.


MARQUEZ: And -- and what his campaign is saying and what the -- the progressive left that worked with his campaign is saying is that Cori Bush in St. Louis will be the next target for AIPAC.

But look, as Harry was saying, this district is much more moderate. George Latimer is extremely well known in this district and it was going to be a very difficult race for Bowman, no matter what.

The money, the airwaves here were awash in ads for -- you know, AIPAC was funding the ads, but they weren't pro-Israel ads. They never mentioned Gaza. They only talked about how close each candidate was to Bush. That may have been the most interesting thing of this campaign.

Both Latimer and -- and Jamaal Bowman both said they were the best ones to serve Joe Biden. We don't hear that in a lot of campaigns anywhere. Back to you.

COATES: Miguel Marquez, thank you so much. Joining me now, former New York Democratic congressman Joe Crowley. He served in Congress until 2019 when he was unseated by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a democratic primary. Congressman, thank you so much for joining.

I mean, these numbers are significant and it's significant to have Bowman be unseated in this fashion. It's an upset victory in many ways. But here was Latimer on CNN just the last hour with my friend, Abby Phillip, talking about why he thought he won. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LATIMER: I didn't win it on the national debate. I won it because I went door-to-door, where I could, all throughout this district. I talk to people about the issues they want to talk about, which included what's happening in the Middle East, but really prioritized domestic issues, things of affordability, housing, restoration of the sole tax deduction.

So, I think that the constituents that I talked to are the ones that I am most interested in their point of view, and that's the one that I'm going to try to focus on.


COATES: He went on to talk about how this had been mischaracterized as progressive against somebody who was not. But he himself said he is progressive. Do you think that Bowman lost touch with his constituents or is this a factor of domestic versus foreign policy taking precedent?

JOE CROWLEY, FORMER NEW YORK REPRESENTATIVE: I'm not convinced that this is a great seat for Bowman to begin with.

COATES: Interesting.

CROWLEY: I think that was represented in the numbers that I think Harry had said about the last election. He did oust Eliot Engel, you know, a 25-plus year incumbent.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

CROWLEY: I think that has a lot to do with, you know, the more you know someone, the more you know them, you know. I think that in this particular race, both candidates are very progressive. So, I really don't think it was on this or those issues.


I think it had to do more with the performance of Bowman, maybe the more bombastic performances of Bowman throughout the last couple of years in particular.

COATES: And there was a mention of, you know, another member of Congress, Congresswoman Cori Bush, also having a race where there is funding by a PAC for her opponent. It's somebody, Wesley Bell, a prosecutor who was, I believe, the one to decide not to prosecute an officer in the shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson. Is this some message, you think, on a national scale for members of the progressive left?

CROWLEY: I think that when you see an election where they have been effective in terms of winning an election, you know, it actually encourages them doing more. I don't think it's about, again, the issues. I think it's going to be about the money. And I do think that the pro-Israel groups do not look at Bush as an ally and, therefore, may take the very same tactics here. But every district is different. You know, what's happening in

Westchester and Northern Bronx is completely different than what's happening, you know, in the middle of the country.

COATES: When you look at, you know, the identity of a party, we often see that being raised. I mean, Jamaal Bowman, a Black man, an educator, I think he's in his 40s. Latimer, not any of the things I've just described. There is a visual distinction that people often look at.

CROWLEY: Uh-hmm.

COATES: Does this signal anything to you about the future of the way the Democratic Party is shaping up to voters?

CROWLEY: Well, I do think that in many respects, this might be very beneficial to the president.


CROWLEY: In that, you know, there seems to be a swinging of the pendulum. It went very far left in 2018, 2020, to some degree in 2022. But it's starting to come back a bit. And I think it's going to be beneficial for the president to be able to be able to speak to the middle of the country and not necessarily -- look, at the end of the day, we all come together as Democrats.

We understand that President Bush -- reelecting President Trump is not good for anyone, not good for America, not good for the world. And we need to come back. But I think it will give the president an opportunity to maybe move towards the middle again, appeal to Republicans as well.

COATES: That's interesting to think about that and how this might bode for President Biden, who's undoubtedly watching this race and thinking about the composition of Congress. But money in politics is something you can't deny when you look at a race like this. I mean, the most expensive race in the history of this country, 25 million bucks in ad spending alone. What does this say about the influence of outside money?

CROWLEY: It says a lot. There's no question about it. Citizens United has been a disaster for politics in America. Everything, though, that was done in this race, to my understanding, was law abiding. They followed the rules and followed the law. And both sides have access to money in terms of this particular race.

If you look at Bowman's numbers, most of his money came from outside the district. I know there has been a lot of criticism of Latimer for the same, but Latimer had most of his money come from within inside the district.

So, I do think that's important. Look, you know, being able to raise one in three dollars from millions of people is a benefit that not many members of Congress have. In fact, very few have that. So, they have to rely on the system, and that is through PACs and through individual contributions, and then in some cases, even by outside money.

I don't like it. I think it's abused by all sides, left, right, middle. I'd like to see that change, but that's going to take, you know, change in the Supreme Court or at least changing the Constitution to make it clear that that type of money is not acceptable in American politics.

COATES: Well, this was a nasty primary. I wonder how this will bode as a preview to a bigger race, the presidential race going in November. Congressman, thank you so much for joining.

CROWLEY: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: There's new reporting tonight on President Biden's debate strategy and an attack line that we should likely expect to see. The question is, is it going to land? Colorado Governor Jared Polis is here to help us answer that very question. His insights on the high stakes debate next.



COATES: Preparations for Thursday's debate continuing for both President Biden and former President Trump. But what that prep actually looks like? Well, it varies for who you're talking about.

Trump is saying to "Washington Examiner" it is -- quote -- "very hard to prepare for debates" and that debating is -- quote -- "an attitude more than anything else."

Now, on the other side, President Biden is still at Camp David for what is now his fourth day of debate prep. And according to direct knowledge, Biden and his team are staging different practice runs of varying length to prepare for what will be the 90-minute debate.

And the goal is to refine both the substance and, of course, the stamina that's required to endure that event. Source adding that these rehearsals are just part of a -- quote -- "long working days."

Now, with some of Biden's senior staff staying in cabins overnight at Camp David, it's a full-fledged affair.

Joining me now, the Democratic governor of Colorado, Jared Polis. Governor, thank you so much for joining me today. I mean, we're hearing a lot about the prep. You are no stranger to what it takes to prepare for debates. I wonder, in the world we're seeing where Trump seems to be downplaying his debate prep, if there is any, and Biden going all in, what do you think is the most effective way to prepare?

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): I can tell you what, you know, debate prep looks like. I've been through it. I've been at this rodeo.

COATES: Uh-hmm

POLIS: You know, I've run for statewide office twice and won. So, you have somebody playing the other person. So, you know, there's probably either a person or people that are playing Donald Trump. He's kind of an easier character -- easy character to get down.

And what you want to do is you want to practice the likely questions a number of times, and then you want to make sure you have several zingers that are ready to go and several comebacks that are ready to go. Those are the lines that people remember, right? People often don't remember what policies you talked about.

You look at what comes out of some of the big debates. Did you land the hits you're supposed to land? Did you respond correctly and hit back when they hit you? And you want to get that right. You want to get that quick. You want to make it look easy. And, of course, it's as much about how you look as what you say.

And so, I'm sure the president is practicing his poise, his confidence, and coming across the right way.

COATES: And becoming authentic, having the rehearsed zingers and whatnot. You've got to deliver in a way that seems natural and not someone going, oh, you practiced that for quite some time.


But it's the strategy I'm interested in as well because we do have reporting tonight that when it comes to foreign policy, specifically, governor, Biden is going to attempt to paint Trump as somebody who is a loser, who is too dangerous and reckless to be the president again. Is that an effective approach when dealing with someone like Trump?

POLIS: Well, certainly a big risk for Donald Trump is coming in and saying something that's completely incorrect in the foreign policy arena.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

POLIS: This is an area that Joe Biden knows well, Foreign Relations Committee, vice president, president. He knows this stuff inside and out. I think it's a strong point he can play to that. Fundamentally, this is not a foreign policy election. But do people care about the world? Do they care about Ukraine, Israel? Absolutely. I think first and foremost, they care about costs and inflation and the economy. I'm sure a lot of that will come out as well.

COATES: You know, I said that Trump seems to be downplaying in his recent interviews about prep. It's more of an attitude than anything else. But there is reporting that he does have a number of his close allies that are helping him to prepare. We've seen what's going on at Camp David, at least through the reporting. I mean, Trump is prepping with the likes of some. By the way, on this list, are people who might be on the short list for being the vice-presidential pick. What do you think is the tactic that Trump is trying to display by suggesting it's no big deal, maybe?

POLIS: Well, some of it is the expectations game, right? I think they want to be able to say, if he commits a couple gaffes, oh, it's because he didn't practice. So, you know, there's always that expectation game happening. I think expectations are high for Donald Trump going into this. The president needs to really exceed expectations here, which he can. I think he has a lot to talk about.

I hope he focuses on the future, right? Not just his accomplishments. We've come a long way. The economy is roaring back. But also, the plans for the next four years and the fundamental differences between the vision for America united under Joe Biden moving forward or back to the chaos of the past under Donald Trump.

COATES: Interestingly, Hillary Clinton had an op-ed in "The New York Times" today where she talked about the exercise and futility of trying to refute or fact check in real time someone like Donald Trump. And one of the things she mentions, which talks about what you just said, is the idea to let him try to articulate in-artfully or ineffectively or incoherently the policy stances he, in fact, has. Do you agree with the idea that it's an exercise in futility to try to refute him in time and instead maybe give the rope of, yeah, explain what your positions really are?

POLIS: Well, if it hadn't been used already, the great Ronald Reagan debate line, there you go again, would be a great one here. But something along those lines, you cannot get into this tit for tat on every issue. There's no question that Donald Trump will say things that are false, demonstrably not true. You're not the person there to correct him on everything.

I think some kind of line that helps you pivot off of that is hopefully what President Biden is practicing and will be able to deliver on without getting into the he said, he said on every single issue, in fact.

COATES: I mean, there is the personality aspects here and the antics that undoubtedly will come. But then there are voters who want to hear their responses. And we know that immigration is going to come up, we know the economy is going to be an issue, we know reproductive rights, and then with the economy, that's a pretty broad umbrella term.

But the personal economies for people are going to be so important to have questions answered. You have been really championing the issue of affordable housing, which comes under that same purview. What are you looking to hear from both about this issue?

POLIS: Yeah, I think when people say the economy, it's too far removed. This is really personal for people. It's about costs going up, it's about groceries costing more, it's about housing costing more. And so, talking about real solutions.

In Colorado, we removed barriers to housing, made it easier to build accessory dwelling units, reduced paperwork, reduced bureaucracy, reduced the legal costs associated with it to create more housing. I think if President Biden can lean into this abundance agenda, how do we create more housing for people of all income levels? Right?

In Colorado, we got free preschool and kindergarten done. Let's do that nationally. Only nine states have preschool. Guess what? If you have young kids, preschool is expensive. That's a way to save people money and contrast your position with Donald Trump in a family friendly way that also speaks to people's pocketbook.

COATES: Oh, I remember quite well when my kids were in daycare. It was a huge expense. And, of course, as a parent, what are you going do? You're working. What are you supposed to do about this?

Interestingly enough, when you talk about these issues, I do wonder how much substance will translate to voters because both are effective communicators, both are showman in their own rights. Will this translate to the average voter who wants these answers in this format this early?

POLIS: Well, the substance is, of course, very important, and there's going be some people to watch the debate for those reasons. But it's also very important, those memorable moments that you can do, those contrasts on a give and take on one of them looking foolish and one of them looking good, one of them saying something that is obviously contrary to facts and being called out in a clever way.

So, it's the art of the debate, right? It's that clever rapport back and forth. And, obviously, people are going to look like in a boxing match. Yes, who's the better boxer, but also who lands that key punch at the right time.

COATES: This is a rematch. Are you concerned in any way that Biden is not going to perform in the same way he has several years ago?


POLIS: Well, I think before every debate, you know, when you're rooting for a candidate, you're holding your breath saying, I hope they do well. And I'm sure that Donald Trump supporters are holding their breath even harder than Joe Biden's supporters because it's hard to predict what that guy is going to do, even with his own supporters.

Absolutely, it's a nail biter. We're all going to be pulling for Joe Biden in my corner and wishing him the best about articulating a very positive, optimistic view of what he wants to get done in the next four years as President of the United States.

COATES: Well, we'll see what happens. It's two days away. Governor, thank you so much for joining me.

POLIS: Always a pleasure.

COATES: Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderate Thursday's debate live from Atlanta beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and also streaming on Max.

Donald Trump could be soon getting into even more vocal ahead of the debate. Why? Well, the judge in his hush money trial has lifted several parts of his gag order who he is now able to go after, next.


[23:30:26] COATES: Well, tonight, the New York judge overseeing Donald Trump's hush money case, partially lifting the gag order ahead of the first presidential debate, allowing the former president to rail against jurors and witnesses like, well, you probably guessed it, Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels. But prosecutors, court staffers and their family members, they all remain off limits. So, how is Trump taking the decision?


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): I think partial is very unfair, because there are things we have to say. Especially, in my case, I'm going into a debate and I'm going to have to talk about a gag order. What does partial mean? It's not fair. The gag order has to be lifted in its entirety.


COATES: I want to bring in a retired California superior court judge, LaDoris Cordell. She's the author of "Her Honor: My Life on the Bench." So good to see you again, Judge Cordell. You know, the last time you and I spoke, you said that Judge Merchan should not lift the gag order. He says the circumstances have now changed, though. Why do you think he moved forward with this modified version that clears his ability to again attack witnesses, potentially jurors?

LADORIS CORDELL, RETIRED CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: Yeah. Well, thank you for having me on again. Let's all remember that the only reason that Trump wants the gag order lifted is to attack and intimidate individuals covered by the order. And by doing so, he wants to incite his MAGA followers to attack them. That's the reason, right?

So, witnesses in this trial who testified in the trial, they're now on their own. I send them my thoughts and prayers because they're going to need it. Jurors are fair game as a group, but individual jurors can't be targeted because their personal information remains confidential.

I would have kept the jurors as a group under the protection of the gag order because if there is a leak, and things leak, they would be targets for what? Doing their civic duty by participating in the court proceeding. So, no, I would not have made a partial gag order lifted part of it. I would have kept it all in place.

COATES: Now, since it has been lifted, though, in that partial manner, if individual jurors were to become victims of a leak or otherwise, is it too late for the judge to reverse course in some way and reinstate ahead of sentencing?

CORDELL: Well, I'll tell you, first of all, if I were jurors in that case, I'd be -- I'd be horrified, wondering, you know, is my information going to get out? And that they shouldn't have to worry about something like that.

So, if there is a leak, the first thing I think the judge should do is get the lawyers back in, Trump in, and find out where this leak came from, because the personal information was given to each side's lawyers that's on the prosecution side, Trump side, and there may be selected staff, the court staff that had the information. So, the information came out somewhere. That's the first thing.

And then is it too late? It may be. I think if I were the judge, I'd reinstate it completely. But I'd find out who did this. And then, of course, there would be immediate repercussions, some sort of sanctions, a fine or maybe some jail time.

COATES: Thankfully, we are presently unaware of any leak that has, in some ways, rendered these jurors as a group or individually more vulnerable. But as far as people like Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, they have often already been the target of ire from the supporters of Trump and Trump himself. In fact, here is the former Trump fixer, as he's known, Michael Cohen, on witnesses like himself now being fair game for Trump to go after. Listen.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Yes, I feel bad for them. I feel bad for myself. But it's what -- what can he say that he has not said already a thousand times?


COATES: By the way, Stormy Daniels, Your Honor, also very deferential to Judge Merchan's decision. And I wonder, why do you think that is? I mean, is it because -- I mean, neither of those two are known as shrinking wallflowers or violence. Is it because both can -- can hold their own? Should they be under the same protection as, say, the average juror?

CORDELL: Yeah. Well, first, understand, they're not worried about what Donald Trump says about them, they're worried about how other people will react to what Donald Trump says about them. So, they're not worried about him saying these things. We've also -- we've already heard him say these things. So, they know what's coming. They have lived in that world for a long time, ever since this case, even before it even started. So, they're prepared. It's best they can be. And so --



CORDELL: -- I think that's why they're taking it in stride.

COATES: Perhaps you're right about that issue. I do want to turn quickly, if we can, to these classified documents case, a very important endeavor. It's a federal case, a federal matter. Here's what we've learned, by the way, from the third day of hearings led by Judge Aileen Cannon. She's not buying Trump's arguments that the Mar-a-Lago search was somehow improper. She even questioned the Trump's team, their request to exclude evidence from the case. There are a number of outstanding motions, as you well know. But what does this tell you about how this case is appearing today? CORDELL: Just -- just very quickly, Laura, you know that the job of a lawyer is to make arguments to persuade a judge. The job of the judge is to make decision, make a ruling. I don't think Judge Cannon got the memo. The delays continue. She heard arguments yesterday, heard them today, different subjects, and she has yet to rule on any of them. She has got kind of given an indication, but that's not a ruling. And I think there are at least half a dozen pending issues on which she has yet to rule.

So, you know, the norm is that you hear motions to dismiss first, because if she grants a motion to dismiss, that's the end of the case. There's no trial. And if she denies the dismissal motions, then the trial moves forward, and you have other issues to take up. But she's not operating in this fashion. She's like random all over the place. It's like judicial chaos.

So, I don't know what's going to come next or when she will do anything at all because she's all over, and I don't know who's giving her advice or if she's getting any advice at all. But right now, it just doesn't look good. I don't get a sense about where this case is even headed, albeit with no trial date even set yet.

COATES: Well, it's certainly benefiting the defense for the reasons you've articulated. No trial date, nothing on the calendar that has decisions all over it, and we're still waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States to decide the issue of immunity which, I think, she is hoping might impact her case as well. We can go on about why that's an odd thing as well. Judge LaDoris Cordell, thank you so much.

CORDELL: Thank you.

COATES: Up next, more on our breaking news, a huge defeat for one of the most progressive Democrats in all of Congress. So, what does that mean for the Democratic Party more broadly? We're going to talk about it.



COATES: We are following the breaking news. New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman suffering a stinging primary defeat to George Latimer in the most expensive House primary ever. It was a double-digit loss and a blow to progressives, although both candidates say that they are, in fact, progressives.

Joining me now, campaign reporter for "The Washington Post," Colby Itkowitz, former senior adviser to the Bernie Sanders 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Chuck Rocha, and former deputy communications director for the Trump 2016 campaign, Bryan Lanza. So good to have all of you here.

First, let me begin with you, Chuck, on this, because this is a really important loss. I do wonder, from your perspective, is it a kind of turning point for progressives or is this localized? CHUCK ROCHA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it's localized because every district is a little bit different. If you look at all the Squad members, most of them are in urban areas where they're voting their constituency. That's how they get reelected.

This district is outside of New York City. And as we'll report on a lot of it, the majority of it is in Westchester County. And after the first time Congressman Bowman ran, they took 40,000 people in the Bronx that were mainly Black working-class folks. Little Jamaica was there. They moved them out, and it was no longer there in 2022. When he did have a primary, there was nobody running from Westchester. This is not a city district anymore, so I don't think you can weigh them against each other.

COATES: Why are you smiling about this?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: For me, I look at it as trying to avoid the obvious. There's a disturbance in the Democratic Party with respect to Israel. And you're seeing it sort of highlighted in this race. You're seeing it highlighted again. You're seeing it at the highlighted democratic convention. You're seeing it highlighted in these campuses. There's a major disruption in the Democratic Party with respect to the Israel policy.

And it's one race here. We'll see it in other races. And it's just an unavoidable train wreck that the Dems are headed down. This is just one -- this is just one stop along this train wreck.

ROCHA: I want to make something clear that there was a lot of AIPAC money that I'm sure we're going to talk about.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

ROCHA: The most expensive primary election in the history of elections. And as a campaign consultant, it makes me cry a little bit on the inside because I would like to get a little bit of that money.


LANZA: It was your cut.

ROCHA: Right, exactly. But even though AIPAC spent a lot of money, ironically, when I look back at all the commercials, none of them were about Israel and Palestine. The $20 million that was spent on TV were talking about other issues, but not Israel and Palestine.

COATES: It was a nasty primary, though. And the ads that were being run, they may not have talked about it specifically, but there was the elephant in the room.

COLBY ITKOWITZ, CONGRESS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, and they were all, most of them, most of the attack ads against Jamaal Bowman were funded by AIPAC Super PAC.

But, to your point, they weren't talking about Israel. They were talking about Jamaal Bowman's legislative record, the fact that he voted against Joe Biden's infrastructure bill, the fact that he didn't stand with Biden on certain legislative accomplishments, and really trying to paint Bowman as an outsider, as someone who wasn't looking out for the best interests of the district.

And that's something that George Latimer was really selling from the moment that he got into this race, was the idea that he's someone they knew, he'd been a local elected official for decades in Westchester County, quite beloved, actually, among a wide swath of the communities in Westchester. And so, what he said, you know, from the minute he got in is, I know you and Jamaal Bowman doesn't.

COATES: Listen to some of the ads that were run, just to talk about very specifically, they may have mentioned or talked about, but listen just to kind of the tenor of it.


LATIMER: I'm George Latimer. And whether you live in Port Chester, Greenberg, or Coop City, we're fed up with the chaos that's hanging over our heads, Trump extremists in Washington, and a congressman spreading lies and conspiracy theories.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): George Latimer has sold out a republican-funded AIPAC supporting Netanyahu's unpopular war over Biden's calls for peace. But Jamaal Bowman always stands up for what's right.

BOWMAN (D-NY): I spent my life fighting for children and families. This is the many versus the money.


COATES: Hmm. The many versus the money. First of all, that's something that can probably be used more expansively even outside of New York. But there is a congressman, Cori Bush, that people are talking about right now as vulnerable in her own primary. How worried should she be?

ROCHA: I think anytime you see this much money spent in any kind of a primary, Democrat or Republican, it makes a big deal because there's only a small group of people that participate. You just had the congressman from New York here earlier tonight that AOC had beat back in the day. We were talking about in the green room. There was only about 10,000 people that even voted in that primary. So, when you have a small group of people and a lot of money, it has a big impact.

And also, tonight, when we're thinking about patterns, let's remember that AOC could be the queen of the (INAUDIBLE), most of the folks would say of the Squad. She had a contested primary tonight with outside money that came in not near at this level. But if there was a problem, she wouldn't have won tonight with almost 90% of the vote in democratic primary.

COATES: Is it -- go ahead, excuse me. ITKOWITZ: Yeah, I was going to say, AIPAC kind of looked at the field of Squad members. They would like to oust every single one of them as they see as antagonistic against Israel. But they picked two, and they picked Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush as the two that they thought were most likely to be beat by their primary challengers. And so, we saw how much money AIPAC put into this race. You can expect a similar amount of money now put into this August primary that Cori Bush has.

COATES: Why were those two chosen? Is it -- is it the language they were speaking about or are there other issues in terms of the strength of their opponent?

LANZA: They had district issues. Listen, both of these members have district issues. You know, AIPAC jumping in and highlighting those district issues, you know, became the combustible part for Jamaal and for Cori Bush. And she has got district issues, too. There's going to be money coming in.

These are going to be the first steps in a long process of AIPAC playing in these races. You're going to see more and more of members who have district issues work on them and try to not -- not to appease but have broad appeal to their constituency, which right now some don't.

ITKOWITZ: It's also a candidate quality issue. AIPAC kind of looked across the field and thought, who can actually beat these members of the Squad? And in George Latimer, who is someone that they really lobbied and urged to run, especially after the October 7th attacks, they saw in Latimer someone that could beat Jamaal Bowman and was worth spending, you know, the $14.5 million that they spent.

COATES: Well, really quickly, we heard from former Congressman Crowley earlier, and he said that this win of Latimer is probably going to likely inert the benefit or please President Joe Biden because it shows moderates might be successful. How do you see it?

ROCHA: I don't think Latimer is a moderate. I think that the district is just different. They went in and recruited this guy who was already elected county wide in the biggest county that makes up 80% of the district. It's just math.

COATES: Hmm. Well, the math needs to be math and everyone. Thank you so much for joining tonight. A murder case that has gripped Massachusetts is now in the hands of a jury. Is Karen Read the culprit of a romance turned deadly or the victim of a vast police coverup? That's next.


ALAN JACKSON, KAREN READ'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You have been lied to in this courtroom.




COATES: It's a true crime story that has a little bit of everything. Two lovers in the midst of a rocky relationship, allegations of murder after a drunken crash, counter allegations of a vast police coverup, and a big circus outside of a courthouse in a Boston suburb. Well, now a jury is deciding whether Karen Read is guilty of killing her cop boyfriend or is she the victim of a conspiracy?

It's a case that goes back to a snowy winter night in January of 2022, where prosecutors say Read got into a fight with her boyfriend, a Boston police officer named John O'Keefe, outside the home of another police officer. They were there for some kind of an after party. But instead of going inside, prosecutors claim Read drunkenly drove into O'Keefe, fled the scene, and then left him to die in the cold. The first words in the lead prosecutor's closing arguments, using Read's own words against her.


ADAM LALLY, NORFOLK ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I hit him, I hit him, I hit him, I hit him, was the words of the defendant, four times. You heard testimony from four different witnesses who overheard and observed those statements from the defendant on January 29th, 2022.


COATES: But Read's defense team has an entirely different story. They say she actually dropped off O'Keefe at the officer's home, and then a fight broke out inside that home between O'Keefe and off-duty officers. The defense claims he was fatally beaten, even mauled by the owner's dog, and then tossed out in the snow. Read says those officers then tried to frame her.


JACKSON: So, how does a cover-up happen? How could that happen? Well, let's count the ways, shall we? Handpick your investigator, make sure it's someone we know, someone on our side, keep him close, offer him help, offer him a gift, have secret friends and family meetings, get your story straight, delete your call history, make mysterious phone calls at 2:22 a.m., delete Google searches, monitor police activity, get rid of evidence, get rid of your dog.


COATES: Sound like a lot?


Well, certainly a case that is gripped and divided in Massachusetts. Jury selection alone took a week. And it has been nine weeks of testimony from about 70 witnesses. Only a handful called by the defense.

Well, joining me now, defense attorney Peter Elikann. Thank you so much for being here. Just thinking about how this case has evolved and been described, I mean, it is head spinning to think about what has happened here. It is so bizarre in that these narratives from each side, I mean, they could not be more different. And now, the jury has to grapple with who they're going to believe. So, who do you think made the more convincing argument in this trial?

PETER ELIKANN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think it is sort of the conventional wisdom here among the legal community that the defense is actually ahead on points. This was an unusual prosecution. They obviously had no eyewitness to what took place, how he died. And even the medical examiner from the state said that, you know, blunt force trauma. But she said, I don't know if it was a punch or a baseball bat to the head or whether he got hit by the car.

So, the way that the prosecution's case went in for every witness, the defense was able to knock holes in it. And then they have the forensic experts on both sides. And they both kind of contradicted each other. And, as you may know, that often goes to the benefit of defense because if the jury walks away saying, gee, I heard two sides of the story, two experts, I don't know what happened at that point, you didn't prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

And that's why at this point there has been no kind of knockout blow. There hasn't been the aha moment or the smoking gun or we really got to the bottom of it. There's just so many conflicting stories. And she has got a huge, huge support network, too, you know, showing up at the courthouse. Normally, people show up to demonstrate at a courthouse because they hate the defendant here.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

ELIKANN: She has got a -- they're cheering her and applauding every time she enters the court. So --

COATES: Is that right?

ELIKANN: We haven't seen anything like this before, but the passion in the state over this case is like through the roof.

COATES: I mean, the prosecution, as you talk about the idea of reasonable doubt, may be coming into the minds of jurors, but they run into some problems. The lead investigator in the case has admitted that he sent text to a private group chat calling Read a whack job. Another saying he found no nudes while searching her phone for evidence. Investigators, apparently, used red plastic cups to collect evidence at the scene. And no, I did not misstate that. How have these missteps played into the case? How was the jury reacting to this coming in?

ELIKANN: Well, we were told actually during a lot of that testimony, particularly that lead investigator who has now been vilified, that they were actually rolling their eyes and putting their hands over their mouth and they were just shocked. He was not only saying all these horrible, sexist things, language I couldn't use on TV, but making fun of the fact he had multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease.

And what was worse, though, is that on these -- on these texts that he's sending out to everybody, he pretty much admits what a biased -- I mean, he happened to be friends with the people inside the house. He should have recused himself right away. But he admits that I'm not even -- the body was found outside the house. He wasn't even going to talk to anybody inside the house or do a search there, he said, because he's a police officer.

So, he pretty much admitted that he didn't do the -- the total job here, and it really was just a shock to everybody that he's doing this texting to friends, to high school friends, to family. He's sending all these texts out and even to his superiors who didn't kind of stop him or step on the thing. But it has been major critics about the -- really the lack of a thorough, unbiased investigation.

COATES: And, frankly, if the jury is hearing that and, of course, she has the presumption of innocence, she's entitled to it, and she's articulating a conspiracy that is complicated, it's vast that from -- either from things that have been destroyed in terms of evidence to compromise, as you're talking about investigators in this conspiracy, that that she has been set up, that she has been framed by officers. There's a lot of dots to connect. Is it enough to raise reasonable doubt with some of these jurors? You only need one.

ELIKANN: Yes, I think it is. There are just questions about every bit of evidence put in. We were able to show the people in the house who were accused of assaulting her. Every one of them either got rid of their phone or deleted the phone or they're calling back and forth all night long to each other. And yet all of them claim we're but dialing, to use the vernacular. There was just so many credibility problems.

But, particularly, the investigation was -- the chief investigator wasn't even -- didn't even interview many of the witnesses until, you know, a year later. So, there are so many holes in it that they're just -- they're just reasonable doubt. You could drive a truck through here. It's just extraordinary. And that's why, you know, juries can fool us.


I've been shocked before. You probably have. We've all been seeing jurors where we just -- they'll come out with a result that we can't imagine that they came to. But at the moment, though, it looks like there's so much reasonable doubt here that the conventional wisdom, the betting money seems to be on that she will be acquitted. No guarantees.

COATES: There is never a guarantee. But, you know, my heart goes out to the family of the victim who is undoubtedly receiving all the information as well and wondering if there's justice on behalf of their son and loved one as well. Peter Elikann, what a case. Thank you so much.

ELIKANN: Thanks for having me. Thanks.

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