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CNN TONIGHT: White House Compares Actions Of GOP Governors To "Smugglers"; Montana Defies Order On Transgender Birth Certificates; Black Girls Celebrate Bailey As "Ariel" In "Little Mermaid" Remake, Reflecting Importance Of Representation In Media. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 16, 2022 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: You can also find it, obviously, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

I started, recording alone, while packing my mom's apartment, after her death. And it's a process that we'll all go through, as is grief. I realized that people don't talk much about it. And that adds the loneliness of it. It certainly did, for me. Loss and grief are among the most universal of human experiences. They're bonds that we all share.

The first episode is available now. The second one will go online, next week. I hope, you'll give it a listen.

That's it for us. The news continues. Let's hand it over to Laura Coates and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Anderson, I really loved the first episode. And I hope everyone listened to it.

COOPER: Oh, thank you.

COATES: It really - it was so - it resonated. And there were moments in it that I'm so glad that you went there that you were personal.

Because I think everyone should really get to know you from that side as well, and thinking about. I know how personable and wonderful you are. But to have that idea and know you in that dimension in a way that relates to everyone was really, really powerful.

COOPER: Laura, thank you. I appreciate it.

COATES: Bravo!

COOPER: Thank you.

COATES: Thank you.

Everyone, I'm Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT. And look, if you thought that the backlash, coming from the decision, to fly migrants, to Martha's Vineyard, would lead to an apology, from a Florida governor, you probably haven't been paying attention.

No, the governor behind the surprise delivery did not apologize. He's doubling down, as is Texas governor, Greg Abbott, after he bussed dozens of migrants, to Vice President Harris' home, in Washington, D.C., all to protest President Biden's immigration policies, or frankly, what they criticize as the lack thereof any kind of policy.

Now, both are further defending their actions, tonight, as the migrants that were flown to Martha's Vineyard, just two days ago, unexpectedly, were transported yet again. This time, taken voluntarily, to Joint Base Cape Cod, where approximately 50 are being offered temporary shelter, emphasis on the word, "Temporary." 125 National Guard members are being activated, to assist in the relief efforts.

And, in a moment, you're going to hear from two immigration lawyers, working to help them, through this very confusing ordeal. One was actually in the vineyard, just this morning, with these migrants.

The White House, for their part, is blasting governors Abbott and DeSantis, for using kids, and mothers, and others, fleeing from Communism, as quote, "Political pawns," accusing them of misleading them, about where they were even headed.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These are the kinds of tactics we see from smugglers.


COATES: It's quite a statement!

And this migrant tells CNN that he and others were misled.


YANG PABLO MORA, MIGRANT (through translator): Well, we didn't know until the last minute, our destinations, such as New York, where our relatives reside, he says. We came with, as I say, the idea of reuniting with them.


COATES: But Florida's governor says, "No, no, no, there was no deception of any kind." He actually says that the undocumented immigrants have been treated great.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Not only do the people - do they give them a release form to sign. They actually give them a packet. And in that packet included a map of Martha's Vineyard. So, it was obvious that that's where they were going.

But they're given a good ride. They're given everything. And that's just, you know, it's a humane thing to do.

What's not humane is what Biden is doing. He's false - given a false promise the border's open, luring people, to come here, for political purposes, and then basically cutting these people loose, and leaving them high and dry.


COATES: Now, oh, was that you ask? That's the map. That's the map that the asylum-seekers were actually given. Can't you tell by the fact that there's a big red line that goes from Texas to Massachusetts, wasn't it obvious, where they were going?

I feel as though I've seen this map before, maybe something along the lines of what my third grader may have done, in a version of social studies, if they even called that the class any longer?

Well, the other one you're seeing is a map of Martha's Vineyard. But at the top, it just says, "Welcome to Massachusetts."

And remember, these are migrants, on a long and stressful journey, from Venezuela. Many, well, not even heard of Martha's Vineyard, or perhaps even Massachusetts. And for those of you, who don't realize, of course, it's a ferry, or a plane, because it's basically an island. So, how is one getting off, is probably the next question you're probably wondering about.

And, as you heard, some thought they were actually going to New York. Now, the Governor of Florida vows that this is just the beginning. And Florida will continue, to transport the undocumented, to so-called sanctuary cities. We've heard this a lot. And we've heard it before, and we'll likely hear it again. And the response has varied.


And there are so many questions, about how he, and the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, went about their decision-making process, and these missions, from the planes, to the buses. I mean, you just heard the White House compare this all to tactics of human smugglers, which are very strong words, and you're sure to get a reaction, I'm sure, any moment.

But it raises the question as to whether all of this is even truly legal, let alone questions about who might be footing the bill. Now, Governor Abbott, he rejects the idea that he's done anything wrong, let alone illegal. And, in fact, he pins the tail of blame, on the party of the well, political donkey.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): What is inhumane is the President's policies that have led his border with Mexico to be declared the deadliest border crossing, in the entire world. What we've done, in the State of Texas, is follow the law, to the tee, to make sure that everything that we've done, comports with the federal law.

We receive written authorization by everybody that we transport that they agree to exactly what we are doing.

There's been zero people that Texas has misled.


COATES: Zero people that Texas has misled. The prosecutor in me wants to test whether that in fact has been true.

So, let's take that to someone, who was just with the migrants, flown to Martha's Vineyard, just this very morning. Mirian Albert, is a Staff Attorney, at Lawyers for Civil Rights. Here with us as well is immigration attorney, Allen Orr, a former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

I'm very glad you're both here. I'm still a little bit stunned by the map that was put on the screen, this idea of a red line, from Texas to Massachusetts, before even tell people, "Here's where you're going."

But the bigger question, I think, people have, aside from the optics of this? I want to start with you, Mirian, here, because you were on the ground, in Martha's Vineyard. You've spoken, to many of the people, who have actually been transported this way. I wonder what the impression, they had, as to where they were going, and why they were there. Do you have any idea?

MIRIAN ALBERT, STAFF ATTORNEY, LAWYERS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS: Yes, Laura. Well, actually, Lawyers for Civil Rights has been on the ground, at St. Andrew's Church, since yesterday morning, including myself.

And what we're hearing, from folks on the - the affected individuals is that, they were induced, they were told promises, that they would find employment, that they would find permanent housing, that they - that this whole ordeal would not affect their immigration proceedings at all.


ALBERT: And, as you were mentioning earlier, many people were told that they were going to one location. And really, halfway through the trip, they were told that they were actually headed, to an island, off the coast of Massachusetts.

I think it's a little disingenuous, to expect people, who have just set foot, on the - on U.S. soil, to know the geography of the United States, such that they were, entering through the U.S. border, in Texas, and that they should be expected to know where Massachusetts sits - where Massachusetts is, and even more so where Martha's Vineyard is.

COATES: I mean, even in part of that point, Allen, I mean, we think about this, there is a process. I mean, there is a whole field of law, obviously, you specialize in, and we know this quite well, immigration law.

There is a whole process, by which, when somebody is arriving, particularly as an asylum-seeker, the idea of the responsibility, to have to appear, for court hearings, going through the process, the idea of having to be in the location, they're supposed to be at, all the things that are happening.

What are the risks that you see, of having the people, who have entered this way, in this process, transported to areas they might not be able to leave from, without the assistance of the government?


Because what we've already heard, is that actual border control, put false addresses, on their notices, to appear, which are the documents that, tell the courts, where they're located, to communicate to these individuals, to follow up on their cases. So, that's error number one, on a federal level.

And then, moving them to jurisdictions, away from where they supposedly should be, or even the location they came in, removes them from the legal providers that are able to help them, sort of matriculate through the system.

So, it's a very bad thing, because when they don't show up, in court, their case is dismissed, and they're removed in absentia. And it's very hard, for individuals, who don't speak English, that's very important that their primary language is not English, and it may not be Spanish, in many cases, to be able to matriculate through the system, without legal representation.

COATES: An important point, Mirian that notion, the idea of it seems as though it's setting up, for failure, for a variety of reasons?


If they have the wrong address, they can't be communicated with. They don't know the process, when they're getting here. They're going to eventually have a deportation warrant issued. And then, if they fail to appear, then their chances of being able to maintain the legal process, maybe fatally compromised.

And, on that point of the language barrier that might exist, for some, who have come, do we know, if the paperwork, they were handed that told them about where they were going, according to the governor, was it in English? Was it in Spanish? Do we know?

ALBERT: The information that they received was predominantly in English.

And just to the point that you were saying earlier, I do want to add that that was especially alarming because many individuals were given a sheet, or a form, to request an address change, but it was the wrong form to begin with.

The form that they received was to change their address, in immigration court, and that something that these individuals don't necessarily need, at this juncture, in their immigration proceedings.

So, that was extremely alarming and disorienting for a lot of these individuals, in addition to the fact that they have a language barrier, and that now they're like, hundreds of miles away, from the office that they were supposed to attend these check-in appointments, and all of these hearings.

COATES: So, what does that mean in terms of possible, if any, legal exposure, for those, who have facilitated, this process, for them to be transported?

I mean, Allen, I think about the ways, in which obviously there's a political discussion that's happening. The lawyers within, of course, think about, is there any legal challenges that could be mounted against this process?

Are you seeing any red flags here that would signal to you that a law may have to be investigated as being broken?

ORR JR: Yes. And, at first, I want to say, this issue is bigger than the 50 people in Martha's Vineyard, or the couple of hundred that were presented before the Vice President's home.

We're talking about 9,000 immigrants so far that have been shipped out of Texas alone. So, it's a big global problem, I mean, a national problem, for us, to sort of address, and actually a global problem, because these individuals are nationals, of other countries that we should not treat foreign nationals that way.

So, there are lawyers, who are looking for individual relief, based on a U visa, which is trafficking. There are also lawyers, who are saying that this violates our civil rights laws, because they're specifically targeting foreign nationals, and specifically people of Hispanic origin, during National Hispanic month.

As well as, we've already seen the Abbott program, of the Lone Star Enforcement program, their own immigration system that they set up, in Texas, under review by the Department of Justice.

What we see now, is this attack on federalism, and the way that immigration has been administered, in this country, for years.

COATES: Mirian Albert, Allen Orr, we'll have to see what happens next. And, of course, you're right. This is much bigger than the individual cases we're seeing, from this week alone. This is a growing problem.

ALBERT: Correct.

COATES: And political and otherwise.


COATES: We'll have to see what happens. I certainly don't want this to be the continued reflection, of who we say we are.

ALBERT: Right.

COATES: Mirian Albert, Allen Orr, thank you so much.

ORR JR: Thank you for having me.

ALBERT: Thank you so much.

COATES: Look, we're going to continue the conversation, in just a moment.

But I do want to let you know, speaking of the law, there are some new developments, in about the Mar-a-Lago documents case. The DOJ is now asking an appellate court to - appeals court, excuse me, to intervene.

CNN Jessica Schneider is here, and she has her hands, on the filing.

Jessica, it's a Friday night, which means there must be a legal filing, of some kind. We're so used to this. Tell me, what happened?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the DOJ promised that they would appeal the judge's ruling, by the end of the week. Here we are, Friday night, 9 PM. And they have appealed.

They are basically doing this not full throttle. They're really asking for some limited relief here. They're basically cutting right to the chase, and saying, "Look, Eleventh Circuit, we only want two things."

So, I'll read from this appeal, to tell you exactly what they wanted. It says, "Although the government believes the district court fundamentally erred in appointing a special master and granting injunctive relief, the government seeks to stay only the portions of the order causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public by (1) restricting the government's review and use of the records, bearing classification markings, and (2) requiring the government to disclose those records for a special- master review process."

So, they're asking for two things, here. They're saying, "Look, we should be able to continue our ongoing criminal investigation into these classified documents."

Because remember, it was Judge Aileen Cannon, at the district court level, in Florida, that put the brakes on that saying, "Look, while this special master review is ongoing, you cannot use those 100 classified documents, in your ongoing investigation."

The DOJ is saying, "Look, this is going to cause us irreparable harm. And we need to be able to move forward with this." So, that's the first thing they're asking the Eleventh Circuit.

And then the second thing is that they've been - they've been told that they have to disclose the classified information, during this special master review. And they're saying that that is also going to harm the process, here, possibly harm national security, by letting the special master, take a look at all of these classified documents.


So, those are the two things they're asking for. They're not appealing the district court's judge, in full. But they are asking for these two immediate steps from the Eleventh Circuit. So, we'll see what the court does here.

As we've noted, in the past, six of the 11 judges, on the Eleventh Circuit, are Trump appointees. So, there will be probably a three- member panel that will take a look at this appeal. And we'll see how fast it moves.

In addition, there was one note at the end of this appeal that kind of took a shot, at the district court judge, Aileen Cannon. I mean, the DOJ wrote in this, courts in the past have exercised great caution before interfering through civil actions, with criminal investigations or cases.

The DOJ is angry about what the judge has done here, the fact that she has stepped in, in a civil action, to put the brakes, on their criminal investigation. And, at this point, Laura, that's what the DOJ is trying to get cured here. They want to go back, to their investigation, and they're asking the Eleventh Circuit, "Don't tie our hands anymore. We need to be able to use all of the material to move forward with this."

COATES: It's a really important development. We know there was that notice of - they said they would file a notice of appeal. Now it's here.


COATES: But what a calculated risk, to think about the amount of time it might take to resolve this issue. Appeals are not known as the most expeditious process. But we will see what they do.


COATES: Jessica, thank you so much.

Now look, we're going to stay on that, and we're going to give you more information about that. Because it really is something, to think about the way this is ballooning. The idea that you don't want people to see these documents, and now just think of all of the hands and the eyes that are now going to be touching, and seeing these documents.

And look, when it comes to shipping off human beings, this whole political conversation is, well, it's not necessarily a new tactic. Come with me, on a trip back in time. I'm going to tell you about something that happened in our own American history, not too long ago, that's being compared to the very thing that's happening today.

Our conversation continues, next.


COATES: Look, the scenes, we're seeing, in Martha's Vineyard, strike frankly too familiar a chord. One people - one person hearing in Washington D.C., and New York, and in a bus after bus after being stranded, people in the middle of Chicago, as well, it's really all over the country.

And they echo something that happened some 60 years of our past. Back to something called the "Reverse Freedom Rides." And maybe you've never heard of what this is. You certainly heard of Freedom Riders, right?

But the Freedom Rides in the Reverse, when Black families were tricked, by White supremacists. They were lured, by the promise, of a job, or a better home, and they were bused to Hyannis, Massachusetts, right near John F. Kennedy's holiday home.

Now, the numbers, racked up by governors Abbott and DeSantis put the segregationists of that dark period, well, frankly, it's a shame, in the numbers alone.

Now, the Reverse Freedom Riders, they tricked about 200 people, into getting onto a bus. 199 or maybe even 200, far too many. While today's Republicans have moved more than 9,000 people, and are promising more.

Joining me now, at the table, tonight, are Ashley Allison, former member of the Biden-Harris Campaign; April Ryan, White House Correspondent for theGrio; and former Republican congressman, and host of the "White Flag" podcast, Joe Walsh.

Welcome to all of you.

Many people haven't heard the story of the Reverse Freedom Riders, and the idea of what that looks like.


COATES: And obviously, a discussion about white supremacy, has its own particular place, in our contemporary world, and in the past.

What's happening here is political, undoubtedly. And the idea that it's being used, as a way, to bait the conversation, I think, among Democrats, in particular, to me, seems very plain.

What do you make of the idea? I mean, are you seeing some innocent explanation that just says, "Look, Biden, what are you going to do about it?" Or is it "Put your politics and resources where your statements are?"

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020 CAMPAIGN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE STAFF MEMBER: It's no surprise that we're about 50 days out, from a midterm election. So, this is political theater. If Governor Abbott, and Governor DeSantis, actually wanted, to help these immigrants and migrants, they would have maybe called the Mayor of Chicago, or notified people in Massachusetts, or notified people in our nation's capital. They didn't do that.

They're using money, taxpayer money, $12 million, DeSantis, and flying them, because they do not see them as human beings. They don't want to be bothered with them. They don't feel like they deserve the humanity, and dignity that this country, has offered, so many immigrants, in our nation's history. And it's disgusting.

COATES: The way you began that makes me think, I mean, because that's where the conversation really has been, across the country, right? The idea of had you actually had pure motivations, and the idea that yes, there are other states that need to absorb those, who are coming, as asylum-seekers, then that would have been a different tactic. And that's why I think the conversations become more about the tactic--


COATES: --as much about the policy.

WALSH: Laura, absolutely. Look, there are serious issues here. Our immigration system is broken.


WALSH: Our asylum-seeking system is broken.

But backup for a moment, think about what a governor of one of our states did, two days ago. He lied to 50 people--



WALSH: --to get them on a plane. And as your earlier segment, Laura, made clear, DeSantis sabotaged their asylum-seeking process, by sending them off to another jurisdiction. I mean, that just - that blinds us all to the serious discussion we should be having.

RYAN: And that's the--

WALSH: Because it's so cruel.

RYAN: And that's the point. Every time, we see these issues, of inhumanity to migrants, there's always a serious discussion, and then it falls off. As we've said, the situation is broken.

But let's not just leave it here, at Joe Biden. Let's go back to the prior president. What happened? People in cages.

ALLISON: That's right.

RYAN: People in cages. The inhumanity about that. There was a bluster about that. What happened? Then, what was it last year? The Range uses whips. A bluster then.

COATES: For the Haitians, who were under the bridge?

RYAN: Yes, yes.


COATES: In the Florida-Texas region--

RYAN: Yes.

COATES: --Texas region, excuse me.

RYAN: Inhumanity, once again. The story that you had? I mean, the immigration issue in this country is older than I am old. And we still continue to get upset. But where is the fix? And now, what's happening? You're sending people, to an enclave, an enclave with multimillion dollar homes, and there's no infrastructure to keep them. There's no--

COATES: Well that's sort of the point.

RYAN: Right. And--

COATES: The point was to - the point really was, and felt like, here is a - here's a place, wasn't just Chicago, any longer, on New York City, where it was bigger.

RYAN: It wasn't a city with infrastructure.

COATES: It wasn't a city - you're right.

RYAN: Six towns. Six towns.

But the issue is the bluster happens, and then it dies off. The system is broken. And the people, who are impacted, are people who are underserved, who need help, and who are seeking asylum, for whatever reason, looking to this country, for help. And yet, they're being used, as pawns.

COATES: Interestingly enough, in Florida - I mean, if you're talking about migrants, and asylum-seekers, more broadly, if we think about it, as a broad concept, and go to Florida, I mean, the data is since October 1st, the U.S. Coast Guard has interdicted 5,154 Cubans, compared to 838, last year and, 49, in 2020, which means there's a surge that's happening right now.


COATES: But it's the Venezuelans that he's opting to do so, to remove and try to intercept, from Texas. There's a political notion there.

WALSH: He went - he went to Texas, to find 50 migrants.

COATES: Yes. WALSH: The Governor of Florida. I mean, that's just idiotically political. Look, our border states have been under siege, for a while, you're right, April, through multiple administrations.

RYAN: Yes.

WALSH: But this isn't leadership. This is just appealing to his base, to get them out, in November.

COATES: Is it idiotic? I mean, I hear your point. Is it idiotic or strategic? Because it does have Joe Biden, and the administration - President Joe Biden, and the administration, now having the perception among some that all right, he's assembling people to talk about it, as if he were flat-footed, not thinking about it, and now reacting to what's happening.

Does that optical statement, is that problematic?

ALLISON: I think Democrats have the moral high ground here. And they have to be intentional, in how they talk about this.

He found $12 million, in his state budget. Imagine what he could actually have done, to help these people, in his home state, if he put as much energy, into getting them, out of a different state, and actually turned his own eyes, into figuring out within his state.

And then, you see, you hear about the volunteers, in communities, in Martha's Vineyard, in Washington, D.C., the churches. They - and when we had family separation, and kids were in cages--

RYAN: Yes.

ALLISON: --separated from their family, people rose to the occasion.

RYAN: Yes.

ALLISON: We can fix this problem. The problem is, is the folks, in power, in Washington, D.C. Some Democrats and some Republicans are not finding the right solution.

WALSH: That's right.

COATES: Well, we will see what happens, and what those solutions look like. I mean, obviously, it's something that's been inherited. It did not begin with the inaugural address--


COATES: --of Joe Biden, nor Donald Trump. And it's a longer-standing problem. But here we are today.

Everyone, stick around. We're coming right back to you.

And, of course, some Republican-controlled states have also, well, they've moved to restrict transgender rights. I'll tell you about some developments in a culture wars battle, in the State of Montana, that one could argue is yet another example, of people being used, as pawns, in that culture war, next.



COATES: All right, you've heard the old adage that all politics is local, right?

Well lately, it seems like maybe all politics is actually personal, about abortion rights, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, about immigration, and immigrant people being used, as pawns, to score political points. You can probably add in the military, and what happened just a few weeks ago.

And, in Montana, about Trans people and their ability to change their own birth certificate. Now, five years ago, a Trans person in the state just had to fill out a form. Last year, a law passed, saying they had to have a gender, or have had to have had a gender-affirming surgery, to be able to change their birth certificate.

And now, it's even frankly, more drastic. A Trans person can't change their certificate at all, outside of maybe a clerical error, or a mistake.

Now, that new rule was blocked by a judge, by the way. But the State said, yesterday, it's going to defy that order. Because guess court decisions don't really mean quite as much! We've seen that someplace before.

But how did it change so drastically, and in only what, five years? Let's take it to our guests, who are back here with me now.

I mean, you think about where we are. And it's no surprise, we've got culture wars, everywhere that you have discussions that are talked about, as if they are completely universally pervasive. And they target different issues to say, "Aha, this is the solution, or this is the problem," the, us versus thems. Is it a winning discussion?

WALSH: Yes. For Republicans, it is. I hate to say it, but I come from the world of right-wing media. And if we're talking about the transgender issue, or even Laura, if we're talking about immigration, Republicans believe that helps them.

Because most Americans, I think, do understand our immigration system is broken. Most Americans think Republicans are demagoguing the issue, but Democrats aren't addressing that. Republicans think that that helps them.

COATES: Is he right?



RYAN: No. We're in a world, right now, where pronouns lead everything. How about that, you know? And we cannot sit here, and watch this moment, and not think about a pronoun. Everybody goes by a pronoun.


But then you have the community that is rising up, taking stands, after they have been told, "You cannot go to school. Your children cannot go to school, if they say they're in this community. Well, I'm not going to give you lunch, because you're in the community."

There's so many things that continue to pile upon this community that is now finding its way. But, at the same time, when the Republican Party is talking about, "We don't want same sex marriage," and you've got a Supreme Court justice talking about, "We need to deal with this," this is an issue.

And then, when we talk about all of this, Joe Biden - President Joe Biden just had this - was it "United We Stand" conference, this week, at the White House, on this very issue. Is this hate? Or is this politics?

COATES: But one could--

RYAN: Against a community?

COATES: But one could argue, by virtue of him having the continued discussions, he believes it's a winning argument, for Republicans.


ALLISON: I think it depends on where you are. We have to be honest - I'm from Ohio. And sometimes, I talk to people, and they don't lead with pronouns, actually. And they're like, "What?" I remember having a conversation with folks before--

RYAN: There are people in Ohio that lead with pronouns. Yes, there's some.

ALLISON: There's some, but not everywhere.

WALSH: Not everywhere.

ALLISON: Not everywhere, right? And so, I do--

COATES: Ohio was not a monolith. There we go! OK, I'm going to say it, for all of our viewers, we respect the diversity, and respect them of every state.

ALLISON: Yes. So, but I do think there are still some very conservative areas. We see, in Florida, yet again, Governor DeSantis, with the "Don't Say Gay" bill, doing a lot of aggressive work, to try and block access, to Trans children, in schools, being even into playing sports, or being able to be in certain classrooms?

RYAN: Yes.

ALLISON: He's not in a runaway election anymore, either, because of some of that behavior. So, I think, it depends. I think, if voters are struggling, right now? And the top issue that they want to talk about, is not about transgender children.

WALSH: Exactly.

ALLISON: And if you want to lead with that?

RYAN: Wait.

WALSH: Exactly.

ALLISON: I can't--

RYAN: No, I'm not saying lead with that.

ALLISON: No, no, no, I don't.

RYAN: I'm not saying, lead with that. But, as you said, politics is personal. And if you are in the community, or if you have someone in the community, you think of that. You can - and this is part of the problem, why the system, some say have been broken - has been broken for so long, is because so many people are left outside of the system.

What happens to those people, who say pronouns? What happens to those people that Kemp, in Georgia, doesn't want to have much, if they're in a community? There's so many different states that are now targeting, in different ways, the LGBTQ-plus community? And they say, "Look, we are people too."

ALLISON: Absolutely.


RYAN: "We're allowed to have our rights (ph)."

ALLISON: I totally, I agree with you.

RYAN: And they are allowed to have - this is what is said. "We are allowed to have our rights, just as well as anyone else."

WALSH: You're right. But these issues, animate Republican voters. Laura, the other thing about Montana is, a judge said "No."


WALSH: And Montana Republicans said--


WALSH: --"We're going to ignore that judge."


WALSH: This is what they've learned, from Trump, to just ignore the rule of law.

ALLISON: Or - yes.

WALSH: Ignore the courts. That to me is the much scarier aspect.

COATES: Well and also on that point though--

ALLISON: I just want to say, April, I agree with you.

COATES: --it's on that--

RYAN: OK, thank you. It's OK.

COATES: That was a beautiful Kumbaya moment. Let's all hold hands.

WALSH: Oh, I completely missed it!

COATES: Let's all - let's all hold hands.

WALSH: I missed it!

COATES: There'll be s'mores for us, later. You missed the whole thing.

RYAN: Oh, my goodness, OK.

COATES: I will say, taking a step back, on all this, what we've really described, from immigration, to issues we're talking about, pronoun use and beyond, is the visceral reaction, to a changing America.

WALSH: Completely.

RYAN: Yes.

ALLISON: Absolutely.

COATES: And whether it's the discussion of the Browning of America, or otherwise, that's what we're seeing, in the personal talk about this.

ALLISON: That's what we're talking about.

COATES: Joe Walsh, thank you.

Ashley and April, stick around.

We're going to hold hands without you. Sorry about that!

Coming up, as the January 6 committee returns to work, Jake Tapper joins me, to preview his CNN Special Report. He's got some new details, and new exclusive interviews, with key witnesses, including those, you haven't heard from, outside those committee hearings, up next.



COATES: The January 6 committee meets today, to plan, well, the rest of its schedule, and the members are making very clear, their work is not done. I mean, they've been piecing together testimony, from more than 1,000 witnesses, along with video, and texts, and emails, and other documents.

But one new piece of evidence, released just yesterday, by the committee, is audio, from a walkie-talkie app, used by members of the Oath Keepers, who were inside the Capitol that day, and other providing Intel from elsewhere.

Here, they are responding, in real-time, to this, this 2:38 PM tweet, from then-President Trump, telling rioters, to stay peaceful.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump just tweeted, please support our Capitol police. They are on our side. Do not harm them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's saying a lot. But what he didn't say, he didn't say not to do anything to the congressmen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he did not ask them to stand down. He's just said stand by the Capitol Police. They are on our side, and they are good people. So it's getting real down there. I got it on TV. And it's - it's looking pretty friggin radical to me.


COATES: More than a half - and more than an hour and a half, an hour and a half passed, between that tweet, and when the former President told the rioters, he loved them, but to go home.

Jake Tapper is examining the evidence, in his new special, "AMERICAN COUP," premiering here, on CNN, Sunday night, at 9 PM. Here's a preview.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, CNN HOST, THE LEAD, CNN ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION (voice-over): When the President finally relented, and released a video, telling the rioters to go home, it was 4:17 PM, three hours and seven minutes, since the riot began.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election. And everyone knows it.

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER WH DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY FOR TRUMP: Seeing him on camera, start the video, by talking about a stolen election, I just immediately knew that he wasn't going to meet the moment, and say what was needed, in that time.

TRUMP: So, go home. We love you. You're very special.

TAPPER (voice-over): Yet again, many rioters, took the President's words, as instructions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here delivering the President's message. Donald Trump has asked everybody to go home. [21:45:00]

MATTHEWS: Working in Communications for him, I knew that I would be tasked with defending that. And we had just witnessed, all this violence, at the Capitol, and these folks, attacking police officers, chanting horrible things. And I knew that I couldn't defend that. Because, it was indefensible. I resigned that evening.


COATES: Jake Tapper joins me now.

Wow! I mean, just thinking about that it's so obvious, Jake, just the weight that the former President's words, had on his supporters. I wonder what the committee has made of not only what he said, but as that clip points out, from this incredible Special Report, the words he chose not to say.

TAPPER: Well, that's such an important point, because it has been said, in the past that Donald Trump, during the three hours and seven minutes, of the riot, before he put out that statement, that he didn't do anything.

But that's not actually accurate, right? He was purposefully refusing. He was watching and enjoying. It wasn't that he was sitting back there, and he didn't know what was going on. He knew what was going on. And he liked it.

And that is one of the things that we've learned from the January 6 committee hearings. And there's so much else, we hope to really bring, shine a light on the - on what they have found, the evidence, the testimony.

And also, we hope to add to it too, by doing our own interviews, with Sarah Matthews, the former Trump White House Deputy Press Secretary; Richard Donoghue, the former Trump Justice Department Deputy Attorney General; Rusty Bowers, and Liz Cheney, and Adam Kinzinger, and so many more.

So that, you're learning what evidence has been brought out, in a comprehensive singular place, but also, why it matters, and what it shows. And I hope the documentary really brings that home for people.

COATES: You got to watch the special program, the Special Report, by our own Jake Tapper. It's called "AMERICAN COUP." It premieres, this Sunday, 9 PM.

And coming up, the new star of the "Little Mermaid," is bringing so much joy, to the children, across this country, months before the movie even hits the theaters. And we've got the video to prove it.

But those poor unfortunate souls, those racist trolls, are trying to spoil all the fun. Their fishy argument, next.









ARIEL: Wish I could be.

Part of that world.


COATES: I'm excited! The kid in me is excited, as actress and singer Halle Bailey, not Halle Berry, troll haters, Halle Bailey, as "Ariel," in the "Little Mermaid." Disney series released the teaser, for the week - for the movie, and it's getting a lot of reaction.

Just look at how Black little girls are reacting, to a Black little mermaid. Look at this.



ARIEL: Out of the sea.

Wish I could be.





ARIEL: Part of that world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brown Ariel is cute!


COATES: Aww! Well Ashley and April are back here with me now.

I mean, first of all, the little girl in me, is cheering. I have the whole thing, of "Under the Sea" stuck in my head, right now.

RYAN: Under the Sea!

COATES: Oh, should we sing in the whole thing?


RYAN: Under the Sea!

COATES: Don't have a fork (ph) combing your hair, must have been all the sudden, it's a whole problem.

Although, I loved Ursula. I got to tell you, I don't know what it was. But I loved the song. She did the "Poor Unfortunate Souls?" Unfortunately, that applies now to those, who are hating on the fact that it's a Black Little Mermaid.


COATES: And I feel like haven't we seen this particular social media movie before? I don't like it.

RYAN: I don't like it either.

I have goose bumps watching her, you know? I'm a mother of two Black girls, 20 and 14. And we used to just watch Disney. I mean, we went to New York, my oldest daughter and I went to New York, just to see Tiana, with "Princess and the Frog," because there was a Black princess, finally.

I grew up on Disney. And they grew up on Disney. And now, to see this, an actual person, a Black person, playing this role, and singing, it just makes me - representation matters.

ALLISON: It does.


RYAN: It matters. And it's like us being here, these three Black women, here, on this set, right now, what this does, and that, it lets other young girls, and women know that there's hope for more.

COATES: I mean, the irony that she's singing this song, wishing she could be part of their world--


RYAN: Ooh!

COATES: --is really poignant, given what the criticism has been--


COATES: --the unjustified undeserved criticism. Because I know, we didn't always see ourselves, in film--


COATES: --and in roles. But yet, the expectation was that we could still be inspired, by those, who did not look like us. So, why would the reverse not be true that there are young girls, who could be inspired by those who don't look like them, because they now are Brown?

ALLISON: Yes. Well my favorite "Little Mermaid" song is "Harmony" that the--


ALLISON: --little crustacean sings.


RYAN: Well start to sing, sing, sing the song.

ALLISON: And that's - not tonight, April.

COATES: I love the hands! You did the whole thing!


ALLISON: I did. But I'm not singing. But it is about harmony actually. It's about being able to have space, for everyone, at the table.

RYAN: Yes.

ALLISON: And for everyone, whether you're Black, whether you're White, Brown, Asian, LGBTQ, native, indigenous, able-bodied, not - a person with disability, it is really about seeing yourself, in places that you haven't seen yourself before. But also, the funny thing is that people are so upset, like there could never be a Black mermaid.

COATES: It's a mermaid!

ALLISON: It's a mermaid! I mean, there's a crab talking, Ursula is purple.


ALLISON: Like it doesn't make sense, their frustration. But it's about progress. And wanting to see America that isn't for everyone, is what these trolls are about. And I'm not here for it.


RYAN: Right. And those haters? They must have such hate in their heart.


RYAN: Such hate to be upset about a mermaid.

ALLISON: A mermaid. [21:55:00]

RYAN: Something that brings us all joy, little White kids, Brown kids, any kind of kid will be watching this. And yes, we saw color, at first, and then we sit in, and watch the movie.



RYAN: Entertainment, and enjoy, laugh and cry.


COATES: I'll tell you what, the only thing I'll be upset about is if the continued fairy tales, require a woman, to lose her voice, to please a man. How about that, Disney? Just saying about that.

RYAN: Ooh!

COATES: But I would say, anyway. How wonderful! How delightful!

ALLISON: Walt Disney (ph).

COATES: Think about it. We obviously see the joy that it brings. And I hope that this beautiful young actress, continues to feel the joy, because all these little girls--

RYAN: Yes.

COATES: --and the girls at heart are clapping. Ashley, April, we'll right back, thank you.


COATES: Thanks for watching.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.

Hey, Don Lemon?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: Hello, Laura Coates? Look at that! Oh, the fuchsia! Is that the right thing, glowing, in fuchsia--

COATES: Oh, oh, what?

LEMON: --on a Friday evening?

COATES: What, this? What, this look?