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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Sen. Manchin: Biden Should Take Executive Action On Border; Pres. Biden Preps For High-Stakes State Of The Union Address; Try Asks For Delay To Post $83.3 Owed In E. Jean Carroll Case; Rust Armorer Trial Verdict; State Department Says US Is Not Pushing Haitian PM To Resign. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 06, 2024 - 20:00   ET



JOE LIEBERMAN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: We'll be ready to go and make a decision about a ticket within the next couple of weeks, I expect.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Well, of course, everyone is going to be watching, because, as we know, right, these people already on the ballots in so many states could already affect the entire direction of this election.

Sen. Lieberman, I really appreciate your time.

LIEBERMAN: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Erin. Have a good evening.

BURNETT: All right. You, too.

And thanks so much for - to all of you for being with us. AC 360 begins right now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, what the campaign looks like from here now that it's pretty much, yes, just the two of them and how this 2020 rematch could look quite different from four years ago.

Also tonight, what the president hopes to gain and all he stands to lose at tomorrow's high-stakes re-election year State of the Union address.

Plus, with just a few days left to find $83 million in the E. Jean Carroll case, former President Trump says he needs more time, which could speak volumes about the state of his finances.

Good evening, everyone. Thanks for joining us. John King here sitting in for Anderson. Appreciate your time.

We begin tonight with what comes next at these big crossroads moments - crossroads moment of the 2024 campaign. Last night's Super Tuesday results made a Trump Biden rematch all but certain. And today, several big and quick decisions made clear Donald Trump's grip on the Republican Party is all the more tight. The first being Nikki Haley bowing out of the race, not endorsing the former president, but not precluding it either.


NIKKI HALEY, SUSPENDING HER PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him. And I hope he does that.


KING: Meaning, presumably, she's as open to persuasion as her supporters are. Not clear, though, how open some of them might be. Also today, more collapse in what little Republican resistance remains. Iowa's Joni Ernst became the final member of the Senate Republican leadership to endorse Trump.

Ernst getting in line shortly after the top Senate Republican, the minority leader, Mitch McConnell, offered his endorsement of Trump. Yes, that's the same Mitch McConnell who said this after January 6th.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who storm this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.


KING: That's the man he endorsed today, he's talking about right there. The same man who turned him into a punching bag and his wife, Elaine Chao, into the target of repeated racist name calling.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mitch McConnell's a disaster. The guy's a disaster. The old crow.

Mitch McConnell, the old crow, the old broken down crow. He's an old broken down crow.

Mitch McConnell and his wife, Coco Chao. Coco.

Mitch McConnell has been a disaster for our country and his wife, Coco Chao, who I got to know very well, she - you can have her too.


KING: Yes, you heard it right there. In his own words, the former president really said all that. Yet today, the retiring Senate leader said it was clear Donald Trump had earned the support of Republican voters and "it should come as no surprise that as nominee, he will have my support."

A short time later, Sen. McConnell said this to CNN's Manu Raju.


MCCONNELL: I don't have anything to add to what I just said. I said in February of 2021, shortly after the attack on the Capitol, that I would support President Trump if he were the nominee of our party and he obviously is going to be the nominee of our party.


KING: So in a single day, Mitch McConnell and Joni Ernst fell in line. Nikki Haley remained open to one day, perhaps doing the same. Last night, we learned that two resolutions circulating inside the Republican National Committee are now dead, cementing Trump's hold on the party.

One of those resolutions called for the committee to remain neutral in the primaries. The second, this one's way more important, would have barred it from paying the former president's legal bills. As for President Biden, his path to re-nomination also clear. Congressman Dean Phillips ended his long shot bid today.

A longer shot, Marianne Williamson says she's still in the race, but Team Biden is looking to November. Last night's results raised general election opportunities and challenges for both candidates. In the president's case, a decent number of uncommitted votes in Colorado and Minnesota make clear he has, yes, an unhappy slice in his base.

But Trump lost to Haley in Vermont and narrower than expected margins in some places make clear he, too, has problems with voters who could prove critical come November. The president's next challenge is tomorrow. Tomorrow night's State of the Union address.

Even before questions about his age, he was never known as a great orator.


Yet, the opportunities are obvious, a giant stage to make his case, to find his opponent and make clear he was ready to take giant border security steps until Trump told the House Speaker, who will be right there over Biden's shoulder, that doing something good for the country just might be bad for the Trump campaign. Whatever is said, though, will mark an early beginning, remarkably early beginning, for the general election campaign. So what to make of this moment?

First, the take of Sen. Joe Manchin. The West Virginia Democrat who often angers his party's liberal wing and who has called Joe Biden a friend for more than three decades, yet has not yet endorsed Biden in this campaign. We spoke shortly before airtime.


KING: Sen. Manchin, thank you for your time. It's a big day. And you see now as we move on to the general election, President Trump - former President Trump calling for unity in the Republican Party. He even has Mitch McConnell now. Mitch McConnell has endorsed Donald Trump. If Trump can get McConnell, is this the day that Biden can get Manchin?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Well, I understand what's going on and I understand how it's happening. And with that being said, I just want to that ...

KING: Is that a no?

MANCHIN: I want Joe Biden to be the Joe Biden I've known all these years, always being a centrist, center left a little bit, but always center, someone who makes the deal and he's made some great things happen. We've been able to work together.

KING: He's got a giant speech tomorrow night, State of the Union is always important for any president.

MANCHIN: Yes. Yes.

KING: This is a re-election year speech for the President of the United States at a time when his approval rating is underwater. When on the big issues like immigration, the economy, Donald Trump not only beats him, but beat him by a ton of points. You say you need to hear the old centrist Joe Biden again. What one thing could he do tomorrow night to get Joe Manchin to say, that's it, I'll pick up the phone, I'm on team Biden?

MANCHIN: Well, I would love to see him basically acknowledge that we have more - we're producing more energy today. We're more energy secure than we've ever been in the history of our country.

KING: You're not running for re-election. Your friend and colleague, Sen. Sinema, who changed from Democrat to independent, just announced she's not running for reelection. Mitt Romney, the Republican from Utah, who you've worked with on issues, the pragmatist who wants to get things done. Yes, he's a conservative, but he wants to get things done. He's not running for reelection.

A lot of Democrats are going to get mad at what I'm about to say, but Mitch McConnell stepping aside as Republican leader also takes out the dealmakers in the sense that maybe he was to your right. But he authorized Republicans like Sen. Lankford, like Sen. Romney, like Sen. Collins to go into the room and try to cut the best deal possible. What is happening to the governing center and what is the danger if, my eyes tell me, it's disappearing?

MANCHIN: Well, John, I've come you're going to fix it in Washington. So I'm saying enough is enough. I didn't want another six-year sentence of sitting here getting nothing accomplished. So I'm working with my daughter, Americans, together. It's a tremendous opportunity for us to help people organize themselves. Fifty-five to 60 percent of Americans, John, are center-left, center-right. They're right here. That's where all the decisions and dealmaking is made. And that's where compromise is.

And right now, the extremes are having - sucking all the oxygen out of the room. We've got to get people understanding. The strength they have. Nobody can win without that independent center-left, center- right, more of the independent thinking people voting for them. They can't win without them. Use the strength and we're going to try to - in this next year or so, the long game, is to teach them how to do that.

KING: If President Biden wants to win re-election, do you believe he should spend his time now getting Nikki Haley voters, people who tend to live in the suburbs, tend to be more upscale, tend to be more affluent, they're moderates, some of them are Republicans, some of them are independents or should he be spending time - he's not going to win your state, but he should be spending time in communities like West Virginia, talking to blue-collar people who work with their hands, who 30 years ago voted Democrat and now vote Trump?

MANCHIN: Yes. Well, he definitely should go for Nikki Haley voters and that's going to be the centrist voters. They were center-left, center- right. Democrats who crossed over to vote for her. That's what I have said. The extremes are where they are. He's going to have to come back to the middle to get the people that basically were voting for Nikki, didn't want to go towards Donald.

Now, if it's a toss-up, what happens? Well, if they're fairly conservative. It might be very difficult if they think you've gone too far left. That's my concern. That's what I'm hoping to be able to discuss and talk about.

KING: So I'm going to circle back to where I began in the sense that - Joe Biden is your friend more than 30 years.

MANCHIN: Yes, we have for a long time.

KING: I know you have some concerns with him at the moment. He needs all the help he can get right now. If the election were today or tomorrow, Trump would win, in my view.

MANCHIN: It would be a different story. If it was today or tomorrow, yes, I think what you're saying ...

KING: So you'd be ready - so are you waiting for your moment? Are you're going to be on Team Biden in the end and you're waiting for your moment or you need a few more things from him?

MANCHIN: I'm - no, no (inaudible) ...

KING: He could use the help right now. He could use the help right now, Senator.

MANCHIN: That's right. And he has to show that he wants that help from that centrist, that center left, center right, that doesn't have anybody talking to him right now. Now, how do we get basically the border?

The border, basically, Joe Biden should give a (inaudible) there and just say, listen, I made a mistake, through the sake of humanity. I was trying to help people that have been displaced around the world after the pandemic. I never thought they'd take advantage and come - the droves they've come in and we should have shut it down sooner.


I'm trying to shut it down now, because of politics I have President Trump stepped in and says, oh, don't sign on to this. And I watched that happen. I watched my Republican friends, John, that were there. It says we're not going to give one penny of aid until we secure our borders. I said I agree with my Republicans and told the Democrats I'm going to vote with the Republicans to secure the border first.

KING: Well, Trump is holding - Trump held that hostage. It's done. You're not going to get anything through the Congress. I don't think you can get a bill saying Tuesday comes after Monday through the Congress right now.

MANCHIN: Well, you know what ...

KING: If Trump thinks it's - so what should the President do? Should he take executive action on the border and risk the lawsuits?

MANCHIN: Absolutely. Take executive action on the border. Shut that border down. Secure that border. We shouldn't be releasing anybody. We don't know who they are. It's dangerous. We've got to stop that. John, we can never, ever shut our doors down to legal immigration. But we have an absolute right and responsibility to shut the border down to illegal immigration. That's what has to be done.

KING: So let me close it here, if the President talks energy tomorrow night in a way that makes you happy, the President takes strong executive action to try to do something about the flood of migrants across the border illegally, Joe Manchin will be ready to join Team Biden asap?

MANCHIN: That makes me a lot happier singing the message.

KING: We'll see if that message comes in the days ahead. Senator, appreciate your time.

MANCHIN: Thanks, John. Appreciate you.

KING: Thank you.


KING: Some perspective now on this moment, joining us CNN Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny, our CNN Political Commentator Van Jones and our CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel.

I want to circle back a little bit to Sen. Manchin in a minute. But I want to talk about some other, another prominent voice today at this interesting moment, Jamie. This is what former Congressman Liz Cheney said today about Trump in this moment: "The GOP has chosen. They will nominate a man who attempted to overturn an election and seize power. We have eight months to save our republic and ensure Donald Trump is never anywhere near the Oval Office again. Join me in the fight for our nation's freedom."

Tough words. What is she planning?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: You're not surprised. This is game on. This is what Liz Cheney has been waiting for and the reality is she now knows he hasn't gotten all the delegates, but he is the presumptive nominee. I expect that she will be out there calling out Trump at every turn. She will do whatever she can to stop him. I think she will also be doing events in battleground states and I wouldn't be surprised see her out campaigning for Democrats for congressional seats, House and Senate, because she believes it is critical that Congress is controlled by Democrats. Imagine this, Liz Cheney will be campaigning for Democrats.

KING: Right. She left a little piece out there.


KING: That's remarkable in its own right.


KING: But she said if Trump was the nominee, she would no longer consider herself a Republican. Does she make a clean break or does she, what, say I'm, like, in remission until he's still around. Does she make a clean break? And you didn't mention President Biden, does she see a world in which President Biden would be smart, especially in some of the battleground states, to have her standing right - have her introduce him on stage, I'm a Republican for Biden. Would she do that?

GANGEL: Right, right, Liz Cheney doesn't say what she doesn't mean. So when she says she will do everything, I believe we will see her at some point formally say she is no longer a Republican. She did not say that by accident two years ago. I think that just speaks, as you would know, to the complete takeover of the GOP by Donald Trump. This is the upside down world. She has left open the door for running. But there is one thing Liz Cheney doesn't want to be and that's a spoiler.

So if she feels that she would take votes away from Joe Biden and that would lead to Donald Trump winning, she's not going to go down that path. The Biden endorsement, I leave that for her to say when and where?

KING: More acts to follow, I guess.

GANGEL: Exactly.

KING: And what is a pretty important sub-drama of the bigger drama.

GANGEL: Absolutely.

KING: Jeff, to you. Look, Mitch McConnell is hardly the first one. Marco Rubio did it, Ted Cruz did it, a lot of people that Donald Trump has heaped a ton of tough scorn and worse on have eventually gotten in line. But that's - this is a big one, it's not just for what he said about McConnell, but I would say even more so about the racist attacks on Secretary Chao. And yet Mitch McConnell says, let's do it. Why? I mean, that's a takeover.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT: Look, the train is leaving the station and McConnell's about the last one on board. You mentioned Sen. Joni Ernst. She also in leadership does not view Donald Trump as someone who should be leading the Republican Party. But this is where they are. I was talking to one McConnell ally earlier today and he said, look, he wanted to get on with it. He doesn't want to be asked these questions. He doesn't want his sort of neutrality to dog Senate candidates who he's going to be raising money for, who he's going to try and rebuild the majority.

So they point us to that speech where he also said, whoever becomes the nominee of the party, he will support.


So that is where we are now at this.

But I was thinking back to the speech he gave just last week on the Senate floor. He said, I have a lot of faults, misunderstanding the politics of my party is not one of them and that was pretty clear today, so that's why he did it. But the reality here is neither Liz Cheney nor Mitch McConnell are going to solve what is actually a challenge here for Trump or Biden in rebuilding their individual coalitions, they're on the outside of both of those.

KING: But you do see, Van, welcome to the conversation. This is not new. Republicans are - tend to be quicker to put aside their grievances, their grudges and whatever, and get in line at the moment of consolidation. You heard Sen. Manchin, not yet, not yet. He wants to hear the president say, hey, look at all the coal we're producing, look at all the oil we're pumping. He says the President's afraid to say that because it angers progressives like you.

VAN JONES, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's not wrong. There's an ecological left that was actually - came at Sen. Manchin, I think, in a very unfair and very dangerous way that is frustrated with some of the things. But Joe Biden himself is presiding over a remarkable energy renaissance, we're producing more fossil fuel and more clean energy than any other country and so he could be proud of that.

I do want to say we talk about the politics of this stuff, this is a sad day for me. If you're a Ukrainian soldier looking at a wall of Russians coming at you and you're having to ration your bullets, your road got a little bit tougher today as a great champion in Nikki Haley for America being that arsenal for democracy was just wiped off the stage. This is a more dangerous world, not just a more dangerous America, but more dangerous world because this complete takeover now, this is not a conservative party. This is an anti-liberal party. It's not conservative. It's not remotely conservative and yet a top to bottom takeover and remaking of an American political party in the image of one person that is completely willing to abandon our allies and we're just moving on.

I'm glad that Liz Cheney is sticking to her guns. I'm glad that so far at least Nikki Haley sticking to her guns. But there are people who need guns to defend democracy and won't have them if this man wins and they are one step closer to having their country run over by Russia tanks because of what's happening here.

KING: If you look at the battleground map from 2020 and you look at where Haley got support in the primaries, pretty smart for President Biden to go after those voters as aggressively as possible. Do you think that's the entree there? Is it Ukraine? Is it the old, essentially, the old Republican, the Liz Cheney Republican foreign policy? Let's stand with the NATO alliance. Let's stand with Ukraine against Putin and Russia. Is it that? Is it economics? What do you think that should be?

JONES: I think it's two things. I think hopefully tomorrow night Biden points out if you are supporting, you know, someone like Nikki Haley, get on this train, because if you don't, you're going to wake up someday next year and you're going to cut on TV and you're going to see Russian tanks rushing through Europe. And now we're not going to be able to send money. We've got to send our actual soldiers over there to defend our allies because the American people won't stand for that.

This is a very serious moment on the economy. I think Biden has to be proud that gas prices are down. The stock market is up. Unemployment is down. The student loans have been cut. But food prices are too high and rent is too high. And he can do something about that by going after these corporate chains that are ripping people off. He's got a task force for that and then pushing on the Fed to cut interest rates. But he's got to be a fighter when it comes to the American pocketbook issues and a stand for American democracy abroad tomorrow night.

KING: On day one of this battle for Haley voters, President Biden said nice things. Donald Trump keeps scoring on her. So you give Biden, I guess, a head start. But it's a longer path and most of them are Republicans. So observations from both on sort of how you do this and who's got the upper hand.

ZELENY: I mean, the Nikki Haley supporters I've talked to in recent weeks and really months, they are mostly Republicans. So most people will put their jerseys on, their Republican jerseys on. But we need more than most people. The candidates need more than most people. There are plenty of independents out there who say they simply cannot vote. I'm thinking back to a woman in Charlotte on Friday night. She told me I will vote for Trump with vomit in my mouth. Her friend said I cannot vote for Donald Trump. I'm voting Joe Biden. And she's a Republican, so it is split.

But by and large, overall, she had Republican crowd. She's a Republican candidate, a Tea Party candidate in this Trump era.

GANGEL: I have a phone full of text messages from so-called never Trump Republicans who really have said each and every one they'll stay home. They won't vote. Now, that's anecdotal. It doesn't mean anything, but ...

KING: But depending where they live, that can matter.

GANGEL: Absolutely.

KING: We'll watch, eight months to go, appreciate everyone for coming in, Jeff, Jamie, Van, as well.

Up next, the State of the Union, how tomorrow's speech could shape the Biden-Trump race. Political pros David Axelrod and James Carville join me.


And later, some breaking news, why your next visit to New York, get this, might include a subway ride with National Guard troops guarding the platforms.


KING: Live picture there. Beautiful night in Washington. That's the United States Capitol. Tomorrow night, President Biden will go before a joint session of Congress to deliver a re-election year State of the Union address. It could well be his largest audience of this campaign year, a chance to frame a contrast with Donald Trump and with Republicans in Congress, yes. But also a challenge to address some profound political problems that leave the President's re-election in doubt.

Let's bring the conversation in here. This, of course, is the 2020, Biden versus Trump map. We're on a path toward a re-election. So here's the problem for the President heading into a State of the Union, number one, an incumbent president often judged in re-election year by their job approval rating. Look how much this president has dropped. This first speech to Congress is not a State of the Union, your first year in office, it's a - just a speech to Congress. But Joe Biden was at 57 percent in April 2021, shortly after being elected.


Down to 42 for his first official State of the Union. Still at 42 last year for his State of the Union. Gallup has the president now near his all-time low at 38 percent, look at that as he delivers this critical State of the Union speech.

So a low number, you can tell that anyway. Let's put it in historical context of other presidents seeking re-election, most recent presidents. Look at Bill Clinton at 46 percent in 1996, he won. George Bush, 2004, 53 percent, he won. Barack Obama, 45 percent in 2020, he won. Donald Trump was at 48 percent at this moment in 2020 and he lost. Look at that, Joe Biden is 10 points below - 10 points below where Donald Trump was on State of the Union night in his re-election campaign.

Let's start the conversation now with two Democrats who have won presidential campaigns and also who have advised presidents at this moment. With us, David Axelrod. Of course, the senior advisor to the Obama campaigns and CNN Political Commentator, and James Carville who was the architect of Bill Clinton's winning campaign. Gentlemen, you've both won the White House, which is difficult. You've

both helped the president win re-election to the White House, which is extraordinarily difficult. You've also been around a president heading into re-election when times haven't been so great. David Axelrod, to you first, when you look at that number and how far below he is historically, challenge one tomorrow night is what?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he has to tell a narrative - he has to share a narrative that gives people a sense of where he's been, what he's done and why. What are the values that motivates him? The economic values that motivate him and where he wants to go. And he has to set that and cast it in a contrast with the alternative.

Joe Biden, he has a tendency to want to grab credit. This is not an environment in which voters are that eager to give credit. But you have to tell a story about why you're doing what you're doing and you're, the kind of economy you're trying to build. And then you have to make the point that, Donald Trump is not focused on the American people. He's focused - I mean, how you do it in a State of the Union is trick, but he's focused on himself. So two contrasting views.

Let me just make one point, John. There's a lot of talk from the president and others about, the soul of the nation and the future of democracy. I care deeply about it. James Carville cares deeply about it. You care deeply about it. But if you're sitting around your kitchen table and talking about the future of democracy, you probably don't - you haven't - you're not paying a lot of attention or don't need to, to the cost of the food on your table. And most Americans have more immediate concerns. Biden has to address those tomorrow night and explain how he's fighting for them.

KING: So, James, I want you to come in and follow up on David. As I do so, though, I just want to give it a different perspective. Here's the map of the 2020 campaign. If you look at the polling right now, if you talk to smart people in the states and you've both been through this, at this moment in time, there's public polling that shows Donald Trump would win Michigan. There's been recent public polling that shows Donald Trump leading in Georgia.

If he takes those two states, it only takes one more. I've been out in Nevada recently and talking to voters out there in recent days, and there you get that. It would only take three states. I'm not saying that's easy, but it would only take three states for Donald Trump to win. So you're a big political guy, you're also a sports fan. You're supposed to study the opposition, right?

If you're Joe Biden and you're speaking to the country tomorrow night, what have you learned from Donald Trump's primary campaign, his march, despite all of the baggage, that you need to tell the American people, think again?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, the numbers are not good. I mean, as I said, looking at your polls, looking at your (inaudible) you just can't unsee, it as bad as you want to. But there was an interesting thing today in a Tom Edsall column that I thought was encouraging. Fifty percent of people in this country know nothing or very little about Trump's legal problems.

And so that tells me that there's some other information out there and then building on what David said, tomorrow night, if I just give free advice for what it's worth, I would not talk about inflation, I would talk about cost of living, okay? Because that's the way that people talk about it, cost of living. And they say, that's why we put a cap on diabetes drugs, because a lot of families in the United States are struggling with cost - health care costs and diabetes costs. That's why we released the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try to help families deal with high gasoline prices.

And what we're going to do is we're going to go after these companies that are fixing prices, that are using these issues to gouge consumers, because that's what people think. So you just - you don't tell them how well they're doing.


CARVILLE: I know you have an issue with living. I've done something, but I'm going to do more because there's a lot of price gouging and price fixing going out there and people know that. And he's got to (inaudible) on top of it.

KING: And David, I want to switch maps just for a second as I get to the next question, because behind the President of the United States, when he speaks tomorrow night, will be the Republican Speaker of the House and they had a deal on border security.


KING: Their - Joe Biden was about to sign something that included a lot of things he doesn't like and Democrats don't like to give border security. Donald Trump has done this in the Republican primaries and caucuses, he has marched.


And because of this march, he has full control over the party. And he essentially told Speaker Johnson, no. No, it might be good for the country, but it might not be good for my campaign, so don't do it. How does the President handle that moment drawing a contrast with Trump? He likes to say MAGA Republicans, is that the term you want to hear from a president on say the union night?

AXELROD: Well, they've -- that's the decision that they've made that they want to separate regular Republicans from MAGA Republicans. But on the issue of immigration, I was sort of bewildered as to why the instant that Trump did that, that they didn't just flood the zone, why weren't there TV ads on, why didn't the president go down to the border? Then, why were the surrogates out there pummeling Trump for this?

I mean, it was just such an act of hypocrisy, but it is absolutely imperative that he addressed this issue. Well, I live in Chicago, John, and I've seen this issue as the migrants have come sent by Governor Abbott, the issue has migrated as well. This is truly a national issue.

The President has to address it, and he needs to go hard after the sponsor of the move to scuttle the immigration law, and that's Donald Trump. He has to go after them tomorrow night in this. And he has to say what he's going to do in the absence of action by them, but he's got to demand that they take action. They're probably 300 votes on the floor of that Congress for this, and the Speaker of the House at the instance of Donald Trump won't bring it up. The Senate that negotiated it won't bring it up.

So, you know, this is a big one here, and I got to believe he's going to devote a lot of time and energy to that.

KING: James, I'm going to ask this question and we'll know in eight months, whether it's a smart question or a stupid question. But you are the architect of Bill Clinton campaign in 1992. The unique part of that was Ross Perot, got 90% of the vote, got nearly 20 million votes. There's not a third party candidate out there now that's going to do anything like that, but I would posit on this day that the number of third party candidates who actually make ballot access in which states they get ballot access, could well determine this campaign because Trump has a problem getting above 47 or 48. Biden right now is an invalid test mostly in the low to mid 40s.

Can you do something in a state of the union to address the prospect tell people don't go to Jill Stein, don't go to Bobby Kennedy, don't go to Cornel West? Or is that a fight for another day in the State of the Union has to be about something else?

CARVILLE: Well, the one thing that we do know and David knows this, and you know this. We have very weak numbers against -- with under 30 and we have very weak number of black, OK? And that tells me, and I think David and I both been more concerned about Cornel West than most people. And you're 100% right, it's not going to be Biden v. Trump, it's going to be Biden versus Trump, and two or three other people. And right now, the third party share without No Labels is clocking in at 20%.

That's high in March of an election year. That's real high. And that is what our No Labels candidate. So it's absolutely a problem and we absolutely have a problem what more predictable Democratic voters right now, and that he's got to address that. I don't think he needs to address Cornel West a third parties but he's got to share what he's doing. That's just a -- it's a big gaping hole when the Democratic coalition right now.

KING: So deal with the issues to keep them from going away. James and David, thanks to both --

CARVILLE: And you going to have deal with it, it's name caller down the road, but I probably (inaudible).

KING: We should continue this conversation in a diner or a bar at the first possible opportunity. Gentlemen, great to see you both. Appreciate it very much.

AXELROD: Thanks, John.

KING: Coming up for us, some breaking news as President Trump celebrates his big victories, he also faces a legal deadline in one of his many trials, a deadline that may define his candidacy and his net worth. The details, next.



KING: Even as former President Trump celebrates big Super Tuesday win, some breaking news now on one of the many legal threats to his candidacy. Today, Trump demanding a delay to post the more than $83 million he owes in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case. He's also trying to reduce that sum. The money is due Monday. Kara Scannell joins us now with more on that.

Kara, tell us more about this filing and what does it suggest about Donald Trump's ability to pay?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sounds like he needs more time to try to get these finances in order. You know, he had initially asked the judge last month to if he could post a bond of $24.4 million. That's a fraction of the $83.3 million award. That amount is due on Monday but he had asked for a 30 day break from after the judge decided these post-trial motions, you know, and said that he needed that.

Now, the judge hasn't ruled on that yet. And that was the filing today where them saying, you know, can we have three days after you issue your decision on this, perhaps not that they think they're going to lose wanting additional time to come up with this money. They said he needed to finalize a bond. So it does suggest that maybe they don't have this locked up just yet, even though the deadline of Monday has been known for weeks.

KING: And that's one pretty big chunk of change there. What about the deadline for the former president to pay the even bigger judgment in the New York civil fraud case?

SCANNELL: Yes, that $454 million bill is due by March 25th. And in that case, Trump again had offered to post about $100 million, a fraction of that. An appellate judge had denied that and said that he needed to come up with the money by that deadline.

Now, they are appealing this to the appeals court panel who will receive briefs on this. Now sources tell us that they will issue a decision by the end of the month. But in both of these cases, it's really coming down to the wire, John.

KING: Kara, stay with us as we continue the conversation. Let's bring in the former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin. So, Jeff, what do you make of this? It's a legal question, it's also a financial question. Is this a flashing red light in terms of Trump's abilities to pay? And if he can't, then what? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If he can't, the plaintiffs, both the state of New York and E. Jean Carroll, can move to collect the money that day.

This is a binding judgment that exists in the world. And if there's no stay, they get to say to Barbara Jones, who is the independent monitor, give us this money. And if you have to sell assets, you have to sell assets. So, I mean, the stakes are enormous.


Now, if Judge Kaplan is asked for three days, I'm sure he'll give them three days. But it sure doesn't look like Trump is anywhere near collecting the close to $600 million he's going to need to post these two bonds.

KING: What's the history here? Do you think he has any shot actually, of getting the $83.3 million E. Jean Carroll verdict reduced? Does that happen?

TOOBIN: It does happen, but I don't think he's going to get it from Judge Kaplan. Judge Kaplan has passed on this case so far. I think he's done. The issue that he might win on appeal is that the punitive damage award is so much bigger than the compensatory damage award, that the ratio of 5 million to 80 million is too far out of whack.

Most judges, most appeals courts approve that, but some judges will have at least questions about that. But I don't think he's going to win it in front of Judge Kaplan. His only hope is really going to the appeals courts.

KING: Kara, to Jeff's point about you could go to, you know, the person overseeing the Trump organization right now. But is it clear what options he might have, the former president might have as a disposal? Could he get a loan? What he actually sell real estate? He have to do that?

SCANNELL: I mean, his lawyers told the appeals court that they needed cash, basically. And that's why this appellate judge had lifted one of the bands that was imposed by the judge overseeing the New York civil fraud case. So he can go to a bank to try to get on a loan, he can try to refinance one of his properties. He could also try to sell one of them pretty quickly.

One thing that Trump's lawyer said is that even to get a bond to post this amount, a lot of the bond underwriters want cash to back it up. So they need to access the markets unless Trump is able to come up with the money some other way. You know, that could be a property sale but that's a pretty tight turnaround to try to do that in 30 days, John?

KING: Well, Jeff, on the issue of some other way, Elon Musk said today that despite a recent meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, he will not be donating money to either candidate. Put aside conventional campaign donations, is there anything that would legally prevent a very rich friend of Donald Trump from saying here, I'm going to cut you a check to help you with these court judgments. And what do you have to publicly disclose that?

TOOBIN: I think it would -- I don't know. It would depend on the structure. But I think the most interesting question about that is what if he goes to foreign sources, what if he goes to Azerbaijan. He has a lot of business overseas. What if he goes to Russia? What if he goes and gets hundreds of millions of dollars from overseas? What does that mean?

If a candidate for president is on the hook for multiple, multiple millions of dollars to a foreign source. Because that, it seems to me, is the most likely source. Banks at this point don't want anything to do with him. Deutsche Bank has lived a nightmare for decades now because of they've been associated with Trump. So I think foreign is his only option, and that raises in a very big can of worms.

KING: Obviously keep our eyes on it with the two of you in the days ahead. Kara Scannell, Jeff Toobin, thank you very much.

Up next, two big breaking items for us a verdict in the involuntary manslaughter trial of the "Rust" film armorer. Also ahead, why the National Garden State Police are being deployed to the New York City subway system?



KING: More breaking news now. The armorer on the "Rust" film set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a New Mexico jury. The 26-year-old placed the live round in that gun used by Alec Baldwin when he was rehearsing a scene, leading to the death, of course, of the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins back in October 2021. CNN's Josh Campbell joins us with more. Josh, tell us more about this verdict and what kind of sentence could Gutierrez-Reed now be facing?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. So this trial was watched coast to coast particularly in the entertainment industry because of the precedent that it might set. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed didn't shoot anyone. She wasn't holding the gun when it went off. Prosecutors didn't provide direct evidence of her actually bringing live rounds of ammunition on the set.

But nevertheless, a jury found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and prosecutors had alleged all along that in her role as the weapons handler she alone was responsible for weapons safety on that set. Her defense had claimed that she was being scapegoated. They blame the film production company itself for creating an unsafe culture on the set. They also blamed actor Alec Baldwin.

Now, we just heard from Hannah Gutierrez-Reed attorney a short time ago outside of court. He said that they are disappointed. They respect the jury's verdict, but they do intend to appeal.

We're also just getting an statement now from the attorneys representing the family, the surviving family members of Halyna Hutchins. I'll read you part of that statement.

They say, we are satisfied that the jury, based on the evidence, found Hannah Gutierrez-Reed guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for her part in taking of Halyna's life. We look forward to the justice system, continuing to make sure that everyone else who is responsible for Halyna's death is required to face the legal consequences for their actions.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that Gutierrez-Reed wasn't the only one who was charged. Actor Alec Baldwin himself faces his own involuntary manslaughter charge to which he has pleaded not guilty, John.

KING: And to that point, Josh, are they separate trials or could this verdict affect the Baldwin trial this summer?

CAMPBELL: So separate charges, but it could certainly affect that trial in two key areas. First, the most practical. Going second allowed the Baldwin team to actually study the government's case. All the exhibits, all the witnesses, you can bet that they were paying attention here because the charges are so similar so that provides that added advantage to be able to study that for months prior to his upcoming trial.


We've also heard from legal experts say it could be beneficial once it gets to Baldwin's trial to be able to point to Hannah Gutierrez-Reed can say, look, someone else has already been held responsible. Alec Baldwin shouldn't be the one -- he wasn't responsible for gun safety on the set. We'll see what happens, John.

KING: We will see as it plays out in the months ahead. Josh Campbell, thanks so much.

To New York now, in a major announcement from the New York Governor Kathy Hoko. Hundreds of National Guard troops, state police and other resources being deployed now into the city's busiest subway stations to help fight crime. According to the NYPD, there's been a 13% spike in violent crime across the transit system since last year.

CNN's John Miller joins us with more. He, of course, is a former NYPD Deputy Commissioner. John, walked us through this. How exactly will this work? Are we talking strictly about the presence of soldiers as a deterrent or are they there to engage in law enforcement activities?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: They're not police, you know? They're National Guard members, and they are there for a visible presence. They will also be conducting back checks. The back checks,that's something we used to do for counterterrorism purposes. This will be more to find out is there a gun or is there a knife in the bag, do they want to stop somebody from coming into the system to reduce violent crimes.

The real question, John, is the visible presidents of National Guard people in uniform with machine guns going to make writers feel safer, or more ill at ease that that's what it's come to.

KING: As you know, from being in the business, sometimes help and support as welcome. Sometimes people get turf conscious. Is this something the NYPD will welcome and the does the police department think it will be affected.

MILLER: So this is something that the mayor and the police commissioner didn't want. What they wanted instead was the money. What they wanted was the governor to give them the $20 million or more so that they could use that for overtime to put New York City police in the subway.

We know that people see a cop and feel better on the subway feels safer. But the police also know this transit system. They know the stations, they know how to do train patrol, something the National Guard and the State Police are not going to know certainly at the beginning. So that would have been the preference if you ask the mayor, governor.

KING: Governor Hochul also say she wants to transit authorities and the police to keep track of repeat offenders, and for that information to then have a bearing on whether a defendant would get bail. How likely is that?

MILLER: Well, it's great to keep track of it. But the real issue here is the bail reform laws, the criminal justice reforms that make it really hard to prosecute people for these minor crimes that make people feel unsafe on the subway. Major crime is actually down to pre- pandemic levels. It's extraordinarily few major crimes in the subway, but it's the conditions caused by mentally unhinged people. People doing pickpockets or grabbing phones, minor assaults, the guy sitting next to you on the bench who's smoking marijuana in the train car that make passengers feel that the place is not under control.

And that's District Attorney Policy. A lot of those cases are just ones that they declined to prosecute.

KING: Or watch as this one plays out. John Miller, thank you very much, I appreciate the insights. Just ahead, we returned to Haiti two days after we brought you frightening images of gang violence there. The security situation getting even worse. One gang leader has warned of a "genocide" if the prime minister returns. David Culver, just back from Haiti joins us next.



KING: Earlier this week, we brought you these images from inside Haiti of a security crisis caused by rapidly escalating gang violence. Today, one gang leader predicting a "genocide" If the Prime Minister returns to Haiti. Aria Henley has been stranded outside his country unable to get safe passage back.

Already, the UN says about 15,000 people have been forced to flee homes due to the increasing violence. David Culver, who brought us those harrowing image from inside Haiti, has the latest now in a situation that looks to be going from bad to worse.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A major escalation of gang violence is taking Haiti hostage tonight. Scenes like this playing out in Port- au-Prince today. Banks looted with ATMs smashed open, people scrambling to gather whatever they can. Several police stations bombed out by powerful gangs who now freely stroll through the streets.

The rising anger directed towards Prime Minister, Ariel Henry.

One gang leader in the capitol threatening that if only he does not step down, it'll mean genocide for the Haitian people. And it is most often the people who pay the price.

We were in Haiti just before this recent surge in violence. People venting to us their frustrations, wanting only to go and barricade in their neighborhoods to stop would be gang kidnappers. Perhaps the biggest indicator of dysfunction comes from the top. All of this happening while a major mystery looms, where exactly is Prime Minister Henry? He was last seen last week signing an agreement in Kenya, securing the deployment of Kenyan police officers to Haiti expected to arrive any day now.

The Miami Herald says Henry then boarded a flight that went first to the US and then on toward Haiti's island neighbor, the Dominican Republic, for an indefinite stopover. But officials in the D R blocked his arrival. Instead on his plane went on to Puerto Rico. The Miami Herald reporting that Henry was mid flight when the Biden administration asked him to agree to a new transitional government and resign. The White House pushing back on that

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are definitely not pushing the Prime Minister to resign. That is not what we're doing. But we have underscored that now is the time to finalize a political core to help set Haiti on a path to a better future.

Where Henry is now is not clear, nor is the direction of his country, which is increasingly under the tightening grip of gangs.


CULVER: John, a Haitian security source telling us tonight that police are trying to hold the line. They're low on ammo, morale is depleted. They say that with the Prime Minister out of the country in this moment, John, they feel like they've been abandoned.

KING: David Culver, important reporting. Thank you so much. The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now.