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Jury Sends Second Note Asking To Re-Hear Judge's Instructions; Soon: Judge & Attorneys To Discuss What Testimony Will Be Read To Jury; Many Haley Supporters Not Ready To Fall In Line For Trump. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 29, 2024 - 16:00   ET



ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: They usually are much more specific. So I don't know who I like this. So I don't love this as the prosecutor, but I think just say I don't want this kind of just we want to start all over again.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: But I don't think they're just shooting from the hip. They want to hear what the law -- whether it's conviction or acquittal or whatever, or whether it's just one juror who needs to be sent straight about something, it doesn't seem like they're shooting from the hip. They want to know what the -- what the law says and they want to hear it.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Roughly three-and-a-half hours in a testimony, we get one request about an hour later, we get a second request. We're going to hear the instructions potentially all over again. A lot to process.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We do have some breaking news for you, and just over four hours to deliberation, the jury has now requested to hear read back of four parts of testimony, and just now, they send a second note, another note, a second one.

These 12 people will decide the fate of former President Trump and his criminal hush money cover-up trial. We're going to bring you all the updates in a moment. The verdict comes down, which could be in seconds or days.

If you ask Donald Trump's allies, they believed that every minute the jury continues to deliberate as a good sign for Trump. The truth is, we have no idea.

This morning, Judge Merchan instructed the jury on how they should reach their verdict. This included a directive to check any personal Trump views at the door saying, quote, you must set aside any personal opinions or bias you might have in favor or against the defendant. And you must not allow any such opinions to influence your verdict.

But I guess those instructions weren't as clear as Judge Merchan thought they were because this second note from the jury, they rang the buzzer again and they're saying we'd like to hear those instructions again.

CNN's Paula Reid is outside the courthouse.

Paula, what exactly is the confusion? And honestly, why didn't he just give them the paper document with the instructions? Like -- I mean, I know Karen here says that that's just not what's done in New York.

Well, it's stupid. Give them the instructions and paper. Why not?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I agree with you. It is stupid. It's also stupid not to have cameras inside the courtroom, but I'm going to hop off my soapbox for a second and note that the judge isn't even in clear on whether they want the entirety of the jury instructions re-read or just portions. It appears in the judge is not keen to repeat those over 50 pages of instructions that he already gave adjust this morning.

Now we're learning that the first request that they made for portions of four different pieces of testimony, that read back we're learning from her colleagues inside, that's going to take about 30 minutes, according to the court reporter. So they're going to hear back these portions of testimony that they asked for, three different pieces of testimony from David Pecker and then a piece of testimony from David -- from Michael Cohen.

Now, what's interesting is they want to hear from both David Pecker, and Michael Cohen again out the Trump Tower meeting, and that's notable because you have two people in this critical meeting, the prosecutors argued in their closings yesterday, set off this alleged conspiracy to help Trump in the 2016 campaign by using the "National Enquirer" to suppress negative stories about Trump and amplify positive ones.

Now, we don't want to read too much into this request. What it suggests, Jake, that the jury may be moving through this case chronologically. Now, the judge has just read both notes from the jury and he's asked the foreperson to confirm that he'd he read them right. The foreperson has confirmed and obviously the judge wants to get a little clarity on that second note just how much of his instructions does he need to go through again, because it's clear Jake getting through these two requests is likely going to take us to the end of the day.

So, highly unlikely that we would get a verdict today. This expected to go into tomorrow.

TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid, thanks.

Let's bring in our panel.

So, Leslie, moments ago after about three-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the jury came back with this note that contain these four requests, three questions about the testimony of David Pecker, the tabloid king of American Media Incorporated, one about Michael Cohen, the key witness. In general, what does this tell you about the jury, if anything? What -- to read the tea leaves for us in three-and- a-half hours in, they're asking questions about the testimony, and then they say, and also we need some further instructions on your instructions.

LESLIE ELLIS, JURY CONSULTANT: Right, right. So it's definitely reading the tea leaves, but I think as police said, they could be going through the evidence chronologically, right? We started with David Pecker, so they're starting with David Pecker.

It also could be that they're looking for ways to corroborate Michael Cohen's testimony, right. So one of the instructions was you can't rely on his testimony only look at what evidence is out there to corroborate it. And there's -- there's quite a bit of overlap between what he was talking about and David Pecker's testimony. So they might be looking for ways to corroborate it which could also be partly why they want to hear the instructions, but it doesn't surprise me in the least that they do want to hear all of the instructions because it was a lot and there's no way anybody could process all of that in one shot.

TAPPER: So, Karen, you have worked in the D.A.'s office, Manhattan D.A.'s office.


You also have been on a jury.

I think it's stupid that they didn't just give the jury the instructions that he gave them. So now he has to come and explain them all or some or whatever. Is there a reason why that's -- this is the way they do it in New York, or Judge Merchan does it?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's the way it's done in New York and there are thousands of jury trials in New York state every year, where this has done the same way.

TAPPER: Okay. But why?

AGNIFILO: And jurors --

TAPPER: Why? Give me a why? Because I said so is not -- that's not good enough for my kids. When I say to them, like, is there a reason? Was this -- for the printing press was invented? Like what exactly would -- would prohibit a judge from, well, this will make it easier for them? They can just read the instruction.

AGNIFILO: Like every jurisdiction has ways that things are done. And this is how New York does it. I think I agree -- I agree that there should be cameras in the courtroom, too, New York needs to change in certain ways. I totally agree.

I think these notes -- I think what's positive though about these notes is that it really shows the jury is actually doing their job and deliberating, unlike what Donald Trump kind of -- was saying that concerned me, was he was delegitimizing the jury system by saying I cant get a fair trial in New York, people are going to be biased against me. If that were the case, they would just have a knee-jerk reaction and potentially just convict him.

And this really shows they're listening, they're thinking they're looking at the evidence they want to read back. They want the law read back to them. They want certain parts of the testimony so they can analyze it. And whatever the verdict is, we have to respect it and I think the legitimacy of the jury system out of the criminal ill justice system is important, whatever the verdict is, but I think this is a very positive sign because it shows they're taking their job very seriously and they're being thoughtful.

TAPPER: So, Judge Merchan said deliberations are going to start again at 9:30 a.m. Eastern tomorrow, and he is dismissed the jury for the day. The jury is leaving.

AGNIFILO: The reason he's doing that is because it is going to now take the court reporter and the parties hours, literally hours to agree -- to identify in the transcript exactly which portions of the transcript are responsive to these notes, because it's not like they said, we want all of the read back of David Pecker's testimony. They want a certain specific part of David Pecker's testimony.

And that could be in multiple places, right? There could be a question on direct, are a series of questions on the direct. There could be more questions later on in the direct and then parts of cross.

And what's going to happen is the court reporter is going to have to identify each and every place that is responsive to that note in both direct and cross, then the parties are going to have to agree that that's the only place in the transcripts that it exists, and then it'll be read back to them.

The court reporters, the one who does the read back, both of the judge's instruction and of the testimony in New York. So you'll have the court reporter who will be speaking for a long time tomorrow, but I bet even at 9:30, we might not get started because the jury will come in, the judge will send them back to continue to deliberate. They can continue to deliberate, even while the parties are answering the notes and looking for things, it's not like things stop at that time.

But it's going to take some time to get the answers to these questions to the point where it can then be read back to the jury.

TAPPER: So, Tom, is the reason that he dismissed them for the day just because it's 4:07 almost 4:30, which is when he would dismiss them anyway, you might as well just let them have the 20 minutes.

TOM DUPREE, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think that's probably what was going through his mind. I mean, it is interesting given that the jury -- they deliberated late last night, so you can at least see maybe the jury would be interested in continuing to deliberate, but I could also see them wanting a break. I mean, they certainly had a very long day yesterday. They finally got the case today, and now they're just going to be sitting there awaiting this information that they have indicated is very important to their decision-making process.

The thing that interests is me, Jake, by this, you asked about the significance is that these requests came relatively speaking early on in the deliberative process, which tells me this is also a jury that kind of got down to business. In other words, they didn't spend hours and hours kind of venting or unburdening himself of their feelings. And the case, they immediately plunged into the record and within a reasonable amount of time decided, these are the specific pieces of information we want to hear back, we want to get more, because we've already identified these bits of testimony as critical to our deliberations, moving quickly.

TAPPER: And as Karen assessed, that Judge Merchan told the attorneys that they cannot leave the courtroom. The jurors have laughed, but attorneys cannot leave the courtroom until they agree on the transcript that will be read back tomorrow.

Tim Parlatore, are we going to find out -- we in the public going to find out what four specific requests from the testimony, three from Pecker, one from Cohen, that they requested. Is that something that we will learn or no, this is all just private jury information?

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Oh, no, so the judge has read the note, allowed into the record, so everybody who's in the courtroom knows what specific questions they've asked. And so now, both sides are trying to compile what is responsive to that?


And there will be some back-and-forth about sometimes one side will try to add an extra page that they think is advantageous to them, and the other side would say, well, that's not really responsible.

TAPPER: Right, sneaking in some sense --

PARLATORE: Right. And so --

TAPPER: -- to cook it.

PARLATORE: -- this part of the process is interesting because I agree with you that a lot of these things would be whole lot easier if we just give them the instructions, give them the transcript is a little bit more complicated because you have to remember these transcripts are not certified yet. They do contain errors. Sometimes when you get the draft transcript, do you see that the court report accidentally were at then no, when the answer was yes.

TAPPER: Right.

PARLATORE: Things like that. And so you can't give them the transcript, but this gives a great opportunity for the attorneys to see where's the jury going and for the -- for the client to be able to lose their mind just a little bit more and trying to figure out what they're doing and what I always find interesting is not just the questions asked, but during the read back, I watched the jury and I see what are they doing.

And sometimes you'll see facial expressions. Some that -- I've seen it even where when it comes to that key line in the testimony, all of a sudden one juror will look down at the other, see? And that's when you sit there and the clients like, is that a good thing?

TAPPER: Right, that's funny.

AGNIFILO: I think read back is in open court.


AGNIFILO: We will all --

TAPPER: We're all going to know what they what they read.

And, Jamie Gangel, right now, you talked about clients going crazy and it again, for any defendant does not fund and Donald Trump is a defended, so its not fund for him right now.

And Todd Blanche, his defense attorney, asked the judge, can my client, the former president Donald Trump, go across the hall while the lawyers are working on finalizing the transcript, which could take hours. Judge Merchan said that's okay, but Trump cannot leave the building and Trump is apparently leaning back in his chair with his arm up on the chair back, gesturing as he talks to Blanche and Bove, two of his attorneys, Blanche's laughing.

Trump, we saw him walk out. Trump is up from his seat, leaving with Don Jr., total deliberation time today, four hours, 37 minutes.

And, Jamie Gangel, the guy's running for president. I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong, but this has got to be frustrating. He's stuck in this courthouse.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's put aside running for president because there were a lot of days during the six weeks where he could have gone out and campaigned and he chose to campaign from the courthouse steps or the courthouse hallway.

I will say I think it's -- look, Donald Trump doesn't like anyone telling him what to do or where to be. Look at Tim Parlatore nodding.

So, he doesn't like the fact that he has to stick around the courthouse, and someone I know who was in that holding room with me -- with him tells me it is a not a very pleasant place. Like the rest of the building. It is old, it is dirty. I gather there's an old air conditioning unit in the window, not Donald Trump's style.

TAPPER: Yeah, that courthouse is a dump, but I don't think --

GANGEL: But the one thing about being in the holding room --

TAPPER: Yeah. GANGEL: We're not watching his face in the court.

TAPPER: Right. So he doesn't have to worry about --

GANGEL: Right, privacy.

TAPPER: -- anybody commenting because he closed his eyes for five seconds.

Everyone, stick around.

The jury has stopped deliberating for the day after four hours, 37 minutes of deliberation. So we just want to note that we have stopped, where's it? We have stopped our clock right here.

Let's bring in CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who's outside the court.

And, Kaitlan, what do you make the jury's notes late this afternoon and this rather early dismissal for the jury?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, obviously, this is a question that the Trump team is going to be trying to dissect, just like we are in the sense of what this means for them. At first glance, I mean, obviously if they're trying to read David Pecker's testimony, which the prosecution framed in their closing arguments late into the evening last night, I was in there inside the courtroom as they did that.

I mean, the prosecution framed it as damning for Donald Trump and saying that when David Pecker, someone who had no acts grind against Donald Trump, had to say, by putting Trump in the room and talking about how he was aware of this plot to pay for stories that could potentially be damaging to in his chances at winning the election, that was how they framed it.

So it's notable that the jury wants to see that, but they're also asking to see testimony from Michael Cohen, who Todd Blanche framed as this complete liar as part of his closing arguments to the jury as well.

So, obviously, it's a lot to interpret there. Everyone's going to be trying to read it, including Trump's attorneys who you saw Trump leave the room along with his entourage a few moments ago, but Todd Blanche, and Emil Bove and Susan Necheles are still inside that room at the defense table as they are going to be trying to sort through exactly which parts of this transcript are going to be read back to the jury tomorrow.

I think the other thing that it's still to be determined is on the jury instructions and what is being read to -- what is going to be read back to them, whether or not its all of the jury instructions which took about an hour today or if its certain in parts of the law or certain parts about reasonable doubt, witness credibility, all of that is going to be key aspects that people will be looking for when the judge does return with jury tomorrow morning at nine 9:30 a.m. to see what is it that they have questions about? It's this fascinating process where they can only communicate via the foreperson for the jury that is jury number one. He is just automatically the foreperson here, sending these notes and clarifying what it is to the judge.


They can't have these lengthy conversations with him or if they do have conversations its where the judge has brought the entire juror into the courtroom to make sure that they all hear what his instructions are, and it's not just any kind of private of discussion between the judge and one juror. The importance here is that they are all 12 on the same page here. And so obviously the Trump team will be trying to figure this out as well.

I should note, Trump left the courtroom, Jake, he can't actually lead the courthouse though. He has to wait until all of this is done. He's obviously been here since early this morning.

TAPPER: Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

The Trump trial jury has just been dismissed for the de this after they sent the judge two notes, one to hear -- one to rehear four different parts of testimony, three from David Pecker, one from Michael Cohen, another to hear parts of the judge's instructions to them. Again, we're going to have more from court in just a few minutes, and we're going to talk with the former judge about how this first day of deliberations has gone.



TAPPER: We're back as the jury in Donald Trump's hush money trial has finished its very first day of deliberation. You can see there for hours and 37 minutes, it's up there, right there. Today, they requested to rehear four parts of testimony three from American Media Incorporated tabloid magnate David Pecker, and one from Michael Cohen and the lawyers are still in the room even though the jurors have gone home and the lawyers are deciding exactly which part of the testimonies will be read back tomorrow. They're going back and forth agreeing, disagreeing.

Joining us down to discuss retired Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell. She's also the author of the book, "Her Honor: My Life on the Bench, What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It".

So, Judge, the jury also requested to rehear the instructions that they heard this morning from Judge Merchan, more than an hours worth of instructions. I think it's also the policy in California that you don't give paper copies of the instructions, maybe I'm wrong, but it doesn't make any sense to me.

LADORIS HAZZARD CORDELL, RETIRED JUDGE: Jake, first, thank you for having me on.

I'm sitting here listening to CNN today and the reports from the court and just shaking my head, shaking my head for, number one, the jury instructions. In California, it's discretionary. A judge can give copies of the instructions to the jurors. I always did that every jury trial, and I presided over a lot of them in the nearly 20 years I was on the bench. Give them the jury instruction.

So I read through -- actually skim through the jury instructions that Judge Merchan read to the jurors. The reasonable doubt instruction alone is one-and-a-half pages. It's just absurd to me. So that's one.

And then the transcript, why are not transcripts digitized? So when they're gone through, you digitize them and then they can provide copies of the particular excerpts that the jurors want to hear.

Instead, they have to go through and that's tedious, I get it, both sides. The judge, they do -- they go through to find out exactly what the jurors want to hear from the transcripts and then they should provide it to them instead, they're going to sit there and it will be read.

Now, it is read back transcripts are read back in courts in California and there's also move toward digitizing things. So the jurors can not just hear it because the person who read's it can't use any affect at all, give it to them in writing, printing, so they can read it.

I just don't get it. The courts in New York are not of the 21st century and something really needs to be done about this.

TAPPER: You're being polite. They're barely of the 20th century, frankly.

Judge Merchan instructed the jury that they must set aside any personal opinions or bias in favor of or against Donald Trump. Are jurors able to do that?

CORDELL: Every human being has bias and I will tell you from my time working, presiding over jury trials, jurors really, really want to do the right thing and follow the instructions in most cases. They really do. So they'll work really hard to say, you know what, it doesn't matter what this man stands for? Or what we think this man portends. We will just look at the instructions and come up with the facts.

You know, the fact that they have requested testimony now means that there's disagreement in the jury room over what was said by these individuals. So to clear it up, you can get the transcript in, so they can all be on the same page. So that's what it signifies when they want to have stuff read back, some will say, well, no, he didn't say that. Well, I think he did. Well, we need to get the transcript in.

So, clearly, they're having some discussion and likely disagreement about their perceptions of what they believe they heard during the testimony.

So, that's fine. That's what they're supposed to do. You know, there have been some predictions, Jake -- go ahead.

TAPPER: No, no, you, please. CORDELL: There had been some predictions about the length of deliberations and anyone who says, yeah, I can predict its like reading tea leaves, leaves, or you're on crack or something because you can't do that.

But one thing I can tell you definitely about the length of jury deliberations, they will be longer than the short for this deliberations on record and they will be shorter than the longest, the shortest deliberation on record was in 2004, where a jury heard testimony about this person who was charged with cultivating 23 marijuana plants. The jury went in the deliberation room and came out after 60 seconds.


That is the shortest jury deliberation and they acquitted. The longest -- and that was in New Zealand. The longest is in the 1990s in L.A., in federal court, where there was a six-month jury trial, the jury deliberated 4-1/2 months.

So I can tell you it will be longer than the sixth the seconds, and it'll be shorter than the 4-1/2 months. That's about all we can say about jury deliberations.

TAPPER: Do you know anything more about the four-and-a-half month one? Why it took so long or did they at least emerge with a verdict?

CORDELL: Oh, absolutely. So this was a civil case and it was a mother and a son suing the city of Long Beach, California, in federal court. And this went on for 4-1/2 months because -- and some of the jurors just quit. Is it -- we're out of here. We're just not going to do this after months.

And one of the jury for said they should call this the United States very court, because these jurors are milking it for everything they can get, and they did. They had dinners, they door to extra foods so they could take home. Sometimes they called in sick and will go to the races.

They did come up with a verdict they awarded the mother and son $22 million, but they cost the city of Long Beach, the court system spent thousands of dollars for the feeding and care of these jurors.

TAPPER: Before you go just briefly, if you could and with the understanding that you're not actually in the courtroom, so we don't know. But based on what you know, based on what you've heard and what based on what you've read, do you think that the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt?

CORDELL: First, let me just wrap up with the jury, deliberations. You asked me about that those that one case, the two -- I describe both of them in my book on page 136.

So has the case been proven beyond a reasonable doubt? Again, just based upon and I have been following CNN's live coverage, as many updates as I can about this. So there are 34 counts. Have they proved beyond a reasonable doubt 34 counts? And again, it's

about falsifying documents and with the intent to commit crimes, my belief is yes, they have proved beyond a reasonable doubt, if not all, some of, and maybe a majority of the 34 counts.

And I want you understand, before my life and the bench, I was a criminal defense attorney. I'm not a prosecutor. So I'm looking at it really coming from a defense point of view, and I believe the prosecution did carry its burden, but we'll see what the jury decides once they get the jury instructions and who how -- we don't know, how long that's going to take.

TAPPER: Your Honor, Judge Cordell, always great to have you on. Thank you so much. Good to see you again.

CORDELL: Thank you.

TAPPER: The jury has stopped deliberating, but the questions are swirling around. What are they going to decide? If their late afternoon notes are offering any signal, any a hint about what they might ultimately rule?

Stay right here.



TAPPER: And we're back with continuing coverage of this very first day of jury deliberations in the Donald Trump hush money cover-up trial.

CNN's Kara Scannell has just come out from spending all day inside court.

And, Kara, you had to buzzers go off. The jury -- the jury sending an alarm, but it's just they wanted some information. They didn't have a verdict.

Give us the details of your day.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake. I mean, this was just before 3:00. The first buzzer goes off and it really does buzz in the courtroom. So everyone kind of leaps to attention, not knowing for quite a while or feels like a long time what if this is, is if it's a note or it's a verdict.

We learn shortly thereafter that it was note. The lawyers came in, Trump came in, walk down the center aisle, the courtrooms sat at the defense table, and the judge came on the bench and informed us that the jury wanted to read back of some testimony, testimony from David Pecker for who has talked about a phone call with Donald Trump that he had discussing Karen McDougal, also testimony read backs from David Pecker and Michael Cohen about meetings at Trump Tower. And we know one of those meetings was the August 2015 meeting with prosecutors say this alleged catch and kill conspiracy was hatched or David Pecker said, you'd be the eyes and ears of the campaign. They also asked for additional testimony, read back about David Pecker's decision not to go forward and pay Karen McDougal that was accepting the reimbursement from Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. So, a lot of this testimony that kind of gets right at the center of this alleged conspiracy. The judge saying though, that they would -- the parties are still trying to get that get together. It takes a little bit of time to find the transcripts, make sure that the prosecution and defense agree on the exact transcript portions that will be read back.

And as they were doing that, it was the second buzzer that was when the jury said that they wanted the instructions read back. So what the judge did is he brought the jurors back in, including the alternates because he is keeping them around. He's asked them to respond in writing if they wanted the entire jury instruction right back, or just a portion of it.

The jurors left the courtroom. He told them that they were going to come back tomorrow. He read them the usual instruction not to discuss the case with anyone, particularly where we are in this point in the trial.

So those jurors went back. They were going home for the day and the judge told the parties to the lawyers are still in there, the prosecutors, Todd Blanche, Trump's lawyers going over the transcripts until they reach a decision in an agreement on which ones will be read back. So once that is reached, then the parties will be able to go home.


So Trump was able to leave the courtroom to go across the hall into the space that he occupies during these breaks. So he is not in the courtroom now while that's happening. But once this agreement is reached, then all the parties will leave for the day. The judge says, when they come back tomorrow, they will start rereading these transcript excerpts.

The court reporter estimate it would take about a half an hour to read this testimony back, and then the judge will instruct the jury again on whether that is the whole instruction, which lasts about an hour or portion of it. We still don't know. But that will take up the morning before they kick-start deliberations, again, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kara Scannell, thanks so much.

Weeks of testimony, scores of documents weighing 34 criminal counts and appears to critical witnesses as the jury as to revisit what David Pecker and Michael Cohen had to say.

Stay with us.


[16:40:14] TAPPER: And we're back with continuing coverage of jury deliberations and Donald Trump's hush money cover-up trial. The jury says wrapped for the day after getting the case this morning, the jury did request of rehear for parts of testimony and to rehear the jury instructions the Judge Juan Merchan read this morning. They will likely hear those read to them again tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. when the court is back in session.

Our panel is here to discuss.

And there's something interesting that Andy McCarthy wrote. He's actually a very interesting writer. He's frequently cited by Donald Trump and he tends to take Trump's side of this case and has issued some very blistering condemnations of the case as brought by D.A. Alvin Bragg, and also how Judge Merchan is running his courtroom.

So that said, he's also been quite critical in this new column, one that I think Donald Trump will probably not read aloud, in which he says that the strategy for his defense was not the wisest one. And let me just read a lengthy excerpt to do it justice.

Against the weight of evidence and common sense, Trump insists on telling voters that Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal are lying. But no one with even passing familiarity with Trump's combative and parsimonious nature would believe for a second that, A, he would agree to pay $130,000 to Stormy and $150,000 to McDougal if they were falsely claiming to have had affairs with him, or B, that Cohen would have paid Stormy and Trump's pal, David Pecker, would have paid McDougal unless Trump had green-lighted the payments and assured them of repayments.

Since Trump knows that if he acknowledged as being complicit in the payment arrangements, voters will conclude his denials of the affairs are lies, Trump has decided he must distance himself from the nondisclosure agreement, NDA payments.

Politically speaking, this is dumb because voters long ago made up their minds about Trump's extramarital affairs. And if he admitted them at this point, he'd merely be admitting what is notorious and not credibly deniable. Then that's the politics of it, McCarthy writes.

Legally speaking, he says, Trump's gambit is disastrous. It makes no sense in a criminal courtroom for a defendant to deny his complicity in legal conduct when there is daunting evidence that he was complicit up to his neck. The prosecutors framed the case to the jury as a criminal conspiracy to bury damaging information. That's not a crime and NDAs are legal, but rather than go with that, his best defense, Trump has acted guilty.

As if a candidate suppression of negative information rather than routine is criminally able and if the NDAs are radioactive. For the District Attorney Alvin Bragg, this is a gift from prosecutorial heaven.

Which I thought was very interesting. What do you think? DUPREE: I think there is a lot of truth in that, Jake. Look, I mean,

its been an open secret that for a long time, Donald Trump does not make distinctions between kind of political arguments and legal arguments. The two basically merge.

And he goes into court and he makes what I agree with Andy is a political argument and you can point throughout this trial, so many moments that the fighting this Stormy Daniels affair, the fighting, his involvement of the payoffs even tactical decisions like the decision to call Costello, those all appear to have been decisions that were driven by Donald Trump's determination of how we want it to litigate this rather than what I suspect his defense lawyers were telling him and what I think most defense lawyers probably would tell him.

So I think there's a huge amount of truth get to that. But again, I think for Donald Trump, the main battlefield here is the court of public opinion, and that's what he's been playing to.


PARLATORE: I agree with Andy. I mean, I think that pursuing that line of defense is not something I agree with now, is that something that's totally driven by the client and that the attorneys are fighting against that, I don't know. You know, we'll probably never know that.

But I think that it is something that to be effective at winning a case, you have to simplify. Simplify, concede the points that you need to concede, and focused the jury in, because the more you're fighting about, you know, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the more the jury is even talking about Karen McDougal.

I mean, this note right here where they want to hear about Pecker's testimony about the Karen McDougal payment --


PARLATORE: -- that right there demonstrates that they're focusing on something that is not even close to the elements of this offense.

TAPPER: Right, Karen, it's not there's nothing involving Karen McDougal and the alleged crimes, right? Nothing. And yet they asked for Pecker's testimony about the decision not to finalize and fund the assignment of Karen McDougal's life rights?

PARLATORE: Exactly. I mean, you have to just concede those points and focus the jury on, these are the important points. Yeah. I always like to start a closing by saying, there's a lot of things in this in this case that are not in dispute. Here are the things that the district attorney and I actually agree on, but here are the things that are in dispute, and this is what you have to decide, focus in here. Send out your notes, asking for to read back the testimony on this issue.


TAPPER: Yeah. Karen, what do you think?

AGNIFILO: Yeah. Look, a lot of the trial was a head scratching for practitioners to wonder why, for example, when Todd Blanche -- I can't remember actually who did this Stormy Daniels cross, but whoever crossed --

TAPPER: Wasn't it --


AGNIFILO: Susan Necheles, Susan Necheles, sorry, who's a phenomenal, phenomenal defense attorney. So I can't imagine that this was her decision to spend any time cross-examining Stormy Daniels on whether or not there was a sexual encounter between him and Donald Trump has nothing to do with the case. I think if -- I think Susan Necheles or any practitioner might even consider not crossing Stormy Daniels at all, actually, because it does not matter, just get out of there, right? You don't have to go into the --

TAPPER: No one disputes she got the money.

AGNIFILO: Right exactly.

TAPPER: That's all she knows.

AGNIFILO: Exactly. That's all she knows -- then that's all you needed. You didn't need to go to go there, but now, the jury is going to try to figure out and sort out. Did these things happen or not happen?

TAPPER: Very quickly, Leslie, if you could, does this in terms of the legal strategy, set it aside. If you're a juror, does this matter that they're denying things that according to Andy McCarthy, everybody already thinks are true?

ELLIS: It's not helpful. In the jurors' minds, they -- parties, litigants, witnesses retain their credibility by conceding what they need to concede. So they can stand firm where they need to stand firm. And jurors don't see any point and you lose credibility by arguing things you don't need to, you don't -- fighting things you don't need to fight.

TAPPER: And we'll see. We'll see what the jurors think.

Thanks one and all to our panel.

They voted for Nikki Haley. Now what?

John King's latest edition of "All Over the Map" revealing the nuance weighing on the minds of some key swing voters. You're not going to want to miss it, next.



TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead.

Former Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is an Israel today meeting with Israeli government leaders, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and war cabinet member Benny Gantz, who both expressed thanks for the United States' continued support of Israel's government.

Those meetings followed this moment Monday in which Haley signed Israeli military shells with the phrase "finish them", presumably about Hamas. This was a day after an Israeli strike and fire killed 45 people at a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Haley's trip comes a week after she said she would vote for Donald Trump in November. Even so, Governor Haley still has considerable support across the country, including, and perhaps especially in battleground states. Case in point, she got 17 percent of the vote in the Pennsylvania Republican primary, more than month after quitting the race.

In his latest installment of his "All Over the Map" series, CNN's John King travels to the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania where some Haley supporters are still deciding what to do with their votes come November.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rural Berks County is more Trumpy, but even here, 16 percent for Haley.

Joan London was a Reagan supporter in her teens, a Tea Party backer in the Obama years. But after she cast a primary vote for Haley, London left the GOP, registering as an independent.

JOAN LONDON, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: The national party just didn't reflect my values the way it had. And I'm seeing a change in that more towards populism, which carries -- carries some unpleasant baggage.

KING: She won't vote for Biden. London's debate, skip the presidential ballot line or write in a conservative.

This is a county Trump needs. It's a county won by eight points in 2020. If you are not Trump, that's subtraction. It hurts him. You get that right?


KING: And you think that's important?

LONDON: I -- I believe that we have to send a message that the Republican Party needs to go in -- to go in a different direction.

KING: And if Biden wins because of that, so be it?

LONDON: It's principled position I need to take. KING: Media is in Delaware County, the Philly suburbs. Linda Rooney, a registered Republican, a Trump voter in 2016, then Biden in 2020. Her Haley vote in April, those are protest and a question.

LINDA ROONEY, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: Who are these people on Republican Party that are shoving this down our throats right now, like why can't we be -- why can't we elect someone normal?

KING: Rooney serves as a borough election monitor.

He just said the other day that he won Pennsylvania in 2020.



ROONEY: No, yeah.

KING: We're laughing about it, but it's not funny.

ROONEY: No, it's not funny.

KING: She also says Trump's conduct on January 6 was reprehensible.

ROONEY: So, you know, I just can't -- I can't forgive him for that.

KING: But Rooney won't vote for Biden again.

ROONEY: I can't. I don't trust him with the economy. My son's in the Army. I don't -- I'm angry about Afghanistan, about that withdrawal. So honestly, I can't vote for him.

So I have two choices. I can write someone in or I can hold my nose and vote for Trump. And no, that's only going to be four more years.


KING: John King's here with us in studio now.

And, John, you spoke with some of these voters, just as Haley announced last week that she was ultimately going to vote for Donald Trump in November. How did -- how did they respond?

KING: It was mixed. Two who were say they will not vote for Trump? One is a man from Bucks County and other, the woman who saw there, Joan London said, okay, good for her. They think it's because four years from now, they would say the visit to Israel, the same thing. She's thinking about her political future. They say that won't influence them.

Linda Rooney, you saw on the end there, she's put it in a funny way that's kind of revealing where she might end up. She did vote for Biden in 2020, says she can't do it again.


She said, maybe Nikki Haley was holding her nose earlier than the rest of us who don't want Trump as their nominee.

Another voter who wasn't in that version of the piece, (INAUDIBLE), Montgomery County, a Republican Cuban immigrant, staunch supporter of Israel said, it's interesting. But what she said, if Donald Trump wants my vote, pick Nikki Haley as vice president. He said -- if Trump did that, he would get her vote and she predicted most of, she said millions, most of the Haley supporters. We'll see.

TAPPER: We'll see. I mean, Donald Trump's said she's not on the list. Interesting stuff.

John King and other great installment "All Over the Map".

KING: They're looking for you. They want you to come home.

TAPPER: I'll come home. I'll come home soon enough, soon enough. He was infamously fired by the former president and now, James Comey weighs in on the Trump trial. Hear what he has to say. Stay right here for that.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.