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Day Six of Jennifer Crumbley Trial; New Polls on 2024 Race; House Passes Expanded Child Tax Credit Bill. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired February 01, 2024 - 09:30   ET



COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: And it's really making the Black Sea Fleet impotent.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And that really does have long-term, strategic significance because it means that Ukraine really can't be starved by Russia in this conflict.

Colonel Leighton, thank you so much for helping us understand this breaking news.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I failed as a parent, I fail miserably. Those are some of the text messages sent by the mother of the Michigan school shooter after he committed those horrific crimes. Text messages that are now taking center stage in the trial that mother -- of that mother as a jury decides if she should now be held criminally responsible. And she could take the stand today. We'll be back.



BOLDUAN: All right, behind me you're seeing a live look into -- as the trial resumes in -- of the mother of the Michigan school shooter. That's Jennifer Crumbley right there. And you can see that she's crying. Weeping there as this trial now gets underway.

What's happening as we speak is that the prosecution is expected to finish its case today against Jennifer Crumbley, which then means that she could take the stand in her own defense today potentially as the defense starts laying out its case.

We've been following this very closely and Jean Casarez has been all over it for us.

Just looking at those images in court, what are you hearing what's happening right now, Jean?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, it's Lieutenant Timothy Willis is on the stand. And he was the lead investigator of the Oxford High School shooting. He is now the lead investigator for this case. And he has to bring this into this case because this is a homicide case. He's been talking about the victims, the four students that lost their lives, their autopsies.

This is about Hana St. Juliana. Take a listen.


DETECTIVE LIEUTENANT TIMOTHY WILLIS, OAKLAND COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: The official cause of the manner of death from the autopsy protocol is multiple gunshot wounds, homicide. She was shot in her upper torso, her abdomen, her thighs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you refer to exhibit two.


CASAREZ: So, as you can see, that courtroom, very emotional. Prosecution winding up its case.

Now, that emotion, they believe, is important. It's not only the reality, but it is important for the jury to understand the complexity of this case.

They just talked about the backpack. We've heard about the backpack. We know the gun was in the backpack. But Lieutenant Willis just produced a piece of evidence for the jury, the journal of Ethan Crumbley. And, Kate, we had thought this journal was always in his bedroom, door shut, parents didn't know about it. Well, the journal was in his backpack, 22 pages. He talks about mass shootings, what he's going to do, all of his research on this. And he really researched this mass shooting he was going to commit.

So, Kate, obviously, the parents did not look in the backpack. So, is that gross negligence right there that amounts to causing the deaths of all those students at Oxford High School?

BOLDUAN: Jean, thank you so much.

Jean Cazarez is going to be watching this, and has been for us, day in and day out. She's going to bring us more as it comes.

Jean, thank you very much.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: So apparent this is an extremely emotional trial.

With us now is attorney Misty Marris.

We are watching this happen live where the mother of Ethan Crumbley is -- has dissolved into sobs as she's listening to what her son did to someone else and all of the bullet wounds. Does this kind of emotion have an impact on the jury and how they both feel about her and their ultimate decision, or is it really based on the evidence that's coming out of this trial?

MISTY MARRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, the jury is always super aware of everything going on in the courtroom, especially the person who is on trial, the person who is in that defendant's seat. So certainly, this is having an impact.

And looking at it in context of everything that came out this week, yesterday testimony from one of the investigators who interrogated Jennifer Crumbley after this occurred and after they had been on the run said that she was very detached, very callous. So, I think it's probably something the jury is paying attention to, this incredible, emotional response, and contrasting that with some of the evidence that they heard yesterday relating to the immediate aftermath of this case.

SIDNER: Right. And we saw a little bit of video of that, them going in, saying, I love you, I love you, I love you, Ethan, the father, and then them coming out. So, the jury is going to see all sides of this. And jurors are very keen to know if someone's being authentic and that sort of thing. But watching this, it's hard to watch because you know what happened.

I do want to ask you about some of the evidence. There was another text message that came out in court from Jennifer Crumbley. She texted, I failed as a parent, to a man she was having an affair with. How did this come out in court, and how will each side kind of use this?

MARRIS: This is actually really interesting because she did have an affair, and all of the evidence relating to that affair was initially precluded. There were pretrial motions which said the affair was not going to come in. The prosecution had argued it relates to their entire theme of the case, which is, these are -- this is a woman who was detached from her kid. She was more concerned about her own life. The judge had ruled it inadmissible.


Yesterday her defense attorney said, we want to go the full breadth of questioning with this witness.


MARRIS: Including these text messages, opening up the door to anything relating to the affair and more. But these text messages, they relate to her feelings right after. We already talked about another message where she says, Ethan, don't do it.

SIDNER: Ethan, don't do it, right.

MARRIS: So, all of this is being put together.

And, Sara, I think this is the reason why the defense committed her to taking the stand because there has to be some context and she has to explain them.

Now, that cross-examination, that's going to be something to watch. And, you know, quite frankly, it's going to be very brutal. And it's -- it will be interesting to see what comes out and how she explains those text messages in context because they do not look good right now.

SIDNER: They do not look good. And it's actually very interesting to hear that the defense is the one that brought it up because it wasn't admissible. But when the defense brings it up, it's open fair game for everything.

MARRIS: Opens it up. Yes.

SIDNER: They can go down that rabbit hole as far as they want. The prosecution can.

Misty Marris, it's always lovely to see you. Thank you.

MARRIS: Thank you, Sara.

SIDNER: All right, John.

BERMAN: All right, this is a shift. A new poll shows President Biden opening up a lead on Donald Trump.

Plus, brand-new polling out of South Carolina.



BOLDUAN: This morning, the first new poll out of South Carolina, the next big Republican primary contest, and it shows that Donald Trump has a 26 point lead over former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. At the same time a notable shift in a national general election poll. Quinnipiac has President Biden with a six-point lead over Donald Trump. There's the first. We'll show you the second in a second.

It is just one poll, of course, but a survey from the same pollster -- I'm talking about the Q poll -- in December showed no clear leader. So, are we looking at a trend or are we looking at a blip? Joining us right now CNN senior political commentator Ana Navarro, Republican strategist and former RNC communications director Doug Heye.

Ana Navarro, the hardest working woman, one of the few that I know. Ana, OK, Trump's margin in this Monmouth poll -- Trump's margin over Haley remains about the same as it was in September when Monmouth took this poll. The difference here is that the field has narrowed to just two and he still maintains that margin. Does that tell you, with three weeks to go, voters are largely locked or that there could still be room because Nikki Haley needs that room in this three weeks to move them?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, two things. First, the Trump base is loyal. The Trump base is feel (ph) to him. And we have seen that regardless of what happens surrounding Donald Trump, he could be indicted in 91 counts, in different jurisdictions. He could be found liable for rape by a judge. He could --

BOLDUAN: Sexual abuse. Keep going.

NAVARRO: Sexual abuse. He can -- you know, there's so many things that could happen and still they don't move. So that's one.

Two is, Nikki Haley's running out of money and she's running out of runway and she's running out of time. And there is nothing between now and February 24th that looks like it's going to make a shift and give her the numbers that she needs in her own home state, which would be even so much more humiliating for her and, you know, a huge sign of there's nowhere to go.

BOLDUAN: Leaving a lot of choices for a lot of people.

Doug, you get to choose your own adventure on this one. Does the South Carolina -- does the South Carolina poll tell you more or does the general election poll between Trump and Biden from Quinnipiac tell you more about the state of things?

DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the South Carolina poll tells us what we think that the field is going to look like come November. And it actually sort of bizarrely speaks to what Nikki Haley's ultimate message is, which nobody really wants this race. Biden and Trump, depending on what poll you look at, whether it's national or state by state, one person is leading in one, another person's leading in another. And what we see are voters overwhelmingly say, we don't want this race. We don't want Trump versus Biden. This is the resistible force versus the movable object and it doesn't really satisfy any voter except for the core parts of those bases that are fully behind Biden and Trump, which is not where most voters are.

The problem is for Haley, she is running out of some runway here and it's -- and it's an argument that within the Republican Party is not gaining a lot of traction because if a Ron DeSantis leaves the campaign, most of Ron DeSantis's supporters overwhelmingly go to Trump, and so on and so forth. She may get most of Asa Hutchinson's supporters. There are not a lot of them.

BOLDUAN: I would say so. As much as we all appreciate Asa Hutchinson and his service.

Then there's this interview Nikki Haley did with The Breakfast Club. I really think that not enough has been made about her appearance and what she said. To me it seems like she may be summing up the entire thesis of her entire pitch against Donald Trump in this interview.

Listen to this.


NIKKI HALEY (R), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He can't win moderates. He can't win independents. He can't win suburban women. He lost in 2018. He lost in 2020. He lost in 2022. How many more times do you have to lose before you say, you know what, maybe that's not the guy.

CHARLAMAGNE: How has Trump changed politics for the good and the bad?

HALEY: He's made it chaotic. He's made it self-absorbed. He's made people dislike and judge each other. He's left (ph) that a president should have moral clarity and know the difference between right or wrong.


And he's just toxic. I mean he -- you know, I think a lot of the things he broke needed to be broken, but he doesn't know how to fix things again.


BOLDUAN: I am fascinated by this, Ana. And The Breakfast Club is a place that -- it's a required appearance for Democrats running in an election, not necessarily for Republicans. What do you think Haley is doing here?

NAVARRO: You know, I have no idea. I really still can't understand why she would go there because I don't think the people that listen to The Breakfast Club vote in a Republican primary. Of course, in South Carolina, there is a big black population.


NAVARRO: And you just played that sound, but she was also asked about racism again. And again she couldn't get her footing around the answer. I mean this is now, I don't know what, the umpteenth time that I hear Nikki Haley reject the notion that there is institutional racism in this country. And Charlamagne pressed her heart on it. And she just, again, sounded like a political windsock that will sway whichever way the political winds are blowing.

BOLDUAN: I really -- I really was -- I really enjoyed listening to that interview and how -- and what Charlamagne did there.

All right, so now to the most important topic of all times, the Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce political conspiracy. As John Berman said last night, America has been dying to hear what James Carville has to say about it. And he did.



JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think there's anything strategic about this. I think these -- I think most of these people are sexually inadequate. And they go for all this crazy stuff. And I don't think -- and it's nothing strategic about something that stupid. It's just real stupidity to believe something like that. And she seems to me, I don't -- I'm not very familiar with her generation, she seems like a really nice person.


BOLDUAN: And he goes on and more. Who was -- everyone gets a stab. It's everyone gets a stab at it today.

Doug, he said he does not get the meltdown in some corners of the political right about this one. Do you? HEYE: Well, Kate, one, thanks for leading with me on the issue of

sexual inadequacies. I'm not going to touch that any further.

Look, I'll say something sort of side topic on this.

BOLDUAN: I was not going to go there. I was -- just, oh, God, Doug, keeps going.

HEYE: Yes, thanks for that.

Look, I -- something slightly controversial you wouldn't expect me to say. Donald Trump can be a disciplined messenger when he wants to be. Two examples. One, he's put out two statements on Jean Carroll's -- the court case with Jean Carroll since the verdict. He hasn't talked about her either time. That's discipline.

Two, while the Republican Party or parts of the conservative movement are going sort of haywire trying to make Travis Kelce somehow the Manchurian tight end, Donald Trump isn't addressing this. I think he's smart not to. He certainly could, but stay away from this. This is trouble and real lunacy.

NAVARRO: Can I just say something? Amongst a group of people who have come up with some of the stupidest conspiracy theories we have ever heard, this takes the cake as the stupidest conspiracy theory. And their entire issue with her is not that she's in love, is not that she's incredibly influential and very successful and that their daughters all love her, their issue is that the woman tweeted out and said, go register to vote, and she burst the internet, right? It blew up. That she can -- that she has that kind of political influence. If she was a MAGA person, they'd love all sorts of -- they'd all be Swifties.

Listen, I'm -- I'm a Pitbull and Ricky Martin person, but I am telling you, their bullying of this young woman and her joy and her happiness is making me a Swifty. And I hope it has that kind of backlash. And I hope that he wins. I am rooting for Taylor Swift's boyfriend. I know nothing about football. And I hope that Taylor Swift shakes it off.

BOLDUAN: I have nothing I can add to this amazingness.

Thank you, guys, very much.

HEYE: Thank you.


BERMAN: Thank you so much for replaying that important political moment.

In the meantime, passing a bill that makes the president look good means that he could be re-elected. Actual words from an actual Republican senator on why he is worried about a tax bill that passed the House with a huge bipartisan majority.


BERMAN: All right, this morning, a rare show of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill. The House voted 357-70 to pass a $78 billion tax bill which expands the child tax credit and revives some business tax credit. Now, it's unclear what happens in the Senate where politics is already coming into play. In an extraordinary act of saying the quiet part out loud, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley expressed concerns that, quote, "passing a tax bill that makes the president look good, mailing out checks before the election, means he could be re-elected and then we won't extend the 2017 tax cuts."

CNN's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill.

What are the prospects as it heads to the Senate, Lauren?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, there is a real question mark right now what the path forward is for this bill in the United States Senate. You have some concerns, like those expressed from Chuck Grassley, that this could be a political boon for the president in his re-election. But you also have Republicans saying that there is a question of whether or not this bill really does include all of the things that they want it to. This was a negotiation between the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden, and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Jason Smith. And that means that the top Republican on the Finance Committee, Mike Crapo, has some concerned about this bill as well. There are some issues with work requirements that Republicans in the Senate are worried about. There is this issue about the expansion of the child tax credit that would mostly affect lower income Americans, John, that a lot of Republicans are saying could help the president in his re- election because, yes, you are giving checks to people who, you know, may or may not look at that as a reason to vote for you in your election.

So, obviously, Chuck Grassley putting it very clearly there. But I think that sentiment and that concern is shared by other Senate Republicans as well.


BERMAN: Always interesting to hear them speak their true feelings out loud.

Lauren Fox, thank you very much. Keep us posted.


SIDNER: And sometimes incredibly disappointing depending on which side of the fence you're on.

All right, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin holding a news conference and takes questions for the first time since his unannounced hospitalization that had to do with complications with cancer. We will bring you that live, next.