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Soon, Lawmakers Grill FAA Administrator Over Boeing Issues; NYPD Says, Migrants Involved in Alleged Robbery Ring; Federal Appeals Court Issues Ruling on Trump Immunity Claims. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired February 06, 2024 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The FAA feeling the heat. New questions about the door plug that blew off an Alaska Airlines flight, and questions about much, much more.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Remembering a country music icon. Toby Keith has died from cancer at just 62 years old. The tributes are pouring in this morning.
BERMAN: Why Buckingham Palace will not release details about the cancer diagnosis for King Charles, the U.K. head of state? This as we're getting new information about a surprising list of new visitors.
Kate is out today. I'm John Berman with Sara Sidner. This is CNN News Central.
All right, happening now, the head of the FAA is on Capitol Hill set to face a grilling soon about his oversight of Boeing, after a near- disaster last month. The door plug on an Alaska Airlines jet blew out midair on its way from Oregon to California. 177 people were onboard that flight.
CNN's Pete Muntean is with us now. Pete, what do you expect to hear today?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're now going to hear about NTSB's preliminary report today, and we're hearing that it will come out at noon today.
It's significant because preliminary reports usually just the facts of an incident, but NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy told me before this that she hopes to make some news. A lot of intrigue here, but still not clear what will be in this.
The NTSB has been painstakingly dissecting the door plug that fell off Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 back on January 5th at its lab in Washington, D.C. They call that destructive testing.
The question has focused on the bolts. That's what holds the door plug in place on the 737 MAX 9. There are four of them. Will the NTSB find that they were properly installed? Will the NTSB find they were not there in the first place? Remember, both Alaska and United Airlines found loose bolts on some of their MAX 9s that were in service, but that plane was grounded for about 19 days.
The NTSB is also trying to build a timeline of the door plug. We know this from the NTSB. The door plug was built in Malaysia, sent to Spirit Aero Systems in Wichita, Kansas, then taken by train to the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington.
This is coming out on a big day when it comes to the other investigation by a different agency looking into this, the FAA, and administrator Mike Whitaker is testifying on Capitol Hill right now. Remember, that agency is now supervising ramped-up oversight of Boeing since that incident last month. And House lawmakers simply want to know if that is enough.
In his prepared testimony, Whitaker will say this, going forward, we will have more boots on the ground, closely scrutinizing and monitoring production activities at Boeing.
Just yesterday, the FAA told reporters that it's reimagining a new oversight plan of Boeing. The FAA says it has about a dozen inspectors at Boeing right now, and they're doing nose-to-tail and wing tip-to- wing tip inspections of planes still being built. But, remember, John, they just found a new incident on Sunday about
holes that were drilled improperly when it comes to the window assembly on some 50 MAX 9s. It doesn't affect planes that are out there right now, but could slow the delivery of planes that are still on the production line.
BERMAN: Keep finding new issues. Pete Muntean watching this very closely on Capitol Hill today, thank you very much. Sara?
SIDNER: All right. New this morning, New York police have released dramatic video of a robbery that they say is part of a migrant criminal enterprise. According to police, and take a look at this, these are using stolen mopeds, look at that, to speed by victims and snatch their cell phones. They then hack into those stolen phones and steal money using illegal transactions.
CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller is joining us now. John, how does this work? That was really disturbing video. Do we know if that person is okay that comes flying off of that moped?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: She was injured, but she's okay. But it is kind of an example of how this works, which is you've got a driver on the moped and you've got a person on the back. The driver is the getaway driver, the person on the back may jump off and grab something, hop back on the bike, may do it on the snatch, as we just saw, which is extraordinarily dangerous.
This is a crime pattern we first saw emerge a few years ago in London, and it bedeviled their police in terms of, you know, hard to catch, hard to predict, city-wide pattern. And it's emerged here really just in the last few months. This was city-wide pattern 156, but there's 32 other patterns that are similar, involving moped scooters and snatches going on, and it's a real problem for the police.
SIDNER: It's really dangerous. It is really scary for the public. I do want to ask you about one of the migrants accused of attacking an NYPD officer, because that also -- there is also a little bit of video of that.
In Times Square last weekend, it's supposed to be in court today, but there are others, correct? What's happening in that case?
MILLER: So, he's here for a routine hearing in court. He was held on bail and ended up being in jail during this time. The other four that were arrested at the same time were released on their own recognizance. And it appears, according to police, they believe they fled the city under false names on a bus.
Here is the thing, though. During the bail hearings at their arrest, Judge Alonso is told by the district attorney, we're not asking for bail, we're not asking for bail. And at one point she says, I can sit -- this person has two open cases and they're already on supervised release. I consider them, this is a felony now, a flight risk to avoid prosecution and is basically begging the district attorney between the lines to say, do you want to make an application for bail?
And they say, no, continue level one, tier one, which basically means you get to go, you have to call in once a month and that individual is one of the people who police believe took off on a bus headed for the Mexican border a week ago.
SIDNER: So, they were warned by police that, look, the others have fled. This person is probably going to do the same and the courts just said we're just going to leave it as it's, correct?
We're going -- to the least amount they will face?
MILLER: But not in that order. That was them saying, you know, he's got two open cases and, you know, he's considered a flight risk. And they said, well, no bail anyway, he can go. And he is now one of the people who, a couple of days later, they believe, under a false name, boarded a bus with the other three and took off.
SIDNER: John Miller, there is a lot to discuss here. I'm sure we'll be discussing it throughout the next days, weeks and months.
MILLER: Although I think it's important, as we always do, to say, this is a tiny percentage of the migrant populace that has come to New York. That's probably 70,000 people who are here now out of 170,000 that have come and gone. This is just a few people, and we have to keep underlining that.
SIDNER: Thank you so much, John Miller. I appreciate it. John?
BERMAN: All right. We have major breaking news. A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., a panel has just issued the ruling on whether Donald Trump can be immune from the actions from being prosecuted for the actions he took on January 6th.
Let's get right to Paula Reid, who's been looking through this ruling. What are you seeing, Paula?
PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, as expected, the D.C. appeals court has ruled that former President Trump does not enjoy presidential immunity that would shield him from the federal election subversion case.
Now, it has taken about a month to get to this decision, but it was pretty clear during the oral arguments in early January that judges appeared unlikely to agree with Trump's lawyers that he should be shielded by presidential immunity because some of the things he allegedly did occurred while he was still president.
His lawyers face really tough questions about whether there were any limitations on their theory of executive power.
But, John, I want to read you one quote from this decision. They said, quote -- this is a three-judge panel, so this is an appeals court. They said, quote, for the purpose of this criminal case. Former President Trump has become citizen Trump with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant, but any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him against this prosecution.
So this -- again, this was expected. They are affirming what the trial court found when it contemplated this question.
But, look, just as much as this is about constitutional questions of presidential protections and presidential authority, John, as you know, this is also about timing. We know former President Trump and his legal team, they are trying to do anything they can to delay his criminal cases until after the election. And, arguably, they have at least initially been successful here.
The judge who would have overseen this trial that was expected to begin in early March, Judge Tanya Chutkan, she's taken it off the calendar because she has to wait until this appeal goes to its final stage before she can start her case.
Now, what happens next here? Look, he does have the option to ask the entire appeals court, it's called en banc, to hear this case.
Now, the judges here are signaling that that might actually not work, but he also has the option, of course, to go to the Supreme Court.
Now, it is unclear. Sources close to the Trump legal team say they're not really sure the justices are going to want to weigh in here on this question of immunity. As we know, there's a much anticipated oral argument before the justices on Thursday related to former President Trump's ballot eligibility.
My source is telling me the Trump legal team doesn't really expect that the justices are going to want to take up a second Trump case, but the longer it takes to get answers on whether the full appeals court will hear this or if the Supreme Court wants to take it up, the longer this gets delayed and the less likely it is that this case would go to trial before November.
Now, John, there is absolutely a possibility that this case could still go, but it was a little surprising how long it took the appeals court to get us this answer. Again, it was very much expected. It was signaled during the oral arguments that he was unlikely to prevail here.
But the fact that it took them a month, that's a bit of a win for him because it forced the trial judge to take this case off the calendar and it's unclear how long it's going to take for the Supreme Court and potentially the full circuit to answer what they're going to do here as well. The longer it takes, the less likely it is he'll see this federal trial.
BERMAN: All right. Let's break this down into parts, Paula, because there's a lot going on here. First, the ruling, which, in some ways, is the most important part here, any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president, no longer protects him against this prosecution. He does not have presidential immunity, this appeals court panel ruled.
Was this unanimous or was there a dissent here? There'd been speculation. One of the reasons that it took so much time is perhaps there was some disagreement. I'm not seeing any disagreement as I'm scanning through this ruling.
REID: Yes, I'm not seeing that either. There were a lot of questions. Look, it's still not clear why it took them so long.
They accepted this on an expedited schedule to take a month, while in traditional cases, that isn't actually that long. But when given the stakes and the widespread recognition that part of the strategy is to delay this, it was surprising that it took them so long. So, it's unclear why it took them four weeks to issue this very much expected decision.
BERMAN: And in the meantime, Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was overseeing the district court case, has just suspended everything while she waits for this to work through the appeals process. The next step here would be for the Trump team. If they want to create the slowest possible process, the next step would be for them to what?
REID: So, they could try to ask the full appeals court. This was usually the traditional next step in most cases to hear this. So, all the entire circuit, every judge who sits on it, to listen to their case. It's called hearing en banc.
Now, a lot of folks skip that step, but here, if the goal is to delay, at least try to go up each rung of the ladder.
But they're signaling here that that may actually not work in this case. Instead, it is expected that they would likely appeal to the Supreme Court, but sources close to the Trump legal team tell me they're not confident that the justices are going to want to weigh in on this issue of immunity.
It is not a terribly strong argument for the former president. And as we know, the high court is going to hear oral arguments from Trump's lawyer on Thursday about a different issue about ballot eligibility.
So, again, my source is telling me the Trump team is not confident that even if they appeal to the Supreme Court, that they'll take it up. But the longer it takes to file that appeal, to get an answer from the Supreme Court, you know, the less likely it is that this case could go to trial before the November 2024 election.
BERMAN: Part of the process in the appeal to try to get the full appeals court to hear to the Supreme Court will depend on some of the language in the ruling itself. Paula, we'll let you dig a little bit in more to this ruling for a second and also talk to your sources. So, stand by. Don't go far in the meantime. Sara?
SIDNER: Yes, this certainly has legal precedents, but there is also a political, huge political component to this.
Let's go to CNN's Kristen Holmes, who is joining us now. Have you heard anything from Donald Trump's team yet?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, this is just now happening in real time. And, Sara, I want to point something out. Obviously, this is something his lawyers are pushing for. This is a legal case. But it's also something Donald Trump himself has become somewhat obsessed with. He is constantly posting on social media that he deserves immunity, that every president should have immunity.
In his rallies, he is talking about immunity, saying that it's unfair for a president to be charged with something when he was out of office for something he did while he was in office, saying it sets a bad precedent. This is an argument he's really come to focus on and believe in, and one that he is trying to sell to voters.
So, we talk about the political implications. We know that Donald Trump has used these various court cases as campaign stops. We also know that he has turned them into a rhetoric, really, for him to attack Biden, to lump all of these different cases together, to say that it is election interference. Of course, we expect him to do that here.
But he also is selling this message to voters, saying, I was acting in my actual capacity during January 6th. Again, that's what he is saying to these voters in these speeches, saying he should have full immunity.
So, there are real questions about what exactly this means and what it means politically. How does that argument go? But, obviously, this is not going to be something that he's happy about. He has, again, really obsessed over this idea, this legal argument, turned it into a political one that presidents should have full immunity. SIDNER: But no one is above the law in this country, so we will see what happens. The Supreme Court has spoken. Kristen Holmes, I am sure there will be some comments, and I know you will get them when you do. We will come right back to you. I appreciate it.
BERMAN: Again, this was a unanimous decision from this panel on the federal appeals court. There have been some speculation, one of the reasons it took so long was because there was some internal dissent. We are not seeing that as we pore through this ruling. Another major question here has been about the timing.
Paula, I do understand that you've got some information now about the scheduling here.
REID: That's right. Going through this with help from our extraordinary team, we now see that the Court of Appeals is trying to make up for some of the time that they lost in this month that took them to issue this decision, setting a very aggressive schedule for sending this back down to the trial court.
This case, again, the traditional next step would be asking the full circuit and going to the Supreme Court. That can take quite a bit of time, even if those courts don't weigh in to get answers, and we know part of the Trump strategy is delay.
But here, this case is expected to go back down to the trial court unless the Supreme Court takes some sort of extraordinary measure and intervenes here.
Now, this is incredibly significant because on Thursday, of course, Trump's lawyers are going before the Supreme Court to argue that he should appear on every ballot in the country, this question of ballot eligibility.
Now, this is arguably one of the biggest tests of Chief Justice John Roberts' career.
He is likely going to have to try to come up with some sort of compromise across the justices working, you know, to protect also the image of a court that is increasingly under scrutiny over ethics, over questions of partisanship.
So now, in the same week, they're also going to have this question of whether they want to intervene on Trump's behalf to -- question.
And I will reiterate, I've spoken to multiple sources around the former president, and they are not optimistic. The justices are going to want to wade in on this question of immunity. So, if they do not, they do not want to get involved here, this case actually could proceed. They have to find a room on the calendar again pretty quickly, because that was the big question.
Okay, it took them a while to get us this decision on immunity. What does this mean for the timing of a possible trial? This was expected to go to trial in early March. Last week, it was removed from the calendar, but this sets up the possibility that this could go likely not in March, but possibly in April or May.
Of course, the other big thing is, of course, Trump is facing four separate criminal cases. The next case that is still on the calendar is the Manhattan district attorney's so-called hush money case. That is scheduled to begin in late March. But it is expected that if the federal case was to conflict with that, let's say they scheduled in April, for example, that the Manhattan D.A.'s case would step aside.
So, they're clearly setting a very aggressive schedule to make it possible that this case could go to trial unless the Supreme Court intervenes.
BERMAN: All right. Paul Reid, stand by for just one moment.
SIDNER: This is a really big decision and it's unanimous.
Elie Honig here, former federal prosecutor, legal genius, I would say. You have been poring over this. We literally just got this.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Speed reading, yes.
SIDNER: And it's hard to speed read this kind of decision from an appeals court. But what is the big picture here?
HONIG: So, biggest picture, huge win for Jack Smith, unequivocal win for Jack Smith. The language in this ruling is very strong. They forcefully reject Donald Trump's immunity arguments.
There's really three major findings that the D.C. Court of Appeals makes here. First of all, they reject this notion of blanket immunity. They say it is not and cannot be that a president simply can never be charged for anything that happens during his time in office.
Second, the Court of Appeals in D.C. says, if we're asking the question whether Donald Trump's conduct was inside his job as president or outside his job as president, they say he was out of bounds here. He's not covered because he was out of bounds. So, even if there is some immunity for stuff that's inside the presidency, he's way out of it.
And then, finally, they reject this, I think, ludicrous, I think we discussed it at the time, argument that, well, a president can only be indicted if he has first been impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. Remember, that led to the ridiculous hypotheticals about could a president order assassination? And so this Court of Appeals rejects that.
So, those are the three big prongs of this case.
BERMAN: So, I want to follow up on the middle part there, because it might have to do with whether the Supreme Court decides to weigh in here. Elie, there have been this range of decisions now in state courts, in different federal courts here, that deal with the issue for Donald Trump and others involved with what happened on January 6th, were their actions part of their federal jobs, or were they outside the scope of their federal jobs?
100 percent of the rulings at the state level and every federal level has ruled that they were outside the scope of their jobs. There's been unanimity in this. Given how unanimous this has been at every level, broadly speaking, and I think the stringent language we're seeing here in this federal appeals court panel ruling, does this make it less likely that the Supreme Court will get involved?
HONIG: I think it does. It's still 100 percent. Now, we have one more example of a court forcefully rejecting the notion that what Donald Trump did, Mark Meadows tried to make this argument, Jeffrey Clark tried to make this argument, everyone who's made this argument that what we did in connection with what led up to January 6th was somehow within our jobs is over however many now. And I do think this unanimity makes it more likely that the Supreme Court may say, no, we don't need to interfere.
And let me -- John, I'm glad you asked that because I actually pulled a quote out of the decision that I think goes to that exact point of was Donald Trump somehow within the scope of his job. The court writes, former President Trump's alleged efforts to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election were, if proven, an unprecedented assault on the structure of our government.
He allegedly injected himself into a process in which the president has no role, thereby undermining the constitutionally established procedures and the will of Congress. They say not even close, absolutely outside of the bounds here.
SIDNER: That is pretty much as clear as you can get it. They go up against all of his ideas. Are those the three arguments that the Trump Organization and the Trump lawyers are making? Did they just completely slash those?
HONIG: Yes. I don't think Trump can say, well, how about argument X that we didn't make. I mean, there were six or seven different arguments but they all fall into those three buckets. I mean, again, on my this, it's a very thorough, really point-by-point dismantling of Trump's argument.
BERMAN: Caroline Polisi, another wonderful lawyer, defense lawyer, and former prosecutor here with us as well to understand what's going on in this.
I do want to note the Supreme Court this week will hear a separate case dealing with whether or not Donald Trump can be part of this election, whether his name can appeal on state ballots. There are a lot of people who think the court will just decide that, yes, he can be on the ballots. Does this provide an opportunity for them to split the baby to say, yes, we're not going to say he can't be on the ballots, but on the other hand, yes, we're not going to bother with this immunity thing?
CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, absolutely. There is sort of a cynical view out there that perhaps the Supreme Court does engage in sort of horse trading, that is John Roberts may be sort of behind the scenes getting votes on one and trading for the other.
Now, obviously, that's not the way the Supreme Court is supposed to be. It's supposed to be immunized from political issues. But, obviously, so the Colorado case that is we're going to hear oral arguments with on Thursday, I personally believe and I think the sort of consensus is that they will rule in Trump's favor, that, in fact, he can remain on the ballot in all 50 states. Now, the rationale through which they get there is another story.
However, you know -- so that that obviously would be a pro-Trump ruling. This case provides an opportunity to provide sort of, you know, a strike against him. I don't think it's really, in and of itself, as strong of a case for the court to take up, as Elie was just noting. It could easily just rubber stamp this decision.
The reason it took so long for weeks, I think they were, you know, crossing their Ts, dotting there Is, so that the court could easily dispose of the cert review and say, no, we're going to let we're going to let this stand. So, it depends on how cynical you are in terms of with the Supreme Court.
POLISI: Yes, exactly.
HONIG: I think everyone is.
Here's a quote that I think really captures the spirit of this ruling, and it comes towards the end. The court writes, quote, at bottom, former President Trump's stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the president beyond the reach of all three branches. Collapse our system of separated powers.
So, that's a sense of the tenor of this decision. There's not much ambiguity about it. I agree with Caroline. I mean, look, the Supreme Court can take whatever case they want to take, they don't have to take any case. And if they don't want it, they just say, you know, Trump certainly will ask them to take it. They can just say, pass.
BERMAN: What's the process? What's the process?
HONIG: So, the process is, ordinarily, a person has 90 days after they lose an argument like this to ask the Supreme Court to take the case. But Paula was just laying out, here's the mechanics of what the court appeals did that's really going to force Trump's hand. They said -- I think they said February 12. They said, on February 12, unless the Supreme Court has told us to hold up, this is going back down to the district court. So, that's going to force Trump's hand to go to the Supreme Court within the next six days and say, I want you guys to hold this up.
BERMAN: How many justices have to say, yes, they want to take it up?
HONIG: You need four in order to take up a case, four to grant certiorari, to use the Latin, I guess it is, terminology.
SIDNER: We will wait to see. They could do the very simple thing of just not taking up the case, and then it stands the way it is. Every single court has agreed with this decision, so there's no really other place to go.
I understand that Paula Reid is with us again. Paula, you have some new information coming into you and we want to hear it. What's going on?
REID: What's so fascinating about reading this, hearing the analysis on set, clearly the court of appeals, while they've been knocked for taking so long to come out with this decision, they really are setting it up for the Supreme Court to make it as easy as possible for them to not hear this case, right? They are giving them a timeline that overlaps with this question, these oral arguments about ballot eligibility, and the way this opinion is written.
Let's listen to some of the things that they said. They say, quote, former President Trump's alleged efforts to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election were, if proven, an unprecedented assault on the structure of our government. He allegedly injected himself into a process in which the president has no role, the counting and certifying of Electoral College votes, thereby undermining constitutionally established procedures and the will of Congress.
And it goes on and on like this for nearly 60 pages, and incredibly strong opinions. While there have been a lot of questions, even from both sides, about what was taking so long, this is an opinion that, again, really sets it up for the Supreme Court to perhaps not take up this question.
Even sources close to the former president agree this is not a terribly strong case, and the larger strategy here is to delay. And then the court of appeals setting up this schedule to move this along quickly on the same week that the justices are already hearing another Trump case.
So, a lot of questions about why this took so long, but if you look at the language, the strength of this opinion, it becomes perhaps more clear why it took them so long, even on an expedited schedule, to get us this answer.
SIDNER: And the most important thing here is the language, but it's also the unanimity of this court.
Unanimous means not a single justice looked at this and said, you know, maybe they have a point. Every single court, every single justice in this particular case has said, no, you're wrong. There is no immunity for you in this kind of case.
But I do want to ask you this, Caroline. Is there anything that Donald Trump's team can try and go up against, can try and -- I mean, as an attorney, appeals are -- you almost expect there to be a push to the Supreme Court, but is there anything now that they can pull apart?
POLISI: Well, certainly they can make the application for the Supreme Court. I think Trump makes his lawyers tend to sometimes make such frivolous arguments that arguments that they do make that are meritorious sometimes get swept up in that sort of ideology. This was not a superfluous or crazy argument to make. Presidential immunity is not in the Constitution, but it's been around since 1983, Nixon versus Fitzgerald, in the civil context.
And so expanding this aperture to include criminal immunity is not crazy. It was an argument that ultimately ended up losing, but not a frivolous argument to make.
Tanya Chutkan, sort of against her will, had to sort of say hands off of this case. She put a stay on everything. The Trump team even refused to accept discovery in this case. They said, we don't even want to move forward with anything. The date was taken off the books. She, of any of these judges in any of the criminal cases with Trump, was the one that really wanted to get this in sort of before the deadline. So, we'll see if she can get this back on track. It looks likely.
BERMAN: Elie Honig again. We now will have to wait and see or hear from the Supreme Court or hear nothing, I suppose, from the Supreme Court.
HONIG: Yes. If they deny it, they'll say we will not --
BERMAN: Okay. If they do deny it then, how quickly can this get before the district court?
HONIG: That's a great question. So, remember, this case had been set for trial for many months, for March 4th. That was a date we all had circled on our calendars. But just last week, Judge Chutkan, I think, correctly recognizing the reality, we've now been sidetracked for two months with this from the time the appeal was filed until now, said it can't happen March 4th. But the question is, how quickly can she get it back?
Now, it's all a bunch of moving parts here. The Manhattan D.A.'s Hush Money case is currently scheduled for March 25th. So, let's assume that goes as scheduled. That will take us through April, maybe into May. You can't put the trial back-to-back. You can't finish one trial and then have the next one come in three days later. But I think if this gets back down to Judge Chutkan, let's say, in the next week or so, I would expect her to schedule a trial date for late May, June, somewhere in there, and run it through something.
You're getting really close to that sort of red zone near the election, but she does seem intent on trying this, if possible, for the election.
BERMAN: I mean, that's before the convention. So, before there's a sort of actual nominee for president there so she can make the case. Hey, you're just a citizen.
HONIG: Yes. But I do think this really increases the chances that this gets tried before the election. I'm thinking late spring, summer.
POLISI: Yes. And Alvin Bragg has been very outspoken about his ability to take a backseat to the federal cases, should that present itself. So, I'll be interested to see what position he takes now that this is kind of getting back on track. I would personally like to see this case, the federal case, go before the Manhattan case.
BERMAN: I think Alvin Bragg would too.
HONIG: Almost everybody would, yes.
SIDNER: To be fair, I think everyone, maybe including Donald Trump, just to see where this is going and how it's going to end.
But let's bring in Joan Biskupic, because we are talking about the possibility of whether or not the Supreme Court would actually take up this case if it was pushed to do so.
Can you give us some sense of what you think when you look at how this particular case has gone through the courts and this unanimous ruling, whether or not you think the Supreme Court would actually say, yes, we're taking this up, or, no, you guys made the decision, we're not weighing in?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Thanks, Sara. I have a couple different minds here because I agree with what Elie and Caroline had said about how forcefully this is written, how definitively it's written, and it's unanimous. I think all of those things say, here we are with a word that can be considered final Supreme Court. We've laid out everything. We've taken apart these arguments. And I also want to just say, as a threshold matter, is that Donald Trump was really fighting precedent here.
So, this decision is not surprising given where the law had been previously. So, for those reasons, it could be the kind of case that the Supreme Court says, let's just keep it as it is. We already have. We're in the middle of a major term. We're also going to be handling this Colorado insurrectionist case, whether Donald Trump could be on the ballot or not.
But there's another competing idea here that the Supreme Court is the last word. And when Special Counsel Jack Smith first went to the Supreme Court back in December urging the justices to take it up before the D.C. Circuit did.