Return to Transcripts main page
CNN This Morning
Trump Repeats Election Lies, Dodges on Ukraine and Abortion Ban. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired May 11, 2023 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. We are so happy to be with you. Phil Mattingly is back with me. Kaitlan, what a great job she did last night.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR/CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Excellent job.
HARLOW: Master class in how you do it. She held the former president to account last night at the CNN town hall. And that is where we start. Our "Five Things to Know" for this Thursday, May 11.
Former President Trump refused to admit that he lost the 2020 election and wouldn't say if he wanted Ukraine to defeat Russia. We're going to show you all the key moments.
Also, Title 42 will expire at midnight tonight. Border communities are expected to face a new surge of migrants once that policy ends.
MATTINGLY: And Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he won't back George Santos for re-election, but he also won't call for him to resign. The New York congressman has pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges involving fraud.
And the suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway will be extradited from Peru to the United States. Jordan [SIC] van der Sloot is expected to be prosecuted on charges related to extortion and wire fraud.
HARLOW: Advisors to the FDA have unanimously recommended that a birth control pill be made available over the counter without a prescription. The FDA is set to issue a final decision later this year.
CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.
So as someone who covers -- chief White House correspondent, what is it -- what is it like watching it with that purview, having been in the briefing room, having pressed presidents for answers, watching the town hall last night?
MATTINGLY: It's a slightly different vibe --
HARLOW: Yes. MATTINGLY: -- than our day-to-day in the press briefing room, to say the least. I think it's also very reflective of the fact that the individual that was on stage with Kaitlan Collins, who knows him better than anybody else, as she demonstrated with her encyclopedic knowledge of everything last night --
HARLOW: Yes, everything.
MATTINGLY: -- is exactly who he was in 2015 --
MATTINGLY: -- and 2016 and so on and so on and so on. And that's never going to change. And I think there are a lot dynamics to dig into what that means going forward for the Republican front-runner. It also means that we have, like, super extra-large coffees this morning. Because we all --
HARLOW: Our great boss brought us big coffee.
MATTINGLY: -- need it, staying up late --
HARLOW: We do.
MATTINGLY: -- watching that and trying to digest --
HARLOW: We do.
MATTINGLY: -- all of it.
HARLOW: And so we're going to get into all of it, because last night, former President Trump had 70 minutes, right, to make his case to be president again, even as he faces multiple criminal investigations and felony charges.
Right out of the gate, Trump repeated his lies about the 2020 election. He refused to admit that he lost. He derided E. Jean Carroll, just one day after a jury of her peers found that he sexually abused and defamed her.
Trump described January 6, the insurrection as a, quote, "beautiful day" and vowed to pardon, quote, "many" of the rioters who had attacked the Capitol that day.
He called the overturning of Roe versus Wade a great victory, but he dodged Kaitlan's many critical questions about, if he's president again, would he sign a federal abortion ban into law.
He wouldn't say also if he wanted Ukraine to win the war against Russia.
So that is where we start this morning. Let's bring in CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny to break down last night's key moments.
And Jeff, I was watching the coverage before the town hall started. You were one of the final voices on. And I think Phil nailed it. We saw exactly who the former president was and still is last night.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it. Good morning, Poppy and Phil.
I mean, perhaps no surprise, but it was the same tune, with the second act effectively the exact same as the first. Airing old grievances and attempting to rewrite history.
Former President Donald Trump acted as though he had already won the Republican nomination, spending almost no time on his GOP rivals or trying to broaden his appeal to voters as he made the case for why he wants to defy history and return to the White House.
ZELENY (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump picked up right where he left off, lying about the 2020 election.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That was a rigged election, and it's a shame that we had to go through it.
ZELENY (voice-over): Trump made clear his 2024 presidential bid would follow the same script of his two previous campaigns, presenting himself as a defiant messenger, unburdened by facts and unwilling to move on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you suspend polarizing talk of election fraud during your run for president?
TRUMP: Yes. Unless I see election fraud. If I see election fraud, I think I have an obligation to say it.
ZELENY (voice-over): He falsely said Vice President Mike Pence could have acted to overturn the election results as the vote was certified on January 6. Trump said he did not owe Pence an apology for failing to call off supporters, who threatened his life as they stormed the building.
TRUMP: No, because he did something wrong. He should have put the votes back to the state legislatures, and I think we would have had a different outcome.
WAYNE BEYER, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: My question to you is, would you pardon the January 6th rioters who were convicted of federal offenses?
TRUMP: I am inclined to pardon many of them. I can't say for every single one, because a couple of them, probably they got out of control.
ZELENY (voice-over): The audience of Republican voters at St. Anselm College applauded for much of the night, even as Trump belittled and demeaned former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, a day after a New York jury found him liable of sexually abusing and defaming her.
TRUMP: I have no idea who the hell -- she's a whack job.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Mr. President --
ZELENY (voice-over): Pressed by Kaitlan Collins about whether the verdict would deter women from voting for him, he said this.
TRUMP: No, I don't think so.
ZELENY (voice-over): Yet, some Republicans believe otherwise, like New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, who is considering a presidential bid of his own.
GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): If you're a suburban mom, all these voters that Republicans are trying to bring back into the mix, I don't see any of them being convinced by anything. Because it was just kind of a same old regurgitation.
ZELENY (voice-over): Seven months before voting begins in the Republican presidential primary, Trump is leading the field. Even as he faces multiple legal challenges over interfering in the 2020 election and more.
TRUMP: I just want to find --
ZELENY (voice-over): Once again, he struck a defensive tone about that now-infamous call to the Georgia secretary of state, searching for votes to put him over the top against Joe Biden, who narrowly won the state.
TRUMP: That election was rigged. If this call is bad, why didn't him and his lawyers hang up? "How dare you say that?" This was a perfect phone call.
COLLINS: They were clearly concerned enough they recorded the call.
ZELENY (voice-over): He brushed aside questions about another probe, involving classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago.
COLLINS: When it comes to your documents, did you ever show those classified documents to anyone?
TRUMP: Not really. I would have the right to. By the way, they were declassified after --
COLLINS: What do you mean, not really?
TRUMP: Not that I can think of. Let me just tell you, I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them. I have the right.
ZELENY (voice-over): That, of course, remains an open question and a key part of a federal investigation.
Trump took personal credit for the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe versus Wade, citing his three appointments to the high court.
TRUMP: And I was very honored to do it. ZELENY (voice-over): But he repeatedly dodged questions about whether
he would sign a federal abortion ban.
TRUMP: I'm looking at a solution that's going to work. Very complex issue for the country. You have people on both sides of an issue.
ZELENY (voice-over): On foreign policy, Trump once again showed his affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, declining to call for his punishment for leading the invasion of Ukraine.
TRUMP: If you say he's a war criminal, it's going to be a lot tougher to make a deal to get this thing stopped.
ZELENY (voice-over): He also declined to say who he wants to prevail in the war, despite the U.S. and allies investing billions to help Ukraine defeat Russia.
COLLINS: Do you want Ukraine to win this war?
TRUMP: I don't think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.
ZELENY (on camera): So much, of course, to process. And that's exactly what Republican rivals are doing as they point out that is still the beginning of the road. There are some seven months or so before the voting begins.
The White House also paying very close attention to this town hall last night, saying that they believe there are many examples, or they, in fact, plan to do advertising on, to point out the former president's position.
Surprisingly, he did not mention his rivals very much. But the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, he did say that he thinks he should simply stay home and not run.
Of course that, that is not going to happen. He's jumping into this race, we're told, in the next couple weeks.
So, a lot to digest there. But again, this is the beginning of the Republican nomination. It's not the end -- Poppy and Phil.
HARLOW: Jeff Zeleny, thank you for all that.
MATTINGLY: And with us now to discuss, "New York Times" national political correspondent Shane Goldmacher, CNN national politics reporter Eva McKend, and CNN senior legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig.
Eva, I think we're all, again, as Jeff was saying, digesting it. .Jeff makes a critical point: it's early. We're seven months out. However, this is very clearly, by the numbers, the Republican front-runner to once again be the Republican nominee for president.
When you watched this and took it all in and thought through the broader context of 2024, what came to mind?
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: All of us know this from being out on the trail. The biggest, I think, job for a candidate is to engage and bring in new voters, especially if you've been on the scene a while. That is his job. Whether he wants to acknowledge it or not, he lost the last election.
MATTINGLY: By seven million votes.
MCKEND: Yes. And in order to -- if he's trying to win the next one, he has to get folks that didn't vote for him before to now vote for him this time.
And, you know, watching that performance, I didn't see what new voters he brought into the fold.
Yes, that entire episode really stroked his ego. He was with a very favorable audience. We know that he thrives in this situation, in this type of situation where his ego is stroked. But what new voters did he attract last night? I didn't -- I didn't see any from that performance.
HARLOW: And I wonder if he lost some Republican voters. And I say that because of his answer on, when Kaitlan asked him about the Dobbs decision, when a voter actually asked him about the Dobbs decision. And he took so much credit for overturning Roe versus Wade, even though it was the justices. And then would not answer her question about would you sign a federal abortion ban into law?
It's just not been a winning issue for Republicans so far to run on. And I, you know, wonder what that means.
SHANE GOLDMACHER, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I mean, I really think it's important to think that American elections are a two-step process.
Step one is the primary, and that's his primary concern right now. And that's what the performance was last night.
HARLOW: And then general.
GOLDMACHER: But yes, in a general election, these are -- the reason he took that stance on abortion is looking at the general election. Right? Ron DeSantis, leading rival, has signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida. Donald Trump won't say whether he supports a federal abortion ban, as you saw under repeated questioning.
This is one of those issues that, even though he appointed the justices, even though he claimed that this was a great victory for him, he doesn't want to go the next step. Because he has expressed privately fears that abortion is the kind of issue that can come back against him and his party in the next election. In fact, he's blamed it for some of the losses that many people blame on him in 2022. ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I thought that was really
interesting on the abortion issue. I think it was one of the moments when you could actually almost see the political calculation in Donald Trump's head. Because he ran for the presidency in 2016 saying vote for me, and I will appoint justices who will overturn Roe versus Wade.
HARLOW: Yes, that famous, that Lesley Stahl interview on "60 Minutes." It's exactly what he said.
HONIG: And he did just that.
HONIG: He gave us Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett. They did just that. They issued the Dobbs decision. And it was an affirmative legal argument that he was making that he delivered on.
Now, last night, he -- it seems like someone said to him, if they bring up abortion, say negotiation. I didn't actually even understand what he was talking about. And Kaitlan tried to press him on that: what do you mean? Negotiation of what? Because I think he see that there's some political risk there now.
MATTINGLY: And that means he has his eye open. Because he watched Wisconsin. He watched Michigan. He watched 2022 and the electorate and how important this issue was.
Look, what he said on Dobbs stands. And I don't think you can try and parse where you land on that, despite his completely nonsensical unwillingness to answer five different follow-ups from Kaitlan Collins on this issue.
I think that also underscores why, if you take a step back and you talk to Democrats who were watching last night, regardless of their views of the town hall itself, they will all say, we have loads of content to attack in a general election.
I do want to ask you, though, Elie, on the legal issues itself. The president was talking about January 6th. I actually want to play this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You saw them rushing the Capitol, breaking windows. They were hitting officers with flag poles, tazing them, beating them up. When it was clear they weren't being peaceful, why did you wait three hours to tell them to leave the Capitol? They listen you to like no one else. You know that.
TRUMP: They do. I agree with that. But Nancy Pelosi --
COLLINS: So why didn't you tell them to go home sooner?
TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi and the mayor are in charge. I assumed they were able to do their job. They weren't. And it kicked in.
COLLINS: But Pelosi is not in charge of Capitol security.
TRUMP: And if you remember, I --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Look, I was -- as somebody who was there on January 6 and was kind of personally enraged by what he's saying there. But you think there's some legal elements to that, as well?
HONIG: As a prosecutor, that is the single most important clip from last night. Because Kaitlan says to him clearly, those people listen to you, you know that.
And he says, yes.
HARLOW: Yes, I do.
HONIG: Yes, I do. I agree with that. And if you're thinking about prosecuting Donald Trump in relation to the effort to steal the election, you're going to need to show that connection. That Donald Trump knew and understood that his words would be acted on, knew and understood that people were listening to him and would actually do things because he said so and stop doing things because he said so.
And I've never heard him so clearly admit that. And, look, everything Donald Trump says is out there. It's fair game. It can be used. And I think if I'm a prosecutor watching last night, I'm circling that clip. And I'm saying, here we go. We just filled that gap.
MCKEND: I mean, he referred to January 6 as a beautiful day. It seems like such a detachment from reality and even how -- and even a potential to alienate his own supporters. I was in Iowa a few weeks ago, speaking to conservative voters there.
And they support Trump; they like Trump. But they're saying that they're willing to entertain some of these other candidates, because they don't think that he can win, and it's for this very reason.
HARLOW: It's always good to hear from voters on the ground, especially in a state like Iowa. The pardons. The fact that he said he would pardon many of the January 6 rioters and didn't clearly answer even the Proud Boys convicted of seditious conspiracy, he didn't say no.
GOLDMACHER: What you can see is that Donald Trump is trying to rewrite the narrative of what happened on January 6. And the striking thing for me wasn't just what he's staying on stage. It was the reaction from the crowd. Right?
GOLDMACHER: This is a Republican audience in New Hampshire, and they were cheering him. And as I watched, I really was struck. It reminded me of watching a sitcom, right, where they've got this laugh track going on in the background. And it makes you sort of want to enjoy it along with the main character.
And he's the main character on stage. And they were laughing at these things. When he made jokes, when he made -- even on January 6, even on those pardon issues, this was not a thing that got a boo in the crowd. This had the crowd laughing and cheering for him throughout the evening.
HARLOW: OK. All right. Everyone stick around. We've got a lot more to go through, obviously, from last night.
MATTINGLY: Also, later on the show, quote, "the sky is not going to fall when Title 42 expires at midnight tonight." That's according to the Border Patrol chief, as thousands of migrants gather at the border. We'll tell you the new tactic the Biden administration is rolling out.
HARLOW: Also, Congressman George Santos charged with wire fraud, money laundering, stealing public funds, and lying to Congress. What he's saying in his defense. What it could mean for his political future, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Now, I'm going to have to go and fight to defend myself. The reality is, is it's a witch hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Mr. President, back to what you just said there, though. It was not a rigged election. It was not a stolen election. You and your supporters lost more than 60 court cases on the election.
But what you just said there, Republican officials debunked those claims about fraudulent ballots.
TRUMP: And they're all on camera.
COLLINS: Mr. President, I have to stop you there, because there is no evidence of that. Your own election officials testified to that and have said that.
TRUMP: -- about that.
COLLINS: Mr. President, there weren't any fraudulent votes in Wisconsin.
The election was not rigged, Mr. President.
TRUMP: And -- and OK, good, I know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That's how you do it. That's our Kaitlan Collins fact-checking the former president's false claims about the 2020 election last night in real time. As we mentioned earlier -- did you just spill your coffee?
MATTINGLY: I spilled my coffee.
HARLOW: That's all right.
MATTINGLY: I am so upset right now.
HARLOW: I always think that's going to happen to me.
MATTINGLY: And as somebody who's not usually at a desk, I was like how I do play this? And I decided to ignore it, and then you called me out on it. And so I'm just going to kind of sit here and wear it for a minute and digest this moment in time. And then I'm going to mourn the fact that I desperately --
HARLOW: You can have some of mine. Phil, I sit here every morning and I'm like, don't knock over your coffee, Poppy.
HARLOW: Don't knock over the coffee.
MATTINGLY: That's good. I hope we have some standup segments. Because this is all over my pants too, so this is going to go great.
HARLOW: Can someone get Phil some pants?
MATTINGLY: This is like the fifth time I've done something this week, where I've been like, Poppy is definitely not letting me back.
HARLOW: This is not true. And you better come back tomorrow.
MATTINGLY: I'll clean the floor.
HARLOW: Come back tomorrow.
MATTINGLY: I promise you, I will mop the floor, guys.
HARLOW: You can have my coffee.
OK. Back to the news. OK. As we mentioned earlier, President -- former President Trump made several false -- more than several, so many false and misleading claims. We're going to look at some more now with our Sunlen Serfaty, our Washington correspondent.
Sorry for the holdup, Sunlen. We had a little coffee issue. But let's talk about the truth here versus fiction. Where should we start?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Poppy, really the first one that we should start on is Trump's comments about abortion that he talked about last night. Now these comments were very misleading. We heard Trump accusing last
night Democrats and, specifically, Hillary Clinton of supporting abortion late into the third trimester.
Now Clinton's stance was that mothers whose health or life is in jeopardy should be allowed to terminate a pregnancy at any point up until birth. Under Roe v. Wade, states had the authority to regulate or ban abortion in the third trimester, except when necessary to preserve the life or the health of the mother.
It's also very important to note here that late-term abortions, they are very, very rare, less than 1 percent according -- occurring at 21 weeks or later than 2020 (ph), and that's according to the U.S. Centers for Control and Prevention.
MATTINGLY: Yes, Sunlen. The other issue, and I think Kaitlan was very sharp in trying to push back on this, the idea the Trump campaign in 2016 on building a wall along the U.S. Southern border with Mexico and also said that Mexico is going to pay for it.
Last night, he said he had finished building the wall while in office. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I did finish the wall. I built a wall.
COLLINS: You didn't build the wall.
TRUMP: I built hundreds of miles of wall, and I finished it. And then I said we have to build some more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: So Sunlen, did the former president build hundreds of miles of wall as he claimed?
SERFATY: Well, this claim is not true. The numbers clearly show that, as well, that the border wall just had not been finished.
Now the U.S. Customs/Border Protection, they put out a report on the status of the wall just two days after Trump left office. And in that report, they say 458 miles of the wall had been completed under Trump, but 280 more miles that have been identified for wall construction had not been completed.
And if you break down that 280 miles more that had not been built, only 74 miles were in the preconstruction phase in locations where no barriers had existed; and 206 miles were under contract in place of dilapidated and outdated designs and locations where no barriers existed. So that claim is not true -- Phil, Poppy.
HARLOW: Fifty-two miles, she kept saying. That's a fact.
MATTINGLY: I just found out that the House Republicans are voting on a bill today -- HARLOW: Today, right?
MATTINGLY: -- where one of the primary central selling points of it is that it completes the border wall that Trump said was finished last night.
HARLOW: There you go.
MATTINGLY: I got a kick out of that. Legislative nerd.
Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much.
HARLOW: We appreciate it.
MATTINGLY: Don't worry, guys, I have, like, napkins and stuff. We're doing -- doing great. We're thriving on this Thursday morning.
One thing that was interest -- look, we know about kind of the top headlines that we talked about last block. But the policy issues, we got into abortion a little it. But I also want to talk about the biggest issue in Washington right now, and that's the debt ceiling.
Take a listen to what the former president said when it came to how Republicans should kind of hold their position going forward. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I say to the Republicans out there, congressmen, senators, if they don't give you massive cuts, you're going to have to do a default.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: As president, he said absolutely can't put this on the line. Shouldn't be something that we use to negotiate over. I'm more interested, what do you think the effect is on the Republicans in Congress right now?
MCKEND: I mean, he was pretty shameless there saying, you know, well, I'm not president now, so I can take a different position.
MCKEND: Listen, I think that on this issue, until Americans really digest what this means for them, that is when I think lawmakers are going to feel the heat on this.
And until that moment, I -- we are seeing sort of early signs that some folks are having concerns about the implications for their retirement, for Social Security.
But when we get to that moment in June when it looks like it really could happen and everyday Americans' lives are affected, I think that's when this is really going to be a problem.
HARLOW: I wonder what you think, to Phil's question, also, about what it does for tomorrow's meeting. Take two, which we're hoping is a good meeting at the White House between those leaders in Congress and the president on this. Did that just make this a lot more difficult?
GOLDMACHER: You know, I'm not sure that it does. You know, Trump is such a bluffer and a blusterer about these things that -- that, you know, there's this old saying from all the way back to 2016, the literally and seriously. Do you take everything he says literally or seriously. I don't think this is an issue were he is literally going to be in favor of a debt -- going over the debt limit, and neither are our House Republicans, right?
Everyone is a little bit afraid of the consequences of this happening. Now, maybe he's not -- when he's not, as president, but in terms of House Republicans, I think that his comments don't change the fundamental dynamic for them, that they are afraid that if this happens that they could get blamed.
MCKEND: Are they really afraid though? You think House Republicans are really afraid?
GOLDMACHER: Maybe not the rank and file.
MCKEND: Some of them -- some of them, who have shown that they're -- they're pretty willing to, like, blow up our institutions, you know?
GOLDMACHER: Absolutely there are rank-and-file Republicans who are unafraid of going over that cliff. But the House Republican leadership, the people who know that to keep that job, to remain in the majority, they need districts that Joe Biden carried, they absolutely are afraid of the backlash from moderate voters.
HONIG: Yes. I was going to say, there are absolutely real-life consequences to violating the debt ceiling. But also, to legal nerds out there, this is constitutionally unthinkable. I mean, this would -- this would put us in a situation we've never had to face before, and it would just violate the face of the U.S. Constitution.
MATTINGLY: Another policy issue that's very top-of-mind for everybody right now is immigration. The president was asked by Kaitlan Collins about his family separation policy. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Another immigration policy you had was the zero-tolerance immigration policy that separated families at the border. If you are re-elected, are you ruling out instituting that?
TRUMP: Well, when you have that policy, people don't come. If the family hears that they're going to be separated, they love their family. They don't come. So I know it sounds harsh --
-- prisons for the children
COLLINS: Would you reimplement that if you were re-elected?
TRUMP: Here's -- We have to save our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Look, he was always very ambiguous in talking about what this actually did when he was in office. That was pretty unambiguous. What's your read on that?
HONIG: Yes. I think people need to understand, the family separation policy is just that. Is -- It is a policy. It is a decision by the executive branch, largely carried out through prosecutors at the Justice Department.
Because prior administrations generally had a policy that, if somebody comes over the border, that's technically a federal crime. But DOJ's policy under prior administrations was, for the most part, unless the person has other convictions in the United States, turn them around, send them home, make a record of it.
What started happening under the Trump DOJ was they said, no, no, no. We are now prosecuting all of these cases, even if the person doesn't have a prior aggravated felony.
And as a result, when a family would arrive at the border, they would say, OK, parents, we're holding you. You're now going into our criminal courts. Children, if you're with the parents, are being separated.
And so that is absolutely a decision that will be made president by president. As you said in the beginning, this is a "what you see is what you get" moment. Voters know what's at stake. If they like that policy, they'll get it from Trump. And if they won't, they won't.
MCKEND: He also said we had to save our country. Save our country from immigrants? Like, what are we saving our country from? There's no -- migrants do not represent, like, a greater -- aren't overrepresented whether it comes to criminality.
MCKEND: It's just like, what is he talking about?
HARLOW: In fact, there are a lot of Republicans also who will point to how -- including those who worked in the Trump administration, who have pointed to how critical immigration is for our economy. You know, and economic growth.
MATTINGLY: Well, it's -- yes, it's essential in terms of worker shortages right now.
However, it's also an understanding the president has, this very keen understanding and grasp of the Republican primary electorate and how critical this issue for him. And I think that line is very much along those kind of hyperbolic lenses that they go through here.
All right, Eva McKend, Shane Goldmacher, Elie Honig. There's lot to cover.
HARLOW: Thank you, guys.
MATTINGLY: Sorry for spilling my coffee everywhere. Thanks so much, guys.
HARLOW: We're going to have much more on last night's town hall coming up all morning here on CNN THIS MORNING.
Also, a CNN exclusive. Sources say Britain has supplied Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles that travel so far, one official calls it a game changer. What it could mean for Ukraine's expected counteroffensive. That's next.
That was very good, guys.
MATTINGLY: Thank you very much.
HARLOW: Thank you. I love how you play off each other.