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Pro-Palestinian Protests Sweep across U.S. Universities; U.S. Senate Takes Up House-Passed Foreign Aid Package; Prosecutors Asked for $1,000 Fine for each Violation; Trump in Court for Gag Order Hearing; Day Six of Historic Hush Money Trial Underway. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 23, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, this is the scene outside court in New York Donald Trump has just arrived out of the trial

there and a special hearing on whether he has broken a gag order and what punishment he should face. It's 9 am in New York.

Meanwhile, in Gaza 200 days of fighting more than 34,000 people killed the violence, now sparking huge protests halfway around the world, on several

U.S. university campuses. It's 5 pm here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. And we begin outside that New York court where my colleague Erica Hill is

standing by with the very latest. Erica, what do we expect today? And what did we learn day one yesterday?

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Thanks Becky. Good to see you today. So day one yesterday, we saw our first witness. We saw those opening statements. Right

now of course, as you pointed out, Donald Trump has just arrived here at court in lower Manhattan to begin day two with that witness.

But before we get to the witness later this morning, about 30 minutes from now, the judge is holding a special hearing. That's where he will determine

whether the former president did in fact violate that gag order, which was imposed by the judge of this trial.

The gag order says the Donald Trump cannot make public statements about witnesses, jurors' prosecutors on this staff courts on this case rather or

court staff and family members. That of course also includes members of the Judge Juan Merchan's own family.

Prosecutors say they believe Trump has repeatedly violated that order, in part by posting on social media about his former lawyer Michael Cohen. And

they want the judge to find that $1,000 per violation and to punish any future violations with jail time.

So after that gag order hearing which if it is not wrapped up by 11 am will then go on later in the day so they can bring the witness back. We will

hear from that first witness David Pecker, the former publisher of the tabloid paper, "The National Enquirer" Former Head of AMI, the company that

owns that.

He's really central to the prosecution's case here. Prosecutors frame him as a key player in the quote, catch and kill scheme to keep damaging

information from the voting public ahead of the 2016 election. CNN Senior Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz is, of course, following all of

these developments very closely for us.

So one when David Pecker is back on the stand later today, we didn't get through a lot but we did get through that checkbook journalism that

National Enquirer engaged in and a sense of what his role was, what more can we expect today Kaitlin?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We're going to be expecting the prosecutors to ask David Pecker when he's testifying about

specific instances where he had insight into Donald Trump. Conversations he witnessed, not what they would call hearsay. But when he was in the room

when we was having conversations with Trump, about the catch and kill schemes that "The National Enquirer" took part in.

So one of those situations we know the prosecutors want to bring up because they talked about it when they opened to the jury yesterday giving their

overview of what they would present. There was a meeting in 2015, where David Pecker sat down with Michael Cohen and Donald Trump at that time

discussing how his publication could be the eyes and ears of the campaign, how he could report back to them.

If there were negative stories bubbling up people approaching his publication, wanting to sell tales they had about Donald Trump, one of

those people ultimately became Karen McDougal, a woman whose attorney approached "The National Enquirer" to sell her story. She did get $150,000,

from "The National Enquirer" to have them acquire her rights. They bought her story about an alleged affair with Trump and then buried it. It never

came out before the 2016 election.

This is what prosecutors want to say is one instance in a pattern of instances where Donald Trump was motivated by his campaign by his election,

by his hope to win the White House and appeal to female voters so that he would keep women who had damaging stories about him quiet like Karen

McDougal and of course, like Stormy Daniels, who's at the heart of these business falsification records charges facing the former president.

HILL: So that is what we'll hear. As I mentioned, though, prior to David Pecker, coming back onto the stand around 11 o'clock, local time is what

we're expecting at 9:30 the judges said that is when the hearing will begin in regards to these potential violations of the gag order that he issued to

Donald Trump. And there were some other moments just yesterday, sort of pushing the boundaries there. What are we expecting from that hearing?

POLANTZ: Yeah, what the prosecutors want to focus on at this hearing at least when they first asked the judge to hold Donald Trump in contempt and

fine him $1,000 for every violation of the gag order.


They were focused on public comments he had made about the jury, in this case and about witnesses. Two things that the judge has wanted to protect,

so that the trial has no biases that might come in or extra public comment, or intimidation of witnesses.

Previously, Donald Trump had posted on Truth Social and on his campaign website multiple times about Michael Cohen attacking his credibility,

calling him a serial perjurer. And then even yesterday, Michael Cohen was at top of mind for Trump as he walked out of court and spoke to cameras.

Here's what he had to say that.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And when are they going to look at all the lies that in the last trial, he

got caught lying on the last trial. So he got caught lying, pure lying.


POLANTZ: So we'll have to see how the judge reacts to this? What the prosecutors say about those comments yesterday, as well as the history of

things Trump has been saying in the days leading up to the trial. There's a lot at stake here because the judge has wide latitude to do what he wants.

If he finds that Donald Trump is in contempt of court for violating this gag order, he could fine him. He could even impose more serious penalties

on the former president, but we'll just have to see how far Judge Juan Merchan wants to take this.

HILL: Absolutely Katelyn, appreciate it. Thank you. I will of course continue to bring you all of these developments from this historic trial

throughout the day throughout the evening. Your time right now though, I'm going to hand it back to you Becky in Abu Dhabi.

ANDERSON: Appreciate it thank you so much, Erica. Well, it's been 200 days since October 7th when Hamas launched its brutal attacks, killing almost

1200 Israelis and kidnapping hundreds. Well, as the Jewish holiday of Passover begins 133 Israelis are still believed to be held captive inside


The negotiations to freedom described by cattery mediators today as in a quote state of frustration meanwhile, civilians in Gaza enduring great

suffering. More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in the last 200 days, mostly women and children. The true scale of destruction in Gaza is

still being uncovered.

More than 300 bodies have been found in a mass grave within the Nasar medical complex in Khan Yunis. The IDF says bodies buried at the hospital

were examined to see if any of them were Israeli hostages and then returned to their quote place. And the IDF says its fighter jet struck 25 targets

over the past 24 hours, including this eight storey building in Gaza City. Israel says its part of its continuing counterterrorism activity.

Well, CNN's Matthew Chance connecting us to all of this from Jerusalem. 200 days in Matthew, and it's good to have you. 200 days into this tragic and

horrific war can we just step back for a moment and assess where things stand?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think from the point of view of many Israelis, the main problem is that there are

still more than 130 people who have been abducted and who are still inside the Gaza Strip being held by militant groups.

And so 200 days from the October 7th attacks by Hamas and other groups, has left people absolutely distraught and demanding more action by the Israeli

government to bring those hostages home. Now, on the one hand, there are hardliners that think that the Israelis need to take their gloves off even

more than they already have, and really cracked down militarily to try and force Hamas and the other militant groups potentially holding abductees to

release these individuals.

But there's a whole groundswell of Israeli public opinion as well, which believes that the Israeli government has put way too much emphasis on the

military operations and not enough on negotiations. And that's sort of left 133 or so Israeli hostages marooned inside the Gaza Strip.

And I think that's what the calls are for, for the most part from Israeli communities who are calling on the government to take more action. There

was a kibbutz which is very badly affected on October 7th Kibbutz -- they've been calling for the government to put more pressure and to get

those hostages released.


And of course it's a big protest a big gathering being called for Tel Aviv later on today as we marked the 200 days since the October 7th, which will

be calling on the government to do what it can to finally get those people out.

ANDERSON: We heard from the Qatar Spokesman today for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and of course, Qatar had played a key mediation role

mediating what was the only temporary pause in this fighting back in November of course when more than 100 people were released in return for

Palestinian prisoners.

And I just want to quote, Majid Al Ansari today, just in the past couple of hours, he said at a news conference, and I quote, as you know, there is a

state of frustration amongst the mediators that, of course, includes Egypt as well, the United States heavily involved in these talks, to release

these hostages and to get a temporary ceasefire in place.

He says, you know, there's a state of frustration amongst the mediators, but also in a general sense that there was no agreement during Ramadan or

during Eid. Now -- these real expectations, real hopes, that there will be a pause in the fighting a temporary ceasefire during that period last month

in order to try and affect the release of these hostages, as you rightly suggests they remain in Gaza.

Meantime, the independent review established by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to examine the role and conduct of

UNWRA, which is effectively UN Agency for Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere, has said that the agency's neutrality must be strengthened. What

else came from that report?

CHANCE: Yeah. I mean look, I mean, that report came out yesterday, and it was conducted by a Former French Foreign Minister along with sort of expert

advice as well. And it was looking at that allegation which Israel has made, that numerous employees of the UN in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA have been

members of Palestinian military groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

I mean, what the report concluded though, is that there's been no substantial evidence presented by Israel that gives truth to any of the --

any of those -- any of those allegations, nor has there been any substantive, substantive proof that members are the employees of the United

Nations in the Gaza Strip, took part in the October 7th attacks on Israeli communities?

Again, that's something that Israel has accused UN employees of doing. And you know there's been pushback by the Israelis. There's been a social media

posting by the spokesperson for the Israel, one of the spokespeople for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, saying that this just shows the UN and I'm

paraphrasing him.

He's incapable of addressing this serious problem. But of course, it also doesn't do us anything, or do anything to get us any closer to this idea

that UN employees may have been sort of complicit in the attacks on October 7th, the report doesn't find that.

ANDERSON: So many countries of course, pull their funding for the UN agency. I mean, there are those certain countries who've reestablished that

funding. But when you talk to anybody who's actually involved, many people who are involved in what is going on in Gaza, and also in the West Bank,

and in Jordan with the UN agency has responsibility for refugees in both those places as well.

They'll say you know without the agency on the ground doing the work that it does and has been doing for decades, it is impossible to improve the lot

of Palestinians who are caught up in what is in this catastrophic situation at present. Matthew, it's good to have you appreciate it. Thank you very

much indeed.

Meantime, pro-Palestinian protests sweeping across universities in the U.S. amid what is the Passover holiday? This was the scene at New York

University on Monday. Police say they moved in after protesters refused to disperse numerous students and faculty members were arrested. These

protests have spread to other college campuses, as well.

Joining me from Columbia University, which is right at the heart of this in New York, is CNN's Omar Jimenez. And I just wonder what the mood is on

campus. Whether it is clear from those who are protesting and those who are at the sharp end of these protests as it were Omar exactly what it is that

these demonstrators are protesting against at this point?


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so well right now I can tell you this morning here in New York, it is calm, it is quiet. The only sign of

real tensions at this point are the barricades and the caution tape that is up along with the security presence outside of the university gates.

But over this past week is when we have seen those protests come in various forms, some that had been largely very peaceful, very much in solidarity

with Gaza. Others, however much more anti-Semitic and even violent in its messaging but that contrast has also come from protests that have emanated

from on campus and student led protests versus those that have been fueled from off campus.

And even student organizers here at Columbia University have tried to distance themselves from those that have come from off campus, calling them

essentially instigators and do not represent what they are protesting. And what they are protesting.

The crux of all of this, at least here at Columbia University, is they have essentially been camping out on campus to urge Columbia University to

divest from corporations that they say benefit from Israeli apartheid and Israeli genocide. That was the genesis of the actual protests, and they are

still camped out on campus.

Behind me, we got some aerial images earlier today to sort of show the setup camped out on one of the lawns there. A day after it started the

university sent in the police to clear out that encampment and students were arrested.

They were disciplined, some suspended and some say it inflames some of the tensions here tensions that we still feel, to this point, not just for

those who of course, are part of the pro-Palestinian protests, but also Jewish students as well, especially as the Passover week begins here, take

a listen to some of the students that we've spoken to about how they feel during this time.


SOPHIE ARNSTEIN, BARNARD COLLEGE SENIOR: I consider myself a very brave person, but I won't deny that I've been physically intimidated and

harassed. And so I want to say like safe is a mindset, I feel safe when I'm around my Jewish peers who create a safe space. But in general, the campus

feels extremely hostile.

LILY ZUCKERMAN, BARNARD COLLEGE SOPHOMORE: I feel reasonably safe I have since October 7th. I do think that the protests could very easily escalate.

BEN SOLOMAN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SENIOR: I've felt like this is not a welcoming environment. I think it's a very difficult time for a lot of

Jewish students.


JIMENEZ: And again, it's been -- it's been a range of reactions, as well, for some students who say that police should never have been called on some

of the protesters but then, of course, Jewish students, many of them who do not feel safe.

There was one rabbi affiliated with the university who actually urged Jewish students to stay home out of safety concerns. And all of these

tensions have prompted Columbia University here to at least for most of their classes to go hybrid until the end of the semester, which is next

week, because safety is your number one priority.

And you mentioned it, Becky, before coming to me that it's not just here at Columbia University. We've seen protests of this nature spread to places

from the East Coast of the U.S. all the way to the West Coast in California. And we have not seen signs that they will slow down. But of

course, we'll continue to monitor over the course of today.

ANDERSON: And more, of course. Omar thank you. And stay current on Middle East coverage with our website there you will find a look into the

region's biggest stories, including the latest headlines coming out of Iran and out of Israel. And you can read how the two countries managed to avert

an all-out war?

Good analysis there by one of my colleagues. Well, you're watching "Connect the World". We are going to get you back to New York with more on Donald

Trump's criminal hush money trial and a look at the first witness to testify and the key role that he could play in the prosecution's case. And

the U.S. Senate takes up the foreign aid package with billions of dollars of help for Ukraine. Will this be a turning point for Kyiv that ahead?



HILL: Donald Trump has made his way down here to lower Manhattan to the courthouse just behind me where a special hearing is set to start in just

about 10 minutes or so to determine whether Donald Trump violated a gag order imposed by the judge.

That order bars the former president from publicly discussing witnesses or jurors in the hush money trial. It also says he can't talk about the

prosecutors can't talk about court staff, can't talk about their families. Prosecutors want the judge to fine Donald Trump $1,000 for any violation

and to also remind him that future violations could result in jail time.

Important to note the jury is not going to be in the courtroom during that hearing the prosecution has prosecutors rather have entered the courtroom

as I understand it from our focus on the inside. The jury that will be back at 11 am this morning that's when David Pecker the first witness in the

case will go back on the stand.

Here's Tom Foreman now with a look at Donald Trump's decades' long association with Pecker and Packer's dubious history as a former publisher

of "The National Enquirer".


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than just friends from back in the 90s more than fellow New Yorkers on a quest for power and fame David Pecker and

Donald Trump were for decades a match made in media heaven. So how did it all come to this?

TRUMP: I don't think they even paid any money to that tablet OK. I don't think we made a payment to the tablet. Nobody except for me would be looked

at like this nobody.

FOREMAN: For a long time the relationship was good for both men. Trump gave Peckers' National Enquirer access to his fame, the tabloid gave him

headlines. Trump catches Russia's White House spy. Trump must build the wall. Trump takes charge. The paper gave him its first endorsement ever for

President Trump returned the favor.

TRUMP: I've always said why didn't "The National Enquirer" get the Pulitzer Prize for Edwards and OJ Simpson and all of these things?

FOREMAN: With slashing and burning enthusiasm Pecker relentlessly posted false stories about political foes while reportedly suppressing

embarrassments for Trump, like the time First Lady Melania appeared to slap his hand away on a foreign trip. But those who studied the two men did not

see an equal relationship.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Pecker really looked up to Donald Trump still does. And he put his very important magazines to work for Donald

Trump's interests.

FOREMAN: Then some big names had Pecker went too far. In 2019 business mogul Jeff Bezos, for example, said Pecker threatened to release

compromising photos of him unless Bezos publicly refuted claims that "The Enquirer" was improperly playing politics. Pecker's lawyers called it


ELKAN ABRAMOWITZ, AMI/DAVID PECKER ATTORNEY: Absolutely is not extortion and not blackmail.


HILL: And our thanks to Tom Foreman there. Just reminder prosecutors say the tabloid -- was acting as a Trump co-conspirator in that hush money

scheme. He's been given immunity from prosecution of course in exchange for his testimony. Stay with us. We're going to be here right back here in New

York as the hearing begins for that gag order. Just about five minutes from right now Becky, I'll hand it back over to you.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. We are in very capable hands Erica, thank you. Well, in the coming hours U.S. Senate expected to hold important votes on a

foreign aid package that includes nearly $61 billion for Ukraine.


It was approved on Saturday by the House of Representatives and if passed by the Upper Chamber the Senate. U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to

sign it. Ukraine, of course desperately needs Western weapons as its military struggles to contain Russia's invasion. Well, U.S. Congressional

Delegation visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is praising the U.S. for its support.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Four priorities they are key protection of the sky, modern artillery, long range capability and ensuring

that American support packages arrive as soon as possible. And today's results is that all the dots have been dotted with agreements on the attack

that was for Ukraine. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Congress. Thank you, America.


ANDERSON: Right, Volodymyr Zelenskyy for you. CNN's Lauren Fox joining me now from Washington Lauren, before we chat, I am aware that Donald Trump is

just walking through the courthouse so bear with me. Let's just see whether he speaks and what he says.


TRUMP: When people get out there and vote, it's important to vote to let them know that we're coming on November 5th, we're coming big days.

Preliminary but still, it's very important. And maybe they'll think also about the very good person who's running for the Senate in Pennsylvania,

David McCormack. And he's doing a good job. He is working very hard. Successful man wants to put his success to the country will be a very good

Senator. So hopefully they'll be behind. Dave, get out there go today.

So Pennsylvania, get out and vote what's going on at the college level. And we colleges, Columbia, NYU, and others is a disgrace. And it's a -- it's

really -- and he has the wrong signal. It's got the wrong tone. It's got the wrong word. He doesn't know what he's backing. And it's a mess.

If this were me, it'd be have to make it they have to do so much but to try to give him a pass. What's going on is a disgrace to our country. And it's

all by a sloth. And everybody knows that he's got no message. He's got no compassion. He doesn't know what he's doing. He can't put two sentences

together frankly.

He is the worst president in the history of our country. And again, what's going on was a disgrace. And that's interesting outside, for made

Americans, people that want to come down and they want to protest at the court. And they want to protest peacefully. We have more police presence

here than anyone's ever seen for blocks. You can't get near this courthouse.

And yet you have nobody up in a college, when you have very radical people wanting to rip the colleges down the universities down. And that's a shame.

But it all starts with Joe Biden. The signals he puts it up are so bad. And I can tell you, he's no friend of Israel, that's for sure. And he's no

friend of the Arab world.

You take a look at what he said. He's no friend of his -- know what to do. He doesn't know what to do. He wants to take like a middle ground. And

oftentimes that doesn't work. But it's certainly not working here. But what he's done to Israel is abandoned them. And he's trying to be as nice as he

can, to the other side. Call it the Arab world. But that's not what we need them because they get him and he's an incompetent man. Peace will never

happen with a guy like this. Thank you very much.


ANDERSON: Well, that is Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has just walked into court for the continuation of his trial. And the judge working

through the gag order at half past nine, which is a couple of minutes from now. That is the first proceedings of the day.

And Erica, let me bring you back in, you're outside the courthouse but you heard what the former president just said, a different narrative today from

Donald Trump in what is this sort of riff that he conducts yeah.

HILL: Yeah. So what we've come to expect, which is classic Donald Trump as he walks into court and sees those cameras every day and often on his way

out of court is a Donald Trump who was railing against this case railing against the judge trying to connect somehow President Biden or Democrats to

the case here in New York City to the DA here, Alvin Bragg who of course is elected by the people of New York.

There's been no evidence that there's any connection to the White House to some Democratic machine here. But as you point out, Becky none of that was

brought up today, he instead was talking politics talking about things happening in the State of Pennsylvania.


Also talking about the protests that we've seen I know you've been talking about in college campuses here in the United States, which are growing more

and more intense by the day, complaining about the amount of police officers down here at the courthouse for people who might want to protest,

making the point that he didn't think there were as many in his view, police officers, it sounded like he was saying at some of those protests.

And then also taking that time of course to rail on his opponent here he's the presumptive Republican nominee, of course, President Biden, the

presumptive Democratic nominee, these two men battling for the White House, and that election come November, so railing on Biden and talking about the

situation in Israel.

The war with Gaza, saying he doesn't know what to do, and that he's actually abandoned Israel, but it mean, far different. And also notable, I

would say, Becky, that he is not in any way talking about the case, as he's making his way in for this critical hearing on the gag order, which the

prosecution says they have seen at least 10 times he violated.

ANDERSON: Yeah, that's fascinating. One suspect then that his team has been at least a whispering in his ear that that he should stay away from his own

case, perhaps today, given that this gag order is in play now, as he gets into court and the judge makes a decision on that.

He has been complaining about the fact that this trial gets in the way of his campaigning opportunities. Perhaps we saw today's impromptu sort of

press conferences that were there or impromptu moment from Donald Trump has an opportunity to do just that and take a campaigning moment.

All right, well we are just moments away from that critical gag order hearing in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial. Thank you, Erica, and

much more on this breaking story after this.


HILL: Welcome back. I'm Erica Hill outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan. We're inside a special hearing is just about to begin the judge

overseeing Donald Trump's criminal trial in the courtroom wishing Mr. Trump a good morning already.


They are there for a special hearing today, where the judge will decide whether in fact the former president violated the gag order. The judge

imposed that gag order bars Trump from publicly discussing the witnesses, the jurors, the court staff, the prosecutors and either family members in

this case.

The DA says they believe they found at least 10 examples of the violations and they're asking the Donald Trump be fined $1,000 for each one of those.

The judge has a lot of 90 minutes for that hearing this morning. Then the jury will be brought in. And the first witness David Pecker will be back on

the stand.

Pecker of course is a key player here in that alleged hush money scheme, which is at the crux of Donald Trump's 34 felony charges. CNN National

Correspondent Brynn Gingras here with me in lower Manhattan live outside the courthouse. So we're waiting for this hearing to begin. So at least 10

violations --


HILL: -- and the big question, of course, is how will the judge rule? This could take about 90 minutes could go longer? And then they will resume

later in the day?

GINGRAS: Yeah, the judge said we're going to stop at 11 to let the jury come in and continue that testimony that we saw left off yesterday. We're

seeing as you're seeing on the side of the screen that actually the prosecutors are in a sidebar with the judge in his roving room. So unclear

what they're discussing right now.

But yes, there is a lot at stake here, right? They said 10 times that he violated this gag order. And we're looking at the court paperwork that the

judge had filed saying it was essentially all these posts, either on Trump's campaign website or on a social media Truth Social within the last

week or so.

And remember that gag order, as you've told the viewers, he can't talk ill about anybody who's a witness, the jurors, anybody that's a family member

of the court staff. And we'll see what the judge says and it reminds me and you covered the civil trial as well. It reminds me of the civil trial, how

he did violate that, according to the judge several times paid thousands of dollars in fines. So we'll see how the judge rules in this. It's two

different judges, obviously.

HILL: Two different judges. It's interesting, though, that that order the order from Judge -- in that civil -- in that civil case, there was a

hearing on Friday, where the judge then announced his ruling yesterday from the bench where he said, here's what you can discuss if Donald Trump

decided to take the stand as a witness.

And interestingly enough, he had said, that's one of the things that you could bring up that he could be asked about is when he violated that gag

order, in the other case will be fascinating to see -- so that doesn't give us exactly a window into his thinking. But interesting to note that

that was that was sort of given the OK.

GINGRAS: Yeah, and a good reminder that civil right?

HILL: Yes.

GINGRAS: This is a criminal case, so that prosecutors in this case have reminded the judge hey listen, he is a criminal defendant and should be

treated as such. So he should be following the order of this court, which means if you violate that one of the penalties could be that you go to

jail. Will we see Donald Trump go to jail for violating? Who knows, but it's an option that the judge certainly has.

HILL: Yeah, interesting too, because part of what the prosecution is saying part of the ways in which they believe that he violated it, some of those

are reposts right or quoting other people. So where is that line?

GINGRAS: Yeah, I mean, it's a great question. I mean, I think that's one that we've all been sort of asking each other is, is he really violating it

and his defense, he's saying, listen, I'm just trying to defend myself on social media. That's what his lawyers are saying. And certainly, that's

what we're seeing a lot of when it comes to the main witness in this trial, which is Michael Cohen.

HILL: Yes.

GINGRAS: So those are for legal minds for sure.

HILL: Well, you know what? Perfect -- you said that a perfectly Brynn because I have a legal mind with me now. Thank you, my friend. Renato

Marriott. He's a former federal prosecutor, also the host of the podcast "It's complicated" and our legal minds no pressure, Renato, good to see you

as always.

So let's pick up with you know what Brynn and I were just talking about there is this question of is Donald Trump reposting or quoting what someone

is saying, for example, there is a right wing host who said that the jury was full of undercover liberal activists, in his words?

There was another post where he was quoting somebody talking about accusing the jury poll of being -- a being very liberal and bias against Donald

Trump posting someone else's words, does that, in your view, would that violate this gag order?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, if he merely press the button and re-tweeted essentially someone's words, I think that will be a

very difficult question. That's not what happened here. He actually typed out the words of this host verbatim.

So he actually he either he or somebody else was running his account, typed in the words and put quotation marks around it. I think in that context,

where instead of just pressing a button to re-tweet or repost something that he actually typed out with somebody else said, put quote marks around

it, and essentially adopted it is his own. I think that I think the judge is going to find the -- adopted, endorse that statement is going to find

that to be a violation of the gag order.

HILL: Do you think is there anything to be made of the fact that the judge did rule that if you were to take the stand, prosecutors could bring up the

time that he violated that other gag order in the civil lawsuit here in New York City? Does that give us a window you think into where the judge could

land this morning?

MARIOTTI: Well, it's interesting question. I mean I think it does it shows two things. One is it just shows another way in which the judge has power

in this situation over Trump.


I do think that that ruling was a harsh and I think it was -- it couldn't have helped Donald Trump that he's been flouting some of the judge's

rulings up till now. But I do think the judge may have been trying to send a message to Trump, which is that if you keep violating the gag order,

potentially that's going to have consequences for you.

And he's trying to find whatever lever he can to influence Trump and get him to comply with his orders, because of course, Trump is not complying

with his orders, as is.

HILL: The prosecutor asking that he be fined $1,000 for each violation, and also asking the judge to essentially remind him that jail is a possibility

here. Is jail a realistic possibility for violating this gag order?

MARIOTTI: No, I don't think so. I mean, I understand that it's a theoretical possibility. That it is, -- you know it is theory -- it is

theoretically possible. But I don't see it actually happening. And for everyone at home was upset about that, or concern. Why is that the case?

The reality is that, first of all, if using contempt, in order to send someone to prison is usually to jail for some period of time is usually

done when the judge is witnessing something in the courtroom. Let's say defendant lunges that someone in the courtroom or does something like that.

I think this context is just too far afield. I don't see the judge actually.

HILL: There would also be a matter of dealing with the secret service since he still needs to be protected. It's my understanding in jail. Two more

quick one's for you, if I could, do you believe there's any penalty here that would actually dissuade Donald Trump from walking up to that line or

crossing it with a gag order?

MARIOTTI: Well, the only thing that I think will work is the judge getting Donald Trump to realize that he has very extensive discretion in the

courtroom, and that if Trump doesn't comply with his orders that he and his team are going to end up having to pay a price by getting rulings that are

not favorable to them.

The judge rules on evidence, the judge rules regarding what questions are permitted or not permitted. The judge even decides whether or not his

attorneys get a preview of which witnesses are going to be called the next day. And so I really think it's in Trump's interest to have the judge happy

and not unhappy with him.

And I think that Judge Merchan is going to do what it takes or should try to do what it takes to show Trump that that is a good thing for him to do

and part of what makes the judge happiest when people comply with his orders.

HILL: Really quickly, he was talking about Michael Cohen again last night. Michael Cohen responding on Twitter only have time for a yes or no. Should

Michael Cohen have a gag order?


HILL: Renato, really the only person who's ever given me a single word answer. Thank you my friend.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

HILL: I'll talk to you again soon. Stay with us. You are watching "Connect the World" much more news ahead. We're covering a lot around the globe

today. Stay with us.



HILL: Welcome back to our special coverage of the Donald Trump hush money trial. I'm Erica Hill outside the criminal courthouse here in lower

Manhattan. Right now the judge in that case holding a hearing on whether to find the former president for repeatedly violating a gag order so briefly,

the order bars Donald Trump Republican discussing witnesses or jurors, court staff, prosecutors, their families in this criminal case.

Later today after that hearing so right around 11 am Eastern Time, we will see the jury be brought well; we won't see it because we can't be in there.

Of course the jury that will be brought back into the courtroom. And Donald Trump's longtime friend, the Former Chief Executive of American Media,

which published "The National Enquirer" David Pecker will be back on the stand.

He is of course witness number one here for the prosecution prosecutors looking to lay out his role in orchestrating two nondisclosure agreements

for negative stories about Trump this is what is often referred to as catch and kill. I want to bring in CNN Political Commentator, S.E. Cupp.

S.E. always good to talk to you, my friend you know, as we've been watching this, it's pretty clear. We've known this for some time you have your dug

in camp of supporters and Democrats who may feel a certain way, there's probably not going to be a lot of budget. But among those voters who are

still up for grabs, is there any evidence at this point that this trial is having an impact?

S.E. CUPP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. And let me -- let me say, at the start, I don't think most voters are paying that close attention to this trial and

the myriad other trials. I think they're going about their lives and waiting sort of for the election to get closer to really take a hard look.

That is to say, this isn't important to cover it is.

The nominee for president is on trial for hush money payments to a porn star. I mean, it was remarkable. But as you say, I think the other folks

are baked, right? You've got Maga supporters who believe that the entire system around Donald Trump is corrupt.

And then you've got, you know, people who are Trump critics, who can see with their own eyes that he's probably here for a reason. But listen, I

think over the course of these trials, Trump is campaigning at the same time.

You saw him up here at his hearing for the gag order, and it was all politics, all he was doing was campaigning. So it is important for him to

use these trials and these public hearings that we are all covering and focused on and have cameras on, as -- you know, campaign events.

HILL: Yeah and we're looking at right now -- you know on the screen, what the Biden campaign is up to with different campaign stops, including making

their way to Florida, of course, versus what Donald Trump is doing. It's important to note though, you know, as Kristen Holmes who have been

covering Donald Trump for years at this point, noted just yesterday, Donald Trump is rarely out on the campaign trail more than two days a week to

begin with.

Does he have to be in court? Yes, legally, he has to be here four days a week while court is in session. There are other opportunities and he is

taking full advantage as you point out S.E. of those cameras as he goes in and out of court to essentially campaign.

CUPP: Yeah. And this is really interesting thing. I have been talking to some Republicans who privately say they are grateful. This trial and the

other trials are in the news now, because the last news cycle was not good for them. And that was focused on reproductive rights, the Arizona abortion

ban fights over IVF and -- you know other prohibitive abortion bans.

They really didn't like having to message around that legislation and those policies, their own -- their own policies, by the way. They prefer believe

it or not to have to talk about Trump on trial, again for this very unseemly sorted hush money payment to a porn star.

They prefer this than to have to go out and defend their own legislation and policies. That's how crazy and wild the state of affairs the climate is

for the Republican Party as their nominee for president is out there on the world stage campaigning at his own trials. Just to set the stage Erica,

it's a crazy kind of state of affairs right now.

HILL: 2024 it is quite a year my friend S.E. appreciate it. Good to see you. Stay with us we'll be right back here after a short break.


That gag order hearing in Donald Trump's criminal trial is now underway. As you see on your screen there prosecutor just saying that the former

president believes in the prosecutors words. He can attack anyone he wants in service to himself. We'll see if the judge agrees stay with us.


HILL: Well, just inside the courthouse behind me that special hearing is underway as we wait for the second day of testimony in Donald Trump's hush

money trial. This special hearing this morning, of course to determine whether Donald Trump violated repeatedly the gag order which the judge put

in place for this case that gag order specifically prohibits him from criticizing jurors, court staff, witnesses, prosecutors also family of the


After that hearing ends jurors are set to return to the courtroom that's where they'll hear more testimony from the prosecution's first witness

former publisher of "The National Enquirer" tabloid David Pecker.

Katelyn Polantz joining us now with more on the very latest here so as we're watching these live updates, we're seeing some of them on the screen,

but from the courtroom they're going through now, the list of moments when the prosecutors say these are -- these are the times we believe Donald

Trump has already violated this gag order. And why is Donald Trump reacting at all in these moments Katelyn?

POLANTZ: Well, according to our reporters in the courtroom, he's listening here and he's not really reacting to what the prosecutors are saying. But

they're talking about not just social media posts at this time.

So setting up for this hearing, there was a series of court documents that outlined the posts that the prosecutor said you should hold Donald Trump in

contempt of court and fined him for these posts on Trump's Truth Social as well as on his campaign website, essentially posts where Donald Trump was

repeatedly calling Michael Cohen a serial perjurer because that's what Michael Cohen was called in others -- in other printed publications who's

he was amplifying that idea.

But the prosecutor in court just now is saying he's still doing it. About Michael Cohen here in this very courthouse in the hallway outside and so

that is part of the discussion now where Trump is not reacting, but they are talking about real things, not just online posts that Donald Trump made

a few days ago, maybe 10 days ago or so over and over again on Truth Social.

And then on his campaign website, they're talking about things in real time that are happening in the course of this trial, and that the prosecutor is

telling the judge this is intimidation, Erica.

HILL: So fascinating as we're watching all that play out. And then just give us a reminder too, so 90 minutes has been set aside for this hearing

this morning, then the jury is set to come back in and testimony will resume with David Pecker. If this is not resolved though this morning, it

gets kicked to this afternoon. Is that correct or another day?

POLANTZ: It could be. We'll just have to see what the judge does. This isn't an issue that has an extensive amount of legal argument behind it. It

really is the court set the gag order. The prosecutors have gathered the times they believe that Donald Trump violated that gag order and they're

talking about it.

The law is pretty clear here. The defense team is going to make their arguments that Trump should be able to talk about Michael Cohen because

Michael Cohen's out there talking about him even though he's going to be a trial witness.


They also are very likely to be arguing that -- you know some of these things are just Trump, using others words and putting them again on his

social media accounts. So he shouldn't be hold held responsible for that in the same way as him speaking publicly.

But the judge is going to want to talk to Donald Trump. He's there as the defendant ordered to be there for a contempt proceeding. He could be held

in contempt of court. We don't know how long this will go. But the jurors are called to the courthouse and Judge Merchan is very likely to want to

respect their time and get back to the trial proceedings themselves at 11 am Erica.

HILL: All right, Katelyn appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks so much for joining us for this special hour of "Connect the World" stay with us. I'll

be back after the break with Becky Anderson for more coverage of not only this historic trial but of course of a number of other very important

stories that we're following on this Tuesday. Stay with us.