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Israeli's War Cabinet Discusses Potential Hostage Release ahead of Rafah Invasion; Donald Trump Speaks to Media about his Criminal Hush Money Trial and Supreme Court Arguments; Day Three of Testimony Begins in Criminal Hush Money Trial; Supreme Court Hears Presidential Immunity Arguments; Pivotal Day for Trump as Supreme Court Hears Immunity Claim and Hush Money Trial Resumes. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 25, 2024 - 09:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to CNN special coverage of Donald Trump's Immunity Battle. It is an historic day. Next

hour we will hear arguments for and against the former president's legal claim of absolute immunity from criminal prosecution. I'm Jim Sciutto in


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN HOST: And I'm Omar Jimenez in New York where Trump will sit in a courtroom behind me while the Supreme Court convenes hundreds of

miles away.

SCIUTTO: We were watching to legal dramas with testimony set to resume this hour in the hush money trial.

JIMENEZ: So we're going to begin here in New York where Donald Trump has made it clear he is forced to be today the former president arriving just

moments ago his historic trial is set to pick back up and about 30 minutes from now with testimony from the man who bought and buried unflattering

stories about him.

David Pecker has not yet testified though about the deal with adult film star Stormy Daniels that likely changes today. Now, at an early morning

campaign stop Trump called Pecker quote, a nice guy. He was also asked about allegations he violated a gag order in the case, take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They've taken my constitutional right away with a gag order. That's all it

is. It's election interference. This whole thing is election interference. So the polls have just come out and I just got another sample. We're

leading every swing state by a lot.


JIMENEZ: And again the gag order doesn't completely silence him on all fronts. But that's why we've got CNN Senior Climate & Justice Reporter

Katelyn Polantz who's covering the latest for us from Washington Katelyn?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Omar, we are going to be hearing Donald Trump talk about this gag order, because that's what he

seems to want to talk about every time he's on camera coming in and out in court. But what happens today is crucial for him as a criminal defendant,

not about the gag order.

We may get some sort of result there. But the crucial thing is what happens on the witness stand in that courtroom before the jury in New York with the

hush money case. And what happens before the nine justices of the Supreme Court in Washington hearing arguments over presidential immunity related to

his 2020 election federal case.

Omar, this is a pivotal day for Trump in these cases. I say that a lot. But today is a day really to watch because we so rarely have the U.S. Supreme

Court weighing in on a question of this magnitude about the American presidency. In this case, Donald Trump's lawyers in Washington are going to

be arguing to the justices that Trump should be immune for everything he was doing while he was president.

That's related to that January 6 case, the obstruction and conspiracy charges he's facing in Washington and whether he goes to trial at all, or

this year, in that case, a separate trial than New York. But what happens there what the justices ultimately decide they'll hear arguments, then

they'll go into a private conference room and amongst themselves secretly decide what they're doing with Donald Trump's fate and the fate of this

case and the American presidency related to immunity?

What they decide there will have ripple effects across the board, not just for the White House, and any sitting president but for Trump himself in

every single criminal case. His team has been arguing repeatedly, in his case in D.C. in his case in New York, and his case in Georgia, in his case

in Florida, that there should be protections from a jury ever hearing about what he had done while he was president.

And that is a point of time there were tweets that he was sending related to his criminal case in New York. So it all is coming together before the

Supreme Court today on presidential immunity. But of course in New York, we have David Pecker on the stand, the king of American tabloids, the man a

top National Enquirer talking about catching kill schemes where he wanted to help the campaign in 2016.

JIMENEZ: And as you mentioned that that split screen, so to speak of what's happening here in New York and the Supreme Court, oral arguments here where

we could see so many ripples on all of his cases stem from that it really an incredible day from a legal perspective to keep an eye on. Katelyn

Polantz really appreciate you breaking down -- breaking that down for us.

So on that note, let's cross over to Washington where as we've talked about another huge case for Donald Trump is about to play out in a courtroom

there. The highest in the land and Trump is clearly frustrated he's prevented from being there. Here's what he said just a couple hours ago.


TRUMP: We have a big case today. This judge isn't allowing me to go. We have a big case today the Supreme Court on presidential immunity. A

president has to have immunity. If you don't have immunity you just have a ceremonial president.


JIMENEZ: And Jim Sciutto is in Washington for us, he picks it up for us from there.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, of course, the former president is claiming almost limitless immunity for presidents including criminal immunity. You heard Trump talk

about that question. That's the argument Supreme Court will hear from his lawyers.

In just over an hour from now, they will claim he cannot be prosecuted specifically, in the January 6 case in which he is accused of attempting to

overthrow the 2020 election. The stakes are enormous, not just for Donald Trump but for the presidency itself. CNN Reporter Marshall Cohen joins us

now live. So please begin by saying how the arguments today will affect his ongoing special counsel investigation regarding his efforts to overturn the

2020 election.

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Jim. I know it is difficult for the viewers to keep track of all these different cases. Donald Trump is on

criminal trial right now in New York. You just saw the footage of him speaking this morning in New York City. That's a state case brought by the

DA who was elected in Manhattan, that's about the 2016 election.

What's happening here today in Washington in front of the U.S. Supreme Court is about Trump's immunity claims regarding his federal indictment

from the 2020 election the Justice Department accusing him of breaking federal law while trying to overturn his defeat in 2020?

He's arguing that that prosecution cannot go forward because the actions He's accused of taking all occurred while he was president. And they were

all actions that were in furtherance of his official duties as president. According to their theory, if it was part of your official action, if it

happened, while you were the sitting president, you could never be prosecuted for that.

Perhaps they've got some arguments there that if you were impeached, and convicted, you could be but that hasn't carried into legal water. So that's

what the justices will be weighing today. If they agree with Trump, then that would bode very well, for his federal case, stemming from January 6th.

But it would not have any impact on the New York case, because all of that alleged criminal conduct occurred before he was ever president back in 2015

and 2016. So they're both about elections, Jim. But they are very different -- very, very different cases.

SCIUTTO: Listen, if you go back to the arguments his lawyers made at the Circuit Court level, they basically said, president can do anything and

unless he's tried and convicted via the impeachment process, then well, you scot free, Marshall Cohen, thanks so much.

COHEN: Exactly. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: CNN has a lot more about both of these cases online. We will have up to the minute developments from the courtrooms in New York, and at the

Supreme Court. And our Stephen Collinson takes a deeper dive into Trump's critical legal day and what it could all mean, for his bid for a second

term for that more just go to your CNN app. There's a lot there.

And there is a new election subversion case now in the State of Arizona Grand Jury there has indicted 18 people over their efforts to overturn

Donald Trump's loss in the state in 2020. Included in that indictment people very close to the former president, Former White House Chief of

Staff Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, as well the indictment says they conspired to get 11 fake electors to fraudulently vote for Trump during the

counting of electoral votes on January 6th, 2021.

Trump is referenced as an unindicted co-conspirator. Zachary Cohen joins us now from Phoenix, Arizona. Zachary first of all, why now? Why are these

indictments now so well, years since the alleged crimes involved here?

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, Jim that really is the big question. The attorney general who is a Democrat in Arizona, though,

has only been in her job for about a year, but still, like about three years have passed since these alleged actions took place.

And we are in the ramp up to the 2024 presidential election, which may be one of the reasons why Donald Trump himself is not charged in this

indictment. He is listed though as an unindicted co-conspirator, unindicted co-conspirator number one.

And the charter document does make very clear that this alleged conspiracy that the prosecutors say was carried out by both, the 11 fake electors from

Arizona and seven people in Trump's inner orbit that was done on Trump's behalf and in service of overturning the 2020 election for Donald Trump.

We'll have to see how it plays out though. You know, you mentioned that Mark Meadows people very close to Donald Trump were indicted in this case.

Rudy Giuliani is another one. Boris Epstein who remains very close to the former president has not been charged in any of the other election related



He is indicted in this case as well. Epstein was actually with Donald Trump in the courtroom in Manhattan when he was arraigned in the hush money case.

But Sources tell Kristen Holmes, our colleague that the reason we haven't seen Boris Epstein with Donald Trump in New York, as his criminal trial

there it gets underway is because of concerns about this looming indictment that came to fruition yesterday.

SCIUTTO: Zach Cohen in Arizona thanks so much. Also in Arizona, the State House has now voted to overturn an abortion ban based on a civil war era

law. The Arizona Supreme Court you may remember voted to reinstate that law earlier this month. It bans abortions except to save the life of the


Several Republicans in the State House join Democrats to vote for the repeal. The State Senate is expected to approve the legislation next month

and Arizona's Democratic Governor says that she will sign it leaving the state's 15 week restriction on abortions still in place.

Coming up next, new proof of life for dual Israeli American hostage held in Gaza since October 7, there's a picture of him there we're going to have

the latest. Plus highly charged protests are erupting on more U.S. college campuses in support of Palestinians. We're going to have a closer look at

the escalation and the police response some of it quite heavy handed in two live reports next.


SCIUTTO: Israel's war cabinet is meeting on Thursday to discuss a potential hostage release. The meeting comes as Hamas circulated a new video on

Wednesday showing dual Israeli American Hersh Goldberg-Polin you can see him there. Hersh was kidnapped from the Nova Music Festival on October 7th,

and this is the first proof of life that his family has received.

The video is sparking protests in Jerusalem. They're calling on Prime Minister Netanyahu to do more now to bring home hostages like him. On the

battlefield in Gaza, Israel is stepping up airstrikes in the north with war planes pounding the area for a second straight day on Wednesday. CNN's

Jeremy Diamond is live in Jerusalem. Jeremy, what specifically are they discussing in this cabinet meeting? And do we know more about the outcome?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do not know anything about the outcome as of yet. But what we were set to -- what they were set to discuss

is not only the state of these hostage negotiations, but also of course, a plan to ground offensive into Rafah by Israeli troops.

We know that that has been kind of on the agenda for weeks now. Last week you know we expected that that they were supposed to start dropping

leaflets on Rafah to start evacuating the civilian population that was delayed as the Israeli war cabinet debated its response to Iran. But with

that now out of the way it is expected that a ground offensive into Rafah will indeed be the next step.


But so far we haven't actually heard a date from the Israeli military or the Israeli government. We do know that the Israeli military's Chief of

Staff last week said that he had approved plans for the continuation of the war reading between the lines that suggests that Rafah is indeed that next


The Israeli Prime Minister of course has repeatedly insisted that those four battalions who are believed to still be inside of Rafah for Hamas

battalions, that they need to be taken out in order for this war to end that the war cannot end without going into Rafah despite the fact that U.S.

officials have leveled serious concerns and objections about the potential of a massive ground defensive.

So we're still waiting to see exactly when this will happen. But we do know that this afternoon, the war cabinet was indeed discussing those next

steps. Now amid all of this Jim we are also getting the first signs of life from one of five Israeli American hostages who are still believed to be

held alive in the Gaza Strip.

Hersh Goldberg-Polin 23 years old, he was taken hostage on October 7, what after attending the Nova Music Festival. And in -- this is the first time

that we've actually seen a video of him that suggests that he actually survived a grievous injury that he suffered on October 7th, after a video

emerged of him on that day with part of his left hand, effectively blown off.

In a message of after this video recording from Hamas his parents said that they were overwhelmed by seeing this video of their son the first proof of

life that they have gotten from him after nearly more than 200 days of captivity. And they also issued a desperate plea to the countries involved

in the hostage negotiations listen.


JON POLIN, PARENTS OF HOSTAGE HERSH GOLDBERG-POLIN: And we're here today with a plea to all of the leaders of the parties who have been in

negotiating to date that includes Qatar, Egypt, the United States, Hamas and Israel. Be brave, lean in seize this moment and get a deal done to

reunite all of us with our loved ones and to end the suffering in this region.

RACHEL GOLDBERG, PARENTS OF HOSTAGE HERSH GOLDBERG-POLIN: And Hersh, if you couldn't hear this, we heard your voice today for the first time in 201

days. And if you can hear us, I am telling you, we are telling you, we love you. Stay strong, survive.


DIAMOND: And as you were mentioning, Jim in the wake of that we have seen protests trying to use this moment use this video of Hersh Goldberg-Polin

as an opportunity to bring back into the public conscience, the need for the Israeli government and Hamas to reach a deal to release these hostages.

But it is also clear that in recent weeks, it is Hamas that has been the most obstinate in these negotiations even backtracking on previous

components of these talks, including the very basis of these negotiations, which has been 40 hostages in exchange for a six week ceasefire, with Hamas

backtracking on that offering fewer than 20 hostages.

So it's clear that a lot needs to happen to get these talks back on track whether or not this can actually help remains to be seen Jim.

SCIUTTO: Mother's words to her son there powerful. Jeremy diamond thanks so much. Here in the U.S. from New York to Los Angeles many campuses in

between pro-Palestinian protesters have been disrupting U.S. universities.

The police response at times has been remarkably heavy handed. These are state troopers confronting demonstrators at the University of Texas in

Austin on Wednesday. Officials say at least 34 protesters were arrested we've seen videos of protesters thrown to the ground including a news

camera man as well.

Protests have now been playing out at other universities as you can see on this map. In Los Angeles, nearly 100 demonstrators were arrested at the

University of Southern California on Wednesday, where authorities dismantled a camp there. Protesters are still under -- protests are still

underway at Columbia University in New York as well as other campuses. Israel's Prime Minister has condemned the pro-Palestinian protests on U.S.

campuses, says that they must be stopped.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: What's happening on America's college campuses is horrific. Anti-Semitic mobs have taken over leading

universities. They call for the annihilation of Israel. They attack Jewish students. They attack Jewish faculty. This is reminiscent of what happened

in German universities in the 1930s. It's unconscionable.


SCIUTTO: We should note that some of those protesting for Palestinian rights are Jew students and they've make up some of those who've been

arrested. CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now from Columbia University in New York.

I wonder there's been a great deal of debate there about how university authorities have handled this including that decision last week to send in

the police to clear an encampment is there any outcome of that debate? Do we have any sense of what the plan is going forward? What protests they're

going to allow in which they're not going to allow?


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah Jim. You just took us throughout the country. And it's certainly marks a new level of escalation for other

schools here at Columbia, which is seen by many as sort of the epicenter of this new movement.

There's still a big question about whether or not the temperature will go up or down in terms of those negotiations that are ongoing between Columbia

School officials, and some of the leaders of that student protests encampment that continues on campus.

And certainly outside of the campus, we're expecting get another day of protests to see NYPD staged and ready for that. But there really is a

question about where those negotiations will go and as that deadline approaches, which at this point seems to be overnight today into tomorrow.

It certainly raises the prospects of a potential repeat of last week when Columbia School officials reached out to the NYPD for officers to make

their way on campus for assistance in clearing out one of those encampments. So that is yet to be seen.

House Speaker Mike Johnson visiting the campus yesterday with fellow Republican lawmakers at times interrupted during his speech by some

protesters, the speaker's message really geared it's sort of two audiences one, this president of the university calling on her to step down, but also

the speaker is directly addressing members of vetting cabinet hear this.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): My message to the students inside the encampment is, go back to class and stop the nonsense. Look, if we want to have a

debate on campus about the merits of these things, let's do that. But you can't intimidate your fellow students and make them stay home from class.

Think about that. Is that right? Do you think that's right? Stop wasting your parent's money.


SANDOVAL: And in terms of that calls for the Columbia University President Shafi to step down, the board here at the University continues to support

the president saying that they're working whether to try to bring this to a peaceful resolution or a positive outcome, at least.

As for the students you mentioned something off the top right now there is actually a movement within that movement of Jewish students supporting this

pro-Palestinian demonstration that we've seen here for well over a week now. Here's one of the members of that.


SARAH BORUS, BARNARD COLLEGE STUDENT: The Gaza solidarity encampment is a reflection of the Jewish tradition of togetherness and liberation. I have

never felt more proud to be Jewish and more -- in line with the values.


SCIUTTO: Standby we're going to live pictures now president -- Former President Trump speaking before going into the courtroom let's listen in.


TRUMP: Also announced -- $7.60 gasoline is going way up. Energy costs are going way up. And the stock market is in a sense, crashing. The numbers are

very bad. This is Bidenomics. It is catching up with him. It's lucky that it's catching up before he leaves office as opposed to after he leaves


But this is Bidenomics. It's destroying our country at the border destroying our country with other countries. They no longer respect the

United States. I think the dollar is in tremendous trouble in terms of currency. This is going to be the standard and it's going to be the

standard with me.

With Biden we're going to lose the dollars the standard that'll be like losing the biggest war we've ever lost. And it's a shame, but it's all the

way down to 1.6. And I'll tell you, nobody thought that would be possible. And it looks like it's heading down from there. So that's very bad news.

This morning, I met with great people, construction workers, some Teamsters and other unions and some not in unions. And we had a fantastic morning,

you were there some of the president there. Great job support as you know, some tremendous calls came out over the last 24 hours we're up the call up

in swing states and up nationally.

One came out where we're down very little in New York. New York traditionally isn't won by Republicans anymore. It used to be 50 years ago,

but not anymore. And I think we have a good chance of winning New York. We're going to give it a big play. We're going to the South Bronx to do a


We're going to be doing a rally at Madison Square Garden. We believe we think we're citing Madison Square Garden to do it. We're going to have a

big rally. We're honoring the police and honoring the firemen and everybody honoring a lot of people, including teachers, by the way, we're honoring

teachers, because teachers have been very badly aligned with some very poor leadership.

But we'll be honoring the people that make New York work. And we'll be doing a number of large rallies. It'll be very exciting. But we think we

have a real good chance of winning New York. And again, the swing states we're leading in every one of them and via a lot, not just by little by


But the big news today I think is the 1.6 percent when you look at 1.6 GDP that's a number that nobody thought was possible. That's a real bad number.


And it looks like the projections are; it's heading in the wrong direction. And that's why the stock market's down something today. So in the meantime,

I'm at this trial, my constitutional rights have been taken away from me. But every single expert, every legal scholar, every respected scholar, has

said, this is no case. There is no case here. This is just a political witch hunt. Thank you very much.


TRUMP: I think that the Supreme Court has a very important argument before today I would have loved to have been there. But this judge would not. I

should be there. But he wouldn't allow it to happen. I think he puts himself above the Supreme Court, which is unfortunate, isn't it.

But the argument on immunity is very important. The president has to have immunity. This has nothing to do with me. This has to do with a president

in the future for 100 years from now, if you don't have immunity, you're not going to do anything, and you're going to become a ceremonial


You're just going to be doing nothing. You're not going to take any of the risks both good and bad. I mean you're going to make some great decisions

and save the country, you're going to make some decisions, which are unfortunate, but that's the way it is. But you're not going to do anything

if you don't have immunity, because otherwise you're going to be prosecuted after you leave office.

Who are doing something like going into an area going into a country doing lots of things that you wouldn't be doing. And we don't want a ceremonial

president. We have never real president. And assuming you have the right person that can make a big difference. You saw that for four years when I

was president.

We were respected all over the world. We had the best economy we've ever had, everything was good. We had no wars. We defeated ISIS. We had no wars.

We had no nothing. But we respected all over the world. And now it's -- it's a disgrace. We also by the way had the single best border ever in

recorded history of our country when the best quarter ever.

We built 571 miles of wall we were going to build 200 more miles far more than I said, we were going to build. But we had a country that was

respected. And now we have a country that it's a joke. It's being laughed at all over the world. And you have riots at all the universities.

The only place that's locked down is this courthouse because they don't want any supporters here. They don't want Maga here. They don't want

anybody in this thing is locked down, like a buttoned up vest. And it shouldn't be. If they did the same locked down in Columbia, NYU, in the

colleges and universities, you'd have no problem whatsoever.

But there you could put tents up. You can stay as long as you want. But this courthouse is locked down. There's not a person within five blocks.

They have more police here than and I call them New York spiders because that's what they are. And they don't want to be doing that.

They'd like to be straightening out conditions. And they'd like to be at the colleges and making sure that they don't have what's happening because

what's happening at the colleges is a disgrace. All over the world people are laughing at us. This is the worst run country right now probably

anywhere just about.

You don't get much worse. We have a president who's a disaster. We have a president who is the worst president in the history of our country. All you

have to do is look at the millions of people coming in from prisons from mental institutions and -- coming in at the levels we've never seen before.

So I'm going to go in now and sit in front of a case election interference, this is the way they think they're going to get elected. But I guess based

on what I'm looking at, it's striking up my poll numbers. Thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: All right, we listen to the former president there as often is necessary. We need to fact check him because he said a number of things

that are false. First of all, the area around the courthouse is not locked down for five blocks. I've been there for several days; many of the streets

are open, though there is not much evidence of Trump supporters there.

He said that the stock market is the worst it's ever -- he's ever seen. In fact, it's well above where it was when he left office. He talked about $7

gas prices. In fact, the average gas price in the country right now is $3.65. He said that the immunity hearing today has nothing to do with me

when in fact the question before the Supreme Court relates very much to the special counsel's case alleging Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020


We often see him make similar comments to this when he goes in and outside the courtroom there so often necessary to fact check. He is right that

economic growth in this country GDP figures, the growth was down from a strong fourth quarter in the first quarter of this year 2024. Our Omar

Jimenez is outside the courthouse. Omar, I wonder since you're there this morning I was there yesterday earlier this week as well.


In fact, it's not locked down. I mean, there are people there is some police presence there though no question but folks can walk through. It's

just that there seems choosing not to come.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, of course, look, there is a security presence around the entrance of the core to get to where I am in particular, you do have to go

through a little bit of a security checkpoint, but that's really just for media people. Remember that this is still a functioning courthouse.

There are other cases that are happening, people are still going in and out and more on what the former president said there. We obviously this is an

election year. And we were wondering how the campaign would collide with his legal issues, his legal dramas, some would say, and what we just saw

right there, as he headed into the courthouse was an extension of what he has been campaigning on.

Some of that speech, some of his comments, there had nothing to do with the hush money trial here, the election interference trial here. Instead, it

had more to do about what he felt, what were the stakes of the country about a poor job that he felt Joe Biden was doing, but also mentioning that

he was meeting with New Yorkers here that he wants to try and make a real push for New York's claiming that he's going to have a rally at Madison

Square Garden.

He wants to honor the men and women of New York. And so hearing that before going in, and then he also said that his constitutional right was being

taken away from him to be able to speak about this trial. Look, while we are waiting on an advanced potential order of a gag order, he already is

under a limited gag order.

But that is really just saying that he cannot speak about the prosecutors outside of the district attorney and their families. He can't speak about

court staff. He can't speak or direct others to speak about witnesses. He can direct others or speak about potential jurors or jurors that we have in

this case.

So he still has wide latitude to talk in general about what he may feel is an unfair system. But clearly as he heads into court there, we know this is

going to be another day in this hush money trial historic first criminal trial for a former president. We're going to have much more of our special

coverage of Donald Trump's immunity fight and the double legal drama of the hush money trial.

Or I should say the double legal drama of the immunity case happening down at the Supreme Court as well all of that we're going to have that more

after the break.



JIMENEZ: I'm Omar Jimenez in New York where it is 9:30 am. Welcome back to this special edition of "Connect the World". We are now watching court

unfold as it resumes and Donald Trump's hush money trial. More testimony will be heard from the former publisher of the National Enquirer David


So far Pecker has spoken about two of the three catch and kill deals but not the one involving adult film star Stormy Daniels that though is likely

coming today. Prosecutors are alleging that a deal with Daniels brokered by Pecker was part of a larger Conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

And just to catch you up on what's happened so far Trump got to the court, courthouse just behind me within the last hour, within the last 30 minutes

or so, he met with supporters and people on the street shaking their hands treating it more like a campaign stop rather than an entrance into court.

He then before entering into court stop and spoke at cameras, again, a large portion of what he was saying felt more like a campaign rally in a

campaign speech than it did as someone who might be just giving comments about how he feels being a defendant in this particular case. As of right

now prosecutors are in the room, Trump has taken his seat at the defendants table.

Court is likely about to officially resume shortly here. Not only are we waiting on potential testimony from David Pecker about the Stormy Daniels

catch and kill deal, also waiting on a decision on the gag order because the judge in this case has not ruled on the DA's motion to sanction Trump

for allegedly violating the gag order here, which essentially just says he cannot speak or direct others to speak about jurors, about witnesses, about

the prosecution.

The courts staff their families with the exception of District Attorney Alvin Bragg. So we got a lot going on here, a lot to talk about. So that's

why joining me now to discuss this further as Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph Tully. Joseph, I really appreciate you being here.

So all right, Pecker's back on the stand today as prosecutors work to establish essentially the elements of the catch and kill practice. We've

heard some key info in the Karen McDougal part of this she was paid 150,000 by David Pecker's company at the time to keep quiet. But will we get to

Stormy Daniels today? And how critical do you see that aspect of these catch and kill schemes in the prosecution's case?

JOSEPH TULLY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think the Stormy Daniels allegations are at the heart of the prosecution's case here. Those are the

most explosive allegations and take up the bulk of the allegations in the indictment that Mr. Trump has been charged with.

So I do think a lot of that will come from Michael Cohen as well. So there will be overlap between Mr. Pecker and Mr. Cohen on that specific issue.

JIMENEZ: And just for everyone, the court is now officially in session, the judge is on the bench. But to your point, especially on the overlap, in

testimony between David Pecker and Michael Cohen, for example, the Trump team's defense has been, at least seems to have been largely focused on

discrediting Michael Cohen, who of course has pleaded guilty to related crimes to this era.

But how likely are they to cross examine Pecker on his revelations of Trump's involvement in phone calls and meetings? How likely is it that that

there is major overlaps between the two? And will they have to shift from that strategy of trying to discredit Michael Cohen? Maybe you can do both.

I defer to you.

TULLY: Sure that they'll have to do both. And when you're trying to prove a case or a point in court, I try to prove it through as many witnesses as

possible. That's why the prosecution here will have Mr. Pecker testify and Mr. Cohen, because as you point out, if the defense does attack Mr. Cohen's

credibility, the prosecution can say, well, we had two witnesses on that, and they didn't attack Mr. Pecker.

So I think you will see maybe a gentler attack, maybe not an attack on his character, but an attack on the facts. And I think you'll see a defense of

specific intent with Mr. Pecker.


In other words, the defense attorneys will say, you know, where are you deliberately trying to break the law did you know it was illegal and was at

the point because with Conspiracy cases, you have to specifically intend to break the law. So if this is all kinds of mistakes, and they just notated

stuff in a regular way, without any ill intent, that's not guilty.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. And look, one of the other issues we're waiting to hear on. Trump has already been facing a gag order, but we're expecting essentially

a further gag order ruling a potential penalty for what the prosecution has argued has been a violation of the gag order. What exactly is the judge

considering here when you look at a potential violation of a gag order? And how long typically does a decision like this take?

TULLY: It's really up to the judge in terms of timing, how much preparation the case is taking versus this issue? It really depends on what the judge's

caseload is specifically right now being in trial. I think, though, that you will see a very restrained opinion by the judge. And very, if he does

sanction Mr. Trump and in the Trump team, it'll will be pretty moderate.

However, if there are guilty verdicts, that's when I would expect the judges wrath to come out. They've definitely angered the judge here, and

you may not see it up front. But if there are guilty verdicts here, that's when you will see the judges anger come out about how Mr. Trump has

conducted himself during the trial.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, and we have seen the judge almost in some ways, admonished or at the -- not feel confident and what they've argued, I think the quote

was that they're losing all credibility and some of the arguments they've made in this gag order fight. Joseph Tully, I got to leave it there. Really

appreciate you taking the time.

TULLY: Thank you so much.

JIMENEZ: All right, everyone. Still to come, while Trump is on trial here in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments soon in a

blockbuster case, also involving the former president. We're going to tell you what's at stake, just ahead.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back to CNN special coverage of a crucial day with two courtroom decisions playing out involving of course a Former U.S. President

and current candidate for president. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington, where in the next hour the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether

Donald Trump and other presidents for that matter should have absolute presidential immunity including in criminal cases, including for his

alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election.


Trump says he cannot be proud prosecuted for acts committed while in office, joining us now, Defense Attorney and Former Federal Prosecutor,

Shan Wu, good to have you on sir.


SCIUTTO: So let's talk about one precedent here. And that is the Supreme Court deciding I believe in 1982, that presidents do have absolute immunity

from civil damages regarding conduct while in office, specifically the outer perimeter of their duties, that civil, this is criminal. Is there any

overlap between that decision and the decision before the court today?

WU: Well, not in a common sense, logical sense. But that attempt to make it an overlap is exactly what the Supreme Court and the appellate arguments

beneath the court have been about. It's really an effort by Trump's lawyers to expand this concept of the immunity for a civil lawsuit into the

criminal one.

And, you know, again, from a common sense standpoint, that the civil immunity makes sense, you don't want the president to be bogged down with

civil suits for the second guessing what he's done. On the criminal side, it does not make any sense because a person charged with something can

always defend themselves saying I did nothing wrong.

For example, saying for Trump, these were proper official acts, I was trying to safeguard the election he's free to raise that. That's different

than trying to say that he's completely immune. The completely immune argument means you can't even look at what I've done. It's just a

completely insulated from scrutiny. So it's very, very different.

SCIUTTO: And listen, I like you remember the arguments that Trump's lawyers made in the circuit court case, saying, wait a second, are you saying if a

president ordered SEAL Team Six to kill a political opponent, he could not be prosecuted? And Trump's lawyer said, well, yeah, unless he had been

convicted in an impeachment process.

It was remarkable to hear that argument. Of course, that court dismissed it very quickly by unanimous order. We'll see where this court goes. One

question is how this relates to official versus private acts? And how will the court adjudicate that and where were Trump's lawyers alleging or

arguing there's a dividing line?

WU: They really would prefer to take a big swing, which is just to say, anything that happens while he is president is completely insulated from

scrutiny. And they're not going to want to get into the distinction between -- official versus private acts. But you raise a really good point because

the Supreme Court may be very interested in getting into that.

And that's another way actually, from a practical standpoint, that Trump's team can win here. Because if the court wants further fact finding on that

they could remand back to the trial court to say, hey, we need some more decisions by you on some of these issues. Are we talking private acts?

Are we talking official acts, that will take time the court would rule on that maybe had more hearings, and then those particular findings could

again be appealed. So that's actually a second kind of route for the team to take.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, which would of course, delay at least delay the trial and possibly delay it till after the election. Shan Wu thanks so much. I know

we'll have more questions for you.


SCIUTTO: Well as the Trump hush money trial continues, and as we await those Supreme Court arguments, I do want to get to some breaking news. This

just came in from another court in New York in the last several minutes. The State Court of Appeals has now over turn the sex crimes conviction

against the Former Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein ordered now a new trial.

The court's ruling states the trial court erroneously admitted testimony of uncharged alleged prior sexual acts against persons other than the

complainants of the underlying crimes. We're going to have more on this decision later on CNN. And special coverage continues on this landmark day

in two U.S. courts.

We're going to have more on the Supreme Court, oral arguments and the Donald Trump presidential immunity case now just a few minutes away.



SCIUTTO: Hello and welcome back to CNN special coverage of a crucial day in the former president's many legal battles. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington.

JIMENEZ: And I'm Omar Jimenez outside the hush money trial in New York inside the lower Manhattan courthouse here. Court is now in session in

Trump's criminal hush money trial. Former tabloid publisher David Pecker is resuming his testimony today. Now Pecker has addressed two of the three so

called catch and kill deals but not adult film star Stormy Daniels that though is likely coming today.

Now Trump also spoke moments before entering the courtroom, though the comments felt largely like what you hear on the campaign trail for the

former president rather than comments tied directly to this case, regardless, telling reporters his constitutional rights were being taken

away and calling the case as he has every day, a which on.

CNN's Senior Crime and Justice Reporter, Katelyn Polantz is covering the case for us from Washington. So Katelyn, just break it down for our

viewers. What are we expecting today? And what is the significance within the larger scope of the trial here?

POLANTZ: When the trial, Omar, we're five minutes in, that's it before the jury. And we're already getting more of that story of how the National

Enquirer paid off Karen McDougal to buy the rights to what she had to say about an alleged affair with Donald Trump, which he's denied and how that

played out.

What David Pecker has testified to already. This is one of a series of catch and kills schemes that the prosecutors are using to highlight how

Donald Trump was motivated to use Michael Cohen to keep women silent during the 2016 campaign for his presidential runs benefit. What we're hearing is

that Karen McDougal approached the National Enquirer started talking to them about a year's long or a year-long affair she says she had with Donald


And that, at the time, David Pecker and his top editor at the Enquirer believed her even though she had no corroborating evidence, they thought

she sounded legitimate. And so they got on the phone with Michael Cohen. Before this had happened, David Pecker has already testified to having

meetings with Michael Cohen or having communications with him where he made clear.

He would be helpful to the campaign would get stories like this under control and bury them. And so this is an example of how that was playing

out, blow by blow by blow. Michael Cohen at the time denying Donald Trump had that affair.

SCIUTTO: Of course, here in Washington. Katelyn, you have the Supreme Court considering quite a question not just for this president, but for any

president. And that is do they have virtually as Trump's lawyers argue endless immunity. Just oral arguments today that is correct?

POLANTZ: That's right, Jim. But oral arguments are crucial in figuring out where these justices' heads might be at. They hear the arguments and they

go into a private room very soon after to vote on what they're going to do in a case like this. This is a monumental case, not just for Donald Trump

as a criminal defendant that could have ripple effects across all of his criminal cases.

Namely, he wants to have his January 6, 2020 election federal case in Washington thrown out. He very likely would use if he wins that he would

try and get his case in Georgia thrown out as well and then use it to his advantage as he's facing other trials, including in New York. But there's a

bigger question at play.

And that is what this means for the American presidency. Is it better for the presidency to allow people in that office to know they could be

prosecuted if they choose to break the law while in office that they could be charged later on after they leave office?


That's been the long standing position of the Justice Department that is an important safeguard for people who serve as the President Donald Trump and

his team though have been saying that would destroy us if that was something that could happen. Donald Trump should have absolute protection

every president should have absolute protection from prosecution from any criminal charges or trial after they leave office for things they're doing

while they're serving as the American President.

This is going to be quite a series of arguments with the justices today. Watch what each of them asks the hypotheticals they bring up the ideas that

they probe. How far back into American history, they go, and we'll try and see if we can figure out what way they may be leaning.

SCIUTTO: That argument or that possibility you just described there has been described by some -- and related credit cases as a king, not a

president. We'll see how the justices address it today. Katelyn Polantz thanks so much. That's it for this hour of our special edition of "Connect

the World".

Please do stay with CNN we're going to be bringing you much more coverage of Trump's Supreme Court immunity case, the oral arguments beginning in

less than five minutes that's coming up.