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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Testifies For 3 Minutes And Is Rebuked By Judge; CNN Gains Rare Access To Ukraine Frontline Command Center; Trump Threatens To Bar Haley Donors, Haley Digs In; China's Usually Strict Censors Ignoring Rising Antisemitism Online. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 25, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Trump takes the stand and gets slapped down by the judge. So did the former president and GOP front runner do himself any favors today with the jury?

Plus, the RNC trying to bully Nikki Haley out of the race as Trump threatens her supporters. One of those Haley donors is OUTFRONT tonight. Are Trump's threats backfiring?

Plus, antisemitism festering online in China and the country's strict government censors letting it go. Why is China turning a blind eye?



HILL: Good evening, everyone. I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Trump testifies. The former president taking the stand in his defamation trial involving E. Jean Carroll. His testimony stricken from the record more than once when his answer veered from the original question. The judge also admonishing Trump for saying, quote, I never met the woman. I do not know who this woman is.

It's important to note here, Trump has already been found liable of sexually abusing Carroll and defamation. This trial is to determine how much he must pay now, in damages. It's a case that has long consumed Trump.

According to his former White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who wrote about Carroll's initial allegations in her book, writing, quote, Trump was doing his usual routine when accused of misconduct. She's a liar. She's grossed. Do you think I'd be with that? And on and on, mostly attacking her physical appearance rather than the -- I would never do that to my wife line. You're going to hear more from Grisham in just a moment.

But first, Paula Reid is OUTFRONT live outside the New York courthouse while at Trump already posting on social media after this court appearance. What's he saying? PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Erica.

Well, shortly after the court, Trump took to Truth Social to say he would rather be campaigning that in court. Erica, there's nothing stopping him from campaigning. He is not required to attend this case. In fact, he did not attend a single minute of the trial in the spring when the allegations at the center of this case, allegations of rape or litigated.

But now, in the 2024 campaign season, he has attended much of this trial using the media attention to try to frame himself as the victim.

Former President Donald Trump brought his 2024 campaign to a New York courtroom today, briefly, taking the stand in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial against him. After days of speculation about whether he would take the stand, Trump answered questions from lawyers for about three minutes.

Judge Lewis Kaplan and Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, spent more time discussing what Trump would be allowed to say, then he spent on the stand. Habba said she would only he asked her client three questions. And after Trump was sworn in, they largely stuck to that plan.

Habba asked, do you stand by your testimony in the deposition, Trump replied: 100 percent, yes.

Then she asked: Did you deny the allegation because Ms. Carroll made an accusation? Trump responded: That's exactly right. Yes, I did. She said something that I considered all false accusation, totally false.

But the judge kept strictly to the plan, cut Trump off, saying everything after "yes, I did" is stricken, which means the jury cannot consider it.

Habba's final question was, did you ever instruct anyone to hurt Ms. Carroll in your statements. Trump said, no, I just wanted to defend myself. My family, and frankly, the presidency.

Then Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, was allowed to cross-examine Trump.

She asked: Is this the first trial with Carroll that he has attended? Trump replied, yes. Her question, a reference to the fact that Trump never attended the spring 2023 trial where a jury considered Carroll's claim that Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s. The jury found him liable for sexual abuse.

The current trial deals with 2019 statements Trump made about Carroll after she wrote her story in "New York Magazine". She is seeking $10 million in damages and candidate Trump has attended much of these proceedings.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: This whole thing is rigged, election interference.


REID: Often using the trial to frame himself as a victim, even though most of the controversy in this case stems from Trump and his lawyer refusing to follow courtroom rules that apply to everyone else.

TRUMP: They should be thrown out. And I frankly am the one that suffered damages. I should be given money given damages.


REID (on camera): Tomorrow, both sides will present their closing arguments. And the jury will get its instructions, and the judge says he expects the case to be with the jury by lunchtime, which means we could get an answer on how much Trump has to pay E. Jean Carroll before the weekend.

And for Trump, we know he says he'd rather be campaigning and is not required to be here. He is expected to attend again tomorrow -- Erica.

HILL: So making the decision to be there in court. Paula, appreciate it. Thank you.

OUTFRONT out now, Stephanie Grisham, former Trump White House press secretary and former ambassador Norm Eisen, who, of course, served as counsel to House Democrats during Trump's first impeachment trial.

Stephanie, first, I want to start with you. What did you make of Donald Trump's brief testimony in his behavior in court today?

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You know, Judge Kaplan has really ruled his courtroom with an iron fist, which I understand he's always been like that. He's very strict about following the rules and decorum. I think that actually he was intimidated by the judge. I think that the judge has -- he's been watching as the judge hasn't led his attorney, Alina Habba, get away with much, and he's been reprimanded many times for trying to speak loudly enough for the jury to hear.

And so, I think he actually was a bit nervous, honestly, when he took the stand and didn't want to do anything that would get him thrown into jail because for all of the bluster you get from Donald Trump, I can guarantee you he's terrified of that thought. One thing that really I thought was interesting is that, you know, it's been reported when he walked out are off the stand. He said this isn't America, and I immediately thought to myself, no, this isn't your America where you have no consequences for your actions.

This is actually what America does. We have a judicial system that hold you to account when you've done something wrong.

HILL: It's an interesting observation.

Norm, look at what happened today in court. Do think Donald Trump help or hurt himself in front of the jury today?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: My expectations for the former president were low but I think he did no harm to himself at a minimum and he did manage to within the tight confines that were established to support his case, even though the judge struck it. I thought that that statement that I was just trying to protect myself, my family, and the American people, that could have some resonance.

Look, there's an overwhelming amount of evidence against Trump here. He is facing some very large numbers. His one hope is that there's a sympathetic pro-Trump juror on this panel that will negotiate those numbers down, maybe even do jury nullification, refused to go along.

So he attempted to substantiate that Hail Mary pass. I still think he's looking at a large, large verdict.

HILL: We'll be watching and waiting to see what ultimately the decision is.

Trump -- rather, Stephanie, when you were working for Donald Trump, he spoke to in the Oval Office about E. Jean Carroll, about these allegations. You're writing your book at one point, you just deny it, Trump said. That's what you do in every situation, right? Stephanie, you just deny it.

It does seem to be a well-worn playbook for the former president. Is it one that he uses no matter the situation, no matter the allegation, just deny?

GRISHAM: Absolutely. That -- those -- there were two lessons, he part it with me, with communicating to the American people. You just deny anything bad that said about him, and then you just keep repeating anything he wants you to say, whether it's a lie or not.

He absolutely said that. He said just deny it and, you know, he, of course, uses it. Look, he's denying that he won or that he -- that he lost the election. So this is in his playbook. It's completely normal for him.

You know, the facts are though that he's already been found liable by a jury for sexual abuse. And so this is just now how much he's going to have to pay for it. This is just again -- it's just his playbook to constantly deny anything that he has done actually wrong.

HILL: And, Norm, what do you imagine we'll hear in terms of closing arguments tomorrow?

EISEN: Well, on the side of the plaintiff, you will hear about the harm established, particularly through the testimony of E. Jean Carroll herself, the devastating personal, professional and security risks and injuries that he suffered.

And you'll hear an appeal for a large compensatory damage number in excess of $10 million and a punitive damages finding many times that number, multiples of that number.

On the part of Mr. Trump's lawyer, you'll hear that E. Jean Carroll benefited from this.


They already signaled that argument when they were commencing the case. You'll hear about the evidence that came out today in the form of Carol Martin, who Trump's lawyers called that E. Jean seem to be enjoying it.

Now, that was a two-edged sword and the witness said she regretted some of the comments she'd made in writing and they weren't accurate. But that's the back-and-forth. I think the plaintiffs have much the better of that argument. This was devastating.

And E. Jean Carroll herself, a very effective witness, big dollars probably lie ahead.

HILL: Norm Eisen, Stephanie Grisham, appreciate you both joining us tonight. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next. Trump on the verge of derailing a bipartisan deal to tackle one of voter's biggest issues, one of his biggest issues and it's leaving some of his own party fuming.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): He doesn't want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it, is -- is really appalling.


HILL: Plus, first on OUTFRONT, we take you to a secret underground command center for Ukrainian forces launching an attack to keep a crucial town out of Putin's hands.

And Nikki Haley ignoring calls from Trump to -- on Trump on down, frankly, to drop out of the race. So could the RNC now force her out?



HILL: Tonight, derailed. Donald Trump doing his best to kill a deal on his signature issue: the border. The former president tonight acknowledging on social media that in his words, are countries in serious trouble, citing open borders. But it's apparently not serious enough to deal with those borders now, because he went on to add, quote, a border deal now would be another gift to the radical left Democrats.

The former president has been privately lobbying Republicans to vote against to the bipartisan deal in Congress, a deal that one source says had unanimous GOP support. That is, until Trump got involved.

Here's how that push from the former president is playing on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: The fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn't want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it, is -- is really appalling.

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): I don't see how we have a better story to tell when we ms the one opportunity we have to fix it and we go say you know, I would love to have fixed it, but it was election season, so I thought I'd wait.

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): I think this is when members of Senate have to show some courage and do something that at the end of the day will be very helpful to President Trump.


HILL: Strong words, but Trump may ultimately carry more weight. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell admitting that Republicans are in a bind here. Many of them loath to upset Donald Trump. Don't forget though, this is not just a border security bill that Trump is actively trying to squash.

It's also tied to much needed aid for Ukraine, which as Fred Pleitgen reports, is literally a matter of life and death for Ukrainians.

And I do want to warn you, some of the images you're about to see are graphic.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A U.S. provided Bradley infantry fighting vehicle almost single-handedly stopping a Russian assault near Avdiivka in southeastern Ukraine, pelting the Russians with tracer rounds from its powerful 25 millimeter gun.

Vladimir Putin's troops pin down, unable to advance. This is just one element of Ukraine's efforts to hold Avdiivka run from underground command centers in secret locations.

The Ukrainians have given us access to their command and bunker for this part of the frontline. From here, they organize part of the defense of Avdiivka.

It's rarely calm here, they say. The Russians assaulting nearly all the time. A Russian tank with a small group of troops shows up that Ukrainians track their movements.

And these two soldiers, probably from an already decimated unit, cowering in a trench, aware the Ukrainians have spotted them. They hit the Russians with a kamikaze drone but they survive for now.

The commander tells me Russian losses here are staggering.

They use a lot of equipment, we destroy a lot of equipment, he says, a lot of infantry assaults. They expand people, they step over each other, don't provide assistance. It's true. There's a lot of infantry equipment and meat assaults.

From the many drones monitoring the battlefield, we see the bodies of dead Russian soldiers frozen amidst their destroyed vehicles. The command post also directs artillery and rocket strikes and even counter-assault with ground forces to clear trenches and stop the seemingly endless waves of Russian infantry attacks.

Fortunately, they have a lot of losses, he says. Yet they do not stop, but Avdiivka will be ours. They will not succeed.

But Ukraine's American provided guns could go mostly silent soon if Congress doesn't end its impasse and pass additional military aid, President Biden says.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the vast majority of the members of Congress support aid to Ukraine. The question is whether or not a small minority is going to hold it up. It could be a disaster.

PLEITGEN: And that could have major effects for the Ukrainian troops fighting here.


PLEITGEN (on camera): And, Erica, of course, all of that is already having effect on the Ukrainians as they're suffering increasing shortages of ammunition, they say right now, the Russians have an advantage in manpower and in firepower, but the Ukrainians are also saying in most places, they are able to hold the line -- Erica.

HILL: Fred, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now, retired Army Major General James "Spider" Marks.

So, when you look at this, so Fred was really focused there on Avdiivka, this is key in this moment, the epicenter of the fighting in Ukraine, when you look at, Zelenskyy has said the outcome there could really sort of determine what happens. It is crucial.

What do you see happening, especially when you see what Fred was showing us?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, what's just been defined is the nature of key terrain where it gives -- holding that piece of trained, owning that piece of terrain gives an advantage to one side or the other.


Both realize its importance. Avdiivka just to the north and west of Donetsk, would provide the Russians a facilitated movement for logistics into the land bridge in toward Mariupol and then further into Crimea, holding that makes it that much more difficult and gives the Ukrainians an advantage to go after now, a maneuvering Russian force that doesn't have this direct line into that area. That's what's key about that. So it's absolutely important that whoever goes after that not only has

to take, but then you have to hold it that takes time.

HILL: As we're watching all of this play out, and we're talking about the funding that is not happening in this moment. President Zelenskyy has invited Donald Trump to come to Ukraine. I can only imagine how closely he is watching this election as it really ramps up here in the United States, because it will determine not only aid, perhaps for Ukraine, but possibly the outcome here.

MARKS: Oh, totally. I am sure he was dialed in two days ago on what was taking place in New Hampshire. He has now a much clearer -- Zelenskyy has a much clearer picture as does Putin about what this potential election is going to look like in November. And the world's trying to determine whether President Biden was a one-off or president Trump was a one-off, or are we going to get one of those two individuals reelected?

If it's a Trump reelection, Zelenskyy has legitimate reason to be concerned. President Trump has indicated that he's probably going to dry that up. I would think on day one of his new administration, if he gets elected, would be a phone call to President Zelenskyy says, hey man, we got to figure this out. There's got to be a negotiated settlement and I would think he would have proceeded that call with a call to President Putin saying stop what you're doing, we're going to let you keep, we're going to work it out.

Keep what you've got right now, 20 percent of Ukraine, stop and hold but we're going to stop the killing and we're going to stop to support.

HILL: So, Donald Trump has said, let's, look, I could end this with this war in 24 hours, right? I can make those calls realistically, could that happen though even that's scenario that's being laid out, how realistic do you think it is, that there's an agreement?

MARKS: Look, there may not be a November determination of that outcome. If Zelenskyy -- if the Ukrainian military runs out of bullets, you run out of options. You are now into a legitimate stalemate and Russia will assess that on the ground, not just here, what our Congress does, but will assess it on the ground. What's the volume of fire? What is taking place on the ground?

And then as we've indicated, and Fred has demonstrated with this incredible reporting, Russia's just going to pour goods soldiers after bad. He's got the law -- Putin has the law of large numbers.

And he'll put but more manpower on the front and try to create a breakthrough. That's what we're talking about right now. This is the -- this is the critical -- this is the inflection point, upon which all else hinges.

HILL: We will be watching, always so good to have your perspective, your expertise. And so nice to have you in studio tonight.

MARKS: Thank you very much. Appreciate it. HILL: OUTFRONT next, Senator Tim Scott, who's regularly at Trump's

side, buying to be his VP. You may recall some things he said in the past, including this about Nikki Haley.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): And South Carolina is better because we have Nikki Haley as our governor.


HILL: So what changed between the two?

Plus, more trouble for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Now, about to be subpoenaed.



HILL: Tonight, the RNC is considering an unprecedented move to formally declare Donald Trump the presumptive GOP nominee. CNN obtaining a draft resolution circulating right now. Keep in mind, of course, this comes after only two states have voted accounting for 2 percent of delegates.

It is an aggressive step to try to force Nikki Haley out of the race. Trump, of course, has been pushing her to drop out, even now going so far as to threaten her supporters saying anybody that makes a contribution to her campaign from this moment, fourth will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp.

Haley firing back with new campaign t-shirts -- you see the one right there -- that read, "barred permanently". One top Haley supporter says the campaign is already seeing a huge boost from Trump's post.


KATON DAWSON, FORMER CHAIRMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Our website is barely keeping up with the thousands of donations coming in. And we really thank President Trump for that.


HILL: OUTFRONT, now Eric Levine, a Republican donor who is backing Nikki Haley.

It's good to have you with us. So this draft resolution from the RNC, what do you take of it?

ERIC LEVINE, NIKKI HALEY DONOR: I thought we were opposed to rigged elections. I mean, the whole thing is preposterous. Why are you afraid of a fair fight? Get the delegates then declared yourself the winner.

HILL: We've seen there has been pushed back, as you know, right? You've seen much of it, not just from Donald Trump, but from others, including from some big donors to Nikki Haley. Two prominent donors pulling out, one of them saying after New Hampshire telling our Eva McKend, there's, quote, no path forward for her.

I don't want her to continue and humiliate herself in South Carolina by losing by 31 points, going on to argue that she's got the cash, she could jump back in and say six months, should something happen with Donald Trump.

There are those numbers we see in South Carolina. She's trailing by some 30 points. She's not competing for delegates in Nevada. Does he have a point? But maybe it could be time, get out, save the cash, be ready?

LEVINE: Well, it's not for them to decide. That's for her to decide. And I don't know what it means to be pulled the cash-out and be ready -- you're ready when you get the delegates. The idea of being ready is something happens to Donald Trump along the way, 10,000 people going to jump in and run. If she stays in the race and she accumulates delegates. And there aren't enough Doug is for others to gather to get to win. Then it makes much more sense.

But the bottom line is that sort of decision. He think she's going to humiliate -- humiliate herself. I don't agree, but ultimately, that's up to her.

I mean, look, I personally do not believe the country can survive another four years of Joe Biden. We're failing abroad, we're failing at home. The entire administration is a failure.

We need to elect somebody who can win.


I remain very skeptical that Donald Trump can win a general election. You referenced barred from MAGA camp.

HILL: Uh-huh.

LEVINE: It's like, you know, I cant go to Disneyworld. I just don't know what that means.

HILL: So, there's a registration somewhere where you're going to be blacklisted, not allowed in is what you're telling me?

LEVINE: The whole thing is preposterous. But think of this, I reached out to the campaign before I came. They told me that they've raised over a million dollars since he put up that post. If you take $100 average for a donation and it's probably less than that. But let's just say its $100. That's 10,000 votes. Then you lay on top of that, Marjorie Taylor Greene statement the other day that she wants to purge the Republican Party of all the MAGAs -- I mean, if everyone but MAGAs.

HILL: Right.

LEVINE: You're leaving yourself with a very narrow path to victory if at all. Think of this, 10,000 votes that Trump has said, please don't vote for me. He lost Georgia by 12,670 votes. He's basically saying, I want to lose Georgia again.

HILL: So let's look at what the next four weeks look like, because for weeks until South Carolina is a long time, right? It's going to cost a lot of money to stay in for four weeks.

What do you see those four weeks playing out as? What does Nikki Haley need to do to remain a contender?

LEVINE: She just has to stay on message. There's a significant segment of the party of which I am apart, the Reagan wing of the party that wants to see someone in that vein.

And she currently is our champion. And as long as she stays in, I'm going to stay with her. If she loses at the ballot box, she loses at the ballot box. That's how it's supposed to work. Just dropping out and giving in doesn't make much sense to me, but it's ultimately her call.

HILL: Real quickly, what if this resolution were to go through, this draft resolution?

LEVINE: Well, I think that'd be appalling. I think if Ronna McDaniel is allows that to go through, she should resign all right.

HILL: All right. Eric, appreciate you taking the time. Thank you.

LEVINE: Thank you.

HILL: Harry Enten is OUTFRONT now to go beyond the number.

So, Harry, as we look at this, the RNC, this draft resolution that we're seeing circulating to formally declared Donald Trump, right, the GOP nominee. It's been ten days --


HILL: -- since what it feels like a lot longer --

ENTEN: Yeah, it does.

HILL: -- since voting began.

Has anything -- has any nominee been settled this early on ever?

ENTEN: This is unprece -- this is unprecedented. The earliest I could find on record on the GOP side was back in 2008 when it was March 4. But, of course, remember, there were a lot earlier contest that your Super Tuesday took place in early February. This is unprecedented.

There's nothing like it. You see some other dates on your screen when there are other presumptive nominees, April back in 2012. It was May back in 2016. The fact is, this is completely unusual.

And I might proffer the thought despite being a big fan of polls myself. People vote, polls don't vote.

HILL: It's -- listen, it's an excellent point. Although we do let me talk just about polls, Harry.

Let's talk about other number -- let's talk about delegates. I mean, what does it -- maybe 2 percent have been awarded? How many delegates would a nominee need?

ENTEN: Yeah. I mean, there are over 2,000 more delegates that need to be allocated. In order to win the nomination, you need more than 1,000. And the fact is they've only been 62 delegates that have been allocated so far. We have a ton more contest to go. It's not just the South Carolina, it's not just Nevada.

Remember, we have to hit Super Tuesday in March. There are a ton of states and the two states that have voted so far are too small states. We're talking Iowa and New Hampshire, which have very small populations. We haven't hit any of the Acela states.

We haven't hit Illinois. We haven't hit Florida. We haven't dared hit California yet.

This to me is, frankly, it's ridiculous. I get the idea that Donald Trump is so far ahead, but the fact is, as I said earlier, we should allow people to vote instead of just the polls, which do show Donald Trump up. He's probably going to be the nominee. But let's see some boats actually happened.

HILL: You're saying that that the process play out.


HILL: What's fascinating is this is not just, we're talking about this draft resolution, right? Because CNN obtained a copy of it today, but we have heard the calls growing, right? And we have seen the support -- the number of elected officials lining up behind Donald Trump. Those numbers have grown.

ENTEN: Yeah, those numbers have absolutely grown. You know, through this point in the process back in 2016, he had zero endorsements from members of Congress or governors. Right now, he has over 120. Nikki Haley has just three.

Donald Trump likes to make the argument that he's the anti- establishment candidate. He's the candidate from outside of Washington.

But the fact is, when you look at these numbers, he may not be part of the establishment, but the establishment very much likes him. And so to me, this is, you know, we're talking about rigged elections and so on, so forth. I will would make the argument that Nikki Haley could potentially say, hey, Donald Trump is trying to rig the process for himself rather than Donald Trump making the argument that the process is somehow rigged against him.

HILL: We will be watching and waiting to see how this all plays out. Harry, appreciate it. Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HILL: One of the top voices calling on the party to unite around Donald Trump is Senator Tim Scott, now regularly seen by Trump's side on the trail. But he was once right by Nikki Haley's side in South Carolinas. So what changed?

Dianne Gallagher is OUTFRONT.


SCOTT: And South Carolina is better because we have Nikki Haley as our governor.

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're going to see the U.S. Senate becomes stronger because of the results of Tim Scott.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What a difference a dozen years can make?

SCOTT: I'm not campaigning against Nikki. I'm campaigning for the future of America.

HALEY: You know, obviously disappointed, but look, he's got to live with his decisions.

GALLAGHER: At the center of this South Carolina split, Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: And just a little note to Nikki -- she's not going to win.

GALLAGHER: Standing behind the former president, the man who Haley elevated to the U.S. senate. Trump pointing to that history to attack his last remaining rival.

TRUMP: I mean, did you ever think that she actually appointed you, Tim? You must really hate her.

No, it's -- it's a shame. It's a -- uh-oh.

SCOTT: I just love you.

TRUMP: No, that's -- that's why he's a great politician.

GALLAGHER: Scott's endorsement of Trump marking a turning point in his and Haley's long history.

HALEY: I'm appointing our next U.S. senator to be, Congressman Tim Scott.


GALLAGHER: As governor in 2012, Haley chose Scott to fill the state's vacant Senate seat, making him the first Black senator from the South since reconstruction.

HALEY: He earned this seat for the person that he is.

GALLAGHER: Back then, Scott effusively praised Haley as a leader.

SCOTT: I can see with clarity the conviction and the integrity and the character that you govern with.

GALLAGHER: But Scott insists that his backing of Trump is not a betrayal, noting Haley's own history with Trump.

SCOTT: Let's not forget that President Trump appointed Nikki Haley to be an ambassador. So she's certainly campaigning against him.

GALLAGHER: But will a new alliance --

SCOTT: It is time for the Republican Party to coalesce around our nominee, and the next president of United States, Donald Trump!

GALLAGHER: -- spoil Haley shot in South Carolina?

HALEY: South Carolina is a blood sport and I have dealt with the old guard and the fellas for a long time.

GALLAGHER: Despite Haley been twice elected governor of the Palmetto State, she approaches next month's primaries as the underdog against Trump. Voters we spoke with here seeming to give Scott the benefit of the doubt with his decision to pick Trump over Haley.

JOSIAH ANDRIST, CHARLESTON RESIDENT: To me, it doesn't show that he's necessarily stabbing her in the back as much as he's following what he believes to be the right course of action.

JUSTIN EPPERSON, SOUTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: I think it shows that Tim Scott kind of doesn't trust Haley, you know? Like she appointed him and he still isn't picking her. So maybe he knows things we don't.


GALLAGHER: This evening, I was speaking with a prominent Charleston Republican who told me that Scott's endorsement likely didn't sway any strong Haley supporter away from her.

But what they did say, this may have done especially more than other big endorsers of Trump in the state, like the governor, for example, is that Scott's blessing for some voters and they said particularly a certain type of voter here in the Lowcountry may have given them permission that they can still be a loyal South Carolina Republican and also not vote for Nikki Haley -- Erica. To quote Nikki Haley, South Carolina politics or a blood sport.

HILL: We seem to be hearing that a lot lately. That is for sure.

Dianne, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, it is a CNN exclusive. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis about to be subpoenaed. It could upend her sprawling election subversion case against Donald Trump.

Plus, a disturbing trend antisemitism surging on China's tightly controlled Internet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For centuries, China has been the biggest friend of the Jews. And until recently, that's now all changed.


HILL: So why the sudden shift? Could it be because of the United States?



HILL: Tonight, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, under fire, and according to CNN's exclusive reporting, about to be subpoenaed. Former President Trump also officially joining calls for Willis to now step down from his Georgia election subversion case pointing to allege misconduct between Willis and her top prosecutor, Nathan Wade.

CNN learning Willis and Wade are both expected to receive subpoenas to testify in next month's hearings on allegations the two misused funds meant for the Trump investigation. They are accused of using the money to take lavish vacations amid allegations of an affair.

Nick Valencia is OUTFRONT.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over). Tonight, Fani Willis feeling the pressure, a lawyer who first leveled allegations of an affair and misconduct between the Fulton County D.A. and her top deputy Nathan Wade now wants her and others with knowledge of their relationship subpoena to testify in open the court, setting the stage for a dramatic hearing on February 15, which will be broadcast live.

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY IN GEORGIA: It's not necessarily the death to whether or not a case can move forward, but its becoming a distraction and a circus and that's what we're going to see I think at the hearing that gets into this question.

VALENCIA: Both Willis and Wade had been facing criticism and even calls from allies as well as foes to step down from the case. Divorce court filings from Wade's wife, Jocelyn, show Nathan Wade's credit card charges for Willis, his boss, to accompany him on at least two out-of-state trips. In new court filings, Jocelyn Wade's lawyer is now also seeking a deposition from what appears to be a travel agency used by Nathan Wade.

RANDI KESSLER, GEORGIA DIVORCE ATTORNY: Well, sort of be of their own making. VALENCIA: Prominent Georgia divorce attorney Randi Kessler believes Wade ultimately holds the power to get Willis out of testifying in his divorce case.

KESSLER: I would think it would be a mistake if Nathan Wade let her get depose and he controls it, he can give all the information at his deposition so that they don't need her, and he can settle the case. He might have to give his wife more than he wants to.

VALENCIA: But it may prove more difficult for Willis to quash a subpoena that's expected in the criminal racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and his allies over their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

On Thursday, defense attorneys for Trump formerly joined his co- defendant's efforts to get Willis and Wade disqualified, and the case thrown out.


Beyond the alleged romance, Trump's attorney, Steve Sadow said the case should be dismissed because Willis prejudiced the public and potential jurors against defendants in the case when she said this in defense of Nathan Wade's qualifications.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: They only attack a woman. The first thing they say, oh, she won't play a race card now. But no God, isn't it them who's playing the race card when they only question one.

VALENCIA: In a statement to CNN, Trump's Georgia attorney said, Willis's attempt to foment racial animus and prejudice against the defendants in order to divert and deflect attention away from her alleged improprieties calls out for the sanctions of dismissal, and disqualification. Willis spent years gathering evidence against Trump and his co-defendants before issuing the historic indictment against them last year.

And now, she finds herself at the center of it all.


HILL: Nick, any comment tonight from Willis or her office on these allegations?

VALENCIA: Well, beyond what she said in the church service, that speech that she gave two Sundays ago, no, she has not directly responded to these allegations, and neither has Nathan Wade for that matter. And we should be clear. We've given them several opportunities to comment and they just haven't yet.

Look, Erica, this is more than just about an alleged romance between two consenting adults. This is about the potential of a misuse of funds. A public official giving out a government contract to an alleged lover, and she may have financially benefited from that. The judge in this case has given Willis until next Friday to respond in writing -- Erica.

HILL: Nick, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, China's Internet is infamously censored by the communist party. So then how do posts like this end up online? I tell you.

Plus, the many lives of Martha Stewart. A new CNN original series explores the ups, the downs, and everything in-between from her decades in the public eye, and we have a sneak peek.



HILL: Tonight, a troubling trend. Antisemitism surging on Chinese social media since the deadly October 7 Hamas attack, terror attack on Israel.

The Internet in China is, of course, heavily censored. Posts critical of President Xi Jinping and the communist party are usually removed swiftly.

So, why then would doctored photos of Israeli flags combined with swastikas as you can see, there, be allowed to remain. Well, some experts believe that is no accident. In fact, they suspect that China is exploiting the hateful content to hurt the United States.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Israel-Hamas War rages, a battleground of opinions on Chinas tightly controlled social media, a surge of online hate very anti-Israel, and in many cases anti-Semitic. The Israeli embassy in Beijing says.

Matt Trusch is a Jewish American businessman living in China with thousands of followers on social media.

MATT TRUSCH, JEWISH-AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN IN CHINA For centuries, China has been the biggest friend of the Jews and until recently, that's now all changed.

RIPLEY: CNN uncovered a hornet's nest of hateful content surging after October 7th, criticizing Israel's military response in Gaza to the Hamas terror attacks. Some remain untouched by China's usually heavy-handed online censors.

TRUSCH: For a person like me, a Westerner to post on China's TikTok, highly censored TikTok, I have to be very, very careful and yet these hype -- these Chinese bloggers, these hate bloggers seemed to have free rein.

RIPLEY: Some online users combining the Israeli flag and Nazi symbols posted by netizens, the German embassy in China says the images are, quote, degrading to human dignity and calls the posters ignorant idiots, or shameless bastards.

Some people buying Israeli flags on Taobao, China's online shopping platform. Just to step on them and post the pictures online.

Even the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, a long time symbol of Chinese Jewish history facing a flood of social media comments demanding its demolition.

Adding fuel to the online firestorms, some state media outlets accusing Israel of committing war crimes. Beijing has not condemned Hamas, but has called for Israel to stop its, quote, collective punishment in Gaza.

Experts even suggesting China may be using anti-Jewish hate as a weapon against Washington, Israel's biggest backer.

YAQUI WANG, RESEARCH DIRECTOR FOR CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN FREEDOM HOUSE: It helps facilitate the Chinese government's foreign policy agenda, which ultimately is to see that U.S. as enemy trying to undermine China.

RIPLEY: She says recent statements by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi suggested an ulterior motive.

WANG YI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, we have always firmly defended the legitimate rights and interests of Arab and Muslim countries.

RIPLEY: A deliberate diplomatic strategy influencing how Chinese citizens perceive the Israel-Hamas conflict.


RIPLEY (on camera): If there's one thing we know about Chinese social media, it is very tightly controlled, even material that is deemed marginally sensitive to the Chinese communist party often gets censored. So the relative lack of censorship around this antisemitic hate filled content does raise questions tonight about whether this behavior is being at least tacitly approved by the Chinese government. And this of course, raising concerns, Erica, amongst the Jewish community in China that this is now a new reality. They have to confront.

HILL: Great reporting, Will. Appreciate it. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, Martha Stewart, few public figures have had such extreme ups and downs and fewer still have enjoyed such longevity. A new CNN original series explores why.



HILL: Tonight, the original influencer, Martha Stewart, domestic icon, self-made billionaire, former federal inmate, a new CNN original series explores her rise and fall and momentous comeback. Here's a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martha was about finesse, excellence, and perfection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: there is no media personality, businesswoman, celebrity chef like her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was sort of like an original influencer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of those magazines and television shows --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think our standards are higher because of Martha.

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: She's everywhere, Martha Stewart living.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her career starts to take off like a rocket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Martha is continually underestimated by male executives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would read about it in the press criticizing her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wants attention, she wants power. She just doesn't want to stop.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Martha Stewart is among those under investigation for suspected insider trading.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martha Stewart is being prosecuted not because of she is, but because of what she did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Martha fell fast and hard.

MARTHA STEWART, TV PERSONALITY: Today is a shameful day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The comeback was beginning before she ever left

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She loves to be clever. She loves to surprise. And she loves to defy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you'd asked me, would there have still been interests in Martha Stewart 20 years from now? I would've said absolutely not. Boy, did I ever underestimate Martha Stewart?



HILL: Cannot wait for that on Sunday night.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight. "AC360" starts right now.