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CNN Live Event/Special
Donald Trump Indicted; Former VP Pence: Indictment Of Trump Is An "Outrage"; Pence: It's Time For "Death Penalty" For Mass Shooters In U.S. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 30, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN MILLER, FORMER NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF INTELLIGENCE & COUNTERTERRORISM, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: "What do we need, to put in front of this grand jury, to repair that, and sow doubt, into what Costello said."
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And they brought in David Pecker, on Monday, and another witness, as you reported today.
COOPER: We don't know who that is.
In this hour, of our continuing live coverage, all the latest, on today's history-making indictment. More than 30 counts of criminal charges, against Donald Trump, according to sources. No former or sitting president has ever faced even one. Nor have--
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT & CNN ANCHOR: Nor have any ever incited a violent mob, to storm the Capitol.
In this hour, a CNN Exclusive. The man, who was targeted, by the mob, that day, former Vice President Mike Pence. We'll get his take, Wolf will, his take, on today's historic and, in some quarters, controversial criminal indictments, in New York.
COOPER: And Jake, first, take a look at some of the headlines, right now. The three big national papers, Miami, West Palm Beach, where news often, like politics, is local, tonight, CNN has learned that a court date is set for Tuesday.
TAPPER: There is some more late information, coming in, this evening.
CNN's Evan Perez starts us off.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the Secret Service is preparing to bring the former President, to his court appearance, on Tuesday, in Manhattan. This is something that they've been talking with the New York Police Department, the court security staff. It's something they spent days and days working out. And look, a lot of people have speculated about the former President's arrest. For the Secret Service, they believe, this is going to be a quick thing. This is going to be probably 10 minutes, 15 minutes, before this judge, in Manhattan, and they can get him in, and then they can get him out, securely.
This is something that the Secret Service believes, they -- it's very easy, they believe, to lock down the streets of New York, and get the former President, from where he is, to that courthouse. Obviously, it's something they practice a lot, with the U.N. General Assembly, every year, securely bringing people in and out. So, they have no doubt that they can do this securely.
The question is obviously now, working out the details, between the former President's lawyers, and the District Attorney, and the judge, who he will present himself before, on Tuesday, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much.
COOPER: Let's go to -- next to CNN's Kara Scannell, outside the courthouse, in Lower Manhattan.
Kara, what's the latest you're hearing?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, like Evan said, we're hearing that the arraignment, right now, is currently expected to be, on Tuesday. And we're learning from one source that it will be before Judge Juan Merchan. He is the judge that presided over the Trump Organization tax fraud trial.
SCANNELL: So, he is familiar with these attorneys. He's familiar with the high-profile nature of this investigation. So, the case, the arraignment will go before him.
Now, there's still a lot of details that will need to be worked out. People familiar with this, in this arraignment, are saying that they expect it will be handled, like a regular arraignment. Of course, the security, as Evan explained, will be heightened, and there will be different precautions that we see than in other cases.
But he will still come in, and will still be processed. He will still be fingerprinted. And he will go before this judge, and be asked to enter a plea, in this case. And then, he will be escorted out. There is -- this as a non-violent felony. So, there's not a question of bail here.
But we're definitely going to see a bigger security presence, downtown here, and different precautions, leading to that.
But the arraignment is now expected for Tuesday, and they do expect it to go forward, like any normal arraignment, just with these extra precautions.
Anderson? COOPER: And Kara, have authorities said anything about the mug shot? Elie Honig had said that, in New York, it's normally not made public. Have they made any comments about that?
SCANNELL: No, they haven't said anything about that, tonight.
But Elie is right. They normally do not make any mug shots, in New York, public. I mean, given the high-profile nature of this, it's possible that we could see Media Coalition step in, and ask the judge, saying this is an extraordinary circumstance, there's a great public interest.
We could see, and also given that he's a public figure, this isn't necessarily like a privacy issue, we could see some actions, to try to make it public. But in general, in New York, they're not made public.
And it's really unclear if we'll even get a glimpse of him, coming in or out of a courthouse, given that they can take him, in through these tunnels.
But when we have seen the former President, before, in New York, so just when he went to give a deposition, before the New York Attorney General, he did make a point, of leaving Trump Tower, stopping, waving to the people, pumping his fist. So, it's possible he will try to do something, at Trump Tower, or make his presence known, on Tuesday.
SCANNELL: But it's really going to be interesting, to see what kind of setup they have here, and if we even get a glimpse of him, outside the courthouse.
But the way that it works inside is there's a long hallway. There's usually cameras, on one side, so you could see him walk down that hallway, and then enter. And when he'd enter into the courtroom, they -- you know, some defendants, they have walked down the whole length, with their hands in cuffs. That is yet to be written (ph) seen if that will happen, this time.
COOPER: Yes. Kara Scannell, appreciate it.
Now tonight, CNN Exclusive interview, Wolf Blitzer standing by, with former Vice President, Mike Pence.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER: Anderson, thank you very much.
The former Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, is here with me, in Washington.
And we have to begin, Mr. Vice President. First of all, thank you very--
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know. Thanks for having me on.
BLITZER: Thanks very much for joining us, on this truly historic important day, in American history.
BLITZER: I want to begin with the New York grand jury, as you well know, as all of our viewers know, by now, voting to indict the former President of the United States, Donald Trump. He's now the first president, former President--
BLITZER: --in American history, to be criminally charged.
It's a really significant development. I want to get your reaction to this unprecedented development.
PENCE: Well, I think the unprecedented indictment of a former President of the United States, on a campaign finance issue, is an outrage. And it appears, to -- for millions of Americans, to be nothing more than a political prosecution that's driven by a prosecutor, who literally ran for office, on the pledge, to indict the former President.
BLITZER: But it wasn't just, Mr. Vice President, and excuse me for interrupting, it wasn't just the prosecutor, the District Attorney--
BLITZER: --in New York, who did this. This was a grand jury, a grand jury of some 23 people.
BLITZER: And you need a majority, 12, to go ahead and criminally indict.
PENCE: Well, I understand that. And been a long time since I was in law school, Wolf. But I remember the old saying, you can indict a ham sandwich, right? The threshold, the burden of proof is very low. Prosecutors make decisions, discretionary decisions, about what they bring, all the time.
Federal prosecutors passed on this. The Manhattan D.A. initially delayed it, passed on it.
But when you have an Attorney General, in New York, and a Manhattan D.A. that targeted one particular American, in their campaigns, I think that offends the notion, of the overwhelming majority, of the American people, who believe in fairness, who believe in equal treatment, before the law.
And this appears to be just one more example, Wolf, of the kind of two-tiered justice system that the American people have had enough of.
BLITZER: But your Justice Department, the Trump-Pence Justice Department, as you well know, they charged Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen--
BLITZER: --over these very same payments, and said he made them, and I'm quoting now, from the Trump Justice Department, "In coordination with, and at the direction of" Donald Trump. Cohen spent more than a year in prison.
Do you concede that was a crime?
PENCE: Well, I concede that lying to Congress is a crime, which was, if memory serves, what Michael Cohen went to jail for, the most part, right? Look--
BLITZER: That wasn't just the only charge.
PENCE: Here's the issue. I have to tell you. I'm traveling around the country a lot. My wife and I are going through a process, of making decisions, about our future. And--
BLITZER: We will get to that.
PENCE: I know.
But I was just in Iowa, yesterday. I'd tell you, I was in three different cities. And even though this has been in the news, over the last two weeks, and issues about me, and another investigation, were in the news, not one person raised this issue to me.
And I have to tell you, the media's obsession about these investigations, into Donald Trump, I think, is being lost on the American people, who are struggling, under the weight of the failed policies, of the Biden administration.
But look, this, I think, the American people are going to look at this, see it as one more example, of the criminalization of politics, in this country. And it's one more example of the kind of drama that captures Washington, D.C., and makes it--
BLITZER: But you are a law-and-order--
PENCE: --almost impossible for us to solve the problems--
BLITZER: --you are the law-and-order--
PENCE: --that this country's facing.
BLITZER: You are a law-and-order politician.
If Trump is convicted, of these crimes that he's being charged with today, should that disqualify him, from being the Republican presidential nominee? Or should he drop out? PENCE: Well--
BLITZER: If he's convicted?
PENCE: Well, it's a long way to that decision. I promise to answer that question, if that approaches.
It's a possibility that a judge would even throw this case out before it would even go to trial. So, I don't want to talk about hypotheticals, and all of this.
What I want to tell you about is the American people are struggling under the failed policies of the Biden administration, at home and abroad.
And, in an open forum, in Iowa, where the caucuses take place, where the national conversation has always begun, historically, about the future leadership, of the country? This never came up.
I mean, I honestly have to tell you, that I think this is an outrage. But I also think at a time when the American people are struggling so much that this will only further serve, to divide our country.
And, Wolf, you know. You're seeing all over the world. The message that this sends, to the wider world, is a terrible message, about the American justice system. And I would that this Manhattan D.A. would have thought better of it, and put the interest of the nation first.
BLITZER: But let's put this into some sort of perspective. Trump, as you well know, he has been warning we could see what he calls death and destruction, if he faces charges.
BLITZER: Now that he has been indicted, how worried are you, about the potential, for violence? And you saw the potential for violence, the real violence, and you were there, on January 6.
PENCE: Right. Well there's no excuse for that kind of rhetoric, on either side of this debate. And there's really no reason, to be calling, for people to be protesting over it as well.
I think, look, I know -- I know President Trump well. And I know President Trump can take care of himself, in the courtroom. And he ought to focus on that right now. But I got to tell you, this is going to be very--
BLITZER: His language is outrageous? You agree, though, his language is outrageous?
PENCE: Well, I, look, the harsh language, on either side of this, is unacceptable, including that.
But I want to say to you, I really do believe that this decision, today, is a great disservice, to the country.
And the idea that for the first time, in American history, a former President would be indicted, on a campaign finance issue, to me, it just smacks of political prosecution. And I think the overwhelming majority of the American people will see it that way, Wolf.
BLITZER: Are there any circumstances at all, Mr. Vice President, in which you would think it would be appropriate, to criminally prosecute, a former U.S. President? Or should former Presidents be categorically immune, from any and all criminal charges?
PENCE: No one is above the law, including former Presidents. Let me be clear on that point. And the American people know this.
But, in this case, and a controversy, over campaign finance? I can't speak to the merits of this case at all. But I can speak to the issue, emanating out of a question, over campaign finance, should never have risen, to the level, to bring an unprecedented and historic prosecution, against the former President.
BLITZER: So, should Trump have been treated differently, than Michael Cohen, who went to jail, for doing this?
PENCE: Well Michael Cohen went to jail, for lying to Congress.
Look, this is an issue about campaign finances. And it's a tenuous at best. And I'm even seeing here, on the airwaves of CNN, a whole lot of legal experts that have been saying, "Not this case."
And prosecutors make these decisions, all the time, for everyday Americans, and for people, in high positions, and people of great influence. So, this is the -- this is a bad decision, by a political prosecutor. And I think the American people are going to see right through it.
BLITZER: Does Trump's indictment, today, change at all, your calculus, as to whether or not you're going to actually run for president yourself?
PENCE: No, it has no bearing on our decision. For me, for my wife, Karen, it all comes down to our sense of calling. And we're going to continue to travel, around the country, listen intently, and reflect on our years.
And I've known you all those years, Wolf, my years, in leadership, in the Congress, my years, as Governor of Indiana, and four years, as Vice President of the United States, creating a record in an administration.
And while it did not end well, I'll always be proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration. We're going to reflect on all of that and decide where we might next contribute to the life of the nation.
BLITZER: We'll get to your decision-making, on whether to run, in a little while.
But let me follow-up on these questions.
BLITZER: I want to turn to the Justice Department Special Counsel's investigation--
BLITZER: --of January 6. As you know, a federal judge has ruled that you must testify, about your conversations, with President Trump, up until that day.
Will you testify?
PENCE: Well, obviously, I can't talk about it much, given the nature of the grand jury proceedings.
But what I can say is that I'm very pleased that a federal judge, for the very first time, recognized that the Constitution Speech and Debate protections apply, to the Vice President of the United States, when you're serving as President of the Senate. That was the core of my concern, about the subpoena being brought.
I'm meeting, tomorrow, with our attorneys, to review that decision. We'll make a decision, in the coming days. But I have nothing to hide, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, if you have nothing to hide, why not testify?
PENCE: Well, look, I'm going to obey the law. And I've been speaking very openly, and written very extensively, about the events, leading up to January 6, and on January 6, and will continue to.
And, as I said, we're going to review that decision. We'll have -- we'll make a judgment about the best way forward. But I really am very pleased that that the federal judge agreed with our position, and recognized that the Constitution Speech and Debate protections--
BLITZER: But that federal judge only agreed--
PENCE: --apply to the Vice President.
BLITZER: --that you don't have to testify, about what happened, on January 6, when you were serving, according to the Constitution, the Vice President, as also President of the U.S. Senate. But you have to testify, on the conversations you had, with Trump, leading up to January 6.
PENCE: Well, that's what we're going to be reviewing, tomorrow. And again, I can't get in detail about the judge's opinion.
BLITZER: What does your instinct tell you?
BLITZER: What do you think you should do? PENCE: Well, you're good at this, Wolf. I know you're driving for an answer. We're going to have an answer, in the next several days, about the best way forward.
BLITZER: The American people want an answer too. It's not just me.
PENCE: And I -- they'll have an answer. And I promise you that we'll follow the rule of law. But I want to carefully reflect on what the judge decided, and -- but, at the end of the day, we're going to obey the law. And I'll continue to do, as I've done, speaking about those events.
BLITZER: The judge you should testify, as far as the events leading up to January 6, your conversations with Trump. That's what the judge said.
BLITZER: The rule of law would be to honor that, right?
PENCE: Well, look, the rule of law also includes the possibility of appeal.
BLITZER: So, might you appeal?
PENCE: So, we're giving some consideration to that as well.
BLITZER: But you haven't decided finally?
PENCE: We have not.
BLITZER: Trump opened his rally, last weekend, in Waco, Texas, as you know, with a recording, of the national anthem, sung by January 6 prisoners, played over footage, of January 6.
Are you comfortable with that?
BLITZER: Tell us why.
PENCE: Well, my wife, my daughter, my staff and I were evacuated, first, in my office, off the Senate floor, and then, to the parking garage, below the Senate, on January 6. We stayed at our post. I know, we did our job, that day. By God's grace, we completed our work, under the Constitution of the United States.
But, on that day, when I sent out a message, calling on people, to leave the Capitol, immediately, and I made it clear, my position then continues to be today that those that engaged in violence, at the Capitol, I believe, should be prosecuted, to the fullest extent of the law. And I'll never diminish what happened that day. And I'll never celebrate people that assaulted 140 Police officers that ransacked our Capitol. Now, that being said, Wolf, there were people that were caught up in it--
BLITZER: But they were threatening, so many of them were saying "Hang Mike Pence!"
PENCE: I'm very--
BLITZER: "Hang Mike Pence!" They were threatening you.
PENCE: I became aware of that after the fact. And look, I don't doubt that there were some people that were innocently caught up in it. And -- but there were people that came into the Capitol that assaulted Police officers, and I believe they should answer to the law.
BLITZER: And so many of them are already answering to the law. Right now, they're in jail.
PENCE: They are indeed.
BLITZER: And they belong in jail, right?
PENCE: They do.
BLITZER: All right.
Mr. Vice President, I want you to stand by. We have more to discuss, a lot more to get to.
This is CNN special live coverage, of a truly historic night, here in the United States. The first former President of the United States to be indicted. Much more, coming ahead.
BLITZER: We're back with our special coverage on this truly, truly unprecedented historic night, here in the United States. Former President Donald Trump indicted, criminally charged.
His Vice President, Mike Pence, is here with us.
Mr. Vice President, thanks so much, once again, for joining us. There's a lot of other news I want to get to.
PENCE: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: While I have you. It's not often we get a chance to talk.
I want to be begin this segment, with a truly stunning arrest, of a "Wall Street Journal" reporter, in Russia, over allegations of espionage.
PENCE: Right. BLITZER: It's the first time an American reporter has been detained, in Moscow, since the Cold War. So, what's your reaction? And how should the United States respond?
PENCE: Well, I think, look, whether it's now the arrest of an American journalist, I'm told, dragged out of a restaurant, in Russia, or whether it was the downing of one of our drones? It's time for the Biden administration, to make it clear, with Putin that we're not going to -- we're not going to put up with his provocations. We're not going to put up with bullying reporters, which is nothing new in Russia. It goes on all the time. There's been reporters, who vanished, lost their lives in, during the Putin reign.
But I think this is a moment, for President Biden, and the Biden administration, to send a deafening message, to Russia that they got about 24 hours, to release that reporter, or there's going to be real consequences, in the relationship, between the United States, and Russia, going forward.
We're already at odds in Ukraine. But there's, as you know, in diplomatic circles, there's a broad range of connections. And I think putting Russian diplomats, on a plane, sending them out of this country, real consequences beyond that, in terms of additional sanctions.
We just -- you know, I've been a champion of a free and independent press, throughout my career. That's a scarcity, in Russia, today. But we ought to be demanding that that "Wall Street Journal" reporter, be released, in the next 24 hours.
BLITZER: And so, if you were President of the United States, right now, when you say real consequences, for the Russians, what, you would expel all the Russian diplomats?
PENCE: Well, I think it'd be time to put some people on a plane.
I mean, the reality is, you remember back in the early days, of our administration, when Russia was implicated, in a poisoning incident, in Great Britain, that I think we expelled about 40 diplomats. And European countries did the same.
This is the kind of moment, where you have to put your foot down, you have to make Russia understand that there are going to be widening consequences, with this kind of provocation. And I don't want to leave out the downing, of an American drone, for which there already should have been a response, by this nation. The Biden administration is moving--
BLITZER: That drone was flying over international airspace.
PENCE: Yes. The Biden administration is just moving too slow, whether it's the Chinese balloon, whether it's a drone. And they can't move slow on this. We have to stand up, for the right of American journalists, to do their job, especially in a time of war.
BLITZER: Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, is doing some cleanup, right now, after downplaying the war in Ukraine, as he was calling it a "Territorial dispute."
BLITZER: You've said, there's no room in the Republican Party, for apologists for Putin. Is Governor DeSantis a Putin apologist?
PENCE: Well, look, I disagreed with his assertion that it was a territorial dispute.
But when I made that comment, months ago, a comment that I stand by, is more about people that literally, in the public debate, today, including some, in the Republican Party, who draw moral equivalency, between Russia and Ukraine. I mean, this isn't a territorial dispute. There's no moral equivalency. This is a Russian invasion.
And as the United States has done so many times, over the last several decades, we need to continue to provide Ukrainian soldiers, with the support they need, to repel the Russian invasion.
It's what we did, back in the Reagan era, the Reagan Doctrine, we basically said, "If you're willing to fight the communists, in your country, we'll give you the means to fight them there, so we don't have to fight them here."
And I'm going to continue to be a very strong voice that -- look, the war, in Ukraine, it's not our war. But freedom is our fight. And anybody that thinks that Vladimir Putin would stop, at Ukraine, has another thing coming. I mean, we need to give the Ukrainians, the means, they have need today, to repel that.
And the Biden administration, Wolf, has been slow. They continue to be slow. Promised 33 tanks, in January. Now they're saying it's going to take a year. We got to give them the tanks. We got to give them the planes. We got to give them the missiles.
President Biden said "We'll be there as long as it takes." Well, it shouldn't take that long. We're the leader of the Free World. We're the Arsenal of Democracy. We give the Ukrainian soldiers what they need. And they can drive that Russian invasion off of them.
BLITZER: Has Putin committed war crimes?
PENCE: Absolutely, he's committed war crimes. And I didn't need some international body, to tell me that.
My wife and I traveled into Ukraine. About a month after the initiation of hostilities, we went to a refugee center. I have to tell you, Wolf, I will never forget, the looks, on the faces of those women, of every age, children, of every age, carrying all their earthly possessions, the fear in their eyes, fleeing their country. It is unspeakable.
This unprovoked Russian war of aggression has got to be met with strength. BLITZER: Let's get to some other really important issues, while we have you.
I want to turn to the tragic school shooting, in Nashville, Tennessee, this week. Six dead, three of them, 9-year-old kids, in the school, also three staff members at the school.
President Biden is now calling to ban all assault weapons, like the ones used, in this brutal attack, at that elementary school, a Christian public -- a Christian school. Many Americans are wondering why do people need weapons like the AR-15?
PENCE: Well, first, my heart goes out to the families, of those lost, the courageous principal, who lost her life. They've been in our prayers and our hearts. And we mourn with those who mourn.
But, I have to tell you, this is not the time to go back to the same tired saw, over gun control. I mean, look, some of the worst crime- ridden cities in America have the strongest gun control measures, in place.
What we need is new, bold action, I think, in a broad range of areas. Number one, while they took down the assailant, in this case, I think we need to get to the bottom of a motive, because it's very possible, this was actually a hate crime.
And we need to be very clear. I've visited synagogues, while I was Vice President that were subject to violence. They were prosecuted as hate crimes. We need to identify whether or not we have a widening enmity, toward Christian, and traditional conservative views that's being driven, driving people to violence.
Secondly, I really do believe that we've got to get more serious, about penalties, and expedited penalties, for those, who engage in mass killings, in this country, Wolf. I think the time has come, for federal legislation that would bring the death penalty, to anyone that engages in a mass shooting, that claims lives. And we ought to have--
BLITZER: But wouldn't a lot of lives be saved--
PENCE: --expedited appealing to do that.
BLITZER: --if there was what they call commonsense gun control, in America, as there is, in almost every other country?
PENCE: Well, the issue is, though we have a Second Amendment. We have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, in this country. And law-abiding Americans cherish that, right. And it's in the Bill of Rights. So, look, taking guns away from law-abiding citizens isn't going to make America safer.
BLITZER: It's not in the Bill of Rights to say--
PENCE: Getting tougher on criminals--
BLITZER: It's not in the Constitution, to say, you can buy assault weapons.
PENCE: Well look, and, again, we're going back into the same tired debate.
I think, tougher penalties, on those expedited appeals, so that people meet their fate, in years, not in decades, those who engage, in these mass killings that are happening, all across our country.
And secondly, I will tell you, when I was Governor of Indiana, one of my last acts was I broke ground, on the first mental health hospital that Indiana had built, in 30 years.
Wolf, we have got to get back to institutional mental health care, in this country, so that when we identify people that are demonstrating a propensity, for violence, that their families can intervene, and have somewhere, to send them, which usually today is just the county lockup, for a short period of time.
I think we got to get serious about mental health. But I also think we've got to have tougher penalties, at the federal level, for this mass shooting business. And I think it's time -- I think it's time, for federal legislation, with the death penalty--
PENCE: --for mass shootings.
BLITZER: Let's turn to some other very important domestic issues, while I have you, Mr. Vice President. Starting with Social Security and Medicare--
BLITZER: --which are really important. Former President Trump, and Governor Ron DeSantis, for that matter, both say, they oppose changes, to those programs. That's what they say, now.
You say, changes should be on the table. So, let's get specific. What changes would you make to Social Security and Medicare?
PENCE: Well, Joe Biden's policy, on Social Security and Medicare, is insolvency. I mean, right now, President Biden, even though there's bipartisan support, for it, in the Senate, won't even sit down, and talk about commonsense and compassionate reforms, of our entitlements.
And I disagree with President Trump, on this as well, and with the Governor of Florida, and anyone else that's taken that position.
BLITZER: And what changes would you make?
PENCE: Well, let me get to that.
But first off, your viewers deserve to know, we have a national debt, the size of our nation's economy, for the first time, since World War II. Left unreformed, these programs will drive that debt, from $30 trillion to $150 trillion, by the time my new granddaughters reach their 30th birthday. When you get to that point, if you wait to reform it, by then, all the choices are bad, massive increases in taxes, or cuts in programs.
I believe, to answer your question, that if we bring people together, we sit down, and we can talk about reforms, to Social Security and Medicare, for people under the age of 40, say to people, who are in retirement, today, "This has nothing to do with you, no changes." Anybody that's going to retire in the next 25 years, no changes whatsoever.
But for younger Americans, most of whom don't believe they'll get anything, from Social Security, today, I think, we can introduce commonsense and compassionate reforms that have all been on the table, for years.
But I have to tell you, I'm talking about it out there, because I think we have a moral obligation, to your grandchildren, and my grandchildren, not to leave this, not a mountain of debt, but a mountain range of debt to them.
PENCE: And we can do it if we have the courage.
BLITZER: And, just to be precise, on this matter? You agree then with Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, that the retirement age should be older for people now in their 20s? In other words, not 65, it should go up to 70 or 75. Is that what I hear you say?
PENCE: Well, it's on its way up.
Because, back in the day, in the 1980s, you and I are old enough to remember, President Ronald Reagan sat down, with Speaker Tip O'Neill. And they worked out an arrangement that extended Social Security's solvency, for decades, and it gradually increased the age of retirement.
Look, I thank God that Americans are living longer. The average life expectancy has continued to go up. We're healthier. I honestly think that younger Americans, in exchange for some of those modest reforms, would welcome changes, in the system that would lift the burden of debt on them.
BLITZER: So, what should retirement age be?
PENCE: Well I--
BLITZER: What would you raise the number to?
PENCE: Well, this is always where Washington goes, not you, but it's where Washington goes is "Let's pin you down, so we can shoot at you."
What I'm saying is, let's be straight with the American people, about the size of the problem. And let's sit people down, and generate the kind of leadership.
I mean, we're on track -- in the next two years, we'll spend more, on interest, on our national debt than we do, on the national defense, of this country. I have to tell you, for our national security, for our nation's well-being, we have to begin a conversation, about commonsense compassionate reform.
BLITZER: Let's move to another very, very important and sensitive issue, abortion.
A federal judge, as you know, in Texas, is now considering revoking FDA approval, of an abortion pill, here, in the United States. In abortion, that pill, it could have enormous consequences, for women, all across the country. Would you like to see authorization for that abortion pill revoked?
PENCE: Yes, I would. And in fact, the foundation we created, in Washington, has weighed in, to a court case, on just that point.
Look, those abortifacient drugs are very dangerous. It's a largely unreported story. But in this case, the FDA went beyond their legislative authority, to actually approve--
BLITZER: That's their responsibility, to approve or disapprove the abortion pills.
PENCE: No, look, drill down in the case, is you'll see, they went beyond their legislative authority. I'm a big believer. And you can't have these administrative agencies, essentially going beyond the law. We believe they did, in this case.
But look, I'm pro-life. I don't apologize for it. I truly do believe that these abortifacients are dangerous. I welcome States that are getting them -- that are getting them, off the shelf, and we'll continue to push back on this FDA approval.
BLITZER: I know you've supported a 15-week federal abortion ban, 15- week. Governor DeSantis recently backed a Republican proposal, for a six-week abortion ban, in Florida.
Would you support a six-week ban, nationwide?
PENCE: Well, of course. Look, I'm pro-life. I don't apologize for it. I believe that we've got to do everything, in our power, to restore the sanctity of life, to the center of American law. And I'd support federal legislation, in that regard, if I was in the Congress, or had any other job here in town.
But, to be honest with you, I fully expect this is most likely going to be resolved, on a state-by-state basis. I mean, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, they righted a historic wrong, and they returned the question of abortion, to the States, and to the American people. And for as long as I live, I'm going to be a champion for life, and continue to advocate, for a country that cares for the unborn, that cares for the newborn that comes alongside women, in crisis pregnancies, and I'll always stand for life.
BLITZER: I think your position is clear. You don't leave any doubt about it.
Mr. Vice President, thanks so much for the time.
PENCE: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Appreciate it very, very much.
Let's go back to Jake Tapper, on the indictment, the historic indictment, of Donald Trump.
TAPPER: Thanks, Wolf.
We obviously just heard, from former Vice President, Mike Pence, on this historic night, as his ex-boss, Donald Trump, becomes the first former President, in the history of the United States, to ever be indicted.
Let's get some perspective now from CNN Political Commentator, and former Illinois Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger, who was obviously on the January 6 committee.
Congressman, what's your reaction to the indictment?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE - ILLINOIS, (R) FORMER MEMBER, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Well, I mean, I think, we all are looking forward to reading it. Maybe "Looking forward" isn't the right word. But we all want to read it to see what's in it.
I think it is a -- I mean, Mike Pence expresses the concern of many people, which is, is this a political indictment? I tend to think, no, because I tend to think that nobody is above the law.
And as was mentioned, Michael Cohen paid a price, for this, a former President should pay a price for this as well, particularly knowing -- doing what he did. But that said, I think, we'll be able to tell when we read the indictment, what evidence is had, exactly what the nature of this is.
But there's no doubt, this is unprecedented. It is a somber and sobering day, because it is the first time in this country that a former President will be indicted, and that has some implications for the future. But again, nobody is above the law.
TAPPER: Again, we don't know what's in the indictment. Maybe it will come forward, and we'll all be stunned at all this new evidence, and all these new crimes that we didn't know about. But if it is not that, if it is what it appears to be, based on reporting, business crimes that might be considered, a misdemeanor, using a novel legal theory, because the crimes were used, to hide a federal campaign -- election campaign contribution law violation? Does that concern you? Does that concern you that it's maybe weak?
KINZINGER: Yes, would concern me. I mean, look, there are members of Congress that have gone to jail, for campaign finance violations, particularly ones they knowingly have done. So again, in this kind of mantra, of nobody's above the law, it's important to note.
But given the unprecedented nature of this, it's not necessarily saying that, New York should not go ahead with it. But I think we, I, anybody would prefer that if there's going to be other indictments for, say, January 6, or for the documents, or for what happened in Georgia, would have been much better had those gone first.
I believe in the law. I believe if somebody broke the law, they ought to pay the price for that. But again, when we read this, certainly hope that if the D.A. moved forward, that he has strong evidence and strong reason.
TAPPER: And what do you make of all of the individuals, your former colleagues, in the House of Representatives, who are really rallying, around Donald Trump, in very, very strong ways, including the threat of hauling, the District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, before Congress, to find out why he did what he did today?
KINZINGER: Well, I think it's completely inappropriate. I think they ought to wait for the indictment. They ought to wait to see what it is.
If it looks like a political indictment, which I'm not saying it is, but if it does? Then, you can come out and be opposed to it, and you can talk about what hearings to have.
But this kind of premeditated, going after the D.A., already knowing supposedly, what's in it, without having any clue what's in it?
Donald Trump, today, by the way called this, the darkest day in American history. And that takes into account, days like Pearl Harbor, days like 9/11, the Battle of Antietam. This is the darkest day to him in American history! It goes to show where his thoughts are.
And so, for my former colleagues? You all just need to take a deep breath. We're going to know soon enough what's in this indictment, and then you can make your statements.
But to do this so preemptively, I think, shows that this has nothing to do with the rule of law, and has everything to do with either cowardice, on the one hand, or just concerned for the political future that you have on the other.
TAPPER: And lastly, sir, we had on one of Donald Trump's attorneys, who is representing him, in the Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith's case, looking into the President's alleged crimes, or misdeeds, when it comes to classified documents, and also January 6.
Knowing so much about January 6, as you do, because of your position, on the committee, do you think Donald Trump committed crimes? And what crimes would they be?
KINZINGER: Yes, I certainly do. I mean, look, there is his involvement.
I think, particularly, when you look at the idea of sitting there, and saying to, just tell -- "Just say that the election was stolen, leave the rest to me, and the Republican congressmen," the premeditated knowledge that he knew? Not just -- he wasn't just an innocent bystander, with everything, leading up to January 6. And then, when January 6 happened, he sat there, and proactively did nothing, despite being the one man, with the authority, to do something.
If he is not guilty of some kind of crime, for what happened, then in this case, then there's major loopholes in the law, because I don't know, who would be guilty, for anything, at that moment.
So look, that's up to the -- I'm not the lawyer. It's up to the Justice Department, to make that decision. I'll trust that they come to the right answer.
But knowing what I know about January 6, everything that led up to it, and then on that actual day? My goodness! There's a lot of people that are paying a price, as they deserve to, for what they did on January 6. But the guy that lit the fire, certainly ought to need -- pay a price as well.
TAPPER: Former congressman, Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, thank you so much, really appreciate it. Good to see you again.
TAPPER: And I'm back with our panel here.
And let me ask you. Not knowing what Jack Smith, the Special Counsel, looking into January 6?
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes.
TAPPER: Not knowing what evidence he has uncovered, and not saying that you would support bringing these charges, were you in charge?
TAPPER: What crimes could he be looking into, based on the public record, based on the work of the January 6 committee?
MCCABE: Well, of course, we know what he's looking at, in terms of the Mar-a-Lago documents. That's a pretty understandable--
TAPPER: Yes, but related to January 6, though?
MCCABE: But, on January 6, I mean, there are a number of different charges that many people have discussed that Smith may be looking at. Fraud against the government, an attempt to obstruct a federal government function--
TAPPER: Proceeding? Yes.
MCCABE: --proceeding. So, there are plenty of statutes, for him, to look at.
The conduct we know that he's focused on, we know he's looking at the fraudulent electoral scheme.
We know simply from the raft of subpoenas that have been served, on individuals, who participated from, I think, it's across seven different States, now? We know that he's looking at the pressure, on Mike Pence, to delay the proceeding, to build more time, for his appeals, and his legal -- use of the legal system, to try to overturn the results of the election.
So, there's a ton. The problem in trying to figure out what Jack Smith is doing is there are so many different ways that he could be going, we're just not sure which ones he's assessed, as being the strongest yet.
TAPPER: What do you think, Laura?
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And curiously, as you spoke to Congressman Kinzinger, he has to really look at what was lacking, in the January 6 public hearings.
And what was lacking in the custom (ph) that was there was there was never any direct statements, really, of the former President of the United States, while he was in office, to someone, to either have a conspiracy, or to have a direct instruction that had a straight line through it. That's why the testimony of Vice President Mike Pence would be so critical.
"What did he say to you? Did he know that he had lost the election, when he's telling the public something very different?"
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
COATES: "How did you know that he knew that? What actions did he want to take, or for you to take, as the person, who was the head of the Senate, in that capacity?"
It's so vital to have the, who, what, when, where, why, in these instances, because that's the through line.
The January 6 is a much more serious and complex case, than of course, the Mar-a-Lago documents, which he's admitted to. But you can't lose sight of the fact that we still don't have these specific statements, of when Donald Trump, to the powers that be that he -- or he was trying to delegate the authority to, in that moment. BORGER: And, with Mike Pence, I mean, he had important private conversations.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: Right.
BORGER: And I'm told that he never repeated those private conversations, to his staff, even his closest aides. He never believed he should do that.
And if Donald Trump told him that he actually believed that he had lost the election? That is, Laura, that is so important to this case, because then why would you incite any kind of a riot, if you knew you actually had lost?
PHILLIP: And it seems to me the other piece of it is also, he -- we know that in the moment, when the riot was happening, when the crowds were outside, he'd opened the doors, to the Oval Office, to hear the crowds, was taking it in.
PHILLIP: People around him said that he seemed to be enjoying it. And that was part of the January 6 hearings.
But what really wasn't established, and it would be a big question mark, if Jack Smith would be able to establish this, is did he have any foreknowledge, of the plan, to make that rally, an Insurrection, to go, from The Ellipse, to something violent, over at the Capitol? That's the part that we don't really know.
How much did he know? How much did he know of what his aides may have known? And that's a key part of this.
Because when it's, you know, it's one thing to say he incited an Insurrection. We don't know, to what extent, he had foreknowledge that this whole thing was as pre-planned, as it seem to have been, with all of these different actors--
PHILLIP: --amassing weapons, in different places, and coming to Washington, fully-armed, and coming with a plan, and coming with, almost like tactical gear. How much of that was he aware of, directly or indirectly? And did he have an obligation to do something about it?
TAPPER: Yes. I mean, we did have the testimony, you remember, of Cassidy Hutchinson, who talked about this--
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
TAPPER: --the former top aide, to the then-Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, who testified that Donald Trump, at that rally, at The Ellipse, before the Insurrection began, knew that there were people with weapons--
GANGEL: Right, correct.
TAPPER: --in the crowd, wanted them to be able to get in the crowd, because, this is according to her testimony, they posed no threat to him.
TAPPER: And then also wanted that crowd to go to march on the Capitol.
GANGEL: And he wanted to go to the Capitol.
GANGEL: And even after he got back to the White House, he was pushing, to go to the Capitol.
I think there was something interesting that former Vice President Pence would not say, tonight, and that is what he will testify to that. He's putting off making the decision.
I think Gloria will tell you, we thought that he might say that tonight, in the interview, with Wolf. I would guess that he made a decision, he did not want to step, on the indictments, today, by saying how far he need to go--
PHILLIP: And he even looked into possibility--
BORGER: And listen--
PHILLIP: --that he would--
BORGER: Yes. And he doesn't -- he doesn't -- he's never sounded like somebody, who's going to fight the subpoena.
BORGER: Let's just say that. He's talking about the Constitution.
PHILLIP: But he didn't -- and but notably, he didn't say that tonight.
PHILLIP: He certainly could have. He could have said--
BORGER: "I'm not going to fight it."
PHILLIP: --"I'm not going to appeal. But we are still determining the contours of what I will or won't do."
BORGER: Right. PHILLIP: He didn't say that. It's very--
BORGER: No. He's very passive about that. He's happy to say that the right decision was made, in terms of his role, as head of the Senate, and Vice President of the United States. But he hasn't really said much. So, it leads me to believe that it's, you know?
MCCABE: Mike Pence needed the fight, but he didn't need the victory.
TAPPER: Explain what you mean by that.
MCCABE: He needed to -- he needed to push back on the subpoena. He needed to claim privilege. He needed to--
MCCABE: --look as if he wasn't knuckling under, and agreeing to what the prosecutors are trying to accomplish.
But, at the end of the day, he knows that those claims of privilege were going to fall apart, just like they have, for every other witness that has tried to assert executive privilege.
And then, of course, the concocted privilege of, "It was part of my congressional responsibility Speech and Debate Clause" is bit of a reach.
BORGER: No, but he won on that one.
MCCABE: He won a little bit. But there's a lot of area that wouldn't come near anything that could be credibly claimed, as Speech-and- Debate-protected.
TAPPER: As something else that he said to Wolf that I thought was interesting was when Donald Trump opened his rally, in Waco, Texas, which was an interestingly chosen site, for a rally, he had a musical tribute, by the January 6 prisoners. And it had images of that violent attack, on the Capitol.
And Wolf asked him, what he thought. And he obviously thought it was inappropriate, and said so.
And it's remarkable that we even have to have this discussion that a violent attack on the Capitol happened. And here is a former President, literally glorifying it, acting as though people, who acted in a violent way that day, to stop the counting of our votes, acting, as if they're political prisoners.
TAPPER: And yet, when Vice President Pence said it, I was like, "Oh, good. That's brave of him."
It's not actually brave for anyone, really. It's, these are criminals. COATES: It was the one time that he said, with in no uncertain terms, "No."
COATES: You always listen for the yes or no responses.
COATES: And Wolf actually had to say, "OK, explain what, why you feel that way," right?
GANGEL: And "They belong in prison. They belong in prison."
COATES: "They belong in prison."
TAPPER: "They belong in prison."
COATES: It wasn't just--
TAPPER: But that's a gutsy thing--
TAPPER: --for a Republican official, to say, these days--
TAPPER: --I am sad to say.
COATES: What a standard!
When you think about the idea, of -- you said that he was glorifying it? It was taunting.
It was essentially saying, these are the people who stormed this Capitol. They're singing, and they're singing the national anthem. And they're doing it at a rally, for someone, who's running for office, to be the President of the United States, again, and some still believe, is currently the President of the United States.
And so, this is, I remind people about the org chart of the Department of Justice, the Executive branch. They are the ones to enforce the law. So, to have somebody, who heads the Executive branch of government, or hopes to, to taunt and suggest that somehow they were really the equivalent of tourists, and now singing choral tourists, is very interesting.
But I'm always very stunned, frankly, when you had the statement, of Vice President Mike Pence, direct to Alvin Bragg, going back to the elected prosecutor role.
Now, I was a career prosecutor. I wasn't somebody, who was ever elected, to that position. But there's always this talking point. And, I think, sometimes, prosecutors invite the talking point, when they run a campaign, and a platform, going against a particular person. But here--
TAPPER: As Alvin Bragg did.
COATES: As Alvin Bragg did.
COATES: As Letitia James did, at one point.
BORGER: Letitia James, sure.
COATES: But the thing is, a lot of the people serving in the position who actually make the decisions, and actually investigate, are career prosecutors, as well, who are investigating these cases.
Alvin Bragg, I don't think, is the one, before the grand jury, saying, "Here, here's what I'd like to ask you to indict on." And so, it does discount just the actual process of an indictment, when you return to the idea of a political campaign. These are grand jurors, who made the decision, likely. What they have said, and what they will actually indict on, we're still waiting to know.
PHILLIP: But here's how these two stories connect. I mean, Donald Trump is running on the January 6 Insurrection, but he's also running on the insurrectionists being wrongfully persecuted. And he's connecting that to his, the allegations against him.
PHILLIP: He's tying those things together, very explicitly, in his reelection campaign. And that is also part of why this is so extraordinary, in just ways that you could never imagine, a former President doing, or a presidential candidate doing.
He's running on people, who are jailed, for an Insurrection, and tying all of these cases, against him, to those cases. And, I mean, Republicans are basically just saying, "Well, I wish he wouldn't do that." But nobody is really--
PHILLIP: Nobody's saying what Pence did tonight, which is saying, "That is wrong."
TAPPER: And let me throw this to Anderson. Here's a question for your panel, Anderson.
Does what Alvin Bragg, and the grand jury did today, does that help Donald Trump, with his base, and with maybe some other voters, outside of his base, make the argument that none of these prosecutions are fair?
TAPPER: Even though you and I know that that's not the case.
Whatever you think of Alvin Bragg? That has nothing to do with violent insurrectionists, being put in prison, for violence, on that day. Does what happened make that a little easier for Donald Trump to sell?
COOPER: Yes. Jake, appreciate it, with the panel.
Back here, with the team, in New York.
John, you've actually, while we were listening, to Vice President Pence, you have been talking about the threat matrix, the kind of threats that are already coming in.
MILLER: So, from the beginning, of the grand jury investigation, the NYPD and other agencies, the court officers, have been tracking threats that have been coming in, as a result of this. And what they've seen is an array of really interesting social media posts.
Some focus on "Well we'll surround Mar-a-Lago with people to protect Trump, from an arrest," to "We'll surround the courthouse," suggestions to bring guns, predictions of Civil War.
And then, a flip side to it, which has been also really interesting, posts, in social media platforms, saying, "Don't believe these calls to show up at demonstrations. These are false-flag operations, because there's thousands of NYPD officers that will be waiting for us. It's not going to be like the Capitol."
MILLER: To really interesting stuff, which is a lot of, I shouldn't say, a lot, a significant amount of this traffic is originating, in what Intelligence people think is foreign influence campaigns.
MILLER: These are IP addresses, talking about what patriots should do that are resolving back to Russia.
COOPER: That's interesting.
MILLER: So, they've seen the full panoply of threats.
COOPER: Kaitlan, how closely has the former President been following, I mean, obviously, all these legal battles, but even though the legal battles of others in his orbit, like Allen Weisselberg?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, CNN CO-ANCHOR, CNN THIS MORNING: Well, this is really important, because Allen Weisselberg was the CFO of the Trump Organization. And his arrest, and what's happened to him? He's obviously spending his final days, serving on his 100-day sentence, I believe it was. Right now, it really shocked Trump. It kind of has haunted him. He
keeps bringing it up in conversations, not just with his legal team, but also with friends, at dinners.
Because he cannot believe that and really fathom that someone, who was so close to him, for so long, has gone through this, often remarking, he can't believe that he was treated this way, essentially seeming to have this argument that it would never actually come to this point, with someone, like Allen Weisselberg, someone who worked so close with him.
And I think what people, who've heard Trump, say this, and I wonder if you think the same thing is, Trump obviously sees it through the lens of himself, and that happening to him.
And that's why, Maggie and I feel like, I've talked about this a lot, which is that this idea that Trump wanted to be indicted? It's just not accurate. I think, sure, he maybe tells some people, he wants to fight.
A lot of people have said, he's actually very surprised, tonight, by this, and the reality that this is actually a step he is going to be taking, as soon as next Tuesday, is really hitting home, for him, I think.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's absolutely right. I mean, when he was watching Allen Weisselberg surrender, because that was televised?
COOPER: Allen Weisselberg, by the way, was his Chief Financial Officer.
HABERMAN: That's right.
COOPER: I mean, he knew everything about the Trump Organization, had dedicated his life to not only Donald Trump, but to Donald Trump's father, before that.
HABERMAN: Yes. And so, it came with two layers of anxiety, on that front, Anderson. One is what will Allen Weisselberg do, in connection with Donald Trump, which was part of the anxiety, at the time.
But watching it, as he was arrested, Trump was saying -- I mean, he was really haunted by it, and kept saying something to the effect of "Can you believe what they're doing to that old man?" Now, Allen Weisselberg, is a little bit younger than Donald Trump, although he looks older. Trump has often experiences these things--
HABERMAN: --he often experiences these things through, imagining it for himself, as Kaitlan says. I mean, this is not really an act of empathy. It's more about, "And this could be me, next." And so, this idea that he wants to get perp-walked, that he wants to get fingerprinted, that he wants to be walked into whether, I don't know, if it's 100 Center Street, or 80 Center Street, whichever courthouse we're talking about? It's just not true.
That doesn't mean he won't lean into the spectacle, when it happens, because I fully anticipate he's going to do that.
But two things can be true at once. And one is that he will advantage, whatever card he's got, and he can still be afraid of this.
ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HATCHET MAN": And Anderson, I think Donald Trump is about to get a cold slap of reality here. Because, over the years, he has seen many people, around him, get indicted, and, in some instances actually sent to prison, Allen Weisselberg, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort. Yes, he's always seem to sort of dodge between the raindrops.
But this is the criminal justice process. This is different. There's no amount of politicking, it doesn't matter what the count is, in the Senate, between Republicans and Democrats. It doesn't matter what people tweet. You cannot influence this process.
It ultimately will come down to what happens in that courtroom, 12 jurors, one defendant, table of prosecutors. And if they find him guilty, he's going to be a convicted felon, and there's just no dodging it. So, this is a real moment, I think, of reckoning, for Donald Trump.
JESSICA ROTH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: And it's likely to be the beginning of a long, the first chapter of a long book, perhaps. If charges are filed in other jurisdictions, this is just the beginning.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, there are other major investigations going on.
ROTH: There are other major investigations. So, this is just a prelude of more that may be to come. And he may wind up, traveling around the country, defending himself, into a host of jurisdictions, as the charges come in. So, this is the beginning, of a very significant chapter, in his life, and in the country's life.
HABERMAN: But can I just make one point? We also -- this still has to go before a judge. A judge could knock these charges back.
This is a novel case. This has not been a tested legal theory. So, we are predicting one course of action, and that could happen. But the other thing that could happen is the judge ends up reducing this, in some way.
In some ways, Trump's best hope is in pre-trial motions, because if this actually gets to trial, I think, in Manhattan, it's going to be tough for him.
HONIG: Let me -- two quick ways, he's going to challenge this, legally. One, he's going to argue, you cannot charge a federal campaign violation--
HONIG: --in the race for president, in state court.
HONIG: The other thing is, if you look at these business falsification records cases that have been brought, in the past? They're usually where a company falsifies a record, takes out and goes and uses it to commit a financial fraud, to steal money, from a bank, from an investor, from a customer.
This is a little different. We're talking about campaign finance laws. So, those are going to be two motions that Maggie's right, will go to a judge, where they're going to ask the judge to knock these charges back.
COOPER: David Urban, how do you think the former -- I mean, you know, the former President. How do you think he is looking at this?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, I agree with Maggie.
It is a sobering fact that he is going to soon have to walk into that courtroom, excuse me, into the court -- the courthouse there, and be fingerprinted, put his hands down, and have his photograph taken. And he's not going to like it. He's not going to like it at all.
But he will come out, and lean into it, as Maggie said. I agree, I completely agree with it.
But it is a completely sobering thing. And I think it's going to affect him deeply.
COOPER: Van Jones, what, I mean--
VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think--
COOPER: --there's still so many -- so much about these charges we do not know.
JONES: Exactly. And I think that we need to wait and get more information.
And we also need to start sticking up, for Alvin Bragg.
There is a group of people, out there. They say they're patriots. They have no respect for law enforcement. They beat up 100 cops, on January 6. They have no respect for the FBI. They call them the "Deep State."
And they have no respect for this prosecutor, who is the law enforcement officer, of his district, trying to enforce the laws. And the idea, he's going to be smeared, he's going to be attacked?
This whole idea that he's George Soros-sponsored? Most people don't know, that goes into some very tricky territory, in some parts of the right-wing that focus on the fact that George Soros is Jewish. There's a lot of nasty stuff, beginning to swirl here, against this D.A.
JONES: Against this prosecutor. And he needs to be defended, and protected.
COOPER: I want to thank my panel--
JONES: Until we find out, what's actually going on, he needs to be defended and protected.
COOPER: Yes. I want to thank my panel.
Our coverage continues, right now.