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CNN Live Event/Special
Extraordinary Rebuke: TN GOP Expels Two Dems Over Gun Control Protest; Stormy Daniels: Trump Shouldn't Be Jailed For Hush Money Payment; Dimon: We Want American Public To Have Trust In Banks. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 06, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It's already gotten national attention. And the tension it represents between Red and Blue states, in America, that tension is certainly not going away.
And the news continues. CNN PRIMETIME with Kaitlan Collins starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME (voice-over): Tonight, chaos in Music City.
(PEOPLE CHANT "WE STAND WITH THE TENNESSEE THREE!")
COLLINS (voice-over): Tennessee Republicans, targeting three Democrats, for a gun violence protest, in a dramatic act of political retribution.
JUSTIN PEARSON, (D) TENNESSEE STATE HOUSE: We are losing our democracy. That is what's happening in the State of Tennessee.
COLLINS (voice-over): Why this extraordinary rebuke could set a precedent.
Plus, Stormy Daniels breaking her silence, after Donald Trump's indictment, why she says he shouldn't go to prison.
Also, the man in charge of America's biggest bank has a sobering prediction for the economy.
JAMIE DIMON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: We are seeing, people reduce lending a little bit, cut back a little bit, pull back a little bit. It won't necessarily force a recession, but it is recessionary.
COLLINS (voice-over): Poppy Harlow's exclusive interview with Jamie Dimon.
And yachts, vacations and a billionaire! Explosive new reporting, on a Supreme Court justice, raising new concerns, about the nation's highest court.
This is CNN PRIMETIME. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COLLINS: Good evening. I'm Kaitlan Collins.
And I am joined here tonight, by an all-star cast, of CNN talent, from across the network, Sara Sidner, Van Jones and Phil Mattingly. We're all going to break down the day's biggest stories.
But tonight we are going to start here with a showdown in the South, at the intersection of the First and Second Amendments.
State Republicans, in Tennessee, have just ousted two Black Democrats, from office, while sparing the third, a White woman, after they led a protest, on the House floor, calling for lawmakers, to do something, in the wake of last week's Nashville school shooting that left three 9-year-old children dead.
State Representative, Gloria Johnson, who survived her vote, underscored that she saw race playing a role in that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA JOHNSON, (D) TENNESSEE STATE HOUSE: What's the difference, where I made it through, and these two young men did not make it through?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know!
JOHNSON: I think - you're right. We know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know well.
JOHNSON: We know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Moments ago, the third Democrat that you see there, on the left, Justin Pearson was also expelled.
So, just how rare is this type of political retribution? It's only happened three times, in the last two centuries, in Tennessee. Once, after the Civil War, over slavery. In 1980, after a lawmaker solicited a bribe. And seven years ago, when the Majority Whip faced allegations, of sexual misconduct. So, it's understandable, that is the context that led to the tense scene, we saw today.
Of course, my panel is here with me, as I noted, at the beginning.
Van Jones, I want to start with you, because you've lived in Nashville.
VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
COLLINS: You know this area well.
JONES: I was born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee. I worked in that State Legislature. I got my start in that State Legislature.
You never do what they did. There are people that have peed on the chairs, and weren't expelled. You go to the Ethics committee. You get a reprimand. You get to talk into, especially when you've been in there, for two months. Those young men have been there for two months. You never see that! You never see that!
And they have made a huge mistake. Because, those two young men are brilliant. They are well-trained. They come out of the tradition of John Lewis, Diane Nash. They have just elevated two voices, for a new generation. It is a disgusting act that they did, and they're going to regret it. Those young men are going to be famous forever, long after the people who voted them out are dead and forgotten.
COLLINS: And I think what you say about what happened to other people, is so important here, because what they did was they brought a bullhorn, onto the floor. They had this protest. They said their mics were cut. That was part of why they did that. And that was the reason behind their actions of what they were calling for, which is change to gun laws.
JONES: Look, they deserve to get a spank on the wrist, for that. You can't go in there with bullhorns, and all that sort of stuff. If everybody did that you'd never get anything done. But there, you go to the Ethics committee for that. You get to talking to for that, and you get a second chance. They've been there for two months!
So yes, you can't do stuff like that. But they were passionate, because children have been murdered. They were passionate, because people have been gunned down, and nothing is being done. And so, their passion got the best of them. But that shouldn't have brought out the worst in the older folks, there. They have made a big mistake, by making those young men famous.
COLLINS: Standby, everyone, because we do have a Representative, from Tennessee, Jeremy Faison. He is the Tennessee Republican Caucus Chair, joining us now.
And good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Can you just kind of explain to us why you believe these two members have just been expelled?
JEREMY FAISON, TN REPUBLICAN CAUCUS CHAIR: Thank you. That's a great question.
First of all, I'd like to say this is a terribly sad time. This is a very grave situation that someone would be expelled.
Before that, we've had some serious tragedies, in Tennessee, and the six innocent lives that were lost, last week, are absolutely devastating. So, I want to make sure that we mentioned that. That's one of the biggest things going on, right now, in Tennessee.
You asked me specifically about why do I think they would be expelled? And I think that's a great question, and America deserves to know.
We have several hundred years, over 200 years of an incredible state - incredible State House history that's rich. Tennessee is one of the most important states in all of America.
We have had literally thousands of State Reps, since 1796, who have worked, and then after 1859, have worked in this very chamber that you're seeing me in today. They have all understood that there are rules and procedures to ensure that every voice is heard.
There's almost 7 million Tennesseans. And we have come up with these ideas that the best way for everybody to be heard is to make sure that we follow the rules of decorum.
FAISON: These members have come in this entire - oh, go ahead.
COLLINS: Let me just, Representative there, interrupt to say, I understand decorum. Van was just making the point there. Of course, not everyone could bring a bullhorn, and every time they disagreed. Otherwise, it would be total chaos.
But why take this step? Was there no measure you could have taken before this, before expulsion? Why take the most extreme step so quickly?
FAISON: So, that's an excellent question.
More than just what America has seen that took place, last Thursday, there's a history, all year long, of disrupting committees, in the House floor, getting off of the germane topic - when I say germane, that means what we're dealing with, at that moment, just to make political grandstanding.
We've called them out. The Chairman of Committees, the Speaker of the House have been calling them out, time and time again, for grabbing the mic, sucking the air out of the room, making sure no other voice is heard.
And finally, when they come, and act so foolish, on the House floor? This is a sacred place that belongs to everybody. And literally, start looking up into the gallery, with a bullhorn, getting the protesters worked up into a frenzy? That is incumbent on us to say, "You've gone a step too far. And we're going to take steps, to make sure that if you ever do come back, if you get reelected, that, you know, it's a serious thing to Tennesseans that you come and disrupt the People's House."
So I think it was very--
COLLINS: The Speaker - the Speaker of your--
FAISON: --very important for us to do that.
COLLINS: The Speaker here likened what they did to what happened on January 6, in Washington, D.C. Do you agree with that comparison?
FAISON: I believe them coming in and taking over the House? They called it "Occupying the well." The well is where we send up front to pass our bills. That is incredibly disruptive, and embarrassing, to the Legislature, the institution that we have here.
And I didn't see anybody in Congress, try to take over. Now, I saw some really big idiots that I hope are punished to the full extent of the law, come and break into the Capitol, and act foolish, on January 6. But I didn't see a congressman act this way.
What we saw here in Tennessee is three elected State Representatives, who know the rules, who understand that this place belongs to everybody? They come in, and rush up here, and take over the House floor, and refuse even when our Sergeant-at-Arms - he's a gentle soul, several of them are, just great men, come in and gently encourage them, "Guys, not right now. Let's don't do this." I mean, they told - they send them away.
It was - it's an embarrassment, to everybody, to see someone come and behave like that. And good gentle souls, who are Sergeant-at-Armss, that have been here for years, come in there, and try to encourage you, "Hey, you're making a mistake." And they didn't do it.
And I'd like to add to you all, they've not backed down from that either. I told them, earlier today, I feel like, if they would have said, "You know what? We messed up," I mean, what American, what human, won't bring forgiveness and redemption?
But they doubled down, and went so far, as to stand in the well today, and said, "I'd do it again." That was their mentality. That shows me when there's a pattern of behavior like that, if you refuse to stop it yourself? Then, we have to step in, as a group of individuals that work with you, and say, "You will not do that here."
COLLINS: Well, they said they're passionate because of the underlying reason that I think is important here, to also remind people, which is because six people were killed, in a shooting, last week.
And just, on your point, on January 6, the reason the congressmen weren't doing this is because they were being evacuated, because the insurrectionists were taking over the Capitol.
But I do want to let my colleague here, Van Jones. He also has a question, for you.
And thank you, again, for being here tonight.
JONES: Thank you for joining us.
I just wonder--
FAISON: Yes, sir.
JONES: --there are people, who are members of that State Legislation? By the way, I worked for Jim Naifeh, Speaker Naifeh. I got my start, in the State Legislature, so.
FAISON: Wow! He's a friend. I love him.
JONES: Exactly, one of the best ever.
And I'm from Madison County, born in Jackson, Tennessee. So, I know how things work in that State Legislature. And you have an array of tools, sir, as a leader, to get people to comply.
Why did you not go to the Ethics committee? Why did you not go through a due process? If you are here, saying, you want this legislator to be respected, why are you not following the rules, and using the tools that you have? You want them to not be extreme, but you're being extreme. Why is that?
FAISON: So, lot of accusation, on your part there.
FAISON: We actually are following the rules. And we gave them ample chance. We established what was taking place, on Monday. There was due process.
JONES: Did you go to the Ethics committee?
FAISON: It is not just up to me. There is actually, you know, so 71, I think, or 70 of the members, who after looking at what took place, today? They voted to expel one of them. And then 69--
JONES: Why did you not use the Ethics committee? I'm just trying to understand, why did you not go the Ethics committee, and do the things that are always done in that body?
You have not done this to anybody, except for two people, in 200 years. You can't tell me that there have not been people who have also been disrupted. You've had people that have peed on chairs that did not get expelled!
So, I don't understand why you skipped the Ethics committee. If you want our respect, and if you want for people to be reasonable, why are you being so unreasonable? And why are you skipping steps? I don't understand. You seem to be contradicting - you're not acting the way you want the young people to act.
FAISON: So, the story of someone urinate on somebody's chairs is never been quantified. I've heard many people say that. I don't think there's any truth to that.
So, what you need to understand is, this is a body of people, who decide, corporately, what we're going to do moving forward. This body spoke many times. I brought our caucus together, several times, since last Thursday, to ask the body, what we, as a group, wanted to do. The overwhelming majority, the heartbeat of this caucus, says, "Not on this House floor! Not this way!" So, if there was an idea of send it to the Ethics group, this group, my caucus, which is the supermajority, there are 75 of us, said, "No, that is not - we don't want to go the Ethics route. We don't want them censored. We want them expelled."
So, when you're in leadership, you encourage people, to look at all the aspects, and then you work with what the majority of your people want to do. And that's exactly what we did.
SARA SIDNER, ANCHOR, CNN NEWS CENTRAL, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sir, it's Sara Sidner. I had a question.
You mentioned that you thought that the Representatives were riling up the crowd.
And I can tell you, from the reporters that were out there, the crowd was already riled up. They are extremely upset that your Legislature wasn't trying to deal with the issue, of keeping children safe, in school, but instead going after these two Democrats.
And I wonder sir, who are you punishing? Because yes, you have kicked out these two Democrats. But there are tens of thousands of constituents that are also being punished, and don't have any representation, right now.
What do you say to them?
FAISON: So, first of all, let's enter (ph) the part that you said. You didn't think - the crowd was already worked up, so they weren't working them up? I'd like you to go back and watch.
Watch what took place today. They literally controlled the crowd. They controlled the protesters. They look at them, they do their hand, like this, they do their hand, like this? It's like leading the choir.
So, the notion that you think that they weren't getting the people incited, and worked up, into a frenzy? Unfortunately, you weren't here. You didn't see it. That's exactly what they did.
SIDNER: Our reporters were there. And they talked to some of them.
FAISON: And they proved to us, today, by standing up--
SIDNER: They talked to some of them. And some of them were teachers, who were so distraught. They were near tears, because they could not believe that their lawmakers were doing this, as opposed to dealing with the biggest issue at hand.
The number one killer of children is gun violence. And they wanted you all to do something about that, instead of wasting time, in their mind, when it comes to this. I mean, they literally talked about it, on the air. So, they were already quite worked up, because they love their State, and they love their kids, and they want to see a safer place for the children. And themselves, really. FAISON: So, I'm sure that's what you think. But we watched them today, directing them, like a choir leader would. That was what was amazing.
And I'll tell you this - and unfortunately, I've got to go. I'm three and a half hours from home.
It's not possible, for us, to move forward, with the way they were behaving, in committee, and on the House floor. There's got to be some peace.
And for them, the way they were behaving, to disrupt every committee, disrupt the House floor, they were, how can we get to the - to the answers of what are we going to do about gun violence? What are we going to do about guns and cars? What are we going to do about red flag law? The conversation can't happen, because they're drowning out and sucking all the air out of the room.
So, I would just push back on you saying we can't get there, if they won't let us.
And thank you for letting me speak with you. God bless you all.
COLLINS: Representative? Representative, I know you got a long drive home. One final question for you.
All right, well, Jeremy Faison has left us. He's the Republican Chair, in Tennessee. Of course that was the House that voted, tonight, to expel these two Republicans - or these two Democrats, I should note.
COLLINS: The question I wanted to ask him was the idea that they voted to expel two of them, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson.
SIDNER: Right, not Ms. Johnson.
COLLINS: Gloria Johnson, though, survived by one vote. She fell short of the two-thirds majority. And she made clear why she thinks that happened.
SIDNER: Yes, she said it was race. I mean, plain and simple.
I think one of the things that we didn't talk about, but I think it's really important? You alluded to it, Van. Mr. Jones is 27-years-old. He is the youngest member of the Tennessee State House. Mr. Pearson is 28-years-old. He won in a landslide, in Memphis.
And when you look at these two young people? And we are always telling young people, "Get involved! Get involved! Make sure you vote! Make sure you take part in the process!" They're taking part in the process, and they've just been expelled.
So, what does that tell all the other young people, who are watching this, right now, going, "Well, why would I get involved in that, if that's what's going to happen?"
COLLINS: Do you think it's a generational thing?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think it's very clearly, you just have to look at it. And it's a generational thing.
Whether or not - I think there are a lot of dynamics here that are both very complex, and I think have a lot of layers to them, in terms of suburban, rural, exurban cities, generational issues, race issues. And I think all of that is combined.
We see this in a lot of states, around the country. Just look at the electoral results, on Election Night, and what's blue, and what's red, and you see the divide, just growing, and becoming more significant, every single year. It seems like every single election cycle.
My biggest question, right now, what's the end game? And that's what I would have asked the Conference Chair, or the Speaker, outside of the absurdity of his comparison, to January 6. "What's your endgame? What do you think this is going to get you?"
Because, to Van's point, you just put two, and I think it's very clear, remarkably talented orators, who understand what they're doing, center-stage, in a national spotlight, and gave them a platform that they never would have had.
The Congressman alluded to this. I was texting with a Republican operative, in the State, who I've known for a long time, who was very frustrated that we weren't covering the Republican governor and Legislature's proposals related to hardening schools, making schools safer.
My point, to him, is "You did this. You did this." This did not have to happen. People could have been talking and having a very legitimate policy debate, where the differences are very understood.
MATTINGLY: And, by the way, they have a supermajority. There was no chance any of these gun bills, pushed by these Democrats, were going to move through. So, what's the endgame here? This is the probably biggest piece of political malpractice, on a state level that I've seen, in a very long time.
And both of those individuals, who were expelled, as well as the third Representative, who barely survived, are going to be front and center, every day of the week, and every of the thousands of people that have been there, will be talking about this issue, and rallying about this issue, and elevating this issue, for weeks to come, as opposed to this becoming a policy debate. Republicans were going to win anyway.
JONES: They didn't get expelled. They got propelled. They got propelled.
COLLINS: Yes. And Justin Jones says they will be there, whether they're inside the courthouse, or outside of it. We'll watch to see what they do.
Also, we're going to keep tracking those developments, out of Tennessee.
But also, we have new sound, tonight, new interview, from Stormy Daniels, on former President Trump's arrest and arraignment. Would she testify against the former President, if she's given the chance? And does she want to see him behind bars? Her answers, when we return.
But first, as we go to break, we do want to take a moment, tonight, to remember what is at the heart, of what is happening, in Nashville, tonight. Those headlines. As I mentioned earlier, these three students, and these adults, were killed, inside their school. Cynthia, Mike, Katherine. And the three children, each of them, just 9-years- old, Evelyn, Hallie and William.
COLLINS: Tonight, Stormy Daniels is speaking out, for the first time, since Trump pleaded not guilty, to charges, stemming from a hush money payment, a hush money scheme, to cover up their alleged affair, in the days leading up to the 2016 election, when word of it became public.
The adult film star, now telling Piers Morgan, she would, quote, "Absolutely" testify, in a potential trial, if she was asked to, saying, quote, "It's daunting, but I look forward to it. You know what I mean? Because I have nothing to hide. I'm the only one that has been telling the truth."
I should note here that Trump has denied that affair with Daniels. He's weighed in on it many times.
She also weighed in on a potential punishment, for Trump, telling Piers Morgan, "Specific to my case, I don't think that his crimes against me are worthy of incarceration. I feel like the other things that he has done, if he is found guilty - absolutely."
Only a handful of people were inside the courtroom this week, to witness Trump's historic arraignment, including the sketch artist, Jane Rosenberg, whose work, you're seeing here, will be featured on the cover of "The New Yorker."
Jane is here at the table, with us now.
We will talk more about what it was like, to be, Jane, in that courtroom, in a moment, because what a remarkable, remarkable moment for you.
But Sara, I want to start with you, on what we're hearing, from Stormy Daniels. What do you make of her speaking out publicly now?
SIDNER: Not surprised. She is a person that is used to now being in the spotlight.
She sort of acts like she doesn't really like it, but she clearly is fine with it. She makes jokes on Twitter. She was joking throughout this time. She sort of tweeted out, I think, right as the trial was about to begin, she's like, "Is anything going on," right? I mean, everybody is cracking up.
But I think she said something that was - the most poignant thing, to me, that she said was, to Donald Trump. And it was "Just tell the truth. Stop all this. Just tell the truth." She said she'd tell the truth, both on the stand and elsewhere. And she has demanded that he tell the truth. And so, we'll see what happens.
But I think she is very clear that she doesn't want him to go to jail, for this alleged misconduct, but that she wants him, to finally tell the truth, because she feels like she's been put in this spot, where people have been saying, she's a liar. And she's like, "I'm not lying about this. I'm telling the truth."
SIDNER: She wrote a whole book about it and about him. And so, it'll be interesting to see if she ends up on the stand.
And Van, we watched Trump's speech, on Tuesday night, together. How worried do you think he is about a Stormy Daniels' testimony, at a potential trial?
JONES: He seems worried. He seems worried overall.
Now, the grand jury process did not include her. So, I think, it's unlikely that a prosecutor that didn't use her, during a grand jury, would use her at trial.
But I don't think he - obviously, he was willing to pay money to have her not be around. He doesn't want her around now.
Jane, OK, you were in the courtroom.
JANE ROSENBERG, COURTROOM SKETCH ARTIST AT DONALD TRUMP'S ARRAIGNMENT: I thought I heard she will testify.
COLLINS: She said she's willing to testify.
SIDNER: She's willing.
COLLINS: We'll see what the trial looks like.
ROSENBERG: Yes. I kind of heard that she will. Well we'll see.
COLLINS: Well if she does, wait, you may be in the courtroom for that!
And so, I mean, this is fascinating. No cameras.
ROSENBERG: I did sketch her already.
COLLINS: You have sketched her before?
ROSENBERG: Michael Stewart - Michael Cohen arraignment.
COLLINS: OK. So, you know all the--
ROSENBERG: And Avenatti trial. Yes, I've seen her a few times.
SIDNER: You see them all.
COLLINS: What was it like at the courtroom that day?
ROSENBERG: For the Trump case?
ROSENBERG: It was very intense. I've never seen so much court security ever, in any case. I've been doing this for 33 years.
They had court officers, down the aisle, back - with their backs to each other. They were facing - one per individual row, guarding the whole row, one faced to the left, one faced to the right.
And it was very intense. Nobody went - no - there were no scenes, no outbreaks, or anything, in the courtroom. A lot of Secret Service around, a lot of security. It was very intense. And then, it was President - ex-President Trump came in. It's a big thing.
MATTINGLY: Can I ask you, how do you prepare, for something like - several of your court sketches have become famous in the past. Is that you're not new to this.
MATTINGLY: "The New Yorker" cover, a nice touch. But you've already been there, done that, with all the publicity.
ROSENBERG: No, it's - oh, it's a big deal.
MATTINGLY: A lot of viral sketches yourself.
But are you sitting there, in advance of the trial, or advance of the arraignment, sketching him out, thinking through pictures? Like, we prepare for a show, or a live shot, trying to go through a reporting, and what we're going to say, and what we're going to think. How are you preparing, for Donald Trump, to sketch him? ROSENBERG: I did a cover of "New York Magazine," a few years ago, where I had to draw Donald Trump, for the cover. So, I did spend a long time studying his face.
And it is important to understand the structure of his face, which I did look at photos, and try to understand, and I did spend some time, then. I did few little thumbnail sketching, before.
But you can't know in advance what expression he'll have, when he walks in that room. Will he have a smirk, like Bannon had? Or, I just didn't know, until that moment happened.
MATTINGLY: What did he have?
SIDNER: Did it change throughout?
ROSENBERG: I did two sketches.
And the first one, he looked a little grumpy.
But the second one, I did, he turned, and did like a side-eye glower, at the prosecutor. And I thought, "Aha, I got to get that." So that's what my - the one that went viral was that sketch, that moment.
SIDNER: Because there are no video cameras, in there, getting all this, how do you capture moments, like that one, or ones, where you think this is an important part of history? Because your sketches become the historic record of that case.
ROSENBERG: It's not easy, because I did start another sketch, with all those court officers. And then, I did the defense table, in front of it, with Trump in that. But I wasn't that happy with my Trump sketch.
And then, he - suddenly, he pled not guilty. I thought, "Oh, I better draw that," and took out another paper, and I thought I have to have him, with his mouth opening, talking to the judge.
But I only started to draw it, he did that turn, and the glare, at the prosecutor, and the side-eye expression, I thought, "Oh, I got to do that." And he held that for quite a while. So, I stayed with it. And my hands are moving so fast, faster than my brain, searching through--
SIDNER: As they say, a picture worth a thousand words!
COLLINS: Yes, as they say.
SIDNER: You've got it.
COLLINS: A sketch is worth double that!
ROSENBERG: Thank you. Thank you. COLLINS: All right, Jane, fascinating to hear from that, and to hear that about that glare at the prosecutor. I don't think we knew that before.
Jane Rosenberg, thank you for joining us, at the table, tonight.
ROSENBERG: Thank you. OK.
COLLINS: All right, up next, superyachts, private jets, lavish vacations, all paid for by a Republican megadonor. Inside a stunning new report, out today, and serious legal questions that are now surrounding Supreme Court justice, Clarence Thomas.
COLLINS: All right, there's a new controversy, tonight, involving Supreme Court justice, Clarence Thomas.
ProPublica is now reporting in an in-depth story that for more than two decades, Justice Thomas, and his wife, Ginni Thomas, have secretly accepted luxury trips, from the billionaire Republican donor, Harlan Crow.
These trips include flights, on his private jet, cruising, on his superyacht, also going to far-flung places, like a trip, in Indonesia, 2019, as well as trips to an exclusive all-male retreat, in California, that's known as the Bohemian Grove.
Josh Kaplan is one of the ProPublica reporters, who broke this story. And luckily, he joins us now, at this table.
I mean, this story has kind of rocked not just New York, and Washington, Phil as well, I think you would agree. Tell us what your reporting found?
JOSH KAPLAN, PROPUBLICA REPORTER WHO BROKE STORY ON JUSTICE THOMAS: Yes. So, we found that Clarence Thomas has been taking luxury trips, from a billionaire real estate magnate, and Republican megadonor, virtually every year, for over 20 years. And, as you said, private jet flights, around the world, international yacht cruises, regular trips to a private resort, invitation-only, staffed by private chefs.
The Indonesia trip, you mentioned, he - this is in 2019. Just one recent example. He flew - Thomas flew, on the billionaire's private jet, to Indonesia, and spent nine days, island-hopping, on a superyacht, staffed by, you know, with a full staff.
COLLINS: The day after the court finished its term that year, right?
KAPLAN: A couple days, a couple days.
And yes, if - we were told that if Thomas had charted that all himself? It would have cost at least $500,000.
KAPLAN: It's a - it's a nice private jet!
MATTINGLY: That's not how you travel?
SIDNER: That is not how I roll at all!
MATTINGLY: Let me ask you. So, this ethics, related to the Supreme Court, had been kind of a bubbling issue, in Congress, for a number of years. Now, there's some bills that have already been proposed. I think your story is probably going to jar loose a few more, to say the least.
But can you explain to people why even the parts that I think, right now, are up in the air, as to whether or not they were legal or problematic, why Supreme Court justices could do something like this, not have to report it, and have nobody know, were it not for your investigation?
KAPLAN: Yes. So, I mean, I think one of the root issues here is that Supreme Court justices face very little transparency, and very little oversight, compared to essentially every other member of the federal government.
Where, I mean, for instance, while it is, experts told us it appears to have violated the law that he didn't disclose these trips? There are no restrictions, really, or there are few restrictions, on what gifts justices can accept? And that's a really stark contrast, from the other branches of government. So, essentially, I mean, the Supreme Court has, for a while been left to almost entirely to police itself.
SIDNER: You know what I find interesting? Lower courts can be policed, if you will, by Congress, because Congress can pose ethics rules, on lower courts.
The Supreme Court is deemed and put in place by the Constitution. And nobody has a rules of ethics, at the Supreme, let me say that, again, the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land? It literally, it blows my mind, to think about that, that there are no rules. That they have decided, amongst themselves, they could say, "Listen, we have got to have something in place," if for nothing else, than the word, legitimacy.
SIDNER: Because, everyone is worried about all of the different problems, with sort of the government, and whether or not they're going to see this court, or any further court, as a legitimate court. If they can't police themselves, why are they policing us?
JONES: Well, this goes to the Founders and the Framers recognized that you have to have what they called republican virtues, not capital-R republican, but virtues that support having a republic, having the rule of law, having democracy. And they didn't think that you would actually have to tell people not to take $500,000 of like, fun trips, and not report on it, because there was this idea that you would have virtues, alongside of the words that are written down.
And one of the things I think is really interesting is that when you hear from Clarence Thomas, when he speaks, he speaks so much about virtues, ethics, morality, et cetera.
His main grievance against the country is that people are getting away from those values. And yet, in his own life, he's not practicing the values of transparency, of ethical conduct.
And so, it causes a real, I think, problem, for the country, when they are not policing themselves. And in fact, they are yelling at the rest of us for doing stuff they're not doing on their own.
COLLINS: What's the defense that you're hearing, from Clarence Thomas, or the Supreme Court, on this?
KAPLAN: So, Clarence Thomas, we sent him detailed questions, followed up repeatedly. He didn't respond. So, we haven't heard from Thomas.
His friend, the billionaire, Harlan Crow, told us they're very dear friends. And he acknowledged that he's extended hospitality, to Thomas, over the years, but said, one that Thomas hadn't asked for any of it, and also that, it was no different than what he's extended to his many other dear friends.
SIDNER: Can I just quickly ask you? Is there any case that you found, where perhaps there was a conflict of interest that Clarence Thomas looked at it that involved any business dealings, with his friend, his very wealthy friend?
KAPLAN: Yes, I mean, so Crow has never personally had a case, before the Supreme Court. Most people don't.
KAPLAN: Or at least not very often.
He - but, I mean, but he does have vast financial and ideological interests. So, he's - one, he is a enormously successful business figure.
KAPLAN: And also, he's given millions of dollars, to ideological efforts, to shape the judiciary, to shape the law, including the Federalist Society.
He's also - he sits on the board of major think tanks that publish conservative legal scholarship, that's advancing specific theories. Their scholars occasionally file amicus briefs, with the Supreme Court. So, it's a complicated question. And it's, I also should note that he's given 10 - over $10 million, in disclosed donations, but we know he's also given to dark money groups. And so, it's, to a certain extent, there's an unknown there.
COLLINS: Safe to say - I mean Clarence Thomas is no stranger to scrutiny. Neither is his wife. And safe to say, this is only adding to it.
Josh Kaplan, thanks for your reporting, and thanks for sharing it with us, tonight.
KAPLAN: Thanks a lot for having me.
SIDNER: Good job.
JONES: Good job.
COLLINS: All right, up next, to the view from the C-suite. For the first time, Jamie Dimon, who is the head of one of America's biggest financial firms, is reacting, exclusively, to the recent bank crashes, and whether the worst is really behind us.
COLLINS: All right, now to a very special treat, tonight, in a CNN Exclusive interview, with the Chief of America's largest banks, one of them.
Jamie Dimon, he's the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. He sat down, with Poppy Harlow, to talk about the state of the banking system, and the U.S. economy. This is his first interview that he has given, since the sudden failures, of Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank.
Poppy joins us now, late at night.
POPPY HARLOW, CO-ANCHOR, CNN THIS MORNING: Just got back, from the interview, in Atlanta. It's good to be here.
COLLINS: I mean, the timing here though, could not be adder (ph) to sit down with him, and to get his perspective, on all of this.
HARLOW: I think you're totally right. Because not only is Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the biggest bank, in the country, over $3 trillion in assets. He's the one that Janet Yellen, at Treasury, has been calling, that the White House has been meeting with. As Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failed, they went to Jamie Dimon.
And for the first time we're hearing his account of where we are in this crisis. So, here it is.
HARLOW: I just read your annual letter that just came out this week. And let's dive into the banking crisis, because you write a lot about it, in there.
You have been the Wall Street CEO, Jamie, at the middle of trying to steady this banking crisis. You're the one that Janet Yellen, at Treasury, has been calling. You've been meeting with these folks, all weekend long, for the past month or so, trying to get a handle on this.
Is the current banking crisis over?
DIMON: Yes. First, I want to say, all the bank CEOs did it. So, I may have been the first phone call. But everyone was on every call, talking about ideas, and what works. And they're all patriots, and want to help, save the system, and make it work better, and also, to help the regional banks, and community banks.
So the people think the big banks benefited because deposits came. Well deposits came. It's not what anyone wanted. This is not good for the banking system. Because we want the American public, to have trust in all the banks, and we also completely acknowledge that community banks can do things we can't. And so, we try to support the system. And so, we all came together.
This is not 2008, OK? This is much more limited. There only a handful of banks that had this particular problem. They'll eventually be resolved, one way or another. And I think then people should take a deep breath.
In a week or two, lot of these banks would be reporting earnings. I think they're probably be pretty good. The Federal Reserve made some bold dramatic moves, to help it easier, for some of the issues they had. And I'm hoping it will resolve rather shortly. But--
HARLOW: You're hoping?
HARLOW: But is the crisis over? You wrote, in your letter, "There will be repercussions for years to come."
DIMON: Well, that's different. I think those repercussions are regulatory. Like, and I acknowledged, thing - obviously, we have a problem, things need to change. But I'm begging the regulators, just take a deep breath. There are hundreds of rules.
You have to be very careful. What do you want, in the banking system? What do you want out? How do you make it easier for community banks and regional banks? How do you reduce their cost, not increase their costs, on that, but also make it safe?
So, if there are problems with held-to-maturity portfolios, or uninsured deposits? Let's fix them. Let's fix them, thoughtfully. It's the mix of all the things we do. It's not whether you do one thing right or wrong, so.
HARLOW: Do you expect more banks to fail this year?
DIMON: I don't know. But if there are, I don't - honestly, they'll be resolved, you know, probably would be last of them. I think we're getting near the end of this particular crisis.
And fewer financial institutions - remember, in 2008, it was hundreds of institutions, around the world. Far too much leverage, we don't have that. Huge problems in mortgage markets, we don't have that. This is nothing like that. And the American public shouldn't think that.
This will resolve, and then we should go look at what went wrong, and fix it, in the clean, in the light of day.
HARLOW: Well, so then what was it? If this is coming to an end, is this a situation like, Warren Buffett famously said, "Only when the tide goes out, do you learn who's been swimming naked?"
HARLOW: Where these banks swimming naked?
DIMON: Yes. So, I said, there's hide in plain sight. Everyone knew about uninsured deposits. Everyone knew about insured exposure. Everyone knew about held-to-maturity portfolios.
The only difference, the only real difference was we call concentrated clients. So, Silicon Valley Bank had - a handful of people controlled 35,000 corporate accounts. And they just left, a $140 billion, or something, over a course, of two days. That's not happening, in other regional banks.
HARLOW: But what--
DIMON: They don't have that issue.
HARLOW: But what's--
DIMON: Nor do they have all these other issues. So, there's only a handful that much of upsides (ph).
HARLOW: OK. Talk about the economy. You wrote a lot about this in your annual letter. Has this banking crisis, even though you think it's almost over, which I'm really glad to hear, though, increase chances of a recession here?
DIMON: Yes. But I look at like, it's not definitive. It's just like another weight on the scale.
DIMON: And think of it as, people, who say, it's like raising rates, another 50 basis points, or something like that. We are seeing, people reduce lending a little bit, cut back a little bit, pull back a little bit. It won't necessarily force a recession, but it is recessionary.
HARLOW: Storm clouds ahead, you say, maybe some, for the economy? DIMON: Yes. Yes. I mentioned the QT, higher inflation for longer, the war.
DIMON: Those are pretty strong things. If you look at history, since World War II, we've not kind of faced it like that. It's still early in that that war going for longer. We don't really know the outcome in QT. I think we'll be writing about QE and QT for 50 years.
HARLOW: Quantitative tightening, quantitative easing?
DIMON: The quantitative tightening, quantitative easing.
HARLOW: OK. But we can't just focus on the risk, because you're even right, if you do that it clouds your judgment.
HARLOW: You see a lot of positives in this economy. I mean, you talk about America's GDP, you think being more than 2x, in 20 years. What's ahead, that is good?
DIMON: We're going to have, whatever we go through the next couple of years, America, in almost every 10-year period, going back all through our history is much better 10 years later than was before. That includes 1940 to 1950. That includes 1930 and 1940.
And so, the health of America is the strength of its peoples, its human capital, its brain power, its capability, its capital markets. We have the widest, deepest, most transparent capital markets the world's ever seen. And that includes venture capital, private equity, media.
We've got open media, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. But the most important of that is freedom of people to do what they want. Like, if you're starting - saw those two wonderful ladies, going business here?
HARLOW: Yes, yes.
DIMON: It's that. It's the - that is - that's at the heart of America. And that's still there. That has not gone away. And we should applaud it. I mean, we should sing - I wrote, in my letter, about all this stuff we do to help society and communities and philanthropy and DEI.
DIMON: I said, but lest my show (ph) forget, I'm a red-blooded, full- throated, free-market, free-enterprise capitalist, OK? We should applaud free enterprise. We should see from the hills, the benefits, while we fix the negatives, as opposed to denigrate the whole thing.
HARLOW: Or we could just screw it up and default?
[21:50:00] DIMON: Yes, not as long as I'm alive. But we're going to be keep fighting this one.
HARLOW: Let's turn to politics.
You famously said, just a few years ago, 2019, "My heart is Democratic. My brain is kind of Republican."
Our country, our politics have changed a lot, since then. I wonder if that's still the case.
DIMON: It is still the case. I think we could do a better job of lifting up all of our citizens. I've already mentioned education and more skills and stuff like that. I think we have to be a little more rational about the world.
Free enterprise is a wonderful thing. Free market capitalism, properly regulated, has lifted billion peoples out of poverty. We've got to educate the American public, how important it is. And at the foundation of the strength of America is the strength of the economy.
HARLOW: What does that mean? "My heart is Democratic. My brain is Republican." What's leading Jamie Dimon, right now, his heart or his brain?
DIMON: I'm used to that by my heart. But my brain part is saying--
HARLOW: So the Democrats?
DIMON: --"If we're going to spend money, we should spend it wisely."
It's not enough to say, "Oh, we're going to spend all this money building highways." How many miles, at what cost, in what time period? It's not enough to talk about being green. But we can't get permits, to build solar, wind or pipelines, which would be green, because gas is going to replace coal.
And we're just not completely rational about sophisticated comprehensive policy. And I think the Republicans probably have that a little bit better.
HARLOW: A little bit better?
HARLOW: The Republicans, right now.
Speaking of the Republican Party, the front runner, for 2024, is former President Donald Trump. He has been indicted, and faced criminal charges, this week. Do you expect that to have any kind of impact, adverse impact, on the economy, all this turmoil?
DIMON: Not really. If you look at America, the 325 million Americans? 165 million go to work every day. And their primary concern is their family, their community, their kids, and things like that. So, I don't think that's going to change the course the economy that much. HARLOW: You were on President Trump's Business council, until it was dissolved. Do you think a second Trump term would be good for the U.S. economy?
DIMON: I'm not going to answer that question.
DIMON: I don't want to.
HARLOW: But it's not about the man. It's about whether his policies would be good for?
DIMON: When I look at policies, OK, there are policies that he did that are good, OK? And I think the tax reform actually brought a trillion dollars back to America. The Black community had the lowest unemployment rate ever, in his last year, because it grew the economy. And so, I think, there are growth strategies that mattered. He had some of those and - but that's not supporting him.
COLLINS: Fascinating interview.
SIDNER: Yes. It was really interesting.
HARLOW: He's - just Jamie Dimon actually answers your questions?
COLLINS: Except for that one.
HARLOW: Which a lot of CEOs?
SIDNER: Except for that one.
HARLOW: Well he finally did!
HARLOW: He finally did!
HARLOW: We didn't want to talk about - but we also talked about Biden. We talked about Governor DeSantis, Florida. We got into a lot in that interview.
JONES: That's a fantastic interview.
SIDNER: It was really good.
HARLOW: Thank you, Van. SIDNER: The thing I remember is the recession maybe, and that he is a full-throated capitalist, not a surprise, but with proper regulation. And you don't hear that all the time, from people in his position.
HARLOW: You don't. In fact, what's interesting about Jamie Dimon? And he's often said. This is nothing new. You know this, Phil. That they really have no power. They have to do what the regulators say. Even if it is just recommended, or things that they don't want, they got to comply with it.
His point is he doesn't think that this regulation would have fixed the banking crisis that we see now. And so, that's where he says Washington has got it wrong.
MATTINGLY: And I think there's evidence, there's grounds for that, right?
I think the difficult part in the wake of the collapse of SVB and Signature is in administration officials, who are very clearly trying to point to that as one of the primary drivers, acknowledge there's not a direct line.
I think it's more a question of whether or not that contributed to a regulatory almost vibe, if you will. "All right, well, maybe the directive here is to take the hands off a little bit."
The thing that's so fascinating about Jamie Dimon beyond the fact that - I liked how you made it clear, Yellen, this Treasury Secretary, called him? He's like, "Well, no, everybody was on the phone. I was the first call."
COLLINS: We call that a humble brag.
MATTINGLY: He was absolutely, and you nailed this absolutely critical, essential in every way of the word, in those weeks after SVB went down?
HARLOW: He was the person.
MATTINGLY: He was the first call that the Treasury Secretary made.
HARLOW: And led--
JONES: Before he--
MATTINGLY: And he made the collection of banks happened. But also what Sara was pointing out, he knows Washington very well.
JONES: Very well.
MATTINGLY: And saying, "I'm for regulation."
"All right, let's dig in on that a little bit."
MATTINGLY: That's where you start to see divergences. "I'm for capitalism, red-blooded. But let's dig in on that." He understands the messages that matter--
MATTINGLY: --why he puts them out.
But, to your point, the interview is great, because he's also candid, and you can have a discussion with him.
HARLOW: You know, what I think is interesting, too, is the fact that you don't always know what he's going to say, because I believe that when he said, he's sort of half-Republican, half-Democrat?
HARLOW: Right, Van?
JONES: To think about it, he's actually thoughtful. And he's thoughtful because he's actually engaged.
JONES: He's doing real stuff in the real world. And you can't just be black and white, when you're actually running a big institution, dealing with a big government, with the world economy in your lap. You have to be nuanced. Just most people don't talk about it, the way that he does.
HARLOW: Yes. So, well, you'll see this, in the morning, on our show. But he was down there, to open a community branch--
HARLOW: --in an underserved area, in Summerhill.
JONES: Exactly. He's a real deal.
HARLOW: And he was doing this. We'll talk about the impact on that. And we'll talk about the other headwinds, like the debt ceiling, what's going to happen, facing our economy, and all that.
MATTINGLY: Just, for the White House Reporter, at the table--
MATTINGLY: --and the former White House Reporter? What did he say? He talked about that. What time are you guys airing this?
COLLINS: 6 AM!
HARLOW: Get up early.
COLLINS: 6:01 it will (ph), so.
HARLOW: Talked about Biden.
MATTINGLY: I'm not like you guys. I can't burn both ends of the candle.
SIDNER: He's already--
HARLOW: He's been this - no, very critical of the Biden administration's handling of energy--
HARLOW: --oil drilling, et cetera. So, we got to that.
MATTINGLY: The permit stuff's actually really interesting.
SIDNER: Phil wants to look at your notes is what he's telling you.
COLLINS: Yes. Set your alarm, Phil!
MATTINGLY: I always--
COLLINS: You'll be watching at 6 AM.
HARLOW: Actually do you want to--
MATTINGLY: --after 6.
HARLOW: --fill in for Kaitlan, and I? We could--
COLLINS: Yes, yes.
COLLINS: We'll all be up, at 6 AM, in the morning.
COLLINS: Don't worry. You will see more of Poppy's exclusive interview that is going to be tomorrow, on "CNN THIS MORNING."
Poppy, thank you for joining us. Thanks for staying up late.
COLLINS: We have a lot more to come here, on CNN, including a one-on- one interview, with Gloria Johnson, the Tennessee lawmaker, who survived an expulsion vote, just narrowly, after leading one of those gun reform protests, on the State House floor.
Alisyn Camerota has that on "CNN TONIGHT," coming up.
Also up next, what President Biden himself is saying, as he is now weighing in, on the expulsion of two Black Democratic lawmakers, and Tennessee, tonight. We have more in just a moment.
COLLINS: All right, just in, to CNN, President Biden, now weighing in, on what's happening, in Tennessee, tonight, calling the expulsion, of the two Black Democratic lawmakers, in Tennessee, over their protests, of gun violence, quote, "Shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent."
Alisyn Camerota has the third, who narrowly avoided expulsion. And "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now.
Thanks for joining us.