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Source: Mark Meadows Testified To Grand Jury In Special Counsel Investigation Of Trump; Monahan: "I Recognize That People Are Going To Call Me A Hypocrite"; CA A.G. Blasts DeSantis Over Migrant Flights. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 06, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME: Good evening. I'm Kaitlan Collins.
And tonight, we have two big developments, in the federal investigations, into former President Donald Trump.
CNN has now learned that Mark Meadows, Trump's former Chief of Staff, has testified, before a grand jury, in the Special Counsel's investigation. He could be a crucial witness, given he is someone, who has seen and heard more than most, as the former gatekeeper, to the Oval Office.
Also, tonight, I've helped break some new reporting, about federal prosecutors, now using a second grand jury. This one in Miami. The other one is in Washington, D.C., as part of that classified documents probe, into the former President. That grand jury has heard testimony, from multiple witnesses, in recent weeks, I'm told, and also is going to hear from another witness, tomorrow.
All of this investigative action had been centered, in Washington, D.C. So, a big question tonight, why now in Florida? In a moment, you will hear from a former federal prosecutor, who says she views this as a really big deal.
But first, let's get to the very latest, on these developments, in these latest stories, from CNN's Paula Reid.
Paula, obviously, when it comes to what's happening, here, with Mark Meadows, that's significant. We knew he had been subpoenaed. We knew they tried to fight it. But now he has gone and testified. What else have we learned?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Kaitlan.
He's not just a witness. He is the witness, in both Special Counsel investigations, potentially, because when it comes to January 6, he was at the center of everything. The House Select Committee that investigated the events, in and around January 6, came to the conclusion that all roads led to Mark Meadows. They did not get the opportunity, to talk to him, in that investigation. We've also learned though, through our reporting, with our colleagues, that he is increasingly significant, potentially, to Jack Smith, and his investigation, into the possible mishandling, of classified documents, down at Mar-a-Lago.
Not only would he have been, at the White House, when things were getting packed up, in those final days. But we also learned that that bombshell recording that we reported last week, where Trump can be heard talking about having a classified document? That recording was made by Mark Meadows' autobiographers.
So, investigators will clearly have potentially a lot of questions, for Meadows, on both probes. But at this point, it's not clear if he has testified, for both investigations, or just one.
But this certainly ends a long-lasting mystery, in the Trump circle, which is hey, what's going on with Mark Meadows? We know, as you said, the former President tried to stop him, from testifying, citing executive privilege. He lost that battle.
But since then, as we expected, he would testify, the Trump team was in the dark, on what exactly was going on. There was no communication, between Meadows' legal team, and the former President's legal team, leading to some concerns, about whether he was cooperating.
But now that we know he has testified, Kaitlan, it is the clearest sign that especially the classified document investigation, is likely at the very end.
COLLINS: Yes, a lot of questions, about how quiet he had been, in all of this.
But also, Paula, on this second grand jury that we've learned about, and the fact that they are convening in Miami, in addition to what we knew about what was happening in Washington, and all these witnesses going before this, how significant could this be for this investigation?
REID: This is fascinating, right? That they are suddenly after months and months and months of the whole investigation being held, here in Washington, D.C.? This is where the Special Counsel is. This is where dozens and dozens of witnesses have traveled, to testify, before the grand jury, here in D.C. Suddenly, they're hearing from witnesses, down in Florida.
Specifically, in Miami, we expect another witness, as we're reporting, with the team, tomorrow.
And the big question is why Florida? We don't actually know why Florida. But what we do know is that the fact that this has been, here, in D.C., during the entire investigation, they've been asking questions, gathering evidence here. This has been something that Trump team has been focused on.
They've made it clear that if their client is charged here, in D.C., they were going to challenge what is called venue, or the location, of these charges.
They were going to argue that any alleged criminal conduct didn't really have a sufficient connection, to Washington, D.C. They would argue that yes, the records belong to the government. But that's not enough to try it here. They would much rather see this case, if it's brought in Florida, where they believe the jury pool would be more favorable.
So, the Special Counsel knows that they're likely to face a venue fight. It's unclear, though, if that's why they're now bringing witnesses, in Florida, or if they could potentially be charging one, perhaps two people, whose conduct only has a connection, to Florida. And it wouldn't be proper here in D.C.
But as you know, we're working the phones, and our sources, trying to get more information on this, because this is definitely an unexpected development.
COLLINS: Yes, one that seems to even have caught the Trump team off guard.
COLLINS: Paula Reid, thank you.
And let's get the take on this, from a former federal prosecutor, and her perspective, on what this could actually mean, for the former President.
Jennifer Rodgers is a CNN Legal Analyst. She joins us now.
Why would they now convene a grand jury in Miami?
JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, NYU LAW SCHOOL, LECTURER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there could be couple things going on.
It could be just for convenience. There are witnesses down there, who need to testify. They can do it there, and then read the testimony, in D.C.
Or, as Paula suggested, maybe there's a couple of minor people, they want to charge, just with obstruction. And they would do that in a separate case, in Miami.
Or they could be thinking bigger picture. This case could happen either in D.C., or Florida. But most of the events really did happen, in Florida. And so, they might be thinking about charging just the obstruction part, in Florida, and the classified document kind of substantive case, in D.C., or charging the whole thing, down in Florida, where most of the conduct happened (ph).
COLLINS: So, we could see charges in both of these, you think? RODGERS: You could. It's unlikely because that would then split the prosecutorial team. It's not very efficient, as far as resources go. But there's no legal reason why they couldn't try the substantive case, on the documents, in D.C., and the obstruction case, in Florida.
COLLINS: And to what Paula said, about whether or not the Trump team would view it, is actually potentially helpful to them, if it is in Florida. Is that how you see it as well?
RODGERS: It's so funny. People think about the jury pool issue, as a political issue. Where do people like Trump? Where do people not like Trump?
Prosecutors usually think of it as where are people more and less conservative, more or less pro- or anti- law enforcement. And under that rubric, usually your D.C. venue would be less favorable for prosecutors.
But, I think, in this case, just because it is the former President, he's so well-known, people have such strong opinions about him, that they are thinking of it more as, "We will get a more favorable jury pool in D.C."
But honestly, I don't think that's driving this. I think this is more and more about where the conduct happened, where the team is based, where the witnesses will come from, and see what makes sense, from that angle.
COLLINS: One other aspect that I heard from, as we were figuring out more about this grand jury, is a source told me that maybe they weren't so surprised, because an Assistant U.S. Attorney, from the Miami office, was actually present, the day that that search warrant was executed, at Mar-a-Lago.
What do you read into that?
RODGERS: It's not that uncommon, actually, for the local office, to be involved, in some degree, especially if you're executing a search, in their district. So, I wouldn't be surprised, for that office, to be kind of read into, what's happening, and involved, to some extent. So, that actually doesn't surprise me at all. I don't think that suggests where the case will end up necessarily.
COLLINS: And the other thing we've learned about Mark Meadows, we don't know if he testified in this investigation or it was the January 6 investigation. We do know he talked to Jack Smith, the Special Counsel's team.
How significant do you believe that could be?
RODGERS: Well, he is the number one witness, so they certainly were going to try to talk to him, unless --
COLLINS: What would you be asking him?
RODGERS: Everything. From the beginning, when the election happened, and they started making plans, for pressure, on state legislatures, pressure, on election officials, pressure, on ultimately, Mike Pence, the fake electors scheme, I mean, the whole thing all the way through January 6, and beyond. You want to ask him everything.
So, I'm not surprised that they talked to him, unless they had decided just to charge him, which clearly now they have not. He's their number one witness. If he testified, truthfully, which I assume he did, he's going to be front and center, in the case they bring.
COLLINS: Yes, or maybe if he pled the Fifth, we're still trying to figure that out.
Jennifer Rodgers, thank you for breaking down so many of these developments that we've seen happening, on an hourly basis, basically, in these investigations.
RODGERS: Thanks, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: And, of course, a big question is not just the legal implications that it has, for the former President, but also whether or not this matters, to Republican voters.
We have Jason Osborne, who is a former Trump campaign adviser, here, tonight.
And Sarah Matthews, a former Deputy Press Secretary, in the Trump White House.
So Jason, what's your sense? Does this matter that there is now a second grand jury that former Chief of Staff has testified? We have all these questions about these investigations.
JASON OSBORNE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: So, I appreciated what Jen had to say, because I actually I was curious about a couple of different things about why there is two grand juries on this.
I look at this as kind of a very, I wonder, not being an attorney, I wonder if there was a move to circumvent what Trump's team was going to do, which was file for a venue change, to begin with. Just take that off the table, because then that's another delaying tactic, by the Trump team.
Move it down to Florida, which I would think knowing Trump, at least for a little bit, is that he's going to claim this as a win. That to your point about the jury pool and it being tainted, just like Florida is my people --
COLLINS: It's a win to have a second federal grand jury?
OSBORNE: Yes. Until -- no, a win to have it in Florida, if they're not doing anything more in D.C.
OSBORNE: But then, it's a win until it's not, right? In Trump's mind, if he -- all the sudden charges come out, because the grand jury recommends charges, then he's going to claim it's DeSantis bias.
It's like a never ending circle with this. And I mean, I'm hoping, at some point, that it ends that we stop talking about documents, at Mar- a-Lago, and that that case is tried, and the results come out, right?
COLLINS: Sarah, a lot of these people are your former colleagues that have gone and testified. Obviously, Mark Meadows was the Chief of Staff, when you were inside the White House. You've had better insight than most people into just how critical the role he played was, but also so many of your other colleagues that we know have gone and testified.
How do you think they're feeling about this?
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP WH DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I mean, honestly, if I were still working, for Donald Trump, and on his campaign, down at Mar-a-Lago, I'd be kind of shaking in my boots a bit.
We know that with Donald Trump, loyalty is a one-way street. He demands loyalty from everyone but gives it to no one in return.
And so, I think, if I'm Mark Meadows, and you're the kind of a central figure, in both of these probes, whether it's the January 6 probe, and the plot to overturn the 2020 election, or the classified documents case, he knows he has legal liability. And so, it will be interesting to see whether or not he tries to strike a deal, with investigators, for his cooperation, or if he pled the Fifth.
COLLINS: Given how well you know, Trump, how do you think he's viewing the fact that Mark Meadows played a role, in another part of this, which is the audio recording, of Trump, seemingly discussing classified information, as these autobiographers were helping Mark Meadows write his book?
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think that that was a really interesting tidbit that we learned, was that, they have on record that Trump is talking about a classified document. So, he knew that he took this document, from the White House, and that it was classified, and that he did not unclassify it.
And the fact that it had to do with Mark Meadows' book, something that we already know, irritated him, and he was unhappy with, and then Meadows kind of tried to cozy up, back to Trump, after the publication of it? I think that's just going to ignite more fury from him.
COLLINS: The question, though, is does this, well has this factor into the fact that we're in the middle of primary season? You're seeing Chris Christie and more people get in today. Debates are coming up, all of these Town Halls, conventions, caucuses, primaries. Could any of this affect Trump, do you think?
OSBORNE: I think at a certain point, it will. But I mean, keep in mind also that when was the Alvin Bragg case, here in New York? And we're not even talking about that anymore. We're not talking about the E. Jean Carroll case anymore.
And now, we're talking about documents. And once documents is done, then we're going to be talking about Fulton County.
I think, some of these candidates, and hopefully, I think, Chris Christie, that's his role in this campaign, is to actually go after Donald Trump, on a lot of these issues, and try and knock him back a little bit, and let the other candidates come in, and talk about their policies, and hopefully get some of the oxygen back in the room.
COLLINS: And, Jennifer, one more question for you. Because being under investigation, being charged, it takes a lot to fight that, takes a lot of time. We know Trump has to show up, when it comes to the New York hush money probe.
How does that cut into his campaigning, potentially? That's something I've asked his attorneys to see, how do they balance all that.
RODGERS: Usually, when you see someone charged, that's really all they can focus on. If it's a CEO, then they step aside for a time. I mean, all of your bandwidth, and resources, and attention, have to go to fighting something like this.
And he's going to potentially be fighting four criminal cases, at the same time he's trying to campaign. I mean, it's unimaginable. I don't see how he can possibly do it. But if he thinks that that's actually the way to save himself, ultimately, to get himself elected, and then hope that these cases go away after that. I mean, maybe he stays in, at least in theory. But I don't know how he does it. I don't know.
OSBORNE: I don't see -- Trump has always kind of tried the cases, in the court of public opinion, as opposed to, in the courts itself, right?
OSBORNE: And so, his attorneys, to the extent that he doesn't have to show up, to any of these hearings, then he's just going to continue trying this case, and saying he's innocent, on all these things, and go out on the campaign trail.
At certain point, I would think -- and again, I'm not an attorney. But at certain point, I would think some judges are going to say, "You know what? Enough is enough. You need to be in this courtroom, because there's enough questions that need to be asked and answered," or "You need to hear the case against you."
And I don't know if you're -- if the judges have the ability, to keep him in court.
COLLINS: The judge here in New York does.
OSBORNE: But they'd like to see, you know. COLLINS: As the judge here in New York has said that. We'll see what happens if there are other charges to come.
COLLINS: Jason Osborne, Sarah Matthews, Jennifer Rodgers, thank you all, for joining, tonight.
Up next, tonight, the blunt words that Chris Christie, as we mentioned, had, for former President Trump, tonight, about why he thinks that the man, he once vehemently supported, for Office, is now unfit to hold that Office. That, and also a blunt assessment of his chances of defeating him.
The New York Times' Astead Herndon, Herndon will join us live, here at the table.
And later, the golf story that is somehow so much more than just the sport. The PGA Tour and its Saudi-backed rival, the murder of a Washington Post columnist, the 9/11 families, and billions of dollars.
COLLINS: Former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, launched his primary campaign, tonight, in Manchester, New Hampshire. He took clear aim, at the man, who soundly defeated him though, in 2016, Donald Trump.
He's had an up-and-down relationship, with him, over the years, mostly up, and then very suddenly down, breaking with him, after January 6. And now, tonight, spelling it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Beware of the leader in this country, who you have handed leadership to, who has never made a mistake, who has never done anything wrong, who, when something goes wrong, it's always someone else's fault, and who has never lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: He said that, and then he suggested that the former President was not worthy of leadership.
Perspective now, from CNN Political Analyst, and New York Times National Political Reporter, Astead Herndon.
Is this Chris Christie's redemption tour? I mean, he was -- he boosted Trump, in 2016, after he dropped out of the race. He helped him prepare, for the debate, against President Biden. He got almost near- fatal COVID, at the White House, during the Supreme Court -- when Amy Coney Barrett was getting confirmed.
What do you see in his announcement? ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, I see this as someone making kind of a clear legacy play. I also see this as someone who sees an open space, to be the anti-Trump candidate, in this race.
We just start with the obvious, right? There is a tough path to see, for Chris Christie, being in nomination, getting the Republican nomination. He would probably admit that himself.
He probably occupies that third tier in this race. If Donald Trump represents the top tier, and Ron DeSantis is clear alternative, kind of leading the other pack, is in that second tier, Chris Christie is in that third tier. But that doesn't mean he's kind of irrelevant.
This is someone, who has real money, backing him, as someone who has relationships, in New York, New Jersey. We have -- a report stated he could have big financial backers, seeing him.
And we also know that he has real political skill. This is someone, who was a Republican front-runner, in the kind of pre-Trump version of the Republican Party. And there was real reason for that. He's willing to be blunt. He's willing to say what's kind of in the air and on folks' minds. And he's ready for a political battle.
The key moment, I think, a lot of folks remember is on that debate stage, back, last time, when he really went after Senator Marco Rubio, who was at the time a real leading Republican figure, seen as one of the alternatives, to Donald Trump.
He might have a similar type of impact, in this sort of race, where it's not that is if he's leading, to himself getting the nomination. But he's using that political skill, and that financial backing, to maybe attack Donald Trump, but also maybe some of the other candidates, in the race, to drag them down.
COLLINS: Yes, he views being able to debate, as one of his big political skills.
COLLINS: But do we even know if he can qualify for the debate stage?
HERNDON: That's the real question. The RNC has laid out that pathway to be able to get on the debate stage. And he's going to need to drive those donors.
And he's going to need to kind of get a bump in polling. The current polling has him around 1 percent. He's going to need to replicate that in some of those polls. And the reasons he's having a tough time there is because there's not enough Republicans, who are anti-Trump.
It's simple. The Republican base is still largely with Donald Trump. And even more so, the people who are open to other alternatives are not specifically against the former President. So, he has a hard hill to climb in a row, in order to drive that support.
I think this is someone, who is making a clear play, to redeem his name, from someone, who see-sawed between supporting Trump and not supporting Trump. I think he's now trying to make a clear case, and be a real conservative anti-Trump case.
HERNDON: This is not someone, who's making the case, from the left, against Trump, but saying he contradicted himself, on conservative principles.
COLLINS: And he's the only one, who, in his announcement speech, has gone after Trump, in the way that he did.
COLLINS: I mean, we just showed a clip of it there. It was an extended version of that, basically, in his speech. Does that help distinguish him, because he is the one person, willing to go after Trump?
HERNDON: It does distinguish him. And it forces the kind of terms of the debate of the race to shift.
He's someone, who's going to make it plain, and who have the kind of anti-Trump case, and really force other candidates, who have been tiptoeing around it, to have to confront that, most specifically, not just on the debate stage, but how he uses his voice, to push through topics in the media; how he pushes folks, to do things, and maybe on Twitter or social media. This is someone, who can influence the race in that sort of way.
But he has such a difficult path, to really make an impact, because he's running against the realities of how Donald Trump has reformed the Republican Party. This isn't the Republican Party, who's lamenting kind of what it was in the Chris Christie era.
HERNDON: They have really embraced how Donald Trump has refocused the frame of the party.
And so, he's running a kind of version of Republicans that doesn't exist anymore. But the reality is there is a fervor for some Republicans, to look to alternative, to Trump. So, maybe he's the one who's going to make the argument for that, even if someone else, maybe a Ron DeSantis, more politically benefits from that.
COLLINS: Yes, we'll see. I know you'll be covering it all, breaking it all down, on your podcast, "The Run-Up."
COLLINS: Thanks for joining us, Astead.
HERNDON: Thank you for having me. COLLINS: And as we've been talking about, Governor Chris Christie is entering a large and only growing Republican field that now includes former Vice President Pence. He filed his paperwork, yesterday. He is expected to officially announce, tomorrow.
And our next guest, Vivek Ramaswamy, who is also a 2024 Republican candidate, joins us now.
The field growing, this much, do you think that is helpful? Or is that only going to be helpful to Donald Trump?
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's net helpful. As a candidate myself, I welcome the competition.
I think more debate, especially on that debate stage, starting in August, is going to be good, for the Republican Party, good for our country, defining what we stand for, and why we stand for it. So, I embrace the competition. I think it makes us better. And I'm ready for it.
COLLINS: Do you see Chris Christie's campaign, as some others see it, which is kind of this kamikaze mission, to take out Trump?
RAMASWAMY: Look, I don't have an analysis of Chris Christie's campaign, on the politics of it. I'm running against Christie, Trump, DeSantis, and everybody else, in this race, looking forward.
But I will say that a lot of Christie's criticism towards Trump is his vengeance, and grievance, and backward-looking attitudes. I don't know that more vengeance and grievance towards Trump helps us look forward.
So, the reason I'm in this race, Kaitlan is that I think conservatives have gotten too much into the habit of running from something. I'm the person in this race, who's leading us, to something, what it actually means to be an American. And the more we can look forward, the more we can ask ourselves, what are we running to? The better off we're going to be as a country.
COLLINS: Well, Trump is still the front-runner of this race, at this moment. Do you believe his grievances help the party look forward?
RAMASWAMY: I don't know. No. I think that we go further, when we do it, based on first principles, and moral authority, not vengeance and grievance.
I think Reagan set a good example, in that respect, reviving a missing national identity that we lacked in the late 1970s. I think we're in the middle of a national identity crisis, now. And I'm running to lead us out of it.
I'm 37, Kaitlan. I'm the first millennial, ever to run, for U.S. president, as a Republican. And I think it might just take someone, from my generation, to actually reach the next generation, with a sense of civic pride, and American identity that we've long lacked. You don't get it from the Democrats. I think it's going to be up to the Republican Party, to revive that. That's why I'm in this race. COLLINS: You've talked about your polling, lately, comparing it to where Trump stood, in this time, in the 2016 race. I think one question people have, when they see how big this field is getting, is not just who's getting in, but when you know, if the time comes, to get out.
Do you feel like you would be able to identify when that time is, when it's time to leave the race, if that happens?
RAMASWAMY: Yes, look, I think that we have a clear path, through the debate stage the too early -- I think the debate stage is going to be critical. Any polling before the debate stage, just like when Trump ran, in 2016, is irrelevant. I think it's irrelevant this time around as well.
I think the dynamic of this race changes dramatically, starting in August, with that first debate stage, and the series of debates through this fall. Iowa and New Hampshire exist, as early states, for a reason. I spent a lot of time there. The voters there keep a very open mind. They're actually able to tell who's real from who's a plastic politician.
I think after that, I think you're going to see people needed to make decisions, about stepping out between New Hampshire and Super Tuesday. And I'm confident that our path takes us all the way to the nomination, just as Donald Trump did in 2015.
I'm the outsider in this race. And Kaitlan, one of the things I see on the ground in the GOP that people, on the outside, may not appreciate, is that we are destined to become the party that puts the outsider, in the White House, a real disdain, for professional politicians. Let the Democrat put up the career politician.
I predict the GOP is going to be the party that regularly nominates the outsider, for the White House, and I'm the outsider of this race.
COLLINS: Yes. We certainly saw that happen, last time.
You've been running, and you talked recently about your position, on Ukraine and Russia. You said that you believe if you become president, that you would allow Ukraine to make pretty major concessions to Russia, in order to end that war.
What are those concessions, exactly?
RAMASWAMY: Specifically, the deal that I would do is that it would freeze the current lines of control, Korean War-style Armistice Agreement. I would further commit that NATO would never admit Ukraine, permanent -- permanent stop on Ukraine ever entering NATO. That's big concessions to Putin. I will admit that.
But in return, I would demand something even more that the U.S. gets out of this, which is that we split up the Russia-China Alliance. I think the China-Russia military alliance, is the top military threat that the United States faces, the biggest nuclear stockpile in Russia, compared with the biggest economy and other capabilities in China, those two nations are allied.
COLLINS: But what -- Vivek?
RAMASWAMY: And that's why China is now coming to Russia's aid in this war.
COLLINS: What makes you think that Russia would accept that given Putin wants to control all of Ukraine, not just the parts that they have now?
RAMASWAMY: Well, I think that it's a net win if also we make the commitment that Ukraine is not going to join NATO. Putin also does not enjoy, I believe --
COLLINS: But Ukraine's already not in NATO.
RAMASWAMY: Well, you know what? Angela Merkel made some, I think, ill- advised --
COLLINS: And he still invaded.
RAMASWAMY: Merkel made some ill-advised comments, late last year, saying that the Minsk accords were really just about Ukraine biding time. Putin then asked for a commitment that NATO would not admit Ukraine, before he actually went on to invade. Similar pattern that played out in Georgia, in 2008.
So, I actually do think that Putin does not enjoy being Xi Jinping's little brother. And a move from a bilateral international order, to a trilateral one, is actually a net win for Vladimir Putin. But it's an even bigger win for us.
It's the reverse maneuver of what Nixon did with Mao in 1972. Mao Zedong was not a hero, then. Putin is not a hero now. But we pulled China away from Russia. Today, Putin is the new Mao.
That's my sweeping foreign policy vision, of how we also deter China, from going after Taiwan. Because China's number one bet is that the U.S. will not want to go to war, with two nuclear allied superpowers, Russia and China, at once. And Xi Jinping is probably correct about that.
COLLINS: Would you --
RAMASWAMY: But if we pull apart that alliance, we deter Xi Jinping from going for Taiwan.
COLLINS: Speaking of Taiwan, would you defend -- would you order a U.S. military response if China did invade Taiwan and you're in the Oval Office?
RAMASWAMY: Well, to be clear, the plan I've laid out is aimed at deterring China, from going after Taiwan.
COLLINS: I know. But if you can't deter them, would you order?
RAMASWAMY: A clearer plan than anybody has.
COLLINS: If you can't deter them, would you order --
COLLINS: -- U.S. military response?
RAMASWAMY: For as long as the U.S. depends on Taiwan, for semiconductor, and U.S.'s semiconductor self-sufficiency? Yes, I would, because that island nation powers our modern way of life. So, I'm an America-First conservative.
RAMASWAMY: I look after American interests. That's what Taiwan matters in a way that Ukraine does not.
COLLINS: Vivek Ramaswamy, thanks so much for your time tonight.
RAMASWAMY: Thank you.
COLLINS: And a quick reminder that on Thursday, I'm going to sit down, with the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in Washington. That interview will air here, Thursday night, right here. Of course, Ukraine will be a big topic for him. I hope you'll join us then.
Up next, tonight, though, what a Democratic member, of the House Oversight Committee, makes of his Republican Chairman's showdown, with the Republican and Trump-appointed FBI Director, Christopher Wray, over a document that that Republican Chairman has already seen.
COLLINS: House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, telling Fox News, today that he's prepared to move forward, with contempt proceedings, against FBI Director, Christopher Wray.
At issue, at the center of this, is an internal Bureau document that the House Oversight Chair, James Comer, wants Wray, to turn over, purportedly documents, a whistleblower's confidential complaint, alleging that then Vice President Biden was involved, in a criminal scheme, with a foreign agent. It doesn't provide proof of the allegation, we should note, of course.
Interestingly, both the, Chairman, Comer, and the Ranking Democrat, on that committee, Jamie Raskin, have already seen the document in question, after reviewing it, just yesterday.
And joining me now is Congressman Dan Goldman, of New York, who is a member of the House Oversight Committee.
Good evening, Congressman, and thank you for joining us. Of course, you've dealt with a lot of the Hunter Biden allegations, back when you were working, on the 2019 impeachment.
With this happening now, do you view this as legitimate oversight? Do you understand why Republicans want to hold the FBI Director in contempt?
REP. DANIEL GOLDMAN (D-NY): No, I don't at all. And I don't both for procedural reasons and for substantive reasons.
First, on the procedural side, the FBI Director has substantially complied, by providing the Chairman and Ranking Member, access to this document, which if disseminated, to the rest of the committee, might impede on the confidentiality of sources.
But more importantly, is that the substance of this document has been debunked over and over and over again.
And you don't have to just take my word for it, or the 17 witnesses, in the first impeachment investigation, who said unequivocally that Vice President Joe Biden executed official U.S. policy, by encouraging Ukraine, to fire its Prosecutor General, because he was not prosecuting corruption, including against Burisma.
But you should take the word of the Trump Department of Justice, which received this information, in this document that Chairman Comer and Ranking Member Raskin looked at. They evaluated it, and they determined that it did not warrant further investigation.
So, this is just an effort, for the House Republicans, to rehash debunked allegations, and launder them, through an official committee of the Congress, in order to hurt Joe Biden --
GOLDMAN: -- and help the Republican nominee for president.
COLLINS: Yes. We know that the Trump Justice Department did look into this.
Is there any chance Democrats can convince Republicans, if this makes it through the panel, to vote against this?
GOLDMAN: Well, it's a very dangerous precedent.
We have five Republican members of Congress, in the last Congress, who defied congressional subpoenas, by simply not showing up.
Donald Trump said when he was President that he would defy all subpoenas.
And during the impeachment investigation, we got no documents, from our subpoena, to the State Department. So, if they're now going to say that substantial compliance, by the FBI Director, as part of the accommodations process, warrants contempt, they should be careful what they're doing, when the tide turns, and the shoe's on the other foot.
COLLINS: Separately, tonight, I also want to ask you about these developments that we're seeing happen, in the Trump investigations, notably that Mark Meadows, who is, of course, one of the most key witnesses, potentially, has now testified, to the Special Counsel. We don't know if it was January 6. We don't know if it was documents.
But how do you see the fact that he has now come forward and testified, of course, after a subpoena and a legal fight attempt, by the former President?
GOLDMAN: Yes, this is a critical difference, between a criminal investigation, and a congressional investigation.
Mark Meadows refused to testify, to the January 6 committee. He was held in contempt. But ultimately, they did not get his testimony.
On the criminal side, though, they litigated it, and a grand jury compelled him to testify. And he was the Chief of Staff of Donald Trump. He was in the room, for almost all of the significant events, related to the effort, to overturn the 2020 election. So, he was also there, when the documents were removed, originally, from the White House.
Mark Meadows is going to have very significant information, for the Special Counsel, to evaluate, as part of his investigation.
COLLINS: Yes. Congressman Dan Goldman, we'll see where that investigation goes. Thank you for your time tonight.
GOLDMAN: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Also coming up, a surprise decision, by the PGA Tour, today, that caught basically everyone off guard. After a year of a bitter fight, it is now merging, with a rival league that is backed by Saudi Arabia. Critics, including families of 9/11 victims are deeply upset by the move.
We'll talk about it with an early recruit, to the Saudi-backed league, Bryson DeChambeau, who applauded the announcement next.
COLLINS: Today, former President Trump called the surprise partnership, between the PGA Tour, and its rival Saudi-backed league, quote, "Great news," and said it was a quote, "Big, beautiful and glamorous deal." Of course, he has hosted several of the LIV tour's tournaments, in his own courses.
The Chair of the 9/11 Families United, who lost her husband, in those attacks, saw it differently, calling the decision, quote, "Despicable." Terry Strada also called the PGA Commissioner, Jay Monahan, "Disgusting."
The decision that's happened today, and shocked many, in the sports world, comes after a year, of public and legal bitter fighting, between the two. And it was a shock to many, including their own players.
It's also a reversal, from how Monahan framed the idea, of working with the Saudis, just a year ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY MONAHAN, PGA COMMISSIONER: I think you'd have to be living under a rock to not know that there are significant implications.
And as it relates to the families of 9/11, I have two families that are close to me that lost loved ones. And so, my heart goes out to them.
And I would ask, you know, any player that has left, or any player that would ever consider leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: That was then.
One year and one partnership later, this is how Monahan is now framing, working with Saudi Arabia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONAHAN: I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite. And any time I've said anything, I said it with the information I had at that moment. And I said it -- I said it based on someone that's trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: I'm joined now by Bryson DeChambeau, a pro golfer, and early recruit, to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League.
Bryson, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
You were an early recruit. But we heard how critical people, like Monahan were, not that long ago about this, saying that they were concerned about Saudi Arabia's human rights record.
What do you think is behind this shift?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Well, Kaitlan, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.
And I think there's a lot more behind closed doors it's been going on. What I can tell you is that Yasir (ph) has always been a staunch supporter of golf globally, and wanting to grow the game. That's been his vision, from the start, when we first started talking, a few years ago.
And as it's come to fruition now, I think that this is the best thing that could ever happen, for the game of golf. And I'm extremely proud to be a part of that because of the fact that the fans are going to get what they want. The players are going to experience something a little different, all new, on the PGA Tour side. But I truly believe, in the end, the game of golf wins in this scenario.
COLLINS: What about for those players, though, who stuck with the PGA Tour, who didn't accept a lot of money that was coming their way, from the LIV Tour, because of comments from people, like Monahan, and the criticism you faced? Do you see if Pat Monahan or --
COLLINS: -- as Jay Monahan, I should note, is a hypocrite, in this situation?
DECHAMBEAU: Well, look, I really feel bad for the information that was delivered to the players, in the PGA Tour, the ones that stuck with him.
We did take a risk. The players that did go over, we did take a risk. And there was a reason for taking that risk, relative to the capital that had to be paid out for that to occur.
But I do feel bad, for the PGA Tour players, because they were told one thing, and something else happened.
And, on our side, we were told one thing, and it's come to fruition. And look, in the end, for me, I want the players, the fans, and the game of golf to win.
And it does stink a little bit, from my perspective that the PGA Tour players are not necessarily winning. I hope that they can find a way to make sure that they are valued, in the same way that we are, over at LIV. And I think that'll happen.
It's just going to take some time with the players pushing back a little bit, and trying to figure out what makes them -- what gives them the best opportunity, to be successful, on their own end.
And eventually, we all come back together, now, and play as one group. I think that's the best thing, watching us play week in and week out, the best players against each other.
COLLINS: When you say -- when you say, bad information, what do you mean?
DECHAMBEAU: Well, bad information -- I mean, look, there's a lot of information that can be delivered, on both sides. Now, whether it's right or wrong is always subject to what people believe. And behind closed doors, there was a lot going on, that anyone could really take in. And a lot of players just weren't willing to take the risk, whereas players like myself had some decent information, and was willing to take that risk.
Because not only did you know it would change our lives, but it would potentially change the landscape of the game of golf, of which we all believed in, the guys that went to LIV, for a long time. I feel being the same -- in the same position.
We all believed that there was a better path, to potentially grow the game, and give people a new viewpoint, and fresh perspective, on the game of golf. And I think that's what you're seeing here now is it is finally coming to a place, where the PGA Tour realized it, LIV realized it. We all realized that we're better together and not apart.
COLLINS: Well, of course, you know, one thing that's not behind closed doors, which we do know is that the LIV Tour is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which of course is run by, and backed itself by the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Because of this, that is why it has earned so much criticism, including from the families of 9/11 victims. And the Group put out a statement, today, saying, quote, "The PGA, and Monahan," referring to the Commissioner, "appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation."
How do you respond to that?
DECHAMBEAU: Well, I think we'll never be able to repay the families back, for what exactly happened, just over 20 years ago. And what happened was definitely horrible. And I think as time has gone on, 20 years is passed, and we're in a place now, where it's time to start trying to work together to make things better together as a whole.
I have deep sympathy. I don't know exactly what they are feeling. I can't ever know what they feel. But I have a huge amount of respect, for their position, and what they believe. Nor do I ever want anything like that to ever occur again.
I think as we move forward from that, we've got to look towards the pathway to peace, especially in forgiveness, especially if we're trying to mend the world and make it a better place. I think this is what they're trying to accomplish, LIV is trying to accomplish, the PIF is trying to accomplish. We're all trying to accomplish --
DECHAMBEAU: -- is a better world for everybody. And a way to provide great entertainment --
COLLINS: But it's not --
DECHAMBEAU: -- for everybody around the world.
COLLINS: It's not just about 9/11. Does it make you uncomfortable at all? Because it's not just that they're accused of financing terrorism. They also are accused of killing a Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashoggi. How do you feel knowing that that is where the money is backed by?
DECHAMBEAU: Yes. I mean, look, it's unfortunate what has happened. And that's something I cannot necessarily speak on, as I'm a golfer. But what I can say is that what they're trying to do, what they're trying to work on, is to be better allies, because we are allies with them.
And look, I'm not going to get into politics of it. I'm not specialized in that. But what I can say is they are trying to do good for the world, and showcase themselves, in a light that hasn't been seen in a while. And nobody's perfect. But we're all trying to improve in life.
COLLINS: Yes. I think they would say it's not just about politics. It's also about human rights. And that is where the critics have weighed in so heavily on this.
Bryson DeChambeau, though, we thank you for your time.
COLLINS: Thank you for joining us, tonight.
DECHAMBEAU: Thank you for having me on. Appreciate it.
COLLINS: Coming up, Florida officials are now admitting that the administration of the Governor, Ron DeSantis, did arrange those flights of migrants, to California. Had been a bit of a mystery.
California's Governor previously suggested kidnapping charges could be on the table.
We'll discuss the fight with California's Attorney General, next.
COLLINS: Tonight, Florida officials are now admitting that the administration, of Governor, Ron DeSantis, is responsible, for two flights that were carrying dozens of migrants, and was sent to California's capital, in Sacramento.
It's similar to the tactic that was employed by the DeSantis administration, last year, when dozens of migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard, in Massachusetts.
In both cases, Florida paid to transport the migrants, from Texas.
Today, Florida officials called the flights, to California, quote, "Voluntary."
I'm joined now by the Attorney General, for the State of California, Rob Bonta. Thank you so much, Mr. Attorney General, for joining us tonight.
You've said that you believe this is state-sanctioned kidnapping. Obviously, very strong language there. But, who do, specifically, in the Florida government, do you blame for this? And what action do you intend to take as a response to that?
ROB BONTA, (D) CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: This conduct requires and has earned strong language, in response. It's cruel and inhumane. And the buck stops at the top.
I lay this at the feet of Governor, Ron DeSantis. It's an official State of Florida program. It's funded by state tax dollars from the taxpayers of Florida, $22 million. $10 million, last year. $12 million, this year. It is their official position, their official policy.
And mind you, they are not -- with respect to the two movements, of asylum-seekers, to California, not moving any migrants, from the State of Florida, to the State of California. They are moving them from the State of Texas. So, paying a private for-profit corporate vendor, to do this work for them.
And, I think, Governor Ron DeSantis has to answer for this. This is his State of Florida. This is his policy. It's petty and small, cruel and inhumane, xenophobic and discriminatory. It's absolutely wrong, morally bankrupt.
And what do we intend to do? Hold the State of Florida, its vendors, everyone involved, accountable, for any laws that are violated. And make sure that the asylum-seekers receive the compassion and care, the dignity and respect, the services and programs, that they deserve, to be taken care of, after coming on a three-month journey, here, to the United States, seeking safety and fleeing violence and persecution.
COLLINS: What --
BONTA: So, the way they should be.
COLLINS: What does that look like, holding them accountable? I know you want some more video footage that you believe has been misleadingly edited, from the State of Florida. What else does that accountability look like for you?
BONTA: Holding them accountable, under the law, under any civil or criminal violations that they have been engaged in.
We're ongoing -- conducting our investigations now, and making sure we collect all the facts, and that we have everything locked down, and then bringing any actions that are necessary, criminally, or civilly.
And we want all the evidence, from the State of Florida, including the video that we've been made aware of. So, we are officially, immediately, as the State of California, requesting the State of Florida, to provide us with all of the video that they have, in their possession, of the asylum-seekers. That's important to us. We're thankful they revealed to us, their possession of video evidence, today. And we want all of it.
COLLINS: If you get that video, please let us know.
Mr. Attorney General, thanks so much for your time tonight.
BONTA: Thanks for having me.
COLLINS: And we'll be right back after this.
COLLINS: Before we go tonight, two CNN Presidential Town Halls, to tell you about.
Tomorrow night, former Vice President, Mike Pence, is going to take questions, in a Town Hall, moderated by Dana Bash, tomorrow, 9 PM Eastern.
And also, this coming Monday, at 8 PM, Anderson is going to moderate a Town Hall, with the newly-declared, and big Trump critic, now Republican Chris Christie.
Thanks so much, for joining us, tonight.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota, starts now.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Hi, Kaitlan. We will all be watching those Town Halls. Thank you very much.
CAMEROTA: Good evening, everyone.