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Navy Salvage System Prepares For Mobilization; Rep. Jayapal On Durham Testimony; ProPublica Publishes Investigation Hours After Justice Alito Wrote Op-Ed Preemptively Responding To Ethics Allegations. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 21, 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, ANDERSON COOPER 360: John Lewis, the man, who was beaten, within an inch of his life, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, while leading the Civil Rights march, from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, then later became a U.S. Congressman, was honored, today.
Congressional leaders, and U.S. postal officials, revealed a new Forever Stamp, honoring the life of John Lewis, who was a true American hero. He died almost three years ago.
The news continues. "CNN PRIMETIME" with Kaitlan Collins, starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: A growing search, but a shrinking timeframe.
Good evening. I'm Kaitlan Collins.
Tonight, five people are missing, sealed inside a tiny sub, in a huge expanse of the North Atlantic Ocean. And they now have less than a day's worth of oxygen and no way to open the hatch, even if they do make it to the surface.
As time is running short, a multinational search is growing, and deploying more resources, to try and locate them. That search is being fueled by banging noises that were heard, last night, but also again, today. Now, the race to find the sub, and those five people, is entering what could be the most crucial hours yet.
CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us now, where a new piece of developing water salvage equipment has just arrived.
Miguel, what can you tell us? As we know, they're working on getting new equipment, to this area. But also, they are examining these noises, trying to figure out if they are indeed coming from the missing vessel. Have they gotten anywhere with that analysis, tonight?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're moving in all directions, at the same time. We know that a C-17, another U.S. C-17, a very large Military cargo plane, has landed here, in St. John's. And it has this very big, very big piece of equipment that they need to get out there, now. It's a deep ocean salvage system. Our Oren Liebermann, at the Pentagon, follows this stuff. And now, they're trying to figure out how to get it out there.
There are several vessels, several Coast Guard vessels here, and other vessels that might work for it. So, they're apparently working out the contract, to get that piece of equipment, from the airport, to the harbor, here, and then out to the search site.
But keep in mind it takes about 24 hours, to get it out to the search site. Plus, they have to get it, from the airport, to a ship here that is rigged to handle it. These are very, very big pieces of equipment. And they need some specialized ability, to get them into the water, basically, so they can do their job.
That, as we're hearing about these banging noises. What were described as banging noises, at regular intervals, 24 hours ago, today, the Coast Guard's saying they're not quite sure what they are. But they are a sliver of hope, for the search and rescuers, out there, saying that this is very much still a search and rescue mission.
They are directing resources, now, heavily to where they are hearing those sounds, hoping, they've heard sounds today and yesterday, they are hoping that they can find those individuals, in that submersible, and bring them to safety.
COLLINS: But Miguel, just to be clear, how long did you say, it would take, to get from there, to where the site is, and where the search is happening?
MARQUEZ: It takes about a day, to get, from where we are standing, 460 miles, southeast of here, to the search area. Plus, they have to sort of outfit and rig that ship. Now, they can get workers down here, and they can do that relatively quickly, within hours. But it is going to take time to get that piece of equipment, out there.
On the air side of it? Because, I know a lot has been made, about how much air is left, and can they survive. There's a lot of discussion that there are very experienced people, in submersibles, on that submersible. And they believe that if they conserve their air, if they are calm, if they don't exert themselves, that they will be able to get past that 96-hour mark, for the air supply. And they may be able to last much longer.
I can tell you, searchers here are acting like they will not stop, until they determine what has happened to the Titan.
COLLINS: I mean, of course, that's the big question is, is what that time period looks like, an unanswered question.
Miguel Marquez, stay with us, as you learn more.
If the searchers do locate the submersible in time, and it's in the waters, near the Titanic, any rescue attempt would literally be beyond any successful rescue that we have ever seen.
Joining us now with that and more, CNN's Tom Foreman.
And Tom, obviously, everyone is hoping for the best, here. But with this operation, how does it compare to ones that we've seen, in the past, in these previous deep sea rescues?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It honestly does not compare, Kaitlan. We can try. But the closest you can get is the Pisces III, back in the early 1970s.
This was off the coast of Ireland. They were two experienced sailors on board. They went down, into the water. They were 120 miles out from shore, on Ireland, there. The Titan is 425 miles out.
They had communications, the entire time. And even though they didn't know where this vessel was, for a while, it didn't take them that long, to locate it. We still have no contact with the Titan. There's no communication. And they have no idea where it is right now.
And importantly, the Pisces was in 1,575 feet of water. So, that's a little bit larger than the Empire State Building.
The Titan, whopping number, down here, look at this, this is so, so, so much harder, to work down here, than over here. And this again, is the deepest there has ever been a rescue, in the oceans of the world.
COLLINS: Yes. It's not even really a comparison, when you look at those factors.
COLLINS: And we know that the Titan, of course, what you were just showing there, those figures, on the right, lost contact, on Sunday. It was descending 13,000 feet, to the bottom of the ocean, much deeper than the other rescues that you were talking about.
What's it even like that far beneath the surface?
FOREMAN: Well, it is as foreign to us, as a planet -- another planet would be, and maybe even more so, in some ways.
Look, if you go down here, by 3,200 feet, and we're down a little further, you no longer have light. By the time, we pass 5,000 feet, most animals cannot survive, at that point.
Now, you're down to the point, where you're at the maximum diving, and that's stretching it, to be as far as the sperm whale goes, some other smaller species may go further. The average depth of the ocean is here.
And now, now, we're down to where the Titanic is. It is completely dark. At this level, the pressure is unbelievably immense. And I will point out, it's also cold. It's just barely above freezing. Some argue the only reason it's not frozen is because it's salt water.
The bottom line is it's a very, very foreign, very challenging environment, even for robots, to operate in, certainly for humans, to try to get anything done.
COLLINS: Yes, we were just talking about the concerns about hypothermia.
COLLINS: And what that looks like.
COLLINS: Tom Foreman?
FOREMAN: Yes. And that's inside. You can't be outside the vessel at all. That's all there is to it. You must be inside a vessel.
COLLINS: Yes. It raises questions, what were they wearing, the heaters, inside there, with the electronics.
COLLINS: Tom Foreman, thank you for breaking that all down for us.
COLLINS: Joining us here, once again, tonight, is someone, with more than just a professional interest, in this search that is underway. Oceanographer and water search expert, David Gallo, whose friend, we should note, P.H., is aboard the Titan.
David, I want to start on those noises, because they were picked up by sonar. Last night, we were told. They happened again today. So far, they have not yielded any leads that we've heard of from officials. But do you see it as a hopeful sign?
DAVID GALLO, OCEANOGRAPHER AND EXPLORER: Very much so. Until we heard about these, or heard these noises, my optimism was taking a real dip.
And even after I was told there were these noises, we've had that situation before, in both Air France 447. Looking for the plane, there were noises heard. Malaysian Air 370, there were noises heard. Turned out to be from the ships that were looking out there, and not from -- certainly not from pinging from a plane.
So but, so I did some checking in, and trying to figure out what was going on. And there're very, very credible sources, and multiple sources, multiple aircraft dropping multiple sonobuoys, recorders, listening devices and multiple days. And so, you got to believe, you have to believe that that's -- you really don't have many other choices that you're listening to the submarine.
COLLINS: Well, your friend, P.H. Nargeolet is on this. We talked about that. You said that this is something you think he might do. What else is there? If you are one of these five people, who is inside this sub, what else could you do, to signal to people, who are searching?
GALLO: That's about it. I mean, you want to let people know, we're alive, and with hopes that -- and he knows that unless he makes that kind of a sound, that's the only chance they have, in the pitch-black of the deep sea, of someone finding them easily. That's relatively easily than compared to some of the searches that will go on.
And so, I do have a question about whether they pinged back. So, they heard the banging, over two days. Did they signal back to give a signal back to the sub? They would hear it that "We acknowledged the sound you made," because that would lift the spirits, of the people, in the sub as well. And I don't know if that happened.
Also, he would change the tapping, to make you understand that it is in fact him.
COLLINS: When the Coast Guard was asked earlier, they didn't -- they seemed to still have a lot of questions themselves about what the noises were.
But when it comes to the conditions, and the timeline that we're looking at, if you're operating off of what we've heard from officials, it's a day -- less than a day's worth of oxygen that is left in this submersible.
COLLINS: What other measures that the crew --
COLLINS: -- that your friend, P.H., that others can take that would stretch out what little supply they do have left?
GALLO: Yes. As I've said many, many times, P.H. is extremely experienced, as a diver, in just diving, and scuba, and also in many submarines. And he would understand the importance of conserving air, as much as possible, and he would try to get everyone to stay incredibly calm.
I think working with that is the hypothermia. As we said, it's incredibly cold. So that may slow things down as well.
In my case, I can't think of -- I wouldn't think about that. Except to know, like, it's a race against yourself that we need to go full speed, regardless of what that time is, and find that submarine. And, frankly, mathematically, it's going to be almost impossible. We need a miracle. But miracles do happen. And that's what I'm holding out for.
COLLINS: Yes. I know you are holding out, because, as we said, this is personal to you. Your friend, P.H., is on there. You and I were talking about this, even after you were on the show, last night.
And I know this is a difficult question for you. But do you still believe, do you still have hope that this is a search and rescue mission?
GALLO: Yes, very much so.
And I'm very happy to know that the French ship, Ifremer, is out there, their ship, and Victor. That's an extremely capable group. And they're motivated, because they know and love P.H. as well. And vice versa, he knows and loves them too.
So yes, I think about him all the time. And not just me. If he went to St. John, right now, many of the people in that community know P.H. Nargeolet. And certainly, in the diving community, he was much loved, is much loved, in that community.
So sure, we're all holding out hope, and expecting, for his sake, and for the other four people, and their families, and loved ones that this has a happy ending.
COLLINS: And we absolutely are as well.
David, thank you, because it's not just that you know him. It's also your expertise. So, thank you for joining us, tonight.
GALLO: Thanks, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Up next, we have a veteran global explorer, who also has a friend, on board, and how he answers critics, who have questioned expeditions, like this, talking about how they're potentially reckless.
Later on, my conversation, with Democratic congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal. That's going to be about the contentious hearings that we saw, today, with the Special Counsel, John Durham, taking heat, not just from Democrats, but also Republicans, over his investigation, of the Russia investigation.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: For the last two nights, CNN has been reporting, on questions, surrounding the safety, of this experimental submersible that is now missing, with five people on board.
Earlier tonight, Anderson talked to the host of "Expedition Unknown," Josh Gates. He actually took a test dive, on the OceanGate's Titan. But he decided against going down, again, to actually film, for his show, because he had concerns, about it being, in his words, "Ready for primetime."
With us now, is someone, who knows, from long experience, the risks that are taken, on expeditions, just like this one, even under the best of circumstances.
Richard Wiese is the former longtime President, and currently President Emeritus, of The Explorers Club.
Richard, thanks for being here, tonight.
RICHARD WIESE, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, THE EXPLORERS CLUB, GLOBAL EXPLORER: Thanks.
COLLINS: I know that it's, as we were just talking to David, it's not just talking about this. You know, Hamish Harding, who is on this. And you've actually just seen him last week, you said. Did he have any concerns about the safety of it?
WIESE: Well, first of all, I just want to say thank you, for CNN, because, in the exploration community, The Explorers Club, watching your reports, I felt like everything's been very accurate, and the tone has been appropriate.
But it's funny you mentioned that, last Thursday. And this is going to sound odd. I'm sitting next to him, on a bus ride, to a dinner, in the Azores, for an Exploration Summit. He casually mentioned that "Tomorrow, I'm going to the Titanic," talked about his family, and then, we talked about getting together, at base camp, on Everest, in October.
And so, this is the normal --
COLLINS: Not a casual conversation, by the way. It must be born out (ph).
WIESE: Well, The Explorers Club is like Hogwarts for adults.
WIESE: And that these kind of conversations, the people right behind us, were talking about the Mars Rover, and someone else was talking about something in the Amazon. And so, this is the world that he danced in.
And, we affectionately call it a tribe. And when new members join that, they look around, and they hear these conversations? I've heard time and time again, "I've found my tribe." And I can say, in his case that he had found his tribe, and was just relishing, in all the experiences that not only he could have, but he had this huge community, of his sons, his son's friends, and friends from other places, business partners --
WIESE: -- would enjoy these things with him.
COLLINS: How long have you known him?
WIESE: A few years. But, in those few years, like just in the last year, our paths have crossed on four continents. I was with his family. His son is with him, on Kilimanjaro, last July. As I mentioned, I just saw him at the Azores.
WIESE: So, in a short time, I've gotten to know a lot about his character.
COLLINS: And his family as well. I know you've talked to them. What are they thinking?
WIESE: Well, they were very grateful for the effort that was being partaken, on there, for his father.
And, before we came on air, I was saying that often, it's very easy to be cynical, about life. You see politics and you see the worst in humankind come out.
And I've seen at The Explorers Club, in the exploration community, how they all really joined forces, to help somebody, who's very popular, within that community. And it just makes you pleased to know that you have somebody, who has your back, and that this community has shown the best of what humans have to offer.
COLLINS: Yes. Some people, who aren't going to dinner, in the Azores, are talking about the Titanic or Mars Rovers.
WIESE: Dinner was not risky. It was not risky.
COLLINS: But really, this, but the lifestyle of this, some people look at this and they say, "I'd never get on that thing's, not even on land, certainly not in water."
COLLINS: When people say things like that, what's your thinking on that? Why people do something that is dangerous, that is risky, what drives them?
WIESE: Well, I think the biggest ingredient that everybody has is curiosity. And if humans didn't have curiosity, we'd all still be living in caves, wondering what was on the other side of the valley.
And so, when we land on the moon, it's very easy for us to go, "Hurray, wow, we're number one." But really, character is displayed, not when you're on the summit, holding a flag. Is, how you pull yourself, out of a crevasse.
And I think that he was a very smart guy. He knew the risks. I can only imagine in this situation, he would be a calming influence, because that's the kind of character he was.
And so, I look at other things that people do. I live in Connecticut. In the winter, I see people, on their phones, in their four-wheel drives, and going through snow, like, there's no tomorrow. And I'm like "This," so.
COLLINS: There's bigger risk in everyday living.
COLLINS: When you think about this, and your friendship, and look at your conversations, are you still holding out hope, tonight? What's your mindset?
WIESE: I mean, what else can you do? I mean, I don't think that his family is -- unlike any other family that goes through this roller coaster of emotions. You hear any bit of news. It's, if you've had a relative, who has come down with cancer, and you get reports, you're looking for, the good news?
COLLINS: You really pray for it (ph).
WIESE: And so, things don't always logically happen. Apollo 13, they should have never survived, and they did. And I think that, while there's hope, certainly, everybody will put a maximum effort, to bring this to a positive conclusion.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, we're obviously hoping for that too.
WIESE: Yes. Thank you very much.
COLLINS: We'll stay on top of it.
Richard, thank you for coming and joining us, tonight.
WIESE: You're welcome.
COLLINS: We appreciate your time.
We also have breaking news, tonight, up next, in the Trump documents case. This is late new word about how far along that case already is, new word in from the judge. Also, our first sign that the Special Counsel Jack Smith could have more than just one recording, of the former President.
Also, a contentious hearing, on Capitol Hill, Special Counsel, John Durham, defended his investigation, of the FBI's Russia investigation, against Democrats, and even some Republicans. A member of that committee joins us next.
COLLINS: We have breaking news, tonight, in the Trump documents case, which could be significant.
Yesterday, as you know, Judge Aileen Cannon set an August trial date. That could move, of course, we know.
But tonight, there's a new court filing that reveals discovery is already underway. That is the process of each side, revealing the evidence that they might present at a trial.
And crucially, that filing, tonight, also suggests that among the evidence, from the Special Counsel, Jack Smith, there could be multiple audio tapes, of the former President, not just the one CNN has reported on, where he seems to be discussing a classified document, and acknowledging his limits, on declassifying it, once he left office.
Prosecutors, in this new filing, have used the plural, "Interviews," to describe recordings of Trump, that were made, with his consent, they note, and have been obtained, by the Special Counsel. This is all now been turned over to the defense.
What is unclear, so far, tonight, though, of course, what's on those recordings, or how relevant they might be? So, stay tuned, as we are reporting on that and what those could look like.
All of this, though, is coming, as Democrats, are saying that Republicans are deflecting, from the former President's legal troubles, by focusing, instead, on their allegations that the Justice Department, and FBI, are being weaponized against them. Unfounded allegations, so far, I should note.
That said, all of this was on display, today, on Capitol Hill, for about six hours, as the Special Counsel, John Durham, testified. Trump's Attorney General, of course, put Durham, in charge, of investigating the Russia investigation.
And today, Durham defended that four-year probe that didn't even come close, to meeting GOP expectations.
Durham's report though did accuse FBI officials, of confirmation bias, an assessment that Democrats have repeatedly criticized. And today, Democratic members, of the Judiciary Committee, continued with those attacks, at one point, pointing to Durham's poor track record, in his court, that his investigation produced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Mr. Durham, how many cases did you bring to trial, during your time, investigating the 2016 election?
JOHN DURHAM, SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: I'm sorry. I just missed part of that, because --
JAYAPAL: How many cases did you bring to trial?
JAYAPAL: Two. And in how many of those two cases did the juries vote to convict?
DURHAM: Neither one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Wasn't just Democrats, who questioned Durham, in a way like that.
He was also challenged, by Republicans, who were in the room, who have been hoping that he would find evidence, supporting their belief, and what they had been saying, publicly, claiming the Justice Department had been weaponized, against conservatives. Trump claimed it was going to be the crime of the century.
In one instance, today, on Capitol Hill, though, Republican congressman, Matt Gaetz, compared the Special Counsel, to the most famous losers, in all of sports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): You didn't charge Andrew McCabe. You didn't convict the lying Democrats, or the lying Russians. You didn't investigate Mifsud, or the Mueller probe, even though, as we sit here, today, and black letter, that was your charge?
Have you ever heard of the Washington Generals?
DURHAM: The Washington Generals? Yes. Yes.
GAETZ: And they're the team that basically gets paid to show up and lose, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: I spoke with Democratic congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal, who you saw, in that first clip, questioning Durham, just before air, tonight.
COLLINS: Congresswoman, the Durham probe certainly fell short, of Republicans' expectations. Do you think that today's hearing did as well?
JAYAPAL: I think it really did. I think there was nothing, in today's hearing. Everybody felt like it was a giant waste of time. I think that Mr. Durham spent $6.5 million and four years, on an investigation, of a Special Counsel, who actually was able to get 34 counts taken to conviction, and of individuals and three corporations. On the other hand, Mr. Durham had two people that he indicted, and sent to grand juries, and neither one of them moved to conviction.
So, it was a big waste. I think it was meant to be a distraction, from the indictment counts that Donald Trump is facing. And I think it failed.
COLLINS: Well, for the criticism that we have seen, from Democrats, of Durham that he was doing Trump's bidding? He did noticeably break, with the former President, several times, today, disagreeing with his attacks, on Bill Barr, when he called him a gutless pig. He said there was substantial evidence that Russia interfered, in the 2016 election. He said he believed Robert Mueller was a Patriot.
Did that change your view of Durham at all?
JAYAPAL: Not really, because it wasn't really about Trump. It was about what he was sent to do, by Bill Barr. And we know he has a very close relationship with Bill Barr. We know the texts that were exchanged, even during the time that he was Special Counsel.
So, I do think that, at the end of the day, he couldn't come up with anything. And he didn't really manufacture anything. There was just a lot of words, in that report. But, at the end of the day, he didn't even recommend changes for the way that the FBI does things.
So, I think, in that sense, he carried out his job, of not adding, to what he found. But he tried to spin it, so that it sounds like something that is, relevant or important. But there really was nothing new in this report.
COLLINS: One moment that stood out, from today, was when Durham was asked about that 2016 meeting, that happened, at Trump Tower, between senior members, of the Trump campaign, and a Russian attorney, who was claiming to have dirt, on Hillary Clinton, at the time.
And today, Durham said, "The more complete story is that they met, and it was a ruse, and they didn't talk about Mrs. Clinton."
But the Mueller report says that they did discuss Clinton's campaign, at that meeting.
Do you think Durham was misleading your committee? Or did he just not remember that?
JAYAPAL: Very difficult to know.
But clearly, the Mueller report was far more extensive. And the data was far more extensive. There was -- there were many things that Durham did not respond to, did not put in his report, where he didn't actually have investigators, to do things. So, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, and say, maybe he forgot. But it's kind of a big thing to forget. So probably more likely, he was trying to spin it again.
And here he is, right, trying to be a dutiful soldier, to Bill Barr. But there wasn't really any there-there. And he wasn't willing to go so far, as to say, that there was nothing. So, he had to come up with something that could be used as an excuse.
COLLINS: You were on Capitol Hill, tonight. Congresswoman Boebert is facing -- or is forcing a House vote, I should say, to impeach President Biden. It has divided even Republicans, with Republican leadership, saying they believe it's a premature effort.
But do you think this is going to open the floodgates, for more Republicans, to come out, and introduce similar impeachment resolutions?
JAYAPAL: Well, we know that Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are both dueling with each other, around impeachment resolutions, of Joe Biden.
And look, I think the thing is that this is a clear sign, yet again, that Kevin McCarthy has ceded control of the party, to people, in the extreme MAGA-right of his party. And they're trying to control them now.
But they've put them out in center stage. They've given them the forum, in many different ways. And now, this is what they're having to deal with. Chaos, extremism, nothing about governing, nothing about helping the American people have lower costs, and better jobs, and higher wages, and safer communities. Just this chaos and extremism that we watch every day now.
COLLINS: Yes, all right. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you for that.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: And up next, I'll be joined by Republican presidential candidate, and former Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, to discuss more, on the former President's legal troubles.
COLLINS: Dueling stories, tonight, at the intersection of presidential politics, and the law.
There is this breaking news, a new court filing, suggesting that the Special Counsel, Jack Smith, has more than just one tape, of the former President, in the documents case. And now, Trump's legal team, as this discovery process has started, may have an indication, of who could testify against him. Also tonight, word that the first son, Hunter Biden, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance, at the end of next month, after he reached a plea deal, on federal tax and gun charges, this week.
Two politically-loaded cases.
With me now is the former Governor of Arkansas, and now current Republican presidential candidate, Asa Hutchinson.
Governor, thanks so much, for joining us, tonight.
Of course, we're learning this from Jack Smith. Discovery has started, in this case. And he seems to indicate that there could be multiple recordings, of the former President. We know the one, of course, where he seems to be discussing classified documents.
You're a former prosecutor. What does it -- what does it say to you, about multiple recordings, and what all Jack Smith may have?
ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, even though Jack Smith laid out much of the information, and facts, that he had, in the indictment, clearly, he has reserved, some that he's putting out in discovery. And so, clearly, there's more to it than simply the facts that are laid out, in the indictment, which are very, very substantial.
But it also indicates to me that this case is moving. And that is a pleasant surprise, for the public, because it looked for a while that this might go on for a very, very long time. And it still might. But the fact that the judge is pushing the discovery, has set timelines, has set a trial date that will be continued. But the case is moving.
And I think that you can see in Donald Trump that he's taken -- he's realized in the seriousness of this, and also the impact that it has, on a campaign, that you can't go on media interviews, and not be asked about classified information. And that gets you in trouble, in terms of the ability to present a case.
And again, that's the reason we need to get this over with. We hopefully can get it resolved fairly. He's entitled to a trial, on this, quickly, so that he can go about his business, if he's acquitted. If not, he's held accountable for it.
This is a serious issue, whether it is in the court system, or whether it's brought up, like it was today, in New Hampshire, that, are we going to have a Commander-in-Chief that can keep Military secrets, that can protect our men and women, in the Military, that are jeopardized, if these top secrets are released, or out in a public fashion.
COLLINS: Yes. You referenced what he's been saying, publicly, about this case, acknowledging that he held on to documents, when they were so clearly seeking them.
You're a former federal prosecutor. Would you use his words, against him, in a trial?
HUTCHINSON: Certainly. And what it will show, either in conflict with other statements that he's given, which is goes to the credibility of the witness, and his any defense that he has.
And so, certainly, all of the public statements that he makes, in reference to his intent, classified material, whether it was in a drawer, or a bag, whether it was with golf clothes, or however, all of that is admissible, that goes to the facts of the case, as to what he intended, with the classified information, the secret information, and also how he handled it, while he was leaving the White House.
So, it's relevant. I would expect it to be admitted. And the challenge is that if he continues to make statements, on it, and inconsistent statements, then it just weaves a larger web that makes it more difficult --
HUTCHINSON: -- for his defense team.
COLLINS: A lot of people, in your party, since we learned about the Hunter Biden plea deal, have compared it to the charges that Trump is facing, and basically saying, it's evidence of this double standard that they say exist.
Do you see it that way, as a former prosecutor?
HUTCHINSON: Well, this is really important. First of all, from the Durham report, to what the public sees, as inconsistent results and actions, of the Department of Justice, we do need to build confidence again.
And that's why I'm advocating for reform of our federal law enforcement agencies. It needs to be changed. There needs to be more accountability. There needs to be more oversight. And we need to rebuild that confidence. And that can be done.
COLLINS: Does that include firing the FBI Director?
HUTCHINSON: When the public sees, and they're totally different facts.
COLLINS: Does that include firing the FBI Director, something that several of your Republican challengers have said they want to do?
HUTCHINSON: Well, it builds confidence. And confidence starts at the top. So yes, I suspect that Mr. Wray would lose his job, as FBI Director, under a new administration. While I've known him, I've worked with him?
COLLINS: Under your administration, he would lose his job?
HUTCHINSON: I would make a change in the FBI Director, simply because we have got to transform it. I want somebody in that position that will fulfill my goals, of changing the FBI, in terms of making them more accountable and focused. And I think the FBI is an extraordinary job. They have an important mission, in counterterrorism. But let's focus them, on the important missions that they have. And let's not get them in to the political warfare. Let's not get them into issues that take away from their primary missions.
COLLINS: Yes. It's just notable --
HUTCHINSON: And so, we could reform this. We can change it. We can build confidence.
COLLINS: It's just notable, given Chris Wray was picked, was recommended by Chris Christie, was picked by Trump. Senator Tim Scott voted, to confirm him. All these people, who are now saying that they would fire him, not Chris Christie, I should note.
Before you go, we also have a development, from your home state, because of course, when you were Governor of Arkansas, your State passed several anti-trans bills, including one that you overrode, which was banning the care, transition care.
That has been overruled, by a federal judge, who struck down one of those bills, this week, essentially saying what you had said, when you declined to sign it. It's unconstitutional. Then, of course, your Republican Legislature did pass it.
But when it comes to this issue overall, and the way we see Republicans talking about it, do you believe it's a winning issue for Republicans to be behind?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I think it's very important issue. It really involves parents.
And parents do not want their children encouraged into transition, in terms of their gender, in the schools, without them knowing about it. They don't want them influenced that direction, inappropriately. And so, they're rightfully concerned. And so, this court decision made clear that parents are the ones that guide the children's health care.
Now, I think if the bill had been more narrowly drawn that prohibited transition surgeries, one, I would have signed it, but also, I believe it would have been held, as constitutional.
But this was overbroad. It impeded, impinged on parental responsibilities, and making tough health care decisions, for children. And so, I think this is a case that supported, and my actions supported parental involvement, engagement, in these important decisions.
And there shouldn't be anything hidden from the parents. Anything happens should be with their consent. And so, this, it's all about parents, and their role, in raising their children, and guiding them, through the most difficult decisions of life, without the State interfering with that. COLLINS: Governor Hutchinson, thank you so much for your time tonight.
HUTCHINSON: Thank you. Great to be with you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito, is now facing new criticism, tonight, after a report revealed that he did not disclose a trip, he took, with a billionaire, whose hedge fund, later had cases, before the Supreme Court. But even more shocking might be how the Justice responded, to the allegations, before that report had even been published.
We have details, next.
COLLINS: Tonight, yet another Supreme Court justice's ethics have come into question, after a report, by investigative journalists, at ProPublica.
According to this new report, Justice Samuel Alito failed to disclose a 2008 luxury fishing trip, where a billionaire, flew him to Alaska, on his private jet.
The billionaire in question is Paul Singer, whose hedge fund has repeatedly come before the Supreme Court, in the years, since, in high stakes business disputes. Back in 2014, the court agreed to resolve a key issue, between Singer's hedge fund and the nation of Argentina. Alito did not recuse himself from that case, we should note.
And ProPublica says that they sent Alito, a list of detailed questions, about this reporting, last week.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court's head spokesperson, responded, said Alito would not be commenting.
Well, not commenting to them, because just hours later, and before ProPublica could even release that report, The Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed that was written by Alito, saying ProPublica, quote, "Misleads its readers," and defending his failure to disclose that trip.
Joining me now, CNN Supreme Court Reporter, Ariane de Vogue.
Ariane, obviously, this is the same outlet that has reported, on Justice Clarence Thomas. That is why he was going after them, essentially talking about them, misleading, and the history of their reporting on this.
But what do you make of the fact that he didn't respond, and instead went out and wrote an Op-Ed, to get ahead of this reporting?
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, that's just it. It's unprecedented. He knew this report was coming. And he wanted to get out ahead of it, almost to put a spin on it. I mean, to go to -- the authors went to the Public Information Officer. They got a "No comment."
And then, he turns around, and he writes himself, his own byline, this piece, in The Wall Street Journal. It just, it seemed like he was almost trying to be his own crisis communication guy, doing something we haven't seen before.
Because, I remember, Kaitlan, several years ago, Justice Scalia, Antonin Scalia, there was a big question, whether he should recuse. And he actually released this long statement. But he released it through the court. It almost felt like an opinion.
This feels differently. It felt like Alito was kind of pulling a page, from the political branches. And to sort of respond in this way, it really felt political. It's not --
DE VOGUE: -- how things happen at the court.
COLLINS: It reminds me of when, covering the Trump White House, sometimes, we would ask for comment, on something. And then, they would tweet about whatever you were going to report --
DE VOGUE: Right.
COLLINS: -- in advance of responding.
DE VOGUE: Yes.
COLLINS: Part of this, though, where he addresses this in the Op-Ed, he talks about this flight that he took. And he says he was asked whether he would like to fly there, in that seat, and "As far as I am aware, would have" otherwise "been vacant."
Is that an excuse, for a Supreme Court justice, that it would have been vacant otherwise?
DE VOGUE: Well, it's very puzzling, right? Because he makes it sound like "Look, no problem, because it didn't take anything out of the wallet of a billionaire." When all the ethics experts say, it's not about that, right?
It's about the appearance. It's about taking a ride, on a jet, for a three-day luxury trip, and then, never disclosing it, on your financial disclosure forms, which asks you, every year, to disclose these gifts.
I mean, I will say that both Alito and Thomas, who had a similar issue, they do not believe that ethics rules cover them here. But still, it just seemed so strange, particularly because in this instance, this guy has issues, cases before the court.
Ariane de Vogue, it certainly has the attention of Capitol Hill. Thank you.
With us now, Berkeley Judicial Institute Executive Director, and former U.S. District judge, for the Northern District of California, Jeremy Fogel.
And, Jeremy, I know you've talked about this, on Capitol Hill, before as well. Do you believe that any Supreme Court justice should be going on trips, or accepting gifts, of this size, from individuals, who could have any kind of business before the court?
JEREMY FOGEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BERKELEY JUDICIAL INSTITUTE: Well, the way I would answer that question is to say that if the Supreme Court had a code of conduct, like every other judicial officer, in the United States, does? It would give guidance in cases, like this.
Right now, they don't have one. So, they have a variety of sources that they look at. They look at different texts and treatises and commentaries. They talk to different people. But there is no consistent guidance that they get.
So, both Justice Alito, and Justice Thomas? And they really aren't alone. Other justices, in the past, have done this too. Have said, "Well, I asked around, I got guidance, and that nobody told me that I shouldn't do it." I think if you had a consistent code, if you had clear rules? That would happen much less frequently. And I think more to the point it would not get as politicized as it is now.
In the absence of a code, if Justice Alito or Justice Thomas gets, attacked? Their political supporters say, "Well, this is political, as people just don't like their decisions. And so, this is an attempt to get at them."
If it's a liberal justice? There were instances, where Justice Ginsburg spoke to groups, in the past. And the Conservatives called that out, and said she shouldn't be doing that.
If you had a code of conduct that applied to all of the justices? And one could look at, and get guidance, from? I think that would help enormously. And --
FOGEL: And if you look at the codes that apply, to justices, and judges, in other courts, in the country, it does cover things like this. It does cover trips, and gifts, and accommodations, you get, from people with business before the court.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, I think, we see a certain reaction, from Democrats, or Republicans, for the stories that have been about Alito, or Justice Clarence Thomas. But, of course, if one of the more liberal-leaning justices was accepting, lavish gifts, from George Soros, I think we would hear from that as well.
Senate Judiciary Chair, Dick Durbin, says that when they come back, from the Fourth of July recess, they are going to mark up a bill, on Supreme Court ethics. Do you have any expectation that that will actually be put forward and could pass?
FOGEL: Well, it's going to be hard, to get it through Congress, given the present composition of Congress, given that we have divided government, given the filibuster rule, things of that nature.
I think the best course, and it's one that I've advocated, and will continue to advocate, is that it should come from the court. The court ought to adopt a code of conduct. They have a lot of material, to work from. They have every incentive to do it.
Public confidence, in the court, has fallen precipitously. It's the lowest it's been in our lifetime. And I think this is something that they can do, to rebuild it, to begin rebuilding it, is to adopt a code of conduct. So, I think that is the best solution.
I think if Congress tries to impose one, it's going to be a lot a lot messier.
COLLINS: Yes. And it seems unlikely to actually get the support. We'll see if stories like this change that.
Jeremy Fogel, thanks for your expertise, tonight.
FOGEL: Well thanks. Thanks for having me.
FOGEL: Appreciate it.
COLLINS: And we'll be right back after this.
COLLINS: And thank you so much, for joining us.
The news continues. "CNN TONIGHT" with Abby Phillip, starts, right now.