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CNN Projects Trump Wins South Carolina, Nikki Haley Vows To Stay In Race; Ukraine Marks Two Years Since Russia's Invasion. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 24, 2024 - 21:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You and I have spoken about your concern that Black voter Chris, are not hearing enough about the good that in your view, Joe Biden has done for the country and for the Black community do you still have that concern?

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, you know, when I see all the gaffes? Trump had some cue cards on yesterday or last night and he couldn't get his own wife's name, right? There's something wrong with Trump, and we noticed something wrong with Trump.

All of that meandering that he was doing today, but you never see any reporting on that. If Joe Biden commits a gaffe, a guy who stuttered all of his childhood into his adulthood and everybody know his stuttering is what caused a lot of his speech impediments. And we know, it has nothing to do with his brain.

He stumbles one time and everybody says, he's too old to be a precedent. Look, we had a president of these United States, I saw the wreckage of the other day, who in the top ten, and some people got him in the top three, Franklin Roosevelt was in a wheelchair. It didn't bother his brand. He got elected president more often than anybody else in the history of the country. He ranks has been the best presidents we've ever had, not because he was able to walk, but because he was able to think and do so in a way that benefits the American people, benefit his great country keep us moving toward a more perfect union, not the fullest sense that were getting from down Trump.

TAPPER: Always an honor to have you, sir. Congressman James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, good to see you, sir. Thank you so much

CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me.

TAPPER: And it's the top of the hour. Let's check in with the voters in South Carolina and see what they are thinking with 63 percent of the estimated vote in South Carolina Republican primary, 50 delegates at stake. Donald Trump still far in the lead with 60.5 percent of the vote. He has 307,545 votes. That's more than 110,000 votes ahead of former two-time governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, who has 38.8 percent of the vote, 196,969 votes. That's with 63 percent of the votes in, still many thousand more votes to count.

John King, without question, a resounding win for Donald Trump, in Haley's backyard.

So now that more votes have come in, how did he do it?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's overwhelming, resounding, a thumping for the former Governor Nikki Haley in her home state, Jake. Look, as you noted, 61 percent to 39 percent. If you round those up right now, almost a two thirds of the vote in. So you look at the map now and you're getting more reliable that things aren't going to change. Doesn't mean some of these counties wont, but if you look right now, Nikki Haley is carrying three of the 46 counties of the state. She calls home the state where she was twice elected governor, three of 46.

Marco Rubio carried two of those 46 against Donald Trump back the first time in 2016. So, this is a shellacking. So here's a couple of different ways to look at this. I want to start with the foundation of the Trump base. We have seen this over and over and over again is voters who do not have a college education.

So lets pull out and look at the rate in South Carolina nearly 60 percent, the people of South Carolina, the high school educated or less, they do not have a college degree, nearly 60 percent. What does Donald Trumps vote tonight among Republicans, it's above 60 percent. And so let's go through and look at this way.

So, you had the flip side, Donald Trumps weakness is in areas where people do have a college degree. David noted earlier the exit polls Trump is doing okay, he's actually leading Nikki Haley or was in the early exit polls among those with a college degree. But in the places she is winning, right? Look down here, Charleston County, watch here. This is statewide.

You see the green, 41 percent of the people statewide are college graduates in South Carolina. She's winning down here, see how much that came over nearly 60 percent in Charleston County. So her foundation in his weakness is still voters with a college degree, but his strength is among voters who do not.

Here's another way to look at it. There's the state of South Carolina will bring out the demographics right now and you look at it this way. It's a little quick to go back. Non-college educated, the deeper the purple here, the higher percentage of the people in that county who do not have a college education. So, you see these deep purple here, the deep purple here, right?

Let's just tap in and look at Dylan County, 85 percent of the vote for Donald Trump. Move over next door, Marlboro County, 82 percent of the vote for Donald Trump, you come down here, it comes to the southern part of the state, tapping here, Hampton County 73 percent of the vote for Donald Trump. Tap here, 70 percent of the vote for Donald Trump.

So you pull out the map, you look, this has always been the Trump Foundation and it is true tonight and it has been true as he's marched through these early Republican contest, the foundation evangelicals, the foundation voters who do not have a college education and the result of it when you run it up, the Bible Belt of the South Carolina, up here, and everything else.


Donald Trump again getting 61 percent of the vote at the moment in Nikki Haley's home state and, Jake, big win in South Carolina. And then you just pull it back out. That's just important to put all the pieces together, 1, 2, 3, 4, Donald Trump is 4-0 and well talk more about this later, 4-0, he's above 100 delegates, as you noted a bit earlier, yes, you need 1,215. That's a long way to go. But guess what? Were about to shift into March and 16 days from now, 16 days from now, hundreds and hundreds of more delegates will be awarded.

So Trump has momentum as were heading into a very big month.

TAPPER: All right, let's check in now with our campaign correspondent. First to Kristen Holmes, who's at Trump headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina.

Kristen, what is next for Trump after this big win?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you do want to tell you, I just got off the phone with a Trump ally who was texting me saying that people are not surprisingly happy that Nikki Haley is staying in the race. There's a moment. There were several of them thought that she was going to drop out, but obviously she's not. But I'm hearing from senior advisors if that isn't going to impact anything that they are doing moving forward.

On Tuesday is the Michigan primary, and just to note, he has only gone to Michigan once. We now know Nikki Haley's super PAC is spending about $500,000 there. They don't even have a big infrastructure in the state of Michigan. In fact, I'm told they've only hired two people there. Clearly, he is so confident that he is going to win there, that he's not going back, he's not even attending the primary there.

And it comes to Super Tuesday, which is the week after that, he is leading in the polls in every state. So what I'm talking to senior advisers, when I'm talking to allies, they are saying that they don't believe there is a path for the former governor of South Carolina. They're going to continue to pivot to the general election and try and shift their focus to President Joe Biden.

And part of that is going to be trying to recreate and reshaped structure and reshape the RNC, which is the Republican National Committee. We've done a lot of extensive reporting, of course, first on the chairwoman who has said that she would step out down when Ronald Trump becomes the nominee, but also on the extensive RNC, he, Donald Trump has this is promoted a person who has supported his lies about the 2020 election to be the chairman of the RNC, as well as his daughter-in-law, to be a co-chair person of the RNC.

He is right now still operating as though he is the presumptive nominee and trying to reshape the party, reshape the RNC in his image.

TAPPER: All right. Now, to Kylie Atwood, who is the campaign headquarters for Nikki Haley in Charleston, South Carolina. Kylie, what is Haley week looking like as she absorbs this big loss in her home state, but pledges just to go on?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Well, Jake, Nikki Haley's headed to Michigan tomorrow, an empty sets off on 10 extremely busy days for her campaign as she is vowing, of course, to keep her campaign alive tonight. And we spoke with her campaign manager earlier fair tonight, who told us to say that she's headed to this week, they include Minnesota, Colorado, Utah, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont.

That's a lot of states but what I do want to point you to is the fact that I've talked to campaign aides who say that they do see fertile ground in those western states, Colorado and Utah, and also in the northeast certain states, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine. And it's worth noting that there are some of those states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, where its winner-take-all, if someone hits 50 percent, they believe that that could be a possibility for Nikki Haley.

But it'll be an area for us to watch. Where do they actually put these resources into? We know that her campaign is going up with national ads, both digitally and on TV to push her campaign ahead. Her super PAC is also investing in some of these future states. The question is, can she get enough of these delegates in these future states to make a decision after Super Tuesday, that you will keep her campaign alive.

Of course, she's vowing tonight that it's incredibly important for Americans to have a choice. She talked about them the fact that they shouldn't be a Soviet style election where folks are going out to vote, don't have an option in front of them and she wants to be that option.

I also think its worth noting, Jake, that she had a pretty somber tone tonight to talk about her concern about the future of the country. And she said that she believes that South Carolinians are concerned as well. But because she's concerned, that is one of the reasons that she's staying in the race despite, of course, losing her home state of South Carolina -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kylie Atwood, thanks so much. Kylie Atwood in Charleston, South Carolina, Haley campaign headquarters -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks very much.

I want to play something that the former president said last night to Black conservatives. Let's play that.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got indicted a second time, third time, and a fourth time.


And a lot of people said that that's why the Black people like because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against. And they actually viewed me as I'm being discriminated again.

The mug shot, we've all seen the mug shot and you know who embraced it more than anybody else? The Black population, it's incredible. You see Black people walking around with my mug shot.


COOPER: And Jake asked Jim Clyburn about that.

Also, President Biden had said something recently. He said Donald Trump has been showing Black Americans his true colors for years and incompetent anti-Black tyrant who holds us to such low regard that he publicly dine with white nationalists a week after declaring his 2024 candidacy. Come November, no matter how many disingenuous voter engagement events he attends, Black Americans will show Donald Trump, we know exactly who he is.

What -- what do you think of the support that he's been getting?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think its real and I don't know if anybody else would disagree with me at this table. I do think that there are two different things that can be true at the same time. One is that the Democratic Party has for very long period of time taken Black voters for granted. And there is a question right now about the energy that is behind Joe Biden from Black voters and supporting him in November. That is true.

What's also true and can be said is that Donald Trump is a racist who utilize his racism as political currency. I can remember going back in studio in 2016 when Jake Tapper was interviewing him about David Duke and he like he didn't know who David Duke was on the eve of the Mississippi primary. The fact that he keeps an -- even Lindsey Graham said it tonight that Black Americans have a propensity to commit crimes, et cetera to hyper-sexualized us, to make -- to hyper criminalized us, to keep falling into these tropes. That is the type of racism that plays to the base of his party.

He says these things to Black voters, to their faces the ones who ignorant enough to be in that room, not talking to them. That's what people missed. Donald Trump is not talking to Black voters when he goes down these tropes. He's actually talking to White voters into his base to turn them up and built in a lot of the resentment that we see.

A lot of the things that we see that are going on in this country about people who are coming out is because there are some fear that they are being replaced either by Black or Brown voters. And when you see him talking down to Black folk in their face, there is a large swath of the American public who says, I liked the way that sounds, and that's the currency that he uses.

So I think two things can be true. The Democratic Party has been on -- laying on their asses for too long when it comes to so to Black voters, that is true. You're seeing that catch up with him, and Donald Trump is racist.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What explains, what explains -- I mean, I don't far be it for me to explain African-American voting, right? But what explains his rise in popularity in every poll you see. Something has to be -- there's account for that, right?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a couple of things. First of all, everything that you just said is correct, which is why the vast majority of Black people, male, female, every category are going to vote against Donald Trump again.

SELLERS: Correct.

JONES: So that's -- that's the big solid rock, but there is this margin that's beginning to waiver and beginning to move which is what you're talking about. And I think that there are some people -- look, I mean, it means holds up the sneakers and stuff, and Trump, that stuff is horrifying to anybody with good sense. But where's the motion coming from?

I think there's some frustration in a Democratic party that you're talking about, Bakari, that we've been taken for granted, that some of our issues didn't get taken seriously enough this time around, whether its voting rights, whether it's police reform, et cetera and there's some fatigue. And so, I think you're starting to see that.

I think there is this weird nostalgia that is about, you know, under Trump, you know, pre-COVID, the economy was better. We got some criminal justice reform and some of the stimulus support was welcome.

So, what's actually happening though, is that there is an online influence campaign.


JONES: Some of it I think is coming from Russia, China, and Iran that is whipping up, that, that conversation way in unnaturally.

URBAN: But, let me ask you again.

JONES: You're going to question one answer.

URBAN: Go ahead.

JONES: So, there's a solid block is not going to move there is some actual legitimate frustration and fatigue, but there's also and we have to talk about it more, an online influence campaign designed to depress and distress Black voters and to split -- into split Black voters.


COOPER: Let me just look at poll numbers, 2000 -- going back to 2008, seeing some sort of a shift among black men are siding with Republican Party. We put that up under McCain, 5 percent, Romney in 2012, 11 percent, Donald Trump, 2016, 13 percent. Donald Trump, 2020, 19 percent.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can I put it out there that it says Black male support? And one thing we're not acknowledging as the growing gender divide that is happening across the board with partisanship, that men in general are trending more Republican. Women in general, especially young women, are trending more Democratic and that this is effect.


You could probably talk very similarly about Latino men, et cetera.


CORNISH: So that's one thing. And the other thing is we do have a tendency to blow up this particular dialogue, which has been around for a very long time. They've always been Black conservatives and they've always made a very similar argument, which is that the Democratic Party takes you for granted.

I actually don't hear anything all that new in this, but I understand what you're saying about optics, which I think is important to show that I'm out here just saying whatever, you know, I'm not worried about, micro-aggressions, or wokeism or any of that stuff. I'm out here telling the truth.

There could be lots of reasons why people might want to wear a Trump mug shot. Sure. It doesn't necessarily mean -- it doesn't mean the Trump curious are not the Trump committees and that's just something to consider.

URBAN: Is there a chance the Trump message resonates with African Americans? Is there a chance?

CORNISH: It is, but let's be realistic. No, no, but let's be realistic about what were talking about. We're not talking about people just straight up waltzing over to Trump, we're talking about people who decide I don't care enough about this election because I don't think either candidate will materially changed my life. That is where the Trump curious becomes important.


SELLERS: That's the frustration that I have because Joe Biden has done a great deal for people of color in this country, and the disconnect is the messaging around the successes that he's had, and the fact that they're not actually out there, and they're trying to now and they're getting around to that.

JONES: I just want to say --

SELLERS: Go ahead.

JONES: -- one quick thing and I know I just want to get in.

There -- one of the great achievements I think of progressive Black leadership has been to hold the Black and Brown communities together despite immigration and that is beginning to erode. In other words, there was -- in the '90s, first in California, to attempt to pit Black and Brown together, saying the immigrants are taking Black jobs in particular, and we beat that back. We said, we're not going to let this economic argument put us in the camp what we think is basically a racist attempt to push Brown people down and to create Brown second- class citizens.

And I think that was a huge achievement and people now take it for granted, that Black and Brown people are going to vote together because of what's happened, it's very important, because of these Republican governors shipping immigrants into blue cities and they're landing in Black communities and in places like New York and other places. Black students are not able to go to schools and use facilities sometimes because this artificially manufactured conflict between Black and Brown folks at grassroots level.


JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: -- aren't shipped by Republican governors. Most of them are not transplanted as photo-ops (ph).


JONES: We can argue about that. But what but -- but what we can argue -- well, but I think its important now because the Obama coalition, and it was, you know, more about anybody else in the Biden coalition assumed certain groups would stay together and you are seeing some of that beginning to fray, which should be able talk about.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I say one take on this quickly, because when I was with Donald Trump, I remember he engaged in some of this very pandering language. I'd say offensive pandering, playing it too lightly.

He called something the platinum plan that was targeting the Black community. That is certainly not why he's seeing some movement with Black voters. I think what were seeing is far more a reality of this shift of more the working class voters, the old demographic going toward, I think it probably has more to do with sort of their financial situation that it has to do with race.

URBAN: Working class.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But there's also -- can I just -- I want to ask a couple of questions. One is how much of it is just about strength? How much of it is that Trump projects as a straw -- whether he is or not, because I've never heard strong people whine so much on how they're being treated, but whether he's strong or not -- I mean, he project as a strong person.

JONES: Yeah.



CORNISH: There is research on this. It's about how people perceive masculinity. And depending on your responses, it's a pretty good predictor of whether or not your interested --

AXELROD: Well, it may address your point about these younger Black men who are some -- somehow -- somewhat responding to him.

And my other question is how much, Bakari, is, not just a failure to message properly, but also an inflation of expectations beyond what was actually possible?

SELLERS: I mean, I think you're saying both and I think this is an election that were watching to answer David's point a little bit in a social media vacuum, the voices that David is hearing and the Trump hears are the voices of 50 Cent when he's talking about immigrants up here and he's kind of misguided in a statements, or the voices of Killer Mike, or the voices of Meek Mill which literally have no influence over a larger populace, then their Twitter followers or what at what it would it may be. But yet and still they are loud.

This is more of a function of what the Democratic Party has not done over the past 10, 15, 20 years than it is a function of the racism or policy of Donald Trump. And that's my only zero point. And I think -- I think -- I think -- and your point about immigration is -- your point about immigration is taken and it's actually a very sound point.


And the reason that you have that frame is because for very long period of time, Democrats have not actually acted, is if the issue of immigration was one of great import and because we did not -- because we did not take -- and it's -- but it's more than just, you know, you talk about fentanyl, and you talked about the border, you talk about the wall and you talk about migrants, you talk about busing.

But what is also happening is you're starting to see some of those coalitions fray as well, and that is residual effect.

AXELROD: And the fact -- the fact -- the fact that there has been this migration of or the shipping of or however --


AXELORD: -- in the city of Chicago, it has torn the Black and Hispanic communities apart because the African American community is, first of all, saying, we don't want all these folks in our community. Secondly, they're saying all these resources are now being used for these immigrants. And our communities still in need and we're not getting that kind of attention.

GOLDBERG: It just it seems to me -- look, we can argue about how many of them are shipped by Republicans.

JONES: That's right.

GOLDBERG: But we have -- I would say that, and I don't like using human beings as political props and I've been consistent on that for -- since this started. At the same time, the -- having millions of people across the border to me, its very similar to the BP oil spill at the beginning of the Obama administration, just the image of that oil constantly round the clock, pumping into the ocean, freaked people out.

I remember "The New York Times" op-ed page was losing its mind. What -- we got to do something right now. The imagery has a real effect --

SELLERS: But the difference is --

GOLDBERG: -- is a classic thing proven in country after country, study after study, uncontrolled mass migration freaks people out.

SELLERS: But the differences --


COOPER: We know we've got to go.

SELLERS: The only difference is you cant just set aside the part that you said at the beginning, like the utilization of human beings as props is disgusting.

GOLDBERG: Oh, I do that.

SELLERS: No, no, I'm with you, like what Greg Abbott is doing is disgusting and shipping them to cities like New York and Chicago and Detroit.

There's no but --

URBAN: They're sanctuary cities.


GODLBERG: It's a natural problem and saying only border states should suffer, I don't know --


COOPER: We're going to keep tracking the votes out of South Carolina to gauge Donald Trump's final margin of victory over Nikki Haley and Trump's path forward as he works to clinch the GOP nomination.

We'll be right back.



TAPPER: And I have a key race alert for you now, with 79 percent the vote in. Donald Trump remains ahead with 60. That's 60.1 percent of the vote. He has 357,692 votes. That is almost 125,000 votes ahead of former two term South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who has 39.2 percent of the vote, 233,000 and 23 votes. It is a stumping, a thumping, as they say. Seventy-nine percent of the vote in, Donald Trump far ahead in the lead.

Let us get another to check on what matters here, more than those numbers, the delegate math -- David Chalian.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah. Jake, we have 50 delegates at stake tonight in South Carolina. CNN has already been to -- already been able to allocate 38 of them based on those results, you just read that are already in, all 38 that we've allocated tonight from South Carolina, go to Donald Trump. None yet for Nikki Haley, we have 12 delegates left unallocated as we determine the vote count in the congressional districts that will determine who wins the remaining delegates.

But that's just for tonight. Take a look at where we are delegates to date up there on the right-hand corner, 1,215 delegates are needed to become the Republican presidential nominee. Donald Trump is at 101, Nikki Haley's at 17, Ron DeSantis is at nine, Vivek Ramaswamy is at three delegates.

Obviously, no one, even Trump, is close to 1,215 yet, but that's going to start accelerating as Super Tuesday and beyond, all those contests fast approaching.

TAPPER: Fascinating stuff, David Chalian.

John King?

KING: Well, Jake, let's backup both points David just make with some math.

First, just where we are right now. It's overwhelming, 60 percent to 39 percent, t should look as devote come in. You see Nikki Haley is leading at the moment in three of her home states 46 counties.

I'm going to switch the maps. David said we still have 12 to allocate. That's four congressional districts. We're not quite sure yet who's going to win those congressional districts. Three delegates for each of the congressional districts.

I'll just show you the map by congressional district. At the moment, Donald Trump is leading and all of those districts. It doesn't mean a win them, are there some of them are closed, so that's -- we haven't called it yet, waiting on some vote counts. But at the moment, Donald Trump is conceivably could win them all. Nikki Haley would need to come back.

So come back to the statewide vote and take a look and then you come out to the point David just made. Donald Trump at the moment at 101 delegates -- well, let's shift over and let's do a little history, and let's go back in time.

First, lets go back to the national map. That's a little -- a little time machine here. Remember before Iowa, right, we started a fresh -- the start of the year fresh, but look after the first five contests. This is where we are tonight, right? Donald Trump won Iowa, won New Hampshire, won Nevada, won South Carolina, also won the Virgin Islands, as in the caucus his conference, he's had 101 at the moment and we are waiting for the rest in South Carolina. So, so far, Donald Trump has received, as David noted, at 38 of the

delegates. And there are still 12 outstanding. It is conceivable, as I said, he gets them all. If he did, if he won the remaining congressional districts we're not comfortable calling just yet, he would end the night with 113. That is not guaranteed. I'm just telling that its a hypothetical but the highest Donald Trump could be at the end of the night. And when we wake up tomorrow and finish counting those is 113.

So let's just take this off for safety sake and go back to where we are. He's at 38 right now. Move this out of the way. And so where do we go from here? David made the key point, Nikki Haley says the fight goes on. Nikki Haley says she's off to Michigan.

That is up next but just come over here and let's just look at this map as you come through. Let's just bring this out, may give you an easier map to look at. Call it up here this way, and then off we go.

Watch this, watch this. This is the next 16 days of American political life in the Republican Party. Michigan, Idaho, Missouri, Washington, D.C., North Dakota, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, American Samoa.


March 12th, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Washington state, and the Northern Mariana Islands, right? Look at all those states and look on the right side and all those delegates.

Now, the Trump campaign put out a memo recently and a lot of things the Trump campaign says, sometimes its fantasy, sometimes its hard to stretch, their memo was actually perhaps a little aggressive when it comes to delegates, but if you look at how Donald Trump has been winning so far, and how many of the delegates winning so far? It's not at all unrealistic what they said.

And so, let's just come back and look. The way they look at it now, let's do it by state. Let's bring out the map. Let's come back in with this. This is where we are tonight.

They have a projection through March 12th. Look where that gets you. It gets you to 1,223. It is conceivable if Donald Trumps keep winning, keeps winning by the margins he is winning so far, that 16 days from now on March 12, quite conceivable, Donald Trump needs 1,215 could pass it on that day.

That is by no means guaranteed. The fight goes on as Governor Haley said. But for the fight to go on and stop that, stop the math in the next 16 days. She says simply needs to change the result.

As she said today, 40 percent is not 50 percent. She's right. She needs to win some states or else that will be pretty soon upon us. And if you look historically, how quick would that be?

Take a look at this other graphic over here on the map. How quickly other candidates have won the nomination. George W. Bush wrapped it up by March 14th. John McCain in 2008, even earlier than that. Took Mitt Romney into May. Took Donald Trump in 2016 into May.

Donald Trump, the incumbent president took into mid-March. But again, we could be again March 17th in 2020, it could conceivably not guaranteed, Jake, but it could be March 12, this time around and notice Trump, Trump, this would be three times, three consecutive times Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination.

TAPPER: Very interesting, good stuff.

Do we see -- is there any reason to think from polling or from any other reason a state that Nikki Haley can win? Because if she can't win South Carolina and New Hampshire, I myself am hard-pressed to find one where she can likely be victorious.

New Hampshire and South Carolina have open primaries where people can -- who are maybe independent or even Democrats might vote for her and she didn't win. And South Carolina, she was elected statewide twice.

So I mean, can she win in Michigan? Is there someplace you would be looking?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am -- I'm not seeing any opportunities on the map, especially given that broadly speaking, what's happening in the states is largely mirroring what is happening at the national level. This is not a situation -- it's actually in some ways, unlike some of these other contested primaries in 2020 or even 2016, among Democrats, where you saw, you know, you might have a Bernie Sanders with some strengthen in Michigan. You might have, you know, individual candidates with strongholds.

We are not actually seeing that in this Republican primary and that's the reason why -- the idea that suddenly lightning is going to strike right at this moment to change things for Nikki Haley is unlikely. Now, could lightning strike at some point between now and November in a way that is detrimental to Donald Trump, that is possible. And that may be the thing that the Haley campaign is waiting for.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, look, her campaign is not even saying if there's a state that she can win. They've sort of sidestepping that question. Where were you going to win on Super Tuesday?

They're not really saying. And at the same time, you're seeing Trump's sort of shift his messaging, his thinking towards the general election. You heard is his pretty dark vision of America and attacks against Joe Biden in his CPAC speech earlier today. And then you also heard his speech tonight. He came out very early. Perhaps the reason why they put them out early before Nikki Haley, so she would not get under his skin. He didn't even mention her in that speech as he tried to talk about the general election.

And then he was asked apparently about this to a Fox News reporter about Nikki Haley's staying in the race and he said, I'm not really thinking about it. We have to beat Joe Biden. He said, I don't know if she's in the race at all.

So well see if that allows them to now call her names -- like he's calling her birdbrain and all the like. But its clear from Trump in his -- in his supporters, they wanted him to do, they wanted to do this back after New Hampshire focus on Joe Biden, not focus on Nikki Haley.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They are desperate for him to turn the page not deal with Nikki Haley, pretend as if she's not a factor at all, like she's not in the race at all.

It's not easy for him to do it. We'll see how long.

RAJU: It might last about a few hours.

BASH: How long it lasts.

But I think your question, Jake, about New Hampshire and South Carolina and whether or not there will be any more fertile ground for her than what we've seen, here's what the campaign argues. They argue that 11 of the 16 Super Tuesday states have open or semi-open primaries.

Having said that, New Hampshire was about the most fertile when it comes to the open primary or semi-open primary.


TAPPER: And she had the support of the governor in New Hampshire.

BASH: She had support to the governor. She didn't win, didn't come close. And we already know what happened tonight in South Carolina. So could she get some delegates on Super Tuesday? Sure. She could. But the answer to whether she could win even with these realities, and maybe the more favorable kinds of primaries that she's going to face, it's not impossible, but it's pretty hard to see it.

TAPPER: You know what this all reminds me of? This reminds me of again, I'm dating myself. This reminds me of the 2000 Democratic primaries and caucuses where it was again something of an incumbent, an incumbent Vice President Al Gore, running against somebody, Senator Bill Bradley, who was an appealing character but didn't really have a serious policy agenda that was substantially different from Al Gore's and the party has rallied around Al Gore.

And Bill Bradley, God bless them, I know you interviewed him the other day. He's got a new -- what is it? A biopic on him or a documentary on him?

BASH: No, it's a documentary.

TAPPER: You know, great basketball player, an interesting person but like he didn't win one primary or caucus, not one. And at the end, I forgot when he dropped out exactly. But like I -- you know, that was it for his political career pretty much. RAJU: Yeah. I actually reminded you of Marco Rubio. And in 2016, Haley

being like Marco Rubio. Rubio continued to end up in second and third place, and after some of this races, sort of declared victory, even though he didn't win, you have to win the state and he didn't do that after Super Tuesday, he went down to Florida, got trounced in his own state, ultimately dropped out.

Eventually the math will be impossible for her.

BASH: The one quick thing I will add on the Bill Bradley example is no, he didn't win. But you know that in 2000, Democrats, many of them fairly unfairly blamed Bill Bradley for hurting Al Gore and ultimately making it difficult in 2000.

Well, we don't know if that's --

TAPPER: That's silly.

BASH: We know what happened.

TAPPER: That's silly.

BASH: Oh, come on.

TAPPER: No. I mean, they can say about Nikki Haley if they want, but Bill Bradley did -- anyway --

BASH: That's the --

TAPPER: Well, let's not revisit.

BASH: Let's go forward.

TAPPER: There's a whole butterfly ballot thing, we could go into.


TAPPER: Anderson?

COOPER: We'll let you guys fight amongst yourselves.

Let's get a read on how the South Carolina results are playing in the next 2024 battleground.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is in Detroit with voters who plan to take part in the Michigan Republican primary, which is this coming Tuesday -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's the next primary Anderson, this Tuesday here in the state of Michigan.

And we're not only with voters. We're with voters who are American heroes. These people are members of the veterans of foreign wars post 45, 53, and southwest Detroit.

It's nice to be with you. Thanks for inviting us.

We are inside the post right here. We have two Republicans, two Democrats.

This gentleman and the five in the back, independents. We're going to ask you all because you all can vote Democratic and Republican primary on Tuesday here.

First of all, are two Republicans. This is Rich and Colleen.

You saw Donald Trump won tonight. Do you think its time for Nikki Haley to call it quits?


TUCHMAN: Why do you think so? She says she got almost 40 percent of vote. That's four out of ten South Carolinians who want her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That could be a tough road, tough way to climb.

TUCHMAN: What do you think, Colleen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that she has enough momentum to unify the Republican Party behind her.

TUCHMAN: Donald Trump is in legal trouble right now. He's in peril. He could be a convicted felon next few months. Could that possibly change your minds about voting for him in the general election once it comes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not this time.


TUCHMAN: Not all. Doesn't --


TUCHMAN: Okay. You think he might be too old?


TUCHMAN: Just a number. How old are you if you don't mind me asking?


TUCHMAN: Seventy-seven. Okay. Young 77, right?


TUCHMAN: Okay. I'm not going to -- I'm not going to ask your age. Don't worry about it.

Gentlemen, the two Democrats. When asked you, you both told me that you are ready to vote for Joe Biden on Tuesday. Same kind of question to them. Do you think that Joe Biden might be too old for this job?


TUCHMAN: Why not? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, for one thing, I remember when Obama's term, they wanted him to run for president then, and he turned it down because of the way that the country treats the Obamas, he didn't want the job.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He only -- he only decided to take this job once he found out, you know, Trump was going to be president.

TUCHMAN: So you don't think he's too old for the job?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not too old.

TUCHMAN: What about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's a little too old, but Biden is old, Trump is old, four years younger and about the same age.


TUCHMAN: And tell me, Bill and Gitmo, tell me you're both veteran -- Vietnam veteran, because your head says it not better. And you too, by the way?



And you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not a veteran.

TUCHMAN: But who are you here with?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of my family is veterans.

TUCHMAN: Okay. We have spouses. We also friends and veterans who are here also.

Now on the back, the independents. We first want to ask you, Jeff and Cory, both of you who have told me that you weren't sure if you're going to vote in the primary. You're independents, but you're leaning towards both of you, Nikki Haley.

Tell me why if you do vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all, as we talked about earlier, I think the whole system is broken.

TUCHMAN: And that's why you think of not voting?


TUCHMAN: But why are you leaning towards Nikki Haley, what will convince you to vote for on Tuesday? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her speech.

TUCHMAN: Just now, her speech.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just now, her speech.

TUCHMAN: Why -- you're impressed with the speech?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was, I was, and she actually gave me a spark of hope that there is some new blood that could do the country well

TUCHMAN: And when did you serve and where did you serve?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served in Iraq in 2003.

TUCHMAN: Thank you for your service.

Cory, what about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same -- pretty much the same thing. Just looking at the two factors of the age of the other two contestants, and what's going to go on? It looks like if she --

TUCHMAN: I like how you call them contestants, like it's the price is right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Well, that's pretty much like it is. I'm glad you call it like that. So, mean you both for on the same wavelength.

TUCHMAN: And tell me where you served and when you served.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Desert Storm, Desert Storm, '93, United States Marine Corps.

TUCHMAN: OK. This gentleman right in the middle is the commander of this post, Jeffrey. You're an independent.


TUCHMAN: You said you're fed up and you're not voting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not voting in the primary.

TUCHMAN: Okay. But why aren't you voting in the primary? You could vote Democratic primary, Republican primary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why, why waste my time?

TUCHMAN: Why is it wasting your time, though?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, you want me, I vote in the election, but not in a primary.

TUCHMAN: Okay. So do you know where you can vote for November

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, one, we're going to have to see who's alive. Two --

TUCHMAN: Alive. You mean, okay, you think what you think people are old?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're both 80 years old.

TUCHMAN: But you had Nikki Haley, though too, who's 52.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we'll see if Nikki Haley wins the nomination. You know, we have to see who's the dog in a fight.

TUCHMAN: Would say you'd consider Nikki Haley?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't -- I don't really follow politics.

TUCHMAN: Tell me where you served.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraq in '04, '05, Afghanistan, 2010, 2011.

TUCHMAN: Thank you for your service.

Gentlemen, want to ask you the same question. This is Don and Poncho.

Don, you're an independent, you told me that you're strong Trump supporter though.


TUCHMAN: Oh, so I apologize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that's okay.

TUCHMAN: I apologize.


TUCHMAN: I talked to a man named Don who left us.


TUCHMAN: Sitting in that very chair.


TUCHMAN: But anyway, so accept my apology. Tell me where you served by the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served in Iraq, 2003 and '04.

TUCHMAN: You told me though you are strong Trump supporter.


TUCHMAN: How come you're not a Republican?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I am -- technically, I am, but I'm not happy with the -- with the RNC. The national committee, how it's been run.

TUCHMAN: Why is that?


TUCHMAN: Strident enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just haven't been supporting the candidates, the right candidates either.

TUCHMAN: Because you think they should support Trump more than they even have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yeah, definitely.

TUCHMAN: And, Poncho, I'm getting your name right? Right.


TUCHMAN: Okay. Tell me where you served.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not served, but I do have immediate family who has served and I have plenty of family members who have been in --

TUCHMAN: Great, you're an independent. You're for Trump also?


TUCHMAN: Okay. And, Del, final question for you, independent for Trump also?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Independent, yeah, for Trump.

TUCHMAN: You're supporting Trump, though?


TUCHMAN: Any chance you'd go for Nikki Haley on Tuesday?


TUCHMAN: You can't?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't -- I can't because -- right now, she don't care too much about anything except for her gaining profit. When she come from being an ambassador, she made a lot of money --

TUCHMAN: All right. That's the strong charge, but either way, you're a Trump supporter.


TUCHMAN: Gentlemen and lady, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for your service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. TUCHMAN: Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, thanks so much. Always great to hear from voters.

What do you think? I mean, between now and I mean, what Nikki Haley gets -- she said she's gone to Michigan tomorrow. If she's obviously in this through Super Tuesday.

URBAN: She's lighting hundred dollar bills on a fire the whole way down the road, that she's doing. Well, I don't know what her path forward is. Tell me a state she's going to win. Tell me some county she's going to win.

Bakari -- Bakari put on a map. You showed me all the counties he won, he didn't spend --

SELLERS: Dude, that was a commercial --

URBAN: She spent $16 million, Nikki Haley spent $16 million of the state that she was a governor of, that she won twice and currently, she's going to win two counties. I mean, maybe you should consider dropping out of the race.

AXELROD: We should -- we should -- we should -- we should level set this. Donald Trump's going to be the nominee of the Republican Party. I mean, you look at Super Tuesday, its really superfluous Tuesday.


I mean, he's winning in so many states.

URBAN: He'd been waiting for that.

AXELROD: Every poll I've seen -- for weeks, I've been waiting every poll. She's well, well, behind. You take California, there are 874 delegates. California is winner-take-all. If someone gets over 50 percent, he's winning by 50 percent there. I mean, American Samoa is up, that they haven't seen any polls from there. Maybe that's the spot.

But this thing is over and Donald Trump needs to be the nominee. He's not going to give that up. This is not just a political exercise for him. This is his legal defense.

So he's not going to step down if he's convicted. He's going to appeal and he's going to run. And so, you know, this is fanciful.

I'm not saying that there's not value to having someone offer an alternative in the race. But if anyone thinks that that's going to lead to a different outcome this point, I think they're just dreaming.

URBAN: Nikki Haley seems to be running to replace Liz Cheney at the top of the never Trumpers. I mean, that's the only thing I could see it's being accomplished at this point.

JONES: But -- I'm sorry.

GRIFFIN: Go ahead.

JONES: Well, other people saw it differently tonight when they voted and also even on our air, I thought the spark of hope there might be some new blood, I thought that was really important.



COOPER: He said he's unlikely going to vote.

HUNT: My takeaway was, you know, the guy who's like, I don't know who to vote for in November. I got to see who's alive.

CORNISH: He was more positive than the guy -- yeah. Exactly.

HUNT: That's thing that we're very careful not to talk about, but that's how I think a lot of real people are looking in this election. They can't believe these are their two choices. And they're totally dispirited with the whole thing.

SELLERS: I think I think the benefit of this entire thing the winner tonight, Democrats. Democrats are the winner tonight. Nikki Haley is -- the bludgeoning she's giving Trump, the chips in the armor, I think Democrats are doing well.

COOPER: Said -- that's from a Democrat, by the way.

As the votes from South Carolina come in, we're learning more about what the final margin will look like and the impact that could have on the primary race for the GOP. Much more ahead.



TAPPER: And we're back with a key race alert with 83 percent of the vote in from the South Carolina Republican primary, 50 delegates at stake, Donald Trump way ahead with 60.4 percent of the vote. That's 377,768 votes. That is almost 135,000 votes ahead of former two term Governor Nikki Haley who has 38.9 percent of the vote, and 243,672 votes.

Tonight's primary is, of course, playing out at a critical historical moment. Russia's war against the country and people of Ukraine just hit the two-year mark. The conflict has been a key issue in the fight for the White House as new U.S. aid to Kyiv remains in limbo because of opposition by Trump's Republican allies in Congress and frankly, opposition by Trump.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now live from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

And, Nick, you've been covering this war from the beginning. How has the outlook of Ukrainian soldiers changed in the past two years?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think it's been an extraordinary roller coaster for them to be honest. I think many Ukrainian soldiers didn't expect there'll be able to use minimal western armory in the opening in days of this war to hold back the third biggest army in the world, essentially, part of that was Russia's fault for simply not being up to the task they set themselves. And then they did later that year, managed to kick Russia out of a lot of the territory they'd occupied, and then a southern counter offensive which simply didn't deliver in the summer of last year.

But now, Ukraine's military face their hardest test because it's been that Western aid that's kept them afloat, frankly. You can't fight a war just based on brave hearts alone, you need proper weaponry and weaponry is drying up. They don't have the shells that they need. And so Jake, we've seen over the past week or so the realizations that people were talking about in December, that slowdown of the $60 billion from Congress would translate into deaths and loss of territory on the front lines.

Well, that is happening now and it happened last weekend with a loss of Avdiivka, Ukraine pulling out of that last Saturday, and were slowly seeing a village near that being retaken by the Russians and pressure in other parts of the frontline to unclear if this is going to basically herald the beginning of a collapse in Ukrainian front lines that may not occur. But were definitely seeing Russia resurgent, taking advantage of this particular moment.

And more importantly, too, Jake, behind the scenes, Moscow retooling its economy, resilient, desperately resilient to sanctions. Those 500 targets over the last 48 hours from the Biden administration, Moscow will find a way to work around that. They have been doing that quite ingenuity other the past few years or so.

So, I think concerns here that while Ukraine is running out, none of emotion not have hoped, nor the desire to fight this war. But at the basic tools it needs to do that. Russia is both finding the resources and beginning to get its strategy slightly more coherent, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Nick, with that American aid, that U.S. aid to Ukraine stalled in Congress, if not dead, entirely what's happening on the frontlines in Ukraine right now.


WALSH: Yeah. I mean, look, without that aid, they just don't have the ammunition. They need the Europeans can step up and say, yeah, like today, well give you 170,000 rounds the next few weeks or so, but they've fall on shorter those promises before and without being too cynical here, there's always a feeling when the Europeans make these broader pledges, they're essentially trying to nudge the United States in that general direction.

The Biden administration doesn't need any nudging. It's been forefront about this from the very beginning and continues to want to try and find ways to get around that hurdling Congress. But there is this ultimate fear I think amongst many Ukrainians that are looming potential Trump presidency brings not just a new era of uncertainty, but the very possibility that but the main ally they've had over the past two years might suddenly want to advocate for Vladimir Putin.

That's the strange background noise and all of this, nobody really knows why Donald Trump feels such an affinity towards the Kremlin head, but its there and its unmistakable.

TAPPER: It is indeed unmistakable.

Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We are breaking down Donald Trump's victory in South Carolina after voters there rejected their former two term Governor Nikki Haley reporting over the ballot totals as they come in, as we watch to see whether Governor Haley will win any -- any of the 50 delegates at stake tonight.

Stay with us.