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CNN Projects Trump Wins South Carolina, Nikki Haley Vows To Stay In Race; Two Years of Fighting: Putin Praises "Courage And Valor" Of Russian Troops. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired February 24, 2024 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back in South Carolina. Donald Trump just steamrolled its way through another Republican presidential primary with big win that is catapulting him closer to the GOP nomination and a rematch with President Joe Biden.

Trump delivering a drubbing to his only remaining Republican rival, Nikki Haley, in a state where she was elected twice as governor. Haley, however, insists primary fight is not over yet.

I'm Anderson Cooper with more of our special primary coverage. Former Trump now has a fourth major primary season win under his belt, leading Haley right now by roughly 20 points thanks with more than 90 percent of the South Carolina vote reported. You see the numbers there, 59.9 percent to Haley's 39.4 percent.

Trump and Haley are putting very different spins on the results, with Trump declaring their party unified, Haley warning that a Trump-Biden rematch will stoke Americans divisions.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, there's this spirit that I have never seen. We ran to great races, but there's never been ever has never been a spirit like this. And I just want to say that I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now.

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Does anyone seriously think Joe Biden or Donald Trump will unite our country to solve our problems?

They aren't fighting for our country's future. They're demanding we fight each other.


COOPER: Well, Trump's victory tonight, he is adding to his all- important delegate count, winning most of South Carolina's 50 delegates. CNN now assesses, he'll get at least 44, with none for Haley so far. That' expanding Trump's overall delegate lead, the keys to, of course, winning the nomination and position joining him well for the delegate rich Super Tuesday contest ten days from now. Back now with the actual its going to John King at the magic wall.

John, what are you looking at?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, you heard as you said, the spin there from the candidates while the numbers simply don't lie, whether you're looking at the raw vote or whether you're looking at the delegate math. Let's walk through it.

We think we have more than 90 percent of the vote in. So were close to being done counting and Donald Trump is getting 60 percent of the vote. If you round that up just a little bit to 39 percent for Governor Haley in a state, she was elected twice as governor, but she was last elected a decade ago. Donald Trump has won South Carolina now four times since 2016 primary, 2016 general, 2020 general, now the 2024 primary. And he's winning it quite convincingly.

You see Nikki Haley at the moment leading in three, just three of her home state's 46 counties. So, Donald Trump winning, and when you look, pull it out this way, that means for in a row five, if you count the Virgin Islands, Donald Trump has won all five Republican contests that have been held. So for and he's won them convincingly.

I bring this back out, but I just want to slide over here. That's tonight's vote total. You're trying to win the nomination. The nomination is one with delegates. So look at where Donald Trump is right now, 107 based on South Carolina.

We still have six left to allocate. So let's pull it out. And you tap Trump there. Trump getting 44 of the 50 delegates so far, what does that mean? That means in two congressional districts, there are seven congressional districts, 21 delegates. They each get three, two districts were not ready to project just yet.

Donald Trump will get at least 44. He could get all 50. It is possible though likely scenario at this hour is something more like that. And I'll show you why in a minute.

It's possible Nikki Haley gets six. If I were in Vegas right now, if I were going to bend at all on this and close bet, I would bet three at the most. Let me show you what I mean by that.

So this is the county map, right? You're looking at the county map of South Carolina. This is the map by congressional district. You see the lines are different here.

At the moment, Donald Trump is winning all seven of these congressional districts. But I just want to come back to the county map first, come back to the county map and look, remember this lets draw it a little bit like that. And remember this down in here. So let's draw it something like that.

Remember that this is -- follow on closely here. I'm going to ask would come on an even closer when you go into the congressional district map, right? Donald Trump is winning this district here. But look here and here, you see where I had the circles, we come back to this map, have to turn that off.


See the Haley votes, Haley's getting votes up here. Haley's getting votes down here as we continue to count in this district here, which is the 6th District, right? So its possible as we continue to count. More likely though, is here when you come to the first district and let me get rid of the lines, you see the first district here.

I'm going again, just draw this out, to show you where you see the district line there become back there. Now you come back to the county map. You see those are the Haley votes in the sixth district, but this is the first district, most of it along here, where you do see Governor Haley getting votes. So this is the full district.

Trump getting votes here. Trump gets votes down here but Governor Haley is strongest in Charleston County and Buford County, which is why Anderson, if you go through the math, Donald Trumps winning overwhelmingly in the vote count. He's going to win the overwhelming bulk of the 50 delegates.

He has 44. Now conceivable that Governor Haley could get six out of 50 interstate more likely, she would get three, still counting the votes, perhaps we know that by the end of the evening, but she's still getting a drubbing in her home state. And Donald Trump is 5-0.

COOPER: Yeah, John King. Thanks very much, back with panel here in New York.

So let's talk about Super Tuesday. I mean, what -- nothing much changes between now and then.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But we'll have the answer to some long-standing questions like whether or not the never Trump donor class can actually overcome a cult of personality. Think well know that by then. We'll also know whether or not people we think that essentially solidify the idea that Trump is the most effective messenger for the party's base in their current preoccupations, whether that be protectionism, isolationism, whether that's not wanting to maraud across the worlds hoping to save democracies.

There's a lot of major shifts that have happened and it feels like that moment is going to be the moment where its like, okay, its done. This is decided and anything else in terms of how the party evolves has to be something that happens going forward.

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I pretty profoundly disagree with that and this gets back to something that you were talking about. Back in the Pleistocene era, like four hours ago here.

I think you look at the Republican Party too much through the prism of issues and policy I would give several digits if the Republican Party was taking issues and policy seriously. The singular issue about the defines the Republican Party is Donald Trump, period.

Wen I was growing up, you got called a RINO or a squish. If you were moderate on abortion or tax cuts or defense or any of that kind of stuff. Today, and Trump has done this a half dozen times, what defines you as a RINO is whether or not you were fully loyal to Donald Trump. And Donald Trump does not give a rats derriere about most policy issues. He doesn't about immigration.


CORNISH: Yeah, but that's how I started, right, cult of personality.

GOLDBERG: But this is my point about why Nikki Haley's doing more significant than you were giving it credit for, because what she's doing is building a faction in the party that can say we're not that into you to Donald Trump, and that is hugely psychologically important. Donald Trump wants to tell the world as he just did in that sound bite, the Republican Party has never been unified.

If we're -- the cliche now is that he's running as basically an incumbent. If an incumbent lost a state like South Carolina, won the state by South Carolina, by only 60 points. That would be a disaster I just think it -- we're looking at this in the wrong way.

He's going to be the nominee. Yeah. You know, Nikki Haley is going to drop out after Super Tuesday, probably, but the issue that defines the GOP more than any other thing is just simply blind loyalty to Donald Trump.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's the point you're making them about cult of personality.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Your point was, well, will it overcome -- will the donor class overcome that? The answer is no.

CORNISH: Yeah, exactly.

GOLDBERG: Right. Another way, the other issues you were talking about, about foreign policy, domestic policy, Donald Trump may be tougher on Ukraine than JD Vance wants him to be. It depends what Donald Trump feels like, whether he has a bad case of clams the night before or something like that. I mean, it just -- policy stuff just doesn't drive it.

We watched that in the debates and the Republican primaries is the policy stuff.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In a fascinating point there, because I completely agree with you, Jonah, is Donald Trump has been privately toying with this idea of sort of a 16-week federal abortion ban. Now Republicans had been basically not touching the idea of a federal abortion ban, but Donald Trump, to the degree that he cares about any policy, he fundamentally understands that no access to abortion or six weeks in some states is an absolute loser for Republicans.

This is him moderating beyond his base and a major way. The Republican Party we grew up in, you would not -- you cannot have a major party candidate saying 16 weeks is okay. But Donald Trump can do that and only Donald Trump can. And some voters will go with him.

And for a lot of moderates who are not die-hard on the issue, that's a comfortable enough place to be. I think Democrats need to keep their eyes open to the fact that he can actually moderate on this issue, despite fingers people for being on it.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that there's any moderation on the Republican Party on the issue of reproductive rights or abortion.


Regardless of whether or not at 16 weeks or whether or not you're looking at six weeks or whatever, whatever Republicans are Donald Trump is ruminating on, on his way back to play golf with Lindsey Graham, Republicans have become so extreme on the issue of abortion.


SELLERS: You're out of step with the majority of Americans on that issue. You're out of step with the majority of women and men on the issue of abortion.

GRIFFIN: One agree with the say, but not Donald Trump --


SELLERS: Let me just put a bow on a real quick because I understand what she's trying to do, but what I can allow -- what I don't want to happen is for people to believe that there's any moderation in the Republican Party because its simply not.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, the problem for Donald Trump is that there's a hell of a lot of videotape of him boasting about being the guy who took down Roe versus Wade. So he's trying to run away from something that was his signature on the primaries. But he's now trying to moderate for the general.

CORNISH: And an issue that isn't going to go away, right? Because if you look at Alabama, all of a sudden --


AXELROD: Democrats are going to put the Democrats are going to try and put this on the ballot in a lot of these states.

But one thing -- you know, there's sort of a meta thing here, which is what the Trump and the Republican campaign really comes down to one thing. Their argument is the world's out of control and Biden's not in command.

And Donald Trump is in command. He's a commanding figure and that's what -- that's what Biden has to strategize against. But at the end of the day, this is going to be a battle of risk assessment among voters and who they feel poses the greatest risk. URBAN: I'm going to say, and it's to your point, Axe, before -- strength versus weakness. That you're going to set -- the kinetic strength versus weakness.

SELLERS: Can I ask a question, though? Go ahead.

JONES: I mean, it's -- I think what Democrats are looking at tougher us, strength versus weakness. It's also peace and prosperity. Trump is going to run as a peace and prosperity candidate,

URBAN: No invasions, no wars.

JONES: Yeah, that's to be sure, over and over again, like, when I was president, we didn't have any wars, the economy was better before COVID.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: You hear it from voters to like Trump supporters, they'll say, well, he'll prevent World War Three. That's what they'll say.

JONES: Which is the opposite that most Democrats see him. But there it is.

So, yeah, strength versus weakness. You have peace and prosperity versus war and inflation. And then at the end of the day, you do have this sense of change versus more of the same. There is a fatigue and part of -- part of the Russian propaganda model which were all stuck inside of.

And by the way, we cannot get away from the fact that people get in driven crazy by these devices, and it's not just corporate greed with the algorithms. It's also Russia, China and Iran are polarizing us.

The point of polarization, Russia backed Trump and BLM online just to make everybody crazy and -- the fatigue and to give up. And that's then when authoritarians can have the most impact is when everybody is just so frustrated, they throw their hands up.

And so there's a whole thing happening here. And my concern is the Biden campaign still thinks that there just one good press release or one good sound bite, one good policy away is a much bigger fight we've got to fight here.

SELLERS: I just want to ask a question and get back to what Anderson originally asked us about superfluous Tuesday, can I call it that?

JONES: We're still --

SELLERS: So, at the end of the --

AXELROD: But I'm lending it to you.

URBAN: Trademark.

AXELROD: Trademark, okay. Thanks. SELLERS: So is Nikki Haley a placeholder for this faction? And what

happens to Nikki Haley on March 6? I mean, does she go away? How she Chris Christied herself? Does she have a future in the Republican Party?

JONES: She's got delegates. Chris Christie doesn't. She will be at that convention.

GODLBERG: She's much more popular than Chris Christie.

SELLERS: I mean, I mean, I guess I'm asking like Jonah and whoever --

URBAN: She'll have 18 delegates, right? Is what I mean, it's going to look like --

SELLERS: But she's bigger than the number of delegates she has, right?

URBAN: Not when you get to the convention.

HUNT: Well, and also, she never had a traffic problem in Fort Lee. Okay. Like Chris Christie is unpopular and has his own problems for lots of reasons. She is different from Chris Christie.

And she was someone that always had a lot of credibility with -- I mean, obviously people like Alyssa, right? Like who were very staunch, very conservative, very turned off by Donald Trump. A lot of women, there is -- and, Jonah, you keep saying this, there is a big constituency out there for that. They just haven't figured out a way to fit -- make the system give that person space and oxygen.

And I think the challenge is going to be, if it all falls a certain way, if Donald Trump loses spectacularly, gets, you know, convicted, et cetera, then there is going to be a chance to regroup. But if he wins --

CORNISH: So many ifs.

GRIFFIN: I'm saying something that I thought was smart and kind of glossed over earlier, which is Nikki Haley's going to have decisions to make. Is that a third-party run? I don't know if that is the case.

There's also the idea --

HUNT: She might hand it to Trump if she is.

GRIFFIN: There's the idea of leverage, that if you do have about a third of the party with you, you can use that whether its rules within the RNC, whether --

SELLERS: Can I just add? Like, but can she use that? I mean, what happens if that -- if it wasn't Nikki Haley, if it was just somebody else? I mean, it seems to be Nikki is just a placeholder for the faction that doesn't like Donald Trump is not Nikki Haley that they like.

AXELROD: I wouldn't assume that she has its a third of the party though, because what's going to happen at the end of the day is Democrats are going to gravitate to Biden because they fear Trump.


And Republicans are going to gravitate to Trump because they want to defeat Biden.

GRIFFIN: Can I say one just really quickly? Anecdotally, and I get the central, I've never known so many lifelong Republicans worked in Republican politics that will not support Donald Trump this election. There is a tight ship that is unprecedented here and there are homeless Republicans looking for somewhere to be.

COOPER: We're tracking the vote totals as more ballots are counted across South Carolina. Nikki Haley hoping to walk away with the least some delegates tonight as Donald Trump takes another step towards securing the GOP nomination.

Lot more ahead. Stay with us


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're back with our South Carolina Republican primary coverage, breaking down Donald Trumps big win, how he trounced Nikki Haley in her home state and what it means as the presidential race moves forward.

Let's go to David Chalian with more exit polls, underscoring sharp divisions in the views of Trump and Haley supporters.

David, what are you seeing?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, it's two totally different universes of voters, and what drives them, Dana.


Take a look here among Trump supporters, we asked about the feelings they have about the way things are going in the United States today.

Look at this number here, 59 percent, so six in ten of Trump voters in South Carolina primary today are angry about the way things are going. Another 35 percent dissatisfied.

Compare that to Haley voters. There, the majority are dissatisfied, 56 percent, but only 19 percent are that angry emotion about the way things are going. So Trump voters, a far angrier group.

And then that Biden 2020 election lie, right? Do you believe that Joe Biden legitimately won the election in 2020 among Trump voters? Only 11 percent believed that Joe Biden legitimately won the election, 87 percent wrongly believe he did not legitimately win the election.

Look at the different universe in a Haley's voters, three corners of Haley voters, 76 percent say that Joe Biden legitimately won the last presidential election, one in five Haley voters wrongly say he did not, Dana. Two completely different universes of voters. BASH: It's really stunning to see those numbers, particularly on that last subject.

David, thank you so much.

Joining our conversation now, Republican strategist and pollster, Kristen Soltis Anderson, along with Democratic pollster Margie Omero.

Thanks so much for being here, especially at this its late hour.

Kristen, I want to start with you. Did -- Donald Trump did well with independence in 2016. Are we seeing that in this primary cycle?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not at all. Right now, when you look at states like New Hampshire, when people who are not registered or self-identifying Republicans have the opportunity to participate, they are doing so mostly to make a statement against Donald Trump. Now, it's hard to read anything from these primaries into a general election necessarily, we already know that if you are the sort of independent who doesn't like Donald Trump, you weren't going to vote for him anyways, that's kind of baked into the cake.

But the number that I think is potentially troubling for Trump is the fact that among these primary voters to the extent that there are folks that have decided, yes, we think Donald Trumps probably going to win, but we want to make a statement anyways, he needs to make sure that he is unifying the Republican Party, not shedding more and more voters, even as he sort of trounces his way through the primary, you need a unified party if you want any chance of winning in general.

BASH: And, Margie, has anything changed between Trump and his voters or does he have the same effect on them that we saw in 2016 and 2020, even though Trump is facing four criminal indictments?

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: I mean, he's almost like a nostalgia act, right, where people are going to see a band and the band is playing the same hits that he always played when there may be actually people actually do want to hear new things and he's not really offering new voters, undecided voters, independent voters, people on the fence, people who may have wanted to vote or thought about voting for one of his opponents in the primary. He's not really offering those people something new.

And it's going to be obviously a real problem for him. And we did a focus group recently with undecided voters and we ask them what advice would you give to Donald Trump to win over undecided voters like yourselves?

And they said things like, he needs to reach out. He needs to listen to people. He needs to welcome folks from other points of view. I mean, things that we have not seen Donald Trump do yet.

CHALIAN: Dana, can I just jump in here for a second?

BASH: Go for it. CHALIAN: To me, the big question when you look at all of these pieces of the Haley coalition that are obviously resistant to Trump, but are not huge slices of the party. The question is, how many of them fold into the party just because they wear the R jersey in November? And what is that slice that stays Trump resistant?

Because it could be consequential even if it is quite small in these battleground states. And I just think that is as Kristen was saying, you obviously need a unified party to be successful in a general election. Trying for the next nine months he wants to understand what is, what is that actual slice of the Republican Party that just wont bring themselves to vote for Trump this time around, I think that's the ball game and trying to understand where this election goes.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I agree, and I would add, not just how big is it -- is it also bigger than the other times there have been Trump resistant aspects of the Republican Party which we have seen in the past in these elections in both 2016 and in 2020.

The other thing that I am observing a lot when I taught talk to voters, when you look listen to them on these election nights, there are a lot of voters who might have been uncomfortable with Donald Trump in 2020 who have become numb to Donald Trump in 2024.


And who are those voters? How will they factor into all of this? Because there is something happening in the Republican electorate, even if you just looked at the races that we've seen so far, where there are voters who you would normally think of as moderate leaning, who are happily casting ballots for Donald Trump in these primaries. And there is a risk for Democrats -- they should not ignore the possibility that there are a lot of Americans who are so dissatisfied, maybe they just want to break the glass. And they're inured to what Trump represented for the last two cycles.

BASH: And that's an important point.

And, Kristen, I want to bring you in and just to piggyback off of what David was saying, the question that he posed about whether or not Nikki Haley's voters are going to end up just folding in to the Republican electorate and voting for Donald Trump in November, and my question is, how important is it for Joe Biden to not just be the alternative? What does his -- don't compare me to the alternative -- to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative. But he has to be something that is really not just not Trump to get those people from Haley to Biden.

ANDERSON: Maybe I mean, this is why I expect were in for one of the nastiest presidential elections we've ever seen because for both of these candidates, they are unknown quantity. People know who Donald Trump is. They know who Joe Biden is. They may have forgotten a little bit of who Donald Trump is, as he's been out of the White House over the last few years.

But right now, both of them have problems with some piece of their party that is not enthused with them right now, Joe Biden has this as well. And the question is, are you going to win those folks back by making a case to them?

Here's what I would do. Here's what I've done for you. Here's why you should like me, even if you're worried about my age, my personality, my legal stuff, whatever it is or do you win by just saying, look how horrible the other guy is, and that's what I expect we're going to see from both of these candidates, to try to lock down their base.

It will be more of a, how do I make you deathly afraid of this guy on the other side? That's what we're going to see from now until November, unfortunately.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I think that's a question I think for Margie, too, is that we talked about the Trump resistant voters. Are there more Trump resistant voters than Biden resistant voters, particularly as we're seeing states like Michigan, where would heading to the primary there on Tuesday, swath of Democratic voters who say they wont vote for him. Which one is a bigger concern for which candidate?

OMERO: Well, I think if you look at what we saw on the exit polls South Carolina, an incredibly, incredibly conservative electorate, only -- I mean, just half said that they support a national ban on abortion. This is the platform of the Republican Party. This is what Republican candidates for office say that they have said that they support.

Meanwhile, that's just half of this incredibly conservative electorate. It's -- they are the base of Trumps support. They voted more for Trump than for Haley. That's not where the American people are.

So there are going to be Trump resistant voters who may lean Republican ultimately. Republicans themselves are -- support abortion rights. Republicans themselves support IVF and Republicans themselves support a variety of different positions to Republican candidates like Trump don't support.

BASH: Margie and Kristen, thanks for joining the conversation.

We're going to squeeze in a quick break. We are tracking Donald Trump's victory in South Carolina after voters there chose him over their former governor, Nikki Haley. We're looking to see whether Haley will win any of the 50 delegates at stake tonight.

Stay with us.



KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST: South Carolina voters have had their say, handing Donald Trump or resounding Republican primary win and delivering a stinging defeat to their former governor, Nikki Haley. Now the focus shifts to the next contests as Trump looks to clinch the GOP nomination in the coming weeks.

We do have an update now on the allocation of South Carolina's 50 delegates.

David Chalian has that for us -- David

CHALIAN: Hey, Kasie, yeah. It is not going to be a shutout for Donald Trump when it comes to the delegate totals out of South Carolina. Yes. He had a stunning victory, but Nikki Haley is actually going to pick up some delegates from her home state tonight.

We have allocated three delegates from the first congressional district in the state. That's where she picked those up. She won that congressional district and now you have Donald Trump 44 and Nikki Haley with three delegates and we still have three delegates unallocated of the overall 50 at stake tonight in South Carolina.

Now that's tonight. So we add to Nikki Haley's total here as well, because remember, in the upper right-hand corner, you need 1,215 delegates to become the Republican nominee.

Donald Trump currently standing at 107. Nikki Haley now up to 20 with the three she picks up in South Carolina tonight so far. DeSantis at nine, Ramaswamy at three, obviously, Trump with a big delegate lead here.

But overall, no ones close to that 1,215 yet because we've just had five contexts. So now this race gets turbo-charged as we head into Michigan, Super Tuesday and beyond in March, we are going to see a slew of delegates at stake. And that is Donald Trumps chance to bring this race to a close, Kasie.

HUNT: Yeah, and, of course, Haley's argument that she wants to see those people vote.

John King, tell us why it is where it is that Nikki Haley found these three delegates.

KING: First, let the record reflect 11:34 p.m. in East, David Chalian gets us turbo charged. That's very important, to note for historical record.


HUNT: We need it.

KING: Look, it's a small victory for Nikki Haley in her home state to get three delegates, but it's a very small victory because as you see, Kasie, she's getting trounced. Sixty percent to 39 percent in her home state in a place where she wanted to make a statement, look, she wanted to win. She knew that was most unlikely. She wanted to at least get above New Hampshire, which would have been 43, 45.

Plus, she's getting less than 40, but she does get these delegates. This is the county map. You see the lines here now, 46 counties in South Carolina. She is presently leading in three of them. So that's not a great performance in a state you were elected twice statewide as governor.

But let's switch to the congressional district map and that's why she's getting the delegates. You see the first district down here along the coast, right? You pop that out. She currently has 54 percent of the vote. We're about 80 percent through the so that is why she gets these three delegates. Now, this congressional district, we have yet to project, yet this is the sixth congressional district starts up by Columbia comes all the way down to the southern part of the state, as you can see at the moment of 52 percent for former President Trump, 47 or 48 percent if you want to round that up for Governor Haley.

So that's this is the one the three delegates remaining to be allocated are in this district. So the most she could get his six or Donald Trump could get three more to add to his total and get 47 of the 50.

Now, I just want to make a point about this. Look at this look at where she is getting the delegates. Okay. Look at this part of this state right here. I'm going to come back out to the county map, and I'm going to move this over. This is Donald Trumps margin of victory tonight. Let me show you what I mean by this. When you bring this up, you bring this up, hit the wind margin.

The deeper red means Donald Trump is winning those places by a large amount. The pink means he's winning them by not quite as much. The yellow obviously are places Governor Haley's winning and the white is where it is very close, right? You're very close to Donald Trumps winning most of those. He's winning all of those actually a bit by a smaller margin.

Now, why am I showing you this? Where did she get the delegates? She got the delegates down here and she's winning here. And I'm going to continue the circle up to here a little bit Donald Trump is winning. He is showing a ton of strength with Republicans in these early contests. He's now 5-0.

You cannot understate -- you cannot overstate his resilience. His resilience in the Republican Party, but we're also learning something about his weaknesses. So you see the area because I circled there. Why did I do that?

I want to bring this out and show you pop this out here. Suburban areas, right? This is the suburbs. These are the suburbs where Donald Trump is not doing as well. Nikki Haley's winning some of these places, Donald Trumps margin, if you come back to the margin, is not as big in some of these places.

He runs it up, Kasie, in the rural areas, Donald Trump has won 70, 73 percent of the county's Donald Trump has won so far nationally, have been rural counties, as he has mounted this lead, he still has a weakness in the suburbs. He's doing okay in the suburbs in these red states. But if you're looking for weakness, it is the suburbs. And what happens when we get to a general election. As you know well, the suburbs decide who wins Pennsylvania, who wins Wisconsin, who wins Michigan, who wins Arizona, who wins Georgia. So, a lot -- Trump is showing a lot of strength in the Republican

primary. But as we study his strength, we also are seeing some weaknesses and they start just as they were in 2020 and in 2018 for the midterms, for Republicans in America's suburbs.

HUNT: Yeah, we might be talking about Charleston tonight, but come November, it's going to be Milwaukee, Atlanta, Phoenix, all of those places you mentioned, John. Thank you very much.

So I have to say, my question here as we look at that map we look at where Nikki Haley's strengths are, right? She is going to have to get out of this race at some point. We don't exactly know when, but its clear that Donald Trump is on a glide path to the nomination.

If you're Nikki Haley, what do you do? Do you endorse Donald Trump? Is it politically tenable for you to endorse Donald Trump? Or is it politically tenable for you to not endorse Donald Trump? I mean, it's a really tough question.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think people are watching and wondering because admired Nikki Haley or disliked or for many years what she's going to do next. I actually did not expect for her to go as hard against Donald Trump as she has in recent months. Some of her statements, it would be remarkable to walk back and then come around and endorse him, but we've seen crazier things in the Donald Trump era.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She's burned the boats. She's not going back.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will tell you that day after January 6, she appeared before the Republican National Committee and she said, we never should have followed him, we should not follow him again. And she got blistered for that and she backtracked off of that.

So, she's shown some agility when it comes to moving around. I'm interested to see what she does and I think what she does will give you some clue to how she's thinking about the future.

GRIFFIN: Because I think what would be kind of hard is lets say she stays out of this race, doesn't endorse Donald Trump. There isn't really a political future, but not for lack of talent, but she's going to have been out of office for quite some years having not been U.N. ambassador and well over six years at that point, it's hard to just as a private sector citizen, unless you're Donald Trump, launch yourself into a campaign. So I think shed have to be at peace with the fact this is the end of politics for me, I may be a leader on the outside and maybe something --

URBAN: And by the way, being drubbed, throttled, other words that John King has used. I can't -- there's enough expletives. She's lost every race she's been in badly.

[23:40:04] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, you think that you think about these three young figures a decade ago that scared us as Democrats looking at the Republican Party, at Marco Rubio, young, bright Latino. You had Nikki Haley with her Indian American roots, and you had Tim Scott. And all three of them came on stage for Nikki Haley's campaigns.

And I looked at and I said, this is a very formidable Republican Party. They were moderate in some ways, appealing. They weren't playing racial politics, they weren't playing trial and now you look at how they've gone.

Marco Rubio is a rubber stamp for anything Trump says. Tim Scott is trying to crawl onto the ticket somehow. And Nikki Haley stands alone.

And I think it's worth pointing out that of those three and you wouldn't have known any of the stuff at the time, Nikki Haley is of those three, she's shown more principle and more strength in at least in the past few months than I've seen for the others.

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sorry, if only one correction to that, there's a fourth person on the stage and that famous picture, Trey Gowdy, and he left Congress. A lot of people, Mike Gallagher, I think could have been one of the great leaders of the Republican Party is leaving Congress.

Lots of people left. Ben Sasse left before his term was out. It is not a remotely pleasant place to be a sane Republican. And that's the thing is that Donald Trump has always made it clear he would rather be the undisputed unified head of a rump GOP than the head of a majority party.

Now I personally think both parties have this weird death wish kind of impulse to try to cling to the idea of being minority parties rather than being majority parties. But Republican Party has it much worse than you see it on display of the most in the Congress.

AXELROD: You know, I think it goes beyond how he views his role within the party. I think it goes to his view of the presidency because he completely writes off large swaths of the country and doesn't really think of himself as the president of that part of the country, which represents a majority of Americans, which is very, very diverse state.

SELLERS: We tried the things that -- one of the things that we've seen tonight just to get into weeds slightly is that there won't be a President Trump unless Republicans really see the blinking lights that are there. And that first congressional district shows that. I mean, Charleston, Buford, Hilton Head college-educated white women.

HUNT: Suburbs.

SELLERS: That's suburbs, institutions of higher learning, College of Charleston, University of South Carolina. He loses there. And that's a problem.

HUNT: He sure does. All right. As the final totals from South Carolina come in, we are tracking the votes to see if Nikki Haley will pick up any more delegates in her home-state. We got much more still ahead.



HUNT: Votes are still trickling in from South Carolina and Donald Trump has extended his already huge margin of victory over Nikki Haley. But Haley is refusing to bow out, raping her warnings about the risks of a Trump-Biden rematch at a moment when she says the world is on fire.

Tonight's Republican primary is playing out as the Ukraine war hits the two year mark. And as vital U.S. aid for Kyiv remains stalled on Capitol Hill amid fierce opposition from Trump and his Republican allies in the U.S. House of Representatives.

CNN's Matthew Chance is live for us in Moscow.

Matthew, you've covered this war from both Russia and Ukraine.

How Russians feel about the state of the fighting right now?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, publicly, Kasie, you know, Russians are very upbeat about the war. I mean, just yesterday, we spoke to ten Russians in the streets surround Moscow, and all of them totally pro war, totally convinced that Russia is going to win this and is doing the right thing.

Part of that is to do with the fact that people get fair to sort of daily diet of propaganda on Russian state television. But it's also because it publicly, people don't want to say what they really mean privately. Many Russians tell me how concerned they are about the situation and how they want it to be over as soon as possible.

But they so powerless that they can do anything about opposition protests, opposition dissent in this country has been basically stamped out.

HUNT: So, Matthew, just does whatever Putin seem emboldened by Congress's inability to approve more aid for Kyiv, for Ukraine?

CHANCE: I think -- I think so, yes. I mean, certainly that's the message you get from Russian state television. I mean, from the outset, the Russians have made the point that you, they think that their commitment to winning in Ukraine is greater than the Western commitment to Ukraine. They think they can outlast, you know, U.S. interest in supporting Ukraine.

And that held up in Congress of aid to their country, to Ukraine sort of bolsters that point of view. It makes Russian officials or the Russian authorities believe that all they have to do is hold out a bit longer. And eventually Western support will collapse. And so it's -- it makes it less likely that this complex is going to end in a short period of time, Kasie.

HUNT: So, Matthew, you were on the ground in Ukraine when the war started, what stands out to you as it enters a third year?

CHANCE: Yeah, was indeed on the ground when it started. In fact, I mean, when I was there, I didn't believe until the bombs started falling that there was going to be an invasion. I just thought it didn't make sense militarily. And that it would be such a massive risk for Russia and for Putin that's to take invading a massive country like Ukraine.

I was wrong, of course, and there was an invasion, but I like to think now two years on that I was wrong for the right reasons, because it has been a catastrophe. It's the loss of life has been a huge. I mean, we don't have exact figures, but on the Russian side, possibly a couple of hundred thousand people have been killed or been severely wounded lost their capacity to fight.


As a result of this conflict, 1 million people or thereabouts have left Russia to avoid being drafted into the military. And it's now at the most heavily sanctioned country in the world. And so, it has been a catastrophic events and there's no sign of it ending -- Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Matthew Chance for us in Moscow -- Matthew, thank you very much for that.

And here in the U.S., we are tracking the vote totals from South Carolina as the final ballots are counted. Our coverage of the South Carolina Republican primary continues right after a quick break. Stay with us.


HUNT: Donald Trump got the impressive when he was counting on in South Carolina. He is now taking his fight for the Republican presidential nomination to Michigan next week. And then on to the Super Tuesday states jam-packed with delegates.

As we continue to monitor the final votes coming in from South Carolina, here's a blast from the political past. Take a look at this sneak peek of the new episode of "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL WITH JAKE TAPPER".


He's speaking with the ex-mistress the former Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You're at the Regency Hotel --


Were you there to meet him?

HUNTER: Being there was a fluke.

TAPPER: What was he by himself?

HUNTER: No, he was in a business meeting. I was with my friend or at a table and John Edwards was behind her and he kept looking at me as though he knew me as well. And then we got up and left and when we were standing on the corner and John Edwards turn the corner and saw me there.

And he literally like almost jumped into my arms and my response, what came out of my mouth was you're so hot.

TAPPER: And what did he say back?

HUNTER: Well, I -- thank you. I said I can help you. And he said, I want to hear it.

He said, could you -- you know, can you come over?

TAPPER: So you went to his room?

HUNTER: I did. But I didn't feel like it was sexual either.

TAPPER: You didn't?

HUNTER: No, I did not.

TAPPER: Because it sounds like there was an attraction. You said you're so hot.

HUNTER: I know, I know.

TAPPER: I mean, that's inherently a little sexual.

HUNTER: I get it.


HUNT: You can see "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL", Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Thanks to all of you for joining us. The news continues next, right here on CNN.