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12 Trump Jurors and 1 Alternative Now Seated; Prosecutors Refuse to Share Witness List With Trump Team, Cite Previous Social Media Posts; Trump Complains He Can't Campaign Jury Selected As Biden Hits The Trail In Pennsylvania With Kennedy Family. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired April 18, 2024 - 18:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The breaking news this hour, a jury has been selected in Donald Trump's hush money cover-up case. The court resumes tomorrow to pick up where they left off in jury selection. They still need five more alternative jurors. The judge says opening statements could still begin as soon as Monday.

Outside the courtroom, Donald Trump held up a stack of printed news articles and editorials largely from supportive news outlets and claimed that the case against him is, quote, ridiculous.

Trump's hush money trial will be the focus of a special Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, which starts right now.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Breaking news tonight, the Trump trial, Day 3. For the next hour, we will take you inside the courtroom from gavel to gavel as the historic hush money case unfolds, the 12 jurors that will decide Donald Trump's fate.

Plus, one alternate, now seated after hours of wrangling. Our reporters and experts are standing by to break down all of today's most important developments and look ahead to what's next.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer with a special report in the Situation Room, the Trump Trial Today.

We have a lot to get to. Let's begin with the breaking news right now, Day 3 of Donald Trump's criminal trial, wrapping up with 12 jurors and one alternate seated.

CNN's Kara Scannell is live in New York after being inside the courtroom for all the action. Kara, update our viewers.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was just coming down to the wire, the final moments of the courthouse hours today when the judge said, we have our jury. They had 12 jurors. That they seated, as well as one alternate. And among these jurors, it's seven men, five women, a couple of men who work in finance, two lawyers, a speech therapist, a physical therapist.

And jury selection will still continue tomorrow as they look to seat those additional alternate jurors to that they will need to hear this historic case. But it was a far cry from how the day began.


SCANNELL (voice over): A dramatic start to the third day of Trump's hush money trial as two seated jurors were removed.

Jury selection began on Thursday with Judge Juan Merchan scolding press for reporting some information contained in the juror questionnaire, including specific employers that could potentially identify jurors.

The judge's remarks come after one juror, a female oncology nurse ,was excused after saying aspects of her identity were made public, saying she could no longer be impartial. She tells the judge, yesterday alone, I had friends, colleagues and family push things to my phone questioning my identity as a juror. I don't believe at this point that I can be fair and unbiased.

The second juror dismissed is an older man from Puerto Rico who says he finds Trump fascinating and mysterious. He was dismissed after prosecutors questioned of his answer about whether he had ever been accused of a crime was accurate. They identified someone with the same name who was arrested in the 1990s for tearing down political posters. The exact reason for the juror's dismissal, though, is not known.

Nearly 100 new prospective jurors came through the freezing courtroom for questioning. At least half were immediately sent home for saying they could not be impartial. At the defendant's table, Trump appeared engrossed with those left in the jury box, tilting his head, leaning way back in his chair, and craning his neck to get a good view of each juror as they spoke.

The former president, silent before court, turned to reporters on a break, and quipped about the temperature in the room asking, is it cold enough? Trump's attorney asked if they could warm up the room. And while the judge agreed it was chilly, he said he'd rather be a little cold than sweating.

Both sides used their time to probe potential jurors, and many responded candidly. Trump's attorney, Susan Necheless, directly questioned a juror if she or her husband posted on social media about Trump. She asked others specifically about their feelings on Trump. One juror said she doesn't like his persona, and explained further, he just seems very selfish and self-serving, so I don't really appreciate that in a public servant. So, I don't know him as a person, so I don't know how he is in terms of his integrity. It's just not my cup of tea. Necheless said, it sounds like you don't like him, and the juror agreed.

Another, who is a business owner, told Necheless that he's impressed with Trump, saying, I mean, he was our president. That's pretty amazing. He's a businessman in New York. He forged his way. On the other side, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked if any jurors feel the prosecution has more to prove because the defendant is Donald Trump.

Earlier Thursday, before jury selection got underway, prosecutors argued to the judge that Trump violated his gag order seven more times with posts on social media. The order prohibits the former president from discussing those involved in the case.



SCANNELL (on camera): Wolf, we are providing general descriptions of the jury pool based on the judge's order. He has said that reporters can talk about what the jurors say in the responses to these answers.

He just ruled today that we should not identify the employment, the employer of anyone who is selected for the jury. And so we're abiding by the judge's order. But we are providing the public with a sense of who these 12 individuals are, who will be judging the former president in his first criminal case.

BLITZER: Kara Scannell, outside the courthouse in New York for us, Kara, thank you very much.

Let's take a closer look right now at the makeup of the Trump jury. Our Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig, is joining us. Elie, what do we know so far about this new jury?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, we have a jury, and this is a very Manhattan jury, based on my experience. It is a highly educated jury. It's a jury filled with professionals from a diverse range of occupations. And, by and large, it's really hard to get a read on most, not all, but most of these jurors where they stand politically and where they stand on Donald Trump.

Now, let's run through the new jurors who made it onto the panel today. Juror number two, interestingly, he follows both Donald Trump and Michael Cohen on social media. I guess those two maybe cancel each other out. They both certainly have posted a lot about this case and one another. He also read the book, The Art of the Deal. Could be he's a fan, could be he's just interested. That book has been out for decades now. Lots of people have read it.

Juror number four is a security engineer who is not on social media. Good for him. And, again, this is a person where it's really hard to get any political read. And you'll see this theme recurring, people who actually say they don't have very strong views on Donald Trump politically or personally.

Next up, who will now be juror number eight, this is a retired wealth manager, another highly educated professional. His hobbies include fly fishing and yoga. That's an interesting combination. What I thought was telling is this person said that he's more interested in his hobbies than following the news and following politics. Again, you can see a bit of a theme emerging.

And by the way, this is what you want in a jury. You want people who can judge this case just for what it is.

Next up, now juror number nine, this is a speech therapist. She's single and lives alone. When she was asked if she would ever feel pressured by others on the jury to go along, she said not at all. Defendants usually like that. You want someone who's willing to do their own thing, not necessarily get swept up and just go with the crowd.

Next up, juror number ten works for an e-commerce company, yet again, says he doesn't really follow the news, listens to podcasts on behavioral psychology, doesn't really, to me, strike alarm bells either way. And you need some jurors, or preferably a lot of jurors, who really don't lean one way or the other.

Now, juror number 11, I got a circle because I think juror number 11 is potentially a real problem for Donald Trump. This is somebody who said she clearly has a negative view politically of Donald Trump. She said he seems very selfish and self-serving. But when she was pressed on this by the judge, she said, that said, I could still put aside my beliefs and rule fairly on this case.

Now, Donald Trump's lawyers tried very hard to get this juror struck from the case. The judge refused to do it. And now she is on the jury. We'll see if she's good for her oath and can put aside her personal beliefs and judge on the merits.

And finally, juror number 12, the last person on the actual jury itself, a physical therapist who reads the New York Times, USA Today, watches us at CNN.

New York Times, I should note, Wolf, is the local paper here in New York City. So while there's a perception that the Times tends to lean left against Donald Trump, really not the case here in New York City. It's essentially the local paper.

We have one of our alternates in place. This person grew up in England. Also, I thought it was interesting, reads the Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal has been quite critical of this case on the one hand. But on the other hand, they've also been quite critical of Donald Trump politically and personally.

So, those are our jurors. As we know them, Wolf, we have our full 12 jurors who will decide this case. We have one alternate and the task starting tomorrow is going to be to pick up to five more alternates who can fill in if there's any problem with the jury.

But we have a jury, Wolf. It brings me back to my days of trying cases in Manhattan. It really feels like almost any other jury trial that you would have here in the borough of Manhattan.

BLITZER: Very interesting, indeed. Elie Honig, thank you very much.

Our legal and political experts are joining me right now here in The Situation Room with some analysis. And, Paula Reid, you're our chief legal affairs correspondent. What jumps out at you about this jury?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, speaking with the Trump side of things, I know they were concerned about whether they would be able to select a jury. Here they have a jury that's very much central casting for Manhattan. As Elie pointed out, the folks are educated, higher socioeconomic status. A lot of them I was pleased to see read news or consume news from reputable outlets, and the majority of them are also childless. So, this is very Manhattan.

But I want to go back to juror 11. This is surprising to me that the judge did not strike this juror for cause, given the larger context of this case. I think that the Trump team is likely going to seize on this. This is someone, again, who called their client selfish and self-serving, said he's not her cup of tea.


I can guarantee you tonight, they are scouring any public information they can find about this juror as well as the others. And we have to remember what happened over the past 48 hours. They left court with seven jurors, and then two of them were dismissed, one because there was a record of prior arrest for someone with a similar name, and then another woman was very concerned about her safety.

And I think it is highly possible that when we reconvene tomorrow in this case, you could see one or possibly more jurors having to be dismissed for one reason or another.

BLITZER: Andrew McCabe, which side do you think is more excited about this jury?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: both terrified. The lawyers tend to be a nervous lot and I'm sure they're both looking at potential problems in that pool and they're also looking at folks who they think will be beneficial to their side.

I totally agree with Paula. I think, you know, the judge is of course right on the law here in terms of leaving juror 11 on as one on the jury. But he may have planted an issue that will come back to haunt this trial days and days later after any potential conviction, if there is one.

It would seem to have been the more kind of err on the side of caution move to exclude her based on those statements but, of course, you know she passed the threshold of being able to say that she'll judge the case fairly. So --

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Why wouldn't the judge just save himself a headache and just disqualify her? That's the question.

MCCABE: But you know you have the other juror who's professed some admiration for Trump. And so in an effort to be Solomonic and fair, that may be what compelled Judge Merchan to leave them both on. BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Gloria, as we heard one of the new jurors has read Trump's book, The Art of the Deal, and follows him on Truth Social, his social media site. That's about as good as Trump could have hoped for in this process.

BORGER: Right. Well, this same juror also follows Michael Cohen on Twitter. So, you know, Truth Social, Michael Cohen, you know, maybe that balances out. I don't know. But, you know, he said, you know, he's read The Art of the Deal and that's good as far as Donald Trump is concerned. But, you know, I think the Michael Cohen part of this could be a little problematic because, as we all know, Michael Cohen doesn't tweet anything nice about Donald Trump.

BLITZER: You know, it was interesting, as he was leaving the court today, Trump spoke and reporters' cameras were there. Let me play, David Chalian, a little bit of what he said. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm supposed to be in New Hampshire. I'm supposed to be in Georgia. I'm supposed to be in North Carolina, South Carolina. I'm supposed to be in a lot of different places campaigning. But I've been here all day on a trial that really is a very unfair trial.


BLITZER: What does that say to you about his mindset right now?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think that spiel, if you will, has less to do about his mindset because this is just messaging of him saying, I'm being forced by, as he likes to say, Biden and his allies to sit here in this courtroom and take me off the campaign trail.

I should note, I don't know what he's talking about, South Carolina, the primary is over. If Donald Trump needs to be campaigning in South Carolina in a general election context, he's in a lot more trouble than any of us think he is in this election campaign.

But the other three are battleground states that he listed. I actually think him saying it's freezing inside the courtroom tells us more about his mindset, which is he's uncomfortable. And I don't mean just about the temperature. He is not in a comfort zone.

For somebody who has run his own company, is a billionaire, and then this rarefied air as president of the United States and a former president behind Secret Service protection, sitting -- being -- doing something against your will and being told you have to sit there and listen to all these people express opinions about you, that is a very uncomfortable position for Donald Trump.

BORGER: It's an environment which he does not control, and he is not used to that. The judge is in control. He can't grab his phone, and that's a real problem for him because he lives and breathes on his phone. CHALIAN: In fact, I think his lawyer kind of guided and said, stop grabbing your phone.

BORGER: That's what (INAUDIBLE).

MCCABE: These are all elements of an experience that hundreds of Americans, thousands, hundreds of thousands go through every single year, and it's something that he has never had any connection with.

So, in some ways, you know, the criminal justice system is the great equalizer. And the fact that he has now seen the seating of 12 of his fellow citizens who will pass judgment on him, that's just the first mile marker in this process that is likely to be uncomfortable the whole way.

BLITZER: I thought it was interesting, Paula, that Trump's attorney asked for the names of the first few witnesses that will be called, assuming that the trial actually starts on Monday. But the prosecutors refused to give Trump's lawyers the names of these witnesses because Trump was reporting about them on his social media site.

REID: Yes, and the judge agreed. They aren't entitled to this information, and this is the legal consequence of these political attacks.


Most of the violations of Trump's gag order are made in furtherance of his political agenda. But that can have real legal repercussions. I'm sure his lawyers would very much like to know who the first couple witnesses are going to be. But because of the conduct of their client, they will not have access to that information.

BLITZER: What do you think?

MCCABE: It's a little bit -- it stands in contrast to the way the federal cases are being handled, particularly in terms of discovery. So, we know that witness lists have already been turned over to Trump's lawyers in both the Florida and D.C. cases. It's surprising to me that the judge is enforcing the prosecution to be a little bit more forthcoming about what their lineup of first few witnesses looks like, because it's a matter of judicial economy. You want the defense to be able to prepare adequately and to move through these things quickly.

BORGER: But it's clear that the judge believed that the attorney, Todd Blanche, could not control his client. Because I think the attorney's point was, well, what if I tell him, you know, to cut it out, and the judge was sort of like, well, I don't, yes. Are you kidding me? Exactly.

BLITZER: Button this conversation.

CHALIAN: Well, I know we obviously, as we would be as news folks, focused on the defendant Donald Trump, the former president. But what has been so captivating to me this week is actually the jurors and maybe it's because I just completed today five weeks of grand jury duty here in the D.C. Superior Court, but you these are everyday Americans, or every day Manhattanites in this case, and they come from all walks of life. And they are being presented with an unbelievable task ahead of them about adjudicating the guilt or innocence of a former president. No other American has ever been asked to do that and be put in that position to do it.

And so it's this unbelievably compelling moment. You called the whole system the great equalizer, and it's undoubtedly true, but it's also this typical, mundane, civic duty is now being put upon these Manhattanites in ways nobody ever could have envisioned.

BLITZER: That's why we keep saying this is historic, the first time in American history a former president of the United States has faced a criminal trial.

All right, guys, everybody, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, we'll have more on the breaking news with 12 jurors and 1 alternate now seated in Donald Trump's criminal trial. We'll speak with a woman known for picking what's called the perfect jury.

And why prosecutors are saying Trump violated the gag order again. So what happens?

Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.



BLITZER: We're following breaking news. The Trump jury is seated. One alternate juror has also been selected with a search for additional alternates resuming tomorrow morning.

Let's dig deeper right now with someone who knows the jury selection process very well, the jury consultant, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, is joining us. Jo-Ellan, thank you very much for joining us.

You're known for picking what's called the perfect jury. Looking at these 12 jurors so far, is this a perfect jury for either side?

JO-ELLAN DIMITRIUS, JURY CONSULTANT, DIMITRIUS AND ASSOCIATES: Absolutely not, Wolf. You know, you have this mattering of everything, from wealth management, banking, speech therapy, I.P., or excuse me, I should say I.T., people, software, et cetera. And based on what I know, particularly in regard to juror number 11, who the defense tried to eliminate for cause, she had indicated that she thought that Trump was very selfish and didn't appreciate that being a civil servant.

So, I think it's fair to say based on responses that we know have been shared that really both sides are thinking that they've got that ace in the hole in terms of getting to the deliberation process.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit more about juror number 11. She said, and I'm quoting her now, I don't like his persona, referring to Trump. I don't like some of my coworkers, but I don't try to sabotage their work. He just seems very selfish and self-serving. I don't know him as a person, so I don't know how he is in terms of his integrity. It's just not my cup of tea, close quote. So, why did this judge still allow this juror to be seated? Why do you think so?

DIMITRIUS: Well, I think this judge, number one, was getting exasperated with the whole process as long as it was taking, because he's already told the trial teams that Monday is going to be opening statements. And he lost two jurors today based on -- one was based on some feedback about an arrest for one of the jurors. And the other was based on the fear factor. And I think that, Wolf, the fear factor, is the biggest concern -- was the biggest concern in selecting this jury.

So, you know, this judge, based on some of the transcripts that I have seen says, you know, I look into the person's eyes and, you know, I believe what they say. So, I suspect that some of that was occurring during this conversation, whether it was privately or openly in the court with juror number 11.

BLITZER: Another remarkable feature of this case is that two of Trump's jurors so far are lawyers. What impact do you see that having, if any?

DIMITRIUS: Oh goodness, that's always a dangerous proposition from a consultant's perspective, because lawyers, clearly, they're trained in their law, they're trained in procedures, and they are taught to take the opposite side of cases that they personally work on.


So, you know, I guess I could see why both sides may agree that a lawyer may be effective, perhaps from the Trump side that a lawyer, a litigator would look at the jury instructions and look at the verdict form and say that, in fact, the prosecution has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt what the claims are.

And on the other hand, the prosecution could also say, well, that particular person that has that legal background may look into specific words in that jury instruction as well that supports their claims.

BLITZER: Very interesting. Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, thank you very much for your expertise. We appreciate it very much.

And coming up, the judge weighing new accusations that Trump has violated the gag order again, with prosecutors saying he's gone over the line at least seven more times since Monday alone.

Plus, how President Biden is blanketing a key swing state right now and his key endorsement that he received today. Stay with us.



BLITZER: Breaking news, the jury for Donald Trump's first criminal trial has been seated. We also expect the judge to seat a handful of alternates, meaning testimony could begin as soon as Monday.

But tonight, prosecutors are withholding the names of the first few witnesses as they raise concerns and accuse Trump of violating a gag order.

CNN's Kara Scannell is joining us once again from outside the courthouse in New York. Kara, why are prosecutors so concerned?

SCANNELL: Well, Wolf, prosecutors said that they don't want to hand over the names of the first three witnesses in this case, because they believe that Donald Trump has violated the gag order that already is in place.

And they brought it up again this morning, saying that, since they raised this concern earlier in the week, Trump has, in their minds, violated the gag order seven more times. They had already identified what they said were four violations, so that brings it up to what they think is 11 violations of the gag order.

And the two of the examples that they mentioned today was Trump linking to a New York Post article that referred to Michael Cohen, a key witness in this case, as a serial perjurer. Part of this gag order says that the former president can't make any comments about any witnesses in this case.

Now, Trump's lawyer pushed back, saying that Michael Cohen is not like any witness. He has repeatedly made comments about Trump, including leading up to this trial. The prosecution also raised another post that Trump put up last night, and that was quoting a Fox News host, in which he says that they're using undercover liberal activists lying to the judge to try to get on the jury.

Now, that is a concern as well by prosecution, because another part of this gag order says that Trump cannot make any comments about any prospective jurors or seated jurors in the case. So, these are the issues, and that's the reason why prosecutors said they didn't want to turn it over.

The judge said that they are not required to provide the initial witnesses in the case, so he wasn't going to make them. Wolf?

BLITZER: What happens Tuesday, Kara, when the judge holds a hearing on this issue of the gag order?

SCANNELL: So, prosecutors have asked that the judge find Trump $1,000 per violation of the gag order. And they also want him to -- they also want the judge to send a warning to Trump, that if he continues to violate the gag order, that he could face 30 days of incarceration.

Now, this is all before the judge, Trump's team is saying they want more guidance, particularly on what Trump can repost from other people. So, this will all be debated before the judge on Tuesday. And then we'll probably learn then if he thinks that the former president has violated the gag order and what kind of sanctions will follow. Wolf?

BLITZER: Very interesting. All right, Kara Scannell, stay with us. I also want to bring in CNN Political Commentator Alyssa Farah Griffin.

Alyssa, you know Trump well. How is he thinking about these jurors and how high is the risk that he might violate his gag order by talking about them in public?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, Wolf, watching this was fascinating. To echo something David Chalian said, it's really remarkable to think of just how outside of his control this situation is for Donald Trump.

This is a man who's been in the White House. He's had Secret Service. He lives at a private country club that he owns. He's used to living his day-to-day life how he wants, on his own time, able to do and say what he pleases. And today, this whole week has been quite the opposite.

And then add to that, Donald Trump does not like to expose himself to criticism of himself. He doesn't keep aides around who give him pushback, who give him negative feedback. And he had to sit there and listen to people say things like he's racist, he's of poor character, and he wasn't able to lash out and react. I think that's personally very challenging for him.

Now, on the witnesses, I think this is a smart move for the judge to be very definitive on it. There is a chance that some of these could be people Donald Trump still has a relationship with. And even if it's not him say threatening or saying something bashing the person, he can even use the language he has in the past of, I hope this person does the right thing, sort of trying to put public pressure out there ahead of someone giving testimony.

I think he lacks impulse control, and it's a very real worry that he will continue to violate these gag orders. And, frankly, I think that the $1,000 fine might be too little for someone like Donald Trump.

BLITZER: Very interesting. Kara, put us inside the courtroom where you were all day today. What stood out to you about Trump's demeanor?


SCANNELL: So Trump was really engaged in the jury questioning, both when they were answering questions on those 42 questions of the questionnaire, and then also when the lawyers were asking the jurors questions, eliciting some of those responses that we're talking about.

I mean, you could see Donald Trump leading over his chair. He was leaning back, craning his neck to look, to make eye contact with the jurors to see them as they're answering these questions, which, really, his lawyers were pushing to understand if these jurors like Donald Trump and what their opinion of him was. So, he was very engaged.

But throughout all the dramatic twists and turns of the day, there was this one other theme that ran throughout the days, and that was just how cold it was in the courtroom. At various -- at one point, Trump's lawyer asked the judge if he could turn up the heat. The judge said that he knew it cold, but that he said, he'd rather be cold than have it be too hot in there. And then it and then when Trump left for the day. It's one of the things that he said in the one moment that spoke to the media today. Take a listen.


TRUMP: It's a shame. And I'm sitting here for days now, from morning until night in that freezing room, freezing. Everybody was freezing in there. And all for this is very unfair.


BLITZER: Alyssa, what did you make of that, Trump's railing, when he emerged from the courtroom at the end of the session today, just moments ago, and when he was talking about how cold it was, he was freezing inside that courtroom?

GRIFFIN: Listen, he's uncomfortable. He doesn't control the situation. He's not on his golf course in Florida, or he is not in Air Force One where he controls the dials. I think this is hard for him. And I think aides probably see him come out and telegraph this message. He then briefly went on to say he wished he'd been in some battleground states.

But he is supposed to be using these moments to make some kind of a campaign message, to said, I'd like to out there talking about the issues the American people care about, and that's kind failed to materialize so far this week. Other than just complaining and playing the victim, he's yet to effectively use this sort of captive moment of the media to say anything that even leans into a campaign speech. And it underscores just how hard it's going to be for him to campaign from the courtroom.

BLITZER: And, Kara, you were there inside the whole time. What did you make of his interaction with the jurors today? What was going on?

SCANNELL: So, Trump couldn't say anything. I mean, as Alyssa was saying, this is out of control. He had to sit there silently and he did, which was different than Tuesday, when the judge did admonish Trump, saying that he heard him muttering and gesturing in the direction of the juror and telling Trump that no juror would be intimidated in his courtroom, adding, you know, I want this to be crystal clear.

So, today, we didn't see any verbal sounds from Trump. He didn't say anything. He wasn't making any gestures. But he was very engrossed. He was paying attention. He was craning his neck to watch the jurors sitting in the box and following along as the lawyers were questioning. So, certainly, a very engrossed in this, very much paying attention to this very important decision about these 12 jurors who will decide his fate in his case.

BLITZER: Alyssa, what did you make of those actions that Trump was taking during jury selection?

GRIFFIN: I think that Donald Trump tries to read people and I think that he's innately skeptical of anyone who is anything but directly loyal to him. So, when he's hearing them go through some of the motions and the questions and hearing anything short of I'm a fan of Donald Trump, he is going to be skeptical of them.

But I think he was paying close attention because he knows this case ultimately will come down to the jury pool. He feels like it's unfavorable because it is Manhattan, but as we've said, this is a big variety of people. They have said that they're able to rule on this case without any you know compromised position. And I think he knows that the ultimately kind of hold his fate in their hands.

BLITZER: Alyssa Farah Griffin and Kara Scannell, excellent analysis, thanks to both of you.

And just ahead, we'll take a closer look at how juries are kept safe in high-profile cases and what kind of security this jury can potentially expect.



BLITZER: More now on the breaking news. 12 Trump jurors have finally been seated, but not before the process hit a snag earlier today when one juror raised concerns over her identity becoming public, causing the judge to excuse her.

Brian Todd has more now on the steps the court could take to protect the security of the men and women of the Trump jury. What are you finding, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we've spoken to former U.S. marshals who have protected jurors and other experts who say that guarding the anonymity of jurors and their physical security is going to be very challenging in this trial, and it will require the judge and marshals and court officers to be nimble and creative.


TODD (voice over): Judge Juan Merchan said he excused juror number two because she was afraid and intimidated. The juror told the judge, quote, aspects of my identity have already been out there in public, that she had friends, colleagues and family push things to my phone regarding questioning my identity as a juror.

JOHN MUFFLER, HANDLED JURY SECURITY AS A U.S. MARSHAL: It's a frightening prospect of where we are as a country where you can't do your duty.

TODD: Judge Merchan lamented that they lost what probably would have been a very good juror. Such are the risks of selecting and protecting jurors in a case as highly charged as Donald Trump's hush money trial.

How hard will it be to protect jurors' anonymity in this case?

MUFFLER: This is not an easy task. It's not an easy task because of technology today, social media postings, faces out there. It's easy to connect dots because everybody has information out there about them.

TODD: During the investigation into the election interference case against Trump in Georgia, members of the grand jury who were deciding whether to indict Trump had their names, photographs, social media profiles, and even their physical addresses posted online with anonymous users calling for violence against them.

CAROLYN KOCH, JURY CONSULTANT: You're worried about anonymous crazies on the internet stalking you.


And I don't know if it's fair to ask ordinary people to take that kind of risk.

TODD: Right now, the empaneled jurors in the Trump trial are going home every night, but its not clear if that will change and if there'll be sequestered. With either arrangement, it's not just their anonymity, but their physical security that will have to be protected.

If the jurors go home every night --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the strategies would be to have the juror be picked up at their house, right, or they could be met at a location and picked up by marshals there, and taken to the courthouse under cover of a blacked out van.

TODD: Then John Muffler (ph) says, marshals would take jurors in through private inferences to courthouses and private elevators, experts say if this jury is sequestered, there'll be an even tighter level of security. Jurors under constant watch, transported to hotels with security officers guarding their rooms. It all translates to stress on the jurors.

The jury on O.J. Simpson's murder trial was closely guarded at their hotel, their phone calls and even TV shows monitor.

KOCH: It got out of control in the sequestration was part of that. I mean, that case lasted forever and people's lives weren't normal.


TODD (on camera): Experts tell us the risk that jurors could be scared away out of security concerns or that they could be compromised or why they expect the judge in this case to seek plenty of alternate jurors as backups, but that, of course, means more vetting of prospective jurors and more potential problems. And we know they're going to be seating alternate starting tomorrow.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: This is very, very significant, indeed.

Brian Todd, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, the trial versus the trail. What President Biden is now saying about his opponent while campaigning in a key battleground state? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BLITZER: Breaking news, with 12 jurors now seated in his hush money trial, Donald Trump is complaining he's stuck in court, unlike his opponent President Biden who spent the day on the campaign trail with members of the Kennedy family. It's a remarkable split screen between two men vying for another term in office.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is over at the White House for us.

Priscilla, what sort of contrast is President Biden drawing this week?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, over the course of the week, the president has kept his focus on the economy, trying to portray his Republican rival Donald Trump as out of touch. Now, of course, President Biden was doing that in battleground Pennsylvania where polls show that Biden is in a very tight race with Donald Trump. And he did that, of course, as he tried to cast himself as being -- trying to be an interests of the American people especially as he gets low marks on the economy.

Again, as his campaign really tried to stay quiet over the course of the week as the former president was in court. And today, he got that endorsement from multiple members of the Kennedy family and he talked about how the Kennedy family has been with him over the course of his campaign, that the late senator in particular was an inspiration to him and his political career. And then he has a bust of that lays editor in his oval office. Take a listen to how he described it.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What an incredible honor to have the support of the Kennedy family.

Today, we face another inflection point in history. But 2024 election about two fundamentally different visions of for America Donald Trumps vision is one of anger, hate, revenge, and retribution.


ALVAREZ: Now, of course, as President Biden tapped into the storied history of the Kennedy family. It was also a moment that goes to show how close this race is going to be, that even a third-party candidate with low performing polls is going to potentially pose a risk to President Biden when every votes going to counsel, a lot of this was also feel on making sure that the president shores up support across all corners of battleground Pennsylvania -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So important for the president. Priscilla, thank you very much.

Coming up, a closer look at what's on the docket tomorrow in the case of the people of New York versus Donald J. Trump.



BLITZER: With 12 jurors and one alternate now selected after three days of Donald Trump's hush money trial, the search is on for additional alternates.

Our senior legal analyst Elie Honig is back with us. He's looking ahead to day four in court.

Elie, what should we expect where the trial resumes tomorrow morning?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, one job for tomorrow, finish picking this jury. Now, as of today, we have all 12 jurors who are on the primary jury, who will render a verdict in this case. We also have one alternate, but the law says you can have up to six alternates. So, obviously, we're going to need five more, just in case of the main jurors get sick or has to leave the case.

We will see essentially the same process repeated. The judge will ask whether anyone's unable to serve. They'll go to the commissioners.

One big difference, though, Wolf, vote parties are out of those peremptory challenges. So, they're not going to be able to eliminate anyone else who they're not comfortable with, and I think it's going to move even more quickly tomorrow. By the end of the day, we should have a full jury.

BLITZER: That means the trial could actually begin on Monday.

Elie, once the jury is seated, how does the trial proceed? Give us the specifics.

Let me give you a preview of our next four to six weeks or so. The jury selection should conclude by tomorrow. On Monday, we should hear opening statements. The prosecution is going to go first. They bear the burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. And then the defense will get its opening.

We then will move into the prosecution case. That's going to be the heart of the case we're going to hear from witnesses. We know some of the names, Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, David Pecker, each witness will be examined on direct exam by the prosecutors and then cross examine by Donald Trump's team.

After that, prosecution will rest and then the defense can put on the case, Donald Trump's defense if they want. They don't have to. No defendant ever has to put on any proof, and that will be the moment when Donald Trump will have to make a decision, whether he takes the stand. If there is a defense case, then the prosecution can put on a quick rebuttal case just responding to the defense case. After that, we hear closing arguments from both sides, the defense, Trump's team goes first, then the prosecutors will close. The judge will then instruct the jury, he'll tell them, here's the laws on the case, here are the rules to guide you, and then the jury goes in for the most mysterious part of this all, the deliberation. That will be entirely done in private, outside of the view of the parties.

All we might see from the jury is occasionally asking questions, until they sent a note saying we have verdict. At that point, they will come out and we will the verdict. Keep in mind, in order to get a verdict, guilty or not guilty, has to be 12 to zero either way. If there's one person in the minority, then it's a hung jury and a mistrial.

BLITZER: Very interesting. And this trial could take weeks and weeks and weeks. So we'll watch it together with you.

Elie Honig, thank you very, very (AUDIO GAP)

HONIG: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: To our viewers, thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.