Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Biden Says, Democracy Is More At Risk Than Any Point Since World War II; Trump Back On Campaign Trail For First Time As A Convicted Felon; Steve Bannon Lashes Out After Judge Orders Him To Prison By July 1; Biden Rules Out Pardoning Son Hunter If Convicted; Officials: Israeli Strike Kills Dozens Sheltering At U.N. School In Gaza. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 06, 2024 - 18:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The spacecraft splashed down in the Indian Ocean.


The two crew members of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, meanwhile, docked with the International Space Station this afternoon after engineers solved some problems with the spacecraft's thrusters. The astronauts will stay for about a week. That will give engineers on Earth time to analyze the thruster problems and the implications of several helium leaks, which the crew dealt with by closing valves.

The news continues now on CNN Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. To all the D-Day veterans out there and their families, thank you so much.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, President Biden marks 80 years since the D-Day invasion by warning that democracy is more at risk now than at any time since World War II Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is with the president in France and joins us to discuss urgent global hotspots and threats right here at home.

Also tonight, Donald Trump just returned to the campaign trail for the first time as a convicted felon. He's appealing to voters in a pivotal battleground state and playing up the 34 guilty verdicts against him.

And former Trump Adviser Steve Bannon is lashing out after a judge ordered him to report to prison by July 1st to serve a sentence for contempt of Congress. Bannon now on the brink of joining a growing list of Trump insiders who have been or who are currently behind bars.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Butzer. You're in The Situation Room.

Our top story tonight, President Biden honors the American heroes who stormed the beaches of France 80 years ago in defense of freedom and delivers a warning to the world that democracy is in grave danger again.

CNN Senior White House Correspondent Kayla Tausche is traveling with the president. She's joining us live from Paris right now. Kayla, the President sent a message tailored for this moment amid wars overseas and his re-election campaign right here at home.

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was a profoundly moving day of events in Normandy as allied leaders remembered the events of 80 years ago that protected many of the freedoms we enjoy today. And President Biden used the lessons of history to draw on to issue a warning about the future.


TAUSCHE (voice over): Back at the battlefront where they braved it all. A hero's welcome for the Americans who lived through the Battle of Normandy.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: In memory of those who fought here, died here, literally saved the world here.

TAUSCHE: President Biden honoring the service and the sacrifice of the last living D-Day veterans, the hundreds of thousands who served alongside them, and the 9,388 who never came home.

BIDEN: They knew, beyond any doubt, there are things that are worth fighting and dying for. Freedom is worth it. Democracy is worth it. America is worth it. The world is worth it, then, now, and always.

TAUSCHE: Western leaders marking 80 years since the turning point in World War II that brought an end to occupied Europe.

BIDEN: We're living in a time when democracy is more at risk across the world than any point since the end of World War II, since these beaches were stormed in 1944. Now we have to ask ourselves, will we stand against tyranny, against evil?

TAUSCHE: Now, with Ukraine's president looking on, warning Europe could easily be occupied again, this time by Vladimir Putin, a notable shift from just ten years ago, with Putin joining to mark the 70th anniversary.

BIDEN: We will not walk away. Because if we do, Ukraine will be subjugated and it will not end there. Ukraine's neighbors will be threatened. All of Europe will be threatened to surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators is simply unthinkable.

TAUSCHE: Biden is set to meet with European and NATO leaders with alliances resting on upcoming elections, Biden laying out a choice for the future on both sides of the Atlantic.

BIDEN: Isolationism was not the answer eight years ago. And it's not the answer today

TAUSCHE: And passing the torch from the greatest generation to the next generation.

TAUSCHE: Let us be the generation that when history is written about our time in 10, 20, 30, 58 years from now, it'll be said when the moment came, we met the moment.


We stood strong. Our alliances made stronger. We saved democracy in our time as well.


TAUSCHE (on camera): Tomorrow, President Biden will return to Normandy, where he will deliver a speech on the power of democracy from Pointe du Hoc, which is the land, that 100-foot cliffs that Army Rangers scaled to destroy German artillery positions that they were using to fire on Omaha and Utah beaches on D-Day. President Biden, I'm told by a senior administration official is expected to discuss the bravery of those young men, focusing on the World War II veterans, the example they said and what we owe them now in our own democracy.

Of course, there will be parallels drawn to President Ronald Reagan's speech in 1984, marking the 40th anniversary, where he too delivered a speech flanked by world leaders at that same site. He focused then on the boys of Pointe du Hoc, and officials say they're prepared for the comparisons. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Kayla Tausche in Paris for us, Kayla, thank you very, very much.

Joining me now, the U.S. secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, he's joining us from the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, on this D- Day anniversary. Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for joining us.

And, of course, it's a very powerful moment. It's been 80 years since D Day. President Biden says democracy is more at risk now than it has been since the end of World War II. What do you see as the greatest threat to democracy right now?

LLOYD AUSTIN, US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I mean, there are a number of leaders who, who lean towards autocracy and they're -- and so I think that's the greatest threat. I think there's also a threat of us forgetting what this is all about. But we can never forget. We can never forget to be grateful for those who have gone before us and sacrificed so much.

And being here is a reminder of the tremendous sacrifices that our troops paid to ensure our freedom. And it's those sacrifices that really gave birth to the rule space international order that served us so well for so many years.

And we have to protect that. We have to work hard to protect it. Democracy, you know, is worth having but it's something that you have to work on, you have to fight for.

BLITZER: Which is absolutely true. On Russia's war in Ukraine right now, Mr. Secretary, President Biden just said that Putin is, and I'm quoting him now, is not a decent man, he's a dictator. When defending his decision to let Ukraine strike Russian territory with U.S. weapons only near Kharkiv, not far from the border with Russia, what is the red line in Ukraine right now? How far is the U.S. willing to go in letting Kyiv strike deeper into Russia with U.S. weapons when deemed necessary?

AUSTIN: Wolf, our policy using long range strike weaponry to go into a Russia hasn't changed. But what we have done is provided Ukraine the ability to counter-fire, to fire back at those Russian troops that are firing at them and to be able to take out their artillery batteries as they're firing at the Ukrainians. And I think that's going to prove to be very, very helpful to the Ukrainians going forward.

BLITZER: I suspect you're right. President Biden is expected, as you know, to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy during this trip to Europe after there were some serious divisions here in the U.S., which caused a major delay in supplying desperately needed weapons to Ukraine. So, how can the president promise that U.S. support is ironclad, which he, of course, did today, when support for the war is waning domestically here in the U.S.?

AUSTIN: Wolf, as I have engaged members of Congress on both sides of, in both parties, I have seen throughout strong support for Ukraine. And even though it took a while to get the legislation through, I was confident that the right thing was going to happen. Because anytime you see that type of support, you know, on both sides of the aisle for a cause, Congress will find a way to get things done, which is what they did in this case, because it's the right thing to do.

And Ukraine matters, Wolf, as you know. Not just for Ukraine, Ukraine's purposes alone, not for Europe alone. It matters for -- to us and it matters to the entire globe. So, we have to make sure that Putin doesn't have the ability to trample Ukraine, because as the president said, there's a good chance, almost certain that that Putin won't stop there.


He will continue to move forward in other acts of aggression.

BLITZER: So, clearly, from your perspective, Mr. Secretary, the stakes for the U.S. in this war in Ukraine are enormous right now, right?

AUSTIN: They are enormous for the U.S. and the world, quite frankly, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about some other key issues while I have you, Mr. Secretary, not far from Europe, where you are right now. Israel is fighting its war against Hamas in Gaza. Just overnight, a U.N. school sheltering civilians in Central Gaza was struck, killing at least 45 people. A CNN analysis found Israel used U.S. munitions in that strike. How can the U.S. push Israel to better protect civilians when the flow of U.S. weapons in this war has been mostly unimpeded?

AUSTIN: I'll leave it to Israel to talk about, you know, what happened in that strike. What I can tell you is that we said from the very beginning that we're going to support Israel's right to defend itself, and we've done that from the very beginning. At the same time, we have continued to encourage Israel's leadership to be thoughtful about making sure that they're reducing the number of civilian casualties. There have been way too many civilian casualties throughout this war, and move the civilians out of the battle space before conducting a significant maneuver.

And, you know, I don't think accomplishing objectives and protecting civilians are mutually exclusive endeavors. I think you can do both. We've demonstrated that. And I think you have to do that. I think that the way that you ensure a long-term success is by making sure that you take care of the civilian population, strip them away, eventually strip them away from Hamas and demonstrate that, you know, Hamas does not equal the Palestinian people.

But we have to take care of the Palestinian people, flow more aid humanitarian aid into the space. And make sure that we're doing the right things to take care of them.

BLITZER: As you know, Mr. Secretary, when it comes to Rafah in Southern Gaza, President Biden told CNN in an interview he won't supply the weapons to Israel if Israel goes into Rafah. Now Israeli troops are in Rafah but you call this a limited operation. Is the U.S. moving the goalposts so the president doesn't have to enforce what has been described as this red line?

AUSTIN: We're not moving the goalposts, Wolf. I think you know, we've been clear that, you know, if they conduct a major operation into Rafah, the kind that we, we saw in Gaza City and other places earlier, then that's a problem. So, what we've asked them to do is move the civilians out of the battle space to be more precise in terms of their operations and limit the amount of collateral damage. And so far, they've maneuvered along the along the border and we've not seen a major movement into Rafah as of this point. So, we'll continue to watch this.

BLITZER: I'm sure you will. The president, in that recent interview he gave to TIME Magazine, was asked if Israeli forces have committed war crimes in Gaza. And he said, and I'm quoting him now, it's uncertain. Can you say, Mr. Secretary, if Israel has committed war crimes in Gaza?

AUSTIN: You know, I'll echo what the president said. It's uncertain because, you know, these are things that that have to be investigated and, you know, I believe that the Israelis will do that going forward, as they see incidents, they'll do the right thing by investigating. This is a professional force and we would expect that they do the kinds of things that professional forces do. You know, make sure that they're doing the right things to employ the weapons appropriately. And also if there are problems, investigate those problems and learn from that.

BLITZER: Yes, go ahead. No, finish your thought.

AUSTIN: I'm finished. Go ahead.

BLITZER: I want to, while I have you, Mr. Secretary, sorry for interrupting, I want to talk about what's going on with China right now. You met face to face with your Chinese counterpart on Friday, just after China held major military drills encircling Taiwan. How would the U.S. respond if China stops short of an invasion of Taiwan, but decides to blockade the island? AUSTIN: Well, Wolf, as you know, I won't speculate on any kind of hypotheticals. What I will tell you is that, you know, my job is to provide options for the president. And we maintain the capability to do a range of things in the in the region, if called upon to do that.


But we have been clear that we don't want see a unilateral change of the status quo. And we want to make sure that we're doing things to move things in -- towards greater stability and security in the region.

Now, when I met with my counterpart you know, I think it's important that we have a dialogue, we continue to have a dialogue. But, as you would expect, you know, I voiced my concerns about some of the things that we've seen in the region and we'll continue to do so going forward.

But unless you're talking to each other you don't have the ability to prevent miscalculations and address misperceptions. So, I think this is a good first step, but there's a lot more that needs to be done in terms of engaging and in terms of moving things in the right direction.

BLITZER: Well, good luck on that front. It's a very, very sensitive, potentially very dangerous situation for the U.S. military and U.S. national security.

Our time is limited. I want to get your quick thought, Mr. Secretary, on the FBI director, Christopher Wray, recently saying that domestic and international terrorism are some of the most consequential threats against the United States right now. What is, in your view, Mr. Secretary, the most concerning threat against the United States right now?

AUSTIN: Well, I mean, there are a number of -- well, first of all, protection of the homeland is my top priority. And we will continue to work with other agencies and the government to make sure that we're doing just that, staying in front of any potential threat. And there are a number of challenges that we continue to face. We're going to do everything that we can to prevent any act of terrorism. But, again, the FBI has a lead in terms of domestic activity here, and certainly we'll do everything we can to support other agencies in this endeavor.

And in terms of specific threats, Wolf, as you would expect, I won't go into any intelligence matters here on camera.

BLITZER: Of course. The president, President Biden, is expected to draw a contrast with Donald Trump in a major speech tomorrow. You mentioned to me earlier you're concerned about leaders threatening democracy. Were you referring to the former president?

AUSTIN: No, Wolf, I was not. And, again, you know, I'll leave it to my boss to outline what he believes is important and he typically gets it right. BLITZER: Before I let you go, Mr. Secretary, I also want to quickly get your thoughts about your health. We were all concerned when you revealed your cancer diagnosis after a lack of transparency over surgery complications. First of all, how are you feeling now?

AUSTIN: I feel good, Wolf. Thanks for asking.

BLITZER: I'm happy to hear that. It makes me happy. But you're back to normal. Would you say that?

AUSTIN: Wolf, you see me out here operating and doing my job, you've seen me just come off of an almost a ten-day trip to the Indo-Pacific. And in each and every day, you know, I'm fully engaged in carrying out the duties of secretary of defense.

BLITZER: Well, that makes us happy to hear that, Mr. Secretary. Good luck to you. Thanks very much for joining us. We deeply appreciate it.

AUSTIN: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: And just ahead, exactly one week after becoming a convicted criminal, Donald Trump is back in campaign mode tonight. What he's now saying about the verdict and its impact on his presidential bid.

Plus, Trump ally Steve Bannon rails against an order to report to prison within a few weeks, insisting he won't shut up.

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



BLITZER: Tonight, Donald Trump is making his return to the campaign trail a full week after his criminal conviction in the New York hush money case. And he's been boasting about the funds he's raised off of the trial.

CNN's Kristen Holmes is covering Trump's event in the key battleground state of Arizona right now. Kristen, tell us, first of all, more about Trump's message.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. Well, you can hear people booing right now. I'm not sure what Donald Trump is talking about, but he spoke for about an hour, which was supposed to be 15 minutes, as an intro, and now he's taking questions from voters in Arizona. Most of what he talked about focused on immigration, a problem that, here in Arizona, the residents face very often because of the fact that they are on the border. So, it was really a hammering that messaging home.

Now, the other thing he talked about, of course, was that trial in New York saying, it was a rigged system and talking about how much money they raised, actually giving a new figure that we hadn't heard before. Take a listen to what he said.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It right after the announcement of this, more campaign funds were given to this campaign than any campaign they think in history, almost $400 million, 400 now. It's never been -- nobody's ever seen.


HOLMES: Okay. So, first of all, the campaign told us that they raised $141 million in the month of May, and that wasn't just after the verdict, but it didn't include that soft money, money that went to the super PACs. There are three super PACs. So, we're trying to get clarification from the campaign as to what that $400 million number is.

But one thing is clear, that Donald Trump has been able to fundraise off of that case. They have been able to get bigger checks and they have been able to get small dollar donors giving to them online. One of the things that happened here was Charlie Kirk, early on, took the stage and asked how many people in the audience donated after the verdict. And we heard a number of cheers, claps, people saying that they would continue to donate to Donald Trump.


Just remember, when we talk about all of his messaging, one of the reasons that they keep talking about this trial, keep painting as political persecution, is the fact that they believe that it's going to continue to help them with fundraising. They hope that they will help them politically, but that really remains to be seen.

BLITZER: Clearly an enthusiastic crowd over there in Phoenix, Arizona. Kristen Holmes, thank you very much.

I want to bring in some of our political experts to break all of this down. And, Kristen Soltis Anderson, what's your takeaway, first of all, from Trump's return to the campaign trail after his felony conviction?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I thought it was interesting that Kristen Holmes pointed out two themes in his speech today, immigration and the trial. Donald Trump does best with swing voters when he's talking about issues, issues like immigration, issues like the economy, the sorts of things where voters who swung very heavily towards the GOP in the last year or two. Where he does not fare as well with swing voters is when he is talking about things like his own legal troubles, when he is talking about what he intends to do on that front, if he were to ever take office.

And so it's interesting, you're going to see this push and pull between Donald Trump talking about issues and Donald Trump talking about his legal peril. One of those is better for his campaign than the other.

BLITZER: Interesting. Nia-Malika Henderson is with us as well. Nia, Trump is still clearly railing against his conviction on the heels of his Fox interview with Sean Hannity last night, where he, again, suggested he would prosecute his political enemies. Watch and listen to this.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Focus on those that want people to believe that you want retribution, that you will use the system of justice to go after your political enemies.

TRUMP: So, number one, they're wrong. It has to stop, because otherwise we're not going to have a country. Look, when this election is over, based on what they've done, I would have every right to go after them.

HANNITY: End this practice of weaponization. Is that a promise you're going to make?

TRUMP: You have to do it. But it's awful. Look, I know you want me to say something so --

HANNITY: No, I don't want you to say I'm nasty.

TRUMP: But I don't want to look naive.


BLITZER: How dangerous is it, Nia, and do you see it putting off swing voters?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, you know, I mean, certainly this idea that Donald Trump is going to use the Department of Justice to go after his enemies. You saw Hannity there try to get him to walk away from that, but it really is become a theme of his campaign. And in some ways, it also is a throwback to 2016 with the sort of lock her up chants around Hillary Clinton. Clinton.

And so you see in these interviews time and time again him hit on these themes about revenge, about retribution. He began his speech last week right after he was found guilty in those 34 counts. He began that speech by saying, you know, if they can come after me, they can come after you too.

What you see in the data is that There, there is some movement away from Donald Trump after his conviction, particularly among non-white voters and particularly among young voters and low information voters.

So, listen, that is a troubling, I think, sign for Donald Trump. We'll see where he goes if he is able to do what I think Kristen Soltis Anderson says he should do, which is to focus on issues, like immigration and like the economy. And you see in the data that those issues do favor him over Joe Biden. People do think that the economy under Donald Trump was better. And you see Biden, you know, trying to sort of lean into immigration, be a little bit more hawkish on immigration because he knows that that's an Achilles' heel for Democrats. BLITZER: Interesting. Meghan Hays is with us as well. She's a former special assistant to Biden. Meghan, how should the Biden campaign strategize around Trump's latest rhetoric?

MEGHAN HAYS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I think it just shows his character and he's always talking about the me, me, me. And it's interesting that he's bringing up issues like immigration in Phoenix, but he's not bringing up abortion, which is a huge issue in Arizona.

And, you know, Joe Biden won Arizona by 10,000 votes last time. I mean, that's a massive opportunity for him to try to get those swing voters back who are going to vote on the margins. And I just think, you know, it's a missed opportunity. I think the Biden campaign will continue to campaign on reproductive health and some of the other issues, you know? Just like he's campaigning on issues that are favorable for Republicans, Democrats will do the same.

But I also think that the president has an opportunity to really continue on the contrast message. And, you know, Donald Trump is talking about retribution and revenge, while President Biden is out in France giving speeches about democracy and honoring our soldiers that lost their lives on D-Day 80 years ago.

BLITZER: And, Kristen, you wrote a very fascinating, important piece article, and I'm quoting now from your article. Prison time is the real factor in the Trump verdict's impact on 2024. Why is that? And does that mean if Trump isn't sentenced to prison, voters might not care about his conviction?

ANDERSON: So, right now, the couple of polls that we've seen, including ones my own firm has done, have shown a little bit of movement in favor of Joe Biden.


My polling has shown it mostly from undecided voters deciding to break for Biden in the wake of this verdict. But it's still very small on the margins that helps, but, ultimately, it's not a five, six, seven- point swing yet.

What I wrote in my piece today is that if Donald Trump is sentenced to prison, if he is facing some sort of jail time, incarceration, that could be the sort of thing that lower information voters, less engaged voters who right now have heard that he's guilty, but think, look, people are always saying Donald Trump is a bad guy. That's nothing new. Suddenly the thought of having to vote for someone for president, not just who has a label of convicted felon, but who is actually facing prison time. I wonder if that might not give some swing voters even more pause and actually be something that would more dramatically shift the race in Biden's favor.

BLITZER: Meghan, I want to get your response to that. What do you think?

HAYS: Yes, I mean, I think, but he is actually facing jail time, and that's up to the judge, what's going to happen. But I do think people care if he's convicted felon. People don't want a convicted felon being the leader of our country. That's just -- I mean, we need to expect more from our leaders, and I do think it's going to matter on the margins when people start to cast ballots when they start early voting in, you know, September and October.

BLITZER: Nia-Malika, let me get your thoughts on this final question. You heard Trump brag about his massive fundraising haul, and it has been impressive. He's now heading to another high dollar fundraiser with Silicon Valley billionaires. How much could this influx of cash actually change the playing field out there on the campaign trail?

HENDERSON: Listen, I mean, money is going to matter. It's going to matter in terms of putting up ads, reaching voters, voter mobilization, the sort of door-to-door knocking that each of these campaigns are going to have to do. He is likely exaggerating about how much money he has actually brought in, in the wake of this verdict. I think he said $400 million. We'll see what the actual haul is. But, yes, I mean, there is beginning to be some parity in terms of the war chest of the Democrats and the Republicans.

Listen, I do think some of this money is obviously going to go to pay Donald Trump's legal bills. And so I think that'll continue to be a factor. But, yes, it's good news for his campaign that he has seen this influx of cash.

BLITZER: Yes, money clearly talks. All right, guys, thank you very, very much. Thanks to all of you.

Coming up. Steve Bannon is ordered to report to prison soon as Donald Trump awaits his own sentencing. We're going to bring you a who's who of Trump insiders who went to jail.



BLITZER: Tonight, the former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, is under a new order by a federal judge to report to prison no later than July 1st.

Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd. Brian, Bannon is set to become the latest in a series of Trump insiders to go to jail. He's clearly fuming.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is, Wolf. You know, Steve Bannon never wanted to keep his rebelliousness bottled up in public. He is now weeks away from possibly entering prison. And if he does go there, he'll join two former Trump associates now behind bars, as well as a host of others who've been there.


STEVE BANNON, CONVICTED FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: They're not going to shut up Bannon and they're certainly not going to shut up MAGA.

TODD (voice over): A defiant Steve Bannon lashes out after a federal judge orders him to report to prison by July 1st.

BANNON: There's nothing that can shut me up and nothing that will shut me up. There's not a prison built or a jail built that will ever shut me up.

TODD: The former Trump campaign CEO and White House counselor to the former president has been fighting his conviction on contempt of Congress charges.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If Trump gets elected, guess what happens? Bannon is on the, really, I think, short list for a pardon.

TODD: As the former president himself awaits sentencing for his conviction in the hush money case, Steve Bannon becomes one of at least eight former Trump aides or employees in the public and private sectors to serve jail time or at least be sentenced to jail.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think it's going to be the hardest and most dangerous issue for a re-election of Trump will be how does he disassociate himself from the public. unsavory characters

TODD: in jail now, Peter Navarro, a former Trump trade adviser who, like Bannon, was convicted of contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the House January 6th investigation.

PETER NAVARRO, CONVICTED FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: I will walk proudly in there and do my time.

TODD: Navarro is serving his sentence at a federal facility in Miami that's next to a zoo.

SAM MANGEL, PETER NAVARRO'S PRISON CONSULTANT: 5:00 in the morning or 5:30, you heard the lions. And every morning, you would hear the lions roar.

TODD: Serving time in a much rougher place, Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization. The 76-year- old is behind bars in New York's notorious Rikers Island Prison, serving two sentences for tax fraud and perjury. Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, went to jail on campaign finance and fraud charges and flipped on Trump. Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, spent about two years in prison for fraud crimes related to his work in Ukraine.

Manafort, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, all received pardons from Trump. Stone was pardoned without serving any jail time. Then there were former Trump aides, like Hope Hicks, Rhona Graff, and Cassidy Hutchinson, who didn't serve jail time, but were hauled into court or congressional hearings without even being accused of crimes.

JACKSON: And the course is exorbitant just to be involved in the entirety of an investigation that doesn't even involve you. You just have information you're imparting to authorities, and you have to come out of pocket by lawyering up.


TODD (on camera): And just a short time ago Donald Trump weighed in on the judge's order for Steve Bannon to report to prison. Trump posting on his platform Truth Social that it's a, quote, total and complete American tragedy and part of the un-American weaponization of our law enforcement, end quote.



BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting, Brian, good report, thank you very much.

Let's bring in our Legal Analysts Elie Honig and Elliot Williams right now. Elie, first to you, do you see a higher court stepping in or is Steve Bannon heading to prison by July 1st?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think Steve Bannon will be in prison by July 1st, Wolf. Now, Steve Bannon exercised his constitutional right to go to trial. He was convicted. Then he was sentenced to four months in prison. And then he was given something called bail pending appeal, which means you have to be able to show that you have a substantial likelihood of success on your appeal. Well, Steve Bannon has now lost his first appeal. So, substantial likelihood of success has diminished considerably.

Now, he does have two more potential outs. One, he can ask the court of appeals to rehear the case altogether as an entire circuit, but they very rarely agree to do that. And then he can ask the Supreme Court to take the case, but they're very selective in which cases they take. I think it's very unlikely they take this case, and I think Steve Bannon will have to surrender by the end of this month.

BLITZER: And on that point, Elliot, if Bannon's last ditch effort fails, he would join, as we just heard in Brian's report, a long list of Trump insiders who have been ordered to prison. What does that say to you?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it says each of them has had a fair trial and an opportunity to raise whatever claims they wanted on appeal and ultimately lost. And, you know, picking up where Elie left off, you know, he was allowed to be released pending his appeal because there was a possibility of his success on the appeal here. The judge found that because he's already lost, you know, his likelihood of succeeding in the Supreme Court is actually quite low, and that a date can be set for him to go to jail.

Now, look, again, he still has those two opportunities to appeal, like everybody else, like all the people who you saw on those screens there, and, you know, we ought to celebrate his having that right. But there comes a time when one has exhausted all of their opportunities to challenge a sentence or a conviction and serve their time.

BLITZER: And, Elie, as you know, Trump himself is awaiting sentencing for his hush money felony conviction. Is there any world where he faces some prison time, like Bannon, for example?

HONIG: There absolutely is such a world, a world, Wolf. I think it's going to be a really close call whether Judge Merchan sentences Donald Trump to some prison time.

If we look at the broad lens data, other people who have been convicted of the same crime Trump has now been convicted of, falsification of business records, it's a class E felony in New York. The healthy majority, but not all of them get non-prison sentences. But there are several aggravating factors here, including Donald Trump's violation of the contempt order, the fact that he's not accepted responsibility, the severity of the crime. And I think it's going to be a razor's edge call whether Judge Merchan sentences him to prison.

But really importantly, Wolf, if Donald Trump does receive a prison sentence, I do think he will be given bail pending appeal, which we talked about before, which means he won't have to actually serve any sentence until all of his appeals are done, which will be way after the election.

BLITZER: Interesting. Elliot, give us the 10,000-foot view of Trump's other legal cases, and there are several pending.

WILLIAMS: Well, there are several pending. It does not look like any of them are likely to make it to trial prior to Election Day, which is what many people care about. Although, look, trials take an exceptionally long time -- cases take an exceptionally long time to get to trial. There is a case in Georgia brought by the district attorney there. That certainly is not going to trial, but was just put on pause by an appeals court. There's a federal case involving the retention of documents in Mar-a-Lago, his home in Florida, that is also caught up in legal back and forth.

And, finally, the Supreme Court is considering right now what to do about, in effect, an election obstruction or subversion case in Washington, D.C. That decision should come down sometime this month or in early July that'll dictate when that comes to trial. But, again, in all likelihood, not before Election Day, which is what many people seem to want to see happen.

BLITZER: Elliot Williams, Ellie Honig, to both of you, thank you very much.

Just ahead, the latest from the Hunter Biden trial, the prosecution's star witness, Hunter Biden's ex-girlfriend Hallie Biden testifying about the day she found his gun and threw it away.



BLITZER: President Biden is now weighing in on his son Hunter Biden's criminal trial, telling ABC News he will not, repeat, not issue a pardon if he's found guilty on federal gun charges.



INTERVIEWER: We sit here in Normandy, your son Hunter is on trial and I know that you cannot speak about an ongoing federal prosecution. But let me ask you, will you accept the jury's outcome? Their verdict no matter what it is?


INTERVIEWER: And have you ruled out a pardon for your son?



BLITZER: This as Beau Biden's widow, Hallie Biden, who later became Hunter Biden's romantic partner, took the stand for the prosecution.

Today, our chief legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid, has the latest.


PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, federal prosecutors put their star witness on the stand in the trial of Hunter Biden. Hallie Biden, his ex-girlfriend, and widow of his late brother, Beau, took the stand as federal prosecutors are close to finishing their case against the president's son in Wilmington, Delaware.

She testified how she saw Hunter with crack rocks the size of ping pong balls, witnessed him smoking crack and even went with him to buy drugs from dealers in Washington, D.C. And how she had conversations with him between 2017 and 2018 about his drug use, telling him: this can't go on. We can't do this.

His responses would vary, sometimes saying, leave me alone, I'm fine. Or at other times, I'm an addict and I'll figure it out my way.

She also testified how Hunter introduced her to crack in 2018. It was a terrible experience that I went through. I'm embarrassed and I'm ashamed and I regret that period of my life.


But Hunter's defense argues there's no evidence he was actively using drugs when he bought the gun in October 2018 and allegedly lied on the federal background check form.

Hallie testified that she found drugs and drug paraphernalia in Hunter's car days later. I did find some remnants of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia. She went on to testify about when she found the gun saying, I was afraid to touch it. I didn't know if it was loaded.

She then testified she tossed it into a grocery store dumpster. I was so flustered. I realized it was a stupid idea now.

The prosecution also introduced a text messages between the two, including when Hallie asked where Hunter was the night after he bought the gun. He responded: I'm now off Maryland Av behind blue rock stadium eating for a dealer named Mookie.

But Hallie also testified during cross-examination that sometimes Hunter would lie to her about his whereabouts.


REID (on camera): Prosecutors say they have two more witnesses that they're going to call, then the defense will have a few witnesses. So, Wolf, it looks like this trial will definitely go into next week.

BLITZER: All right. Paula Reid reporting for us -- Paula, thank you very much.

Coming up, honoring the American and allied service members who landed at Normandy exactly 80 years ago today. We're going to hear from D-Day veterans in their own words.



BLITZER: More now on that Israeli strike on a U.N.-run school in central Gaza where 6,000 displaced people were sheltering.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has the latest from Jerusalem. We want to warn our viewers, his report contains graphic video.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPODENT (voice-over): Mohammed Farajallah (ph) is still picking through the rubble of the airstrike that killed his brother and alongside the blood spattered walls, he's still finding pieces of flesh. He believes they are his brother's.

May his soul rest in peace, he says. I wish I died instead. There is no hope in this life at all.

Mahmoud is the second brother Mohammed has lost during the war. His third brother is in the hospital in critical condition. His skull fractured in the blast.

Mohammed is not the only ones sifting through the rubble. The Gaza health ministry says at least 40 people were killed when the Israeli military struck this building overnight.

But this is no ordinary building. It's a U.N. school converted like so many others into a shelter for thousands of Palestinians displaced from their homes.

The Israeli military says it carried out a precision and intelligence based strike, targeting 20 to 30 Palestinian militants who it says were sheltering in the school and preparing attacks on Israeli troops.

And Israeli military spokesman said the IDF was unaware of any civilian casualties.

Hospital records tell a different story. Nine women and 14 children as young as 4 years old are among the dead delivered to Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.

Those who survived also accused Israel of targeting civilians.

Netanyahu is killing the civilians. He's not killing militants, Shadar Abu Daher (ph) says. It's innocent people asleep in an UNRWA facility. What did children and the elderly do? What did they do to him?

The school is one of at least 180 UNRWA buildings to be hit since the beginning of the war, according to that U.N. agency.

But the devastation goes beyond U.N. facilities. Scenes like this have been playing out all week in central Gaza, a clear uptake in Israeli airstrikes. Bloodied and covered in soot, survivors and victims alike have been arriving at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital at a rising clip.

As one wounded child cries for her mother, another arrives at the morgue to say goodbye to his.

Mama is going to visit grandpa, this father tells his son, don't cry. You're a man, he says, but he is the one who breaks down.


DIAMOND (on camera): And, Wolf, once again, it appears that Israel has used U.S. made munitions in this strike on that UNRWA school in central Gaza, munitions experts who reviewed footage from the scene identified the remains of the munitions as GBU-39, small diameter bombs. That's the same type of munition that Israel used in that deadly strike in Rafah a few weeks ago -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It is so heartbreaking. Jeremy Diamond, with that report, thank you very much.

And as we leave you tonight, we are honoring the thousands of American and allied forces landed at Normandy on D-Day. Exactly 80 years ago for the veterans are returned to France for today's anniversary ceremonies, it was a chance to remember those who fought and died liberating Europe from fascism.

Here's 101-year-old Jake Larson speaking with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.


JAKE LARSON, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: People keep calling me hero. I change that word. I took the O off on a hero, I added TO (ph) there, and that people are saying, well, what's a herto (ph)? I says, I'm here to tell you that heroes are up there. They gave their life, they gave her life so that I could make it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Another emotional moment today. A D-Day veteran meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.


BLITZER: To all the D-Day veterans and to those who died on that date, fighting for freedom, thank you very, very much.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'll be back tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. Eastern for special coverage of President Biden speech from Normandy.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.