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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Sources: Jared Kushner & Hope Hicks Testify In Special Counsel's January 6 Investigation; Jill Stein Helping Cornel West's Third-Party Campaign; Biden Urges Republicans To Stand Up Against Tuberville's Military Holds. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 13, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: In fact, based on the WHO's guidelines, someone weighing a 184 pounds, could safely drink, up to 33 cans of diet soda, a day, and stay within the recommended limits, for aspartame.

The news continues. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE, Jack Smith, piercing Donald Trump's inner circle, his family.

Jared Kushner has now testified, before the grand jury, in the January 6th investigation, as well as Hope Hicks, the former White House Communications Director and Trump whisperer.

Plus, he's already shaking up the 2024 race, hoping to be a third- party nominee. But Democrats are growing worried, tonight, about Cornel West, and whether or not he could tip the election, in Donald Trump's favor. He's here to respond.

And drug bust? The Secret Service has given up, trying to find a suspect. And the cocaine case, at the White House, is now closed. But questions still remain.

I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.

Tonight, my sources have confirmed that Jared Kushner testified, last month, in the Special Counsel's January 6th probe, questioned before a federal grand jury that is investigating efforts, to overturn the 2020 election, by Donald Trump, and his allies.

Kushner, of course, is Trump's son-in-law, and was Trump's Senior Advisor, in the White House. According to one source, the grand jury is asking whether or not Trump had been told, he had lost the election.

Back in 2020, in December, after Trump had lost that election, I reported that Kushner was one of several people, who approached his father-in-law, about conceding the election.

Kushner had been in the Middle East, and just returned to the U.S., the day of that Capitol attack. He later told the January 6 congressional committee, he was at home, when he got an urgent call, from Kevin McCarthy.


JARED KUSHNER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: So I heard my phone ringing, turned the shower off, saw it was Leader McCarthy, who I had a good relationship with. He told me it was getting really ugly over at the Capitol, and said "Please, you know, anything you could do to help, I would appreciate it."

I don't recall specific ask just anything you could do. Again, I got the sense that you know, they were -- they were, you know, they were scared.


COLLINS: Also tonight, I have confirmed that Hope Hicks has also spoken, to that same grand jury. Obviously, she was incredibly close, to the ex-President, as his longtime aide and Communications Director.

I'm joined now, tonight, by former U.S. Attorney, Harry Litman; and former Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Manhattan D.A.'s Office, Karen Friedman Agnifilo.

Thank you both for being here.

Karen, when you find out that Jared Kushner went before the grand jury, not investigators, which is what some people, who have gone and spoken to Jack Smith's team have done, but he actually went before the grand jury, in June? What would you have wanted to ask him, about those efforts, to overturn the election?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER CHIEF ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF MANHATTAN D.A.'S OFFICE: I think more than anything, you want to lock him, into his testimony, under oath.

You want before it that he has a chance, to hear what other witnesses have to say, and before Donald Trump even mounts a defense, you want to lock him in. He was somebody very close to Donald Trump. And you want him to -- you want to know exactly what is he going to say? And what is he not going to say?

I think you're also going to want to know what are some of the things that Donald Trump said to him, and what did Donald Trump say, about losing the election, and January 6th. And there's several areas that Jack Smith can ask him about. But he was clearly a very close adviser.

And when Bill Barr, for example, wanted to put a stop to these fake electors -- these fraudulent, "The election's been stolen," all these wild goose chases? He went to Jared Kushner, and said, "Can you do something about this?" And Jared said, "Yes, we're trying."

COLLINS: I'm so glad you brought that up, because that was Bill Barr, testifying, to the January 6 committee. We actually have that moment.

This was on November 23rd, so, obviously, after Trump has lost the election. And this is what Barr told Jared Kushner -- or told the congressional committee, about the role that Kushner was playing.


BILL BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: And as I walked out of the Oval Office, Jared was there with Dan Scavino, who ran his -- who ran the President's social media, and who I thought was a reasonable guy, and believe is a reasonable guy.

And I said "How long is -- how long is he going to carry on with this stolen election stuff? Where is this going to go?"

And by that time, Meadows had caught up with me, and leaving the office, and caught up to me, and said that -- he said, "Look, I think that he's becoming more realistic and knows that there's a limit to how far he can take this."

And then, Jared said, you know, "Yes, we're working on this. We're working on it."



COLLINS: Harry, given that, I mean, clearly they are trying to ask, we don't know how broad, the scope obviously is, but they are clearly asking questions, about Trump's mindset here.


And one of the things supposedly Jared said is he actually believed that Trump believed he had -- that the election had been stolen.

Doesn't really matter, because we also have learned, in the last few days that there are some very good statements, including one by Mark Milley, and one by his Communications Director, that make it clear, he knows he's lost. And that's what -- sort of the Karen's point, that's what the prosecution will put on. And Jared, if he's a defense witness, they'll know what he's going to say.

But I just want to say that I think almost as important as what we've learned, that Kushner testified is what we've learned about when it happened. We keep getting these --


LITMAN: -- little stones they've carved off. But we forget, Smith has a mountain of evidence he's assembled. And with Kushner, we have Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Kushner, basically, everyone in the inner circle, including Hope Hicks, has now been to the grand jury. So, everything there is to know about his mindset, they now know.

COLLINS: And so, you're saying essentially that even if Jared Kushner did say, Trump genuinely believed he lost that that wouldn't really be much of a defense?

Because, there is this moment, you're referencing, when you say Comms Director? That's Alyssa Farah Griffin.

LITMAN: Right.

COLLINS: Also General Mark Milley, Cassie Hutchinson, all acknowledging that at some point, someone had acknowledged Trump had lost the election.

So, how does that work, if that is a defense that Trump's team would be considering?

FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: Even -- I mean, look, even if he thought -- he had thought that the election had been, that he'd won, and had been stolen, even if he really thought that were true? It doesn't give him an excuse, to submit false -- multiple false slates of electors, to pressure various Secretaries of State, to find votes, and put in these fake slates of electors.

Didn't give him the right to pressure Pence to -- he's obstructing an official governmental proceeding. And those things aren't a defense. It's not a defense that "Well I thought I won."

Also, the worst one of all is insurrection of violence. I mean, he does not have a right to do that. What he had a right to do was bring court cases. And he did. He brought, I think, 60 or 70 of them. He lost all of them, saying that the election --


FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: 64, there you go.


FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: Saying that the election had been stolen from him. That's what he has a right to do. He does have a right to question it.

But, at a certain point, you can't then foment violence, which is what he did and tried to overthrow, the Capitol, on that date, and to sit there, for 187 minutes, and stoke the fire, by tweeting things and not stopping things. I mean, he's still responsible.

I mean, you want to show that he knew. But at the same time, I think it's OK. It's not fatal to Jack Smith's case.

COLLINS: And that could be questions for Hope Hicks. I mean, she was, at the time, we were told, someone that day, reached out to her, because she's someone, who could talk to Trump, in a way that very few other people could.

So, oftentimes, in the Trump years, when people wanted to get a message to Trump, they'd go through Hope. And that day, someone had texted Hope Hicks, asking her to essentially get him to say something about being non-violent. And she said that she had been trying to do that January 4th, January 5th. And then afterwards, she said, "I'm so mad and upset. We all look like domestic terrorists now."

What kind of questions would you have for Hope Hicks? LITMAN: So, you're always starting with what exactly did Trump say to you, and did you say back? And you want evidence of mindset that goes the other way is always good, whether or not Kushner testifies against it.

And Hicks is an important player, because she's very loyal, until the 6th itself, when she really is tearing her hair out, and saying, "What is he doing?"

Can I make one more quick point about Kushner? Everything that Smith has been pursuing was sort of -- we saw in the January 6 committee with one important exception, the fundraising bit. That's his unique addition. And Kushner is all over that.

There's an important phone call that Kushner initiates, with Trump on it, and all the information about what kind of red-meat charges can we make? How can we use the Big Lie to raise money? That is Kushner, as -- and another person it is, Newt Gingrich, who also testified last month.


LITMAN: So, I think, Kushner's a presence there also shows Smith is pursuing that part.

COLLINS: Yes. And Newt has testified.

I think one thing we should point out, just for everyone who's watching, is just there is an enormous scope, of the January 6 investigation here.


COLLINS: We don't know that Trump is going to be charged. We have no idea. We know they're looking at the attorneys, who are around him, that day. They are asking questions, about his mindset. But we still don't really have a good idea, to the best of our efforts, even though we've tried what this could look like.

Karen, on the other investigation, the documents investigation, Jack Smith's team did respond, to this request, by Trump's team, basically to postpone, the trial, in the documents case, indefinitely. They ripped the reasons for that, and accused the defense, of giving a misleading picture, of the amount of evidence.


I mean, they still definitely want this trial to happen, in mid- December. Is that likely?

FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: That all depends on the judge. She has a lot of latitude, and discretion, as in terms of the timing of when a trial goes.

But yes, that filing, by Jack Smith's team, is just a point-by-point teardown, of the misleading points that were made by Trump's lawyers, about just the volume of the evidence, and how complicated this case is, so.

COLLINS: But they were essentially saying it's not as much as they're arguing it is. A lot of this is footnotes and headers and whatnot.


COLLINS: And so, the other aspect of this is, they were essentially saying Trump's team needs to -- they need to hurry up, to try to get their security clearances, because, I guess, they're worried about what the delays here are going to look like.

We know Chris Kise and Todd Blanche have now submitted the paperwork, to obtain their security clearances.

But what's your sense of what -- I mean, all of this is going to Judge Cannon, to make a decision, here, on when this is going to be.

LITMAN: That's right. It's a telling moment for her. They played, what I think is, a sort of ham-handed gambit, of saying, "No date at all." She's got one date and the United States went back on its date, this time.

Trump, for example, could have said "No, we need till March." But he didn't want to try to split the difference. It's really a maximum- delay strategy. And if she permits it, if she takes it off calendar, or says, "Well, maybe I won't decide for a long time," she is playing into his hands, and the heat on him will start -- on her will start.

COLLINS: And quickly, is there any deadline of when she -- when does she decide? When do we hear from her, there's no deadline?

LITMAN: We'll get a real indication, Tuesday, at the hearing.

COLLINS: Yes, right.

Harry Litman, Karen, thank you both for being here.

LITMAN: Thank you.

Thanks, Karen.

COLLINS: Coming up, he may be a longshot bid for the presidency, but he could have a huge impact, on the 2024 race. As a potential spoiler of this presidential cycle, we'll see what he says. Dr. Cornel West is up next.



COLLINS: New reporting from CNN, the slow pace of President Biden's reelection campaign has caused some concern, among some top Democrats, and party donors.

They were already a bit nervous, because of the potential threat, of a third-party candidate, taking votes from Biden, and potentially handing the election, they believe, to Donald Trump, and therefore, the keys, to the White House, for a second time.

Joining me, tonight, is one of those third-party candidates, Dr. Cornel West. He is running for the Green Party's 2024 nomination.

Good evening, Dr. West. And thank you for joining us here, on THE SOURCE.

I mean, what do you believe is your path to success?

CORNEL WEST, GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE: Well, first, I just want to congratulate you, on your show, this week. And it's a blessing to be on your show. You're straight out of Prattville, Alabama, the home of Wilson Pickett. So, we got two grand ones out of Prattville. But no, my --

COLLINS: Thank you.

WEST: I don't talk so much about success in the narrow sense. I'm just trying to bear witness, sister Kaitlan.

I'm trying to bear witness to the love, and courage and integrity that Irene and Clifton, and Shiloh Baptist Church, Black Panther Party put into me, when I was shaped to be able to tell the truth about poor and working people, because neither party wants to tell the truth about poor and working people.

You look at -- keep track of these strikes, the Hollywood workers, keep track of the strikes, of the Teamsters against UPS, keep track of the strikes in Amazon, and see what both Democrats and Republicans come down. Keep track of the cluster bombs, abroad, keep track of the plight of Palestinian. Both Democrats and Republicans on one side.

And then, there's a few of us, on the other, doing what? Keeping alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Dorothy Day, and a host of others. So, I'm just trying to speak the truth and pursue justice.

I wish they would spend as much time, focusing on the plight of poor and working people, as they do, focusing on the spoiler, I don't even like that categories. And so, many of the folks, who vote third party, don't vote at all. Just 61 percent, I think, with Sister Jill, said they would not vote at all, if they didn't vote for her.

So, I think the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party, is this corporate duopoly that they stand in the way of focusing on poor and working people, both here and abroad. And that's all I'm doing, in this campaign. I'm part of --

COLLINS: Well --

WEST: -- a moment in a movement, moment in a movement.

COLLINS: I'm glad you brought up Jill Stein, because you know, the counter argument here. Jill Stein is actually helping you with this run. And seven years ago, when she was the Green Party candidate, Hillary Clinton's world blamed her, in part, for that loss. And Democrats are worried you're going to play that role, this time around.

So what do you say to people, to Democrats, who are worried you'll tip the election for Donald Trump?

WEST: Well, I just say that is simply not true. I mean, I have great respect -- I have great respect for my dear brother, Ralph Nader. I have great respect for sister Jill Stein. I have great respect for my dear brother Ajamu Baraka.

Meaning what? Meaning that the Democratic Party is so un-Socratic, as well as undemocratic. I'm still upset because they didn't treat my dear brother Bernie right, twice. But they're un-Socratic.

Examine yourself. Examine why it is you did not speak to the issues of poor and working people, and therefore you lost? If you'd rather lose, than really change and examine yourself, then you're going to have third parties, popping up all over the place, because people are suffering out here.

And you got mass incarceration. You've got ghettos, in hoods, in barrios and reservations. You got 60 percent of our fellow citizens, barely making it every month. And what's the discourse? "We want to win the next election and we're concerned about the spoiler." Hey, I thought you're concerned about public life. I thought you're concerned about the quality of the life of citizens.

And I speak as a Christian, which is the least of these, the 25th chapter of Matthew, the orphans, the widow, the fatherless, the motherless, the marginalized, the subjugated. That's my legacy. That's the legacy that I attempt to enact, in my own fallible way, as a crag (ph) vessel.

COLLINS: Yes. So, you're saying essentially, you think that Democrats, well not just Democrats, but that they have the wrong message.

If you're looking at this, at the election, it comes down to the wire. You're polling, at say 2 percent or 3 percent, in key battleground states. What do you do? Do you ultimately back President Biden, like you did, in 2020? Or what would you do, in that scenario, do you think?


WEST: Well, I mean part of the challenge, my dear sister, is that you got Trump. He's certainly a gangster, Neo-fascist. He's, in many ways, promoting of -- not promoting. That's too strong a word. But one effect of his work is to move toward a second Civil War.

With Biden, he's better in some ways, on domestic issues, but he's leading us toward a Third World War.

So, if we choose between the second Civil War, and the Third World War, where are we? We're between a rock and a hard place. And that's what so many of us find ourselves, unable to really acknowledge the ways, in which our system itself is just so toxic. The organized greed, at the top, gets hemorrhaging the best, the indifference, the levels of hatred, and revenge.

All I'm doing and saying is, hey, let us try another way that Fannie Lou Hamer already taught us, which is one of love and justice and community and solidarity, with the least of these, and organizing and having strikes, against organized greedy bosses, and then trying to somehow keep our democracy alive, and dismantle the Empire.

See, I want to head the Empire in order to dismantle it. We don't need 800 military units, around the world. We don't need U.S. troops, in over 100 countries. We need to be a nation among nations. We don't need to be the Grand Empire that every nation has to bow down to. I'm anti-Empire, anti-imperialist, in that sense, very much like Mark Twain --

COLLINS: Well --

WEST: -- and the most adorable American philosopher, William James.

COLLINS: I'm glad you brought up NATO, because you tweeted, earlier this week that you believe NATO is what provoked Russia, into invading Ukraine. As you know, that is the argument President Putin makes, and one that the U.S. forcefully rejects.

I know that you don't think that U.S. should be involved. But if you got elected, what would you accept, in terms of a ceasefire, in Ukraine?

WEST: Well, one, I've got my massive critiques, of Putin, though, there's no doubt about it. But we're not talking about personalities, here.

We're talking about how United States promised Gorbachev, towering statesmen that they would not move one inch toward Russia. And we end up, right now, 800 miles, on the border of Russia.

And we know how empires behave, sister Kaitlan. If Russia had missiles, in Mexico, and Canada? United States government would probably blow them to smithereens because that's how empires behave.

We had the same challenge in Cuba, in 1962. So what we end up? We end with a criminal invasion. And I know some of my left-wing comrades would, "Oh, it's an invasion," criminal invasion, but a criminal invasion, provoked by the expansion of NATO, which is an instrument of U.S. global power.

And we have to be able to conceive of a world, where when we look at China, when we look at Russia, when we look at Ethiopia, when we look at Haiti, when we look at Brazil, we got to see precious human beings, rather than these competitive nation states that are trying to devour more profits, more land, and more territory.

Can we conceive of such a world? Can we pursue such a world? I think we have to. What's at stake? The destruction of the species, the destruction of the planet, the destruction of democracies, as we know it. So, we're cutting against the grain.

COLLINS: But practically --

WEST: But always with a smile.

COLLINS: Practically speaking, what would you -- what would you accept in Ukraine? Like what? I mean, Trump claims he could fix it in 24 hours.

WEST: Oh, well you could --

COLLINS: What would that look like for you?

WEST: Oh, what I would do? I would bring in the Chinese, the Turks, the African rulers. I would sit down with the Ukrainian leaders, and say, "We must stop this war. Stop these war crimes, the cluster bombs," on variety of different parties, and make sure that we begin a diplomatic process, for a just peace.

And that just peace is going to have some serious concessions, across the board. Russian troops have to leave. There's going to be debates over the territory. There're going to be some kind of concessions over the territory.

But stop the killing. Why? Because the Ukrainian brothers and sisters are precious. And they are bearing so much of the suffering, with this proxy war, between the American Empire and the Russian Federation.

So, there's responsibility, and blame, across the board. But the American Empire does bear a significant responsibility, here, even though it is not the sole exclusive responsibility.

And it's in no way a pro-Putin. People say, "Oh, you must be siding with Putin." No, please. No, not at all. I'm trying to be morally consistent. I want to be a person that has some integrity, and honesty, and critique, self-critique, and critique of others, in the spirit of fallibility.

COLLINS: OK. But you said serious concessions across the board. We'll have more questions on that next time we have you on.

Dr. Cornel West, thank you, for joining us, here tonight.


WEST: Thank you. Thank you so much, my dear sister. Stay strong.

COLLINS: Speaking of a potential third-, maybe fourth-party candidate, former Maryland governor, Larry Hogan, has said he is not considering a third-party run, but?


LARRY HOGAN, (R) FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: The people in America do not want Joe Biden or Donald Trump to be president. And if they're going to be the nominees, which it appears that they are, you know, you have Choice A that no one wants, and Choice B that no one wants? There may have to be a -- DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You don't want to be Choice C?

HOGAN: I may have to be Choice C.


COLLINS: I'm joined now by former Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, who I should note is also the National Co-Chair for No Labels, an organization considering supporting a third-party presidential candidate.

Good evening, governor. And thank you for being here.

When I was watching that moment, with Dana Bash? I paused and rewound it on my TV.


COLLINS: I mean, are you going to be Choice C?

HOGAN: Well, I had to rewind it too. I mean, that was pretty -- that was pretty good the way she -- Dana slipped that in.

But, first of all, it's great to be on your show. Thank you for having me, in your inaugural week. It's wonderful to be on the show with you.

Look, my focus is on, and has been, for quite some time, trying to steer the Republican Party, back on track. And I'm doing my best, to make sure that we can move away, from Donald Trump, which is a tall order. But that's where I'm focused. I'm hoping we can find somebody rise up, and that we can get a Republican nominee that I can strongly get behind, and that can win the election in November.

Unfortunately, right now, our, I believe, our weakest candidate has about 50 percent of the vote, and we've got 11 other candidates that are struggling, to get attention, and to get out of single-digits.

COLLINS: Yes, they are. I mean, Trump is by far ahead in that party.

But so given that, given how well he's doing, have conversations about a third-party bid become more serious?

HOGAN: Well, I think they are getting more serious. And the Democrats seem to be taking it very seriously. I mean, look, they're in a full- blown panic. They're having secret closed-door meetings, with the former White House Chief of Staff. And lots of leader, from the Democratic Party, they're really concerned about this.

And it's not a concern about, somebody nibbling around the edges, or picking up 2 percent, or 3 percent. They're concerned about a real threat, because 70 percent of the people in America do not want Biden or Trump. About 58 percent of the Democrats don't want Biden to be the nominee. And yet, that's what we're going to be faced with.

And so, I don't think that you should take the thing lightly. It's a long way off, where we have a -- we don't know who the nominees are going to be. I'm hopeful that we're not going to have a Trump-Biden showdown. And I'm going to hopefully, be able to get -- support a Republican. I'm a lifelong conservative Republican.

But No Labels is about kind of bringing people together and solving problems. And that's why I've been involved in it. That's -- we helped get the infrastructure bill done. It's what I've been focusing my career on, for the past eight years, getting things done, by focusing on commonsense, bipartisan solutions. That's what I did in the bluest state in America.

COLLINS: And you've said -- you are a lifelong Republican. But you firmly disagree with Trump. You've said he disqualified himself, from being president, in your view, and should never be near the White House, again.

But when you talk about those concerns, there are concerns or that a third-party candidate would tip the election, in his direction. Do you think those are unfounded concerns?

HOGAN: Well, I think you're -- with all due respect, to your previous guest, who -- and I'm glad you had Cornel West on. And I'm glad people are focusing on that because so far they've been just attacking No Labels. And Cornel West has drawn a few points that could tip the election, and, frankly, could be a spoiler.

But I think No Labels has no interest in being a spoiler. They're not going to start a third party. They're not going to run a race, unless they believe they can win.

And so 59 percent of the people in America say they would consider a third choice. Currently, almost 49 percent are registered Independent. And, 25 percent are Democrats, 25 percent are Republicans.

I think there's a poll that just came out, this week that showed in a head-to-head matchup, with a generic No Labels candidate that they would get 21 percent, starting out, which is more than Ross Perot got, after he finished his campaign.

COLLINS: When do you make that call? What's the base for that? What's the baseline for that? When do you make a call of whether or not there is going to be a third-party candidate, here?

HOGAN: Well, it's not really my call to make. I'm an Honorary Co-Chair with Joe Lieberman. And I believe in the principles of the organization.

But I think their thought is, if you get past Super Tuesday, and they know that the nominees are Trump and Biden, and that 70 percent or more, don't like those choices? That they're going to have a nominating convention, I think, at the end of April, and try to pick a potential unity ticket, where a Republican and Democrat could run together, and try to unite the country that somebody would have the courage, to put the country first, and put it above party.

COLLINS: And if it gets to that point, if it's Donald Trump, Joe Biden, a third-party nominee, are you voting for that third-party nominee?


HOGAN: I think it depends on who the third-party nominee is. I mean there's, as you pointed out, there's an awful lot of people that are trying to talk to me about being that third-party nominee.

COLLINS: Are you willing to do it?

HOGAN: I think it's far too early. I think it's premature. We don't, you know, I'm focused on the Republican primary.

COLLINS: But are you considering it?


COLLINS: It sounds like you're considering it?

HOGAN: I'm not considering it. But I haven't ruled it out. Because, if that's what it takes to save the country, and we're in that point where, these two are not going to have the support of the American people? We're going to have to put together a strong ticket.

COLLINS: We've been looking into No Labels. Obviously, people have a lot of questions about it. It's a non-profit. It doesn't disclose its donors. But do you think voters have a right to know who's funding No Labels?

HOGAN: Look, I think, there are all kinds of organizations, supporting both, in the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party, and supporting Joe Biden, and Donald Trump, and the other candidates that are just like that.

This just happens to be a much smaller one, and one that's just a non- partisan citizens group.

So, I mean, I think it's a lot of hysteria and attacks from, really, Washington insiders, who are panicked. And I think they ought to spend more time, focusing on either how do we make Joe Biden, a more acceptable candidate, or, maybe they need a stronger nominee, instead of just petty attacks, on this organization that's been around for 12 years, just trying to bring people together.

I mean, I was very involved in the group, in the Problem Solvers, and helped get the infrastructure bill, across the finish line. I mean, they've accomplished a heck of a lot.

But I mean, all these attacks, about where the money is coming from?

COLLINS: But what about the funding?

HOGAN: There's a lot of support from both Democrats and Republican.

Well, it's a non-profit (c)(4), just like hundreds of others that are involved, in multiple other campaigns. There's no difference. It's not something sorted or unique. If there was a real campaign going on? COLLINS: But do you think voters have that confidence?

HOGAN: Then they would have to -- I think if there were a real campaign, they would have, a federal campaign committee, just like people that are actually candidates.

COLLINS: Larry Hogan, we will be waiting to see if you are indeed Choice C. Please let us know. Thank you.

HOGAN: Thanks.

COLLINS: All right, you heard it here, on THE SOURCE, the Senator, from Alabama, who was single-handedly blocking the transfer, the nominations, in the military. He has told us that he has been waiting for a phone call, to talk through his concerns. Well, Tommy Tuberville got it, today. So, why didn't he initially take it?

We'll take you, inside our reporting, ahead.



COLLINS: The careers of 265 men and women, in the United States military, are hinging on an epic game of phone tag, in Washington, D.C. This back-and-forth spanning oceans, today, is Alabama Senator, Tommy Tuberville, who is blocking confirmations, because he doesn't like the Pentagon's policy, on abortion.

Today, he and Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, did finally speak, over the phone. That was only after I reported that the Senator's office initially told Secretary Austin's office that he could not talk -- did not have time to take the call, today, or over the weekend.

Of course, remember, Tuberville was on the program, Monday night, and this is what he said about a lack of contact.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): If I hadn't been the President, I'd already called me to the White House.

But Kaitlan, there's got to be conversation. Nobody has even talked to me in five months.


COLLINS: Well, that time span has changed, now. He got that conversation. His office described it as quote, "Productive and cordial." Yet his hold on military nominations remains.


LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is a national security issue. It's a readiness issue. And we shouldn't kid ourselves. And I think any member of the Senate Armed Services Committee knows that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Joining me now, Bakari Sellers and David Urban.

David, I mean, you were an Artillery Officer, in the Army. You went to West Point. What do you make of all of this?


COLLINS: And what's at the heart of this?

URBAN: Yes, so listen, I was a Senate Chief of Staff too, as well, right? I worked for a Senator, who had lots of problems, at times.

And listen, I think Senator Tuberville has a legitimate concern, which he should have a debate, articulate. He's representing his constituents.

But he shouldn't hold hostage these 265 men and women, whose lives kind of are in limbo, right now, because of this. They're not political appointees. They're serving in our Armed Forces. And they're not being able to move. They can't move, from one station to another. It really does affect readiness. And I just don't think, it's fair to do them, or the United States military.

COLLINS: Yes. And he claims it doesn't affect readiness.

Bakari, I mean, President Biden was getting asked about this, in Helsinki, today. He was having a press conference, talking about NATO. And he was asked a colleague -- by my -- or a question, by my colleague, Arlette Saenz, about Tuberville's position.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'd be willing to talk to him if I thought there was any possibility of him changing this ridiculous position he has.

He's jeopardizing U.S. security.

I expect the Republican Party to stand up -- stand up and do something about it.



I honestly don't believe that Senator Tuberville is the brightest bulb out there. I don't think that he represents, or has the intellect, necessarily, to serve with that type of grandiose behavior, we expect, from most United States senators.

And this is a perfect example of the fact that Republicans speak out of both sides of their mouths. I mean, you can't say that you want a strong military. We have this anti-woke movement within our military. You have individuals, who say national security, America first.

But yet, you have Senator Tuberville, who is literally putting our national security at risk. He's harming our men and women, who serve this country. And the fact is, he's doing it because of an issue that he cares deeply about, he should raise it on the floor. But he should not harm our national security over what he believes to be his pet issue.

SELLERS: I mean, it's just this elections have consequences. The Pentagon gets to make this --

SELLERS: That I'm sure.

COLLINS: -- this decision here, right?

URBAN: Yes. And listen, Senator Tuberville can hold up political appointees. If there are certain Undersecretaries, or Assistant Secretaries, in the Department of Defense, put a hold on them.

Get your time in front of the President. Get your time in front of the Secretary of Defense. Make these arguments, have it out with them, and say, "Listen, this is a give and take. I'm not going to do this, if you don't do that," and cut a deal.

But don't screw with these people's lives, who are really, they're public servants. They're in the best kind of way, the best and the brightest America has to offer. And they need to get promoted. They need to get to their duty stations, right now.

COLLINS: I mean, it's putting Republicans in a weird spot.

SELLERS: But it's not though.

COLLINS: Even Lindsey Graham.

SELLERS: It's -- but it's --

COLLINS: You don't think so?


SELLERS: No, because they're showing their cowardice. How many Republicans have spoken out? That's my point.

How many Republicans with a platform? How many Republicans running for President of the United States? Nikki Haley, former U.N. Ambassador, Mike Pence, former Vice President of the United States, individuals with the platform, United States Senator Tim Scott.

These individuals have not spoken out and called Tommy Tuberville out for what he is, an anti-intellectual, who's putting his own selfish --

URBAN: Ha-ha.

SELLERS: I just keep saying that about him. I have to. And I'm not a big Auburn fan either. So please forgive me.

Who puts his own self-interest --

COLLINS: And what if you were (ph) to say Roll Tide? Well, OK, but speaking of that?

SELLERS: I'm not going to do that for him.

COLLINS: Speaking of that, Lindsey Graham did say something, today, I know, Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina. This is what he said.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think what the Pentagon doing is illegal and wrong at so many levels. I will be asking for a vote, to change the policy. And I hope we have that vote. But the point about holding up promotions, we need to end that. We need a vote.


COLLINS: Is that speaking up enough for you?

SELLERS: Listen, Lindsey Graham has always been somebody, when it comes to national security, has been on the forefront. People disagree on whether or not he's too hawkish or whatever it may be. But he's always put the men and women of the United States military at the forefront.

Tommy Tuberville does not put the men and women, of this United States military, at the forefront. And he's showing that today.

URBAN: I mean, Kaitlan, on Monday, when you were interviewing him, he even acknowledged, said "These people have nothing to do with this. But yet, I'm kind of holding them up still," right? It's really not fair to do to them, and their families. So, I'd encourage you, Senator Tuberville, let them go.

SELLERS: Every person, running for President of the United States, if you want to be Commander-in-Chief, should have to answer for Tommy Tuberville. And not one of them have been asked. And not one of them have answered.

COLLINS: We'll see if they get asked.

Bakari Sellers, David Urban, thank you both.

Coming up, the White House cocaine culprit remains at large, tonight, and apparently will, forever. Why? The Secret Service has closed the case. And the mystery goes on. We'll tell you what they did find, next.



COLLINS: The White House's cocaine case was closed, today, by the Secret Service, without a suspect. We have now learned, tonight, that the FBI lab results showed what they said was insufficient DNA, and no fingerprints.

A source telling CNN that the leading theory here is that the cocaine was left by one of the hundreds of visitors, who come into the White House, for a tour, and they leave their phones, inside a cubby, for walking around, and having that tour.

Joining me now, Evy Poumpouras, a former Secret Service agent.

Evy, thank you so much for being here.

Because, I think, when people saw this today, everyone's first question was "Really? You couldn't find who did it?"

EVY POUMPOURAS, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Yes, I know. Everybody really can't get over this hurdle.

So, at the end of the day, the security there, they're looking for weapons. They're looking for chemical biological agents, and they're looking for radioactivity, right, anything radioactive. That's really the crux of it. They're not there to sweep for drugs. So, the idea that drugs could get through? Yes, I completely get it.

And in the past, and the Secret Service came out today, they said that had two instances, where they did find marijuana. Now, in those two instances, that was actually found, at the outer checkpoint, where people coming through. And when the Uniform Division team was actually going through bags, they found it, and they confiscated it.

COLLINS: And then they just let the person go in? Or how does -- how do you handle something like that?

POUMPOURAS: So, in a situation, like that, they actually couldn't press charges, because the amount was so small, and there's been a --


POUMPOURAS: -- decriminalization of that.

COLLINS: I mean, well, I guess, the question that people have here is does it change Secret Service protocols? It sounds like maybe not. But does it change White House tours? I mean, if there are hundreds of people coming in? Because what they had said was, they narrowed it down to a list of suspects to 500 people.


COLLINS: 600 people?

POUMPOURAS: 600, actually, according to my source.

COLLINS: OK. So, 600, we'll trust your sources on this, given you used to be a Secret Service agent. I mean, 500 people, do they change tour protocol? What does that look like?

POUMPOURAS: I think they should change to a protocol.

Here's the problem, the door, that door that we were talking about, on West Exec, you have staff coming through, and then you also have these tours coming through.

I'm of the mindset, and I did the access control for the area with the tours, I never thought the tours were a good idea. You are bringing in people that friends and family. It's the White House. It's the West Wing. I feel that an area like that should not be open to such a degree, OK?

So, and then what I think they'll do is they'll probably won't get rid of the tours, although I'm kind of, again, from a security perspective, it just brings in so many unknowns, so many variables. But I think what they may do is separate the entrances.

So, you have one entrance that is strictly dedicated, to staff, and another entrance, to tour guests. The problem is, it's all mishmash together, you have 600 people coming through, and how do you figure out who it has?

COLLINS: I mean, I guess the person who's happy about this is whoever is --

POUMPOURAS: The person who got away with it.

COLLINS: Whoever left it.

POUMPOURAS: The person who knows, yes.

COLLINS: I mean, you're not surprised, though?

POUMPOURAS: I'm not surprised. Because when we did the White House tours, and I was especially on the East Wing side, we would have people, who would put in for tours. And what you do, when you have to give in your information, because we do a criminal check on people. And there were times, Kaitlan, that people get -- would hit. There would be warrants, out for their arrest.

And so, we would know John Doe is coming in for a tour. He's got a warrant for arrest. I would call whatever area was looking for him, and say, "Do you want this person to come in for a White House tour?" And they say "Yes, please." So, we would actually enact arrest.


POUMPOURAS: So, I am not surprised.

COLLINS: Evy Poumpouras, thank you. Let us know if you find anything else out from your sources.

Also ahead, Hollywood is on its heels, tonight, as actors are joining writers, in a historic strike. This has not happened, in more than half a century. What is at stake? We'll talk about that next.


COLLINS: Tonight, Hollywood's first industry-wide shutdown, in more than 60 years, is now happening.

The Union, representing 160,000 actors, is going on strike. Screenwriters have already been on strike, since May, of course. The fight though, is with studios and streaming services, mainly over money, the use of artificial intelligence. And it is now grinding Hollywood to a halt.

Joining us now, Senior Media Reporter, at Axios, Sara Fischer.

Sara, I think, we've been watching this, with the writers' strike. Now, that it's this in tandem. I mean, I think, regular people want to know how this affects them, their TV shows, what this is going to look like, in a few months.

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST, SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER, AXIOS: It's going to have a huge impact. So, with the writers' strike, most of the Fall TV lineup got strapped -- struck.

Now, with the actors' strike happening, a lot of your movies are going to be impacted. And that's especially because, Kaitlan, they can't promote them. So, when you're a movie studio, and you want to put a big film out, if you can't have your actors out there, going to Red Carpet premieres, putting things on social media, you're not going to get butts and seats in the theaters.

So, I think one of the major things that's going to happen, because of this strike, is that you can expect to potentially see some movies be pushed, further out of the schedule, or movie studios are going to have to get a little bit more creative, perhaps spending even more, on advertising, to promote them, to consumers.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, speaking of the strikes, we saw the cast of Christopher Nolan's movie, "Oppenheimer," today in the U.K.

Bob Iger did an interview, today. We don't always hear from him in lengthy interviews, the Disney CEO. And he said this about these strikes. "There's a level of expectation that they have that is just not realistic and they are adding to a set of challenges that this business is already facing that is quite frankly, very disruptive."

FISCHER: So, what he's saying there is, look, this industry is being plagued by a lot of issues, and you're trying to come in here and take more from us than we're able to give.

Now, to an extent, he's right. The streaming era is hitting a little bit of a snag, right now. We're not seeing signups to subscription services as much. The box office is struggling.

But what the actors would argue is "Look at the paychecks, from the CEOs, of these companies. They're really high." So, I think that they're going to be at a standstill for a long time. We know that the writers have been on strike, now, for over two months. We'll see how long this lasts for the actors. But it could be a long time, Kaitlan.


COLLINS: Yes. Hasn't happened since 1960, I believe.

FISCHER: That we've had both of these, yes.

COLLINS: Sara Fischer, thank you.

Ahead, how it started versus how it's going, the Biden-Trump edition of the Russian twist.


COLLINS: If you were watching President Biden, in Helsinki, Finland today? Perhaps, you did not realize, in this very Presidential Palace, where he was standing, five years ago, on that same stage, a very different scene played out.

It was in 2018, as President Trump stood next to Russian President Putin, and sided with him, even though U.S. Intelligence agencies had already told him that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election.

It was essentially a universe away, from today's, playing it normal.



BIDEN: There is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine.

Putin has already lost the war.

DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: People came to me, Dan Coates, came to me, and some others. They said they think it's Russia.

I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.


COLLINS: One stage, two very different moments.

Thank you so much, for joining us, tonight.

"CNN PRIMETIME" with Laura Coates, starts, right now.