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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Judge Sets Trump Classified Docs Trial For May 2024; JFK's Grandson Blasts Cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Legendary Crooner Tony Bennett Dies At 96. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 21, 2023 - 21:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hope you have a nice weekend.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST, THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE, it's a date. Trump set for trial, in the classified documents case. But could he have the nomination locked up, before a jury has even been seated?

Meanwhile, Vice President Harris going scorched earth, in Florida, today, not mentioning Governor Ron DeSantis by name, but accusing him of, quote, "Gaslighting," after his State revised its school lesson plans, arguing that some Black people benefited from slavery.

And there are legends, and then there is Tony Bennett, a crooner for the ages, who said he never worked a day in his life, because he loved performing, so much. And the world loved him right back.

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

May 20th, 2024. It is somewhere between what the Special Counsel pushed for, in the classified documents case, and what Trump's legal team wanted. And now, Judge Aileen Cannon is splitting the difference.

Donald Trump could be going to trial, while he is on the campaign trail, multiple times, actually.

In January, the day of the Iowa caucuses, his civil defamation case begins. His hush monies trial, here in New York, starts 10 days after Super Tuesday. Well, we could have a pretty good idea, by then, if he's going to be the Republican nominee.

And if his classified documents trial starts in mid-May, as it is scheduled, today, by Judge Cannon, there's a possibility that Trump could have effectively clinched the nomination, by then. That was the month he did so, in 2016.

And of course, we are still waiting to see if he'll be indicted in the January 6th case, after he got a target letter, last Sunday. Here's what his new attorney, in that case, said today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN LAURO, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY, FOUNDER OF THE LAURO FIRM: There's no need to appear, in front of any grand jury, right now. President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. He's done nothing criminal.

When he saw all these elections discrepancies, and irregularities going on, he did what any president was required to do.


COLLINS: John Lauro also says the first thing, that he'll ask for are cameras in the courtroom.

But the odds of that happening, we are told, are pretty much close to zero. There, don't allow cameras, in federal courtrooms, something I should note, given the Trump team fought to have -- fought against having cameras, in the courtroom, when he was arraigned here, in New York, in that hush money case.

Joining me here, tonight, is Republican congressman, Ken Buck of Colorado, here, on set.

Thank you, for being here, in New York, with us, Congressman.

You have said previously that you couldn't vote for Trump, if he was a convicted felon. But now, the idea that this case, this documents case, is going to be pushed back, or at least, right now, it's scheduled to start in mid-May? That's after your state's primary. What do you do?

REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Well, I don't publicly take any position, on who, I'm going to vote for anyway. But I will not endorse probably until after the Colorado primary.

COLLINS: But could you support Trump with the idea of not knowing whether or not he is going to be a convicted felon that you said you wouldn't support?

BUCK: Yes, as I said, I'm not going to support anybody for a period of time.

COLLINS: Do you believe it's in the best interest, for voters, if they go to cast their ballots and Trump hasn't gone to trial yet?

BUCK: No. I don't think it's in the best interest of voters. I think there should be some knowledge. I think the facts that come out of trial are going to be relevant, to their decision, I think the idea that he may be convicted. Although I think a lot of this generates a lot of sympathy, at this point, among Republican primary voters.

COLLINS: We've seen how his poll numbers have gone up.

His team was arguing to push this past the November 2024 election. Do you think more than a year is enough time, to be able to bring that to trial, and to have that case, given you're a former federal prosecutor?

BUCK: Yes, I think this is a reasonable trial date. I also suspect we haven't heard the last about continuances. If one of his attorneys decides to withdraw, then you've got to have a security clearance, for another attorney. You've got to have another attorney get up to speed. So, there's a lot of different ways that a possible continuance could play out.


He also just got this target letter in January 6th. He hasn't been indicted, yet. We're waiting to see if he ultimately will be. But if he is, do you think those would be the most serious charges that he's facing?

BUCK: I think all the charges are serious, depending on how serious a jury takes them. But I do think that the documents case is probably a very serious case, against him. I just don't know enough, about the January 6th charges, at this point.


COLLINS: You were there that day. You voted to certify President Biden's election, I should note, when some of your Republican colleagues did not. I mean, do you believe that there's accountability, for Trump, if he is charged, in this case?

BUCK: Well not only was I there. I was sitting on the floor, as glass was breaking, and having no idea, really whether there were 10 people outside, or 1,000 people outside.

I think that the evidence has to be very clear that President Trump was behind what those rioters did. Not just that he could have stopped it, at some point, but that he actually had the motivation, and had some kind of conversations with them, which I don't think we know about just yet.

COLLINS: And what about obstructing an official proceeding? We know that's an avenue that Jack Smith has been pursuing. Trump's mindset, about knowing that he lost that election, and still pushing ahead, with the crazy avenues that he did try?

BUCK: Well, first, I don't -- I'm not sure that his mindset was that he lost the election. And secondly -- there's certainly a lot of people, around him that told him he lost the election. But secondly, did he actually cause those rioters, to come up from the mall, and storm the Capitol? That's the issue, I think, they have to prove at the trial.

COLLINS: Given you were there that day, what do you think when you hear how, not only how Trump describes January 6th, but whitewashing it, saying it was a love fest, saying that they were peaceful patriots, there. Ron DeSantis, today, saying it wasn't an insurrection?

BUCK: Yes, I don't believe it was an insurrection either. I guarantee you that 90 percent of those people own guns, in their home. And not one of them brought a gun to the Capitol.

It was a riot. It was disruptive. It stopped the proceedings, for a matter of hours. Calling it an insurrection, to me, is really rhetoric that rises above the actual facts.

COLLINS: Well, we know that there were weapons, some of them that were stashed in Virginia, I believe, with Proud Boys and whatnot.

But from what you've seen, do you believe that Trump is being treated fairly, by the Special Counsel?

BUCK: That's the real question, I think, that Republican primary voters are going to have to decide.

We're talking about, and I hear this, from my constituents, in Colorado, we're talking about potentially four different indictments, in four different states. And John Gotti didn't have four indictments. Al Capone didn't have four indictments.

And Donald Trump is not a crime family leader. He was President of the United States. So, I think that there's really going to be a pushback, among voters, as to the level that of scrutiny that Donald Trump is under.

COLLINS: Well, I know you disagree with the New York case, for example, the Manhattan case. You don't think that one's.

But the other aspects of this, I mean, the documents case, you have told me before, you believe that was self-inflicted. I mean, how much legal baggage is too much legal baggage, do you think, for Republican primary voters?

BUCK: Well, I think the key is the Department of Justice. And I was at both at the Department of Justice, and at the U.S. Attorney's office, during my time, as a federal prosecutor. I think the Department of Justice has to figure out which is their best case, and bring it.

And if you have, seven different states, where President Trump was challenging the electoral count, you can't have seven different district attorneys, or more, from each state, bringing charges. I think that looks excessive.

COLLINS: Last question. On Capitol Hill, we saw this effort, this week, this idea of Kevin McCarthy having to deny that he promised Trump, he would bring a vote, to the House floor, to expunge Trump's two impeachments, which I'm not even sure if it's, you can actually do that. Do you think that's a wise move?

BUCK: Well, it's probably wise, for the Republican base. It's not wise, in terms of constitutional history. It's not wise, in terms of precedent that it sets. The Senate expunged, when they voted not to impeach.

COLLINS: But it's still --

BUCK: And that's really -- COLLINS: -- it's still the record. I mean, would it even pass in a Republican-controlled House?

BUCK: But what record? You don't go to a courthouse to look up a record. In this case, it's just a public record. He was impeached by the House. He was acquitted by the Senate.

COLLINS: Yes. So do you think that Kevin McCarthy should not pursue that?

BUCK: Oh, I don't care. I mean, I will vote for it, because it's --

COLLINS: You would vote to expunge it?

BUCK: Oh, sure.


BUCK: Because it has no -- it makes no difference. And there's a whole lot of Republican voters, who are sitting out there, saying to themselves, "Why should President Trump have been -- why should he have this on his record?" The record is going to exist one way or the other.

COLLINS: But why would you vote to expunge it, if you're saying you don't even know if it's constitutional to do that?

BUCK: Well, it's not unconstitutional. What I'm saying is there's no place -- nowhere in the Constitution, where it talks about expungement. So, it is just a matter of, it's almost like a sense of Congress. We're having a vote on a sense of Congress that he should not have been impeached. I voted against both impeachments.

COLLINS: Congressman, thanks so much, for joining us, tonight.

BUCK: Thank you.

COLLINS: And, for more on this, I want to also bring in our two legal analysts, to dig into that new trial date.

We have CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Elie Honig; and defense attorney, and former federal prosecutor, Shan Wu.

Elie, I'll start with you. I mean, we don't often see trial dates get moved up. They usually just get pushed more.


COLLINS: Do you think it's going to stick with that mid-May 2024 date?

HONIG: No. I think -- I do not think it will stick in May. I think it will be pushed back. But the big question is will it be pushed back all the way past the election?


But here's why I don't think the May 2024 date will hold. If you look at the judge's order, there are 33 intermediate deadlines, between now and May. Anytime any one of them gets moved, it's a chain reaction, and all the others get moved back.

And I'll give you one specific example. And Shan is a defense lawyer. I think you'll be with me on this.

The judge gives the parties, five weeks, to bring their motions, and then have them decided. There are going to be many complicated motions here. He's going to challenge the search warrant. That's a big motion. He's going to challenge the use of attorney-client communications.


HONIG: That's a big motion. No way do they get these issues briefed, and decided, in five weeks.

So, I do think we'll see some slippage. I don't know if it'll push it, all the way past the election.

COLLINS: OK. So, we'll wait to see.

Shan, this is the first big decision that we saw, from Judge Cannon. Obviously, everyone has noted, she's a Trump appointee, from 2020. I mean, how did you read that she didn't give Jack Smith's team, what they wanted. But she also didn't give Trump's legal team what they wanted.

SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It was just kind of a no-brainer decision for her. I mean, very easy for her to play the role of "I'm splitting the two sides in the middle, no one's happy," makes her look reasonable.

But I agree with Elie, there's so much room for slippage. I mean, I could get this case delayed, in my sleep. I mean, it's just really easy, with all these different deadlines. And there's some real substance, in terms of what they're questioning, in terms of litigation, for pretrial motions. There's no way that date's going to hold.

COLLINS: OK. And so, I've been talking to Trump's people, all day. They viewed this as a huge victory for them. Is it a huge victory, given that Shan could get it delayed, in his sleep? We'll see if Todd Blanche can?

HONIG: I mean, I don't know if they're as good as Shan.

WU: It's still, they could be.

HONIG: And Todd Blanche is a good lawyer too, I should say.

WU: Yes.

HONIG: I used to work with him, very good. Maybe as good as you.

It's a win for Trump's team. It's not a complete win. It's like if in football, if you had the ball, the 50-yard line, and completed a 40- yard pass. You haven't scored yet. But you're right on the brink.

Because, all they have to do now is get really one substantial adjournment, because there is no realistic way, this case is going to be tried, in October 2024, September 2024, August 2024. That is just too close to the election. If they get this push 60 more days, you're into that danger zone. And it's got to flip to after the election.

COLLINS: I mean, we're talking about the documents case.

WU: Yes.

COLLINS: I should note, in the January 6th case, Trump has brought on a new attorney, John Lauro, that is supposed to be representing him, I'm told, in that case. He's going to be the lead attorney.

He was on television, today. And he said the reason Trump didn't take Jack Smith, up on his offer, to go before the grand jury, is because he did nothing wrong, and nothing criminal, essentially saying that there was nothing wrong with Trump asking for an audit, of the election.

But, I mean, obviously, it went much further than that. Does that -- is that an argument he could use in court?

WU: It's an argument he can use, in court, more in his closing argument. He'll have to actually find some evidence to support it. Otherwise, it seems to be a bunch of hot wind that he's blowing there, in court.

I think his point about the grand jury, there's some political spin, going on, there, trying to say he wasn't forced to go, because he didn't do anything wrong. Very few good defense lawyers are going to put their client, in front of the grand jury, because it's just an opportunity for disaster. So it's no surprise at all, they didn't go before the grand jury.

What we don't know, because we haven't seen the actual target letter, is whether they also gave them the opportunity, to present your best arguments, any arguments you want to make, on writing to us, verbally, other documents, perspectives you want us to consider? We don't know if that happened.

COLLINS: Yes, we haven't seen that target letter.

WU: Right.

COLLINS: We haven't even actually seen what the charges are that they listed in that target letter.

Last thing, John Lauro said the first thing he's going to do, is ask for cameras to be in the courtroom. I mean, they clearly think that Trump is getting indicted that there is going to be a case here.


COLLINS: Is there any chance of that happening?

HONIG: There is no chance at all, because the federal courts are so stuck in the race. If I can get on my soapbox, for a second, the federal courts need to get over themselves. I practiced there for many years. They had this notion that it would be somehow undignified, to bring in cameras.

Look, we live -- it's 2023. If we don't have cameras, in that courtroom, the way we're going to be covering that trial, is we're going to have reporters, running in and out, trying to relay what happened. We're going to get a written transcript, after each trial date. And we're going to be looking at sketch drawings, done by courtroom artists. There's no call for that in 2023. We need to see this.

COLLINS: So, you agree with Trump's attorneys, there should be cameras?

HONIG: I agree with Trump's attorneys on that.

WU: I agree with that.

HONIG: And I agree they're not going to win.

WU: I do too. Supreme Court, too. Put cameras in the Supreme Court.


COLLINS: Elie, Shan, Congressman, thank you all for being here.

Of course we got more for you, Elie. He'll be back with us, later on.

Up next, Vice President Kamala Harris went to Ron DeSantis' home turf, today, and delivered a scathing response, of his State's new Black history curriculum. She says it's replacing history with lies.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is unnecessary to debate whether enslaved people benefited from slavery. Are you kidding me?


COLLINS: And JFK's grandson taking on, his cousin, RFK Jr., for the conspiracy theories that he has been spouting, accusing him, of disgracing the family name, for personal gain.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Quote, "They want to replace history with lies." That is what Vice President Harris said, when she was accusing "Extremists" of doing that, after the Florida Board of Education approved a revised Black History curriculum. It includes instruction that enslaved people could have benefited from the skills that they learned.


HARRIS: So, we know the history. And let us not let these politicians, who are trying to divide our country, win. Because you see what they are doing. What they are doing, is they are creating these unnecessary debates.



HARRIS: This is unnecessary to debate whether enslaved people benefited from slavery. Are you kidding me?


COLLINS: Florida governor, and 2024 presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, responded, saying he wasn't involved in creating these new standards. But he defended that part about slaves, potentially benefiting, from skills that they learned.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think what they're doing is I think that they're probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith, into doing things, later in life.


COLLINS: Joining me now, to discuss, Scott Jennings, former aide to Senator Mitch McConnell, and President George W. Bush; and the former White House Communications Director for President Biden, and CNN's newest contributor, Kate Bedingfield.

So Kate, welcome.


COLLINS: I'm glad this is your inaugural debut.


COLLINS: I'll see you here.

BEDINGFIELD: Thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: You will be joining us many more times.


Scott, let me start with you, though. I mean, you hear what Governor DeSantis said. He was saying Harris shouldn't come into Florida, and essentially criticize this changed curriculum. What do you make of what he said?


And this is it's amazing how fast something went from the fever swamps of the left-wing Twitterverse, to the Vice President's office, to Florida, for this speech.

I've read the standards. I downloaded an analysis of the curriculum, and every instance where the word, "Slave," was used. And I read this statement from the African American scholars, who wrote the standards, who strongly refute everything she said, today.

So, this is a hyper-partisan attempt to mislead people. They do it all the time to Ron DeSantis. They're doing it again. I don't buy it.

COLLINS: She was arguing that schools -- that students would be better-prepared, if these things, if these historical crimes, weren't glossed over. I mean, this was a pretty quickly scheduled trip, we're told, by Vice President Harris. She went into Florida. She didn't mention DeSantis by name.

You worked in the White House until just recently. I mean, what's your insight of the White House's strategizing on this?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, she didn't mention DeSantis by name. But you heard him defensively respond, which tells you that he knows there's something here that he has to defend from.

So, I would respectfully say to Scott, in fact, what the Vice President did was go down, and pick a fight that is really smart, for the White House to pick.

And it's a really good use of Vice President Harris. She's at her best, when she's making a forceful case, when she's making this really fundamental argument, that's really key to the way President Biden, frankly, intends to run, for reelection, in 2024, which is about protecting freedom. It's about advancing, making sure that families have, what they need, on their table. It's not about these divisive, exclusive exclusionary culture wars.

And so, for the White House, to recognize that, to scramble quickly, to send Vice President Harris, to give this really powerful speech, I think, shows that they are really seizing, on an opportunity, to make this a contrast.

Because, at the end of the day, the communications challenge, for the reelection campaign, is making this a choice, and driving that contrast between what President Biden and Vice President Harris believe, and what the Republicans believe.

JENNINGS: As a matter of strategy and tactics, this is how Ron DeSantis got popular, in the Republican Party, in the first place. National Democrat politicians, and national media, lying about something he was doing, in Florida. It started with COVID. Now, we're on to this thing.

So, as a matter of political strategy, you say it works for Harris, and Biden, I guess?

It's going to work for Ron DeSantis. Being attacked by Kamala Harris in Florida? This is an elevating thing for him, to defend something, in which she's so clearly in the wrong, in my opinion.

BEDINGFIELD: But I would say, if I could just add one point.


BEDINGFIELD: Look at the 2022 midterms. Look at the attempt by Republicans, across the country, Trump Republicans, DeSantis Republicans, to drive these cultural issues, to drive arguments, about retracting your right to vote, about limiting your ability to get health care, in this country. I mean, making these really cultural inflammatory arguments did not yield good results, for Republicans, in 2022.

JENNINGS: Well, they yielded perfectly fine results, for Ron DeSantis, in Florida, who won by 20 points. And I assume they're going to yield pretty good results, in the context of a Republican primary, which is what he cares about, right now.

COLLINS: But can we talk about that? Because he is, I mean, well, he does care about the Republican primary, right now. He's been slipping in the polls.

And now, he is kind of setting his sights, on Bud Light, going after their parent company. As today, he wrote, in this letter, to basically the person, who handles state pensions, in Florida, and said, suggested that the parent company of Bud Light had breached their legal duties, owed to its shareholders, as a result of its decision, and I'm quoting this letter now, "to associate its Bud Light brand with radical social ideologies," and basically sending that to the State's pension fund manager, and suggesting that he should open up, that they should reevaluate the business that they do with them.

I mean, is that DeSantis' reset of his campaign to continue leaning into these kinds of issues?

JENNINGS: Well, I think the -- it is a continuation of something he's been at the forefront of, which is this new, muscular conservatism, where Republicans aren't content, to just let things happen.

They want their elected officials, to use their power, to take on what they see, is essentially being surrounded, by radical liberalism, in every institution, whether that's corporations, or universities, or military. We saw that in the House, recently. And so, DeSantis has really been one of the people at the forefront of this. He's going to keep doing it. This is a continuation of that.

And you hear this phrase, sometimes, in the party, these days. "Do you know what time it is?" This is like, what it means to know what time it is. Use your office, to try to fight back against cultural liberalism.

COLLINS: OK. We'll leave that part there.

Let's talk about RFK Jr. I mean, he had this hearing, which we talked about at length, last night. We talked about how he was invited by Republicans, to go on Capitol Hill, and to testify, talking about censorship.

Today, the grandson of JFK, Jack Schlossberg, is coming out, and criticizing him, and saying that he is essentially disgracing their family name.


JACK SCHLOSSBERG, JFK'S GRANDSON, RFK JR.'S COUSIN: He's trading in on Camelot, celebrity, conspiracy theories and conflict for personal gain and fame.

I've listened to him. I know him. I have no idea why anyone thinks he should be president. What I do know is his candidacy, is an embarrassment.



COLLINS: The problem is RFK is polling. I mean, it's dropped some, since people have been highlighting his conspiracy theories. But he's polling at 20-ish percent, 10 percent to 20 percent, I'll generalize it.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, I guess, first of all, I would say no one can get you like your family, huh?



COLLINS: He'll have to go to that Thanksgiving.


But in all seriousness, I think, the strategy that the campaign has employed, the Biden campaign has employed, is to let people learn more, about Robert F. Kennedy. And the more they do, the more they dislike him.

You say he's polling. But his polling has dropped precipitously since April. He's polling at much lower rate than he was in April. Republicans made an effort, to bring him, in front of the house to testify, this week. And, I think, generally, when you have to start your testimony, with "I've never been a racist or an anti-Semite," that's probably not going well, for you, so.

COLLINS: But he did raise $5 million. His super PAC that is backing him, raised $5 million, yesterday.

JENNINGS: He's not going to be the nominee. And he is a terrible person. But of course, Republicans thought that for a long time. Democrats are just now figuring it out, because he's running against Joe Biden.

What he is, is a repository, for all of the discontent, with Biden actually running. I mean, there's a ton of Democrats that don't want Joe Biden to run for reelection there. They would jump on any other person. I mean, even Marianne Williamson is grabbing some share of the votes over these polls.

COLLINS: But Republicans invited him yesterday.

JENNINGS: Yes, they're trolling Joe Biden. I don't know, if you've noticed this or not, but we do a lot of governing, by trolling, these days. And that was use of the strategy of trolling.

And, I don't think it's -- I don't want to be associated with RFK Jr. This guy has been a -- I am old enough to remember, when he was claiming that George W. Bush rewired the voting machines, in Ohio, in 2004. He's been a crank and a crackpot, for a long time. It's just now he's presenting a political problem, for the White House.

COLLINS: "Governing by trolling," I think I missed that in the Constitution.

Scott Jennings.

Kate Bedingfield, welcome to CNN.


COLLINS: Thank you both for being here, on a Friday night.


COLLINS: He was an icon and an American treasure.





COLLINS: Tony Bennett is gone, after gifting the world with his music, for eight decades.

Anderson Cooper is going to join us, next. He was at one of his last concerts.






COLLINS: Irreplaceable, and an American classic, Tony Bennett's remarkable life, is being remembered today. The beloved singer died, this morning, at 96, after a year's long battle, with Alzheimer's. Frank Sinatra calls him, quote, "The best in the business." He was a mentor to him.

His iconic ballads like "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," truly transcended generations.





COLLINS: Tony Bennett was also a White House favorite. He performed for 11 presidents, on both sides of the aisle, during a legendary career. But he got a start, here in New York, singing in restaurants. He once said that helping people forget their problems, just for an hour, was a noble job.


LARRY KING, TELEVISION AND RADIO HOST: When did you say to yourself, I want to be -- "I want to sing for a living?"

TONY BENNETT, ICONIC CROONER, SINGER: Well, I have a charmed life because I've always known what I wanted to do. I've always had a passion to sing and paint. And I've never questioned it.


COLLINS: "Never questioned it."

His last public performance was in 2021, when he appeared, with Lady Gaga, at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Anderson Cooper reported, on the moments, leading up to that spectacular show, where Bennett's wife, Susan, reminded him, he was about to perform.


SUSAN CROW, TONY BENNETT'S WIFE: We're going to watch Lady Gaga's set.


CROW: And then, you're going to sing. OK?

BENNETT: How many songs am I singing?

CROW: I'll tell you what you're going to sing.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360 (voice-over): When it was time, they walked toward the stage together.


COOPER (voice-over): Then, the lights went out and the curtain went up.





COLLINS: And Anderson joins me now.

Anderson, I mean, to watch that moment, and to see, Susan had said she was worried that they weren't really sure what would happen, when he got on stage.


COLLINS: And to see that big smile on his face? He just raises his hands, in amazement, when he sees the crowd. I mean, what's it -- what was it like to watch that?

COOPER: Yes, I got to watch it from the wings, and be there as he went out. It was incredible.

The "Wow" was a word that in the midst of the ravages of the disease, that was a word, he used a lot, to sort of get through conversations. He could say, "Wow." There were phrases he used. But that "Wow," was, that was a different kind of a wow. I mean, you could tell, he heard the love of the audience, 6,000 seats. He played for three nights with Gaga. It was just incredible.

And you're right. There were a lot of people, in the circle of Tony, his son, Danny, who did incredible things, for his career. His manager, his wife, Susan, you mentioned, just an extraordinary caregiver, and partner, in his life, and at the end of his life and his career. But there were a lot of people weren't sure what was going to happen, when that curtain opened, and would he suddenly not be able to do it? And as soon as that -- it happened, and the, music played, and that your heard love from the audience? He was locked in. It was incredible.

COLLINS: Yes, I know, you said, he got 20 -- at least 20 standing ovations, that night.

As I watched, as I rewatched, your reporting, this morning, it kind of broke my heart, because just a few days later, you were with him, on his daily walk, in Central Park. And he didn't even remember playing that show.

And I mean, just anyone, who knows someone, who has dealt with Alzheimer's, understands that, I think. And just seeing him dealing with that disease, at the same time, that when he's on stage? He's the Tony Bennett again.

COOPER: And, yes, it was. He was sitting on a bench that he often sat in with Susan, or just across from his apartment. And I sat down with him. And there were people coming by, and saying, "Hello, Tony," and "Great to see you," and "You're doing great."

And yes, I said, I mentioned the show, the previous night, and he didn't know what I was talking about. And he was very gracious about it. I said, "You were amazing." And he said, "Oh, thank you very much."


But that's just the reality of the disease. And it's something he had been living with, and Susan, and his whole family have been living with, for a long time. But they were able to keep him alive, not just physically, but alive, in doing exactly what he always loved to do, as you said, about 70 -- more than 70-year career.

And all during COVID, they -- when there were no shows, he was doing performances, in his living room, to Susan, and to anybody, who might be there, other caregivers.

I mean, it is a sad day. And it's a sad, horrible, horrible illness, as so many, too many families know.

But one of the -- I talked to Tony's doctor, today, Gayatri Devi, who's a remarkable neurologist, in New York. And one of the things she said is, it shows what is possible that even someone with the ravages of Alzheimer's, that there can be a life, and there can be joy, and there can be moments, like Tony had. And they were very blessed.

COLLINS: Yes, it was amazing, also, the doctor said, him going on stage, and being able to do that or just performing period, was better than any kind of treatment, or any medicine, that he was on.

I mean, his life was just amazing. I mean, he really, he saw so much. I mean, he lived history. He grew up here, in New York, singing in restaurants. He was drafted in World War II.


COLLINS: I mean he did the march, from Selma to Montgomery, in my home state of Alabama. And he just had, he's one of those figures, who just saw so much, in his life.

COOPER: Yes. And listen, his mom worked as a seamstress, doing extra jobs, just to help support the family. His dad did come from Italy. She was of Italian descent, as well.

He dropped out of high school, needed to work, and get going, with his life, took part in the war. I mean, he not only did he fight in the war, in World War II, he took part in the liberation of one of the subcamps of Dachau, at which -- you know, he was on the right side of history for a very, very long time.

And he didn't -- you know, he had friends on all sides of the political aisle. But he certainly was committed to the civil rights movement, and committed to justice.

COLLINS: Yes. And he talked about Duke Ellington inspiring that.

Anderson, it's amazing to look back on that final performance. Thank you for sharing that with us tonight.

COOPER: Thanks for having me.

COLLINS: Up next, we're going to speak to one of Tony Bennett's many collaborators. He worked with so many people, throughout that long career. This is a musician, who knew him, for 30 years, and shares a Grammy, with him as well. That's next.






COLLINS: Tonight, we are remembering the legendary performer, the one and only Tony Bennett, who brought so much joy, with his voice, and as we were just noting, lived such an extraordinary life.

President Biden said it well, in a tribute, today, quote, "Along the way, he lived history. He helped liberate prisoners at a subcamp of Dachau. He joined the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. He performed for Nelson Mandela," JFK, Queen Elizabeth, the Second.

Joining me now, is someone, who also performed with him, and knew Tony Bennett, for 30 years, and played with him. Jazz pianist, Bill Charlap. His recording, with Bennett, I should note, won a Grammy, in 2015.

And thank you, for being here. I'm sorry that it's on a day of this news, about your friend. But you're the best person to talk about this with.

And we were looking at videos of you and Tony, playing together.


COLLINS: This is one from 2015. It's obviously an iconic rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight." I want to share it with our audience.




COLLINS: What are you thinking about?

CHARLAP: It's not just iconic. It's definitive. And that's what he wanted to do. When he sang something, he wanted it to be definitive. He put his stamp on it in that way. It was so warm and so soulful. That's what Tony Bennett was.


And you just met, when he had asked you to fill in. And then, the two of you became friends.

CHARLAP: Well, at first, he came and heard me play at a club that I used to play, when I was -- well, this is about 30 years ago or more.

I was playing solo piano, and he came in with Helen Keane, who had been Bill Evans' manager. And he just came in to listen. He drew a sketch of me. He gave it to me. I was meeting one of my heroes.

A little later, he came to a club, where I was playing. And the maitre d' said, "Mr. Bennett is here. He'd like to talk to you." I came downstairs.

He said that Ralph Sharon, his pianist of 40 years, couldn't make a couple of the engagements they had, would I play with him?

Of course, I would. And I was delighted. And we became very good friends.

COLLINS: Did you ever think twice about it?

CHARLAP: Oh, no, of course not.

COLLINS: I loved one thing you said that you're walking down the streets of New York with him. He was New York. CHARLAP: He was New York. And you know, there was a wonderful feeling, when you would walk down the street with him because, of course, everybody recognized him. And he was so open to everybody.

He loved life. He loved people. He loved communicating. And he was always happy to greet people. And he would look you, right in the eye, and he was really listening. And he was interested in you.

And he had that kind of -- well, you know, with music or any art, we all feel about something that we love, that we're the only one that really feels it that very special way. He could do that in an audience of 15,000 people, and make you feel like you were the one. And it was real. He was singing right to you, 15,000 people, at a time.


COLLINS: I was reading "The New York Times" obituary of him. And it said, when you look through his coverage, you can't find anything bad that anyone ever said about him, hardly. "The New York Times" says, he's still loved, it said, "With the possible exception of his former wives, everyone, it seemed, loved Tony Bennett."

CHARLAP: Well, he loved life.

COLLINS: What made him so lovable?

CHARLAP: What made him so lovable? That every day was fresh for him, that he loved life, that he was elegant and communicative.

And, you know, there's something else, I'm thinking about, when I was listening to him, listening to him, paint that beautiful picture, with the song. Tony Bennett was a very accomplished painter. I mean, he was really a serious painter. And oh, he taught me all kinds of things, about art, about the painters that he loved, John Singer Sargent, and Sorolla, and Zorn.

And when he sang, he was kind of using a paintbrush, you know? You could feel the oil paint, you could see it, you could feel the texture, the way that he colored, the way that he would color the words, the way he would tell the story, and sing the song, and phrase it. The rhythms that he used? The notes that he chose? It was like a painter. It had that kind of beauty to it.

COLLINS: That's really lovely.


COLLINS: Did he ever give you any advice, or pearls of wisdom, or anything like that, that you remember?

CHARLAP: Well, sure, there were many. One particularly was something that he said about nervousness. He said, "There's nothing wrong with feeling nervous. If you're not nervous, it means you don't care."

COLLINS: Oh, that's good. CHARLAP: Even better to say it like this. I think he said it more like this, "To be nervous means that you do care." And he really cared. He wanted to give the best of him, to his audience, and to the people, that he loved and cared about.

Something else that he told me about, that Fred Astaire told him, he said, "If you have a perfect show, take out one-third." In other words, the eraser is a great composers' tool.


CHARLAP: It's a great artists' tool. Being able to edit yourself, being able to think that way. And that shows real humility.

Something else, I remember, he said, "Listen to the applause. Listen to how between the songs, when it gets to its peak, right when it starts to diminish, start the next song. Then, you can take the audience on a journey, in that way," things like that.

But I'll tell you a moment that I really remember above many other moments. I was in the recording studio with him. We were recording songs, of Jerome Kern.

And we were recording with my trio, with Kenny Washington and Peter Washington, drums and bass, all together, no headphones, everybody in the same room, so, it's real-time and real recording.

And we were doing the song, "They Didn't Believe Me," an iconic popular song by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Herbert Reynolds.

Now, this song is the ultimate in romance, and a really important American popular song, in the way that it says, "And when I tell them, and I'm certainly going to tell them," that's really American.

But what was happening is that we were in the studio. He was standing in the middle of the room. The studio was right in front of us, the recording booth that is. His son, Dae, was sitting at the recording -- at the recording console.

And Susan Bennett was standing right there, behind the glass, about 10 feet away. We started the take. He looked directly at her, and he sang the whole song, right to Susan.


CHARLAP: And that's the take that's on the album. So, it was direct.

COLLINS: That's beautiful.

CHARLAP: It was a story, and he was singing right to you. And, in that case, he was singing right to her. And it was a really beautiful moment.

COLLINS: That is beautiful.

And thank you for sharing those beautiful memories with us, tonight. Thank you.

CHARLAP: I'm so glad to be here with you. And the world misses Tony Bennett.

COLLINS: Absolutely.

CHARLAP: And I miss Tony Bennett.

COLLINS: "To be nervous means you care," I love that. I'll keep that with me.


COLLINS: We'll be right back, remembering Tony Bennett.






COLLINS: The box office is seeing pink, this weekend.

"Barbie" is shaping up to be one of the biggest movies in years. Politicians, predictably jumping in her dream car. Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, introduced "Lil' Gretch" on Twitter, a play on her nickname, "Big Gretch."









COLLINS: Republicans on Capitol Hill do the same, I should note, "Barbie" is being released by Warner Brothers, the same parent company as CNN.

Harry Enten, joining me now.

Harry, what are the Barbie stats that you've been crunching for us? HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I know, right? And I want to note that I'm wearing the pink. So, there we go.

COLLINS: It's going to be -- needs to be a pink blazer, next time.

ENTEN: I had a pink shirt. But it turns out it's in the dry cleaner.

Look, I think there are a number of things we should note about Barbie, right?

First, her full name is Barbara. And when Barbie was introduced, right? "Barbie," "Barbara," was such a popular name. Now it's not a popular name at all.

But there are other things that have changed, in terms of Barbie. When it first came out, accounting for inflation, a Barbie doll cost a little bit over $30. Now, you can get a basic Barbie doll for only about $6. So, it's much more affordable.

How about this? Barbie is 2-years-older than her beau, Ken? She's a trailblazer in that way. When Barbie was first introduced to Ken, only about 14 percent of women were older than the men in the relationships. Now, that's up over 20 percent, OK?


How about how many Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide? It's over a billion. Over a billion. A 1992 doll, her long-haired Barbie was in fact the best-sold Barbie.

One other little nugget about Barbie? She's had over 250 occupations, in her life. She's done everything. She's been a doctor. She's been a chef. She's been an astronaut. She has been a firefighter. She's been everything.

COLLINS: A journalist.

ENTEN: She has been a journalist. She is truly a trailblazer.

COLLINS: Has she ever been a data reporter there?

ENTEN: Actually, I've been told that the reason why I'm not Chief Data Reporter is, because Barbie is coming along, to be Chief Data Reporter.

COLLINS: I mean, it is amazing though, to look at how the brand has progressed. And now, they're also kind of trying to change the narrative, here, with the movie, too.

ENTEN: Yes, it's supposedly, truly, the idea of Barbie being a feminist hero. And I will tell you this. I have not seen Barbie. But I actually do want to see it. It looks really funny to me.

COLLINS: OK, good. Well get your pink blazer from the dry cleaner.

ENTEN: I will work on that next time. COLLINS: Harry Enten?

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you for those numbers, as always.

ENTEN: Right.

COLLINS: And thank you so much, for joining us, tonight, and every night, this week.

"WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE?" with guests, Matt Damon, and Laura Linney, up next.