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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Special Counsel Has Doc Trump Claims Doesn't Exist; DeSantis, GOP Members Feud Over Slavery Comments; Shaquille O'Neal's Son Shareef On His Open-Heart Surgery And Friendship With Bronny James. Aired 9- 10p ET

Aired July 28, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Another possible indictment of the former President could happen, as soon as next week, this time, in Georgia, over efforts, to overturn the 2020 election, in the State.

Authorities, in Atlanta, have now put up barricades, outside the Fulton County Courthouse, to enhance, security, in their words. This is where the former President would likely be arraigned, if a charging decision is made.

This week and "THE WHOLE STORY" breaks down the criminal investigation, of Donald Trump in Georgia. Hope you'd join me for the new episode, airing this Sunday, 8 PM, right here, on CNN.

Hope you have a great weekend.

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

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE, the fourth Trump employee, in that superseding indictment, identified, the Mar-a-Lago IT worker, who was allegedly asked to delete surveillance footage.

Also what we're learning about that new co-defendant, at the center of these new charges, and Trump's added legal exposure.

Also, more than a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls are in one room, in Iowa, right now. One was just booed on stage, for explicitly criticizing Trump. The former President will take the stage any moment.

Also, Ron DeSantis, clashing with two Black members, of his own party, over how his state teaches slavery. Despite the blowback, the Florida Governor isn't backing down.

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

This is something you don't really see, every night, Donald Trump and a dozen of the people, hoping to take his place, as the Republican nominee, and potentially the Republican president, are all in one room, in Iowa just right now. The former President is about to speak any moment now. And this is his first major speech, since he was charged, again, in the classified documents probe.

So far tonight, only one other candidate, at that dinner has been willing to go on stage, and explicitly criticize the former President.


WILL HURD, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again. Donald Trump is not running for president to represent the people that voted for him in 2016 and 2020.

Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison. And if we elect --


HURD: I know. I know. I know. I know. I know. Listen, I know the truth. The truth is hard.

But if we elect Donald Trump, we are willingly giving Joe Biden, four more years, in the White House, and America can't handle that that.


COLLINS: That is former Texas congressman, Will Hurd. It's not surprising that he is criticizing Trump. But those boos are an indicator of just how much support the former President still has, in a room like that full of donors, in Iowa, despite all of the legal troubles he is facing, including what was added yesterday.

On Thursday, the Republican front-runner, was bracing for charges, in one of the cases tied to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but instead was slapped with another, more charges, in another case. That one tied to his handling of classified documents. Two of those charges stem from allegations that he tried to destroy surveillance footage, at Mar-a-Lago.

Unsurprisingly, the former President spent the day lashing out at the Special Counsel.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: These were my tapes that we gave to them, and they basically then say: 'That's not enough.' I don't think we would have had to give it. I'm not sure that we would have even had to give it. These were security steps. We handed them over to them.

They're trying to intimidate people so that people go out and make up lies about me because I did nothing wrong.


COLLINS: I should note, Trump today is also claiming voluntarily that he handed over footage of -- that he is now accused of trying to delete. That is not true. He was subpoenaed for that footage that they then gave over to prosecutors.

And new tonight, the identity of the person, who was referred to, in the superseding indictment, is the IT worker, allegedly asked to delete the security footage, at Mar-a-Lago, as part of a request from, quote, "The boss."

I'm joined now by CNN's Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent, Paula Reid; along with CNN Legal Analyst, Carrie Cordero; and defense attorney, Shan Wu; also CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, and the former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.

Paula, we're waiting, for Trump, to get on the stage. I mean, the first remarks that we're really seeing from him, out in public, since he was added these new charges, and a new co-defendant. But what he is making clear is he is viewing this race, as a way, to potentially insulate himself, from the very legal charges that he's facing.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he can certainly try. It's not working so far, right? We're on a third -- second indictment, anticipating our third, this year soon.

And yes, if he is reelected, he could make the Special Counsel investigation go away. He can pardon himself, if he's already been convicted, pardon his co-defendants.


I'm sure he's not losing sleep over what he will be prosecuted on, in Manhattan. But when it comes to the Georgia case, for example, where we also expect him to be charged, he cannot make that go away.

So, legally speaking, the charges are going to keep coming. And it's unclear if he's going to truly be able to insulate himself, from all of the legal exposure, he faces.

COLLINS: Yes, he's saying he would fire Jack Smith, if he's elected. Of course, that's a hypothetical away.

But what can you tell us about what we're also learning about Carlos De Oliveira, who of course, is the new co-defendant, in this case, the Mar-a-Lago property manager, who now we're saying -- or hearing reaction, from his loved ones, about this.

REID: Yes, look, Kaitlan, you got a feel for this guy a little bit, right? I mean, he's a property manager, at a resort, down in Florida. We've learned he lives a pretty middle-class lifestyle. He's not in the Trump inner circle. He doesn't have a lot of interactions, with the former President.

He's found himself at the center of this case, because his boss, right, the man he depends on, to pay his bills and, arguably, one of the most powerful people in the world, was pressing him to at least inquire about deleting some surveillance footage.

Several of his acquaintances say, "Look, it's unlikely he even understood exactly what he was being asked to do, and that it was illegal." But he really put himself in jeopardy, here, by not being honest, with the FBI, by allegedly lying. And we know really sophisticated people, OK? Martha Stewart, General Petraeus, they sit across from people like, I think -- believe we have three former federal prosecutors here? And you can see how someone could get tripped up. They may not be honest. But once that happens, you make yourself really vulnerable, to a federal case, if you don't plead.

COLLINS: Yes. And also, though, I mean, the FBI agents had already visited Mar-a-Lago. Everyone at Mar-a-Lago was aware that the FBI agents had been there.

And so, Andrew, that leads me to you, which is we have now identified the "Trump Employee 4," as he's called, in this indictment, as Yuscil Taveras. He is the IT person, who's in charge of all of that. He was the one that Carlos allegedly went to, and said "The boss wants the server deleted."

Is it clear to you, from reading the superseding indictment that the Special Counsel is talking to more people?


I think the suggestion, certainly from the phrasing in the indictment, is that Yuscil Taveras has spoken to the Special Counsel, and he is likely the source of the conversations, the statements that you see quoted in the indictment.

There's no sign whatsoever that there was any sort of recording, or electronic surveillance, of those conversations. So, how else would they have gotten them, but from Taveras or De Oliveira? And he certainly wouldn't have been contributing evidence, to the indictment against himself.

COLLINS: Yes. And Shan, obviously, I mean, what I'm hearing is this is making people nervous, people, who work at Mar-a-Lago, or work in the former President's inner circle, are now asking questions about who else could be talking, and what they're saying?

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, absolutely. That would make the entire staff quite nervous, at this point.

I think it's really interesting, to see, at this point with these, with him being added, as a co-defendant here, a lot of people are wondering whether that's going to increase the pressure on him, and Nauta, to plead guilty, or cut a deal now?

I really don't think so. It's too late in the day for that. The time they would have done that is much earlier. They're quite committed to this course. So, that's not happening.

COLLINS: That's interesting, because I do think that's a question that this has raised.

The other thing that we've learned today is about that document. That was the other revelation is that he was now charged with a document, at the center of that audio tape. It's Iran attack plans, we are told from our reporting. But it is now part of this charging document. It was not the first time, the indictment was brought.

What does that tell you? I mean could that potentially help his case, here, given what we are told is that it was actually turned over, in those original 15 boxes, back to the National Archives, before Trump got a subpoena, for the rest of the documents that he had?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, when the original indictment came out, one of the questions was, did he really show the document, to the people, who were in the room, at the time? And the original indictment, it really was hard, just as a reader, to know whether that was the case, or whether he was just bluffing, in the moment.

And so now that the indictment is actually -- the document is actually referenced, in the new superseding indictment? That indicates that the Justice Department would plan to actually present that document, in evidence, at the case, if this were actually to end up going to trial.

And I think there's a couple of reasons that maybe there was the delay, from including in the first one, to this one. One might be that in the intervening month or so that they were able to get witnesses, who actually testified further to the grand jury, indicating "Yes," and testifying under oath, "Yes, he actually did show us the document, and this is what it was."

The other possibility is that the Intelligence Community finally agreed to be able to let the Justice Department have the authorization to use it.


CORDERO: These are just theories. Our reporting will bear out which one turns out to be true, if it was some other circumstance. But those are the theories that I think are possible.

COLLINS: It's just remarkable, because Paula and I've been trying to track this document and its origins down, for weeks, if not months, now. And we were kind of being, told by sources, maybe it never existed. Maybe it was just a paper dinner menu, or whatever he could have been holding. I mean, now it's made clear that's not what it was.


REID: No, it's not. And it's also clear that it has been in the possession of Archives, which does make it harder, to successfully prosecute willful retention. And we notice that all the other documents that were originally given over, to the Archives, have not been charged.

Now, we'll know between the time of the initial indictment, and now, the former President did an interview, with Fox News, where he insisted that he didn't have a document. And I can tell you, from talking to sources, on both sides, there is no love lost between these two teams. And it is also possible that they added this, just to make a point to the former President.

COLLINS: And can I also ask you though, because the other thing that we're hearing, from Trump, today? And please add what you would like to, in the documents. I'm very interested in your thoughts on that.

But also the comments from Trump today saying, Jack Smith, the Special Counsel, Merrick Garland, the Attorney General, belong in jail. I mean, Jack Smith is literally prosecuting Trump, right now, about to potentially bring another indictment, and he's saying that he belongs to be in jail?

MCCABE: Not going to help him with the judge, in this case. Federal judges don't take kindly to defendants, lashing out, at the prosecutor, personally, or at the Attorney General. So, he's once again -- that may play well with his supporters and his base. It's not going to work for him in court.

As for the document? You're right. I think the fact that he turned this document, back to NARA, undermines a little bit the case, on willful retention.

But as we know, the Espionage Act also penalizes dissemination, or communication, of the substance, of a National Defense Information. And that is certainly the case if these allegations are true, in the way that he handled that document, showed it to or talked about it to the folks in that room. So, I think it's still problematic for him.

COLLINS: Yes, sure.

WU: It also has another advantage, for the prosecutors, to bring it. Even if it's weak on the retention aspect, it's what we call charging the bad conduct.

Before this audio tape, which is so damning, for Trump, there could have been a fight, over whether it gets in or not. But by charging the document that he's allegedly waving around, it's much easier, to get an audio tape. And they know that jurors like audio tapes.

COLLINS: Jurors do like audio tapes. It's good evidence.

Thank you all for being here, tonight.

Of course, we are watching, to see Trump, as he is speaking, on that stage, in that room, in Iowa with people trying to challenge him.

Governor Chris Sununu, also in that room, what he says about the latest charges, against Trump? That's next.



COLLINS: Tonight, you are seeing something that you don't often see, on the campaign trail. This is the Republican primary. And, of course, 12 of the candidates, most of them, are all in one room, tonight, in Iowa, including former President Donald Trump. That's Vivek Ramaswamy, speaking now, on stage.

This is in Des Moines, Iowa, the annual Lincoln Dinner, there. Each of the candidates has 10 minutes, to get on stage, and pitch themselves, to donors, and the first-in-the-nation caucuses for this State.

Of course, all of this is coming, as Trump has just been added, with new charges, and a new co-defendant. The big question, tonight, is what are those candidates saying about not just the front-runner, but his legal exposure?

Instead, so far, tonight, the big targets have been President Biden, and Vice President Harris, mostly.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know Kamala is here, in Iowa. But I bet you, she hadn't spent nearly as much time at the border, as she's spent, in Iowa, talking about abortion. I've been to that border.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got Kamala Harris coming down to Florida, trying to create phony narratives, because she understands Florida has stood up, to the Left's agenda.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The radical-left and Joe Biden has us, as they continue to sell this drug of victimhood, and the narcotic of despair.

ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The GOP is under threat today. As it stands, right now, you will be voting in Iowa, while multiple criminal cases are pending against former President Trump. Iowa has an opportunity, to say, "We, as a party, we need a new direction, for America, and for the GOP."


COLLINS: And joining me now, from Des Moines, is New Hampshire governor, Chris Sununu.

Governor, thanks, for being with me, tonight.


COLLINS: I mean, what is it say, about the room behind you that the front-runner of your party, right now, is accused of trying to delete security camera footage, at Mar-a-Lago?

SUNUNU: Look, it's like Groundhog Day, unfortunately, right? Another day, another page of the soap opera of Donald Trump. And unfortunately it's everything that the party shouldn't be focusing on, right?

We got to be focusing on the future, and what we're about, getting people excited, again, to be part of the Republican Party, bringing Independents and the suburban moms, back into the party that have left us, over the past few elections, primarily because of Donald Trump, his message, and his drama.

COLLINS: But the main person, on that stage, tonight, who has a commanding lead, in every single poll that you look at, has been accused, by the Justice Department, as of yesterday, of trying to not only keep --


COLLINS: -- national security document documents, but also delete security camera footage, showing the room, where those documents were stored.

SUNUNU: No, absolutely. And look, it's not the first charge, we've heard, against Donald Trump. It's not the first court, or the first prosecutor that's really going against the former President. These things just kind of keep lining up.

On the other side, you have Biden, right with -- I mean, the Hunter stuff is getting worse and worse, for the Biden family, by the day. It doesn't bode well, for either party.

Now, on, as it pertains to Republicans, Donald Trump, right now, in my home state of New Hampshire, recent polls have him under 40 percent. So, what it says is the majority of the base, hardcore Republicans are not with this guy. So, as a party, if we can do events, like this, we can get it down to just one or two other candidates.

The former President's going to be in trouble, politically, there's no doubt about it. And he knows it. And he's afraid that we're going to have kind of that discipline to get it down to one-on-one.

COLLINS: But I should note Hunter Biden is not the front-runner, of the Democratic Party. He is not a former sitting president accused of mishandling national security secrets. I mean, is there any chance --

SUNUNU: No. But his father is the current president, right?

COLLINS: That's correct. But President --

SUNUNU: I mean his father is the current president. And the current president is tied to Hunter Biden's problem. So, you can't ignore that on the other side of the equation.

COLLINS: Yes. But are you equating --

SUNUNU: And that's why all of America wants both these guys off their ticket.


COLLINS: Are you -- without -- I mean, it's not a defense of Hunter Biden and the fact that he didn't pay his taxes. But are you equating that and the gun charge with what Trump is accused of doing?

SUNUNU: No, no. But politically, they could have the same result, of pushing both their front-runners, off the top of the ticket. From a political standpoint, they could end up with the same result.

COLLINS: The people, who are gathered, in that room, tonight, it's most of the 2024 candidates. I mean, what does it say about, is there any charge that could lead a Republican candidate, there, who is not named Chris Christie, or Asa Hutchinson, or Will Hurd, to directly criticize their biggest challenger?

SUNUNU: I think they'll get there. I really do. I know a lot of these candidates are trying to lay groundwork. They're laying the policy. They're laying, who they are and what they're about.

But to your point, there's no doubt, they got to start swinging. Whether it starts with a light Zinger, or whether you go Chris Christie full bore, and you really lay out Trump's kind of failed agenda, and lack of agenda, for the future of this party. So, one way or another, they all are going to have to really get there.

The idea that you're going to somehow cater to a Trump voter, by not attacking the former President makes no sense. Because here's a memo for you. It's a Trump voter. They're voting for their former President. You're not going to win them over.

So, they got to be able to stand on their own, show leadership, show that you're willing to have the courage to push back, call it like you see it, call the balls and strikes, like you see them. I think they all know what's going on. Some of them are a little hesitant, and taking some bad political advice.

But believe me, this is a six-month roller coaster. It really starts tonight. It's going to end up in in the granite -- in the Iowa caucus, and then the first-in-the-nation primary, in New Hampshire.

And by that time, I think you're really going to get it down to one or two candidates, those that are willing to have that discussion, are willing to take on the former President, are willing to show some charisma, and leadership, and inspire this party, into what should be successful, for us, in 2024.

COLLINS: Do you believe that Trump is running to protect himself, from his mounting legal challenges?

SUNUNU: Honestly, does that play into it? No, I don't think so. I think it's just a whole lot of ego.

I think it's a whole lot of an empty-suit ego at this point. He's up in the polls. He wants to kind of garner public opinion, to his side, because that's what he lives on. That's his -- that's what he thrives on. That's the gas in his tank, so to say.

But it's not about the future, of this country. It's sure not about the future of this party. So, I don't know. I guess everyone has their own theories on it. But for me, it just looks like a lot of ego and narcissism, with not a lot behind it.

COLLINS: You're standing in that room, tonight. Governor Ron DeSantis, of course, has been all over Iowa. He's trying to win there. He is now trying to clarify comments, he made, about putting RFK Jr., of course, someone who lies about vaccines, at the CDC or the FDA.

I mean, does a conspiracy theorist, like that, belong anywhere, near the federal government, in your view?

SUNUNU: Well, I could tell you, RFK Jr. wouldn't be in my administration, if I had one.

So, look, I'm not -- I don't -- I'm not going to explain Governor DeSantis' comments. I mean, he can explain those for himself. Other than, we're a Republican Party. And we just want good sound policies, on those Republican ideals, of limited government, local control, fiscal responsibility. That is the core of what we are.

And I get all this, whether you're talking about the woke stuff, whether you're talking about anti-vax stuff? That can get folks excited, I get it. But at the end of the day, that's not what defines us, as Republicans.

And I think we're going to have a lot of time, and a lot of opportunity, to bring the party back to its core, back to its base, get rid of some of the drama, and make sure we're having candidates that are just doing right, by the country.

And if we do that? We're going to be really successful, not just at the presidential level, but all the way up and down the ticket, as opposed to former President Trump that doesn't just -- mathematically, he can't win in November. He really hurts Republicans, down the ticket, the Senate races, the governor's races, the school board races. This guy crushes us as a party.

COLLINS: You were recently at that No Labels Town Hall event, in your home state. Of course, they are putting forward this idea of potentially putting a third-party candidate, on the ticket, if it is looking like a Biden-Trump rematch.

I mean, the consensus, or the critics have said that they believe that that is something that would tip the election, in the favor of Donald Trump. Do you agree with that?

SUNUNU: No, no, it's not a Trump thing, or tipping it for Trump or Biden. I mean, no one really knows what that would mean. What it would mean is 70 percent of this country, who don't want either of those two, on the top of the ticket, would finally have a home.

I mean, when you think about it, 70 percent of this country is kind of politically homeless, when it comes to the presidential race, right now. They're not engaging. They're not getting excited. So, that's the opportunity, I think, they're trying to capitalize on.

COLLINS: But would you vote for a third-party candidate, by any -- if Trump is the Republican nominee?

SUNUNU: I'm not. No, look, I think it's interesting. I think that you have an opportunity to have a discussion. But I will see where it goes, in terms of the value of the third party.

COLLINS: OK. But no word on whether or not you would vote for a third- party candidate, potentially?

SUNUNU: No. Look, I'm going for the Republican. And it ain't going to be Donald Trump.

COLLINS: OK. But if it is Trump, what do you do?


SUNUNU: It's not going to be. That's my job. It's part of my job, and others, to make sure that we stand up, and make sure it's not, that we stand on the real Republican ideals. We put that ego and the narcissism and all the drama behind us.

COLLINS: Governor Chris Sununu, thanks so much, for joining us, from Iowa, tonight.

SUNUNU: You bet. Thank you.

COLLINS: A confident prediction, from Governor Sununu that Trump will not be the 2024 Republican nominee.

I should note, in that same room, where you saw Governor Sununu standing, Donald Trump is now on stage, giving his speech. We'll see if he responds to that direct criticism, from a fellow Republican, who was also on stage.

Also, up next, that Ron DeSantis campaign reboot has run into reality. The Governor of Florida is now engaged in a war of words, with two of the highest-profile Black Republicans in his party.


COLLINS: Amid a campaign reset that includes shedding staff, and cutting costs, Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, now finds himself, locked, in a war of words, with top Black conservatives, over slavery.


The Vice President, civil rights leaders, some teachers, and now almost every Black Conservative Member of Congress, have criticized Florida's new Black history teaching standards, and DeSantis' defense of them.

This is what 2024 presidential rival, Senator Tim Scott, said today.


SCOTT: There is no silver lining in freedom... in slavery.

Slavery was really about separating families, about mutilating humans, and even raping their wives.

It was just devastating.

Listen, people have bad days. Sometimes they regret what they say, and we should ask them again to clarify their positions. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: But DeSantis is not clarifying. And instead, criticizing Senator Scott, there, and saying that he is repeating a talking point, from the Vice President.


DESANTIS: Part of the reason our country has struggled is because D.C. Republicans all too often, accept false narratives, accept lies that are perpetrated by the Left. That's not the way you do it.

The way you do it, the way you lead, is to fight back against the lies, is to speak the truth.


COLLINS: I should note it is not just Senator Tim Scott. Also, Florida congressman, Byron Donalds, who is the only Black Republican, in Florida's congressional delegation; and Republican congressman, John James, of Michigan, who weighed in saying, quote, "My brother in Christ, if you find yourself in a deep hole put the shovel down."

Joining me now, CNN Political Commentator, Karen Finney; and the former Lieutenant Governor, of the State of Georgia, Geoff Duncan.

Geoff, is that what a successful campaign reset looks like, getting in this fight, with Tim Scott, Byron Donalds, Wesley Hunt, all of these other Republicans?


But kudos to Tim Scott, and anybody else, who's stepping up, and doing the right thing here. I mean, this is an issue that Republicans need to run clear away from, and just simply hold the fact that slavery is terrible, awful. It's a terrible stain. It's the most inhumane thing you can do. And move on to the issues of the day that Americans want to talk about.

COLLINS: Yes. And DeSantis didn't write these new rules of the curriculum. It was a Board that came up with them. I know that's what DeSantis' office has also been highlighting, members of that, who created this, and talked about the benefit of it.

But the idea that this is something that Republicans are arguing over, and that candidates --


COLLINS: -- on the 2024 campaign trail, are being asked about, in 2023?

FINNEY: Well, and remember with DeSantis, it started back in -- I mean, I'm old enough to remember February, right, when the African American AP class, he wanted -- he said, "No, we're not doing the AP class." And I think it's about 18 other States have denounced this new course, on African American history. And then, it was banning books. And then, it was banning college-level courses.

But yes, I mean, first of all, the fact that we're having to say "Slavery was bad," in 2023 is pretty astonishing, particularly for those of us, who have, in our own families, our personal stories, and know, the horrors that they endured, during slavery.

The other problem, though, politically, is, I think DeSantis thinks he's attacking Kamala Harris, the Vice President. And you saw, I mean, this was a talking point, earlier this week, it was a talking point, clearly, to attack her, tonight, at the dinner.

But they've been -- Republicans have been making inroads, with Black voters, in this country. And so, this back-and-forth also jeopardizes his ability, if you believe, he could be the nominee, which I don't think he could be. How is he going to square that with potential Black voters? I mean, you saw this in Georgia with Herschel Walker's campaign, right?

And so, I think that's the bigger political issue, is it really shifts the ground, in terms of how are you going to do outreach, to Black voters?

COLLINS: And what does this have to do? I mean, Senator Tim Scott has been rising, in the polls, slowly, but steadily. And in some of the polls, we've seen, DeSantis is more in a statistical tie, with people like Senator Tim Scott, and Nikki Haley. And his campaign has made clear they believe Tim Scott should be getting more scrutiny, as he is rising in those polls.

DUNCAN: Look, there's a lane developing here. I mean, let's not -- we just went three minutes without talking about the fact Donald Trump has multiple indictments, in state and federal levels, and more coming. So, I do think there's going to be a heavier weight day by day that shows up to Donald Trump. And there is a lane developing for a candidate.

But we got to get this right. We can't take the bait that Donald Trump set four or five, six years ago, of the louder and angrier you are, means the more conservative you are. Those two are not connected, right? We ought to run on the conservative principles.

And now, with Joe Biden, he's making this easier. This isn't a political statement. This is an emotional statement. Statistically speaking, this should be the easiest White House, to win, for a Republican ever. And we're -- and we keep tripping, on our own feet.

COLLINS: Well, and speaking of the White House, President Biden is coming out, tonight, and doing something that that we have not seen him do before.


COLLINS: Which is, acknowledging that he has seven grandchildren, not six. Obviously, this is something that attention has been brought to, with Hunter Biden's child, Navy. She is the daughter of Hunter Biden and Lunden Roberts.


COLLINS: This is a woman, who filed a paternity suit, against Hunter Biden, in 2019. It's been playing out in the courts there.


And in this new statement, tonight, President Biden says quote, "Our son Hunter and Navy's mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward."


COLLINS: But also acknowledging that he does have seven grandchildren.

FINNEY: Yes. I was really happy to see him -- he and the first lady make -- acknowledge their granddaughter. I mean, I'd have some compassion. I come from a very complicated family. Families are complicated.

COLLINS: Me too.

FINNEY: But at the same time, a 4-year-old child should be off limits, politically. So, I do hope that we can -- I mean, attack him all you want. But remember that someday this child is going to look back, and read what it is that people are saying about her.

And so, I would just caution folks, on all sides of the political spectrum, to just -- there's got to be one place, one thing that is off limits, and that should be a 4-year-old child --


FINNEY: -- who's completely innocent.

COLLINS: How do Republicans handle this? Does this put the issue to bed for them, now that he has finally acknowledged it?

DUNCAN: Well, this is a rounding error issue. We shouldn't pick presidents of the United States, the most powerful position in the world, based on these family issues. So, I got three kids. I want to leave them off the radar, let them grow up, and live their lives.

But we ought to be focusing on the big issues. Eight out of 10 Americans don't want to see Donald Trump and Joe Biden run against each other. Yet that looks like the train wreck that's going to happen.

As a Republican that got this right, right out of the gates, it's bittersweet, because for about eight milliseconds, I feel like we're getting history, right. But then, I realized my party is on fire, and it's burning up right in front of me.

And I don't know what that reset button is going to end up looking like. I hope it happens, in the next few months. I hope somebody's able to step up, and take Donald Trump out.

COLLINS: I mean, what does it say to that Trump was criticized -- that Will Hurd was booed, tonight, criticizing Trump, saying, you know, he was just telling the truth.

DUNCAN: I got booed two days before Donald Trump's -- the 2020 election, when I said "Our policies are so good, as Republicans. They even help the people that don't vote for us." And 40,000 people wearing red hats booed me, right? This is crazy, right? We need to change our mindsets.

And I think the conservative movement, the conservative policies make sense, in today's world, with the problems that we have in this country, with public safety, national security. It's time for us, to turn the page.

COLLINS: Geoff Duncan, Karen Finney, thanks for spending Friday night, with me.

Up next, he is facing indictments, in New York and Florida. And as soon as next week, maybe in Geoff's home state of Georgia. Also, maybe here in Washington.

What it's like to handle legal problems for the former President? We're going to speak to two people who know.



COLLINS: Tonight, Donald Trump is now saying this, about the Justice Department meeting that he just called, productive, yesterday saying he expects "Nothing from the meeting with my lawyers and the Lunatics in the DOJ regarding January 6th." He's accusing them as he has been for several weeks, and if not months now, of interfering in the 2024 election.

Let's discuss with lawyers, who worked inside the Trump White House, May Mailman, and Jim Schultz, here with me tonight.

May, I mean, as someone, who worked in the White House Counsel's Office, what is it like, for you, to hear the new charges, yesterday, of a President, attempting to delete surveillance footage?


If you are inclined to think that Trump's a criminal, they definitely promote that.

If you are inclined to think that the Department of Justice is partisan, you're immediately reminded of Hillary Clinton, deleting 30,000 emails. And here, we're just talking about surveillance, not the actual documents themselves. So, it's not necessarily surprising to me, I guess. I'm of the mind that there's probably another cooperating witness. And that's why they continue to charge.

But I do think that there's one thing that I find maybe beneficial to Trump here, which is that the document that they're now charging.

So, this Iran war document is something that he returned, to the Department of Justice. And that, I think, was the most damning statement that he said that Jack Smith had, which is that he thought that that war document was classified.

Well, it turns out, he returned that classified document. I think that that opens up an argument that you could say that the remaining documents that he had, those were the ones that he thought that he declassified.

COLLINS: But he was also claiming that he didn't even have that document. He never used the defense that he had actually turned that document, back over to the Justice Department. I mean, he was acting like it didn't exist, and saying it was just bravado.

But Jim, I mean, Trump's attorneys, in this case, they kind of thought they knew what they were up against, what they were dealing with. But now, with the documents investigation, they're facing major charges. There's a new co-defendant.

I mean, what is it like to be a Trump attorney, who is waiting, on one indictment, and then you get this put in your lap, another entire addition to that case?

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Look, I tend to think that that document, that 32nd document, is a real problem, for the defense team.

And I think it's a real problem, because in that meeting, there were discussions going on, about that document. And they're able to now go to witnesses and say, "Was that document present in that meeting?"

And whether it was -- whether the President claims it was classified or declassified, or whatever it is, that's all going to get sorted out.

But the bottom line is if it wasn't declassified, and he can't show that it was declassified, and he was showing it to somebody, he shouldn't have, and that person corroborates that testimony? That's a real problem, for the former President.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, he acknowledges on that audio tape, that it wasn't declassified, I mean, he's the one saying that. And of course, everyone has talked about not only the effort to retain the documents, but also transmission, showing it to other people.

May, one thing that we have learned about this, with this new co- defendant, who has been added to this, Carlos De Oliveira, in this, the question of who is paying for his attorneys, and a question of his loyalties, where Trump was telling others, and calling Carlos himself, to say that he would make sure he had an attorney here. What does that say to you?

MAILMAN: Well, as much as I would like to think that there's some sort of altruism going on here, I really don't think that that's the case.


Obviously, Trump has not paid for any of the defenses, for January 6 defendants, which just really hurts my heart, because these are people, who had nothing, and gave up everything for Trump.

But I think that the reason behind paying for Carlos' attorney is one, Carlos does not probably have the money for it. But two, you don't want Carlos to flip. He's your employee. He's been loyal. He's your guy. You guys have a good relationship. And by continuing to pay for his legal fees, I think that Trump can hopefully maintain that relationship.

COLLINS: Do you think Trump should have paid for the attorney, the defense fees, for rioters?

MAILMAN: So, I don't -- I don't know whether he should have paid, for all of their legal defense fees, but maybe bail. I mean, something -- some of these people were just unable, to make ends meet, their families were unable to make ends meet.

And he has called these people, "Patriots." If you think that they're patriots, if they think that they're here for you, then you owe them something.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, that's also probably something to consider --

SCHULTZ: And it's --

COLLINS: -- before you break into the Capitol.

MAILMAN: Well, yes, no, I don't know think that they --

COLLINS: We got to leave it there.

SCHULTZ: Yes. And going back to the --

COLLINS: Go ahead, Jim.

SCHULTZ: I said, going back to the point of the, of paying for the legal fees. That's typical, in a lot of situations, where you have someone, who can't afford counsel, people pay for counsel.

But the important thing there is that the lawyer, representing that individual, is representing that individual's rights, and representing the individual that he's representing in court, and not the interests, of the folks, paying the legal fees. That's the important point.

And that's something that, you know, the rubber is going to hit the road on this as things start to clamp down on these witnesses, or on Oliveira, and he's going to have to make some decisions.

COLLINS: May Mailman, Jim Schultz, unfortunately, we're out of time. We'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much.

MAILMAN: Thanks, Kaitlan.



COLLINS: Tonight, CNN has obtained the frantic 911 call made, after LeBron James' 18-year-old son, Bronny, went into cardiac arrest, on the basketball court.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen... Listen to me. Get an ambulance here now.


COLLINS: Bronny James, fortunately, has since been released from the hospital. He is at home, recovering. His dad tweeted well wishes.

My next guest is not only a longtime friend of Bronny's, but he is also the son of another basketball superstar, Shaquille O'Neal.

Shareef O'Neal had his own heart scare, undergoing open-heart surgery, at the age of 18, before he also made his way back to the basketball court.

I had a chance to sit down with him. Here's that conversation.


COLLINS: And joining me now is Shareef O'Neal.

Shareef, I'm so glad you're joining us, tonight.

Obviously, Bronny has now been released from the hospital. He's at home, resting. Obviously, very good news. How'd you feel when you heard that update about your friend?

SHAREEF O'NEAL, SHAQUILLE O'NEAL'S SON: It was relieving to me. I hope nobody ever has to go through something that I went through, you know? Hearing that he's out of, it made me smile. I'm happy to -- I'm happy to hear that.

COLLINS: Yes. And what did you think? I mean, when you first heard this news? It kind of shocked everyone, not just the sports world, everyone who's followed his career. And that he had suffered cardiac arrest, on the basketball court, what went through your mind?

O'NEAL: It kind of brought me back to what I went through, when I was 18-years-old, my first year college basketball. And I was at the rival school, UCLA. We didn't have too much, the similar situations. But it both had to do with the heart. And it just kind of brought me back to those days. Those were pretty sad days for me. And I just wanted to kind of -- I spent so long, not thinking about it. And when something like that happens, it kind of just brings me back. So, when I heard, I was devastated. I was just hoping everything was OK. But I got word pretty quickly that he was -- that he was getting taken care of.

COLLINS: Yes, there are so few people, who can really empathize with what he was going through better than you can. Because you did both have the heart scares, as teenagers. Obviously, you both have dads, who are superstars. You're both each talented, really talented yourself.

I mean, what would -- what's something that you wish you knew, when you were going through that, that he should know now?

O'NEAL: That, it's, the doctors are professionals. Kind of how NBA players are professionals, the doctors are kind of like the NBA players of the medical side.

So, what I wish I would have known is, trusting them more, because I was so scared the whole time. Everything they're telling me, I just kind of went in one ear, went out the other, because I was just so scared, for my life. But, I wish I would have had a better sense of listening, trusting them to kind of protect my own spirit and my own emotion.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, it's a terrifying experience.

And I know, you said while you were lying in bed, after you had open- heart surgery, to fix an artery that was essentially growing in the wrong place, you're watching a game, with your dad. And you said, he turned to you, and he gave you the best advice that he's ever given you?

What was that advice?

O'NEAL: I mean, he told me two things. They're both pretty simple. But it just means a lot to me coming from him.

The first one is, he knew that people were saying negative stuff about it, like I'll never be able to do this, never be able to do that. And he just simply told me, "Don't let anybody tell you that you can't do anything. Whatever you believe in, you can achieve this." So that stuck with me.

And then, we were watching a UCLA game, I was supposed to be playing that season. And then, he just looked at me and said, "If you make it out of this, and you return back on the court, you'll be the baddest man on the planet." So, that stuck with me, and that still sticks with me. Every time I go play, every time I wake up, I always think of that quote, he told me.

COLLINS: Yes. And have you been able to talk to Bronny, since everything happened, check in on him? O'NEAL: Yes, I just sent him a message. When something like that happens, from my experience, I kind of didn't want to look at my phone. I didn't want to keep opening social media, and seeing people, talking about it, because it's such a serious moment in life, that you kind of just want to forget about it. You just want everything to be better.


So, I just sent him a quick message, and told him, if he has any questions, reach out to me, or my mom, or my dad, anybody. That family is really close to mine. So, I just said, "Reach out," told them I love him.

And then just -- I just I'm going to let that family have their space, kind of be together, during this time, because I know that was a big thing for me, when I was going through it. It was family being there for me. So, I'm going to respect their privacy. I don't want to bombard. I know a lot of people were probably reaching out to him, the whole family praying.

I just sent him a quick message. And he knows that. We see each other all the time, because he's really good friends, with my little brother. So, when we talk about it, we will. But I know it's pretty soon right now. So, I kind of wanted to respect his privacy, right now.

COLLINS: Yes. And after everything you went through, I know you partnered up with the American Heart Association. Obviously, that was very important to you. What can you tell us about the work that you've done with them and what that's been like, learning from that experience that you had?

O'NEAL: I didn't really know a lot about the heart, until I had to go through this. And American Heart Association has been doing a great job, of allowing me to connect with them, learn more about it, and spread heart awareness, because this is a problem.

There's been a few incidents in these, I want to say, the past year or two, with two basketball, and one football. It's a big problem in sports. And a lot of programs don't -- I feel like they don't check their athletes' hearts. And luckily, the situations that happened, everybody's fine from it, the three that I'm thinking of right now.

But I think it's really important that people know about this, get their hearts checked. And especially, in African American men, that are athletes, it happens a lot. And I wanted to start spreading awareness about it, so we can prevent this problem from happening, and kind of find out what's going on.

COLLINS: Yes, absolutely. It's such a critically important message.

Shareef O'Neal, thank you, for joining us. Obviously, we're all wishing Bronny the best as well as he recovers.


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