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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump Maintains Dominant Lead Over Rest Of GOP Field Despite Indictments; Biden To Keep U.S. Space Command In Colorado, Reversing Trump Decision To Move It To Alabama; State Department Orders Non- Emergency Personnel To Leave Haiti Amid Increase In Abductions & Gang Violence. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 31, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That's it for us. The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE, Donald Trump expecting another indictment, quote, "Any day now." And as his legal peril grows, so does his political power, the staggering new numbers, and 40 million ways that his base may help keep him out of prison.

Plus, Trump's newest co-defendant, and Mar-a-Lago manager, emerges from obscurity, to the center of the storm, swarmed, today, by cameras, at his first court appearance, but not his last. Could his indictment end up helping his boss delay that trial, until after the election?

And as President Biden reverses a Trump decision, to move U.S. Space Command, to Alabama, some politicians are blasting that politics is behind the no-go. We'll speak to one of them, next.

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

Tonight, Trump is predicting that his next indictment is imminent. "Any day now" is the way he worded it, in a new post, on social media. And of course, as with other target letters, and other indictments, he has been the one, to tell us about them.

Though his legal problems seem to be growing, and mounting exponentially, his political fortunes are growing and growing as well. It's coming into a clearer view, today, just how much he is dominating the nomination fight.

A brand-new poll shows that he has a 37-point lead, over his next closest Republican rival. That is 37 points ahead of Governor Ron DeSantis, in the New York Times/Siena survey of likely Republican primary voters. And more than 50 points ahead of the rest of the pack.

So this, of course, is going on, two impeachments, two criminal indictments, as we are seeing here, as this is continuing, weighing what Republican voters here are going to decide.

I'm joined tonight by one of those Republican candidates, in the race, former Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson.

Governor, thank you so much, for being here, tonight.

The Republican front-runner says that he believes he's going to be indicted any day now. Why aren't these indictments hurting him with your party's voters?

ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, they are. I think, even though he has a grip, right now, on the campaign, on his candidacy, it's a loosening grip. There's a growing resurgent effort, against the Trump GOP establishment.

And that resurgent effort is growing. It's because he has misled his supporters. He told them that we -- "I'm fighting for you." And yet, he's really asked of them, to fight for him, by paying his legal fees, in which he's used $60 million of campaign funds that he solicited from small donors, across America, to pay legal fees.

And so, these facts, as they come out, are going to slow his campaign down. The last place, you see, it will probably be in the poll numbers. But you're seeing that resurgency grow. And I expect it to continue to do so.

COLLINS: But what are you basing that off of, Governor? Because we're just -- we're not seeing that in the numbers, at this point. You're not seeing it, when you go to Iowa, New Hampshire, and you talk to voters. I mean, you hear some concerns.

But overwhelmingly, based on these new numbers, he is still the dominant force, in your party, despite those indictments.

HUTCHINSON: Well, whenever you see campaign rallies, there's an incredible turnout. He brings a real entertainment value, to his campaign.

But whenever you look at winning, in 2024, there's a recognition that will be problematic, with Trump leading the ticket, not just in his campaign, but down the way.

The debate is very important. The debate is going to bring out many of these facts. I am doubtful that Donald Trump will show up, on the debate, because -- I expect to be there. I plan on being there. And these are facts that will be brought out, and that he will not be able to withstand that type of scrutiny.

COLLINS: Yes. You and I both don't think he is going to be there, based on what we know, right now.

But when you look at this poll, it finds that only 19 percent of Republicans, in your party, believe that -- only 17 percent see the former President is having committed any serious federal crimes, despite the fact that he is facing another potential indictment, this week. I mean, what do you say to -- how do you -- what do you say to those voters?

HUTCHINSON: Well, what I say to them is that we can't win with Donald Trump leading the ticket. I tell them that these are very serious criminal charges. And they're going to have to cast a vote, as to whether he's going to be our nominee or not, while these charges are pending.


Can you imagine the circumstances that we have somebody, leading our ticket, that has been convicted of a felony or soon going to trial? This is unbelievable, in American political history. I don't know that we've ever had these types -- I know we haven't had these types of circumstances before

And so, I know that you see the poll numbers, and I believe there is merit, that there's going to be a quiet reduction, in those poll numbers, as more of the facts come out, and as more of the candidates join in, and there is more candidates joining my resurgency. And I think that's going to start having an impact.

COLLINS: So, you think the polls are just wrong?

HUTCHINSON: No, no, no. No, I'm saying that the polls are reflecting where we are, today. But I'm saying, as you go on, he's going to lose support, those poll numbers will go down.

And you see it now, in the donor base, you see it in the nervousness, of Iowans, and a recognition, we need another alternative. But the last numbers that will move will be the poll numbers. So, you might not see that dramatic change, until later this fall.

COLLINS: Well --

HUTCHINSON: So, you got to be patient on this. You got two choices.

COLLINS: I should note --


COLLINS: 52 percent of the Republican voters that were surveyed here said that they aren't considering anyone, not named Donald Trump.

But I want to mention, you talked about his legal fees there. We have now learned that his political group spent more than $40 million, on the legal costs, in just the first half of this year alone, defending Trump, his advisers, and others. I mean, is the Republican Party turning into a legal defense fund, at this point?

HUTCHINSON: Well, he's merged his campaign, into his defense strategy. His campaign is all about simply trying to address the criminal cases that are against him, both in terms of his fundraising, but also in terms of his rallies, in shaping public opinion.

If he loses the public opinion, if he loses the fundraising base, he has no defense strategy. And so, it's all merged in together. And that should be an alarming circumstance, in fact, for the GOP, and candidates that are going to be having to run next year.

COLLINS: Do you agree with Will Hurd, what he said Friday night that Trump is running for president, to stay out of prison?

HUTCHINSON: No. I think he's using his run for president, to run his campaign. That is the ultimate what he is doing now. And so, becoming president is a hopeful thing, obviously, for him. But the point is they're merged together, right now.

And I phrase it in a different way, this, an alarming day for our party. The debate is important. I'm going to raise these issues. I need everybody's support to be there. $1 helps me get on that debate stage. We'll raise these issues that are important --

COLLINS: But you said --

HUTCHINSON: -- to American public.

COLLINS: Governor, you said you believe that his political strategy -- his legal strategy, is a political one. So, how do you not agree with that sentiment, if that's -- if he's running this race, in a way to benefit, and to help insulate him, from his legal issues?

HUTCHINSON: Well, he is. He is running this race, in a way that funds his campaign that keeps a public opinion, moving his direction, is what he's attempting to do. That's why he's going to continue to have rallies.

But you're asking me the motive as to why he ran to begin, with, which was last year. I can't judge that.

So, I respect Will. He can say what he wants to say on that. I'll phrase it in my way. And that his -- Trump's candidacy is dangerous, for the American public. We have to beat him at the ballot box.

And people ask me, "Well, what's your chance of winning?" You either have to elect him and coronate him, or you get in there and fight. And I'm getting in there, and fighting for the Republican Party that I believe in, and the Republican -- and the country that I want, for our future, and for our grandchildren's future. And it doesn't -- it can't be led by Donald Trump.

COLLINS: If you don't make the debate stage, will you stay in the 2024 race?

HUTCHINSON: I intend to make the debate stage. We've had 10,000 new donors, just in the last couple of weeks. And so, we have momentum there. I have full expectation to be there. People expect me to be, on that debate stage. And I intend to be there. And I know that the 40,000 donors will come through for us.

COLLINS: I know you want to be there, and you've said you intend to be there. But I think there's a real question, about whether or not you will.

Because when you look at this poll, I mean, they didn't poll just Trump. They polled all the Republicans. And you, Governor, don't hit 1 percent, in any of the demographics, when it comes to Hispanics, evangelical voters, women voters, those with a college degree, without a college degree.

I mean, when you see those numbers, how do you -- why do you think you'll be on that debate stage, in just a month from now?


HUTCHINSON: Well, the Rasmussen poll, a very credible national poll, had me at 4 percent, tied with a number of other contenders, there. And so, let's just look at a broad variety of polls there.

But again, I'm not as known as some others that are out there. I want people to hear my story, of being a federal prosecutor, head of the DEA, worked on border security issues, in the Bush administration, Congress, a governor for eight years. I want them to hear that record of experience. And as we get out there, I expect those numbers to change.

COLLINS: Governor Asa Hutchinson, we will see if they do, if Trump's numbers change, as well, with those pending indictments.

Thanks so much, for joining us, tonight.

HUTCHINSON: Thank you, Kaitlan. Great to be with you.

COLLINS: Thank you.

And for more, on this, I want to bring in Jamal Simmons, a former Communications Director, for Vice President Kamala Harris; and Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former Trump White House Communications Director.

With Trump's support, Alyssa, and you're looking at these polls, I mean, essentially, the broader picture, of this entire New York Times poll, is just how large his lead is, from all of the other Republican candidates. I mean, if you're an Asa Hutchinson, or even a Ron DeSantis, what's your reaction, when you see that poll?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this poll should send shockwaves, through the Republic -- any member of the Republican Party, who wants to see the party take a different direction, from Donald Trump.

I mean, this notion that Ron DeSantis was supposed to be the heir apparent? And I think he had a real shot, at being that, shortly after the midterms. But that's largely been squandered.

And I have to play some degree of, we'll call it, blame on some of the top contenders, in the field, after Donald Trump. Whether it's Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, we have a ton of respect for? They have not aggressively taken on Donald Trump, a former President who's got near 100 percent name ID in this country.

This notion that you're somehow going to just beat him, by kind of defining yourself, and maybe rolling out a great policy proposal? That doesn't work, in Donald Trump's America.

There has to be an effort to talk about why he is not a credible leader, why he's unfit for office, talk about his legal exposure. How many indictments do we need to have before they're going to do that?

And I just feel like folks, as smart as they may be, are waiting for some kind of magic to happen. And there's no indication, historically, that it's going to.

COLLINS: Well, Thomas Massie, who's a Kentucky Republican, who is endorsing DeSantis joked maybe they needed to get him indicted that would help his poll numbers, in the Republican Party.

But when you look at this, what we hear, a lot of the time, is it's too many candidates, and that's why Trump is above and all, because he splits the dissension.

But when you looked at this poll, they eliminated everyone else. Even if it's just a Trump and DeSantis head-to-head matchup, Trump was still so far ahead of him. I mean, look at the numbers, 62 percent to 31 percent, even if it's just the two of them.

JAMAL SIMMONS, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR TO VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, the actual numbers are even more impressive than that spread, right, like 54 percent to 17 percent. It's pretty big deal.

Donald Trump clearly has the force, when it comes to this, Republican primary. Too bad it's on the dark side, and not really on the light side. But it's clear that Donald Trump is the kind of the big character here.

The question that I think that Governor Hutchinson was getting at, a second ago, is there are a few pivot points, when it comes to campaigns. And the debates will be one of those pivot points. And remember, it takes a horse to beat a horse. And, right now, nobody really knows anything about the rest of these candidates.

So, once they see them on stage, they see how they perform? I think then the second poll after that, in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, the States that matter first, let's take a poll after that, and then we'll see where this race really is.

COLLINS: But is it policy that matters? I mean, what is the takeaway, from the debate? Because the New York Times found they essentially looked at all sides of an issue.

Whether people believe -- if you believe that trans people should be able to identify, with the gender they do, or you don't?

Whether you believe that changes should be made to Social Security and Medicare, or they shouldn't?

Whether you believe in corporations that should promote left and woke ideology, as DeSantis puts it, or that Republicans should stay out of that?

On every single side of the issue, Republican voters still sided with Trump, over DeSantis, even on some of the issues that he says, he's stronger than Trump on. FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, and even if -- I think policy matters, to a certain degree. But I think that we live in such a 24-hour news cycle, social media environment, where personalities really drive things. And there's no bigger personality than Donald Trump.

I agree with you. I don't think he's going to show up to the debate stage. Hell, if I was advising him, and he's polling this high ahead, I probably wouldn't tell him to. I'd expect him to have counterprogramming that I think is going to juice him, just as much, with the people, who are with him.


FARAH GRIFFIN: I do think however, though, with DeSantis, sinking, there is an opportunity, for someone to emerge, as the number two. I think it's likely a Nikki Haley or Tim Scott. But it will require them, to get aggressive, and define why Donald Trump can't be the leader.

Part of it is the electability issue. He is who Joe Biden wants to run against. Joe Biden is chomping at the bit to run against Donald Trump because he thinks he can beat him again. If it's a Nikki Haley? If it's a Tim Scott? If it's a Will Hurd? That's a much more challenging thing, for the incumbent president.

COLLINS: An argument Governor DeSantis makes is that he can -- essentially he has, two issues, that he can get things done, and that he can beat Joe Biden, is what he argues.



COLLINS: But when the New York Times and Siena asked Republican-likely voters that? They believed that Trump would be able to beat DeSantis, when it came to getting things done, 67 percent to 22 percent. And on the ability to beat Biden, they gave Trump 58 percent, and DeSantis 28 percent.

I mean, those are the two arguments that he's been making out on the campaign trail.

SIMMONS: No, it's absolutely true. This poll is devastating, for DeSantis, in every possible way, including the people, who say that they are favorably inclined toward him. His favorable number was 66 percent. Among those people, Donald Trump still beat him 49-48. I mean, it's a pretty tough, pretty tough row for him to get through.

COLLINS: Yes. Well and not even just those issues. It's also about Trump, and his legal exposure. I mean, and there were Republicans, it was 22 percent, I believe, when they were looking at the Trump- DeSantis head-to-head matchup that said, even if they believe that Trump committed serious federal crimes that they would still pick him over DeSantis.

I mean, you're a Republican. What does that say about where Republican voters are?

FARAH GRIFFIN: I think it means that Donald Trump has done a masterful job of committing the -- convincing the American public that "This is a witch-hunt. These are not true allegations. They're coming for him, because he's defending you." All, not true, but that is what he's done.

And he's frankly been aided, by a lot of Republicans, in the party, who, if he's the nominee, they're going to bear the brunt of that one. He, I think, will lose to Joe Biden.

SIMMONS: Kaitlan, he's so strong, he gets indicted, and everyone else has campaign problems.

COLLINS: I mean, that's what we're -- Governor Asa Hutchinson is, we'll see if he's right about that prediction there.


COLLINS: Jamal Simmons, Alyssa Farah Griffin, thank you both, for being here, tonight.


COLLINS: We got our first look, today, at the second person accused, of conspiring with Trump, to obstruct justice. What happened, when the Mar-a-Lago property manager appeared in court, today? His arraignment's coming up.

Plus, a growing Space Command saga, as President Biden has decided to keep the headquarters, in Colorado, rejecting a Trump-era decision, to move it to Alabama. Critics, including Democrats and Republicans, in the State's delegation, are not happy.



COLLINS: Donald Trump's legal battles, stretch up and down the East Coast, in the D.C. election interference case. The former President says he believes that an indictment could happen any day now. Obviously, he has been the very person to announce many of the indictments, and target letters, that he has received.

Meanwhile, in Miami, the former President's new co-defendant, in the Mar-a-Lago documents case had his first appearance, in court, today.

And in Georgia, Fulton County is now bracing, for potential Trump charges, there, not just for him, but also potentially for many of his Republican allies, as the District Attorney says that her investigation, which has been going on for two-and-a-half years now, is complete, and quote "We are ready to go."

A lot to sort through, tonight, obviously, on the legal front. So, I am joined by a pair of former U.S. attorneys, David Kelley and Harry Litman. Thank you both for being here.

Harry, Trump says this indictment is coming any day now. Obviously, it's Trump. We don't know when the actual indictment will come. But he has forecasted these, a lot, in the past.

If and when that comes down, what are you going to be looking for, in the charges?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I want to see what this 241, it was kind of the surprise statute, the Civil Rights statute, what's the theory there? Because they're not doing an Insurrection charge, it looks like. So, it may have to do with the actual conduct, on January 6th. I really want to see what that's about.

COLLINS: And is your expectation that it won't be a sealed indictment? Like, there was, with the documents case, we had to wait for them to unseal it? So, it was kind of the Trump legal team, out there, talking about what the charges were and what it looked like. And then, we saw the indictment for itself.

LITMAN: That's right. It could be. Because the only real reason to do it? You would sometimes do it, if you think the defendant is going to abscond. Won't happen here. The reason to do it is to sort of get the security in line, and have everything good to go. That'll be a judgment call that Jack Smith will make, maybe with the chief judge of the --



COLLINS: And that's the 2020 election interference investigation.


COLLINS: We also have the documents case, which of course, we saw, became a superseding indictment, last week, as a third co-defendant was added. He was in court, today, in Miami, Carlos De Oliveira. His arraignment now is going to be scheduled, for August 10th. He did not have a Florida-based attorney.

We saw the same thing happen, with Walt Nauta. He delayed in getting a Florida-based attorney.

Do you think this is, clearly, a delay tactic, from the Trump legal team?

KELLEY: I don't think it is. I mean, look, I've practiced a lot, in Southern District of Florida. And they're very strict on that proactive issue, meaning, you have to have a, somebody, local counsel, stand up for outside counsel. So, I don't really credit it to be a real delay tactic. And I don't think it's going to really delay much of anything.

And remember, Trump also needs to be arraigned, once again, on the superseding indictment. So, my guess will be that they'll do it all in one package.

COLLINS: OK. So August 10th is what we're looking for there.

The other thing we learned from that superseding indictment is about Trump employee 4, which for those of us, who have been covering this closely, it's Yuscil Taveras.

LITMAN: That's right.

COLLINS: He is the I.T. employee. He's in charge of essentially all of that. And he was the one that Carlos De Oliveira, allegedly, went to and asked about deleting a server, for "The boss?"

Is it clear to you, given he has gotten a target letter, as we are told, part of these new charges, is based on what he told investigators? Do you believe he's cooperating with them?

LITMAN: Yes. Or he's just testifying as he's supposed to.

But it's such a good point that you make, and that people have largely missed. He gets the target letter. And now, he does what people should be doing, what De Oliveira should have done, Nauta should have done.

He gets a new lawyer. The guy had before, Stan Woodward, it's like represents a dozen witnesses.

COLLINS: Including Walt Nauta.

LITMAN: Right. And that new lawyer says, "Excuse me. You've got a way to have no jeopardy, a way to have jeopardy. Why don't you actually tell the truth?"

He does. He goes forward. And he is a cooperator. He's out of trouble. That's what we know. He won't be charged. And he's someone, who's just got up, and told the truth, like citizens are supposed to.

COLLINS: And what do you read into how prosecutors are asking, we're told, based on sources, asking about who's paying for their attorneys, and who's paying for their legal fees? I mean, we know obviously, Walt Nauta's attorney, Stan Woodward, is being paid. So is John Irving, who was -- who's Carlos' attorney. What do you make of that?

KELLEY: It's a great question. I mean, look, it's an obstruction case. And part of an obstruction case is, who the witnesses are, and how -- what they're hearing from the witnesses. And part of that is who's representing these witnesses? And is that the representation really part of an obstruction scheme?


And I think with Employee number 4, I think what Harry just explained this, the switching of the lawyers, really speaks to that very issue.

That when he had a lawyer, who was paid for, by the Trump Organization? He said one thing.

When that lawyer was conflicted, and he got a new lawyer? Bingo, he suddenly is what appears to be, in my mind, undoubtedly, a cooperator.

COLLINS: You believe, undoubtedly, he is cooperating?



And we're not just watching this investigation. We also now are watching Georgia as well. I mean, we've long believed that August would be the month, where there was any movement, in that case.

And we heard, from the Fulton County District Attorney, on the investigation, there, her view of it. This is what she said.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The work is accomplished. I mean, we've been working for two-and-a-half years. We're ready to go.


COLLINS: What do you make of that? You think charges are coming?

LITMAN: Oh, yes. And "Ready to go" means ready to go.

I actually think in saying September 1st, she was looking to give a little berth, to Jack Smith. She was -- it's very unusual. They haven't communicated at all, we've learned, which is strange, or at least unusual. And I think in saying September 1st, she was saying you got a week or two? From news reports, she might have thought, coming tomorrow. No, you're OK, but pull the trigger relatively quickly.

COLLINS: Do you think it's strange that they haven't coordinated?

KELLEY: I don't. I can see Jack Smith wanting to be able to say, at the end of the day, he wasn't influenced by anything, exterior, to his own investigative team. But I think that the, you know, putting up the orange barriers, in front of the Fulton County Courthouse, pretty much sends the signal that he needs.

LITMAN: But they're now practical issues. You're right. I think that he might not have done it before. But they're now (ph) going to be tripping over each other, different statements, and grand jury, if they don't coordinate.

COLLINS: Well, and for the district attorney, you saw there, Fani Willis?


COLLINS: I mean, there was an attempt to essentially disqualify her, by the Trump team. They cited comments that she's made in the past.

LITMAN: Right.

COLLINS: I mean did they have any merit, when they're talking about this, that she has played a political role, in this as well?

LITMAN: She's a politically-appointed official. Her campaign actually did talk about Trump, that way. I don't think it'll get anywhere. But this -- it's not completely. This is one of the few things that have a little bit going for.


KELLEY: Look, I agree. I don't think, number one, the judge found it was a slam-dunk. No standing, so he didn't -- he couldn't really bring the suit. And when the case ultimately gets charged, he still doesn't really have a claim. I think his best claim may be some sort of selective prosecution. That's an incredibly difficult charge to succeed on.


KELLEY: So, I think this is all a lot of noise.

COLLINS: We just stick through a lot right there, D.C., Florida, Fulton County.

LITMAN: Doing our best.

COLLINS: Harry Litman, David Kelley, thank you both, for being here.

LITMAN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Ahead, U.S. Space Command is staying where it is, Colorado, after President Biden says he will not be moving the headquarters, to Alabama, as was ordered, in the Trump administration. How some lawmakers are vowing to fight it, and investigate the move, next.



COLLINS: Tonight, Sources say President Biden will keep the headquarters of U.S. Space Command, in Colorado, reversing a Trump-era plan, to move it to Huntsville, Alabama, a decision that has left Republicans and Democrats, in that State, unhappy, tonight.

The nation's top Military leaders chose Colorado Springs, as the home of Space Command, back in 2021. But President Trump, before he left office, made the announcement that they were going to be moving it to Alabama, a decision, I should note, that was backed by the Secretary of the Air Force that Trump had picked, at that time.

There was later an evaluation into why this was picked. That evaluation did find that Huntsville was ranked first, Colorado Springs was fifth. This is a list of six contenders that they looked into, as what was the best home, for U.S. Space Command.

Colorado officials said the decision was politically-motivated, at the time. There was a report that was done, by the Government Accountability Office, and the Inspector General, at the Pentagon, that found there were shortfalls, in the decision-making process, but still ultimately backed it.

The Air Force Secretary picked by -- that is in place now, Frank Kendall, continue to recommend, having the headquarters, moved to Alabama, in line with that initial recommendation.

U.S. officials now say that Biden's decision is based on the advice, of the Head of Space Command, that's General James Dickinson, who argued that if they moved it now, it would jeopardize Military readiness, given the time it would take, to move.

GOP senator, in Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, is now saying this is a disastrous and policy-based -- politically-based decision that he says of course, this comes as he is single-handedly holding up the nominations, of more than 300 Military officers, over the Pentagon's abortion policy.

That is the context and the background here.

Joining me now, to talk about this, is Republican congressman, Robert Aderholt, of Alabama.

Congressman, thank you for joining us.

I mean, we are told that the Pentagon informed the Congressional delegation, in Alabama, of this decision, before it was announced publicly. Were you one of those? And what did you say to those officials?

REP. ROBERT ADERHOLT (R-AL): Well, the last decision or the last conversation that we had, with the folks, at the Pentagon, and with General Dickinson, was that there was no reason that it had to be in Colorado. So, this came as a complete surprise, to us, today. We had no knowledge of it, before this afternoon. We got word, actually, from a reporter.

So now, we were completely shocked, because, of course, obviously, we knew that Colorado was wanting to get Space Command. But they ranked number five, as you mentioned, in your opening remarks. And Huntsville, North Alabama was number one. And so therefore, it only made sense that you're not using politics, to make the decision? Then, it would come to Alabama.

COLLINS: And do you believe this is a political decision that is being made by the Administration?

ADERHOLT: Well, I'm concerned that it is, after -- because, you mentioned about the Inspector General. Biden had his Inspector General, also come in, and take another assessment. And still, Huntsville came out on top, heads and shoulders above all the rest. So, it has been vetted many times.

This decision was made, quite some time ago. It happened to be President Trump was the president. But it was based on the decision that Huntsville and North Alabama was the best place. No political decision, -- political influence was put into that, to my knowledge.

COLLINS: Well it --

ADERHOLT: And it was solely based on the -- what the dynamics of the situation was.

COLLINS: But, on that front, this decision has kind of sparked this debate, I know, among lawmakers over who should make the decision, here, because, as we noted, the Air Force Secretary, Frank Kendall, had the -- was leaning toward Alabama.

And the question was, should the Air Force Secretary be the one, making this final decision? Do you believe it's up to the President? Or is it up to the Secretary of the Air Force, here?

ADERHOLT: I think, ultimately, it should be up to the Secretary of the Air Force, because it should not be a political decision. And that was why Alabama was ranked number one, and that's why it well -- for all indication, it was going to Alabama.


So, it's just completely shocking and outrageous that all of a sudden, here, at the 11th hour, they have decided to put it in Colorado, when if you look on list, right, ranked five? I mean, nothing against Colorado. But it was just not the place where they thought it was best. They looked at the best place to, for cost of living -- they -- multiple factors were put into the mix.


ADERHOLT: Politics was not one of those. And Huntsville, North Alabama came on top.

COLLINS: Well, and I should note, Trump's Secretary of the Air Force, also, Barbara Barrett, also said that she believed it should be moved to Alabama. But he later claimed single-handedly that he was the one, who made this decision. That's what raised questions, of whether or not he was making a political decision.

But what we're hearing, from officials, the pushback, to what you're saying today, is that they say the headquarters, in Alabama, the new ones, would not be completed, until sometime after 2030. And that would affect Military readiness. Do you see any merit in that argument?

ADERHOLT: No, because we had a conversation, and when I say, "We," the Alabama delegation. All of us met with the, General Dickinson, who is over Space Command. And that was never once mentioned. This was probably within the last two months, we had this conversation. And there was no indication there was a problem, with Huntsville, at that time.

And if things have changed, I don't know where it's coming from.

COLLINS: Well, as you know?

ADERHOLT: Other than maybe it's coming from politics, from the President.

COLLINS: Well, as you know, our home state, Alabama bans abortion, at any stage of pregnancy, no exceptions, for race -- rape and incest. The only exemption is if it's needed, because the pregnancy threatens the health of the mother.

We had previously heard, from U.S. officials, that they had concerns about those policies, in Alabama, and what it would mean, for servicemembers there, if Space Command was moved to Huntsville. I mean, do you believe that the overturning of Roe versus Wade, and the State's abortion policy, played a role, in this decision?

ADERHOLT: Well, I hope not. Because if it did, then we know it's clearly politics, because I hope that we're not deciding, where our Military bases in this country, is going to be located, is based on the political landscape, of the particular state.

So obviously, Alabama did, like many other States, pass some abortion laws, as under the Dobbs decision, they could. But I don't want to -- I don't want us to go down a road of where we're making Military decisions, based on politics. And that's what this looks like. And that's why we're very concerned.

And, as the Alabama delegation, we're going to do everything, we can, to try to, find out where the problem is. And we'll be meeting together, probably very soon, and discussing how we can move forward with this.

COLLINS: And Congressman, if you don't think that politics should play a role, in Military decisions, does that mean you disagree with what Senator Tuberville, is doing, right now, by holding up Military nominations, because he doesn't like the Pentagon's abortion policy?

ADERHOLT: Well, you've got to remember it never was the policy of the Pentagon that you pay -- the abortion was always was never on the table.

And so, the Biden administration brought politics, into the mix. And that's why Tuberville has been responding, the way he has. He is pushing back with the Administration, and saying, "Let's not play politics with this."

And so, they were the ones that started it. If he had never put the policy in, where they pay for travel, on abortions, then this issue would never come up.

COLLINS: But they're not paying for abortions. They're paying for servicemembers, to be able to travel.

ADERHOLT: To travel.

COLLINS: To travel. So, they're not directly paying for abortions. They say they're doing that because if a servicemember? They don't get to decide, where they're stationed. If they're stationed in Alabama, they have no choice but to have to travel, to make that decision. ADERHOLT: Well, the bottom line is the taxpayer dollars are going toward abortion. And Kaitlan, there's a lot of people, in this country, including myself that just doesn't feel comfortable, that taxpayer dollars are going toward any way, directly or indirectly, toward abortion.

COLLINS: But if you're --

ADERHOLT: And that's what this is all about.

COLLINS: If the concern is about Military readiness, I mean, don't you agree that his hold, on these nominations, for someone, who is going to be, on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is affecting Military readiness?

ADERHOLT: I think that these people -- obviously, you want to try to do everything you can. You don't want to impede the Military. But, at the same time, there is a lot of people, I think, the Military is doing fine. And I don't think that these holds, on the Military, are going to cause any great concern, to the readiness of our Military.

COLLINS: I just think some people listening may have a tough time, connecting those two, and understanding the concerns that you, and members of the Alabama delegation, have.


That the Administration is playing politics, by deciding where the Head of Space Command should be, and the idea that an Alabama Senator is single-handedly blocking all of these Military promotions, which former Defense Secretaries say is going to affect Military readiness.

ADERHOLT: Well, no -- well, again, it goes back -- this was never an issue until the Biden administration put this policy, in effect, in the beginning that abortion would be a part of it. And so --

COLLINS: But that's as the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade.

ADERHOLT: Exactly. But since that, but -- you know, let me just say that, what we're talking about is taxpayer dollars. And there's not that anyone's forbidden from getting abortion, but it's the taxpayers' dollars going toward, indirectly, but still. And there's so many Americans that does not want to see their taxpayer dollars, go toward abortion.

COLLINS: Congressman Robert Aderholt, thank you, for joining us, on this decision, about Space Command, and where it's going. If you hear anything from the Administration, please let us know.

ADERHOLT: Thanks, Kaitlan. It's good to be on, with you.

COLLINS: Thank you.

Ahead, an update, on the search, for the American nurse, who was kidnapped, in Haiti, along with her child, what we're learning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Tonight, U.S. officials are closely monitoring, the kidnapping, of an American nurse, and her child, in Haiti. But they have not said whether or not they have any leads.

This is Alix Dorsainvil. She was in the country, with a Christian humanitarian organization that her husband founded.


In a video, for the aide group, she described what working in Haiti meant to her.


VOICE OF ALIX DORSAINVIL, AMERICAN NURSE KIDNAPPED IN HAITI: Haitians are such a resilient people. They're full of joy, and life, and love. I'm so blessed to be able to know so many amazing Haitians.


COLLINS: The organization now says that Alix, and her child, were taken, near Port-au-Prince, Thursday morning. That's the same day that the State Department put out a new warning, telling all non-emergency personnel, to leave Haiti, given the situation unfolding, on the ground.

Joining me now, is the Executive Director, of UNICEF, Catherine Russell.

Thank you so much, for being here, tonight.


COLLINS: I know that you were just in Haiti. You just left there, last month. What is the situation like, on the ground?

RUSSELL: The situation, on the ground, is really quite desperate. There's so much violence, everywhere.

There are armed gangs that are sort of patrolling Port-au-Prince, and terrorizing everyone, who lives there, honestly. And now, we're seeing vigilantes, forming in response to the gangs.

And so, the result is that the poor people, who live there, are just being completely terrorized, by gangs, on both sides, and living in complete and utter terror.

COLLINS: Well, and Haiti has always struggled, of course, and then the humanitarian issues, on top of it, the President was assassinated recently. I mean the confluence of issues, on the ground, and how that's affecting?


COLLINS: You're seeing it up close, how it's affecting, these children, these people, who are living there, and growing up, and trying to live their normal lives?

RUSSELL: Exactly. Well UNICEF does humanitarian work. And primarily, that's what we're there to do, is to try to help 5 million people, who need humanitarian assistance.

And that's incredibly challenging, when, you know, as you say, Haiti has had many struggles, over the years. Some of them are things like earthquakes that they have no control over.


RUSSELL: Some is bad governance. Some is just really difficult sort of violence, that has been a persistent problem.

But the confluence of all of these things has made it really challenging, for the population that lives there.

COLLINS: And I mean, what's the solution for that? I think people look at this.


COLLINS: And they're horrified. I mean, obviously, Alix, Haitians meant so much to her. She talked about just --


COLLINS: -- the resiliency, of the people, given the earthquakes, and issues that they have had to deal with.

RUSSELL: Yes, I was struck by what she said. Because I visited a school, when I was there. I actually was there with Cindy McCain, who's the Executive Director of World Food Program.

And we saw a school, where these kids are so excited, to be there. They come. They're in their uniforms. The girls, you saw it in the video, they all have their hair, and these beautiful bows and ribbons. And I thought, they mean -- it means so much to them, to be able to go to school, and to their parents, to get an education. And that's what we want is some future for the country.

But right now, you can't even get to that because the violence is so pervasive.

So, I think the first thing is that somehow we need to quell the violence. And that's not going to be easy, because Haiti doesn't really have the capacity itself to do that. It doesn't have a Military. It has a Police force that's really decimated. So, they are unable to do this.


RUSSELL: And so that's why President Henry, as you mentioned, has asked for international help. The Secretary General, the Secretary of State have all said there needs to be some force, that goes in there, to try to stop some of the violence. COLLINS: Catherine Russell, obviously we're thinking of Alix, and her family, and hoping, for a safe recovery.

RUSSELL: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you for joining us, though, with your perspective, given you were just there, last month.

RUSSELL: Yes, thanks so much.

COLLINS: Thank you.

Back home, some Republicans are sparring, with Democrat counterparts, over testimony, from a former business partner, of Hunter Biden's. What he told lawmakers during a closed-door deposition, next.



COLLINS: On Capitol Hill, today, Hunter Biden's former business partner testified, behind closed doors. Devon Archer, saying that Hunter Biden put his father, on speakerphone, numerous times, during a period (ph) of time. That's according to a source, familiar with his testimony.

But Archer also stressed that while Hunter Biden did call his father, who was Vice President, at the time, he said it was an effort, to sell what he called the illusion of access, to then-Vice President Biden.

CNN's sources, also reiterating that Archer did not provide any evidence, connecting President Biden, to his son's business dealings, as Republicans have alleged. That has not changed. And Archer's appearance comes as he is set to serve, a year-long prison sentence, in an unrelated fraud case, but something that still played a factor, in this testimony.

CNN's Kara Scannell joins me now.

I mean, that was the most notable thing, was him saying that Hunter Biden would call then-Vice President Biden, and put him on speakerphone. But I don't think it's any surprise, something happens behind closed doors. We got wildly different versions of it, from Democrats, and from Republicans.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we definitely have.

I mean, so Devon Archer was a business partner, of Hunter Biden's, for about a decade. And he said that Hunter Biden would call his father, every single day.

But he recalled about 20 times that Hunter Biden had called his father, put him on speakerphone, when they were in meetings, with business associates. One phone call took place when they were in Paris, at a dinner.

He's also talked about how, according to sources, how the former President -- or excuse me, I guess, he was the --

COLLINS: Then-Vice President?

SCANNELL: Then-Vice President had popped into a dinner. And he had done this numerous times.

But what Archer did say, under oath, according to our sources, is that they never discussed business. These were more of just cordial Hello types of conversations.

But the Republicans are saying they're going to seize on this. The House Oversight Committee Chairman, James Comer, is saying that "No, no, no, this is evidence that Joe Biden did know something, about these foreign business dealings."

And so, in a statement, after the hearing, he said, "When Joe Biden was Vice President of the United States, he joined Hunter Biden's dinners with his foreign business associates in person or by speakerphone over 20 times. Why did Joe Biden lie to the American people about his family's business dealings and his involvement?"

And, as you said, the Democrats are choosing to look at this differently. And the House member, Dan Goldman, who was in the room, when this testimony was taking place, he came out afterwards, and said that this is all a waste of time.

Here's more of what he said.


REP. DAN GOLDMAN (D-NY): The witness was very, very consistent, that none of those conversations ever had to do with any business dealings or transactions. They were purely, what he called, casual conversation.



SCANNELL: Archer's attorney is saying that of course, both sides are looking to claim victory, here. But he said all that Devon Archer did, was answer all of their questions, honestly and truthfully.

COLLINS: Notable development, there.

Kara Scannell, thank you, for tracking, all that for us.


COLLINS: Also ahead, there has been a new subpoena, just issued, in a Trump-related investigation. Who is it? We'll tell you next.


COLLINS: A new update, just in tonight. A journalist, in Atlanta, says that he has gotten subpoenas, two of them, to appear before a Fulton County grand jury, sometime in the month of August.

His name is George Chidi. He was at the state Capitol, on December 14th, 2020. The reason that day is critical is because that is the day that the electors were meeting, to certify the election, for President Joe Biden. He discovered a meeting of Republicans, downstairs, who were planning to serve as fake electors.


This is the latest indication that the District Attorney, Fani Willis, could plan to seek indictments, in her criminal probe, into Trump, and his allies' efforts, to overturn the 2020 election.

We also know that meeting is something that has come, and been of interest, to the Special Counsel, Jack Smith.

I should note, this was first reported by the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. CNN has confirmed it.

And, as you heard earlier, the District Attorney, in the State, said that she and her fellow prosecutors, two-and-a-half years, into their investigation, in the State of Georgia, are quote, "Ready to go."

Thank you so much, for joining us, tonight.

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

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME: Hey, Kaitlan. I'm telling you, if you thought August, with the summer, was winding down? This is heating up. I'm telling you.

COLLINS: Yes, cancel your vacations, anyone who's watching.

COATES: Oh, did you have vacation plan, Kaitlan? What is this thing, called, vacation? Does that mean like you go someplace, and you don't work?

COLLINS: I don't know.

COATES: Want to know how that goes. OK. Thank you.