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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Ex-Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell Requests Speedy Trial; Bail Bondsman On Walking Giuliani Through The Booking Process At Fulton County Jail; "Catastrophic Inflight Incident": CNN Review Of Flight Data And Videos Shows An Explosion Likely Brought Down Prigozhin Jet. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 25, 2023 - 21:00   ET






They've all surrendered, 19 new mug shots, for the history books, now to the next phase, trying to clear their names. We have just learned that the Kraken wants to get cracking, Sidney Powell asking for a speedy trial.

Plus, the Kremlin says it's all a lie, now strongly denying Putin was behind that plane crash that presumably killed Yevgeny Prigozhin. The authorities now have their hands, on the black boxes, from the flight. We'll see what we learned from them.

Also, tonight, Spain's women's soccer team, refusing to play, as the country's soccer chief is refusing to resign, all over that unwanted kiss, at the World Cup.

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

All of the mug shots are now in. Now comes the legal maneuvering.

Tonight, former Trump lawyer, Sidney Powell, is seeking a speedy trial, according to a new court filing. That makes her the second of the 19 defendants, in the Georgia election interference case, to do so. She of course, is the one, who's promoted those unhinged stolen election conspiracy theories, like the one, about Hugo Chavez, rigging the U.S. election, from his grave.

Obviously, this move comes after we just saw another former Trump attorney, Kenneth Chesebro, who also requested a speedy trial. And he might just get it. The judge responded with an October 2023 trial date.

As for Donald Trump, his legal team is taking the exact opposite approach. And they want to push the trial, back as far as possible. Meanwhile, Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, has served notice, she's prepared to start turning over a trove of evidence to defendants' attorneys, exactly three weeks from now, September 15th.

That comes as Willis is really facing her first big test, in this entire case, on Monday, when a hearing is going to be held, over Mark Meadows' request, to move his case, from a state court to a federal one. It is almost certainly going to look like a mini trial, before the real trials get started.

Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, has been subpoenaed to testify, along with his former lead investigator, during the 2020 election. Their testimony is likely to center around Trump's infamous find-me-enough-votes phone call, in which he pressured Raffensperger, to help him find votes that didn't exist, so he could stay in power.

Meadows, of course, was, Trump's Chief of Staff, at the time. He was on that call. And he is facing charges in part because of his participation in it.

I'm joined tonight by Michael Moore, the former U.S. Attorney, for the Middle District of Georgia; and CNN Legal Analyst, Carrie Cordero.

Michael, let me start with you. Because, Sidney Powell is now asking for this speedy trial. Trump has been pushing back when others have asked for that. Obviously, they each have a right, to when they want to have those trials happen.

But how could this entire case be affected, if Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell both get these speedy trials?


Georgia has a unique statute. It's called the Speedy Trial Act. And it essentially holds the prosecutor's feet to the fire, when a defendant asks their case be tried, when they're indicted, like the State gets one additional term of court. And in Fulton County, that means that they get an additional two months.

So, that would place this trial sometime before October, so that the prosecutor had no choice, but to schedule it, and the court had no choice to schedule, because if the trial is not held by then, then the case is automatically judged an acquittal. So, that's a problem, for the State, in this case.

I don't think there's any possible way the other defendants will be ready. I think it's probably smart on Chesebro's behalf, to go ahead and move forward. I don't know how he'll feel about being joined with Ms. Powell.

But I imagine there are other defendants, who will be glad, to have those cases move first, so they can watch the case. They'll learn what the witnesses say. They'll see what the evidence is. They'll get to read how a jury reacts to the arguments that are made. They'll get to hear the arguments, surrounding attorney advice, in this case. And so, that's -- those cases will go quick. They will not finish quickly. It'll be a long case. There'll be a ton of issues that come up. But I think what it does it delays everything else. But, of course, all this hinges, frankly, on the hearing that we see, coming forth, on Monday, in federal court, and whether or not the cases are removed. It may make some of this a moot point.

COLLINS: Yes, it's going to be fascinating.


But, on the speedy trial aspect of this, Carrie, Trump's brand-new attorney? And by brand-new, I mean, he's been on the job for like three days now, Steve Sadow. He has said that Trump is seeking to sever his case, from anyone, who is making a similar request, for a quick trial. That was before we saw this move, by Sidney Powell, tonight.

But if the cases are indeed separated, some people, like Kenneth Chesebro, and Sidney Powell, go, and maybe they're acquitted? We don't know. What does that mean, for Trump's case, here?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he's going to want to delay his case. And some of the other defendants will too, because, I think, part of what's going to happen here is they're going to drown the D.A.'s office, in motions practice. And the former President is going to do it. Some of these other lawyers are going to do it. Some are going to want to go fast. Some are going to want to go slow.

But I do wonder, Kaitlan, the D.A.'s office has other matters to bring, if they're going to have to be doing some of the trials early, some of the trials later. They're going to be stretched thin. And at the same time, they're going to have all of the resources of the former President, and his team, making motions, to try to delay things as long as they can.

COLLINS: Right. I mean, they've made very clear that they're going to pursue those legal maneuvers. They haven't actually pursued, many of them, yet.

Michael, though, one thing that has been a question is whether or not Trump would also try to get his case moved, from state court, to federal court.

One person that we know seems unlikely to do so is John Eastman. We were talking to his attorney last night, about the prospect of how this could actually happen, given he never worked for the federal government.

This is what Charlie Burnham said.


COLLINS: He wasn't being paid by the federal government. He didn't have a taxpayer-funded job. So, how could you -- how is there any stretch of an argument that he was working on behalf of the federal government?

CHARLES BURNHAM, ATTORNEY FOR JOHN EASTMAN: He certainly wasn't working, on behalf of the federal government. And we haven't made a final decision, on that. You may wind up being right. We're not sure yet. You've made the counterargument very well.


COLLINS: I mean John Eastman didn't work in the government. But so far, Jeffrey Clark and Mark Meadows, we know they did. I mean, is it a stronger argument for them?

MOORE: A much stronger argument. I imagine if Mr. Eastman tries to have his case, transferred, that clip will be played back, at some point, in court.

I mean, the statute to remove a case, or transfer a case, to a federal court, is really about having federal executives, federal employees, who have actions brought against them, criminal actions, or civil actions, having a right to have the case moved.

And so, talks about their duties, talks about their job, talks about the things they do, in the normal course. It's a pretty low bar. They've got to make a plausible argument and have a plausible claim that they were doing something connected with their employee -- employment.

And so, here, you've got Meadows, who said, "Look, I'm doing the task of a Chief of Staff. I've been asked to make telephone calls. I've been asked to schedule meetings. I've been asked to do whatever the President asked me to do." And that is, in fact, what the job of the Chief of Staff is.

The President will say, "I am the President of the United States. I'm the Executive. And under Article II, I'm required to enforce the laws of Congress. And there are things, like the Voting Rights Act. The Federal Election Commission is under my purview. The Department of Justice and enforcing that election laws is under my purview." And that gives him a claim.

Now, whether or not the judge will agree with that? I don't know. But if there was ever a case, that would be transferred, because the Chief -- because of that Executive, federal employee, could, is there anyone more Executive than the President of the United States?

And these counts, 154 of the 157 acts that the prosecutor alleges, in her indictment, were acts committed, during the time that Trump was the sitting President of the United States. And so, there'll be a compelling case to be made to transfer. I don't think it will feel fit to everybody.

The question, at the end of the day, we just don't know the answer to this right now, is will there be an inclination, by the court, or even by the prosecutor to ask, that the whole thing can be transferred, if some are successful, so that she can put the case all at one time. COLLINS: I mean, Carrie, given what Michael just laid out, that, Monday seems to be pretty significant, for the future of all of these, potentially, what happens in Mark Meadows' hearing?

CORDERO: Yes, well, it's the first hearing, on this issue. And so, we'll see if there is more briefing that's requested by the federal judge, or any follow-up hearings that they have. It's the beginning of this process, as far as removal.

There's different arguments that different individuals in this will be able to make. I think we have to separate the former President, and any potential claim, he might make, for removal, because the Executive himself, there's questions about whether that individual, the former -- a President -- a President, would be considered for removal, as a former federal officer. So, there's a whole question about whether the President, as an Executive, is an officer.

I think Mark Meadows has really the strongest claim to the extent that anybody making this claim for removal has a good claim. He probably has the strongest case, again, for some of the reasons that Michael laid out.

And as Chief of Staff, I wonder whether a federal judge, will want to get into the business of deciding what, of the functions of a Chief of Staff are political activities, versus what functions are in their role as Chief of Staff, to the sitting President, as Michael was describing.


Jeffrey Clark also will have a, I think, not frivolous claim, given his role, at the Justice Department.

That's not to say that all of them will be successful, in their removal motions. But I do think that there are some serious issues that the federal judge considering it will have to look at.

COLLINS: We'll see what the judge decides.

Michael, I have to ask you, before we go, about this tweet --

MOORE: Sure.

COLLINS: -- that was posted by one of Trump's campaign advisers, essentially a warning, coming from Chris LaCivita.

He said, "If you are a campaign, PAC, scammer and you try raising money off the mug shot" of Donald Trump, "and you have not received prior permission," in all caps, he says, "WE ARE COMING AFTER YOU. You will NOT SCAM DONORS."

But I mean, please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a mug shot a public document?

MOORE: It's a public document. It's not a trademarked or copyrighted thing that he's -- he can claim to. So, it is a public document. I mean, maybe the one that they put out some months ago, that was a fake. They might claim that was their own individual artistic creation.

I just don't think they're going to make much headway, in the argument here. I mean, I imagine we're going to be seeing the mug shot, on T- shirts, both at the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions, as we go forward.

COLLINS: Yes, it's like that weird circle, in the Venn diagram, where it's like the overlap between people on the left and people on the right, Trump.

MOORE: Right.

COLLINS: They both want that T-shirt.

MOORE: Right.

COLLINS: Carrie Cordero, Michael Moore, thank you both, for joining me, on this Friday night.

MOORE: Always a pleasure. Thank you.

CORDERO: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Today, we're talking about this mug shots. Everyone, all the 19 have turned themselves in. The final two, a pastor and a publicist were the ones last two to surrender, today. It was right down to the wire, before that noon deadline.

Both of the people that you see here are accused of trying to intimidate Georgia election workers, Georgia election workers, like Ruby Freeman, who of course was falsely accused, by Trump, and his allies, of trying to pull a fast one, with the ballots that she was counting, simply carrying out her civic duty.

You may remember when Freeman tearfully told the January 6 committee, how her whole life was turned upside-down, by those very conspiracy theories that also led to death threats.


RUBY FREEMAN, 2020 FULTON COUNTY ELECTION WORKER: There is nowhere I feel safe.

Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States to target you?


COLLINS: Stephen Lee, as you see here, a pastor, showed up at the Fulton County Jail, dressed in his Sunday-best. Among other things, he is accused of taking part, in an effort, to influence Freeman, to give false testimony, to a grand jury.

She actually called 9-1-1 on him, in December 2020, after he showed up, at her door. This is what he told police, about that encounter.




CLIFFGARD LEE: And I tried to get her a message. She's terribly spooked. I'm not here to hurt her. I'm not here to cause any problems or anything like that.


COLLINS: As for Trevian Kutti that you see here? She's the one grinning, in her mug shot. And because this case really truly has everything. She's a former publicist to Kanye West.

Prosecutors say that Kutti once showed up, at Freeman's home as well. She told her that she could be arrested, if she didn't confess to election fraud claims, false election fraud claims, mind you, and that an armed squad of Federal officers would come to her home, within 48 hours, if she didn't.

She also allegedly threatened Freeman, while they were inside, of a police station. And, of course, because they were inside of a police station, there are cameras, and the incident was caught on body cam.

All of that evidence will likely be used, at their trials. Of course, they were the final two, to get those mug shots, today.

Also ahead, Rudy Giuliani, out of jail, thanks to help, from my next guest. He was actually with the former New York City Mayor, during his surrender. He helped free other Trump co-defendants, also this week. We'll ask him about that.

And the flight recorders have been recovered, from the plane crash that is believed to have killed Wagner boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin. What the Russians are now saying about the state of this investigation? Stay with us.



COLLINS: It was a busy week, to be a bail bondsman, in Atlanta.

Donald Trump, walking free, after his arrest, last night, with an assist from the folks, at Foster Bail Bonds. The former President, we are told put up 10 percent of his $200,000 bond, while the company covered the rest.

He wasn't the only one who needed help, though. A 2nd Chance Bail Bonds, that is what it's really called, has also taken on several of Trump's co-defendants, including the former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows; Trump campaign official, Mike Roman; two former Georgia officials, David Shafer and Cathy Latham, who served as fake electors. And, of course, the most prominent of those, Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani was seen at 2nd Chance, shortly after he surrendered, at the Fulton County Jail, on Wednesday.

And I'm now joined tonight by Daniel Matalon, the Owner and CEO of A 2nd Chance Bail Bonds, who has had quite a week.

Daniel, I mean, I know you personally walked Giuliani into the jail. I imagine you probably can't (ph) do that for all of your clients. Can you just kind of walk us through what that was like?

DANIEL MATALON, CEO & OWNER, A 2ND CHANCE BAIL BONDS: Kaitlan, thank you, for having me on, this evening. I appreciate it.

It's been a wild ride, for the last week. But essentially, we had to coordinate everything, for Mayor Giuliani, and help assist in that due to the nature of this case.

COLLINS: I mean, did Giuliani himself call you? Did someone, who works on his team call you? How did this even get --


COLLINS: How does this even get started?

MATALON: So normally, it starts through the attorneys. And we have a lot of great relationships, with attorneys, across the U.S. And this one somewhat landed into our lot, and they trusted us to handle the case for him.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, he came with the former New York City Commissioner or -- Police Commissioner, Bernie Kerik, who I don't even believe he was there. Well, he had a Georgia attorney, on the ground, Brian Tevis, who was with him.


COLLINS: I mean, did you ever think that Giuliani would be a client of yours?

MATALON: You never know what to expect. But in this industry, anything's possible.

COLLINS: And I understand that you also were part of helping the former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. You weren't there, with him, when he actually went into the jail. But can you kind of describe that situation?


MATALON: Really what it comes down to is efficiency and the logistics, right? And that's something that we're experts are, you know, that we're experts in. We're premiere leaders, in our industry, in that. And that's essentially why they trusted us to do this.

COLLINS: And so, when you went into the Fulton County Jail, I mean, we've been -- you're probably familiar with it, much more familiar with it than many people are, just given the nature of your work.


COLLINS: We've had so many people describe to us what it's like to walk inside that jail. What's it like to walk in there, with someone, like Rudy Giuliani?

MATALON: Well, everything is on heightened alert. But I will tell you, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office and Pat -- Sheriff Patrick Labat has done an amazing job, with this process. So, I can't speak more highly enough of them, and their efforts, to help us with this.

COLLINS: And so, you were there, as Giuliani got his mug shot, I assume?

MATALON: I was in the facility. They do not allow anyone to come into the back. But we were -- we walked him, into the front of the jail. And then, at that point, they take him back.

COLLINS: Did he say anything that stood out to you?

MATALON: No, he was cool, calm and collected, and followed the process. And we were in and out of there in 20 minutes.

COLLINS: Has it changed? Have you -- has your phone been ringing off the hook, since everyone sort of have been talking about your specific business --


COLLINS: -- on national television?

MATALON: Yes. Bail Bonds, I don't think, has gotten coverage, like this, in a long time. But we're glad that we were able to be here to help, help these individuals out, and get them back going, in the direction they need to go in.

COLLINS: For those, who haven't been through this process, kind of, can you walk us through? I mean, attorneys negotiate the bonds, you were saying, prior to their clients turning themselves in. What is the next step after that?

MATALON: Right. So, there was, in this particular case, there was a consent bond that was negotiated, prior to anybody turning themselves in. Then, once that consent bond was received, that document, the actual consent order gets locked -- loaded into the system. And then, once it's loaded into the system, then at that point, we can post the actual surety bond.

COLLINS: What happens if someone doesn't pay their bond back?

MATALON: What do you mean by pay their bond back?

COLLINS: Well, essentially, if you're helping them, and they're doing, and you're putting up, fronting the rest of it, I mean, what is the next step from that for someone like a Giuliani, in this process? MATALON: Well, look, he's got great legal team. And they'll await a court date and kind of work with the D.A.'s office, as this thing kind of carries along.

But if someone was to fail, to appear in court, obviously, that would activate a whole completely different situation.

COLLINS: Daniel Matalon, you've had quite a week. Thank you, for taking the time, to join us, tonight.

MATALON: Thank you, Kaitlan. Appreciate it.

COLLINS: In true Trump fashion, he is fundraising off his infamous mug shot that came after he got his bond.

And if you're wondering what President Biden thought of it, he has weighed in, something he doesn't typically do. We'll tell you what he said, next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you seen Donald Trump's mug shot yet?




COLLINS: Just moments, after he became the first President, to ever have a mug shot taken, Donald Trump was fundraising off of it.

And while the White House has gone out of its way, time and time again, to make a point, of not commenting, on the former President's legal troubles? President Biden did weigh in, today, when he was asked, about his predecessor's mug shot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you seen Donald Trump's mug shot yet? Mr. President, are you worried at all about the --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you think?

BIDEN: Handsome guy. Wonderful guy.


COLLINS: Joining me, tonight, former Democratic National Committee Communications Director, Karen Finney; and former Republican National Committee Communications Director, Doug Heye.

Thank you both, for being here. Karen. Obviously, the President is being sarcastic there.


COLLINS: But what do you make of him, making that joke, about a mug shot that stems from the former President's efforts, to overturn the election, given Biden has centered his presidency, on defending democracy, from people, he says, like Trump?

FINNEY: Yes, look, I think, it was perfectly fine and appropriate. Obviously, it was sort of an off-the-cuff comment. It wasn't a speech or something like that.

And the other thing I would say is that it gets very wise on the part of the President, and the administration. They have been very disciplined, about not commenting, in any way, shape or form, about any of these four indictments, and the legal issues, facing the former President, and really stayed focused, on their campaign, as well as running the country, which, I think, is absolutely right strategy.

COLLINS: Doug. Last night, Trump did an interview. He was talking about getting a mug shot taken. He said he had never heard the words, "Mug shot" before. He said, it was uncomfortable, there's the whole process.

But, I mean, he's obviously now also trying to make it a lucrative process, for him, campaigning off of it. His first tweet, in over two years, was about that very mug shot.

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Look, everything that you just described is everything that we've seen, from Donald Trump, since the day he announced. It starts with him being a victim. "Never heard of this. It was humiliating," all of that. And then, the revolution must be monetized and merchandised.

And this is a bit what we saw in Spaceballs, Spaceballs: The Flamethrower. Trump, the indictment, mug shot, T-shirt, these all tie into the same thing. And it's about how they can raise money, and monetize, as much as they can, on this, for the campaign.

But also, we know the campaign and the Super PAC are paying Trump's legal bills. He's not paying them himself.

And, look, this is also strategically smart, which is a bit of a bizarre thing to say, when you talk about a presidential candidate, and a former President, being arrested, and indicted, and with a mug shot and so forth.

But in the short-term, at least, as we learned in the debate, if most of the Republicans, who are running against Donald Trump, Jonathan Martin said they're running against a name only. If they're doing that, backing him up every step of the way, why not do this?


COLLINS: Yes, and I should note, I mean, typically, we hear from the Trump campaign, pretty quickly, when they've raised a lot of money. I reached out to several officials, tonight. I haven't heard back if they if they did. Maybe that's an indication they didn't. I don't know.

Karen. I do want to ask you though, because speaking of the broader Republican field, Vivek Ramaswamy was asked today, about kind of his vision, for what he wants to do, with downsizing the federal government. And he said he wants to treat it like Twitter.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Enjoyed getting to know better.

Elon Musk, recently, I expect him to be an interesting adviser of mine, because he laid off 75 percent of the employees, at Twitter. Well I want to lay off 75 percent of the employees, in the federal government.

Kind of like, he did to Twitter, he turned it into X. That's kind of what I want to turn the federal government into, is one big X.


FINNEY: I guess, the first thing I'll say is Doug, that is the future of your party, right there. I think, you've got your work cut out for you. I'm just going to kick back and eat popcorn.

Oh, my goodness. That was crazy. Does anybody think that what Elon Musk has done with Twitter? I refuse to call it X. Does anybody think that's been good? I mean, he literally broke something that was working quite well. So, I think that's a ridiculous idea.

And, just as we saw, Kaitlan, on your show, with the sort of 9/11 conspiracies, and sort of what we saw, on Wednesday night, like, he's having fun with this. And it seems like, to him, this is entertainment.

He's a billionaire. He's running for president. If it doesn't work out, meh, he'll go do something else. I mean, those are not serious ideas. And they're not -- that is not the way.

It's always easier, also, when you are an outsider, who has no idea how things really work, to just throw out these ideas, when the truth is, you can't really do that. There's a whole host of reasons, why you can't that we won't go into here. I mean, it's just ridiculous idea and ineffective.

COLLINS: Doug. I mean, is that the --

HEYE: Well --

COLLINS: -- future of your party? What are you thinking?

HEYE: Well, I would hope that Glenn Youngkin is the future of our party. He's a governor, who's polling very successfully, in his own state. Obviously, a lot of Republicans are looking him to potentially run, but also for the future. And he also understands how government works, and how business works, and where those two merge.

Look, if you want to say we're going to lay off 75 percent of the federal government. I'd like to make the government leaner and not meaner, but less meaner, and more effective.

But how do you do that?

Do you lay off 75 percent of the Veterans Administration? I don't think you do that.

Do you do that at the State Department? The Department of Justice? Well, Republicans are talking about that. But that would be defunding the police, as it were. So, you're not going to do that.

The Army? The Navy? The Department of Defense?

You have to define how you're going to do that other than just having smart lines, like some kind of a carnival barker.

COLLINS: I guess you could at least call it the X-ecutive branch. It's already there.


HEYE: There you go.

COLLINS: Karen Finney, Doug Heye, thank you both, for joining me.

FINNEY: Thanks.

COLLINS: Up next, we have new developments, on the crash that is believed to have killed Yevgeny Prigozhin. The Kremlin is adamantly denying that it has played a role, here. But they have denied things that we have seen, like this, before.

What does U.S. Intelligence think? We'll tell you, next.



COLLINS: Tonight, the Kremlin is vehemently denying that it is behind that plane crash, believed to have killed Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin. A spokesperson, for Vladimir Putin, called the speculation that Russia was involved, quote, an "Absolute lie."

After that plane fell out of the sky, though, Russia's Civil Aviation Agency quickly confirmed that Prigozhin and two other key Wagner figures were listed, on the plane's manifest.

Citing early Intelligence, tonight, Pentagon officials say it's more likely that Prigozhin was indeed killed. U.S. and Western Intelligence officials also tell CNN they do believe that it was deliberate. Russian investigators have recovered 10 b0odies, they say, and flight recorders from the site, and that they are now carrying out DNA tests, to confirm their identities.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Ivan Watson, has covered the war, in Ukraine, and President Putin himself, extensively.

Ivan, I mean, they've got these flight recorders, now. But they're in the hands of Russian investigators. What is the latest, on the work, being done, tonight? And will we ever really find out what's on these black boxes?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that'll all be in the hands of the Russian authorities, to reveal that.

Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead. He was on the flight manifest, as were several of his top lieutenants, from the Wagner mercenary group. There are already memorials that have sprung up, all over Russia, in honor of this man.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has come out, expressing his condolences, to the victims. His spokesman has said, well, it's not clear whether or not Putin would attend a funeral, if it's confirmed in fact that Prigozhin's body was recovered there, on the scene.

As you pointed out, the Pentagon, the British Ministry of Defense, they think that Prigozhin likely died aboard the plane, that Pentagon says it has seen no evidence that this could have been caused by a surface-to-air missile, bringing down this plane.

But CNN has conducted an analysis of the amateur videos that have come out of the evidence, on the ground, that's been revealed.

And experts have told CNN, they do not think this plane was brought down, by weather, or some kind of technical malfunction. Instead, there was some kind of catastrophic incident, because it looks like the plane was already blown apart, as it was falling out of the sky.

And this only happened maybe 20 to 25 minutes after the plane took off, from Moscow. It was flying at an altitude of 28,000 feet. Then, it suddenly, at 6:19 PM, jumped up to 30,000 feet, and then started plunging and rising, until it made its final plunge, to the ground.

Now, flight trackers, they had seen this plane. This was known to be one of the planes that Prigozhin was believed to fly on. And, in the last two months, they'd seen it flying back and forth, between Russia and Belarus, periodically turning off its a flight tracker.


Why is that important? Because, Prigozhin launched this brief but deadly mutiny, exactly two months before this fatal plane crash.

And as part of a deal, the dictator of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, gave him safe haven, and security guarantees, to set up in Belarus. And the Wagner mercenaries set up a base there. So, that's part of why they believe this was Prigozhin's plane that had been flying back and forth.

Now, Lukashenko has come out on camera, and he has said he does not know who caused this crash. He does not believe, he says, that his close ally, Putin, could have done it. His answer was, quote, "It was too rough and unprofessional work," for this to have been Putin.

COLLINS: And he is, of course, very close to Putin.

Ivan Watson, thank you, for the latest.

Joining me now, Bill Taylor, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, in the George W. Bush, and Obama administrations, a perfect person, to talk about this with.

Ambassador, I mean, does someone, who threatens Putin's power, as Ivan just laid out, ever die, unintentionally, in Russia?


I think President Putin felt challenged. He felt humiliated. I mean, Ivan did the right -- described it well. When Prigozhin mounted that mutiny? That was a direct threat to Putin. That was a direct challenge.

Just before the mutiny, Prigozhin said this whole war against Ukraine was a lie that Putin had been lied to, the generals were incompetent, that there were no Nazis hidden, and gave -- there was no threat to Russia, from Ukraine. These were all the stories that Putin had told the Russian people, on why they were invading Ukraine. And that was a challenge to him.

So, you're right, Kaitlan. That's exactly what he had to do.

COLLINS: I mean, when you hear Dmitry Peskov, vehemently denying today that Russia had anything to do with this, or was behind it? I mean, what's your reaction to that?

Because, we were talking earlier about the point that if this did happen, and Putin didn't know about it? It would similarly reveal a concern about his grip on power and what that looked like.

TAYLOR: Ivan mentioned that Prigozhin's actually got a lot of following, was very popular among a lot of people, both on the left, and on the right, and in the military. So, there are a lot of Russians, who don't understand why one of their heroes, Prigozhin, was killed. So, that's probably why Peskov has to deny it.

But it is so well-established that I think there's very little doubt that Putin gave the word, gave the order. It was professionally done, exactly as Lukashenko said, it was not. It was clearly a professional job. And so, that was where they were going with this.

COLLINS: It sounds like there's no doubt, in your mind, that Putin is behind this. TAYLOR: There's no doubt in my mind.

And they're -- as you've pointed out, he, Putin, has lied before.

Remember, when they first went into Crimea, in 2014, the Little Green Men? "No, they were not Russian soldiers." Turns out they were, of course, Russian soldiers.

Just before they invaded, on February 24th, 2022, a year and a half ago? Lavrov came out and said, he ridiculed the Western press, saying, "Oh, the Americans are being hysterical. We're not going to invade." Well, we know what happened.

So, this is the kind of lies that they tell.

COLLINS: Yes, I mean, it's been 18 months, since Russia invaded Ukraine, and they still don't even call it war.

TAYLOR: They don't call it a war. A special military operations. You can go to jail, in Russia, for calling it a war. You're exactly right.

COLLINS: You did mention how loyal Prigozhin's followers were. I mean, we've seen these memorials, where people were coming and laying flowers. We've seen people crying. Even though the Kremlin is denying it, do you think those followers are buying this? Or what is their response?

And, I mean, what does it say to anyone, in Russia, who may consider threatening Putin's power, to watch a plane, of someone, who threatened Putin's power, come crashing down, in a ball of flames?

TAYLOR: Which is exactly why my view is Putin ordered that done. He had to somehow regain this reputation, as a strong man, as the leader, as someone you don't cross, because, that reputation had been challenged. That reputation had been challenged, by Prigozhin. So, he had to try to reestablish that by giving this order.

And yes, I do believe that there are a lot of Russians, who are not happy about it. There are a lot of military and there's a lot of soldiers, general officers, other officers, soldiers, who respected Prigozhin, because he actually was a leader.


He was a military leader that actually got something done. It was one of the few military organizations that took a city, Bakhmut, as we know. So, he had some respect within the military. And I think the killing of him is going to have repercussions.

COLLINS: We'll see.

Ambassador Bill Taylor, thank you, for joining, with your expertise, tonight.

TAYLOR: Thank you, Kaitlan. COLLINS: Spain's women's soccer team is now refusing to play, after that unwanted kiss at the World Cup, one you'd see in just a moment, unless the head of soccer that you see here, resigns. He says he won't, claiming it was consensual. The player, of course, the other person there, says it was definitely not.

We'll have more, ahead.


COLLINS: Spain's World Cup champions, now refusing to play. The team is standing with its star player, who has said, time and time again that her boss' celebratory kiss was not celebratory for her, and not consensual.

Right away, Jennifer Hermoso said she quote, "Did not like it."

The Federation then put out a statement that appeared to quote her, seeming to say otherwise.


But today, in her own words, in her own statement, she said, not to put words in her mouth, and said what happened was sexist, and an out- of-place act.

If you don't know what happened, or you missed this? It was the moments after Spain won its first ever World Cup. That is the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, standing alongside the Queen of Spain, and other dignitaries, when you can see that he grabs Hermoso's head, and forcibly kisses her, on the mouth.

Rubiales, today, gave a defiant speech, refusing to resign. That speech, met by applause, by an audience that I should note was mostly male. He described the kiss as mutual, and blamed it on what he called, quote, "False feminism."

Hermoso and the rest of the winning team say they are not going to take the pitch again, until he has been removed.

I'm joined, tonight, by Christine Brennan.

Christine, thank you, for being here.


COLLINS: I mean, it's very clear that this was not mutual. But what does the round of applause that Rubiales got today, say to you?

BRENNAN: It's, I think, that last gasp of machismo, misogyny, sexism, Kaitlan, that the Spanish Federation wanted to show.

What we are seeing here is now on display, front and center, the incredibly difficult working conditions, and it is a workplace, that these wonderful Spanish players, the World Cup winners from just on Sunday that they've been dealing with now, for at least a year that they've been complaining about, and talking about.

And there it is. If there was any doubt, what was going on behind-the- scenes? Well, you don't have to doubt anymore, because now you see it front and center.

And I cannot imagine that Rubiales, the President of the Federation, obviously, under such fire, right now, I can't imagine that he can last, even another day or two, because the Spanish government, as well as all of the Spanish women's players, and some of the male players, they want him out. And they are being very vocal, on that subject.

COLLINS: Yes. 56 other female players are backing this boycott.

So, you think he's on thin ice? I mean, you don't think this lasts much longer?

BRENNAN: I can't imagine. I mean, what has been so wonderful about something so awful, Kaitlan is that these players are speaking out, and that the world is seeing the conditions that they've been working in.

I mean, there is, as we know, from a year ago, there were 15 players, who complained about the coach, and the working conditions, and his tactics, and their health and wellbeing. And no one listened to them. No surprise, now that we see the Federation president, and what he's up to. And 12 of those players did not make the World Cup team, and were left behind.

And so, now, it's clear that there's an absolute, just a mutiny, among all the Spanish players.

And they have -- so, they're still celebrating their World Cup victory. But in less than three weeks, they have got to try to qualify, or about three weeks, qualify for the Olympics. So, that Spanish women's team that just won the World Cup has to be together to try to make it to the Olympics. And the Spanish Federation has to deal with this, before then.

COLLINS: I noticed. Yes, you mentioned the coach. I noticed in their statement, they used the plural, "Managers," need to be removed, before that they will -- before they will play again.

But this isn't just about one team. I mean, this is an entire sport and industry that has been dogged by sexism.


COLLINS: Do you think this is going to be a reckoning for women's soccer?

BRENNAN: I do, Kaitlan. Obviously, I'm optimistic on this. But I actually think this will be an incredible watershed moment.

Just as that women's World Cup so many positive things about it, the 32 teams, the great TV ratings, Australia, just off the charts. Well, now this. And this is, if we're watching women's sports, and we get a chance to see this, there it is. And it's all the good and the bad.

And I cannot imagine that there are many people, around the world, right now, who are looking at this and saying, "Oh, great, yes, this is wonderful." No. These men have had their way, with these women, for a long time. And that time is up.

And I cannot imagine if the Federation itself doesn't handle it? The Spanish government will. If the Spanish government doesn't? FIFA, the worldwide governing body.

And what they should do, I believe, is look at every single country, have a hotline, have an anonymous tip line, where female athletes, these soccer players, from all around the world, can make complaints.

Because, if it's happening in Spain? And we know the U.S., with the Sally Yates investigation, last year, happening in the United States, these same kind of issues, over the years, in the U.S. Spain, the U.S., where else?

And this is a game that has been filled with misogyny and sexism. The women have gotten short shrift for decades. And now is their time, to speak out. And man, oh man, are they speaking out? It is absolutely wonderful, to see that the world is now seeing, exactly what is happening, in the women's game.

COLLINS: Yes, they certainly are.

Christine Brennan, thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: It was an unusual way, to kick off the first Republican primary debate, with a breakout country music song.




MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: Why is this song striking such a nerve, in this country, right now?


COLLINS: Well, the singer, Oliver Anthony, that you saw there, is responding to that question. We'll tell you what he said, next.


COLLINS: Oliver Anthony, the singer of the breakout number one hit, "Rich Men North of Richmond," is responding to his song, being used, at the opening of the Republican primary debate, on Wednesday night.



OLIVER ANTHONY, SINGER, "RICH MEN NORTH OF RICHMOND": It was funny seeing my song in the -- it was fun -- it was funny seeing at the presidential debate, because it's like, I wrote that song about those people.


COLLINS: The first question, at the debate, of course, was about how his song, is striking a chord, with Americans.

Anthony said it is, "Aggravating," his quote, that Republicans are trying to identify with him. But he calls out the left for also, in his words, trying to discredit him. He says the song is not about politics. He said it "Has nothing to do with Joe Biden. It's a lot bigger" than that.

Thank you so much, for joining us.

"CNN PRIMETIME" with Abby Phillip, starts, right now.