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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
D.C. Election Interference Case Set For March 4; Meadows Testifies Under Oath In Courtroom Surprise; Spanish Prosecutors Open Soccer Chief Investigation. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 28, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Gymnast Simone Biles has made history, again. She earned a record eighth U.S. Championship, on Sunday, also making the record books, at 26, as the oldest gymnast, to win a national title. It all comes, just a few weeks after she returned to a league competition, following a two-year hiatus, after the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The most decorated gymnast, in U.S. history, has now earned a spot, in the World Championships, later this month, in Belgium. Congratulations to her.
The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
A federal judge, denying Donald Trump's long bid, for a trial, after the election, instead, scheduling it two years sooner, than the former President wanted, and right on the eve of one of the biggest dates, on the political calendar.
Plus, a risky move, by his former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, taking the stand, for hours, in his own defense, offering his explanation, of that phone call, now at the center of the Georgia case.
And prosecutors, in Spain, tonight, launching a criminal investigation, after that unwanted kiss, at the World Cup, and a strange new development.
I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.
Donald Trump's attorneys, in court, today, in both Georgia and Washington. A marathon hearing, in Fulton County, ending without a ruling, from the judge, after hours of surprising testimony, from his former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, who of course is fighting, to get his case moved, from federal court, and potentially ultimately dismissed.
Meadows was questioned, on the stand, about the former President's infamous phone call, with Georgia's Secretary of State that is at the heart of this investigation.
Of course, Meadows himself was also on that call. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Mr. President, everybody is on the line, and just so, this is Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff, just so we all are aware.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: But first, to the critical hearing, in Washington, in the federal election interference case, where U.S. District Judge, Tanya Chutkan, denied Trump's longshot bid, for a trial, in April of 2026 and, at times, urged his defense attorney, to lower the temperature, not once, but twice, today, after it got heated, inside the courtroom.
She also did not grant the Special Counsel's request, for a trial, starting in January. And instead, jury selection is going to start, on March 4th. That is the day before Super Tuesday.
Trump responded to that date, by criticizing Judge Chutkan, who he previously had been warned against, with his inflammatory rhetoric, with her saying that it could potentially speed up that trial.
Perspective now, from LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, a retired California Superior Court judge.
Judge, thank you, for joining us, again, tonight, here, on THE SOURCE.
LADORIS HAZZARD CORDELL, RETIRED CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: Sure.
COLLINS: What do you make of the March 4th trial date that was set today, by Judge Chutkan? Do you think it's fair?
HAZZARD CORDELL: Oh, it's absolutely fair. Judge Chutkan deliberated, heard everyone, both sides, and set a date that I think is a reasonable date. It may get changed. But for now, I think it's reasonable.
But I'll tell you, Kaitlan, the moment, in that hearing, that struck me, I can only have two words, to describe it, as stunningly stupid.
And that was when Trump's attorney compared their desire, to delay the case, to what happened, in the case of Powell versus Alabama, a 1931 case, involving the Scottsboro Boys, who were convicted of raping two White women. And case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and their convictions were reversed.
And what the Trump team did was say that, "Well, what happened in that trial is what could happen here, in this trial," which is absolutely absurd.
In the Scottsboro case, the Scottsboro Boys were indicted, and were in trial, six days later, not even given the opportunity, to choose their attorneys.
In this case, there was an indictment. But that was -- the trial date is seven months out. He has experienced lawyers, a whole team, investigators.
And it was stunningly stupid, because one, the comparison is ridiculous.
But second, if you want to alienate a judge, in a case? This was exactly what to do. A female judge, a Black judge, and to talk about that case, and compare it to Trump's case was absurd. And Judge Chutkan really took them up on it and said, this case is entirely different. I think she was absolutely offended. It was really a stunningly stupid thing to do.
COLLINS: Yes. She noted, as you did there, I mean, the timing difference, of that, and also just the completely different cases. I mean, if you had been the judge, in that room, today, what would you have said, to Trump's defense attorneys, when they brought that up?
HAZZARD CORDELL: Yes, well, first of all, I would have read the pleadings and probably maybe had a law clerk with me. And, I think, my first thing would have been "Wait, what?" having read it, and then decide, "Oh, we're going to address this in the courtroom."
And she did. She said it's profoundly different. And I think she was offended.
So, hopefully, there's a learning curve, on the lawyers' side, to not go rogue, like this, again, and take cases that have absolutely nothing, in common, and try to show that they do have something in common, which in this case, they did not.
COLLINS: And one of the biggest points of disagreement was over the amount of discovery, the timing here. And judge Chutkan was saying, discovery, in 2023, it's not like sitting in a warehouse, with boxes of paper, where you're looking at every single page.
But do you think the defense has a legitimate point, when they say, it is a lot to go through, in this timeframe that they have, on their hands?
HAZZARD CORDELL: I think the defense has a very good point to make, about discovery, and going through the documents. As you've noted, fortunately, we're at a time, where things are digitized, you can do word searches, to look through documents.
So, it's not to belittle the fact that there are lots of documents that have to be gone through. At the same time, this judge is aware that this is a new day. And there's a way that they don't have to sit down, and go through every single piece of paper.
In addition, the prosecution has said, "Look, we're not even going to use classified documents, when we present our case."
So, I think, she -- I know she gets it. And having been a litigator herself, she understands. She was a defense attorney. She understands exactly what's involved, in discovery. So, I think, this was a fair conclusion, for her to come through, to give them the time, to go through the documents, and be ready to go to trial, in March.
COLLINS: Trump wasn't at that hearing, today. But he wrote on social media, shortly after that he is going to appeal this date. I mean, is it clear to you, on what grounds, he would appeal this on, could be able to -- is that even possible, here?
HAZZARD CORDELL: I think it is not possible, and his lawyers know this, to appeal a trial date, it's not possible.
So, it's all talk, which is what he does. This man has a constant need, to talk. Sometimes, the talk is just makes -- it's incoherent, makes no sense. And this makes no sense. His lawyers know, you can't appeal a trial date. So, this talking will continue.
And I will tell you, he is a nightmare for his lawyers. I mean, you have somebody like Trump, who has a fragile ego, who is a misogynist, who is a racist, in my view, and who also has this constant need to talk? Then, there's a term for that, logorrhea. Then, that is a real problem. It's going to be an issue, for his lawyers, to try to keep him quiet, even in the courtroom.
And what -- a Black woman judge, is going to be there, telling him, when he can talk and how to behave. So, this is going to be a very interesting, interesting trial.
COLLINS: That is the understatement.
But Judge Cordell, thank you so much, for your time, tonight.
HAZZARD CORDELL: Thank you.
COLLINS: And I want to bring in Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor; and David Kelley, former U.S. Attorney, for the Southern District of New York.
I want to get to some of the points that the Judge made there, Elie. But it's not what the Special Counsel team was looking for. But it's definitely not what Trump's team was looking for. I mean, what do you make of the date, and whether or not how Trump's attorneys are feeling about this?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, it's definitely a win for DOJ. And if I was Trump's attorneys, right now, I'd be devastated.
I think, look, the judge has very wide discretion, to set this trial date. I think the judge, we just heard from, is correct that there's no practical way, to appeal this.
But I also think we need to be careful, here, we, collectively, because this trial date is really pushing the limits, on Trump's Sixth Amendment right, to fully prepare his defense. There are 12 million documents in this case. I know they're not in a warehouse. You still have to review them.
I know that the prosecution put together a hit list of best documents. That's nice. It's the defense's decision, what they're going to use. They are, in addition to reviewing those documents, they get to do their own investigation. They have to bring motions. And, I think, to require them to do that in seven months is really getting close to the line, constitutionally.
COLLINS: You agree with that?
DAVID KELLEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes. Look, there's a couple of different ways to look at this.
I think that's a fine argument that Elie makes. But I also think that the prosecution has made a really good case here, as to how they can proceed, in a prudent way, and in a fair way. And I think they can do it.
Look, I also think, frankly, that while this trial date is cut and set in stone, it's probably going to get pushed. Most trial dates do.
COLLINS: But how far do you think it'll get pushed?
KELLEY: I don't think it will get pushed too far. I think it would still get, before the election. But I think that's still an aggressive date. And I think that there's still a lot of flex -- trials get, at the last minute, the motions drag on, something comes up. If this went when she said it, I'd be surprised.
COLLINS: She is referencing though, what Trump is doing, running for office, saying though, that he shouldn't be treated any differently that an athlete wouldn't be treated any differently, if they had games to go to, that Trump is not going to be treated any differently, because he has primaries and caucuses.
I mean, what do you make of the fact that that it is set that one day, before Super Tuesday?
HONIG: I agree with her. I think, in theory, he shouldn't be treated any differently.
But let's just treat him as a normal defendant. I mean, the average federal conspiracy fraud case takes about two years, to get to trial. Forcing him to trial in seven months is actually quite abnormal. It's not entirely unheard of. But yes, I'm not moved by the fact that he's running for office.
I do think, let's be honest, the judge, and DOJ, is very much thinking about the Election Day. I mean, they're not going to say it. DOJ is certainly going to religiously avoid saying it. But they're aware that that trial date's there and they're trying to get this trial in before the election. I don't think there's any question about that.
So, I think, there's a little bit of intellectual dishonesty happening here. "Oh, we can't think about the election." Of course, they're trying to get this in, before the election.
COLLINS: You're saying that by saying, it's not political, like it is still a little bit political with that argument?
HONIG: Yes. They're obviously trying to get it in before November. I mean, let's be real.
COLLINS: There is reporting though, that Jack Smith was sitting, in the room, today. He wasn't -- he didn't speak. It was the other prosecutors, who were the one that -- ones that were making their argument. But he was taking notes.
I mean, what do you think he's taking notes of, paying attention to what Trump's defense is saying?
KELLEY: Look, at the end of the day, the buck stops there. And he wants to make sure he's really plugged in. He's supervising this case. And he wants to -- he owns it.
So, I think, he's doing what any would -- I certainly would, would be there, and taking notes, and thinking to myself how to, "What's the next step? This is a chess game. What are we going to do next?"
COLLINS: John Lauro was making this argument, saying, when he was arguing that it's moving too fast, this is Trump's defense attorney, saying that, "I don't know that I can do my best essentially." Did he seem to be setting up an argument where--
HONIG: Oh, yes.
COLLINS: --if there is a conviction, they'd be making an appeal that they didn't have time to get ready for this?
HONIG: We've both seen this. For sure, defense lawyers will do this. They will. It sounds counterintuitive. But defense lawyers will say, "Judge, I cannot give effective assistance of counsel, to my client, under these conditions." They do it not infrequently. And they do it precisely for that reason.
They're trying to make a record, so that if it goes up on appeal, they can say, "Look, the lawyer warned everybody, he wasn't able to do his job."
COLLINS: But with this timeline, if that is what happens, could this conviction stand if there is one?
KELLEY: Yes. And I think the government has made a really good case, for how they -- why they can proceed as soon as they can. They've provided all this stuff. I mean, the number of the volume that have been produced, in discovery, I think, is a little misleading, because a lot of it is public records, stuff that's been available, for a long time.
COLLINS: Truth Social posts.
KELLEY: Stuff that they know. It's stuff that he generated himself.
So, I think, for them to say, make comparisons that they'd have to read the War and Peace, five times a day, in order to get ready? That's a, you know, I don't think that carries any water. I think that the -- a lot of the stuff that the government produced is going to have no use to them at trial.
COLLINS: One really interesting point, today, was when there was questions, from the prosecutors, about if Trump's defense team, if they poll D.C. residents that it could taint the jury pool. And the judge seemed very interested in that asking that she wanted to know if John Lauro does do that. Is that normal?
HONIG: Yes, no, I've never heard of that. I don't know if you have, Dave. To go around to civilians, and sort of take their pulse, on Donald Trump? I assume it's some sort of trial preparation, jury preparation, how is he received here? What are we looking for in jury selection?
KELLEY: I think what they're trying to do is--
KELLEY: --trying to set up a motion, for a change of venue.
HONIG: Oh, yes.
COLLINS: Is that going to be successful, though?
HONIG: Not really.
COLLINS: No chance?
KELLEY: No. I don't see it.
KELLEY: I mean, look, what their argument is, is that District of Columbia voted overwhelmingly for Biden. And, so -- but this is not a political -- this is not a campaign. This is not an election.
This is whether or not jurors, notwithstanding what they know, about the defendant, can still be fair, and reasonable, and consider the evidence, through a clear prism, without any sort of prejudice or bias.
It's not if they're going to vote for the guy. They don't have to like him. They don't have to vote for him. They just have to be true to their word, true to their oath, to look at the evidence, clearly, and make their decision, based only on the evidence.
COLLINS: David Kelley, Elie Honig, thank you both.
Coming up, Trump co-defendant, and former top aide, Mark Meadows, we just referenced, surprised the room, today, when he took the stand, in Georgia. You can see the court sketch, here. It's a risky move, to move his case, to federal court. But what it could mean, for everyone, if he succeeds? And also, tonight, a potentially life-threatening storm is headed, for Florida, expected to strengthen into a hurricane. Where and when it's expected to hit?
COLLINS: The battle, over whether to move the Georgia racketeering case, against Donald Trump, and some of his co-defendants, to federal court, officially kicked off, today, as Trump's former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, took the stand, under oath.
It was a surprising move, one that most criminal defendants, are not willing to take, especially this early, in the legal process. But Meadows is hoping to move his case, not only to a more favorable jury pool, potentially, but also maybe a more favorable judge, who potentially could dismiss the charges, against him, completely.
The all-day hearing though ended on a cliffhanger. The judge stopped it without a ruling, said he would rule, as soon as possible, given arraignments are barely a week away, expected to start, on September 6th.
That is going to be a very busy day. Mark it on your calendars. Trump and a long list of co-defendants will be entering please, on the same day, just 15 minutes apart, starting with the former President himself, at 9:30, that morning.
Joining me now, to discuss, Geoff Duncan, George's former Lieutenant Governor, who testified, of course, before the Fulton County grand jury; Jen Jordan, a former Georgia State Senator, an attorney; and Michael Moore, also a former U.S. Attorney, from Georgia.
Michael, let me start with you, because what did you make of Meadows taking the stand, under oath? How risky is this, potentially?
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it's a pleasure, to be with all of you, tonight.
It's unusual to see a criminal defendant, get on the stand, and give any testimony, under oath. And most lawyers sort of shy away from that.
What it tells me is his legal team, in this case, at least is thinking about making a complete record that will likely find its way, before an appellate court, in that they needed to get evidence out, from him that would be unique to him.
So, in other words needed, they wanted to hear him talk about his job, how he perceived his duties, how he perceived the functions that he was doing, to find out if he could meet that standard, and even it's a low standard, and a low bar, to have his case removed, to the federal court.
[21:20:00] And so, I really think it was a strategic move. We'll see if it hurts him down the road. But, at this point, he's now created a record, where he has without a doubt, stated that he felt like what he was doing, and the job description that he had, falls clearly within his role, as Chief of Staff, under federal employment.
And that's going to be critical, whether it's Judge Jones that decides, or whether it's the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that decides it, or whether ultimately it's the Supreme Court that looks at this, and makes this ultimate decision.
COLLINS: Yes. And speaking of his duties, Jen, I mean, Meadows testified that Trump's call, with the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, was just his own attempt, to resolve the former President's concerns, about voter fraud and, quote, "Land the plane," on the, quote, "Whole transfer of power," to Biden.
I mean, but that clearly is not what Georgia officials thought, was happening there.
JEN JORDAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. And that's why the Secretary of State was there, to testify, in terms of what his perception of the call was.
Look, at the end of the day, Meadows had to testify, because there was no one else. If you've looked at the list of witnesses that the parties put out, the only person that was listed was Meadows. Because, who else is he going to call? Is he going to call the other 18 co- conspirators that have been indicted, by Fani Willis? He can't. I mean, so, he is really the only person, who can speak to really, what he did, and what his thought process was.
But, at the end of the day, the way he kind of framed it, it made him seem like a glorified secretary. It was as if the only thing he did was pass notes and take care of the calendar. But that is clearly not what was going on. And I think that the Secretary of State's testimony, this afternoon, really did clarify that.
COLLINS: Yes, Geoff. Raffensperger was on the stand too. He said he believed this call was on behalf of the campaign, therefore, not an official White House duty. He said, quote, "It was a campaign call." I mean, how much does that undercut what Meadows testified to, today?
GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think, today was just a small microcosm, of what we're going to see play out, between now and the general election, just all the different drip, drip, of all the different strategies. I mean, I'm expecting 19 different approaches, to battling these indictments.
And the whole theory of it being campaign-related or official-related? I mean, I think, at the end of the day, they're trying to argue that they have the right to challenge the election, which they did have the right to challenge the election. And they actually got relief from that. They got three challenges to the election.
But that's similar to walking into a bank and saying, I want $11,780. And they tell you, "Well, you don't have $11,780." "Well, I do." All that's fine.
But then, you can't turn around and splice up videotapes, like they did, at the State Farm Arena. You can't accuse people, of rigging the machines. You can't say the operators, on the ATMs, or the tellers, are crooked, and then expect it to not be called a fraud. That's where this demarcation line, of asking and challenging versus fraud. And that's the challenge that I think they're sitting in.
COLLINS: Yes. I mean, for all of this, Michael, Trump's attorneys, were there, in the courtroom, today. I mean, what could they glean, from not just what they heard, from Mark Meadows, but also what they heard from Secretary Raffensperger?
MOORE: Well, they got a good chance, to sort of get a dry run, at how Raffensperger is going to testify. They also got a sneak peek, at some of the arguments that the government's going to make, both, to the motions that will be forthcoming, on behalf of Trump, and also have them go with trial.
Remember that a president and vice president are not subject to the Hatch Act provisions, which is what we've been hearing about, whether or not that this was some kind of illegal campaign activity. And Meadows was acting on behalf of the President.
And so, the judge is going to have to look and say, well, 154 of those 157 overt acts that the District Attorney has alleged, were part of the conspiracy, were done while Trump was a sitting President of the United States. And, so how does that play into Meadows' job?
And Trump's lawyers had a chance to hear this. They will now know what to expect, from Raffensperger. They'll know he's going to say it's a campaign call. They'll know about the arguments, on whether or not they think this is some kind of campaign violation, on Meadows' part, or otherwise. But it really gives them a very brief, and it's very brief, frankly, preview, into the case to come.
And, I think, it also tells us that we will have a number of versions, circling around both, in the interpretation of the telephone call.
And even if you listen to that call, where Meadow says, "This is the Chief of Staff," and apparently they're calling from the Oval Office, it's a unique introduction. Clearly, he didn't say, "This is the Trump campaign."
Now, whether or not that's dispositive for the federal judge? I doubt it. But it's a piece of information that will get put into the mix, as they decide how should move forward, and maybe compelling to an appellate court.
COLLINS: Yes. And one thing that he was repeatedly asked by prosecutors, Jen, was about why he visited that Atlanta facility, where Georgia officials were auditing ballot signatures.
He said he was there, on his own volition, as Chief of Staff. He was already in Georgia, visiting his two children, for Christmas. But how does that explanation sit with, with a judge, here? JORDAN: I think that's -- what you're pointing out is like how inconsistent a lot of the statements were.
So, on one hand, he has absolutely no agency, to do anything. He's basically just an errand boy, right?
On the second hand, he's in Georgia, and he just happens over, to Cobb County, where they're doing an audit, with the GBI, standing right there. And it's not public, and he's trying to force some way in. But he's just kind of doing that, because he's trying to kind of think ahead, to what the President might want him to do.
And really, what I cannot believe is that their strongest argument, what Michael was just talking about is, "Well, the President wasn't subject to the Hatch Act." And so, if the President tells him to do something that violates the Hatch Act, and because he's not, then somehow, does that mean that he's not responsible, for a violation of the Hatch Act, meaning Meadows.
That just is all circular. It doesn't make sense. And it really does underscore why you should never put a criminal, someone, who has been accused, of criminal activity, like Mr. Meadows, on the stand, under oath, especially this early in the case.
COLLINS: One thing that someone highlighted, today, Geoff, was how in his memoir that he wrote, after leaving office, Meadows said his job, as Chief of Staff, he believed was to, quote, "Tell the most powerful man in the world when you believed" that "he was wrong."
But, I mean, is it clear that Meadows didn't do that when it probably mattered the most, here?
DUNCAN: Well, he must have whispered it, in his ear, and not said it out loud, because I certainly have never seen examples of him, standing up to Donald Trump, or the ridiculous nature, of where this is headed.
I mean, I think it's so interesting to watch this continue to play out, like some sort of Ponzi scheme of lies that just kind of built in.
If you just look at all of their defenses at this point, it's all technicalities. It's, "Well, I did it under this official guise," or "I did it under this unofficial purpose." The reality is nobody's doubling down on the facts, right? We're two-and-a-half years into this. And I think that's the biggest hurdle they're going to have to climb.
When you go on a two-plus year crime spree, from coast to coast? This is what, a lot of folks are complaining about the calendars. When you have four trials, to have to compete with, on a calendar, you're not going to be able to skip certain days, because it's your birthday, or skip certain days, because you got a nail appointment, right? You're going to have to actually go face the music. And that's really what's playing out here.
As Republican, the dashboard is going off, with lights and bells and whistles, telling us all the warning things that we need to know, right? 91 indictments, fake Republican, $8 trillion worth of debt, everything we need to see, to not choose him, as our nominee, including the fact that he's got the moral compass, of more like an axe murderer than a president. We need to do something right here, right now. This is either our pivot point or our last gasp, as Republicans.
COLLINS: Geoff, Jen, Michael, all our Georgians in one place. Thank you so much, for joining me, tonight.
JORDAN: Thank you.
MOORE: Always a pleasure. Thank you.
COLLINS: Meanwhile, the former President is trying to ratchet up the pressure, to get an impeachment inquiry launched, against his successor, President Biden. Is the House Speaker going to bite? Or will the threat of a potential backlash, from Moderates, get him to back down?
COLLINS: Tonight, the Trump campaign is calling the date set, for the former President's election interference case, quote, "Election interference." That, as House Republicans are hoping to launch an impeachment inquiry, not exactly impeachment itself, into President Biden, potentially as soon as next month.
Only yesterday, Trump was calling for House Republicans, to do so, to impeach President Biden, saying quote, "They did it to us."
Joining me tonight, CNN Political Commentator, Jamal Simmons; and CNN Senior Political Commentator, Scott Jennings.
Scott, I mean, Trump is going to be dealing with his trials, obviously.
But now we've seen Republicans, as they are divided over, over whether or not even launched the inquiry, in and of itself, and what that would mean. And McCarthy is saying, just doing an inquiry is not the same as an actual impeachment vote. But that clearly is not going to be enough, for the former President.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it may not be enough, for him, in the moment, but it should be, because it's the correct strategic move. And I would be shocked, by the way, if an inquiry gets launched, without a full vote of the House.
But think about where we've come from. Six months ago, we knew virtually nothing. And now, after what the House Republicans have done, both Speaker McCarthy, and the committee chairs, and various committees? I mean, think about how much we now know about the Biden family activities.
So, doing an inquiry would unlock a whole bunch more investigative tools. And it would allow them to turn over even more rocks than they've already been able to turn over. If you're Donald Trump, you want as much information, as you can, to give the Republicans, the best possible foundation, should an impeachment be necessary.
So, an inquiry is the right move. A vote on it is the right move. And I think, based on what I have heard, that's the direction they would be headed.
COLLINS: Yes, but they still haven't found anything, or produced anything that has tied it directly to President Biden, as they've alluded.
And Jamal, I mean, our reporting is that some Republicans are not convinced that they have uncovered evidence, of high crimes and misdemeanors, which of course, is the bar for impeachment. So, I mean, how do you see it? Do you see it as, with Trump's post saying, "They did it to us, we should do it to them," is a sense of retribution?
JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course it is.
Impeachment is supposed to be for a high crime and misdemeanor. This is an impeachment in search of a high crime and misdemeanor. You're not supposed to do it in retribution, because "They did it to us," which is what Donald Trump did. And, this is like, he just keeps saying, the quiet part out loud.
I was listening to the last segment you did, about Mark Meadows and whether or not he was doing election campaign activity.
Remember, they run roughshod over all the norms, right? This was the same government, where they had the Republican National Convention, on the South Lawn, of the White House.
So, they've erased all the lines between what's appropriate government behavior that we've all lived by, for generations, and what is political behavior, because Donald Trump says so. You can't have a government that continues that way.
COLLINS: Well, I mean, Scott, also just looking at what next year would look like, I mean, a Biden impeachment, if that is what House Republicans do ultimately pursue? That adds to what we're seeing, with the 2024 campaign calendar.
Trump could be in court, the day before Super Tuesday, and those races are held.
I mean, what does that split-screen look like, for your party, for Republicans, if Trump's in court, as voters are going to the polls, and Republicans, in the House, are holding impeachment hearings, for President Biden?
JENNINGS: Well, I mean, it depends on what the evidence is. And that's why an inquiry may ultimately be what's needed here, because, there is a lot that's been uncovered. You say it hasn't been tied directly to Joe Biden. But he's already--
COLLINS: But Trump doesn't even want an inquiry, Scott.
COLLINS: He just wants it to go straight to--
JENNINGS: I'm sorry?
COLLINS: --the impeachment.
JENNINGS: Yes, that's what Donald Trump wants.
And what I'm saying is the way the House Republicans have handled it, so far, by using the committees, and the investigative tools that they have at their disposal, by building evidence, and starting to build a foundation? That is the correct strategic place.
So, his emotional impulse, here, and his stated reason for wanting it, "Because they did it to us," is incorrect. The correct way to do it is to find the facts and to build a foundation. And if the facts and the foundation warranted, then you proceed.
So, I actually trust what Speaker McCarthy, and the committee chairs are doing, because that's what they're doing. They're on a fact- finding mission, right now. An inquiry would -- and an inquiry would give them even more tools.
But in terms of what this would look like, politically, I mean, if the facts warrant an investigation, and ultimately an impeachment, into Joe Biden? Then, I guess, the voters would have to take that into consideration, the same way they're taking into consideration, what's happening to Donald Trump, right now.
But to me, it's all based on "Do you have the goods?" And they may need the inquiry, in order to get, to that stage.
COLLINS: Yes. I mean, they haven't convinced their own party fully.
I mean, a Republican, who did not speak on the record, told my colleague, Melanie Zanona, "There's no evidence that Joe Biden got money, or that Joe Biden... agreed to do something so that Hunter could get money. There's... no evidence of that. And they can't impeach without that evidence. And I don't... think that the evidence exists."
But Jamal, if they do launch the inquiry, will voters understand? Will voters get that? Or will it seem like this equivalent, of well Trump's on trial, but Hunter -- or President Biden is being impeached, and Hunter Biden's legal issues are muddied into that as well.
SIMMONS: Yes, at the heart of this, Kaitlan is a tragedy, about the President's son, who had an addiction to drugs. And through that addiction to drugs, he made a series of bad decisions. The President admitted that. He said it that Hunter Biden was going to go to court, and admit that. People, around America, know what happens, when you have a family
member, who is addicted to drugs, and how painful that is, for everybody.
So, what we cannot do is have a government impeachment, because the President's son made a series of bad decisions, and perhaps misrepresentations. I think that's the problem here.
And let's just keep one more thing in mind. When we get to October of this year? We now know October 23rd is the first trial set, when it comes to the Georgia case, for one of the defendants. There will be a series of information, a lot of information, that start to come out, facts, and new facts, about President Trump's behavior, beginning in October.
So, before we ever get to, perhaps, a March date, for the President, we're already going to know more things, about the President's behavior that will influence the Republican primary process.
COLLINS: He might already have a locked-up fight--
JENNINGS: Can I just respond to that real quick? I--
COLLINS: Yes, go ahead, Scott.
JENNINGS: Can I just? I'm sorry. The idea that this can all be waved away, because Hunter Biden was a drug addict, who made bad decisions, completely absolves what we know about Joe Biden, who has repeatedly lied, about what he knew, about Hunter Biden's activities, about his involvement, in Hunter Biden's activities, about the fact that he was apparently on phone calls, about the fact that Hunter Biden was getting millions of dollars, from shady people, overseas.
All of this cannot be waved away, by having an addict, in your family, who made bad decisions. He was the Vice President of the United States. He's now the President of the United States. And I'm sorry, but he has to go to a higher standard, than simply waving all of this away.
You do not hire Hunter Biden, for tens of millions of dollars, so Joe Biden can talk to you about the weather, on the telephone. Nobody believes that. And that's why these investigations are serious, more serious, than you're making them out to be.
SIMMONS: Kaitlan, let's just remember one thing. Hunter Biden was a private citizen. Donald Trump hired Jared Kushner, who could not get a permanent security clearance, because of his affiliations and some of his business dealings. So, he was in the White House. So, this isn't about -- let's just have some parity here.
JENNINGS: Is Hunter Biden in the White--
SIMMONS: About how we think about here.
JENNINGS: Jamal, is Hunter Biden in the White House?
SIMMONS: He was not in the White House.
JENNINGS: Does he live in the White House?
SIMMONS: Which is why, why are we having a conversation, about Hunter Biden--
JENNINGS: You see, I'm asking you. Has he been living in the White House?
SIMMONS: --but we didn't have a conversation about Jared Kushner? Did you want to have an -- did you want to have an impeachment inquiry?
JENNINGS: He's in the White House. You could -- they know. They know. You could tell them.
SIMMONS: Based on Jared Kushner's inability to get a--
JENNINGS: He's in the White House.
COLLINS: OK. But let's--
SIMMONS: --a security clearance?
COLLINS: --hold on here. Because there is a way, to say you have questions, about what President Biden knew, and people have asked those questions to him. And, of course, you can look at his past comments there, Scott.
But Hunter Biden does not have a taxpayer-funded job. There are different situations here, in that sense of saying, just because he's attending a state dinner--
JENNINGS: He's spent copious amounts of time in the White House.
COLLINS: --and at the White House. It's not the same.
JENNINGS: He flat--
COLLINS: Right. But it's not the same as having a taxpayer-funded job, in the White House, like Jared Kushner did, is my--
JENNINGS: He flew all over the world, on Air Force Two.
COLLINS: --was my point.
SIMMONS: He wasn't negotiating Middle East Peace.
JENNINGS: I mean--
SIMMONS: And then raising money--
JENNINGS: You're trying to say that Hunter Biden does not have--
SIMMONS: --from Middle East Sovereign Wealth Fund.
JENNINGS: --does not have tremendous influence, over his father? I don't think anybody buys that. Of course he does.
SIMMONS: Jared Kushner was negotiating Middle East peace, and then raising billions of dollars, from Middle East Sovereign Wealth Funds.
COLLINS: Jamal Simmons, Scott Jennings, thank you, for that robust conversation. We'll have to leave it there.
SIMMONS: Thank you.
COLLINS: Ahead. There is new surveillance video that has just been released, in the racist rampage that happened in Jacksonville, and left three Black victims dead, over the weekend. We have new details that we are learning about the shooter, tonight, when we return.
COLLINS: Tonight, new video shows the moment that a 21-year-old gunman entered a Jacksonville, Florida Dollar General store, before killing three people, who were Black.
The gunman was White. And the Jacksonville Sheriff says there is no question that the attack was racially-motivated. Police say that he left a racist manifesto, on his computer. One of his weapons, an assault rifle, was decorated with swastikas.
Officials say that the gunman's first target was actually Edward Waters University, a historically Black school, in the State. But a security officer there confronted him, and followed him off campus, potentially saving dozens of lives.
Here to discuss, what we are learning, tonight, these new details, is retired Missouri Police Captain, Ron Johnson.
And thank you so much, for being here.
I mean, the Sheriff says that they have this manifesto on their hands that they will eventually be releasing at least parts of it. What would you be looking for in something like that?
CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL (RET.): Well, the actual verbiage that was in there, so we start talking about racially- motivated, we want to see what the verbiage is, and where he's getting his verbiage from, looking at data sources, and books that he may have read. So, it'll tell us a lot about his mindset.
COLLINS: Because essentially, the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime. We know that. What evidence beyond just the verbiage would they be, needing to look for, to make sure that it could be categorized as a hate crime?
JOHNSON: We may look at other people that he may be in contact with, other groups he may follow. And so, I think we'll look at all those things, and it'll tell law enforcement a lot about the mindset that he had, on that day, and his thinking, overall.
COLLINS: The Sheriff said that when the shooter was 15, he was held, under the State's Baker Act.
And for those, who don't know, it allows people who pose a risk, to themselves, or to others, to involuntarily be detained, for potentially up to 72 hours. And normally, people, who are detained under that Act, cannot buy firearms.
But both of his guns were purchased legally, we now know.
I mean, what questions do you have either about the strength of red flag laws, or the concerns that even if the warning signs are there that sometimes they can be missed? Or this still ultimately happens?
JOHNSON: Well, I think there's a lot of things are in place, and a lot of systems in place, but a lot of times they don't talk to each other. And we have to make sure all these things are in place, they connect. And that's our politicians, our lawmakers have to get together, and make sure all these things connect, so we can prevent things, like this.
COLLINS: Yes. And, I mean, part of that is it's a pattern, I think, and that's what concerns people.
Because, we have what happened here, and officials, they're saying it's clearly a hate crime.
In Texas, earlier this year, the Neo-Nazi the shooting there.
In Buffalo, the White supremacist, who opened fire, in the Tops supermarket.
The FBI says hate crimes have actually risen 12 percent, in 2021, the majority targeted because of their race. I mean, are there questions? Are there limits to what law enforcement can do about people who are considered lone wolves that are very clearly motivated by hate?
JOHNSON: Well, I think, from a law enforcement standpoint, many agencies have officers, and that's your job, where they look on the internet and you're looking for these lone wolves.
But it is tough. But, I think, we have to depend on our citizens, our family members. And just like the college, there in Florida, the students alerted the law enforcement officers. So, we have to make sure that we're diligent, in those efforts, around reporting.
COLLINS: Captain Ron Johnson, thank you, for joining us, with your, well, and perfect perspective on this, which is, of course, perfect for this.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
COLLINS: And tonight, we remember the three victims, of that shooting, in Jacksonville, and we are thinking of their families. Coming up, protests are growing, for calls, for Spain's soccer chief, to resign. And a criminal investigation into that forcible kiss, at the World Cup, we have new details, on that investigation.
COLLINS: Spanish prosecutors have now opened a criminal investigation, into that country's Football Federation President, Luis Rubiales, after he forcibly kissed the World Cup soccer champion, Jennifer Hermoso.
The calls, for Rubiales, to resign, have only grown louder. And today, Spain's regional soccer chiefs held an emergency meeting, where they unanimously called for him to step down.
He has said the kiss was consensual. But Hermoso has said she felt violated, and that she never gave any content, whatsoever.
His family, tonight, is sticking by him. Earlier today, his mother locked herself, inside of a church, and said that she will starve herself, to protest how her son is being treated.
Joining me now, Cari Champion, a CNN Contributor, and Host of "The Cari Champion Show."
Cari, I mean, when you look at this, how do you see this ending?
CARI CHAMPION, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, HOST: Well, first off, I don't even know how we got here. Eight days later, and we're not even talking about a historic win, for the Spanish World Cup team, for the women?
I see this ending, to your question, with Rubiales, he must resign. The players said they will not play unless he's gone. The Administration is against him. They opened a criminal investigation.
And this shows that something else is happening, in this country, in real-time. Kaitlan, it's their, and I heard a government officials say this, it's their MeToo moment.
COLLINS: Yes, it does seem like this moment of a reckoning, and that it's become bigger than just this one incident, because it -- and it's kind of set off this, this debate about feminism, about equality, about harassment.
I mean, what do you make of the fact -- you did note that they had this big win. But it's become more than the win. It's become more about how they've been treated, for years. This wasn't just a one-off kind of thing.
CHAMPION: You now that -- you said it exactly correct. That culture, to their admission, has been very much chauvinistic, in a lot of ways, towards the women, and machismo.
And, right now, what we're witnessing in real-time, with this just being the example, Rubiales is of the school of "That's the way it's always been done. Employee can kiss the employer. What do you mean? What's the problem?"
And he is realizing in real-time, that's not what you do anymore. Not on a world stage, not with everyone watching, especially, in a huge event, like this, and you must conduct yourself differently.
If he had apologized, simply said, I was wrong, and was really contrite? He would have his job, I believe. But he has to go now.
COLLINS: I had the same thought, today, about how he's handled this. I mean, he has been very defiant, not defying that he did what he did, but defying, that he's claiming that it was consensual. And instead of, taking into account that very clearly, how a large group of women, feel about his treatment of them, he has continued to be defiant.
I mean, how much longer do you think he can do that?
CHAMPION: What was weird to me is that there's no one, in that country, that can remove that President, from his position. I'm pretty sure they're going to rethink this.
Because the reason why he's being so defiant is because he's being told quietly, behind closed doors, "You've been the most successful president that we've had. They can't lose you." And now he's playing this game of checkers, while the world is playing chess.
He's going to have to acknowledge that what he did, is no longer acceptable, no matter what he thought he was doing, because in his mind, it was like, "Oh, sure, yes, I just gave her a kiss. It's not a big deal." And everyone's like, "Wait, what is -- employers don't kiss their employees. Here's the PSA, sir."
And now, we're going to see him lose his position, quite frankly, probably his career, because they're making him the example.
COLLINS: Yes, the women on that team.
Cari Champion, thank you.
CHAMPION: Thank you.
COLLINS: Ahead, evacuations have been ordered, along the Gulf Coast of Florida, as Tropical Storm Idalia is churning, ever closer, expected to strengthen, into a dangerous hurricane. How dangerous? We'll tell you the latest on its path, next.
COLLINS: Tonight, the State of Florida preparing for Idalia, the storm that is expected to strengthen, into a major hurricane, before it makes landfall, Wednesday, along the Gulf Coast.
Right now, it's some 20 miles, off the western tip of Cuba, and it has sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. But forecasters are warning that Idalia could become a Category 3 storm, before it hits Florida's Big Bend, from Tampa to just south of Tallahassee.
Officials say that some areas of the Gulf Coast could see 10 to 12 feet of storm surge, and that mandatory and voluntary evacuations, have been issued, for at least eight counties, on Florida's West Coast.
We have continued to monitor it. And we'll continue to update you, as that storm progresses.
Thank you so much, for joining me, tonight.
"CNN PRIMETIME" with Abby Phillip, starts, right now.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME: Hey, Kaitlan, thank you very much.
And good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip.