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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Judge Rules Two Georgia Election Co-Defendants Sidney Powell & Kenneth Chesebro Will Be Tried Together; Video Shows PA Inmate Climbing Out Of Prison; DOJ: Special Counsel Seeks To Indict Hunter Biden Over Gun Case Before End Of September. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 06, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Opponents, including the Mexican government, called the barriers, inhumane.

Texas quickly appealed the order. Governor Abbott's office said he's prepared to take this, to the Supreme Court.

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

I'll see you, tomorrow.


The first televised hearing, in the Georgia case, and the very first ruling. Two of Donald Trump's co-defendants are stuck together, after the judge denied their request, to try them separately. What it all means, though, for the former President?

Plus, a murderer's daring escape, all caught on tape. We are seeing, for the first time, exactly how a Pennsylvania fugitive broke out of prison. He is still on the run, tonight.

And also, the Justice Department now says it will indict Hunter Biden, sometime this month, according to the Special Counsel, on his case, the charges that his legal team is now bracing for.

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

It was the first televised hearing, of any of Donald Trump's criminal cases. And we learned a lot, as to where this election interference trial, in Georgia, may be headed, including how the judge, overseeing his case, runs his courtroom, what he is thinking, about trying Trump, and all 18 co-defendants together, what the prosecution has, in its arsenal, and also how long all of this could potentially take.

Fulton County prosecutors estimate that they will need about four months or so, to try their case, with more than 150 witnesses, to be called.

But Judge Scott McAfee said that he thinks it could easily be twice that as in eight months, from start to finish. And he appeared deeply skeptical, about District Attorney Fani Willis' pledge, to try all 19 co-defendants together.


JUDGE SCOTT MCAFEE, FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: This is going to be a case with a lot of pretrial motions.

And again, I don't know how many hearings we're going to need to have, to sort through all those. But if we compress our timeline to 40- something days, our ability to even be able to really weigh those, and think through these issues.

Again, it just seems a bit unrealistic, to think that we can handle all 19 in 40-something days.


COLLINS: "A bit unrealistic," in the judge's words.

We know so far that two will be tried together. That is the two co- defendants, who asked for speedy trials, pro-Trump attorneys, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, despite arguments from their attorneys, today, to separate their cases.


MANUBIR ARORA, ATTORNEY FOR KENNETH CHESEBRO: Her charges are way more provocative versus the boring old charges that we have, as far as just sort of the paperwork-type situation.

BRIAN RAFFERTY, ATTORNEY FOR SIDNEY POWELL: What he's accused of has absolutely nothing to do with Ms. Powell.

Sever Ms. Powell's case from Mr. Chesebro, so she can get a fair trial.


COLLINS: Judge McAfee was not a buying that. He said they did not meet the legal standard, to separate their cases. And now, the plan is to make their October 23rd trial date stick.

We could hear more from the judge, McAfee, who is overseeing all of this soon, about the rest of the trial schedule, and what that looks like.

A big question. What does this all mean for Donald Trump? He was seen, in New York City, here this morning, today, emerging from Trump Tower, after saying in an interview that he will happily testify, on the stand, in his own defense. We'll get more to that in a moment.

But first, I am joined now by former Georgia Lieutenant Governor, Geoff Duncan; attorney and former Georgia State Senator, Jen Jordan; and former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.

Elie, we watched this remarkable, in the sense of typically, this wouldn't be remarkable, hearing play out, today, hearing these arguments, from these attorneys, getting a sense of what the prosecutor said as well.

What were your biggest takeaways?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, it was so interesting to watch, and it brought me back to my prosecutor days.

The biggest takeaway to me is the people, the defendants, who really wanted to get away from each other, got away from each other. Now, Sidney Powell, and Kenneth Chesebro, who both want their speedy trial, they were not able to get away from one another. But to me, that's not a big deal.

So, Chesebro and Powell are going to be tried together. That doesn't really hurt either of them. More importantly, they both got away from Donald Trump, because it is 99 percent certain the judge made it clear that Donald Trump and the others are going to be tried much later than these two.

And from Donald Trump's perspective, really important that he got away from those two, because A, he gets to get tried much, much later, which he wants, probably after the election, and B, he gets to watch their trial. And remember, the prosecutors, today, said the case against these two is going to be the same as the case against all 19 of these defendants. He's going to get a free look at their evidence way in advance.

COLLINS: Yes. And the judge was so skeptical of this idea of trying all of them together, really just the enormity of what that would even look like. But what was your sense of just seeing him himself, how he was running his courtroom, what he is going to be doing in this?

HONIG: I was really impressed. He's 34-years-old. He has experience, as a federal prosecutor. He knows what he's -- and a state prosecutor. He knows what he's talking about. He understands the practical, virtual impossibility, of trying 19 people together.

And he was in control of his courtroom. That was a dignified, straightforward, substantive proceeding. And I think the lawyers did a really good job as well. So, I give everyone credit, for a strong proceeding, today.


COLLINS: All gold stars from Elie.

Jen, you are a former State Senator, in Georgia.

Fani Willis was not actually in the courtroom, today. But one of her prosecutors said that they believed it would take the State, about four months, to try their case. They'd use about 150 witnesses. That does not even include the time, to pick a jury. And as we know, it takes a very long time, for a case, like this, in Georgia.

What do you make of that timeline? JEN JORDAN, (D) FORMER GEORGIA STATE SENATOR, ATTORNEY: It seemed a little unrealistic. I mean, if you just even think about like five days, in a week. And plus, there are going to be instances, just like the judge said, where people are going to get sick, there're going to be issues, there're going to be problems.

And if we're talking about a trial that long, think about the jurors, right? These are people that have children, that have lives, that have jobs. And a lot of times, you don't get paid, especially if you're an hourly worker.

So, there's going to be a lot that's going to have to go in, on the front end, in terms of picking the jurors, in terms of who could actually be a juror, and stay on the jury, for the whole time that it's going to be necessary, in order to hear the case.

But big props to the judge. I agree with Elie, very even tempered, smart, handled the lawyers appropriately, and really seemed to be in control of the courtroom. And I think that is going to be incredibly important, as we kind of move forward with this case.


And Geoff, part of what we saw in there were these attorneys, for Sidney Powell and for Kenneth Chesebro, really both seeking to downplay their client's actions, in this alleged conspiracy. I mean, we heard Chesebro's attorney saying, it was just boring paperwork stuff. He's the alleged architect of the fake electors scheme.

I mean, contrast that with what the reality of what was actually happening, in your State, at these time.

GEOFF DUNCAN, (R) FORMER GEORGIA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I was caught off guard, at how captivated I was. It took me back to all the classes I missed in college, watching the O.J. Simpson trial, when I was watching today.

But yes, the sharp elbows came out really quickly, listening to Kenneth Chesebro's attorney, and Sidney Powell's attorney kind of throw sharp elbows at each other, like, "Oh, my client didn't really do much wrong. The other client, the other person being represented, did." And I think that's really what we're going to see play out.

Look, nobody has any allegiance to Donald Trump anymore. Nobody really cares, about Donald Trump's future. They care about watching their kids graduate, from high school. They care about watching their kids get married. They don't want to be in jail, or prison, for that matter.

I think, as we watch this play out, America is going to meet a low- rent mob boss, and not a former U.S. President, when we watch all these gruely details, these sloppy procedures, that just tried to selfishly overturn an election, so he didn't have to say, "I lost." That's what this all comes down to.

And these poor people, and some of them self-inflicted wounds, and some got hoodwinked, are going to have to pay the price, for following along.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, Jen, there's a lot of people there, a lot of co-defendants here.

And this is kind of the first preview of seeing them point the finger at each other. I mean, Sidney Powell's attorneys, and Kenneth Chesebro's attorneys were trying to be respectful of each other, saying they weren't commenting on the evidence, saying, "We have nothing to do with that other person."

I mean, how much more of that, do you think, we could see, if it's the other 17 co-defendants being tried together?

JORDAN: I think it's going to get out of control.

I mean, the thing that came out of one of Chesebro's attorney's mouth was something to the effect of "I am scared to death, to think that we're going to be trying the case, with her, and with the allegations against her."

And then, of course, Powell's lawyer was the same way, in terms of them, very much pointing the fingers, at each other.

I think at one point, one of Chesebro's lawyers even said something to the effect of "Well, after Sidney Powell said something crazy, that's when the Trump team, basically fired her and let her go."

And they were all like, as an aside, right? They were just kind of these elbows, and then, the next thing out of their mouth, "But respectfully, to the attorney at the table." I think this was just a real preview, of what we're going to see.

And look, if that's what's already coming, out of their mouths, this early, I mean, really, the fireworks are really going to start going off, because, as Geoff said, people do not want to go to prison. And that is a real reality, for a lot of these folks.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, Elie, we were listening, to the judge, here, and was essentially saying -- or the prosecutors here, and what they were pushing back on this idea that, "Oh, well, Sidney Powell didn't really know Kenneth Chesebro. Kenneth Chesebro didn't really know her. They didn't talk."

Prosecutors said, that was because the conspiracy was evolving. When one thing didn't work, they moved on to the next thing. When that didn't work out, they moved on to the next thing. But they all still have something that was at the center of this, which was keeping Donald Trump in power.

HONIG: Right. So, first of all, point of law and logic here. Co- conspirators do not have to know one another. You'll hear that a lot. Doesn't matter. As long as they were all united, around one common scheme, and agreed to it, and it can be through a second person.

[21:10:00] Now, this is something that we will see play out, at trial. Defendants will always ask the jury, to try to sort of focus on as narrow a sliver as possible. In this case, they'll say, "There's a 161 overt acts, in this case. My client was involved in six of them, in eight of them." And we heard some of that, today, from both these defendants.

Prosecutors are going to urge the jury, "Focus on the big picture here. They were all acting together. They all had a common goal."

And the prosecutors said, "What happened here is this effort evolved. They tried one thing. It failed. They went to the next thing. They went to the next thing. They're all in it together. They're all responsible together." Watch for those arguments, when we get to a trial as well.


And Geoff, you mentioned, you felt like you were watching the O.J. Simpson trial, today.

I mean, the fact is everything we saw happen, today, none of this matters, if the case does get moved to federal court, as some defendants are trying to do. The judge himself brought that up today, the idea of taking some of this, to trial, than having a federal case, swoop in and take over.

But it would also mean no more cameras. I mean, how effective, do you think, the ability, to watch all of this unfold, can be, for people, in your party, who still support Donald Trump, and his bid, to be the Republican nominee again?

DUNCAN: Yes, I think cameras are critical for recovery, in this country, right? Whether Donald Trump is able to be exonerated, and he's able to produce that one file, that one email, that one video that we've all been waiting for? Or Sidney Powell finds the Kraken folder that she's been looking for, for two-and-a-half years?

But I think the cameras are important, because if we're going to heal, as a country, and that's Democrats and Republicans, and folks in the middle? We've got to really be able to see this in the rearview mirror.

And watching this play out, like I said, a second ago, I think America is going to meet a low-rent mob boss, instead of a former U.S. President. They're going to meet somebody, who's been able to manipulate, and steer people, in intentionally wrong directions.

And this argument that Chesebro and Powell didn't have anything to do with each other? They were both trying to rob the bank, at the same time. One was working on the vault and one was working on the ATM. They may not have crossed paths. But they were trying to rob the same bank, full of votes. That's what this is going to play out as.

COLLINS: Jen, what do you make of District Attorney, Fani Willis, trying to file a motion, to shield the identities, of the jurors, that you were mentioning earlier. I mean, we saw how those, who were being doxxed, their information was being leaked online, when it just came to the indictment.

This is something that typically in Georgia, it's part of their transparency laws that it is made public. But she is now trying to keep it secret, for that reason.

JORDAN: Well, look, it's not that their identities necessarily would be kept secret. It's just that their images couldn't be, basically, when you're in the courtroom, right, that you're not panning to the jury, and showing folks, who they are.

And I think that is important, because as important as transparency is? And I do think Geoff's right, in terms of I think it is really significant that people see what's really going on, and not having it filtered, through some kind of social medium, or podcast host.

At the same time, we have to understand there are real people here. And those jurors are going to be effectively putting their lives, on the line, because we know exactly what happens, when you are in this position. Geoff knows he's had death threats. I've had death threats.

Everybody that I know that have popped their heads up, and criticized Trump at all, people have gone after them. So, I do think it's incredibly important. If for no other reason, then, we need to make sure that the jurors feel safe, so that they can actually do their job, and not be worrying, about the safety of their families, every day.

COLLINS: And as we were watching all of this play out, today, with this hearing, we did hear, from the most famous defendant, of all of them, Donald Trump, when he was asked this question.


HUGH HEWITT, HOST, "THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW": If you have to go to trial, will you testify in your own defense?

DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Oh, yes, absolutely.

HEWITT: You'll take the stand?

TRUMP: That I would. That I look forward to.


COLLINS: Trump says he would look forward to it.

But keep in mind what his former Attorney General, Bill Barr, told me, recently, about the idea of Trump being on the stand.


COLLINS: And what would happen if he got on the stand?

BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think -- I think it would not look -- would not come out very well for him.

COLLINS: Do you think it would hurt him?

BARR: Oh, yes, yes.

COLLINS: Why do you think that?

BARR: Well, because I think he'd be subject to very skilled cross- examination. And I doubt he remembers all the different versions of events, he's given, over the last few years.


COLLINS: Elie, I mean, he would obviously be vulnerable, on the stand. But would Trump need to take the stand, to mount a defense? Would he be able to do that without testifying?

HONIG: He absolutely would not need to take the stand. You're going to make me say it. I agree with Bill Barr there, even though I wrote a book, very critical of him. I think he's absolutely right, that it would be a disaster, for Donald Trump, to take the stand.

Important to know, no defendant has to do anything. We always say, "What's the defense going to be?" Often, defendants put on no defense. They just say, "Your Honor, members of the jury, we don't think the government has met its burden of proving this case beyond a reasonable doubt."

So, defendants rarely take the stand, in real life. And often, defendants put on no case whatsoever. They don't have to. It's the prosecutor's burden.

COLLINS: And I believe Trump was talking about the classified documents, there.



COLLINS: And as you and I were watching what was happening, in Georgia, play out, today, we found out that Yuscil Taveras, who was known as Employee number 4 is now cooperating, with the government, with Jack Smith's investigation. We had an inkling of that, after he changed attorneys. We saw the superseding indictment. They have now made it official.

I mean, how big of a win is that for Jack Smith's team, to secure the cooperation of someone, who works at Mar-a-Lago?

HONIG: It's a win. You need witnesses, like this.

But to me, it's not a game-over type win. Because, as far as we know, and based on the indictment, Trump Employee 4, Mr. Taveras, he did not have direct contact, with Donald Trump. I read back through the whole indictment. There is no allegation that he ever met with Donald Trump, spoke with Donald Trump.

Instead, there's this sort of whisper-down-the-lane game that Trump's good at, where he gives an order, to Mr. De Oliveira, who's one of the charged defendants, who in turn, gives that order, to Trump Employee Number 4, Yuscil Taveras, who's now cooperating.

So, as a prosecutor, I absolutely want his testimony. But it's not going to lock up the case, for me. The evidence, as a whole, is strong though. And he's going to be a good witness for them.

COLLINS: Yes, a lot of developments, today.

Elie Honig.

HONIG: Sure.

COLLINS: Geoff Duncan, Jen Jordan, thank you all, for being here, tonight.

And we'll pick things up, on the other side, when an attorney, for one of Trump's co-defendants. What does John Eastman's lawyer make of what happened today in court? What does it mean for his client? What is his next move?

Plus, an escaped killer is still on the loose, tonight. We can see exactly how he escaped from prison, because it is all on tape.



COLLINS: Cameras were in the courtroom, in Georgia, today.

But some spectators that you may not have seen, that were also in the room, were attorneys, for other co-defendants, in this case. As you might imagine, whether they were there, in-person, or watching on TV, many of them are likely trying to gain insight, into what could be in store, for their clients.

The attorney, for one of those co-defendants, joins me now. Charles Burnham represents John Eastman.

And Charles, welcome back. Thank you, for joining us here, on THE SOURCE, again.

What did you take away, from today's proceeding, and how it could affect your client, John Eastman?

CHARLES BURNHAM, ATTORNEY FOR JOHN EASTMAN: I think the most important takeaway was that John Eastman, I'm happy to say, does not look like he'll be proceeding to trial, on October 23rd, of this year.

I didn't really think the judge was going to do that. But the prosecution took the position that they wanted to see that happen. And I was happy to see the judge indicate, pretty strongly, as you said earlier, in the show, that that's not something he's seriously considering.

Apart from that, I thought the judge, I was impressed with the way he handled the hearing. And lawyers, for both sides, did a quality job.

COLLINS: Your client was not there today. He waived his right, to have an arraignment. And he pleaded not guilty.

Has the legal team made a decision, about severing this case, from the rest of the co-defendants, the other 17 of them that are not going to trial in October, so far?

BURNHAM: I think there's a good chance that we will file a motion, to sever, at some point. I think it's premature, at this point.

In my experience anyway, doing RICO cases, if you file a motion to sever, early on, the judge will either deny it without prejudice, meaning with leave to bring it back, or perhaps take it under advisement, because you have to see how things play out, how many defendants actually go to trial. It's in a normal case, not every defendant does.

You'll have to see how you're going to split up all these defendants. I don't think it's feasible at all, to try anywhere close to 19, together, or perhaps even some much smaller number than that. So, the short answer to your question is, I think, it's highly likely we'll file a motion to sever.

COLLINS: When do you think that will --

BURNHAM: But that will come later.

COLLINS: When do you think that'll happen?

BURNHAM: Well, the judge actually -- and another thing we learned from the hearing, today, is in Georgia, as I'm learning, being an out-of- state attorney, the initial deadline, for pretrial motions, is 10 days, from arraignment. So, perhaps you would have had to file some kind of motion, to sever, in pretty short order here.

But the judge indicated today that he's open to extending that. And I think that's appropriate.

COLLINS: What about trying to --

BURNHAM: So, we'll have to see.

COLLINS: What about trying to move it to federal court? Are you waiting to see what happens to Mark Meadows' attempt to do that first?

BURNHAM: That's right. We're going to wait and see how things play out. The statute gives us a certain amount of time from arraignment, which just happened, as you mentioned, to make that decision or not. And we're still considering our options, for Professor Eastman.

But I do think the rationale of removal very much applies to him. Like, what's the point of removal, right? The reason why that statute exists, is structurally, we don't want to have state prosecutors, interfering in federal policy, right? And so, in his case, what would happen, if we lived in a world, where any of the hundreds of state prosecutors, all over the country, could haul the President's lawyer, or any of his other advisers into court, and subject them to the criminal process? There's good reasons why that shouldn't be the way the system works.

That applies to Dr. Eastman, as much as it does, to many others. And we're going to take a serious look at it. And we'll be deciding pretty soon, here, if we're going to take that step.

COLLINS: Well, that's interesting, because the last time you and I talked, and we talked about whether or not he was going to make the argument, that it should be in federal court, you, and how much of a stretch that seemed, you seemed to agree that it would likely be a stretch, and that you may not ultimately be able to make the argument that he was acting in a federal capacity.

BURNHAM: Yes, you're certainly right. There's a technical issue there and that he wasn't a federal employee or a federal official.

COLLINS: But is that a technical issue?

BURNHAM: Oh, it is a technical error, some case law suggesting that if someone's acting in the capacity, as an agent, for a federal officer, such as the President, that the removal can extend to them.

The law, on this, is often not clear. There might not be a case exactly on point. So, if we take that step, that'll be an issue for argument, with Judge Jones. And he'll have to make that decision.

COLLINS: But you're saying, now, you do think, as opposed to two weeks ago, when we spoke that you do have more of an argument, that he was a federal agent, even though he wasn't working for the government, he wasn't getting a government paycheck, he was in no way affiliated with the federal government, beyond giving Trump legal advice?

BURNHAM: Oh, sure. I think it's hardly arguable. If you look into the cases, there are federal contractors that have made the argument. There are other types of agents, and federal officials that have made it. It's not the first time such an argument has been raised.

And the case law is not exactly clear on exactly how that should come out. But I think it's an argument absolutely available, to Dr. Eastman, and we may end up making exactly that argument.

COLLINS: OK. Well, that would be a novel attempt. We'll see how successful you are there.

Most lawyers, I would say, generally speaking, advise their clients, not to speak publicly, before they have a trial. Your client, John Eastman, has been doing so, including in a recent interview, where he made this comment.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN EASTMAN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: What I recommended, and I've said this repeatedly, is that he accede to requests, from more than a 100 state legislators, in the swing states, to give them a week, to try and sort out the impact of what everybody acknowledged, was illegality, in the conduct of the election.


COLLINS: I'll note that everyone did not acknowledge that.

But is he not explicitly admitting there that he did want to impede the certification of presidential lectures on that -- presidential electors, on that day?

BURNHAM: No, no, not at all. His advice, as he said, to the Vice President Pence, was not to impede the certification, or somehow try to obstruct it or block it.

His advice, and he stated this many times before that interview, was simply to impose a short delay, in the process, to allow the state legislators who, legislatures, who weren't then in session, to have one more look, at the situation, before reporting back to Congress, and then it would go back to Congress, to make the ultimate decision.

That was his advice. It remains his view, today, that that was appropriate. It's not obstruction. It's not impeding. It's not anything, about obstruction.

COLLINS: But it is impeding, if you're saying, to stop the process, and no Vice President has ever delayed the certification of the electors before, right?

BURNHAM: No, not at all. I mean, the suggestion that the process not be stopped, but that there be a delay, is not unique to Dr. Eastman.

There were Senators that suggested something very similar. There were members of Congress. There's prior scholarship, from other academic types, that suggested such an option might be available, to the Vice President. And Dr. Eastman simply --

COLLINS: Yes, but the Constitution says otherwise.

BURNHAM: It doesn't. What provision --

COLLINS: Are you worried --

BURNHAM: What provision of the Constitution?

COLLINS: Are you worried that those comments could be used, by prosecutors, against your client? Have you advised him not to speak publicly?

BURNHAM: We made a decision, a long time ago, in this case. I've been representing John Eastman, a long time. And the decision we made was that we are not going to sort of run the typical defense playbook, of hunkering down, and refusing to talk. Our view is Dr. Eastman is innocent. He has nothing to hide. He's clearly innocent. He was acting, in his capacity, as a lawyer, and a law professor. His views were well-supported, though they may have been controversial.

All the facts are more or less known. There's not a lot of mystery here. And we've made the decision that risky though it certainly may be, to be as open as we can, with journalists, such as yourself, and with anyone, who wants to talk to us, for the most part, we're happy to talk to them.

COLLINS: So, it is potentially risky for him to be speaking publicly, you think?

BURNHAM: Oh, sure. But that's how -- that's I think, hopefully, that shows to everyone how confident we are, in our client's case, and how important we think it is, how important John Eastman thinks it is, that these facts be presented, to the public, for their analysis.

And we hope that if the facts are viewed fairly, openly, and with an open mind, that a lot of folks, even folks that might start out against us, will come to view the cases we do.

COLLINS: Charles Burnham, attorney for John Eastman, thank you, for your time, tonight.

BURNHAM: Thanks for having me back.

COLLINS: Up next, we have stunning video, released by authorities, today, that show just how a convicted murderer, escaped from prison. He is still on the run, tonight, as there are major questions of his whereabouts.



COLLINS: Tonight, a massive six-day old manhunt, for an escaped killer, in Pennsylvania, has gone from chilling, to downright shocking.

Take a look at this newly-released surveillance video that shows how Danelo Cavalcante was able to crab-walk his way, up a wall, and out of a prison yard, last week. Cavalcante was sentenced to life, for stabbing his ex-girlfriend, to death. That is why he was in that prison.

And if you will believe this, the Chester County Prison says that he escaped the same way, another inmate did, also earlier this year.

Tonight, joining us, for perspective, is former FBI senior profiler, Mary Ellen O'Toole.

Mary Ellen, thank you, for being here.


COLLINS: I mean you have profiled these kinds of few fugitives in the past. He has now been on the run, for nearly a week. I mean, what is your sense of what his mindset is, at this point, right now.

ELLEN O'TOOLE: So, at this point, there are two things that I would be looking at.

I would be looking at how he is breaking down mentally, and how he's breaking down physically. Even if he has a real strong personality, still being out there, in the woods, getting very little sleep, suffering, probably some injuries, maybe because of the escape, being paranoid, because there are 200-plus law enforcement people, out there.

Fugitives tend to break down physically, and they break down mentally. And when that happens, they make bad decisions. They become very paranoid. And then, they start to make mistakes.

That doesn't mean they become less dangerous. But it does mean, at a certain point, fatigue does sent in. And I think the Marshals Service, and the law enforcement folks that are up there, are actually exploiting this breakdown, which is what they have to do, to be able to capture him.

COLLINS: Yes. You mentioned over 200 people, they're looking for him. They're using search dogs. We know there's been at least five credible sightings. They found footprints of him. But he has still been able to evade authorities, for a week now, tomorrow. I mean, what does that say to you?

ELLEN O'TOOLE: Well, the area up there says a lot, where there are places, where he could hide. It's likely he's moving around more at night than in the daytime. He's not a large person. So, he's able to maybe hide a little bit more, effectively.

But I think what's interesting is this. He has never been in this situation before. And when you have an offender, in the situation they've never been before? Again, they make mistakes.

Secondly, it's not likely or it's certainly possible, he has no idea how the investigation is going, so, because he has no radio, no TV, he's not watching CNN. So, he has a deficit of information that he's relying on. So sooner or later, those mistakes are really going to be what would cause him to be captured.

COLLINS: What did you see, in that remarkable video, that police released today, of how he escaped out of that prison?

ELLEN O'TOOLE: When I first saw that video, I thought he had practiced that before. And he was able to do it pretty competently, and he was able to do it quickly. That did not strike me as the first time he had done that.

COLLINS: You think he had practiced it?

ELLEN O'TOOLE: It looked to me like he probably had practiced it.


COLLINS: What did you make? I mean the fact that they did not see this? There is someone, who overlooks, where there were -- other inmates were playing basketball. They have, I believe, over 160 cameras, at this facility, and they weren't able to see this or release it until today.

ELLEN O'TOOLE: Yes, that's really hard to understand, knowing how a prison or jail is set up, that somebody didn't see that or somebody didn't come forward and say, "Hey, take a look at what's going on over there."

So, when they start talking about human error, somebody either had to not be where they were supposed to be, or purposefully maybe looked the other way, or looked the other way. So, they really do need to find out what happened there.

COLLINS: Mary Ellen O'Toole, thank you, for your expertise, on this, tonight.

ELLEN O'TOOLE: You're welcome.

COLLINS: Coming up, a newly-appointed Special Counsel says that Hunter Biden will be indicted, this month, after a failed plea deal.

Back in a moment, with someone, who knows the inside of the White House, and President Biden's mindset well.



COLLINS: Tonight, federal prosecutors say they plan to indict Hunter Biden, by the end of this month. It is a head-snapping reversal, for the President's son, whose plea deal fell apart, in court.

A new filing, from the Special Counsel, David Weiss suggests that it is related to Biden's 2018 gun purchase, when he admits that he lied, on a government form, about using drugs.

Weiss, who, of course has been investigating Hunter Biden, for five years now, was named Special Counsel, last month, after that plea deal went bust.

Biden would have been -- essentially been pleading guilty, to misdemeanor tax charges, and working out the gun issue, but would have been spared prosecution, on the gun charge, in that plea deal.

His lawyers maintain that the gun agreement does remain in effect. We will see of course, if a judge agrees with that.

In the meantime, sources close to CNN tell CNN, the President, that his son's troubles have created a level of personal angst, unlike any other challenge, for him. My next guest has unique insight, into Joe Biden's mindset. Franklin Foer is the Author, of the new book, "The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future." And he joins me now.

Frank, you followed the President.


COLLINS: I mean, this took two years.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: You spoke to over 300 people.

When it comes to an issue that we've learned today, about this news that Hunter Biden's going to be indicted, what did you learn, about how the President handles something that's so sensitive to him, but also potentially so explosive?

FOER: Right. So, on the most basic level, I think that as an institutionalist, and somebody, who's been around, for a long enough period of time, I think he understands that there's nothing he can actually do about it.

I think one of the things that's, I think, painful, for people, around the White House, about the Hunter Biden issue, is that there's no strategic way to think about it, because it's a father-son issue, even if it's also very clearly a political issue.

And so, this thing is out there, in a corner, and it can't be processed in any of the conventional ways that they would process any other issue. And, I think your reporting, I mean, obviously meshes with things that I've heard over time that for Joe Biden, the idea that his own Justice Department, is having to indict his son, whatever the merits of the case, is an intensely horrible feeling to have.

COLLINS: Yes, it's remarkable.

This book has so much in it, just on the Biden White House, Biden as president, what that looks like.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: There's a notable moment, where it talks about how he dealt with criticism, well how Biden deals with it, after at Warsaw. I was there. He gave this speech.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: He said, at the end, he ad-libbed a line that Putin cannot remain in power. People were asking questions. Those speeches are carefully crafted.

And he left home, you write, "feeling sorry for himself," because "he knew that he had erred, but then" he resented that his aides had created the impression that they had cleaned up his mess. And "rather than owning his failure, he fumed to his friends about how he was treated like a toddler. Was John Kennedy ever babied like that?"

FOER: Right. So, you have this set piece. It's at the end of the first month, of the war in Ukraine. Kyiv has managed to withstand Russian invasion. It's actually a moment of great personal and political triumph, for Joe Biden, that the Alliance that he helped pulled together, had held much better than anybody had anticipated. All these weapon systems that they'd shipped to Ukraine in advance, worked.

And then he wrote this speech, on this trip that was intended to claim a little bit of credit, for all of the work that he had done. And it was a speech that was really pretty well-crafted. It was quite eloquent. And then, at the very end, he ad-libs this line, and that becomes the headline.

And Biden has suffered his --

COLLINS: Understandably so.

FOER: Yes, Biden has suffered his entire life, for having this reputation, as being a gaffe machine. And that's the thing that reporters gravitated back to repeating.

And so, for him, it was just -- I think there's actually a measure of self-flagellation, in his feeling sorry for himself, because, in the end of the day, he is reasonably self-aware, about his screw-ups.

He understood straightaway that the line that he ad-libbed, needed to be walked back. Nobody needed to convince him of that. But then, the humiliation, of being reprimanded, by the world for that, was something he felt self-pitying about.

COLLINS: And you also write, there's -- what I loved was the foreign policy stuff, in this, and digging into that. And when he met with Putin, in 2021, in Geneva, he had just taken office. He had not been there that long.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: It's kind of unthinkable now, to look back at it. I was there for that. And he and Putin were sitting in this library. And you can see Putin was in this kind of slouched position.

And now, we know, because of your book, what Biden thought about it. And you quote and say, "Biden once described" the "pose to a friend as that of an 'a-hole schoolkid,'" essentially, what he thought of him before, even he had to deal with him the way that he is now.

FOER: Yes, so well that was a description that Biden would actually repeat, over the years. And because Putin's slouch is a famous part of his persona. It's a way to compensate, for his relative height, to other foreign leaders.

[21:45:00] And Biden had thought long and hard, about how to treat Putin, as he came into office, because it wasn't hard to imagine that Putin was going to, at some point, be a menace, to the Biden presidency, and somehow throw his foreign policy agenda off.

And so, he decided that he was going to treat him, with a measure of relative respect, to make sure -- Obama had said that Russian was -- Russia was a power in decline. Biden was going to go in the other direction.

And that G7 -- sorry, the Geneva meeting was intentionally-designed. Rather than having it on the fringe, of another meeting of world leaders, he was going to go to a separate city.

It was going to have all these trappings of an old Cold War meeting. And it was going to say, "All right, we understand you're an important country. And we're giving you this gesture of respect. And now, let's have a hard conversation."

And of course, ultimately, that was a failed hand, because I'm not sure there was any good hand to play, with Vladimir Putin.

COLLINS: Yes. And Putin walked out of that, denying everything that Russia has done, interfering in the election.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: Imprisoning Alexei Navalny.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: The other fascinating part of this looks into the relationship with President Zelenskyy, which initially was much rockier between the two of them, than I think a lot of people would imagine, especially seeing, all the interactions they've had now.

And you write how they both kind of went into their first meeting, not thinking much of each other. Biden, who had worked on Ukraine, as Vice President, viewed Zelenskyy, as this amateur, and thought he wasn't expressing enough gratitude.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: And you write that, "In their calls, Biden kept boxing Zelenskyy on the ears for trying to drag him deeper" into this war. And you quote him, as saying "'You'd love nothing more than to draw us into World War III,'" he once told Zelenskyy.

FOER: Right. So, you have to imagine that they have this symbiotic relationship, where there's this inherent tension that also exists in parallel.

So, Zelenskyy's job, as President of Ukraine, is to try to get the United States, to deliver him as much military support, as possible, to make NATO membership, as close as possible. Biden's role, as President of the United States, is to help Ukraine, but he also, as a child of the Cold War, worries about the prospects for escalation. And so, in every meeting, he asked this question, "If I give the Ukrainians this weapon system, is this going to lead us closer to getting mired into a conflict that spins dangerously off the rails?"

COLLINS: Yes. And I mean, clearly, we've seen that tension still exist.

FOER: Yes.

COLLINS: Even though, of course, they're also working in partnership.

Franklin Foer, the book is fascinating. It is "The Last Politician."

FOER: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you, for joining us, tonight.

FOER: Thank you.

COLLINS: And speaking of Ukraine, there was a deadly new attack there, today, as the Secretary of State, Tony Blinken touched down, for an unannounced trip, to Kyiv

More with a Congresswoman, from Ukraine, next.



COLLINS: In Ukraine, at least 17 people were killed, 32 wounded, when a Russian missile hit a market, near the eastern front lines.

It was one of the deadliest attacks that we have seen, in Ukraine, for months. And it came as the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, made an unannounced visit to Kyiv. Despite that attack, Blinken said Ukraine's counteroffensive, in his view, has made real progress, in recent weeks.

Joining me now, Republican congresswoman Victoria Spartz, who was born, in Ukraine.

Congresswoman, thank you for being here.

You saw Secretary Blinken announce a new aid package, today.

This comes as there has been a divide, a growing one, in your party, over supporting Ukraine. But Senator McConnell came out today, and said it's not the time, to ease up. It's not the time to go wobbly. Do you agree with him?

REP. VICTORIA SPARTZ (R-IN): Well, I think, it's important for us, to show that the evil cannot prevail. It's important. But it's also important, for our President Biden, to really communicate, to the American people, what is our strategy, and why it is in our national interest, for Ukrainians to win this war.

It's not just because it's a brutal war. It is a brutal war. It's not just because we forced Ukraine to get rid of nuclear weapons. And it's a slap in the face, of United States, by Putin. But it's also, in our national interest, to make sure that China and Russia are not going to take over Europe, like they did, with Africa and South America, and doing a lot of things in Asia. So, I think it's important to do that.

It's important that Secretary Blinken not just do this incremental presentations. But actually provide weapons, faster, and more timely. If he would have provided a lot of aid? We are not providing anything new.

This, all of the stuff that he's announced have been authorized last year. And he did in this increments, people think about, "Oh, my gosh. We keep sending more and more stuff." No, he should have sent way more stuff last year. It would have been different situation. A lot of people are dying. And also, it can escalate, in serious crisis.

But I think they've been very slow, very slow-walking. And Republicans wanted a strategy, and through oversight. They're not reporting back to Congress. And I think it's unfortunate.

COLLINS: Yes. So, you're saying that they need to do more. I mean, there has been a lot of aid, going to Ukraine so far. So of course, the White House would push back on that.

But what do you say about Republicans, in your party, who say, "We shouldn't give Ukraine any more funding, they shouldn't get anything else?"

SPARTZ: Look, there are a variety of reasons why Republicans say. A lot of people don't have trust in President Biden. And he has a pretty bad track record, what's happened in Afghanistan, and how he didn't deal with, to prevent this big war, and being effective, to push back, and seriously (ph) on Putin, ought to take advantage of some of the weaknesses, of his policies.

So, I think, it's right thing (ph) that a lot of Republicans want to see what is our strategy, and what we're doing, because they're, I believe, very vague and very discreet, on providing information to Congress, where the money go, not -- people need to understand a lot of this package's money don't go directly to Ukraine. They go to a lot of other countries, a lot of other causes, associated to Ukraine. So, we need to know what's happening.

They had over $6 billion error, on accounting for aid, sent to Ukraine, for weapons sent to Ukraine. We need to find out what's going on. And he hasn't been briefing Congress, for very long time. And if he's not communicated, to American people and Congress?


COLLINS: Congresswoman?

SPARTZ: People will start to lose trust.

COLLINS: I understand what you're -- the Pentagon was the one that accounted for that error there.

But what you're saying is that there needs to be a better explanation, of the strategy, and where exactly the money is going, from the Administration.

But there are members of your party, who say that's -- they're not asking for conditions. They're saying, no more money whatsoever. Are you concerned about that growing feeling, and sentiment, in your party, about no more funding, for Ukraine, whatsoever, regardless of strategy?

SPARTZ: Well, I think there are some people, there'll always be, on both sides of the aisle that truly have convictions. And I think that's OK with that. I think majority people, in Congress, actually do support Ukraine.

But I think if they don't communicate, and not be transparent to Congress, and the American people, more and more people will start raising concerns. So, I think it's very bad that President is not willing to communicate with us, and be transparent, what's happening with a lot of aid. I think a lot of my colleagues, if we would address that, would address their concerns.

And I think dealing with internal issues, too. We cannot just say, you know, President Biden should need to do a better job, dealing with domestic issues. They're not mutually exclusive. We need to have stronger foreign policy, but also domestic policies, because Americans, people, are concerned.

And I think he's been politicizing Ukraine too much. But it's a brutal war. A lot of people are dying. We cannot politicize. It costs a lot of money to us, but a lot of lives to Ukrainians.

COLLINS: Congresswoman Spartz, a conversation, we should and certainly want to continue further. Obviously, the White House would push back on the fact that they're not being transparent about that.


COLLINS: But we're unfortunately out of time. Thank you, for joining us, tonight.

And we'll be right back.



COLLINS: And thank you, so much, for joining us.

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