Return to Transcripts main page
The Source with Kaitlan Collins
McCarthy Facing Threats From The Far Right To Oust Him As Speaker, Orders Biden Impeachment Inquiry; Putin: Trump Charges Are "Persecution Of A Political Rival"; Police: Escaped Killer Now Armed With A Stolen Rifle. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired September 12, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The FDA is now going to decide whether they should continue to be sold or be swapped out for another ingredient that actually does relieve congestion. That said, it is considered safe to continue to use.
The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.
See you, tomorrow.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, ordering an impeachment inquiry, into President Biden, with no proof of wrongdoing and no House vote.
Plus, Russia has not one but two dictators, in the country, tonight, as Kim Jong Un's train has finally rolled in, as Putin himself is weighing in, on Donald Trump's criminal charges.
Also, an escaped killer is not only desperate and extremely dangerous. He is now armed, nearly two weeks after his Pennsylvania prison break.
I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.
Under pressure, from the extreme voices, in his party, and at risk, of losing his job, House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, caved to the demands, from the far-right, today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Today, I am directing our House committee, to open a formal impeachment inquiry, into President Joe Biden.
We will go wherever the evidence takes us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So far, there hasn't been any evidence that is taking Republicans anywhere. It's been nine months, since they've been in the majority. And House Republicans have still not delivered any proof, of President Biden, directly benefiting, from his son's business dealings. McCarthy launched the inquiry, today, unilaterally, without having the full House vote on it.
Now, that's a major about-face, from just 11 days ago, when he said, and I'm quoting the House Speaker, now, "The American people deserve to be heard... That's why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People's House, and not through a declaration by one person."
His decision not to hold that vote appeared to be an acknowledgment, from McCarthy. He didn't say this. But what it seemed to be clear is that he does not yet have the votes, to actually pass that if it were held for a House vote.
If you remember, back in 2019, McCarthy criticized his predecessor, then-House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, for doing the exact same thing, against then-former President Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: Speaker Pelosi happens to be the Speaker of this House. But she does not speak for America, when it comes to this issue. She cannot decide unilaterally, what happens here.
She cannot change the laws of this Congress. She cannot unilaterally decide we're in an impeachment inquiry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: When McCarthy was asked today, what changed, in just 11 days, this is what he told my colleague, Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why did you reverse your position?
MCCARTHY: Because Nancy Pelosi has changed the rules of the House. We're just following through.
How are you, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, good.
MCCARTHY: Good to see you.
We're following through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Of course, nothing has changed, in those 11 days, since McCarthy made that statement.
Tonight, we should say, from the White House, President Biden himself has not personally commented, on McCarthy's move, but the Administration called it, quote, "Extreme politics at its worst." Let's get straight to THE SOURCE, with New York Democrat, and the former lead counsel, in the first Trump impeachment inquiry, Congressman Dan Goldman.
Congressman, thank you, for joining me, tonight.
How are Democrats preparing to handle this inquiry?
REP. DAN GOLDMAN (D-NY): Well, the same way, we've been handling the same inquiry, for the last eight or nine months, which is to continue to point out the facts, and the truth, and that there is no evidence, to link President Biden, to anything, related to his son.
They have had eight or nine months, to collect evidence. They have collected more than 12,000 bank records, 2,000 Suspicious Activity Reports, witness testimony. The Biden administration has been very cooperative.
And remember, Donald Trump famously said he would defy all subpoenas, and he turned over zero documents, from his administration, to the 2019 impeachment inquiry.
And so, now, we're just going to continue with the same thing, because as Speaker McCarthy said, in 2019, his declaration, of an impeachment inquiry, does not change any authority that these committees have. So, their authority, today, to issue congressional subpoenas, and get materials, is the same as it was yesterday.
COLLINS: Well, that's certainly not what Republicans think. I mean, we had Nancy Mace on, last night. She said she supports an impeachment inquiry before McCarthy announced it today.
And we asked her about what justifies this. This is what she told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Isn't it supposed to be the evidence that leads you to pursue impeachment, in an impeachment inquiry?
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Well, that's what the inquiry is for.
COLLINS: But there's already three investigations.
MACE: It's to get the evidence.
COLLINS: I think --
COLLINS: -- that's where people are confused, because it's not like --
MACE: But we don't have Joe --
COLLINS: -- there's no investigation happening.
MACE: We don't have Joe Biden's bank records yet. And so, one way to do that, my understanding, would be, through an impeachment inquiry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So, are you saying that she's wrong there that this does not give them any more power, to go after those bank records, of President Biden, or his family members?
GOLDMAN: Yes, she's wrong.
And the Speaker said it himself. You would need a House vote, to start a formal impeachment process that would potentially get more authority, through the impeachment process. Of course, if Speaker McCarthy wants to talk about precedent, let's look at the precedent, which is that Donald Trump's administration, gave zero cooperation, zero documents.
But even just to my friend, Congresswoman Mace's point, about the bank records, they have over 12,000 pages of bank records. And none of them trace back to Joe Biden. They have looked at Suspicious Activity Reports.
None of them link to Joe Biden, which is why you always hear them talk about the Biden family, or Hunter Biden. But they are not impeaching the Biden family. And they are not impeaching Hunter Biden. This is an impeachment inquiry --
COLLINS: So, are you saying that she's --
GOLDMAN: -- into President Biden. And there is no link, zero evidence --
COLLINS: But --
GOLDMAN: -- to justify this.
COLLINS: She has seen these reports. Obviously, she's on House Oversight. They went to the Treasury Department, back in March, I believe it was. She claims that they would make people blush, if they could see them.
You're saying that she's lying about that?
GOLDMAN: I watched her clip. And if you go back, she says it would make people blush, if you saw the Suspicious Activity Reports, related to the Biden family. She did not say President Joe Biden, because there is no reference, to President Joe Biden, in those Suspicious Activity Reports.
They have gotten a ton of bank records. And those bank records do not go to Joe Biden. Their witnesses do not say that Joe Biden had any link, connection, interaction, involvement, with Hunter Biden's business.
This is a purely political partisan game, that they're playing, at the behest of Donald Trump, to protect him, to distract from him, and to try to help him, in the election, in 2024. And they are about to lead us, into a government shutdown, because they're distracted, with these shenanigans that have no merit.
COLLINS: And when you talk about the power that they have, now that this is an inquiry, you're saying that unless that they have a full House vote, that they do not have the power, to request more documents, from these agencies, that essentially you're saying the Administration could ignore the request that they get, from the lawmakers --
GOLDMAN: No. No. They had --
COLLINS: -- that has been in charge of this.
GOLDMAN: -- the same power today that they had yesterday.
And the Administration has provided numerous documents and witnesses. They haven't specified what they have been unable to get. I haven't heard a single Republican say, "We asked for this, and we are not getting it." There is nothing that they're not getting.
The Biden administration has been far more cooperative than the Trump administration was. Multiple different agencies have been cooperating with the Republican investigations. They've been doing this, for eight or nine months.
What I'm saying is they don't have any greater authority today than they did yesterday, to get the materials. But they've gotten the materials. And unfortunately, for them, those materials do not support any high crime or misdemeanor, much less any wrongdoing or misconduct.
COLLINS: Is there any chance, in your view, that this inquiry does not lead to a full impeachment, of President Biden?
GOLDMAN: Well, it'll be very telling. There's a traditional sort of conventional wisdom, I should say, is that once you go down this path, it's almost impossible, not to ultimately take a vote.
But I can assure you, Kaitlan, the reason why the Speaker changed his mind, in a 11 days is, he does not have the votes, from his own party.
There have been members, on the moderate wing, on the far right wing, the Freedom Caucus, Ken Buck has come out, and said that he does not see any evidence, linking to Joe Biden.
He does not have the votes. He is trying to save himself, save his own speakership, as he has been trying to do, since January 3rd. That's what this is all about.
COLLINS: If they do move to oust him, how would you vote on that?
GOLDMAN: Well, I don't know if that will come to pass.
I think that the Republicans are in such disarray, right now, that Kevin McCarthy is afraid, at every turn that Marjorie Taylor Greene or Matt Gaetz is going to turn on him.
And that he's essentially held hostage by the extreme fringe right- wing, of his party. They are trying to renege, on the debt ceiling bill that they agreed to, and lower the top line appropriations amount, in all the appropriations bills. They are demanding, outlandish and outrageous concessions that you just can't do, in divided government, if you actually want to get anything done.
And Kevin McCarthy, time after time after time, is negotiating with the terrorists, is placating the extreme wing, and that's why we are now going to be focusing, in September, on impeachment, when we're about to have a government shutdown, and we have a lot of really important legislation that we should be dealing with, that they will not deal with.
COLLINS: 18 days of funding left.
Congressman Dan Goldman, thanks, for your time, tonight.
GOLDMAN: Thank you.
COLLINS: I want to bring in now, New York Times Senior Political Correspondent, and CNN Political Analyst, Maggie Haberman.
Obviously, this is by no means a surprise to anyone. This is the path that we've seen McCarthy take. I mean, maybe the way he took it there wasn't exactly what he said.
I mean, this is something that Donald Trump has been talking about, since July.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: So, he's getting millions of dollars illegally from China. And then you say, hey, they impeached me over a phone call that was perfect. Why aren't they impeaching Biden, for receiving tens of millions of dollars?
(AUDIENCE CHEERS & APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Why isn't he under impeachment?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Obviously, no evidence about the millions of dollars from China.
But is it clear that Trump is a major driving force, in this, to you?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He is certainly somebody, who supports it, is behind it, has been talking about it, as you see, in those clips, has been talking about it, behind-the-scenes.
How aggressively he is pushing forward with McCarthy directly, I think, is an open question. But there is no doubt that Trump -- and this is his style. He sort of drops something into the conversation, and Republicans take it up. And it's often offered as some kind of a suggestion.
It's not a surprise that it went this route. I do think it's true, though, that McCarthy's about-face was striking, in terms of requiring a vote, to move ahead, with --
COLLINS: Why do you think so?
HABERMAN: Because I think that it speaks to the fact that his members are getting very restless. And he sees a real concern, for himself, from his right flank. And he is very good at reading the room, in that way. And he sees where danger is coming from. And he acted.
Now, I don't think that anyone else has enough votes to win the Speakership, right now, against him. But I do think it speaks to what everybody thought was going to happen, when he became Speaker, which is that he is going to be sort of beholden, to a certain group of right-wing Congress members.
COLLINS: Yes. And for some of them, an inquiry is not even enough. They want to move full steam ahead --
COLLINS: -- with a full impeachment of President Biden.
HABERMAN: Well, and it's important to note, Kaitlan, that, look, to Congressman Goldman's point, we don't know -- there's no evidence, so far, that ties Joe Biden, to any of this, at least nothing that they have brought forward, and that we have seen. Now, they're suggesting that that could change, if they move ahead.
Something else that could change if they move ahead, is this could benefit President Biden. This could end up having ramifications, for Republicans, if voters, who don't really want to see these kinds of inquiries, all the time, feel like this is going too far.
And I think what you heard from the Congressman, just now, what he was talking about, about real work that has to get done? That's what you're going to hear Democrats talk about over and over and over again.
COLLINS: Yes. And what does an impeachment inquiry even look like, if the government --
COLLINS: -- is shut down, is another question.
HABERMAN: That's right.
COLLINS: McCarthy went out of his way, today, to say this is only an impeachment inquiry. Obviously, that's likely to make moderate Republicans feel better about this, who are in districts that President Biden won.
But you know President Trump, as well as I do, former President Trump. An impeachment inquiry is not going to be sufficient, to a former President, who was impeached twice, is it?
HABERMAN: I don't think so. Although it's important to remember that he's also been very focused, on getting his own impeachment record expunged. That's been something he's been talking about a lot, too. We will see which one is more important to him.
But I do think, to your point, as we have seen former President Trump face more pressure, from these criminal inquiries, he has ratcheted up the talk, about impeaching Biden. And it will be surprising if he feels content, stopping at, "We're just asking questions."
COLLINS: Yes, it seems to be a hope that it would muddy the water here -- waters here.
COLLINS: We have seen some moderate Republicans say they're kind of fine with this. They're surprisingly on board, a few of the moderates, here in New York.
Senate Republicans, though, have been either outright dismissive, or deeply skeptical of this. Senator McConnell? I mean, how do Senate Republicans handle this, do you expect?
HABERMAN: I think it's a great question. And I think we're going to see, in the coming days. But you are correct that a lot of them have expressed skepticism, about these efforts, so far, not just on impeachment, generally, but on where this is all heading, in terms of the evidence.
Now, could something happen that changes that? Absolutely. But we'll see.
Maggie Haberman, lot of interesting times ahead.
HABERMAN: Lot of stuff.
COLLINS: Thank you very much.
A question, of course, what does this mean for America, another impeachment inquiry into another president? The star witness, in the Watergate hearings, John Dean, is here, to put it all in perspective for us.
Plus, Kim Jong Un is now in Russia, for his meeting, with President Putin, while Putin is defending Donald Trump, over his indictments, here in the U.S.
COLLINS: Only three U.S. Presidents have ever been impeached.
You have to actually go back to 1868, for Andrew Johnson. His was a partisan fight, over the firing of his Secretary of War.
More than a century, after that, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath, and trying to cover up his affair, with a White House intern.
Then, there was Donald Trump, impeached twice, for trying to blackmail Ukraine, into investigating his political opponent, and then, for his role, on what happened, on January 6th.
Richard Nixon, of course, resigned, before he could be impeached.
That is where my next guest, former White House Counsel, for the Nixon administration, John Dean, comes in.
John, glad to have you here, as we just are taking a step back, and looking at what McCarthy's move, today, means, because obviously, this could mean that President Biden could become the fourth president to be impeached.
I mean, what do you make of the fact that we could see back-to-back presidents impeached, when it used to be something that happened once a century?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Kaitlan, it's very unusual.
I happen to have started my career, in government, working for the House Judiciary Committee, learning about the House of Representatives, from the inside-out. And what I'm seeing now is really sad. I was a young Republican lawyer. And I don't recognize the Party today.
What they're doing is, really, just an effort, to use the machinery of impeachment, which is known in my day, as the Big Cannon, which was never taken out. Even, it was very reluctantly taken out, during Nixon's presidency, some 20 months into Watergate, before they used it.
So, they're wielding it now, as a political tool. And that's really a sad story, because it's an important device. It's a check on democracy.
COLLINS: I think that's really notable. I mean, it was 20 months, into the Watergate investigation, before they talked about actually impeaching him, of course, then forcing his resignation.
DEAN: Exactly. What they -- it wasn't until he fired the special prosecutor, which was a pretty overt act of abuse of power, that the -- there are a number of bills that were introduced, very quickly, after the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor. That resulted in the House Judiciary Committee, reluctantly and slowly taking up impeachment.
COLLINS: You talked about not recognizing the Party anymore. Right now, 2024 Republican candidates, they're kind of threading the needle, on how to talk about this, specifically.
Chris Christie was on, with Jake Tapper, today. And this is how he phrased it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If in fact, you know, you don't have greater facts than what you have now, it would be cheapening impeachment.
I do think that the investigation needs to be had, both by congressional oversight, and by the Special Counsel. There's enough smoke here that you need to look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: What do you make of those two things? One, saying if there are no more facts than what we know now, that it's cheapening impeachment, but also talking about the necessity of having this investigation? I don't think anyone would complain, about congressional oversight, but taking the step, of going into an impeachment inquiry itself.
DEAN: Well, I don't know where Chris Christie even finds probable cause. He's a former U.S. attorney. He knows what the basis of a criminal investigation is.
An impeachment inquiry is something of an equivalent. Impeachment panel is often referred to as the equivalent of a grand jury. The evidence is presented. And they make a decision as to whether to charge or not. And then, it's taken to the Senate, for a trial.
I don't see any probable cause, here. As Dan Goldman said, at the top of the show, there's just no evidence. So, this is all smoke and no fire.
COLLINS: Well, Nancy Mace said they're doing it to get more evidence.
I want to ask about something, though, that I was looking at, and I was talking to some former Trump DOJ officials, about today.
The Office of the Legal Counsel, which issues legal opinions, from the Justice Department, when Trump was in office, in 2020, issued an opinion that essentially House impeachment inquiries aren't valid, unless the chamber has actually taken a formal vote, to authorize them.
That was obviously, in response to Trump's own impeachment inquiry, that Pelosi had opened. She did so without an initial vote, and then held one. But is that still binding for the Biden administration?
DEAN: Not at all. The House -- excuse me, it's certainly not binding, for the Congress. The Congress can do, as the Congress wishes. It's separate branch of government. It's sort of an advisory that they could bring a motion to dismiss, the action, because there hadn't been a House resolution, to authorize the inquiry.
What McCarthy has done is unusual, to use three committees, to undertake an impeachment. Typically, it's within the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary Committee. He's made it within the jurisdiction, of the Oversight Committee, as well as the Ways and Means Committee. Each has different expertise.
But typically, they put members on a committee --
COLLINS: Why do you think that is?
DEAN: I think it's just to spread it around, because they think there's political hay, to be made here. And they all want to get in on the games, if you will.
COLLINS: John Dean, we will see if this turns into a full impeachment. Thank you, for joining us. Obviously, you can see this, like very few people can.
DEAN: Pleasure. Thank you.
COLLINS: Meanwhile, overseas, two global pariahs are about to meet. North Korean state media has now confirmed Kim Jong Un is in Russia. He has arrived, for his sit-down, with President Vladimir Putin.
What it all means, for the rest of the world? Coming up.
COLLINS: It is now official. Kim Jong Un is back in Russia, for the first time, since 2019. Russian state media, releasing these images that, you're seeing here, of the North Korean leader, briefly leaving his bulletproof train, to meet with Russian officials.
Up next, we expect a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Putin, which Western officials are warning, could summon a major arms deal, with Russia, getting weapons, for its war, in Ukraine, in exchange for giving North Korea, more advanced technology, and economic aid that it so desperately needs.
The Russian leader did not mention Kim, today. But he did have something to say, about the 91 felony counts, that former President Donald Trump is facing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): All that is happening with Trump is a persecution of a political rival, for political reasons. And this is done in front of the public, of the United States, and the whole world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Joining me now, to discuss, former Trump National Security Adviser, and former U.N. Ambassador, John Bolton.
I mean, we know what happens, to Putin's political adversaries. He's referencing what's happening to Biden's political adversary, here in the U.S. Why do you think he's weighing in on Trump's criminal charges?
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think he's trying to tweak the United States, and point to something that he thinks makes the United States look bad, internationally. As you say this, they play, for really high stakes, in Russian politics. And if you lose, you lose a lot more than higher office.
But I think it's intended to show that he's still sympathetic to Trump. And it'll be interesting to see what Trump's response is.
COLLINS: Yes. He also had this argument, when he was asked, today, or when he was speaking today, about whether or not when Trump is back in office, whether or not the U.S. -- if Trump is back in office, if the U.S. would remain anti-Russian.
And he seemed to think that no matter which American leader was in office that they would.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN (through translator): Though they accused him of special ties to Russia, it was complete nonsense, total bullshit. And he more than anything imposed sanctions on Russia.
So, what to expect in the future? Regardless of who is president, is difficult to say. But it's unlikely anything will change, definitively, because the current government has configured American society, in such an anti-Russian manner and spirit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Do you think that it's true that if Trump is back in office that there would be this anti-Russian stance?
BOLTON: No. I mean, Trump himself has said he would try and negotiate an end, to the war. He could do it and 24 hours. He'd just get Zelenskyy and Putin into a room. That isn't going to happen.
But I do think the attitude toward aid to Ukraine would change. And I think more fundamentally, certainly what worries me is that I think Putin would use this, as an opportunity, to withdraw from NATO. I think that's clearly something he wants to do. I think it'd be a huge mistake. But this --
COLLINS: Trump would use that as an opportunity --
BOLTON: Yes, that this is -- it would --
COLLINS: -- to withdraw from NATO?
BOLTON: -- it would be of more interest to him to withdraw from NATO, than simply to cut off aid to Ukraine. So, I think, it could be a real crisis point, in his presidency, if he wins.
COLLINS: Putin is getting ready, to meet with Kim Jong Un. The U.S. worries that there is going to be this arms deal that they basically make. How significant is this? How dangerous do you think this is?
BOLTON: Well, I think it's quite significant. I think it actually goes well beyond the potential arms deal. From North Korea's point of view, this gets them back, into really significant contact, with Russia, for the first time, since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Back in the Cold War, North Korea played off China, against the Soviet Union, very well, going back to the Korean War. But when the Soviet Union collapsed, they sort of lost interest, and North Korea became more and more dependent on China.
This gives North Korea, going forward, the potential to play Russia off, to get oil and gas, directly from Russia, to get high technology, in exchange for these weapons.
But I think the big winner here is Kim Jong Un. But it also increases Russian influence, in Korea, and the Peninsula, and the whole geographic area, at a time, when, I think, the Russians are worried about being the junior partner, in the Beijing-Moscow axis.
COLLINS: Jake Sullivan, who has the job now, under President Biden, that you once had, under President Trump, says that if this goes through, North Korea will pay a price. What do you think that price should look like?
BOLTON: Well, with all due respect to the Biden administration, they're not making people, who are under sanctions now, including North Korea and Iran, pay the price they should be paying. If our sanctions were really maximum pressure, which they should be, there wouldn't be too much more you can do. I'm just very skeptical that they will make North Korea really pay a price.
And, I think, one long-term implication is, as North Korea ships off part of its armament capability, part of its ammunition, will they simply get replacements, from China? And will they then, in turn, sell the Chinese weapons, to Russia? So that China can say, "Oh, we're not providing."
COLLINS: And China indirectly helping Russia?
BOLTON: Yes, exactly. Exactly. COLLINS: When you -- speaking of Putin, another person he praised today was Elon Musk, calling him, this, I believe, he called him a brilliant person. I'm not sure that -- he said something along the lines of very praiseworthy of him.
That has been a subject of focus of the leverage, and the influence, that Elon Musk has, over the U.S. government, because of the internet service that he's providing, in Ukraine. Starlink.
Would you be comfortable with the role that he's playing in the federal government, if you were in a national security position, still?
BOLTON: No, I wouldn't. I mean, it is his decision, to cut off the Starlink capability, in the face of a potential Ukrainian military operation, was a direct interference, in the conduct of the war.
I mean, I think, it's a good lesson to have more than one supplier, on critical equipment, critical communications, in particular, if you can do it, and should be a warning to us, looking ahead, that we don't become too dependent, on any one particular company, for anything.
COLLINS: Yes. And they're disputing what that role looked like. But clearly, it's still a massive one.
John Bolton, thank you, for being here, tonight, Ambassador.
BOLTON: Thank you.
COLLINS: Also, here at home, a manhunt is intensifying, after an escaped prisoner managed to get ahold of a gun. So, now he is both extremely dangerous, and he is armed. And authorities are honing in, on a specific area, where they believe that he is hiding. Of course, it is now day 13.
We have more, next.
COLLINS: Tonight, police, in Pennsylvania, are escalating efforts to find the escaped killer, Danelo Cavalcante, who is now armed with a stolen rifle.
Officials say that they do believe he is in the perimeter, or at least within it, of where he was last seen, shirtless, on Monday night, at a home, that is 20 miles north, of the Chester County Prison, he escaped from, almost two weeks ago.
He reportedly entered, and opened a garage, while the homeowner was inside, and grabbed a .22-caliber rifle. The homeowner then drew his pistol, and fired at Cavalcante, as he fled.
Now, police say the convicted murderer couldn't be desperate -- could be desperate enough, to use that gun. And they're warning residents, within the search area, to secure buildings, property and vehicles.
CNN's Brian Todd is in Pennsylvania, inside the search area.
Brian, obviously, it has now been 13 days, and the guy is now armed. I mean, what are officials saying behind-the-scenes? What is their sense of whether or not they're hopeful they're actually going to be able to locate him?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, at least very publicly, they are projecting confidence, that they are going to get him, and that they're going to get him soon.
Just today, the Governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, had a very pointed message, for Danelo Cavalcante. He said, quote, "The gig is up. You should turn yourself in."
They have been projecting confidence, pretty much, all along the way. But, of course now, we're almost two weeks into this. And of course, the game completely changed, with the news, last night, that he had stolen that .22-caliber rifle.
I spoke with Lieutenant Colonel, George Bivens, of the Pennsylvania State Police, earlier today. And he had some concerns about what he could do with that weapon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COLONEL GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: It's a possibility that he'll attack the police, to try and get away. It's a possibility he would attack a civilian. It's a possibility it would be a suicide by cop. Any of those scenarios or possibilities, our people are trained to deal with.
This really doesn't change anything, in terms of our tactics and the equipment and so forth that we're utilizing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And one other thing to note is that that weapon, according to police, has a scope, and a flashlight, attached to it.
One disadvantage that Cavalcante may have, tonight, though, Kaitlan is? I think you mentioned earlier. He could be moving around now, shirtless. Police say that he ditched a green hoodie, and a white T- shirt, at the foot of that driveway, of the home, where he was shot at, by that homeowner. And earlier today, they said, to their knowledge, they don't believe he has other clothing on.
COLLINS: Brian Todd, obviously keep us updated, if there are any updates, tonight. Thank you for that.
I want to get more insight, with retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Daniel Brunner, who is joining us, tonight.
Thank you so much for being here, Daniel.
I mean, obviously, what Brian was reporting there, Cavalcante now has this .22-caliber rifle. It is outfitted with a scope and a flashlight. I mean, how much harder and more dangerous, does that make a search, like this?
DANIEL BRUNNER, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: I think it multiplies it by an X-factor that he now is armed. He now has a scope. He has the flashlight. And he's well-aware he knows the area.
He traveled, from the prison, to the home of his associate, without the utilization of GPS. He knew this associate's home, from years ago, he remembered it. So, he's familiar with the area. He's familiar with this.
If the tactical teams, especially at night, are moving very methodically, very carefully, they might encounter him, unfortunately, if he sets up an ambush. He could be aware of them. He could see them coming, from half a mile away. And he could set up a quick dangerous ambush.
So, the tactical teams are some of the best-trained officers, and agents that I know. And they're moving very carefully. And it's a large area. But they're moving, carefully, to be able to find him, and push him, into a direction, where he makes a mistake, where he is encountered by a civilian. A civilian sees him, out their window. They're able to call 9-1-1. And then, everyone else is able to encounter him, and hopefully capture him alive.
COLLINS: Yes, I mean, there's a lot of those officers that are part of this search effort. 500, I believe, is the total. It's from state police to the FBI, the ATF, U.S. Marshals, all who are looking in that perimeter, so carefully, as you were noting.
But we've learned that he was able to slip through perimeters before. I mean, what do, the internal efforts look like, when you're 13 days in, and you still haven't found the person?
BRUNNER: Well, the internal efforts are extremely complex. There's a very large scale command post that is set up.
And most likely Pennsylvania State Police is the command -- the command structure, and everyone else is assisting. They've got analysts. They've got other agents, other agencies, providing support. There's most likely FBI headquarters is providing their support, whether it be computer analysts, phone analytical work.
So, there's a lot of people at the command post. They bring in all the tips that come together. And then, they are distributing it.
In addition, you have an additional investigative team, which is out in the field, interviewing all the family members, interviewing cellmates, interviewing associates of cellmates, to see if they can get into the mind of the fugitive, and figure out what his next step is? Why is he travelling north, and west, and then to east? It's try to establish the pattern, get ahead of him, and create the situation, where he makes a mistake, where he throws his green sweatshirt off, and now he's shirtless. On a rainy night, he'll be cold. He may end up making a mistake, and trip across the street. And someone will see him, and then hopefully, law enforcement will take him into custody.
COLLINS: Yes, I mean, they've been waiting on him, to make that mistake, for 13 days now. And it hasn't been one that materially has affected the search yet.
I mean, when you talk about what they're analyzing, and what they're asking people about, what is the most valuable thing that they would have, to help them locate him?
BRUNNER: Without a doubt, the most valuable thing that can assist in this investigation is the community. Having his photograph, and the updated photograph, of him clean-shaven, having those sets of eyes, of the community, looking out the window, seeing if there's somebody walking by that just doesn't seem right in the neighborhood.
People know their neighborhood. People know who their neighbors are. If they see someone that just doesn't fit in, call 9-1-1. Call your local law enforcement. And that tip will get filtered into the command post, and will get filtered. And they will look at it. They will analyze it. Those people in the community know their neighborhoods best.
It's important though, as he did last night, is he entered an open garage. He clearly looks for an opportunity. Close your garages. Lock your car doors. Take the garage door openers out of your cars. Set up your house carefully. Because, he is a danger to the community, and to all the civilians.
But the people in those communities, that's the best thing they can do is look out the window, or while you're driving through the area, keep an extra eye out, and then call 9-1-1. Even if you think it's nothing, call 9-1-1, call your local law enforcement, call the FBI, and provide that tip.
COLLINS: Daniel Brunner, we will see if they get any closer to locating him.
Thank you, for joining me.
BRUNNER: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Ahead, should a presidential candidate's marital status matter, in 2023? Republican-hopeful, Tim Scott, certainly doesn't think so, as he's addressing questions, about his love life, following a new report.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Now to the 2024 race, tonight, and one Republican candidate in particular. South Carolina Senator, Tim Scott, who happens to be the only Republican candidate, in the race, who is not married.
Quote, "Tim Scott's girlfriend," is the headline, on a deeply-reported piece, today, in "The Washington Post," by the reporter, Ben Terris, who writes quote, "I decided that, yes, I would try to figure out whether Tim Scott has a girlfriend. But I would also investigate a deeper question: Does anybody care?"
Short answer to the first. Yes, the Senator does have a girlfriend. But he is not revealing her name, and says he can't imagine dragging her onto the campaign trail.
As to the second question, posed by the reporter, Tim Scott himself has wondered aloud, if whether or not voters truly would care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): To suggest that somehow being married or not married is going to be the determining factor, of whether or not you're a good president or not? It sounds like we're living in 1963, and not 2023.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: My next guest, Rob Godfrey, has long been involved, in South Carolina Republican politics. He worked for Nikki Haley, including leading the team that rolled out Scott's appointment to the Senate.
Rob, obviously, you know, the State that Senator Tim Scott hails from, very well.
The reporter here, Ben Terris, says he was curious, and I'm quoting from the piece now, about "Voter interest (or lack thereof) in Scott's love life (or lack thereof)," and how it "might illuminate the politics of marriage, family and masculinity in today's GOP."
What do you say? Do voters care?
ROB GODFREY, FORMER SPOKESMAN TO GOV. NIKKI HALEY, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR SOUTH CAROLINA GOP: I agree with the Senator. I don't think that voters care about something like this, in 2023.
And I think that the way that the reporter characterized it, kind of got it wrong.
I don't think this is anything more than a candidate who, while he understands, that in a presidential campaign, he's going to face a higher level of scrutiny, than he's ever faced in his life, his first instinct is to protect the people that he cares the most about.
That includes his family. That includes people, who may one day become a part of his family. That includes his staff. And that's what I think this is. Nothing more, nothing less.
COLLINS: When you look at it, from the political perspective, I mean, evangelicals and Republican voters, obviously had no issue, putting Donald Trump, inside the White House. He had -- he was thrice married. The Access Hollywood tape obviously came out, not long before the election.
Is that something that factors into account, with whether or not, why would those voters care, whether or not Tim Scott is single?
GODFREY: I don't think they would. And I think there are a couple of things that prove that.
First of all, the most, the thing that proves that the most, right now, is the fact that in, in poll after poll, Tim Scott continues to gain momentum, in places, just like Iowa, in the early primary states, that are going to mean the most, in this presidential election.
Second, in South Carolina, where he's been on the ballot, time after time, people don't care about stuff like this. They've elected him to the United States House. They've elected him to the State House, before that. They've elected him to the Senate.
These questions haven't come up among voters. They come up among reporters. They come up among the operative class. But I wouldn't be the first one to tell you that the chasm between the interests, between the operative class, and reporters, and actual voters, who turn elections is very, very wide. And they have very, very different priorities.
COLLINS: Yes. And it's not just a Republican thing, I should note. I mean, Democrat Senator Cory Booker gets the same questions, same kind of thing that you're referencing there.
I think the other part of this is that, running for Senate is a lot different, and has scrutiny, but certainly not as much as a presidential campaign, which brings a lot of that with that.
Do you believe that Senator Scott's campaign knew they were going to get questions about this? They were prepared to answer questions about this?
GODFREY: Look, Senator Scott has always surrounded himself by professionals. I have absolutely no doubt they anticipated that this question could come, over the course of the campaign.
But when it comes to protecting the people, that you care about the most, you never know how exactly, you're going to answer it, in the moment. And I think that Senator Scott is handling it just fine.
What we forget is that we live in a very high-information age, and we live in an age, where people have more access to candidates than ever.
So, if people really care about an issue, like this? He's in Iowa. He's in New Hampshire. He's in South Carolina, regularly. And the great thing about these early primary votes is that voters and caucusgoers get the chance, unlike they do in any other State, to go right up to the candidates, look them in the eye, and ask them about issues, that are on their mind.
And if this issue is on their mind, they'll go up to Senator Scott, and they'll ask him about it. He'll have a chance to answer it. And I think he'll dispense with it, the way it's been dispensed with, any other time it's been asked. And that people will vote for him based on the strong record he has, in the Senate. And they'll cast their votes, and make their decisions accordingly.
I mean, there's so many bigger issues in this campaign --
GODFREY: -- whether it's the economy, and jobs, and the inflation, and things people are talking about, and things that actually matter to people, day-to-day, that this is just not something that voters are talking about.
COLLINS: Yes, certainly, they do have a lot of questions, at those events. I've seen many of them up close.
Rob Godfrey, I know you have as well. Thank you, for joining me, tonight.
GODFREY: Thanks for having me.
COLLINS: With cold and flu season, around the corner, the government says many of the popular decongestants that you grab over-the-counter, don't actually work, and could even be removed, from store shelves. That story, next.
COLLINS: Tonight, we are learning that some of the cold and allergy medicines, that you might use, don't actually work.
An FDA panel found that the main ingredient, in many of the over-the- counter medicines, that treat nasal congestion, is actually ineffective, especially when it's in tablet form.
Phenylephrine is in drugs, like Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion, Sudafed PE, Vicks Sinex, and many other. These popular brands have generated nearly $1.8 billion, in sales, just the last year alone. But now, the FDA is going to consider removing these products, from the market.
We'll let you leave it at that, and let you to clean out your medicine cabinet, now.
Thank you so much, for joining us.
We're going to turn it over to "CNN PRIMETIME" with Abby Phillip, which starts right now. Hi, Abby.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME: I have a feeling that's going to make a lot of people really unhappy, tonight, Kaitlan. I think you ruined some days.
PHILLIP: Thanks so much though. Have a good night.
COLLINS: You too.
PHILLIP: All right, good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip.
And after centuries of impeachment inquiries, being extremely rare, for the United States, they are becoming more common than the Olympics.