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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Michael Moore On UAW Strike; Special Counsel Seeks Limited Gag Order On Trump; Elon Musk Sparks Uproar With Ukraine, Taiwan Comments. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 15, 2023 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I hope you have a great weekend.

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


President Biden, siding with the autoworkers, over the automakers, in the first ever strike against the Big Three.

Filmmaker and working-class champion, Michael Moore, is here with us, tonight.

Plus, Special Counsel, Jack Smith, asking a judge, for a limited gag order, against former President, Donald Trump, warning that the ex- President is trying to undermine the criminal justice system.

And now, senators want to know if Elon Musk personally intervened, to undermine Ukraine. For more, in international affairs, to Tesla and Twitter, just how powerful is the richest man on earth?

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

Tonight, nearly 13,000 United Auto Workers are on strike, at three plants, in three States, against all three major U.S. auto companies, for the very first time.

Tomorrow, Union leaders are expected to be back at the bargaining table. They did not have negotiations, today.

Tonight, though, in Detroit, the UAW President, Shawn Fain, appeared with Senator Bernie Sanders at his side.


SHAWN FAIN, UAW PRESIDENT: You guys are ready to rumble now, aren't you? We're in it, baby.


FAIN: It's time the politicians in this country pick aside. The billionaire class has been taking everything. And the working

class has been left scraping.


COLLINS: He said it's time for politicians to take a side. Well, the President did do that today. You can probably guess whose.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers.

Workers deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create for an enterprise.

The bottom line is that autoworkers helped create America's middle class. They deserve a contract that sustains them and the middle class.


COLLINS: President Biden announced there that he is sending two of his top aides, to Michigan, to get directly more involved, in these negotiations that are going to restart tomorrow.

Of course, at the center of all of this is not just what is happening, with the strike, what the workers will potentially get out of it, if they come to a deal. It's also a political factor, because Michigan is a State that President Biden basically must win, if he wants to indeed remain in the Oval Office.

There are a lot of implications here. I want to get straight to THE SOURCE, tonight, with Oscar-winning filmmaker, who got his start, taking the tough questions, straight to the then-Chairman of General Motors, in his 1989 documentary, "Roger & Me." We'll get to that in a moment.

Michael Moore, thank you, for being here, tonight.

When you look at the picture of what's happening, in Detroit, in Michigan, right now, at these other plants, in this strategic strike that they have going on, do you think it was inevitable?


And not just for autoworkers. All across the country, people have been struggling to survive. The tiny wage increases, they've received, in the last 20 or 30 years, have not helped average everyday middle- class, working-class Americans keep up.

So, the fact that the UAW has so boldly gone forth here, to take on all three auto companies, at the same time, something that's never been done before, and stand up for this? I mean, it's, I'm very proud of this Union. All my family were UAW members. My uncle was in the sit-down strike of

1936, 1937 that essentially founded the UAW. It's the first contract, when they took over the factories, for 44 days, and in the middle of winter, and really brought General Motors, to their meetings, and made them acknowledge the Union, and to give the Union, their first contract.


MOORE: So, all these years longer, I'm filled with a great sense of pride, having been raised, in a UAW family, being a Union member, myself, currently on strike, the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild.

And it's not just us. It's 350 Starbucks locations have unionized, voted in the Union. Amazon warehouses, Chipotles, go down the list, young people, young people, young adults, are organizing unions. It's a very important time.


And before, it was hard, for the unions, the -- I mean, for the Union, to survive a strike, because they would just fire everybody, and hire more people.

Well, right now, in this country, we have 9.8 million jobs that are not filled. They can't find workers to fill them, 9.8 million. So they know, the automakers know, that they aren't just going to be able to treat the Union poorly, and get away with it, this time. They need these workers, or they can't build the cars.

And, the Union, I think, is going to stand very strong, because they have a great new president, the first one, truly elected, democratically, by -- all the members, in the Union, got to vote for the president, not just the ones at the convention. And he has got the right attitude.

Executives got a 40 percent wage increase, in their pay, the CEO and all the executives. So should the workers. They have made record profits, right up until right now, the six-month period we're in right now. Combined, the three automakers have made $21 billion in profits. Unheard of. This is a record.

They've made off like bandits during the Pandemic. They raised the price of cars, on everybody. Everybody was trying to buy a car, knows it's 30 percent more than it was before the Pandemic. How did that happen?

So, they've made a ton of money. They, of course, they don't want to share it, with these workers, who gave all this money back, when Obama saved the auto industry, back in 2008, and 2009.

And they had to give -- the Union, the workers had to give up all this money, to the point, where new hires are only paid $15.48 an hour, all right? Just this -- and without the benefits, pensions gone, all of this stuff. And people have had it. This is, it's so anti-American-- COLLINS: Well and--

MOORE: --to go after the workers.

COLLINS: Michael, you--

MOORE: During a time like this.

COLLINS: You mentioned there, the salaries of the executives. And that really has been, between that and the company's profits, that has just been at the center, of everything, you hear, from these Union workers, and just how fast they've grown.

And the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, who out of the three that they're striking against, makes the most. She made nearly $30 million. Last night, she was asked about this very problem, by my colleague, Vanessa Yurkevich.

I want you to listen to what her answer was.



VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: If you're getting a 34 percent pay increase, over four years, and you're offering 20 percent to employees, right now, do you think that's fair?

MARY BARRA, GENERAL MOTORS CEO: Well, I think when you look at the overall -- the overall structure, and the fact that 92 percent is based on performance, and you look at what we've been doing, of sharing, in the profitability, when the company does well, I think, we've got a very compelling offer on the table. And that's the focus I have, right now.



COLLINS: What do you make of that logic?

MOORE: Well there was the logic there. And this is what's so great, especially about younger people, young adults, young workers. When they hear the BS, they understand it.

Now, Mary Barra is not only making that $30 million, right now. She's also on the Board of Disney. This is how a lot of these CEOs work. They don't just run their own companies. They're on boards of other large corporations. And the irony of, you know, I'm part of a Union, on strike, against Disney, and these Hollywood Studios. And here she is, the CEO of General Motors.

It's, I'm just so happy that people are standing up for this, and that the especially the UAW, a guiding light here, for people.

And they know they're not going to get away with this. I think that they know that. I mean, that's why she's right. They have offered something they've never offered before.

But they've even got the President now, essentially against them, in the sense that when he went on TV today? I got to tell you this. In my entire lifetime, and I mean, including Democratic administrations, I have never heard a president, once inaugurated, say that they are supporting the workers.

This President, Biden, went on TV today, and said that if they had record profits, at the car companies, then the workers deserve a record contract. Wow. I mean, does anybody realize how that is never been said, by a President, in the Oval Office? This is very heartening to everybody, who's working hard, for a living, trying to get by.

And it's, I'm sorry that she feels that way. She -- I'll say something about Mary Barra. She's the only CEO in the history of General Motors that was an actual autoworker.


She worked in the factory in Flint. Her (inaudible) UAW member, worked in the factory. She went to college, in Flint. I mean, she's a Flint person. She's a UAW person. And for her, to take $30 million a year, and have this huge pay increase, when the workers, last time, got 6 percent raise?

And now are still -- workers, who are making $15.48 an hour, back when Obama (ph) saved the company? Today, this is what, 15 years later, the workers, at that low tier, these are full-time workers, by the way, doing the same job as the person next to them on the assembly line, they're making today $15.48 an hour. Outrageous. And I'm very (inaudible).

COLLINS: Michael, you mentioned the President's speech there today. And there was a question of what he'd come out and say, because obviously he says he's the most pro-Union president to ever be in office. And there has been the question of, what does that action, actually look like here?

The UAW typically endorses the Democratic candidate. They haven't endorsed Biden, yet. They declined to do so, when he came out for reelection, in May. Why do think that is? And do you think this changes that?

MOORE: Well, I don't know. But I'll tell you, the reason they haven't endorsed him yet, is because autoworkers, all groups of people, that generally vote Democratic, autoworkers, Black Americans, women, are fed up.

Women were not even a year -- a little more than a year away from their rights of their bodily autonomy being taken, from them, by the Supreme Court. Where are the Democrats? And what are they doing?

Go down the list, whether you're an African American, whether you're an autoworker, you're a Union member? No, they shouldn't -- every group should stop just handing over these endorsements, especially to the Democrats. Because we've learned, they had 49 years, after Roe v. Wade, was made legal, by the Supreme Court, 49 years, to make it the law of the land. And they didn't.

So, I love the fact that they just won't hand over, an endorsement, to -- and he's right, probably the most pro-Union president we've ever had. And so, he did more today.

COLLINS: Do you think he--

MOORE: He took another step today, in favor of the Union, and the working people. And I think that should help.

But he's already he's sending two of his administration people there, the Deputy Secretary of Labor, is going to Flint, and going to Detroit. And, this is exactly what should happen. And they should make it clear, to the automakers, and to Corporate America, that the working people aren't going to take this anymore.

And it was a powerful move, today. And good for him.

And we'll see what the autoworkers decide to do with it.

COLLINS: I'm curious what this means for you, when you look at -- you talked about this handing over endorsements, in the broader political landscape. You obviously campaigned, for Bernie Sanders, in 2020--


COLLINS: --when he was running for the Democratic nomination.

When you look at the landscape, now, and you see people, like David Ignatius, who President Biden reads and likes, calling on him not to run in 2024, do you think President Biden is the best Democratic candidate in 2024?

MOORE: Without a doubt. I mean, David Ignatius' piece, I don't know what to say to that. It's so odd that somebody in -- I don't know how old David Ignatius is, but to have this kind of ageism, and this sort of -- it's sad to see that.

But Joe Biden, at 80-years-old, I mean, first of all, he could easily beat me in a foot race. I don't need to state the obvious. So, I'm just saying that at 80-years-old, he's able to do so much good.

Look at what has happened in his two years. Donald (ph) Trump, post Pandemic, Trump wrecking so many things from the EPA to God knows -- well we do. God does know, and so do we, what else he wrecked.

And Biden came in there. And yes, as a Bernie supporter, I was thrilled with what he's done. Now, would he do everything I would do? No, he's not me. I'm not him. But it has -- he has been an incredible president, very progressive, frankly.

COLLINS: Yes, he's certainly more progressive than some moderate Democrats would like.

(CROSSTALK) MOORE: --yes. And there's -- and we all have a responsibility, to get out there and vote, and to get people to vote next year. But I'm -- see, here's why, the optimism in me is that I read this statistic. Every year, it's 4 million 17-year-olds turn 18, become adults, become possible voters, if they choose to vote.

And we've had record turnouts, from young voters, young adult voters, in these last three elections. And they're going to vote, man. They're going to come out next year. How many young people, seriously?


So, since Donald Trump, the ride down the golden escalator, in 2015? That means there's about 30 million teenagers, in that time period, became adults, became eligible to vote. How many of them are going to vote, for Donald Trump? He knows the answer to that.

That's why some Republicans are trying to raise the voting age back up from 18 to 21. They're actually talking about that because young people will not vote for him. No young person has a poster of Donald Trump, in their bedroom. There's--

COLLINS: Well I think some people -- some people, in my home state of Alabama certainly might.

But when you look at the landscape, of what it looks like, if the election were held tomorrow, looks like it's going to be a rematch, between President Biden and former President Trump. Of course, what's changed is Trump is now facing 91 criminal charges. I mean, what do you think the election looks like, if that is indeed what we see?

MOORE: Well, then that's what we see.

First of all, again, the age thing shouldn't matter a bit. Biden is out riding a bike, swimming in the ocean. He's, you know, 80-year-olds can do all those things. You know, they breathe, right? They actually, they function well. They volunteer in their community. 80-years-old, people are having sex at 80. Then they have sex again. I mean, it's, we got to stop this nonsense about 80 is still oh. It's like, it's not that.

Biden's slogan, in the coming year, should be being up -- assuming he's up against Trump, it should be "This time, we mean it. This time for good. Donald Trump over and out. Never again, Donald Trump." This should be the end of Trump's political career unless he's running for, ward captain in whatever prison he's in.

COLLINS: Michael Moore, you did tweet the day that he left the White House, "Trial, conviction, imprisonment." I mean, what if those trials though, as he's now facing several, what if they do not happen before the election?

MOORE: Doesn't matter. People know the truth. The people know the truth.

I hope they do happen. But on some level, it doesn't matter, because Biden won, what's, over 7 million votes, last time. This is before all this stuff came out.

Trump, look, I mean, yes, Trump will do well, because there are tens of millions of people who love him.

But we live in a nation of 330 million people. We are the majority. The majority of Americans, look at any CNN poll, the majority of Americans believe that climate catastrophe is real. The 90 percent, on some polls, on gun control, 90 percent of Americans want gun control. I mean, look at the predominant polls. The 60 percent to 70 percent believe we need to bring back Roe v. Wade, that abortion should be legal.

I mean, literally ask the American people, on the issues, as CNN often does, "Where do you stand?" They don't stand with the Republicans. They don't stand with Trump. Those days are over.

The Republicans have only won one election, since daddy Bush was elected in 1988. One election with a popular vote, once, in 35 years. That's how much the American people don't want a Republican, in the White House.

And the only way they can win is by gerrymandering, trying to suppress the vote, all the things that they've been trying to do in recent years. Now, they've been caught at it, red-handed. "Can you get me a" -- "I just need 11,780 votes. Could you do that for me?" you know? On tape. On tape.

People, the American people have had it. They love their country. They want their democracy back. We all have different views on lots of things. But the one thing, I think, most of us agree on is--


MOORE: --we love this country. And we love our democracy.

COLLINS: Well, Michael Moore, as always, thank you, for sharing your views, with us, tonight.


COLLINS: We really appreciate your time.

MOORE: Thank you. Thank you for being, from

Alabama. And thank you, Alabama, for giving us some of the great -- great American writers, from Alabama, they gave us "To Kill a Mockingbird," and so many other things. Thank you, Alabama.

COLLINS: Yes, Harper Lee.

Michael Moore, thank you very much.

MOORE: Thank you.

COLLINS: So, as we look at what is happening, with this amazing -- incredible strike, historic, as Michael Moore was noting there, the question is will the White House be able to help bring both sides, together, before the U.S. economy takes a hit? We have more to come, with the former Labor Secretary, under President Biden.

Plus, why Special Counsel, Jack Smith, is now seeking a limited gag order, against Donald Trump? And his response.



COLLINS: Tonight, Special Counsel, Jack Smith, and his team of prosecutors, are asking a judge, to impose a limited gag order, on what former President Donald Trump can say, about that 2020 election subversion case.

They're pointing to his attacks, on multiple witnesses, on a near- daily basis, on social media, for this, and they argued that a limited gag order is needed, because they say he's intimidating witnesses, possibly compromising the integrity of his trial, and his jury pool.

So, how did the former President respond? You could probably guess. By attacking the prosecutor, in this case, Jack Smith, whom he has repeatedly called "Deranged."

Here to break all of this down with me, and try to answer for those posts? Maybe not, we'll make him do that. Temidayo Aganga-Williams, the former Senior Investigative counsel, for the January 6 committee.

So, Tem, I mean, what prosecutors are basically arguing here, is they're saying he could still quote from public records. He could still say that he's innocent. But they're saying that this is necessary.

Do you think that they'll be successful here?

TEMIDAYO AGANGA-WILLIAMS, FORMER SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL, JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE, PARTNER, SELENDY GAY ELSBERG: I think so. I think Judge Chutkan is going to impose at least some limited order. I mean, she's concerned about former President Trump, and his First Amendment rights. She doesn't want to be placed in a position, where she's unduly restricting his ability to speak.

But there's a difference between candidate Trump, and defendant Trump. And defendant Trump, by virtue of being under indictment, his First Amendment rights, and a lot of other rights, are restricted. So, I think it's justified.

And I suspect she's going to do that. She warned him. He's been warned by multiple judges. He's under court control effectively, through all his various bail conditions.

So, what he's not free to do is attack the prosecutor, attack the judge trying, to undermine the jury pool, and the fairness of a trial. He can campaign. But he can't basically undermine the prosecutor's ability, to prosecute the case.

COLLINS: And witnesses here too, as well.

But, I mean, we've already seen how Trump himself is responding. He was going after Jack Smith, saying "They're doing this, as I'm running for office."


If they do grant this, if the judge does grant this, how do they enforce it? What does that look like?

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: I think that's going to be the real test here.

In a normal case, what you have hanging over any defendant, is that you can put that defendant in prison. If you don't follow a court order, Marshals come, they arrest you, they pick you up, and they take you away. And that loss of liberty, that's a real, persuasive tool, shall I say, the courts have.

Here, it's going to be highly unlikely that we have any scenario, where the former President is going to be taken into custody.

But with the other threats she's already put former President Trump is that she's going to move that trial date even faster. And I think that's what she may do here.

And I think his actions, thus far, are basically guaranteeing that we're going to see that Jack Smith, D.C. case, go forward, next calendar year. And with each infraction that the former President puts forward, it makes it more likely that that case is going to move up even faster.

COLLINS: Which is obviously not what he wants.


COLLINS: One thing that was so interesting about their argument is they cited, basically his misinformation campaign was, I believe, what they called it in 2020, saying that, like the "previous public disinformation campaign regarding" the election, his "extrajudicial statements are intended to undermine public confidence in an institution -- the judicial system -- and to undermine confidence in and intimidate individuals -- the Court, the jury pool, witnesses, and prosecutors."

I mean, they're referencing what he did in the aftermath of the election, to say that "We need this. This is the basis for this."

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Exactly. I mean, it's what we on the Jan 6 committee, in our report, in our hearings have called, the "Big Lie," right?

He's been, after the election, he again attacked institutions. He attacked the DOJ. He attacked the courts. He attacked our entire election system. And he repeated those lies, again, and again, and again, until he effectively infected the minds of his base. And that's what I think he's trying to do now. He's repeating lies about Jack Smith, lies about Judge Chutkan, lies

about the entire investigation, I think, with the hopes that he's again, going to infect those minds of potential jurors. And he doesn't have the right to do that. The First Amendment doesn't permit a defendant to go out and make his case, in the media. You make your case, in the courtroom.


The other part of this is we're learning more about what Jack Smith has been doing behind-the-scenes, including how they got 32 Direct Messages, from his Twitter account. We don't know what the content is. But what are they looking for, in those messages?

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: What I suspect, they're trying to get into former President Trump's mind, right? They asked for not only Direct Messages. They want a draft, for potential posts, for example. They're trying to see what was he doing? Who was he speaking with?

And as we all know, when we're on our phones that, can be our most personal and true self. And if the former President is engaging, in Direct Messaging with someone, that's going to give us insight, to what he was thinking.

I mean, we'll remember, right, the former President, on December 19th, he, started all the planning, for the Jan 6 rally. He's the one, who tweeted, "Be there. Will be wild."

So, he used Twitter, as a way, to not only effectively start the planning, of what led to the attack, but he also gave what has been widely seen, as a signal, to the right wing, that that January 6 day was going to be a violent one. So, what he was doing on Twitter could give a lot of insight into his thinking.


Temidayo Aganga-Williams, thank you, for at least trying to break all this down, and predict the future for us. We appreciate it.

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Thank you so much.

COLLINS: We should note Trump is speaking about this, tonight. He is at an event, appearing at dueling events, really, with Governor DeSantis. We will bring you those remarks, if they are newsworthy.

But up next, thousands of autoworkers are on strike, tonight. More could be joining them soon, if the Big Three automakers don't strike a deal, with Union leaders.

President Biden's former Labor Secretary, on what happens behind closed doors, how this could all end, joins us next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Negotiations between the Big Three automakers, and the UAW, the Union, will resume tomorrow. And the stakes really could not be higher. Less than a day into this strike, General Motors told its Kansas plant, in an internal memo that CNN viewed, that it may run out of parts, as soon as next week.

Here, to speak with me, about the implications, of this, is Marty Walsh, former Labor Secretary under President Biden, and the current head of the National Hockey League players' union.

Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary, for being here.

I mean, President Biden, when you were there, called you, "One tough union chief." You helped work on the nationwide rail strike. Just can you give us a sense of what is actually happening behind-the-scenes, what should be happening behind closed doors, right now?

MARTY WALSH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT BIDEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NHL PLAYERS' ASSOCIATION, FORMER BOSTON MAYOR: Well, as far as the White House is concerned, certainly, they want to keep both sides at the table. They want to offer any type of assistance they can.

I mean, the one thing that you can't do, the President, myself, Julie Su, Gene Sperling, we can't negotiate the contract on behalf of the Union or for the company.

And it really is about keeping the sides at the table. And when you get to that issue, if there's an issue that you just can't resolve? Somebody that can intervene a little bit, and put it aside, then come back to it. And that's what we did, with the railroad strike. When we were late in my office, we put a lot of the tougher issues towards the end.

So, there's a lot of dialog conversations going on, right now. Well, maybe not right now. But tomorrow, hopefully. I think Gene Sperling and Secretary Julie Su are going out to Detroit. I read it somewhere. It's good to have them.

It's good to have Julie Su, there. She certainly knows what to do. She was instrumental, in helping the port negotiations. She worked side by side with me on so many other negotiations that we settled.

COLLINS: Yes. But they are going to be back at the table. But from what we heard publicly, today, the two sides are still very far apart. The Union is asking for a 40 percent pay raise. They want a four-day work week, a shorter work week. They want other benefits. I mean, realistically, do you think what the Union is asking for, those demands that they can be met?

WALSH: Well, I think, at the end of the day, I'm not sure if the Union is going to end up with a 40 percent increase. If they do, God bless them for negotiating that contract.

But you have to take into account, where they're coming from. They're looking at the 2008 bailout. They're looking at the record profits. They're looking at all of that.

I'm not one to judge people's salary. I never have. CEOs, what CEO makes -- what CEOs make.

But in this particular case, or in every case, just that has to -- that has to go down to the workers. The workers see that. And I think it's really important that they bring back some of what the workers gave up, to make that industry solvent, and survive, during 2008, 2009, during the economic crisis. So, it is important for them to be recognized for that.

And you are making record profits. So, there is an opportunity, for us to move forward -- for them, to move forward here, in this particular case.

And, I watched the news today. I saw the President of the UAW is on TV, at a rally. And that's important for him to do.

And this CEO, of one of the car companies, on TV today, as well, talking.


But it can't be -- you can't negotiate through TV. You have to sit at the table. You can't say something on TV that will just end them, and blow up this negotiation. This is too important.

It's important for the workers that are on picket lines, today. This is important for the 600 workers that I saw reported, that had been laid off, by Ford, and what's going to happen in Kansas City, and other places. It's too important for the companies as well, who, and the American public, both, who want to buy cars, in the economy. So, there's a lot at stake here.

And if this is prolonged, that will cause a major problem, in so many different ways. And most importantly, it'll cause a problem, for striking workers, because they don't have deep pockets. They don't have millions of dollars, in their funds, to support their families.

COLLINS: Yes. They said that if the funds were used, for all of them, if they all go on strike, it would run out, in about three months.

You mentioned the President, Shawn Fain. He's relatively new to his job. He's shown, publicly, when he's been speaking, that he is not afraid to use strong language, including moments like this one.


FAIN: This trashcan is overflowing with the bull (bleep) that the Big Three continue to peddle.


COLLINS: A recent editorial that was in the Chicago Tribune said that he is the "Most belligerent union boss we've seen in a long time," noting how he refused to shake hands, at the outset of negotiations, with the Big Three negotiators. He scrapped this longstanding tradition of civility that it looks like, in these back-and-forths.

Do you think that persona is part of the strategy here? And is it working?

WALSH: I don't know. I don't know, Shawn, that well. I don't know him at all. I've only spoken to him a couple times, on the phone. I don't believe I've ever met him.

But I definitely think that when you're sitting across the table, you do have strong language, at each other. I'm not talking about necessarily swearing at each other, but strong language going back- and-forth, and passion.

But I do think at the end of the day, and the beginning of the day, you need to begin it, by understanding each side trying to get to an agreement. Maybe not the agreement you want. But I think it's important, for you, to keep it above board, moving forward.

And again, I don't know, Shawn, that well. I don't know him at all.

COLLINS: The nation's largest business group -- business lobbying group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they're blaming the administration that used to work for, for basically not heading this off, or the fact that it got to this point.

Suzanne Clark is the head of it. And she said that the UAW strike, and the summer of strikes that we've seen is the "Natural result of the Biden administration's 'whole of government' approach to promoting unionization at all costs."

Given the role, you used to play, in this White House, what's your reaction to that?

WALSH: I like Suzanne. But she's dead-wrong in this.

I mean, I think about if you look at since President Biden's taken office, you look at the increase in wages? You think about the opportunity, for people, to move around? You think about the interest in unionization? The power is going back to people, and the workers.

And you can't blame an administration, just like you can't blame an administration, for not getting you a contract. It's unfair to do that.

There's been plenty of strikes, under Republican presidents, that I don't think the Chamber of Commerce commented back then that it was their fault for not getting it done. And they're way off pace.

So, the companies understand and recognize that they're paying their employees more, they're looking at flex benefits more, they're increasing 401(k)s, things like that, to keep employees.

One of the segments here, you talked about 9 million people, out of work. 9 million jobs opened in America, not enough workers for them. The power is in the hands of workers, right now. So, I think the Chamber of Commerce, the statements like that they should take a look in the mirror, and realize that their business model needs to change a bit, and respect the workers more, across the board.

COLLINS: Former Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh, thank you, for your time, tonight.

WALSH: Thank you.

COLLINS: Moments ago, the former President responded, again, to the Special Counsel's request, for a limited gag order, in his Washington election case. What he said, in response to those efforts? That's next.

Plus, he is the richest man, in the world. And money, of course, brings power. Does Elon Musk have too much of the latter? Some senators are now calling for an investigation, and asking the Pentagon for answers.



COLLINS: Breaking tonight, former President Trump has just lashed out, at the Special Counsel, again, this time, on camera, after Jack Smith's team asked a judge, for a limited gag order, in the federal election interference case.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: See today that deranged Jack Smith, he's the prosecutor, he's a deranged person, wants to take away my rights, under the First Amendment, wants to take away my right of speaking freely and openly.


COLLINS: I should note, it's comments like that that are the reason prosecutors are asking for this limited gag order. It's not clear yet whether or not the judge will grant it. But they say they have concerns, he will taint the jury pool, by attacking the judge, and witnesses, and prosecutors here.

This is at a conference, where Trump was courting the evangelical vote.

The question here, of course, is whether or not the judge is actually going to rule on that. That is his response so far. We'll see what she does.

While we monitor that, also this, tonight, Elon Musk seems to be at it, again. In some ways, it's like he feeds off controversy, enjoys making inflammatory statements, then kind of sitting back and basking in the backlash.

But new comments from Elon Musk have triggered an international incident. For starters, here is what he said, about Taiwan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELON MUSK, SPACEX & TESLA CEO, X OWNER: From their standpoint, you know, maybe it's analogous to like Hawaii or something like that, like an integral part of China that is arbitrarily not part of China mostly because the U.S. has -- U.S. Pacific Fleet has stopped any sort of reunification effort.


COLLINS: That is Musk, who I should note, depends on the Chinese government, for Tesla's manufacturing, comparing communist China's threats, to Taiwan, which is a democracy, to the U.S. and to Hawaii.

China, of course does not control Taiwan. A civil war in 1949 took care of that. Taiwanese leadership is livid at Musk, for those comments, saying that Taiwan is not for sale.

And in addition to that, Musk has also been speaking out about why he did not allow his satellite technology, to be used, for Ukrainian attack, on Russian warships.



MUSK: You know, and that, you know, we're basically.. um figuring out that this was kind of like a Pearl Harbor type attack.

So they're really asking us for to really proactively take part in a major act of war.


COLLINS: A "Pearl Harbor like attack."

Of course, Pearl Harbor was an unprovoked attack that drew the United States, into World War II.

Ukraine's attack would have come in the middle of an already ongoing war, near Ukrainian territory that Putin invaded.

Meanwhile, Musk is busy, has meetings on his schedule. He is set to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, as anti-Semitism has been running wild, on his platform, Twitter.

But instead of focusing on tamping down the crisis, Musk has not been attacking the anti-Semitic posts. But instead, the Anti-Defamation League, blaming the human rights organization, for Twitter's drop in ad revenue.

There really is no one better to talk about this with, than Kara Swisher, tech guru extraordinaire, and Host of "On with Kara Swisher" podcast.

Kara, I mean, I kind of hesitate to ask you. But what do you believe--


COLLINS: --is going on with Elon Musk?

SWISHER: Well, he's a regular John Foster Dulles, I guess.

He just does this to create problems. He just does it to create issues. And then, he says a word or two that he tries to back out of it. He said, "From their point of view," which is doing a lot of work here. He's just stating their point of view, when in fact, he's calling attention to it, which is what he does.

This man is not a foreign policy expert, but has suddenly become one, along with his friends. And they pontificate about this stuff. And he actually has the means, to do something, since he controls Starlink.

Obviously, he has interest in China. And so, he's going to be oriented towards what China wants, because of the factories, and the sales, and everything else. He's one of the more exposed companies to China. The other is Apple, obviously. You don't see Tim Cook doing any of this nonsense.

It was Starlink. He's making, you know, he was -- they were using his system. And it's the only system in town, over there. And so, he's got them where he wants, and he can do whatever he wants.

I find it disturbing, at the time, when I found out about it, which is when a Ukrainian official asked me to speak to him, which I thought was somewhat nonsensical, they'd asked me to do it.


SWISHER: And he wasn't getting along with me. So, I was like, "Don't say my name."

But they were having to curry favor with him, and see what would make him happy, and this and that. And it was kind of insane when you think about it.

COLLINS: A Ukrainian official asked you to get in touch with Elon Musk, to help them?

SWISHER: Yes, to convince him. Yes. Yes, I was surprised. I was flabbergasted. It was weird.

They were trying to sort of kiss up to him, so that he would extend the use of it.

And, by the way, when he first gave it, it was very generous, what was going on there, because they didn't -- these communications, the Russians knocked down Viasat. They knocked down all kinds of things. And so, this was working there.

And at first, he gave it for no money. But then, he decided he wanted to have a say in it. It runs -- and then, later, of course, they've made arrangements with the government pay for it, and everything else. And in that case, he should have no say over it. And I think that's what the case is, now. When they're using it, they bought these units, and they get to deploy them as they want.

But it's a little like Lockheed telling the U.S. government where to drop bombs, I guess. I don't know. I just -- it's unprecedented, in our history.

COLLINS: Yes. And, I mean, lawmakers clearly have questions about it. A group of senators, including Elizabeth Warren--

SWISHER: I would imagine.

COLLINS: --they're now asking the Pentagon, for answers.

Because he is doing things that the U.S. government didn't have the capability, to do, when it comes to, to having Starlink, to providing internet, to Ukraine, which is obviously something that they desperately needed. But also, he has the ability to turn it off.

And, I mean, just the concerns that lawmakers seem to have, about the influence, he has, over foreign policy decisions.

SWISHER: Yes, technically, he didn't turn it off. He didn't turn it on.

He -- or he geofenced. I think that was the mistake that Walter Isaacson made in his book is he didn't understand what geofencing was, which is just he's limiting its use in certain places that he deems problematic, such as Crimea, or the Donbas region. I think that's where he was limiting it to.

And so, he's making these decisions, these battlefield decisions, which are kind -- it's bizarre is what it is, and -- but he can do it, because it was the only game in town.

Now, other systems, again, failed. And I think what has to happen is, it's pretty clear that there has to be other systems, besides Starlink, which is a very good system, so that people don't rely on one person, and their whims, at 3 AM, in the morning, of deciding peace and war, and making these pronouncements.

It's just one unaccountable billionaire with -- who is unelected, and slightly, you can see how he behaves, running foreign policy. And that's a problem.

COLLINS: Yes. With a lot of power.

Kara Swisher.

SWISHER: Lot of power.

COLLINS: Thank you--

SWISHER: Lot of power.

COLLINS: --for joining, tonight.

SWISHER: Thank you. COLLINS: Also, tonight, we're tracking a dangerous hurricane that is barreling toward New England. We'll have a live update, from our Weather Center, next.



COLLINS: Communities, up and down the East Coast, tonight, are bracing for Hurricane Lee.

Our Meteorologist, Chad Myers, joins us from CNN's Weather Center.

Chad, obviously, you've been tracking the storm closely. When and where are we going to see the major effects of this storm?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The major effects won't happen until probably 6 o'clock in the morning. That's along the Cape, Cape Cod. But really, we're still seeing very large waves, beach erosion, up and down the East Coast, as you mentioned.

But the storm doesn't have an eye anymore. You can't even find it. That's great news. Because where this storm was a week ago, boy, we had something major on our hands. And right now, we have a Category 1 hurricane that will make landfall without an eye. That means we are going to see wind, 40 to 50 miles per hour. We are going to see some storm surge.

But truly, Atlantic Canada will get the worst of this, up toward the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick into Nova Scotia. That's where the right side of this eye is going to push water onshore, cause that surge.

And Bay of Fundy has the highest tide, top to bottom, in the world there. And when you get another surge on top of that high tide? That could really be a problem. Also, all of that water.


There will be 30-foot waves, crashing onshore, there, in Nova Scotia. The good news is, for the U.S., those waves, those winds, are blowing offshore, not crashing onshore. There still will be some erosion. It's a very rocky shore, up there, in Maine. But there still could be surge as well, as the storm finally makes landfall, sometime, tomorrow afternoon.


COLLINS: Chad Myers, I know you'll be watching it all very closely.

MYERS: I will.

COLLINS: Thank you, for that update, tonight.

And ahead, the tape that contradicts what Republican congresswoman, Lauren Boebert, said she wasn't doing, in a theater that got her kicked out. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Congresswoman Lauren Boebert's office has apparently been caught blowing smoke, about why she was recently kicked out, of a performance, of "Beetlejuice." Yes, you heard that sentence correctly.


Her spokesperson said she was not vaping. But surveillance video shows that the Colorado Republican was in fact vaping, during the performance. That cloud of smoke was not coming from a smoke machine, which is what her office initially had claimed about what happened.

Boebert is also seen on the video, taking selfies, with her flash on. Her office claimed that she was unaware that photos weren't allowed in the theater.

But as she left, after she was promptly escorted out, by the theater workers, the Congresswoman, and her date, flipped the bird, to the employees, who were really just doing their jobs.

On that note, please behave, if you go to see "Beetlejuice," this weekend.

Thank you so much, for joining us.

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

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME: All right, Kaitlan. Thanks so much. Wow.