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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

NY Judge: Donald Trump Committed Fraud For Years; Cassidy Hutchinson To CNN: Trump Is The "Most Grave Threat" To American Democracy; Biden Joins Striking Auto Workers In Historic Picket Line Visit. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 26, 2023 - 21:00   ET






In a major ruling, a New York judge has found Donald Trump liable, for repeated and persistent fraud, along with two of his adult sons. Before the trial even begins, putting their family business, in serious jeopardy.

Plus, former Trump insider, Cassidy Hutchinson, giving her most revealing interview yet, to CNN's Jake Tapper, now warning that the ex-President, in her view, perhaps poses the most grave threat to U.S. democracy ever.

And history, tonight, as a sitting president, striking with auto workers, on the picket line, for the very first time, with his own economy, at stake.

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

Donald Trump, and his sons, found liable for fraud, tonight. A New York Supreme Court Justice ruling that the ex-President falsified financial statements, for roughly a decade, along with his two adult sons, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump. This decision stems from a lawsuit that was filed, by the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, last year.

And the Judge found that Trump, and his company, deceived banks and insurers, by massively overvaluing his assets, and exaggerating his net worth. Trump ignored reality, when it suited his business needs, according to this judge, who also wrote, and I'm quoting the Judge now, "That is a fantasy world, not the real world."

This is a major blow, for someone, who has been a developer that has spent decades, bragging about his wealth.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Because I'm really proud of my success. I really am.


TRUMP: I have made billions of dollars in business, making deals.

All my life, I made money. I made money. I've always been good, making money.

I built an unbelievable company. Tremendous cash. Tremendous company.

One of the best companies. I have some of the greatest assets in the world.

I don't need banks. They have a lot of cash. I built a great business with my family, built a fantastic business.



COLLINS: This is all just part of a $250 million lawsuit that Trump is facing, which is scheduled to go on trial, here in New York, on Monday.

Trump responded to the ruling, tonight, with this massive wall of text, attacking the Attorney General, and the Judge, and claiming that he is worth more than the numbers that are shown, on his financial statements.

His lawyer, Chris Kise, says he and his family will appeal this ruling to, quote, "Rectify this miscarriage of justice."

Joining me now is the man, whose testimony jumpstarted this investigation, Trump's former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen.

Michael, obviously, this is a huge ruling, against your former boss. What did you make of this?

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: It's a massive ruling that has long been in the wait.

I mean, the one thing that Donald Trump is so good at is delaying the inevitable. And Judge Engoron really had enough. He had enough. I mean, some of the language that was used, in this 35-page decision, demonstrates exactly this point, that he just had enough, of the games, and he was not going to allow Donald's delay tactics, to continue.

COLLINS: Is your understanding, I mean, is Donald Trump still in business, in the State of New York, after this ruling, and what the Judge ruled about his business certificates?

COHEN: The answer is no. Because what ultimately happens, is the Attorney General will cease, to allow those companies, to exist, by pulling the licenses, by pulling its license, to be active, in the State of New York. So, all of those assets will end up going into some form of a receivership. And as a result of the receivership, the companies will end up getting liquidated, especially now that this case is no longer solely about, all cases of bifurcated.

So, the first part is the liability. The second part is damages. There is no more issue of liability. The Judge has already determined that the fraud existed. So now, it's just an issue of damages.

COLLINS: So, they're obviously going to try to appeal this. We heard that from the Trump attorney. But you're saying that if they don't, if this stands, that places like Trump Tower, in Midtown, that has his name on it that that's no more?


COHEN: Well, Trump Tower -- let me be clear, because a lot of people don't understand this.

Trump Tower is a condominium, meaning that each and every one of the units, are owned, in what's called fee simple absolute. It's owned by the purchaser. Not by Trump. He does have Trump Property Management that operates the building, and receives a fee for it. That will no longer be in existence.

So, all of the companies that are Trump-owned and -controlled, yes. But the properties that Trump owns are all fee simple absolute condominiums.

COLLINS: But this ruling is a major threat to that, you're saying?

COHEN: It's a major. First of all, all of the golf courses, as an example. Briarcliff Manor, as an example, that will no longer be able to operate, under the Trump flag.

COLLINS: I mean, as someone, who has touted himself, long before he was President, as this major developer? I mean, what do you think his ruling or his reaction is to that tonight?

COHEN: Well, I had said, and Jamie Gangel, actually parroted me, today, on one of the other CNN shows, that if you really want to get to Donald, the way to do it is through his bank book.

Not by saying, "Oh, he's a narcissistic sociopath," or, "Look at he's definitely, he's not 6-3. And he's not 215 pounds."

COLLINS: It's his money.

COHEN: You go after the wallet. Once you start hitting that bank book, that's what really gets to him.

COLLINS: As I mentioned, so much of this has to do with your testimony that you provided, to Congress, in 2019. I just want to remind people, what it was that you told lawmakers, at the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM LACY CLAY, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: To your knowledge, did the President, or his company, ever inflate assets or revenues?


LACY CLAY: And was that done with the President's knowledge or direction?

COHEN: Everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of Mr. Trump.


COLLINS: I mean, you were someone, who was incredibly close to Donald Trump. There was a reason you were able to provide that information that you did, to Congressman, there, and to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Do you think he regrets that your relationship was severed, now that seeing how this ended up?

COHEN: If one would say that Donald was normal? Like most human beings? They would say absolutely, it was a grave mistake.

But Donald doesn't see things that way. He may feel it, when he's by himself, and reflecting upon it. But when it comes to openly acknowledging and admitting, Donald is incapable of fault.

COLLINS: He's posting in response to this. We showed that massive statement, essentially saying that he didn't disclose his most valuable asset, which is his brand. I mean, does he believe that that's really something they should have taken into account here, when they're looking at the numbers, of what these properties, what these businesses, are worth?

COHEN: Yes. Look, again, when it comes to the value of the brand, sure, there was a value to the brand. What's the value of the brand now? Obviously, significantly less.

But if you're talking about an asset, well, you need to talk about the asset. What does the brand value have anything to do with overinflating, the square footage of your primary residence, his triplex, on Fifth Avenue, to 33,000 square feet, when the unit is actually 11,000 square feet?

What does the brand value have anything to do, with claiming it's worth $15,000 a square foot, or whatever he put down onto it, when in fact, nothing in the entire area, that building, for sure, ever approached a price per square foot, even in that stratosphere?

COLLINS: Are you saying, tonight --

COHEN: So, the answer is it doesn't.

COLLINS: -- Mar-a-Lago is worth much more than the $18 million that they claimed?

COHEN: So, what $18 million are you talking about? It's not what he claimed that the value of Mar-a-Lago was.

COLLINS: That's what the -- that's what he's saying that the Judge ruled, that the -- what they found here. He's complaining about the Judge's estimate of that.

COHEN: He could certainly have his day in court, when it comes to damages, which is where the trial starts, on Monday. But I don't think he's going to be successful, in any of that.

See, Mar-a-Lago is not a house. It's not Donald's house. It is a country club. It's a social club. It is zoned as a social club. So, you can't just change zonings, simply from a Monday to a Tuesday, by saying, "Well, today, I want it to be a house. Therefore, it's going to be under R1 Zoning, and therefore it's worth $300 million." Doesn't work that way.

COLLINS: You just talked about, you know, this is still going to trial. This is the Judge saying the core of this investigation, this, what she's saying can stand. If he goes to trial, and there's a cash judgment, for $250 million, can he pay that?

COHEN: OK, so.

COLLINS: Or is he going to bankruptcy?


COHEN: OK, so let me begin, by saying that there's a lot of mistakes that get made, by people in the media, journalists included, when they say this is a $250 million lawsuit, against Trump, and the organization. It is not. It is a baseline of $250 million.

COLLINS: You're saying it could be more than that?

COHEN: I'm saying it could go anywhere up to whatever the Judge determines. Let's not forget, Alina Habba made a terrible error, or somebody --

COLLINS: Trump attorney.

COHEN: -- the Trump's attorney, by failing to check off a certain box that had the case, as a jury trial. It is now a bench trial. So, Judge Engoron will be the sole decider, on what the damages are.

The damages, in my estimation, will exceed, with interest and penalty, will exceed $600 million. Does that put the company to bankruptcy? He does not have that liquid cash available, in order to pay that off, for a multitude of reasons.

Many of the assets that he owns, he has limited to no basis in them, like 40 Wall Street, $1 million basis. He also has, say, $100 million mortgage on to it. If that property sells, even for a whopping $400 million, just probably worth more? COLLINS: But to your point, you're saying he cannot pay that?

COHEN: No, because he's also going to have to pay Uncle Sam, tax, on the money, between the basis, and the sale price. He doesn't escape that. Everybody has to pay that.

So, let's say it's 50 percent. So, that would be $200 million minus the $100 million that he owes to the banks on it. So, there's $100 million left, in order to be used, to offset whatever the judgment will be.

COLLINS: You know him well. What do you think is going through his mind, tonight?

COHEN: I think he's very angry. As I said, and Jamie Gangel repeated it, the way to get to Donald Trump is always via the pocketbook. It's what he cares about most.

COLLINS: Michael Cohen, your testimony jumpstarted this.

Thank you, for coming on, to join us, tonight.

COHEN: Good to see you.

COLLINS: And, of course, Michael Cohen's book, you can read it. "Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the US Department of Justice Against His Critics." You can also listen to his podcast, "Mea Culpa," "Political Beatdown."

And for more on this, and a legal analysis, of what this could mean, what it could look like, on Monday, when Donald Trump is potentially in court, as is his legal team, former federal prosecutor, Elliot Williams, is here.

Elliot, you heard from Michael Cohen, just there.

We've also heard from Trump's current attorney, Chris Kise, saying that they believe this is, in their quotes, "Completely disconnected from the facts," from the "Governing law." They're going to appeal.

What can they do? Can they be successful? What's the likelihood of that?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's hard to say. Look, parties often, when they get slapped down at court, will make a statement, saying that this is disconnected, from the facts and law.

But let's look at what the Judge actually did. This was a summary judgment motion, which was, in effect, the Judge saying, there is no reasonable question of fact, even viewing the facts of this case, in the light, most favorable, to the non-moving party.

So, let's just assess the case, from Trump's perspective. That's what the Judge is doing, in the summary judgment motion, and saying even under those circumstances, there's just no question of fact. And, I think, questions such as, there was the triplex, that Michael just referred to, a moment ago, this idea, of inflating the square footage, of a property, by a factor of three, simply could not have been a factual error, or mistake. It was evidence of fraud. And so, it's not out of the question that this, when it gets appealed, gets affirmed, exactly, as in the form that it was written here.

COLLINS: Yes. And the Judge was essentially saying, "If you're arguing this is subjective?" I mean, the Judge literally quoted Duck Soup, saying, "Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?"


COLLINS: But when you look at all of this? And what Trump's attorneys were trying to do, here, in recent days, was basically persuade the Judge, kind of have this Hail Mary, when it came to throwing out these claims. I mean, is that part of what backfired, here, on Trump's legal team?

WILLIAMS: It's hard to say it backfired, for a couple reasons.

Number one, they would have had to file this motion, to file that Hail Mary, because they would lose the right, to do so, later on, down the road, if the case ultimately went to appeal. Parties have to raise their arguments, early on, in a trial, in order to -- it's called preserving your argument for appeal. So, that's one.

Number two, the government, Letitia James, the Attorney General's office, would have probably filed, for summary judgment, anyway. It's very common, in cases, early on, in a civil case, to say, "We believe our case is so strong that there's no question of facts. So your honor, please dismiss this outright."

So look, they lost. They got slapped down pretty hard here, because that language that the Judge uses is pretty aggressive, for any sort of judge. But I think this probably would have come out the same way. I don't think it was a miscalculation, on Trump's team's part.

COLLINS: Yes. It is safe to say it is absolutely scathing.

Elliot Williams, thank you, for that legal analysis, of what we saw, in this ruling, tonight.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.


COLLINS: Also ahead, for us, tonight, Cassidy Hutchinson, a Trump insider, far from finished pulling back the curtain, on her former boss. She worked in the White House. She's now delivering a new warning, to the United States, ahead of the 2024 election, in a new interview, on CNN.

Also, the government set to shut down, in four days, run out of money. But House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, is still facing an ongoing rebellion, from his far-right flank. He just spoke, moments ago. We'll tell you what he said.


COLLINS: Tonight, former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, offering a stark warning, about Trump's third bid, for the White House.

After bursting onto the national stage, with explosive testimony, to the January 6th congressional committee, last June, she is now out with a new book, titled "Enough." It's a revealing portrait of the final chaotic days, more chaotic than we knew, of the Trump White House.

And she talked to my colleague, Jake Tapper, describing what she believes a second term, of Donald Trump's presidency, would look like.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO WH CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: To me, it is sad that we're in this place, as a country, where we are looking at somebody, who has executed this horrible assault on our democracy, and we are continuing, to give this person, a platform. That's not what we should stand for, as Americans.

And I think that Donald Trump is the most grave threat that we will face to our -- face to our democracy, in our lifetime, and potentially in American history.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: When he says things like he wants to use the Department of Justice, to go after his enemies? And when he says things, like he did on Truth Social, the other day that he wants to curtail freedom of the press, for certain channels, and that sort of thing? You take him literally. You think he actually means it, and in a second term he would do that.

HUTCHINSON: I think that Donald Trump, in a second term, does not have any -- would not have guardrails. I think we saw that, at the end of the first term, with how things played out, after he lost the election. He violated our Constitution, in multiple ways.

It is completely fine to wage, or to file lawsuits, in the country, or in states.

TAPPER: Sure, of course.

HUTCHINSON: But what is not OK is when you threaten and assault the Constitution, and our institutions of government. I would not put it past Donald Trump, Jake, to put those institutions of government, in a worst position that they were in, during the first term.

TAPPER: So, as you've noted, he's now facing 91 felony charges, and four different investigations. He's been indicted four times. You've testified in front of the Georgia grand jury. You were interviewed by federal investigators, overseeing the January 6 investigation, an indictment, in the classified documents case, an indictment.

How do you feel about the charges he's facing? I mean, I know you're not a lawyer. But I know that you also read these documents. When you look at the evidence, and then when you hear his excuses, or his defense? I mean, do you think he's guilty?

HUTCHINSON: I want to hold off on providing my personal opinions on that. And only because I -- I'm with the platform that I think we all should look towards, in the platform, at least that I am trying to adopt, in this era of my life, is it is sometimes just as dangerous, to speculate, about what could be going on, behind closed doors, at the Justice Department.

I am confident in our system of government. And I think that we will have to leave it to the investigators, to be able to collect the facts. And that is why I came forward, and testified, truthfully, to all the investigations. I think that if he is convicted, then that is a conviction, that we need to accept, as Americans, and we need to trust our institutions of government.

But I will say this too, Jake. I think these are the people that were running our government, at the end of the Trump administration. And very --

TAPPER: Yes, the most loyal -- the most loyal of loyal Trump people.

HUTCHINSON: The most loyal of loyal Trump people, and who have also been indicted. Some people, some of these individuals, have also been indicted.

We have to think what would a second Trump term look like? Would these be the people that are running the government, the people that are currently facing indictments? Who would work for Donald Trump, in a second term? That's the question that we need to be asking ourselves, going into this election season.


COLLINS: And the one and only Jake Tapper joins me now.

Jake, I mean, this was a fascinating, long interview. What do you think was the most revealing thing, that she talked about, in her book, and that she talked about with you?

TAPPER: Well, first of all, she had used some of the starkest language I've ever heard, about the threat, she thinks, Donald Trump poses, to democracy, saying it's the biggest threat in our lifetimes, maybe even in American history.

But second of all, what I always think is so interesting, about her, is the idea that she didn't -- she was on track, to join Trump, in Mar-a-Lago, as you know, having covered the Trump White House. And she, you know, Meadows, and Trump fired her. She was going to go down there. And that's how she ended up in this track.

And I asked her, about this alternate reality, where she goes down to Mar-a-Lago, and she works there, and what would have happened.

And she fully acknowledges that her story could have ended up completely different because she was in this push and pull with, on one hand, wanting to do the right thing, knowing that this was wrong, and January 6 was horrible, and on the other hand, feeling loyal to Trump, and being afraid of what might happen, if she left.

COLLINS: Yes. It was fascinating to see her talk about in the book, how, after the January 6 impeachment, she was instructed, by Mark Meadows, to create, the hit list, of the Republicans, who had voted against Trump.

TAPPER: Oh, yes.

COLLINS: And to see her go, watching her interview with you, to think about how she went from being the person, who created the hit list, for Trump to keep, so he knew, who had voted against him, to being someone, who's written this book, who is speaking publicly about, how difficult it was, to make that break?

TAPPER: Yes, I love that hit list, because it's not just the names. It's their pictures, right?

I mean, yes, I mean, it's, look, it's a complicated story. And that's one of the reasons it's so interesting, because, it is this journey from Trump loyalist. Mark Meadows says to her, "Would you take a bullet for Donald Trump?" And she says, like, "Well, maybe in my leg," right? She's joking around, but like, that's the kind of environment that she's in. "Would you take a bullet for him?" To somebody that ends up being the star witness against him. And it's really shocking.

And now, she has this book, called "Enough." And she's out there saying, he is the number one threat to democracy.

COLLINS: And saying that he, in her mind, is disqualified, from being president again.

TAPPER: Yes, without question that he has disqualified himself, because he violated the Constitution.


And she's trying to say -- and she's still a Republican. She's watching the debates, hoping that one of these candidates will say something that appeals to her. It sounds like both Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley, have elements that attract her, although Nikki Haley, it seems like maybe disappointed her a bit, in not being more forceful, about January 6. It's a complicated story. It's an interesting story.

And when you read the book, and you see her describe events, and she describes them through the eyes of who she was, at the time, right? She doesn't do revisionism. So, she doesn't talk about the call with Zelenskyy, in 2019, through the eyes of herself, now. She talks about how she felt about it, then.

COLLINS: Yes. TAPPER: When "The Atlantic" does the story, about how Trump, in that visit to France, for this, the centennial anniversary, of World War I, when he calls people, American soldiers, who are buried there, who are killed, in World War I, when he calls them, suckers and losers.

And they're trying to tell "The Atlantic" it's not true. And it is true. I mean, as I know, as you know, from talking to people, who were there. He did say that.

She's not reporting that like, because she's embarrassed. She's not talking about how that story was true. She's talking about how she was trying to, serve the President. She's writing that as who she was then.

And then, she has this journey, and this epiphany. And it's a really interesting story.

COLLINS: Yes, she went from being someone who, I believe, it was January 6, it was something around that time, it was some trip that they had taken, where, like, you could see her on camera, the White House reporters, who go with them, lint rolling Mark Meadows' jacket, at one point, like she was that close, to the Chief of Staff.

I think you caught her, essentially, the Deputy Chief of Staff, to him, at the time, to now saying she's worried what a second Trump term would look like, which is not just what she's saying. But former Secretary, Mark Esper, other Trump officials, say the same thing.

TAPPER: Yes. You had that great interview with Esper.

No, it's -- and what these people -- what all of them have been saying? I mean, I remember Alyssa Farah saying to me, when we did the Special that we did a documentary, before the January 6 committee, called like, "Trumping Democracy," I think it was called, in 2021.

And Alyssa Farah said, in another Trump term, that what they were always able to say to Trump, to get him to back off, doing really insane things was, "You can't do that. You won't get reelected." And that would always get him away from doing really wild things.

But that would not be the case, in another Trump term. And we're hearing that from Esper. And we're hearing that from Cassidy Hutchinson, now. There would be no guardrails, none at all.

So, who would -- and she brings this up, in the interview. Who would he appoint? Who would he put as Attorney General? Who would he put as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? And those are serious questions, for voters, to consider, as we enter this presidential contest.

COLLINS: Yes. It was a fascinating interview, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you. And thanks for having me, on THE SOURCE. It's nice. I like what --

COLLINS: First time here? TAPPER: I like what you've done with the place. It's really good.

COLLINS: Thank you for joining us, to talk about it, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Good to see you.

COLLINS: Don't worry, we told Jake, our interior decorator.

Meanwhile, tonight, with a government shutdown, fast approaching, and hardline Republicans, still in an open rebellion, against their own House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, he says, tonight, he is planning to hold a vote, on his version, of a stopgap bill, this week. Even though it's not clear there are the votes to pass it.

What that could look like? With a member of his caucus, who is not in the rebellion faction, next.



COLLINS: Just in, tonight, House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, says he plans to bring, his plan, to fund the government, to the floor, on Friday, potentially for a vote.

Of course, if he can't get that passed, there is about four days, before the government is going to run out of funding. That would be members of the military, working without pay, families in need not receiving food assistance, some 4 million federal workers, missing a paycheck, potentially.

Tonight, leaders of both parties, in the Senate, say they have a deal, to avoid this, to keep the government open.

Yet, in his press conference, just moments ago, Speaker McCarthy dismissed that idea, and said it's actually the House that is doing all the work.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The Senate has done nothing, this entire time. The House will continue to act, and lead, to make this happen.


COLLINS: Joining me now, Republican congressman, Mike Lawler, of New York.

Congressman, thank you for being here.

You heard Speaker McCarthy, just a few moments ago, saying that the House will consider that conservative stopgap bill, even though it's not clear necessarily, tonight, that there are the votes to pass it.

I mean, do you believe that the votes are there? Or is it clear to you what the strategy is exactly, tonight? REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Well, we're going to work like heck to pass it. I mean, I've been very clear, from the start, that I will not support a government shutdown that we need to do everything we can, to avoid one. Nobody wins in a government shutdown. And in fact, the American people are going to be the ones that get hurt.

At the end of the day, I fundamentally agree, with our Conference, that we need to cut spending. Joe Biden increased spending by over $5 trillion in new spending, in his first two years. That's unsustainable. And our national debt has now crossed $33 trillion. So, we absolutely need to rein in spending.

We need to go through the single-subject appropriations bills. We all agreed to that at the beginning of the year. So, this isn't some bright idea that Matt Gaetz came up with. This was something we all agreed to.

But the bottom line is we're not going to pass them by September 30th, all 12 of them. The Senate is not going to pass them, all by September 30th, and get Conferenced, and agreed upon, and passed again, and signed into law. And so, we need to continue to fund the government.

Two weeks ago, the Speaker came forth with a proposal that would reduce spending, by 8 percent in the 30-day Continuing Resolution, as well as enact most of the provisions of H.R. 2, to deal with our border crisis. Unfortunately --

COLLINS: Yes, for 30 days.


LAWLER: Unfortunately, folks, like Matt Gaetz, chose to oppose that for some ridiculous reason, and came up with this idea that somehow he knows we're going to get four bills passed.

These four bills that just got passed in the rule, tonight, are the same four bills that the Speaker proposed, bringing to the floor, weeks ago.

COLLINS: Yes, I mean, and there's been multiple failed attempts.

But you say you're going to work like heck, to get it passed, on Friday. But McCarthy can't lose more than four votes. There's already four hardliners, saying they will not pass that no matter how much money for the border is in it or whatever. So, what is the plan, on Friday night when that fails?

LAWLER: Look, if that fails, obviously, the only way forward is with a bipartisan CR. Any final Continuing Resolution would of course, be bipartisan, because the Democrats control the Senate, the President is a Democrat, he's going to need to sign off on it.

But obviously, when you're trying to pass something, through the House, you want to work as a Conference. The American people elected a House Republican majority, to serve as a check and balance, and to be able to govern. COLLINS: Yes.

LAWLER: And some of my colleagues have, frankly, been stuck on stupid, and refused to do what we were elected to do, against the vast majority, of the Conference, who have been working, to avoid a shutdown.

COLLINS: Your colleagues, those Republicans, were on the House floor, tonight. They were blaming Democrats, and the President, saying that they'll be responsible if there's a government shutdown.

This is what some of them were saying.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Let's be very clear. If there is a shutdown, on Saturday, it is because President Biden, Chuck Schumer, my Democratic colleagues, would prefer to shut down the government of the United States, than shut down the border of the United States.


COLLINS: But Congressman, that is not what's happening here. You know, as well as I do.

LAWLER: Well, listen, we haven't passed a Continuing Resolution, through the House, to keep the government funded. And, obviously, there's been significant infighting, between House Republicans, over this.

There is no question this administration has failed miserably, to secure our border. 6 million migrants have crossed through, many of them illegally, since Joe Biden took office. We have a crisis. And it's impacting my home state of New York. There's no question about that.

Chuck Schumer has done absolutely nothing. The Speaker is correct, when he says that Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Democrats, have not done anything, on spending or the border.

COLLINS: OK. But related to funding the government?

LAWLER: On spending or the border. These are critical issues. It's not just about spending.

And so we, as Republicans, have a responsibility, to put forth a plan. We need to pass it. In the absence of passing it, my colleague's comments don't ring true.

We need to pass a Continuing Resolution that would keep the government funded, and have border security. And if Chuck Schumer refuses to secure the border, then of course, that is correct. But we have to pass something first.

COLLINS: You just talked about passing something, potentially, with Democrats. I mean, you've said that you would sign a discharge position -- a petition, which could basically force the Speaker, to bring something, for a vote.

We've heard from some of those, on the far right, saying that they will campaign against you, and other New York Republicans, who are more moderate areas, if you choose to do that.

What's your response to your fellow colleagues, who are threatening that?

LAWLER: Bring it. I mean, give me a break. Look, I'm in a district that Joe Biden won by 10 points. There's 70,000 more Democrats than Republicans. I was elected to be an adult, to be serious, to be sober, and to govern.

And to my colleagues that have put their own personal views, and position, ahead of the Conference? Go right ahead. You want to come at me? I'll take that fight any day.

COLLINS: Congressman Mike Lawler, we will see what the rest of your week looks like, on Capitol Hill.

Thank you, for taking the time, to join us, tonight.

LAWLER: Thank you.

COLLINS: With that looming shutdown, in Washington, you saw an extraordinary scene playing out, in Michigan, today. President Biden, becoming the first sitting President, to ever join a picket line. We'll tell you more of what he told those, who were on strike, next.



COLLINS: Today, a historic image that you saw. President Biden, bullhorn in hand, becoming the first sitting President, to join a picket line, placing himself firmly, on the side of the striking auto workers that you see there, and their fight for higher pay, and better benefits, from the nation's Big Three automakers.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Wall Street didn't build the country, the middle class built the country.


BIDEN: And unions built the middle class.


BIDEN: And that's a fact.


BIDEN: So let's keep going. You deserve what you've earned and you've earned a hell of a lot more than you're getting paid now. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: The President, trying to make good, on his promise, to be the most pro-union president, in history.

As tomorrow, his 2024 potential rival, former President Donald Trump, is going to speak, to current and former union members, in Detroit, forgoing the Republican presidential debate, tomorrow night, and despite the head of the Union saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." All as Trump is obviously trying to appeal, to working class voters, in that critical 2024 swing state.

Joining me now is someone, who knows all of this very closely. President Biden's former Labor Secretary, the current head of the National Hockey League Players' Union, Marty Walsh.

Secretary, thank you, for being here.

When Biden was asked, today, President Biden was asked, if the UAW members deserve that 40 percent raise that they are demanding? He said, yes. Were you surprised by that? And what did you just make of seeing him, out there, on the picket line, today?


Certainly, the President feels that the UAW workers, the workers, on the picket line, and the workers that, are worried about being laid off and let go, are fighting for a raise. And, I think, he wants to make sure that the contract, the agreement they get, is a good contract.


I mean, these workers went through a lot of pain, and suffering, in 2008 and 2009, when these companies went out of business. They sacrificed a lot, to save these companies.

And now, fast forward, 2023, there's record profits. And the President, myself, and other people, and the workers, more importantly, want to make sure that they have -- they get good wages here, and get an opportunity, to earn good wages. I think that that's good.

The second part of your question is today is so unbelievably historic. As a union member myself, and put aside all, whether it's my job now, at the NHLPA, or Labor Secretary, or Mayor? Having a President of the United States of America, stand on a picket line, working with workers that are on strike, fighting for better wages and benefits, and for their families? It's just simply amazing.

It's a big contrast to what Ronald Reagan did, 45 years ago, when he fired air traffic controllers, because they went on strike, because they were looking for better contracts.

It's really amazing, the President went out there today, and did that. And I know that the workers appreciate it. But it's a bigger message, to organized labor, saying that this President truly has your back.

COLLINS: Yes, that was something that Tim Scott -- Senator Tim Scott invoked Reagan, firing those workers, over the -- obviously, this is a very different scenario. They don't work for the government.

As I mentioned, though, Marty, Donald Trump is --

WALSH: Yes. Tim Scott said --

COLLINS: Go ahead.

WALSH: Tim Scott said about it. A lot of other candidates for president think the same way. I mean, there's no question about it. A lot of people celebrated Ronald Reagan, and talked about how great he was as a president, and what he did standing firm, against the air traffic controllers. Those people lost their job.

So, Tim Scott was the one who said it. I guess he had the courage to say it. But other people feel the same way.

COLLINS: Well, and speak -- I mean, this is something that is being injected, into the entire 2024 race, because Donald Trump is going to be in Detroit, there, tomorrow.

The head of the Union, Shawn Fain, who I know that obviously, there has been a lot of coordination with, of what the strategy is here, he seems far from excited, about Trump making that visit.

This is what he told, Wolf Blitzer, earlier.


SHAWN FAIN, UAW PRESIDENT: I find the pathetic irony that the former President is going to hold a rally for union members at a non-union business.

And the ultimate show of his, how much he cares about our workers, was in 2019, when he was the President of the United States.

Our workers, at GM, were on strike, for 60 days, for two months.

He was missing in action.

I see no point in meeting with him, because I don't think the man has any bit of care, about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for. He serves a billionaire class, and that's what's wrong with this country.


COLLINS: I'm not sure that Donald Trump would be surprised, by that criticism. He, and union leaders, have never really seen eye to eye, if I'm putting it nicely there, Secretary Walsh. But, I mean, Trump won, in 2016, in part because of his appeal, to working-class voters.

Do you believe that, I mean, Democrats could underestimate that appeal? What do you make of that?

WALSH: I mean, there's no question about Donald Trump's message resonated with a lot of people, or he wouldn't have been elected president. I think he took a lot of us by surprise, the fact that he won.

His message, tomorrow, I'm not sure what it's going to be. But it's going to be about fear. It's going to be about electric vehicles. It's about how bad they are, and they're taking your jobs, which isn't true. Because the UAW members, who work in those plants, will be -- are making electric vehicles, right now. They'll continue to make electric vehicles.

It is kind of ironic that the former President is going to be in Michigan, tomorrow, at a non-union building, talking to workers.

And again, he's going to play off their fears. He's not going to talk about the importance of them getting 40 percent, 30 percent, 25 percent increases. He won't mention that tomorrow. I guarantee you that won't be said, tomorrow. He won't talk about their health care. He won't talk about their benefits. He won't talk about their quality of life.

What he'll do is he'll take on the fear, and use climate change, as an issue, to bring fear to everyone, saying that "You're going to lose your jobs," which is not true. These workers are going to make electric vehicles. They are going to be making batteries. They are going to be creating a clean economy -- a clean environment, for the future. So, they're going to be working in this. So, it's unfortunate.

But I think, today was a big statement.

Whatever Donald Trump says tomorrow, he says it.

But today, Joe Biden proves where he stands. He stands with the working people.

COLLINS: Secretary Walsh, we'll see where these negotiations go. Thank you, for joining, tonight, with your time.

WALSH: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also ahead, the retail giant, Target, has now become a target, in and of itself, for organized theft, according to the business. It's now closing multiple stores, in multiple states, as a result.

Why is this happening? What is the fix? We'll talk about that with John Miller, next.



COLLINS: They are videos that you've no doubt seen, on your social media feeds, organized groups, ransacking stores, as thieves make off, with armloads of goods.

Target, tonight, is pointing to crimes, just like those, as a reason. They are closing nine stores, in four different states, stores in New York City, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Oakland. Other big chains have also accused the industry of overhyping, the problem, saying essentially that it's a scapegoat.

Nationally, this type of crime was down, last year, when you look at the numbers. But the cities, where these Target stores are closing, have also been hit by some of the worst type of organized retail crime.

To figure out what is going on here, I'm joined by CNN's Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, John Miller.

I mean, that's the big question. Everyone is seeing this. You hear stores, like this, saying, this is why we're closing. But then, you also hear other retailers say, they're just scapegoating for losses. What is actually happening here?


Now, in 2022, the last year we have full stats for, the National Retail Federation put out that organized crime retail offenses are becoming more violent, compared to the year before. Respondents said 81 percent said they were getting more violent. And this is store associates, who feel that the robberies are getting more violence, and that their people are being attacked more.

The other interesting thing about Target closing stores is where, are they closing stores. They're a massive chain, nationwide. But they're closing, in New York. They're closing in Portland. They're closing in Los Angeles. They're closing in places that had significant bail reform initiatives come up in court.


And when you look at the effect of bail reform, the stores also say it's associated with this substantial increase, in retail theft, because once you take jail, out of the equation, as a possibility, from the legal process, people think it's just like shopping without money.

COLLINS: So, it's less of a deterrent, essentially?

MILLER: Much less of a deterrent. Because, if you look at New York City, we have 300 people who are responsible, for 30 percent, of all the shoplifting, and they have over 4,000 arrests, between them. And 70 percent of them are not in jail. This is their job.

COLLINS: John Miller, obviously, a disturbing trend. Thank you, for following it closely, for us.

MILLER: Thanks. COLLINS: Also, tonight, the Supreme Court has just delivered a pretty scathing smack-down, to my home state, in defiance. We'll tell you what they said next.



COLLINS: The Supreme Court issuing a clear message, to the State of Alabama, today, that essentially boiled down, to "We're not doing this again."

The court, rejecting requests, from State officials, in their attempt, to sidestep, creating a second Black-majority congressional district, in the State, which the court ruled, back in June that, they must do. The justices denying that, request, for intervention, from the State, with just a single sentence, no recorded vote, no dissent.

Alabama has been ordered to come up with two majority Black districts, or something quite close to that, to better-represent the State's 27 percent Black population. The map that Republicans offered, still only had one majority Black district.

But with this decision, today, Alabama will now have, be on its way, to having a new map, in time for the 2024 election, something that could have national implications.

Thank you so much, for joining us, for this busy news hour, tonight.

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