Return to Transcripts main page

The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Pence: If Putin Overruns Ukraine, NATO's Next; Jack Smith References Trump's Attacks On Milley In New Filing About Urgency Of Trump Partial Gag Order Request; McCarthy Outlines New Demand For Senate Ahead Of Shutdown. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 29, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And we wish him the best, and his wife, Rosalynn, as well.

That's it for us. The news continues. I hope you have a great weekend. I'll see you Monday. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.


In 27 hours, the government is set to shut down. And, right now, there is no deal, and really no hope of one, as House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, is outlining new demands, but his own Conference is still voting against him. Yes, again.

Plus, one of Donald Trump's co-defendants, in Georgia, has just pleaded guilty, striking a plea deal, with prosecutors. The question is could more deals be on the horizon, what it all means, for the former President.

Also, the Joint Chiefs Chairman did not mince words, in his retirement speech, today, calling Trump, a "Wannabe dictator," without naming him.

Former Vice President, Mike Pence, is here to respond to that in moments.

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

The U.S. is on the brink, of a government shutdown, tonight, with really no plan in sight, with all the infighting, all the F-bombs, all the votes that have been happening, and also not happening, on Capitol Hill. Right now, there is still no deal, to keep the government open, after tomorrow, at midnight.

House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy's own Conference sank his last-ditch plan, earlier today. And tonight, he emerged with this message, for the Senate.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think if we had a clean one, without Ukraine on it, we could probably be able to move that through. I think if the Senate puts Ukraine on there, and focuses Ukraine over America, I think -- I think that could cause real problems.


COLLINS: Of course, the key word there is "Probably." So far, the far- right of McCarthy's party has not relented. They've been blocking him at every turn.

And on the prospect of a shutdown, and what it means, for regular Americans, some of whom, unlike members of Congress, may miss their paycheck, after tomorrow night, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said this.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I promise you most Americans aren't too worried about the government shutting down, which -- which is a serious problem. But -- but this is because Democrats shut down the country.


COLLINS: Of course, there is a real-life impact. Millions of federal employees won't get paid, on top of a million active-duty troops. Those who rely on food assistance may not have access to it. There could also be serious disruptions, to air travel, with flights delayed, completely canceled. The ramifications can be spread far and wide.

And let's get straight to THE SOURCE, tonight, with the former Vice President, and current 2024 presidential candidate, Mike Pence.

Mr. Vice President, thank you, for being here.

We appear to be just 24 hours away --


COLLINS: -- from a government shutdown. Do you believe that it's worth --


COLLINS: -- shutting the government down, for these demands, from the lawmakers, on the far-right? Will the party be any better off after a shutdown happens?

PENCE: Well, first, let me say, we have a debt, in this country, now the size of our nation's economy, for the first time since World War II. And I welcome efforts, by Republicans, in the House, and the Senate, to take a stand, for fiscal responsibility.

But I have been through one of these government shutdowns, during our administration. I've been through -- I've been through a few, back when I was a member of Congress. And, Kaitlan, I'm confident that they'll sort through it. But what's disappointing to me and, I think, millions of Americans is that all the arguments that will lead to this shutdown, and may lead, you know, may have the government shutdown, in terms of non-essential workers and programs, for some days, or even weeks, as we saw in the past? At the end of the day, we're still not talking about the primary causes of the national debt.

And I truly do believe that the time has come, for us, to elect leadership, to the White House, that'll square with the American people, and bring commonsense reforms, to the entitlement programs, that are 70 percent of the federal budget. Essentially, what we're driving toward a government shutdown, over -- only touches 10 percent of the federal budget.

And I think the time has come to put our nation back on a path of fiscal solvency. Joe Biden's policy is insolvency. He won't even talk about entitlement reform. And in all fairness, former President Trump's policy is identical, to Joe Biden's. I've been willing to talk about it. Take them on.

If I'm President of the United States, we'll bring those reforms forward, for younger Americans. And we'll put Social Security and Medicare back on a solid foundation as well.

COLLINS: Yes. I know that's something that you've criticized both of those leaders for, before.

But when it comes to these negotiations that are happening, right now, we just heard, from Speaker McCarthy, a few moments ago, saying that the Senate needs to drop the Ukraine funding, from its plan, in order for it to pass the House.

I mean, you've heard from Senator McConnell, who says he believes there's no excuse, for Congress, not to support more aid to Ukraine.

Do you believe that Speaker McCarthy is wrong here?


PENCE: Well, I think, Kaitlan, I was and have been one of the strongest voices, in the Republican field, for continuing to provide the Ukrainian military, with the support they need, to defeat and repel the Russian invasion.

I think, frankly, I think any faltering support, among Republicans, is more a reflection of the fact that Joe Biden has done a terrible job, explaining what our national interest is. We hear these gauzy speeches about democracy, in the world, when I believe that giving the Ukrainian military, what they need, to defeat that Russian invasion, is in our national interest.

Because I've no doubt, if Vladimir Putin overruns Ukraine, it's not going to be long before he crosses a border, of a NATO country, that our soldiers will be required to go and fight.

And so, I believe in that old Reagan Doctrine that if you're willing to fight the communists, in your country, we'll give you the means to fight them there, so we don't have to fight them. So, I stand strongly for the principle that it's important with accountability, not a blank check.

But it's important that the United States continue to provide the Ukrainian military, what they need. And I am hopeful, as they move forward, resolving this budget impasse, that some level of funding, will be able to continue, to support Ukraine's effort, against the Russian invasion.

COLLINS: Yes. I heard that comment about a blank check, also, on the debate stage, on Wednesday night, from people, like Governor Ron DeSantis. I don't know anyone, who's advocating for a blank check for Ukraine.

PENCE: Right.

COLLINS: But also, you didn't get a ton of specifics, from your fellow 2024 Republican candidates, on what they're -- the ones, who don't advocate, for more funding, for Ukraine, as far as how to resolve this, on Wednesday night.

What did you make of that?

PENCE: Yes, I mean, I heard Ron DeSantis say he's going to end the war, and never said how he's going to end the war.

Donald Trump says he'll end the war in a day.

And the only way you could end the Ukraine war, in a day, is if you gave Vladimir Putin everything he wants. And that actually is what Vivek Ramaswamy is proposing. Let him keep what he has grabbed through this brutal and unconscionable invasion, and then promise him that Ukraine will never be in NATO.

Look, there is no substitute, for American leadership, on the world stage. This is one of those moments that I believe America needs to continue, to exercise our role, as leader of the Free World, marshal our allies, in the West, to do even more than they've done before.

Because, as I said, in that same debate, that got a little sporty, and got a little loud, I still wanted to make the point that if Vladimir Putin rolls over Ukraine, that'll -- and we allow it to happen, that will give a green light, to Xi, and Communist China, to roll into Taiwan.

I think the best way forward, for a peace, on the world stage, is to continue to provide American support, and American leadership, as Ukraine fights for their territory and sovereignty.

COLLINS: Yes, "Sporty" is one word for it.

But speaking of the military, today in Washington, General Mark Milley swore in the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He made this comment, in his parting remarks, from his role. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MILLEY, RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY GENERAL: We don't take an oath to a country. We don't take an oath to a tribe. We don't take an oath to a religion. We don't take an oath to a king, or a queen, or to a tyrant, or a dictator. And we don't take an oath to a wannabe dictator.

We take an oath to the Constitution. And we take an oath to the idea that is America. And we're willing to die to protect it.


COLLINS: It was quite clear who he was talking about there.

What was your reaction to that moment?

PENCE: Well, look, I haven't agreed with every decision that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has made, in the last two years, with a lot of the, woke politics that have made their way, into the Pentagon. But I expect all of this coming out, of the Biden White House.

And I'm grateful, for General Milley's long career of service, in the uniform of the United States.

Kaitlan, I don't know who he was referring to there. But I must tell you that Donald Trump's recent comments, regarding General Milley, were inexcusable. I mean, that, when you think of General Milley's incredible years of service, in the uniform, of the United States? To make the kinds of statements the former President made are just unacceptable.

But it's one of the reasons why I -- everywhere I go, across the country, and I think it might be a reflection of the way I've tried to carry myself, over my career, people come up to me, and they thank me for our commitment to civility. I think the American people long, for us, to restore a threshold, of civility --



PENCE: -- and move past this season of personal invective that, frankly, has it's infected our politics, for a whole lot longer, than during the years of our administration.

You know. You've been around in Washington, a while, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes. But we saw it put, you know?

PENCE: It's been around for a while. And I think the American people want to see better.

COLLINS: But we saw it really, I mean, at the forefront. And it's very clear that he was talking about former President Trump. I mean, do you agree that Donald Trump is a wannabe dictator? PENCE: Well, what I agree with is what General Milley said, about the oath, that men and women in uniform take.

My son's a Captain in the Marine Corps. My son-in-law is a Lieutenant in the United States Navy.

And Kaitlan, as I recounted, in my book, in the days leading up to January 6, two and a half years ago, my son, the Marine, looked at me, at one point, and said, "Dad, you take the same oath I take, and that is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."

COLLINS: Right. But you worked closer --

PENCE: I know, by God's grace, I did my duty that day. And I can't affirm or comment on -- or what or who General Milley was referring to. But I can affirm his eloquent reference, to the men and women, who served in the uniform, of the United States, day, and throughout the history of this country.

COLLINS: I mean, clearly --

PENCE: They put on the uniform. And they take an oath.

COLLINS: I'll just say clearly --

PENCE: And they keep that oath every day.

COLLINS: Mr. Vice President, clearly, Trump thought that he was referring to him, because he responded to that after, calling General Milley, a "Moron." He added that the man that he picked to be Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, he called him a, quote, "Woke fool."

I mean, obviously, this is after what you referenced there, Trump implied that General Milley should be executed for treason.

Are those comments beyond the pale, in your view?

PENCE: Well, as I said, his earlier comments, regarding General Milley, were inexcusable, and really have no place, in the public debate.

But I think it's one of the reasons why, despite what some of the national polls may show, I think, Republican primary voters know that we need new leadership, not just in the White House, but in the Republican Party.

And that's why, I'll be back in Iowa, first thing in the morning, and we're going to continue to take our case of a commitment of that broad-based conservative agenda that's defined our movement, for years.

But also, I was inspired by Ronald Reagan, to become a Republican. And it was his conservative agenda. It was his optimism. And it was his civility, I think, that made it possible, for him, to lead an administration, that revived the country, and literally --

COLLINS: You talk about civility.

PENCE: -- literally changed the world.

COLLINS: You talk about civility, at length. And you said you think Republican voters know. But I think the question is, do they?

Because, right now, Trump is running away with the race. I mean, lately, he has called, for the parent company, of a news network, to be investigated, for treason. He is vowing to seek retribution, if he wins. He says quite blatantly that he will go after and target his political opponents.

I mean, with comments like that, do you believe that he is a threat, if he returns to the Oval Office?

PENCE: Look, I spent four years, trying to explain Donald Trump's words. And I'm out of that business, now, Kaitlan. What I can tell you is everywhere I go --

COLLINS: But you know him better than anyone else, who worked with him --

PENCE: Everywhere I go, Republican --

COLLINS: -- who was on that stage.

PENCE: -- Republican voters believe that Joe Biden has weakened this country, at home and abroad. I mean, we're struggling, in this economy. We have the worst border crisis, in American history. That disastrous withdrawal, from Afghanistan, has emboldened the enemies of freedom.

COLLINS: But with all due respect, this isn't about President Biden.

PENCE: And the American people know that.

COLLINS: It's about the Republican front-runner, right now, Mr. Vice President.

PENCE: Well, I hear you. And I know you all like to focus on those national polls.

I'm just telling you, what's happening on the ground is a lot more dynamic than it looks, in the day in and day out polling that you might see. I mean, I'm convinced that well more than half of Republican primary voters know that we need a change. And I'm going to continue to work my heart out, to earn the right to be our standard- bearer, and to carry us to victory at.

One of the polls, I really liked recently, Kaitlan that said that had me beating Joe Biden, 52 to 46, by the widest margin of others in the field. And so, we'll continue to carry that message. I have great confidence, in Republican primary voters, caucus-goers in Iowa.

COLLINS: I've heard you say that --

PENCE: And I believe we're going to have a new leadership.

COLLINS: I've heard you say that before. But, I mean, it's not just one cherry-picked poll, or something like that.

The polls roundly show that Trump is ahead. And he's making comments, like that accusing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, implying that he has committed treason. Today, he was making light, of an attack, on a prominent political figure's spouse, in California, obviously, former Speaker Pelosi's husband.

With those comments, and saying that news networks should be investigated for treason, is that someone who you believe is unfit, to be back in the Oval Office? Is it a threat to the United States, if he's back there?


PENCE: Well, I'm running for President of the United States, because I believe our party, and our country, need new leadership. And I've been very clear about that.

COLLINS: But no Republicans will really directly criticize him.

PENCE: And I'll continue to be. But I'll --

COLLINS: I think that's what stands out to people, when they watch a debate stage, like they did, on Wednesday night. There are just these thinly-veiled kind of criticisms of Donald Trump. No one is sounding the alarm about the comments that he's been making.

PENCE: Well, I think, if you rewind the tape, you're not the first person, I've spoken to, about General Milley. I've been very forthright about that.

I've been very critical of Donald Trump's plan, to pass a 10 percent tax, on all imports, into the United States of America.

And of course, I said, from the time that I announced for President, going forward that I think no one who puts themself above the Constitution, should ever be President of the United States. And I'm going to continue to speak plainly about that.

But I have to tell you, Republican primary voters are less-focused, on the field, of Republican candidates, and the former President, as they are, on the disastrous policies, of the Biden administration, Kaitlan.

But as this fall continues to go forward, as the caucus happens, on January 15th, New Hampshire after that, I think people are going to continue to focus to dial in. And I'm more convinced than ever that Republican primary voters know that Donald Trump had his time. But Joe Biden doesn't even know what time it is.

COLLINS: Look, I just think it's notable that you're not addressing --

PENCE: And we need leadership, in the White House, that can bring our country back. COLLINS: -- the comments specifically that I'm asking you about your former boss, someone that you know, very well.

PENCE: Say again. What was your question?

COLLINS: I just think it's --

PENCE: I didn't hear it in my earpiece (ph).

COLLINS: I understand that your focus is on President Biden. He's the current occupant of the White House.

But to actually run against President Biden? I mean, Donald Trump is far and away the front-runner. And I just think it's notable you're not specifically addressing these comments, the ones on Paul Pelosi, the ones on going after news networks, for investigating them for treason, going after his political opponents.

PENCE: Kaitlan, if I addressed everything Donald Trump said, every day, I'd talk about nothing else. As I said, I've already addressed, in previous interviews, my concern about the comments, about General Milley.

But also, and I went up to New Hampshire, couple weeks ago, and I said, we've come to a Republican time for choosing, you know? I joined the Republican Party, because I was drawn to the party, by Ronald Reagan, and by an agenda of American leadership, in the world, strong defense, limited government, less taxes, traditional moral values.

But I see Donald Trump, and some of his imitators, in this race, literally walking away, from that agenda, and embracing a populism, unmoored to conservative principles.

I mean, think about it for a second. Where we stood with our allies and stood up to our enemies? I mean, Donald Trump, and others in the field, are embracing this policy of appeasement, and isolationism, that's growing in our party.

Where we cut taxes? As I just said, Donald Trump is advocating what could be one of the largest tax increases in history.


PENCE: And he won't even talk about dealing with the national debt.

And finally, on the right to life, we had a pro-life administration, appointed the judges that gave America, a new beginning for life, returned the question of abortion, to the States, and the American people.

Now, Donald Trump has taken to blaming overturning Roe versus Wade, on election losses, a couple of years ago, and saying that a pro-life bill that protects unborn babies, when a heartbeat is detected, he described that as a terrible mistake. Those are real departures, from the agenda --


PENCE: -- that we governed under, and the agenda that really has defined the Republican Party, for decades.

And I want people to know that, that if I'm President of the United States, I'm going to lead our country, back to security and prosperity --


PENCE: -- on that broad-based conservative agenda.

COLLINS: Former Vice President, Mike Pence, I just think it's notable you'll talk about his positions, but not those comments specifically.

But thank you, for your time, tonight. Thank you, for joining us, former Vice President, Mike Pence.

PENCE: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: We also have some breaking news, just in, regarding Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation, and prosecutors' request for a limited gag order, for former President Donald Trump.

But first, to major news, out of Georgia, tonight, where one of Donald Trump's co-defendants has just pleaded guilty, in the election interference case.



COLLINS: Breaking news, tonight, with a brand-new filing, just in, from the team, of Special Counsel, Jack Smith, in a fight that is playing out, right now, in these court filings, over a partial gag order request, for Donald Trump, in the election interference case. All of this has to do with Trump's own words.

And this is what's in the filing tonight. Jack Smith, quoting Trump's post that we were just talking about, with former Vice President Pence there, about General Milley, saying essentially that he had committed treason, baselessly obviously saying that, that he deserved to be executed.

Of course, remember, Milley could be a witness, in one or both of Trump's federal cases. We know that he's spoken to investigators, at least once.

And, in this filing, Smith notes that Milley is a known witness. And as we reported, back in May, he spoke with those investigators. That had to do with the classified documents, but also Trump's actions at large.

Also tonight, in another development, this time in the Georgia case, we have the first guilty plea, in any of Trump's four criminal cases. This is for Scott Hall. He's the bail bondsman that's accused of plotting, with Sidney Powell, to breach election equipment, in the State of Georgia. But he has now agreed to flip, to testify, for the prosecution, in that case.

For more on all of these developments that are coming in, tonight, even the last-minute ones, we have CNN Legal Analysts, Elie Honig, and Carrie Cordero, here with us.

Elie, I want to start with you. Because this was just, I mean, truly moments before we came on air, that we got this filing, from Jack Smith, in this fight, that's playing out, over the gag order.

He is using Trump's own words, against him, and saying, telling Judge Chutkan that these attacks, and the attacks, on people, in Smith's own office, are making it more urgent, and that they need this gag order.

Do you think it makes it more likely?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, for sure, Kaitlan. I think Donald Trump's statements, about Mark Milley, are and should be the prosecution's Exhibit A, in their request, for this gag order.

If you look at DOJ's original gag order, from earlier this week, it's actually quite overbroad, in my view. They asked for a gag order, preventing Donald Trump, from saying anything, quote, "Disparaging," about essentially any parties in the case.


He's allowed to say disparaging things. You can say disparaging things, about a judge, a prosecutor. They have to have thick skin.

But here is where the line is. You cannot make a statement that crosses over from disparaging, into a threat, against a known witness. And I think the statement that he made about Mark Milley satisfied both of those latter criteria, and is a perfect example, of why the judge should issue, at least a limited gag order.

COLLINS: Yes. And he's still attacking Milley, even more, tonight, calling him a "Moron." That's since that filing happened.

But Carrie, I want to ask you about the other development, because this could be just as significant, when it comes to what's happening, in Georgia.

This is part of this alleged conspiracy there. Scott Hall was one of the first people to turn himself in. He was accused of being essentially in cahoots, with Sidney Powell, on breaching voting machines.

And now, we've learned about this. I mean, how big of a victory is this, for the District Attorney's office, in this case?


Obviously, the District Attorney is going to be pleased, anytime that they are able to resolve, any of the defendants, with a guilty plea. It keeps them from having to go to trial, on that particular case. It's a win.

Now, notably, this individual, it looks like the plea is for misdemeanors. He doesn't look like he'll serve any jail time. And he will testify against some of the other witnesses.

But it does, I think, also highlight that each of these defendants, because the D.A. charged so many people, in this case, each of these defendants, is really differently situated. So, the case against the former President, and some of those closest to him, is different than individuals, like Mr. Hall, who can plead out to misdemeanors.


I mean, but Elie, what's your question, when you see this? I mean, he is taking that plea deal, getting probation for misdemeanors. But do you expect that he's just the first of many, to potentially take this route here?

HONIG: I do, Kaitlan. This is how prosecutors build cases. You flip one person. You hope to flip that person up the chain, to the next person, and so on. And there's really two of the defendants, who are, I think, should be particularly worried, about Scott Hall's cooperation.

First of all, as you said, in the intro, Sidney Powell, because she is charged, along with Scott Hall, in that scheme, to hack into, or access without permission, the voting systems, down in Coffee County, but also Jeffrey Clark, the DOJ official who, by the way, lost his removal motion today. He's having a very bad day.

Because Scott Hall had a one-hour long conversation, with Jeffrey Clark, on January 2nd of 2021, and now, prosecutors are going to know all about what was said, during that call. So, this is a very big step-forward for prosecutors.

COLLINS: Yes, that's a really good point, and something to watch closely.

Elie Honig, Carrie Cordero, thank you, for joining me, on this Friday night.

HONIG: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Also, tonight, as we look at this, a fixture of the Senate is gone. Democrat Dianne Feinstein casting her final vote, just yesterday, before passing away, at the age of 90.

When we return, someone who helped that trailblazer, with some of her most defining work, in the Senate, as we look back at her legacy.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Tonight, from Washington to California, people are mourning the loss of a political giant. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the longest- serving woman, in Senate history, died, at her D.C. home, at the age of 90. She cast her last vote, just yesterday.

And word of her death prompted a moment of silence, and emotion, from the Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): So today, we grieve.

We look at that desk. And we know what we have lost.


COLLINS: There was one description, of the late Senator that you heard repeatedly, today, "Trailblazer."

Feinstein broke her first barrier, when she became the first woman Mayor of San Francisco, a bittersweet milestone that was born out of tragedy, the assassination of George Moscone, and supervisor Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official, in the State of California.


DIANNE FEINSTEIN, FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: I walked down the line of supervisors' offices, and found Harvey Milk -- put my finger in a bullet hole trying to get a pulse. It was the first person I'd ever seen shot to death.

And that began a saga. I became mayor, as a product of assassination, of the mayor being killed, and the first openly gay public official, being killed, by a friend and colleague of mine.


COLLINS: That tragedy went on to define her battle, for gun control, and the passing of the assault weapons ban, in 1994, which of course has since expired. But she never stopped fighting for it.

And she never let glass ceilings, stop her either. She became California's first woman, elected to the U.S. Senate, in 1992. Her run was sparked, by her anger, while watching the confirmation hearings, of Justice Clarence Thomas.


FEINSTEIN: What did I see, but an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee, grilling Anita Hill. And it was not nice. And it was not what one would like to see. And that was my incentive, to run, in 1992.


COLLINS: Tonight, her colleagues are recalling her passion, for service, her grit, her grace, her integrity.

As the first Chairwoman, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she released a report on the CIA's torture program, after 9/11, in defiance of national security officials, and then-President Obama.



FEINSTEIN: History will judge us, by our commitment, to a just society, governed by law, and the willingness, to face an ugly truth, and say "Never again." There may never be the right time, to release this report.

But this report is too important to shelve indefinitely.


COLLINS: That report, on how the CIA detained and interrogated suspected terrorists, is a big part of her legacy.

And the lead investigator, for that report, Daniel Jones, is with me now.

And Daniel, I'm so grateful that you're joining me here, to talk about that massive part, of her legacy. But I mean, first, just given the work that you did, for her, I want to get your reaction to her passing, tonight.


I mean, it's an honor to speak about Senator Feinstein's legacy. She was a trailblazer. She was a leader. That report, which was so important, to our country, to make sure that we don't engage, in those activities, again, simply wouldn't have happened, without Senator Feinstein.

COLLINS: Yes, it is such a defining aspect of that. And you're talking about how it wouldn't have happened without her. I mean, it pitted her against two different presidents, from two different parties.

How significant, in your view, is the role that she played, in a public accounting, of the CIA's conduct?

J. JONES: Well, as people know, Senator Feinstein was one of the biggest supporters of the Intelligence Community, of the Department of Defense.

She's often known as one of the big defenders of controversial programs. So, she was uniquely positioned, to take on the oversight program that looked at the CIA's interrogation, and torture tactics, post-9/11.

She was a real consensus builder, and she demanded, from all of us, on the Investigations team, that we look at these facts, as we uncovered them, and documented, in the way that was extremely bipartisan, extremely -- approach it in a very cold and calculating position, where it's like every fact we had, we had to have footnotes.

And as you know, that report was 6,700 pages that had 38,000 footnotes. And it found basically three things.

One is that the CIA's torture was ineffective. It didn't produce the intelligence, the CIA said. Two, the CIA lied to the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Department of Justice, American people. And then, finally three, that it was massively mismanaged.

And, as you know, she went up against both the Bush and the Obama administrations, to get that report, finally released, or at least an executive summary, of about 500 pages released.

COLLINS: Yes. And she felt that the -- what they had, the redactions, in it, were worth actually getting what was able to get out there. I mean, she faced so many objections about this. They have been, at the time, the FBI, DHS, they were warning law enforcement agencies, about being on heightened alert, in light of that report.

And she was talking to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, at the time, about it, and defended it, telling him this.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER: Was it worth it to release this report today, if in fact, American lives, where the diplomats, military personnel, civilians are going to be in danger?

FEINSTEIN: Look, there is no perfect time, to release this report. This began 12 years ago.

There have been attacks, without this report coming out. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't clean our house.

And I think John McCain said it very well, of what America is all about. We admit our mistakes. We commit ourselves to never let these mistakes happen again.


COLLINS: Obviously, McCain's support was so critical, at that time.

If she had not gotten this released, Daniel, where do you think the U.S. would be?

J. JONES: Well, I mean, I don't think we would have the facts out, on the table, as we have them. I mean, Dianne Feinstein did not think our country was perfect. But she thought what made it great was our ability, to shine a flashlight, on our problems, and correct them, and make sure they don't happen ever again. And again, that report would not exist, without her steadfast leadership.

COLLINS: Would not exist without her leadership.

Your work on that as well, Daniel Jones. Thank you, for joining us, on such a big part, of her legacy, tonight.

J. JONES: Thank you. My pleasure.

COLLINS: And we are live, tonight, also, on Capitol Hill, as President Biden is laying up the stakes, of what is going to happen, if the clock strikes midnight, tomorrow, with still no funding deal in sight.



COLLINS: We just have a little over 24 hours, before the government is set to shut down, as tonight, Speaker McCarthy is now pushing things off to the Senate, after he failed, earlier today, to get Republicans, in the House, to pass anything that could potentially keep the government open.

CNN's Melanie Zanona is live, for us, on Capitol Hill, tonight.

Melanie, what's happening? Is there any deal being formed? Are we any closer than we were 24 hours ago, to getting any kind of funding deal?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: No. House Republicans are scrambling, to come up with a plan, and to avoid a government shutdown, even after they huddled for nearly two hours, tonight, in the Capitol, to talk about their very limited options. So, there's still no consensus on what if anything they are going to bring to the House floor, tomorrow.

But Speaker Kevin McCarthy did emerge from that meeting signaling he could be open to a more simple stopgap spending bill, as long as it doesn't include money for Ukraine. And that is a bit of a different posture, for Kevin McCarthy, who, up until this point has said any bill, to fund the government, needs to include border security provision.

So, clearly, a shift in strategy, at the very last minute, after his efforts to work, with Republicans, have come up short, and that failure to rally around a GOP plan has created some tension, in the ranks.

Let's take a listen.


REP. STEVE WOMACK (R-AR): We're the governing majority. This is what we're supposed to do, as a governing majority. We're supposed to lead. And it's kind of hard to lead, when you got a, you know, a significant number of people that are on the wrong snap count, when you call the play. So, that's where we are.

REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): They killed the most conservative position we could take, and then called themselves, the real conservatives, which is like make that make sense.

REP. ANDY OGLES (R-TN): In January, we promised 12 appropriations bills. We should have stayed here in August. I didn't set the calendar. Someone else did.



ZANONA: Now, the Senate will take a procedural vote, tomorrow, on a bipartisan plan, to fund the government, which does include Ukraine money. But they cannot vote on final passage, until potentially as late as Monday.

So, the bottom line, here, Kaitlan, is that there is still no clear plan, to avoid a government shutdown, which is now just 24 hours away.

COLLINS: I mean, Melanie, it seems like Republicans are confused about what Republicans are doing here. I mean, if McCarthy is now saying, "Well, I'll take this, but not that," I mean, that doesn't seem like that's going to answer the request, from the hardliners, who say they don't want any short-term bill to happen.

ZANONA: Well, the reason why there's so much confusion is because Kevin McCarthy himself has floated a number of different things. They are trying to do a whip count, tonight, to try to really take a temperature check, to see where Republicans are. But that's the bottom line here is there's a lot of confusion. And tomorrow is the last day, before they have a government funding deadline.

COLLINS: Yes, seems pretty clear what's going to happen tomorrow. We'll see what that plan looks like.

For now, Melanie Zanona, thank you.

For a quarter of a century, the family, of the murdered hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur, has been waiting, for justice. Today, a suspect, now in custody. The story, next.



COLLINS: A quarter century, after one of the most defining voices, in hip-hop was violently silenced, Duane Keith Davis has been charged, tonight, with the murder, of Tupac Shakur.

What happened that night, in 1996, on the crowded Las Vegas Strip, was a violent chapter, in a really transcendent life.

P. Frank Williams covered this story, for the L.A. Times, and as the former editor of The Source, the magazine, not to be confused with this show that he is now appearing on. He's also one of the filmmakers, behind "Who Killed Tupac?" And he joins me now.

And I'm so grateful that you're here, because, I mean, after 27 years, it is notable, that it's Duane Keith Davis' own words that led to this moment, tonight.


I think this is a long-awaited verdict, I mean, not verdict, but arrest. I mean, Keffe, was telling it himself, the whole time. It is not like the Vegas cops didn't know. I mean, they sat him in a room, like days after this.

And so, I think it's just, sometimes, you put it out in the zeitgeist. And I think that the Vegas cops probably were a little bit embarrassed that this guy is talking, everywhere, and they can't arrest him. So, I think it's a long time coming.

So, for Shakur's family, I think it's a fantastic day.

COLLINS: Yes, I think that's the biggest question that people had, when they saw this, today, is why now? Why did it take this long, if this is who it was?

WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I think, as a person, as I said, who wrote the stuff, about Tupac, in the 90s, and, "Who killed Tupac?" with Ben Crump, and those kind of things? I think, you guys, CNN do a great job, African American men are not thought of as people that they want to get justice for.

I don't think that the Vegas PD was very pressed. But I think it came to a moment where Keffe D, who had already been bragging about this, for years, in Orlando, said he did it, multiple times. He was basically, he had a documentary. He had a book.

At some point, you can't just let a guy, who's saying "I was in a car, and I passed somebody else the gun," not be arrested. So, even though they had made a deal with him before, I want to make sure people know, cops had been in bed, with this guy. And he turned down another case, against him, and made a deal, back in the day.

COLLINS: When you look at this moment, I mean, it has been so many years, since Tupac's death.

WILLIAMS: 27 years.

COLLINS: 27 years, which is just kind of, it's kind of hard to even fathom.

But also, in this moment, it's still something that people talk about, all the time. It is a point of cultural fascination. I mean, what do you -- what does it mean, for the community, overall, that this is now something, that has been brought to the light again?

WILLIAMS: Well, the thing is, it's ironic, how many people that you could talk about 27 years after their death, and they were only 25, and you still talk about him at this level?

COLLINS: Yes. WILLIAMS: This guy made a -- he was a cultural revolutionary. He was the Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, of hip-hop.

And I think the thing about Tupac that still resonates, is that he touched your soul. He wrote, "Dear Mama, keep your head up." These aren't songs about "Let me be a gangster." These are songs about his mother, as a human being.

And so, I think, today, my kids, who are 18-year-old twins, for them, Tupac represents the emotional freedom, the willingness to do something, and break outside of the bounds.

So, today I got my Black Panther pin on Tupac, like myself, as a child of the Black Panther Party. And so, he was a revolutionary.

And, I think, today is finally a justice. So, shout out to his brother Mopreme, his sister, Set. And I wish Afeni was here. She deserves this day.

COLLINS: I'm so glad you brought up his family. I mean, what does a moment, like this, mean for them, after those 27 years?

WILLIAMS: Well, like I said, I've obviously been covering this case, from the day I was at the hospital, after he got shot.


WILLIAMS: I think, imagine if your family member was killed, and you knew some of the guys were out there, and he was still free?

So, I think, for me, it's a moment of closure. You just want somebody arrested. The other three gentlemen, who were in the car that night, they're all deceased. And so, this is the last chance, I think, for Las Vegas P.D., to really kind of make up for lost time.

And so for them, hopefully, get some closure. I mean, there's no way that you're going to -- and make up for what -- imagine what Tupac Shakur would have been, at 30-years-old, or 35-years-old. He predicted Barack Obama by the way, "My president is black."

So shout out to Tupac. We wish you were here, instead of me on this show. But I'm glad you got some justice today, my brother.

COLLINS: I know it is -- that's one of the most heartbreaking parts, is to think of what could have come next for him? What could have been here?

I mean, as one, who's covered this so closely, I'm just so grateful that you're joining, on this, given how closely you followed it. Were you surprised by this today? Did you ever think that this day would come?

WILLIAMS: No, I didn't actually, to be honest. No, I thought that, to be completely transparent, I never thought that the Vegas P.D. wanted to solve the murder of a young Black man, who was talking about "F the police," and was a young Black Panther. So, I don't think he was on your list of to-do.

But I do think that the pressure, from the public, the media, the new documentary that you just had, on FX, whatever I've done on A&E, or Fox or Source, I think, it was time.

And I think it's right. Every American deserves justice, right? Don't you want your kids to have justice, if they got murdered, on a broad daylight? Or not broad daylight -- in the middle of one of the public places, in the whole world? So, I'm glad that justice is finally here.


And again, I keep coming back to Afeni. I wish she would have saw this day, as a mother, to see justice first-on.

So, rest in peace, Tupac.

And I hope that Keffe gets what's deserved him. It's time.

COLLINS: Yes. We'll continue to follow these charges closely.

P. Frank Williams, thank you, for joining us, on it, tonight.

WILLIAMS: Have a great night.

COLLINS: Very grateful for you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, here in New York, there was record-setting rain. It overwhelmed the City today. It sent life-threatening floodwaters, into basements, subways, buses. It turned roadways into rivers. The washout that took millions, and some city officials, by surprise.


COLLINS: Tonight, millions of people, in New York City, and other parts, of the Northeast, are dealing with a flash flood emergency. When the storm finally passes tomorrow, several months, yes, months' worth of rain will have fallen, in just 24 hours.


Streets turned into rivers. This is what it looked like in Brooklyn, today.

At LaGuardia Airport, some travelers were forced, to wrap plastic bags, around their feet, just to get through the standing water that had filled the airport.

Elsewhere, they had to bring in heavy machinery, for water rescues.

In New Jersey, this police officer carried a man, on his shoulders, after he was trapped, in his car.

There was so much rain, a sea lion, at the Central Park Zoo, managed to escape her pool, when it flooded. The Zoo says that she roamed around for a bit. But she was eventually returned, safely, to her exhibit, tonight.

Thank you so much, for joining me, on this Friday night.

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