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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
Gaetz Triggers Vote To Oust McCarthy As Speaker; Cassidy Hutchinson: "Donald Trump Has No Bounds"; NY Gov.: Cell Phone Data, Ransom Note With Fingerprints Led Police To Suspect In 9-Year-Old's Disappearance. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 02, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: But Louisiana is the canary in this coal mine, due to subsidence, the land sinking, sea level rising, droughts, like this, this State, Anderson, loses a piece of land, about the size of a tennis court, every hour.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Bill Weir, in New Orleans, tonight. I'm envious, you are there. Thank you for covering that, Bill.
The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
Breaking news, as Republican hardliner, Matt Gaetz has now made good, on his threat, to oust House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, from his job, filing the papers, tonight, to at least try, to for the first time, in more than a century.
Plus, new reporting, tonight, why a seething Donald Trump, chose to show up in court, today, to face the judge, who found him liable for fraud, and the Attorney General, who brought that case against him, raging at both of them, on day one, of his trial.
And a 9-year-old, tonight, who had vanished, on a camping trip, has just been found alive, after 400 rescue workers were out looking for her. A suspect is now in custody. And we have the latest.
I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.
Tonight, a showdown is now underway, on Capitol Hill, over whether House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, can keep his job.
A member of his own conference, Congressman Matt Gaetz, of Florida, one of the right's most defiant hardliners, and certainly one of McCarthy's biggest detractors, has just followed through, on his threat, to move to remove Kevin McCarthy, from the House speakership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Well, he doesn't have my support anymore, and he doesn't have the support of a requisite number of Republicans, to continue as the Republican Speaker. Now, he may continue as the House Speaker, and he may continue as the Speaker of the Democrats, in some sort of uni-party coalition. But he is not going to be a Speaker, in power, as a consequence of Republican votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: McCarthy responding with these three words to that. Quote, "Bring it on."
Gaetz replying with two of his own, "Just did."
McCarthy, of course, could need Democrats, to save him. But, right now, they are saying almost to a tee that they are going to wait, to hear from Democratic leaders, to take a position, before they decide how they will vote.
And with this breaking news, I am joined now, by Republican congressman, Tim Burchett, of Tennessee, on Capitol Hill.
Congressman, given this breaking news, are you going to vote, to oust Kevin McCarthy, from his job?
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): Well, really, I see it as two things. One, do I vote against my friend, Kevin McCarthy? Or do I go with my conscience? That's kind of where I'm at. And I'm currently praying about it. But I would, if it was right now, I would vote, to oust him. Yes.
COLLINS: OK. So, if the vote was held, right now, and of course, it will have to be held, in the next two days, do you foresee that changing? Or are you a yes vote, do you believe, over the next two days, to oust Kevin McCarthy?
BURCHETT: I don't really think I will, other than the phone calls that I'll get, right after they see this broadcast. I suspect that, the pressure will be put on us.
But it's been pretty clear with me, ma'am. All along, as you know, I have talked about the fiscal responsibility, really have two jobs here. It's one is 12 appropriations, and passing a budget. And we've not done that. We've not done that in 30 --
BURCHETT: -- 30 years. And we just keep abdicating our duty. We say, "Oh, we're going to do a 45-day one now." And that's great. But that's not what I signed up for. I signed up to do my job. And my job is to pass a budget.
COLLINS: Yes. I know.
BURCHETT: And it's not what we're doing.
COLLINS: We talked about that last time you were here.
Are there 218 votes, to oust McCarthy, do you believe?
BURCHETT: I don't know. I don't know if there's a -- there's a half a dozen. But there's -- but it's what I believe. I'm not going to -- I don't -- I'm not really a barometer-checker. I don't really care about all that.
I'm just going to do what's right for me, and the people of the district that I represent. And that seems to be the --
BURCHETT: -- will of them. And it's obviously my will.
I'm just disgusted about a system, where we're supposed to be in meetings. And here it is. We got 45 days. And what are we doing? We had a nice dinner, tonight. We started work at 6 o'clock.
And I'll guarantee you that people are -- good, hard-working people at Tennessee, and most of the people, that are watching this, Democrats and Republicans, they're going to be up, tomorrow morning, at 5:30 o'clock or 6 o'clock, working. You got single moms, doing two jobs, teachers going to school.
COLLINS: Yes. Congressman?
BURCHETT: Doctors, lawyers, firemen, everybody is. And yet, Congress is not.
COLLINS: On that note, the question, of course, is if he's ousted, who would replace Kevin McCarthy? Are there any names being floated that you've heard?
BURCHETT: Well, I'm doing, to off to my side here, by Chip Roy. He'd be a wise choice. But I'm sure now he's scared that I've said his name, he's probably going to look under his car before he starts it, as he walks out of here. But no, I don't --
COLLINS: And did he say he's going to vote, to oust McCarthy?
BURCHETT: No, ma'am. No, he hasn't. I haven't asked anybody, honestly. I don't -- I'm not polling people. I'm just going to do what's right for me.
I think that's part of the problem, with this town. We'd love to see what's going to pass, instead of doing what our conscience tells us to do. That's why we're $33 trillion in debt, honestly.
I mean, we pass these monstrosity omnibus bills, and then we check down, to see "Oh, there's my -- there's the stuff I need," or "There's the lobbyist, I need to grease," and then we vote for the bill. And then, there's over 2,000 pages of "Nancy Pelosi, we got to pass it, to know what's in it" kind of stuff. And here we are. We said we're going to be different. And we're not.
All right, Congressman Tim Burchett. You just joined us, at the last minute, on this breaking news. So, appreciate your time, tonight. You are a yes, to oust Kevin McCarthy. Thank you for joining me.
BURCHETT: Thank you.
And I'm so glad they found that little girl.
COLLINS: We all are, and certainly her family is as well. Thank you for that.
BURCHETT: Yes, ma'am.
COLLINS: Of course, the question, tonight, becomes if enough Republicans do move, to oust McCarthy, as the Congressman just said there? He's a yes. Will Democrats potentially cut a deal, to save him?
Well, let's ask one. We've got Democratic congressman, Jared Moskowitz, of Florida, here with us.
Congressman, would you vote, personally, to save Kevin McCarthy's job?
REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): Well, thanks, Kaitlan. Thanks for having me on.
Well, look, I'm going to wait till Hakeem Jeffries weighs in. As Hakeem said, tonight, people are tired of the partisanship, the gamesmanship, the brinksmanship, that this has brought, in the two -- in the 118th Congress, all we've seen is this sort of chaos.
We saw chaos, during the debt ceiling, when they wanted to wreck the economy, the Chaos Caucus. We saw this, when it came to impeachment, last week, in the impeachment hearing, trying to impeach a president, for something his son did. And then, we just saw, just a couple of days ago, when they almost closed down the government, hurting our military, and helping our adversaries. So, this is just more chaos.
But look, I'm going to wait to hear, from Hakeem Jeffries. Hakeem's done a great job, leading the Democratic House caucus, through this, all of this chaos, quite frankly. And so, I'm going to wait to hear what he has to say.
COLLINS: I mean, that is what we are hearing, from Democrats. They want to wait to have leadership weigh in. Kind of would be a remarkable situation, though, if Democrats are voting, to save Kevin McCarthy's job.
If that happens, what do you want to get from McCarthy, in exchange for your vote? Is it on Ukraine funding? Is there anything else, that, assurances you would want, in order to cast a vote for McCarthy?
MOSKOWITZ: Well, look, I'm not going to negotiate with the Speaker, obviously, through the TV. I'll let my leadership do that.
But obviously, look, there are priorities, for the American people. We've been up here, putting people over politics, since January. And so look, yes, this is about making sure that we're doing everything we can, for the American people.
It's about funding our military. It's about making sure that our military can even have the leaders that they need, to fill positions, as we see Republicans blocking that in the Senate. It's about helping the American people, put food on the table. It's about making sure there are good-paying jobs.
And so, at the end of the day, Democrats have an agenda. And I have faith in Hakeem Jeffries, to negotiate that. But at the end of the day, this is obviously going to be fascinating.
COLLINS: And you haven't from the -- this --
MOSKOWITZ: This is --
COLLINS: -- from Hakeem Jeffries yet? Is that right?
MOSKOWITZ: We have a caucus meeting, in the morning. So, I imagine we'll hear from him then.
MOSKOWITZ: But look, this is going to be fascinating, one way or another, because at the end of the day, whether it passes or fails, in the next couple of days. And, by the way, it'll be a motion to table, as I imagine what we'll be voting on.
MOSKOWITZ: We won't be voting on the actual motion to vacate.
But after that, Matt may make this motion, over and over again. Republicans can then start denying the rule, which means no bill can come up. So, this is not over. This is going to be chaos now, continued.
And by the way, in the event, Kevin?
MOSKOWITZ: Kevin doesn't have the votes. And the motion to vacate eventually succeeds. Then, it could be weeks and weeks, before we have a Speaker, as we approach again, another shutdown. So, more chaos, from the Republicans, in the 118th Congress.
COLLINS: Yes, seems to be the M.O., on Capitol Hill, these days.
Congressman, after you have that meeting, in the morning, please let us know what leadership tells you.
And thank you, for joining, tonight.
MOSKOWITZ: Thank you. COLLINS: And, for more perspective on this, let's go to Republican governor, the former Governor of Maryland, the National Co-Chair of the No Labels. Larry Hogan is here with us.
I mean, we had a lot of things that we want to talk to you about. But given this breaking news? This is a party that you've been a member of, for a long time. What do you make of what's happening, on Capitol Hill?
LARRY HOGAN, (R) FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: Well, I think, it just it's showing that we're -- it's nothing but divisiveness, and dysfunction, in Washington. And I think the average person is just kind of disgusted by it.
And I think Matt Gaetz is a poster child, for everything that's wrong with Washington, and why they have a 15 percent approval rating, for Congress.
And, I don't think the average person is really following the palace intrigue, as much as we are, about who's going to be the Speaker. But they are pretty frustrated that we're not talking about the economy, that we're not actually coming together, to get things done.
And I think, it's, instead of focusing, on things, like the economy, which the Republicans should be doing? Because polls show where voters approve, of Republicans, on the economy by 20 points, over Democrats. We're not talking about that. We're talking about, you know, we're following Trump trials, and fights over Speakership.
COLLINS: Yes. It seems to raise the question, of can Republicans govern? I mean, they have the House majority, on Capitol Hill. And this is what it looks like, tonight.
HOGAN: Well, it's not helping the campaign. That's for sure. Because, it looks like we're dysfunctional. And frankly, I think, the Democrats are enjoying, watching that happen. So, it's going to be interesting, to see. I don't think there's enough Republican votes, to remove the Speaker. But it's going to make us look like we can't lead.
COLLINS: Well, what if the fights on Capitol Hill, is over Ukraine funding? And I know that this is something that you've stood up. You've supported Ukraine. When you were Governor, you sent them a multi-million dollar package.
Kevin McCarthy stripped that Ukraine funding, from what they passed, on Saturday, to keep the government funded. I mean, what kind of message does that send, to Kyiv, and to Moscow?
HOGAN: Well, it sends a terrible message. And I think it says not just to Kyiv, and Moscow. It sends a message to all of our enemies that, they no longer fear us, and our allies, that we're no longer going to, support them.
And it's not, you know, look, even if you don't care about standing up, for freedom and democracy, or supporting our allies, it's in America's best interest, to make sure that, you give them everything that we can give them, to get this war done.
You don't want an open check. But this -- these folks, these Republicans haven't spent much time, at the Reagan Library, I can tell you that. They don't know about the importance of peace through strength.
And I think this is a big mistake, this big fight, over not funding Ukraine. I think a number of the Republicans, on the debate stage, agreed with that. But some of these folks, in Congress, just don't seem to understand the importance of it.
COLLINS: Yes, that number is growing, of those who don't support it, on Capitol Hill, and at least in the house.
You just mentioned the other aspect of what we've been covering, today, which was Donald Trump here, in court, for his day one, of his civil trial, which he didn't actually have to be there.
But what does it say to you, as someone, who was asked, many times, if you were going to run for president, when you see the Republican front-runner, there, in court, instead of out on the campaign trail?
HOGAN: Well, I think it's a huge distraction. And it's sucking all the oxygen out of the room. So, I'm proud that we have a lot of great Republican candidates are up on that debate stage, getting -- but they're getting no traction, because no one's paying attention.
And instead of focusing in on the issues, and talking about how we're going to fix the economy, and what we're going to do about crime in our cities and, and debating about funding for Ukraine? We're spending time, watching Donald Trump's trials.
And you talk about the Donald Trump trial. Well, which one? I mean, it's every day, it's a different thing. And all throughout the primaries, that's going to be -- it's going to be Court TV, instead of why can we do a better job of leading.
COLLINS: Well and it has clearly hit a nerve for him. I mean, if you listen to him, today, he was so angry, as he came out. It used to be, in real estate, you had a firm, before you became governor. Why do you think it is hitting such a nerve with Trump?
HOGAN: Well, I think, it's potentially going to cost them real money. I mean, it's going to hurt his business. And he may lose $250 million.
But I think it's -- part of it is theater. I mean, it did strike a nerve. But he went -- he didn't have to be there. He went there because it's -- this is part of his attention, to attack the judge, attack the prosecutor.
COLLINS: He's fundraising off of it.
HOGAN: He's fundraising off of it. And he want to make a big show. It's kind of a -- COLLINS: Is that appropriate, in your view?
HOGAN: -- typical, it's same pattern, that we see from Trump, all of the time.
COLLINS: Is it appropriate, for him, to be fundraising off of this, in your view?
HOGAN: No, it's not. And it's not appropriate. But it's pretty typical.
COLLINS: You touted the idea of running. You are not running, for the Republican nomination. You have left open the door, to run as a third- party ticket. When you see something, like that today, do you get closer to that?
HOGAN: Well, look, I think about 70 percent of the people in America do not want Donald Trump, or Joe Biden, to be president. And we're at a strange place, where we've never been, in this country, where, 44 percent of the people are independent. 68 percent said they'd like another alternative.
But I don't know if it makes sense or not. It's not something I'm pursuing. I got involved in this No Labels group, because it's all about bipartisanship, and working together, and finding common ground and, and compromise, to get things done. And that's what I've been all about, for eight years, as Governor.
But this, I mean, you saw the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. came out. He's at 19 percent, in the polls, as an Independent. Imagine if we had a sane, Independent candidate, how much you could be polling.
COLLINS: Is that a yes or a no?
HOGAN: It's, I think it's too early to decide. My hope is still that --
COLLINS: When do you decide?
HOGAN: -- that we can possibly nominate someone other than Trump. And I'm hoping that, frankly, Joe Biden is not the Democratic nominee. I mean, they're the two weakest candidates, with the two lowest approval rating, in history. And it's not what America wants.
COLLINS: But it sure seems like Trump's going to be the nominee, if the election was tomorrow.
HOGAN: It seems like it would be. And Joe Biden is the one that's going to enable him, because he's the weakest candidate to run against.
COLLINS: So no yes or no?
HOGAN: No yes or no. It's, I haven't ruled it out.
COLLINS: When's your timing? HOGAN: But it's not something I'm pursuing.
COLLINS: When are you going to decide by?
HOGAN: I think we're going to wait and see after Super Tuesday, what happens --
HOGAN: -- with these two candidates.
COLLINS: Former Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, thank you, for being here, on set with us, tonight.
HOGAN: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Coming up, we have brand-new reporting, about what the Governor was just referencing there. Why Donald Trump showed up to his civil fraud trial, in New York today.
Plus, Cassidy Hutchinson is here, former Trump White House aide, who famously testified, before the January 6th congressional committee. Her reaction, to the scathing new remarks, about her former boss, from another one of his former employees, Chief of Staff, John Kelly, who's now saying, quote, "God help us."
COLLINS: Tonight, I have new reporting, on why Donald Trump decided to show up, here, in New York, for his day in court, in his civil case. A notable move, given he did not actually have to be here for that. Trump's fury over a trial that cuts at the heart of his image was obvious.
Several sources tell me that Trump's choice, to show up, was as personal as it was political.
Sources say that Trump has been venting, for days, after the Manhattan Supreme Court judge, that he was before today, Judge Engoron found him liable for fraud, and told him that he was living in a, quote, "Fantasy world" when it came to the value of his properties, or at least what they said, the value of those properties was.
These allegations that Trump consistently inflated his net worth, by billions of dollars, strikes right at the heart of what Trump values the most, his business and his brand. One insider tells me quote, "They are hitting him where it hurts."
They pointed to the multiple occasions, today, when the former President attacked the Judge, and the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, who filed this lawsuit, and stood just steps away from them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: We have a rogue judge.
We have a racist Attorney General, who is a horror show.
Just so you know, my financial statements are phenomenal.
This is a disgrace. And you had to go after this Attorney General.
This is a judge that you'd be disbarred.
That some people say could be charged criminally, for what he's doing.
REPORTER: Mr. Trump, why did you want to be here in person today?
TRUMP: Because I want to watch this witch-hunt myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Of course, as you hear those repeated attacks, today, remember, that comes after he was warned, in a separate criminal case that is not related to this one, not to lash out at court personnel.
But sources say that Trump has told those closest to him, he doesn't care, if he's punished, for those attacks, or even potentially given a gag order, a limited one, in another case, because he believes, it will benefit him, politically.
Joining me now, to break down everything, we saw happen today, or at least tried to, David Kelley, a former U.S. Attorney, for the Southern District of New York; and Temidayo Aganga-Williams, former Senior Investigative Counsel for the January 6 committee.
David, I mean, when you hear Trump's attorney, arguing, in court, today, about these assets? They said, "It's not fraud. It's real estate," making that defense essentially of why the numbers were not accurate. How does the judge take that, do you think?
DAVID KELLEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, I think what the judge tries to figure is puts himself in what that milieu is, which is there is a lot of subjectivity. There's a lot of different interests. And they're floating different numbers. And as the Trump camp says, there's a lot going on, where, there's a lot of fluff there. And that's part of the game.
But what the judge has said is that even given that, this is really in a completely different universe, a different orbit, than even in that. When you're talking about inflating everything, from 17 percent to 35 percent, it just doesn't even land, in the area, where Trump's camp would like you to believe it is.
COLLINS: And they were saying something was 11,000 square feet that actually was closer to 3,000 square feet. I mean, those are hard numbers. But Tem, I mean, we've already seen the judge issue this ruling, last week, finding Trump liable, for this. I mean, that decision has already been, that die has already been cast. Where do they go from here? I mean, why are his attorneys still trying to argue it's not fraud?
TEMIDAYO AGANGA-WILLIAMS, FORMER SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: I think, one, they don't really have any other arguments. I mean, what the judge has done is rule on partial issues. The judge has basically looked at these financial statements, that David is talking about, and said those things are false.
There are other issues that are going to be before the judge about other accounts that the Attorney General is bringing against the former President.
So, it's not all done. I mean, his lawyers have to go out there, and there's a defense to be put forward.
And there's a big question, I think, might matter the most, to the former President, which is how much money, if the Attorney General is fully successful, is she going to be taking from him, and the judge is still got to decide that.
COLLINS: Yes. And one thing, of course, that has infuriated Trump, and was notable, about why and how he was there, today, is the property value, of Mar-a-Lago itself.
I mean, Trump is claiming, and his attorneys were actually claiming this, in court, today, that it could be worth over a billion dollars, if they sold it. An appraiser, in Palm Beach, who the judge cited, in his ruling, put it in this $18 million to $28 million range.
I mean, when you look at that, and you hear that argument, in court, today, how much of that has to do with an appeal, to the judge, or an appeal to your client?
KELLEY: I think a lot of what we're seeing, today, and the theatrics involved, and Trump being there hasn't anything to do with the judge, and appeasing the judge. I mean, I think they've already feel like they've lost the battle, with the judge.
I think, in some measure, Trump is using this, as a platform, to promote the notion that these cases, not just this one, or all the other cases, are really about election interference.
And it also kind of feeds into his political campaign, which is "I'm the victim." So, it's really using this as a campaign vehicle, because, as you say, I don't think there's really a whole lot, they have, to defend the case.
And so, a lot of this noise doesn't really -- you know, and the judge came out with a very detailed ruling. So, a lot of this has nothing to do with any of that. And you have to kind of cut through the noise, and figure out what exactly is going on here. COLLINS: Is there any risk, to Trump attacking the judge here? I mean, he was late, going into the courtroom, today, because he was going off on the judge, and the Attorney General. Are there consequences he could face for that?
AGANGA-WILLIAMS: I think the first risk he has is that the one person that matters in the courtroom, and what they think, is going to be that judge. That's the judge that's going to decide his financial future. So, if there's one person he doesn't want to get on the wrong side of? It's that Judge. I think that's the first issue right there.
Second, if these public comments, he's making, start spilling over, into the realm of threats, or something else that's even close to a threat? He's then going to have to answer to the judges, in his criminal cases.
We have Judge Chutkan, who has warned him repeatedly, about these kinds of public inflammatory statements. He has two other criminal cases, where he is out on pre-trial release. So, I think, with those three cases, if these inflammatory statements continue, I think you're not -- I would not be surprised to see prosecutors raise those, to those judges.
And again, if he raises other issues, as far as inflammatory statements, all these will be read together, by a judge. And those prosecutors will point to statements he's made, about January 6th, statements he's made, in this financial case, statements he's made about the documents case. And all those together are going to paint a damning picture that down the road, judges will use against him.
COLLINS: What do you think?
KELLEY: I agree with that. But I think what he's doing is really pressing the First Amendment envelope, and pressing the envelope, of where he can go, as you say, in these other cases, to make statements that's going to push a judge, to issue a gag order.
And, I think, in some measure, if he gets a gag order? That even helps him more, because he then just says it's more election interference
COLLINS: That's what he thinks.
KELLEY: That's what he thinks.
KELLEY: And if he doesn't get the gag order, he still gets to get out there, and makes this statement, "Oh I'm the victim. And this is all about election interference," which is what his campaign really is. I mean, that's the -- that's what he's really promoting, at the time.
David Kelley, Temidayo Aganga-Williams, thank you both, for bringing that legal expertise. We're going to need it a lot, apparently, so, thank you.
Also, coming up here, on THE SOURCE, Cassidy Hutchinson, here in studio, tonight, as Trump's former Chief of Staff has given his strongest rebuke, of the ex-President yet.
COLLINS: Exclusive new reporting, tonight, from CNN's Jake Tapper, the most scathing rebuke yet that we have seen, from John Kelly, of course, Trump's longest-serving Chief of Staff, who described Donald Trump, as this.
And I'm quoting John Kelly, now. "A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all 'suckers' because 'there is nothing in it for them.'
A person who is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews," and "on working men and women.
A person that has no idea what America stands for" and "no idea what America is all about.
A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law. There is nothing more that can be said. God help us."
That statement, from John Kelly, coming just days after the former Trump White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, called Trump the, quote, "Most grave threat" to American democracy. Her new memoir, "Enough," delves into the why. Of course, she saw it all up-close.
And she joins me now.
I mean, what do you make when you hear, Cassidy -- and thank you for being here. When you hear what John Kelly? I mean, he was Chief of Staff before you were there. But when you hear him coming out, the most scathing criticism, we've heard him, of Trump? And he's criticized Trump. What do you make of what that is?
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: The first thing I say to that Kaitlan, is when you have people, like General Kelly, who were close, to the former President, in the inner circle, coming out with statements as scathing as the one that he came out with today?
And I touched on that, "The Atlantic" story, in my book as well, because I was on the plane, with the former President, when that story came out. And the President was not happy about it.
But when you have people that are in as part of his former circle, we need to believe them. It's not just me. It's not just General Kelly. But I will say this. General Kelly, he is a man that has served his country in uniform, just like General Milley, or Secretary Esper.
Donald Trump has no bounds. He does not have any limitations, to who he is going to criticize. And we need to listen to the people, especially men, like John Kelly, when they come out and say how dangerous he is.
COLLINS: Yes. You were -- that was a fascinating passage in here, because you were on the plane, when -- where that the story was breaking, and Mark Meadows, your boss, was panicking over that.
And you say that when you went to Trump, and you were speaking about what's at the heart of this, which is that he canceled a visit, to a cemetery, where American soldiers are buried, because it was windy, and he didn't want his hair to get messed up. And you said that he was so upset about the story.
You said, it was a side of the President that most Americans never have the opportunity to see, sympathetic, concerned and apprehensive, is a side that the media doesn't see, or doesn't report that he keeps well-disguised, which you said you feared was because he didn't want to appear weak, but it's a side of him that exist.
What do you make of what your experience was then, and him denying that this happened? And someone, like John Kelly, who was there, with him, saying tonight, actually, that is true, it did happen. He did say those comments.
HUTCHINSON: Well, two things on that, Kaitlan.
That night, very specific and jarring memory for me too, because on one hand, I did feel bad for him, for the former President, for Mr. Trump, because I, at the time, felt that maybe there is some nuggets of untruth, in that, things that aren't true in this.
And he was sort of desperate, to get something on the record. He had Bobby Engel, his former lead Secret Service detail, and Tony Ornato, looking through the emails, trying to find some scrap of any communication they had, to say that with that sort of would be false.
But the President was beside himself. And I, like, looking back now with the hindsight that I had, especially in conjunction with General Kelly's statement, today, again, it just goes -- it goes without saying that he is a man that is overly-consumed, with his ego, and how he appears to be, in the public eye. He doesn't want to look weak. But he's also not a man of the people, as he claims to be.
COLLINS: When you look at that, and someone like John Kelly, you talked about, having respect, for the Armed Services? When you hear what General Milley said, on Friday? And I know obviously General Milley was there when you were there. He called Trump, a wannabe dictator.
Do you agree that Trump is a wannabe dictator?
HUTCHINSON: I will leave it to the military experts to define whether he is a wannabe dictator. But what I will say is Donald Trump has no bounds. He has no respect for our Constitution. He has no respect for our institutions.
We saw that on January 6. We saw that throughout his presidency. And we've seen that since he left the Oval Office, the way that he's conducted himself, and the way that he has presented a potential second-term plan. God forbid, we get to that point.
But he's not somebody that respects our rule of law. And respecting our rule of law is the most fundamental thing that you need, to respect, to run for president.
COLLINS: If he got a second term, and someone gets an offer to go work, in the White House? Obviously, those are big jobs that anyone would jump at. Many people have, obviously. What would you say to people who may consider working for him?
HUTCHINSON: God, that's tricky, because on one hand, I would hope that there would be people that had -- that took into account, ethics and morals, and that would go work in the Executive branch, to serve the country. But on the other hand, I think I'd be doing a disservice, to those people, by not warning them of the dangers.
And I feel, I'm also sitting here, sort of hypothesizing a doomsday scenario, in my opinion, which would be that he is the Republican nominee, and could potentially beat President Biden. I think that every American, right now, has an obligation, to make sure that that doesn't happen.
Because one of the things that scares me the most, about a second Trump term is who would be surrounding him. We saw who was surrounding him, at the end of the first term. And I don't have a reason, to believe that there would be better people around him than that.
COLLINS: Yes. What drove you to go and work for him? I mean, you just -- well you write about how your experience before, you know, you went in there, you adored him, you certainly liked him. And what your experience is, now, when you're reflecting on that.
HUTCHINSON: Yes. That's part of the reason I wanted to write the book, too, because it was not a linear journey.
And I've, looking back now, and I tried to write the book, in real- time, as I experienced the events, in real-time, intentionally, because I wanted the readers to understand that there were people, on the inside -- now, people can determine whether I'm bad or good. I try not to sign adjectives to anybody.
But I think it's important, for readers to understand that not everybody is there, just to execute Donald J. Trump's agenda. People are there to serve the administration, to serve the country. And that's what drew me to public service, in the first place. And I had a phenomenal opportunity, to serve in the Trump administration. And I am, and what I was, and I am a Republican. But along the way, there's this dissonance that happened in me where that I began to slowly recognize that the MAGA, the Trump Republican agenda, is so far gone, from what the original, what has been the Republican agenda.
So, in writing this book, I do my best, to explain my journey, as somebody, who was on the inside, who was privy to a lot of information.
HUTCHINSON: And how I got to this point today.
COLLINS: And you worked for Mark Meadows. And I think we talk about senior officials that we hear from all the time, or former Trump officials, who are speaking out, about him. We never hear from Mark Meadows, except for when he's testifying. I mean, what do you think is going on with him?
HUTCHINSON: It's hard to say, Kaitlan. And it's difficult to speculate, because he has been so quiet.
What I will say about Mark is he could follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, specifically, pertinent to our conversation, General Kelly.
Mark has had a lot of opportunities, to do the right thing, and what I define as the "Right thing," which is to come forward with the information that you know. And perhaps he has, in some instances. Maybe he has worked with Jack Smith, a little bit. Doesn't look like that in Georgia.
But Mark Meadows swore an oath to defend and protect the United States of America. Not to protect Donald John Trump. And I hope that Mark has that hindsight, especially as we enter this next election year, because Donald Trump poses a grave danger to our institutions.
COLLINS: He's disputed some of what you've said.
I know you've responded to that, last week, and you said, "Well, I have testified about my experience. He should testify about his, if that's it."
If he testified against Donald Trump, how damaging, do you think, it would be, for the former President? How much does he know?
HUTCHINSON: If he testifies honestly? I think, if Mark were to testify, honestly, which I would assume that he would? And he does have great legal counsel. And it appears that he's listened to them? Although I'm taking bits and pieces of news reports. It's difficult to speculate on this, on a bigger level.
But I would think that Mark was in the room, way more than I was. And Mark knows way more than I do. Whether the information I have was incriminating, in any form, I don't know that's to be told.
HUTCHINSON: But if the Justice Department follows the leads, all roads lead back to Mark Meadows. And I would hope that Mark would go in and honor his oath because this is bigger than Donald Trump. This is bigger than the moment we're in. He needs to protect and defend the United States.
COLLINS: All roads lead back to Mark Meadows.
Cassidy, you are going to stick around with us. We'll be back in just a moment, with Alyssa Farah Griffin, who of course you as very intertwined in your experience.
We have more, up next, on the breaking news. We'll speak to Cassidy and Alyssa about that.
As we are now learning, about what McCarthy is going to be doing, spending the next 48 hours, fighting for his job? Congressman Matt Gaetz filing paperwork, tonight, to set a new vote, for Speaker, in motion? Will Democrats help save his job? And if not McCarthy, which Republican would lead the Conference? That's next.
COLLINS: I'm back now, with more on our breaking news, tonight, as Kevin McCarthy's job, as House Speaker, is now in serious jeopardy, after Republican Congressman, Matt Gaetz, triggered a vote, to oust him, from power, just a few moments ago.
Cassidy Hutchinson is back here with me, along with former Trump White House Communications Director, Alyssa Farah Griffin.
Both of you have worked on the Hill. So, you're kind of the perfect people, to talk about this with.
But you write, in your book, Cassidy, about the relationship, between Kevin McCarthy and Matt Gaetz. Clearly, neither one of them are big fans of one another. I mean, what do you make of how all of this potentially ends?
HUTCHINSON: I would love to say that I didn't see this coming. But yes, it's been a long time coming. I mean, Kevin has been the natural -- Kevin was the natural pick, for Speaker, for a long time. They, Matt and Kevin clearly have a deep-rooted dislike of each other.
It's not surprising, although I will say it's disappointing that Matt is putting the needs of Americans below his own ego.
There are shocking images coming out of Capitol Hill, tonight, where he is completely swarmed by photographers. And that's exactly what Matt wants out of this. Matt doesn't want to lead an effective government. If he did, then he'd be working on how to avert another government shutdown, in 44 days.
This is Matt's moment, in the spotlight. And that's not what these institutions are for. These institutions are meant to survive. And we need to elect people, who take their oaths, seriously.
COLLINS: And Alyssa, you also worked for Mark Meadows. I mean, this was the House Freedom Caucus, at the time, who talked about being fiscally responsible, on the Hill.
You heard from Tim Burchett, who says that for him, this is a policy issue that he's tired of governing that the way that they are. And he's a yes, to oust McCarthy.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know? And it may be for Tim Burchett.
But the reality is this. The number is 218 that you have to reach. I am not sure that there's anyone ever other than Kevin McCarthy, who could maybe get that other than maybe Steve Scalise. And he's going to run into exactly, as Cassidy said, the same issue, in about 45 days, when this government funding bill runs out. I think it's deeply unserious.
Listen, I think McCarthy and Matt Gaetz have had deep-seated dislike, for one another. I think that is genuinely what's driving this.
There are some more commonsense pragmatic conservatives, who genuinely want to go through the full appropriations process. A legitimate thing to do, but not at the risk of shutting down the government, not get military members their benefits, not funding CBP and Border Patrol. And this ends up contradicting Republicans' own positions, what they're trying to do here.
COLLINS: Yes. I mean, Cassidy, and you worked with McCarthy, so closely, when you were in the White House. You write in your book about how, and you testified that he called you, on January 6, to get a message that Trump should not come to the Capitol.
What's your sense of how he's handling this, tonight? I mean, obviously, it was a long time coming. But how do you think he's handling the fact that he might have to get Democrats, to save his job?
HUTCHINSON: You know what? I wouldn't think that it would be the worst thing, for this Congress, if he did get some Democrats, on his side.
But look, Kaitlan, Kevin has sort of burned bridges on both sides. He's burned bridges, with Republicans, as we've seen, since he became Speaker. And Democrats also don't trust him.
So, is there an alternative to Kevin McCarthy? I don't know. I think that there are several very pragmatic members of Congress. But that just wouldn't have a chance, at winning the Speakership.
Because, they don't either have the name recognition, or they're not going to get that far-right flank, that Kevin McCarthy has tried to appease, at points, but in turn, burned Democrats. People see him as a deeply untrustworthy person, right now. And I think that if he were to play this right, he could potentially have a moment, where he could unify this Congress, for the rest of this Congress.
But as much as this next election is a referendum on the Executive branch, and the White House, it's also a referendum on Congress, and who we elect to Congress. We need to focus on electing serious people. And, right now, we don't have serious people, in that body.
COLLINS: Yes. I mean, you're smiling. Do you -- is that?
FARAH GRIFFIN: Well that's exactly right. I mean, the reality is this. Democrats are probably going to go with the enemy that they know, which is Kevin McCarthy.
I think ultimately, this is going to come to a vote, where some Democrats vote with most Republicans, to table it, and move on, meaning they just kind of bypass any kind of a motion to vacate vote.
Because, the reality is you can't say that you want an open floor process. You want a full appropriations process. You want an impeachment inquiry, into Joe Biden. But we're also going to potentially shut down the government, and go through multiple rounds to elect a speaker.
It is so unserious, it's about -- Jake Tapper said it well. Fox News clicks getting on TV, and self-aggrandizing. Just run the government.
COLLINS: Well, it's also like the worst job, on Planet Earth, right now, if you have 45 days before your next fight.
FARAH GRIFFIN: Yes.
COLLINS: Alyssa Farah Griffin, Cassidy Hutchinson, thank you for coming in.
Your first interview on THE SOURCE, since your book came out. Thank you for joining us.
HUTCHINSON: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Up ahead, a huge relief is being felt. You heard this from the Congressman. He mentioned this earlier. That search for the 9- year-old girl, who went missing, on a camping trip.
Charlotte Sena has been found alive, and safe, tonight. The suspect, accused of abducting her, is now in custody. A lot of questions still remain though, including how investigators found her. We'll give you the details next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COLLINS: Tonight, we have just learned that a ransom note, with fingerprints, is what eventually led police, to a suspect, and a missing 9-year-old girl. Charlotte Sena is now safe, and back with her family, after she went missing on Saturday night, while riding her bike, alone, during a camping trip, with her family, in New York's Moreau Lake State Park. It's just north of Albany.
Joining me, tonight, is CNN Correspondent, Brian Todd, who is tracking this story.
Brian, obviously that's the big question, of how they got to this, how they found him. What have you learned, tonight?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, the Albany Times-Union newspaper, citing multiple law enforcement sources, reports the suspect, who was arrested, allegedly left a note, at the home of the young girl's parents, possibly demanding some kind of ransom, in connection with her disappearance.
The Times-Union is also reporting, from State Police sources, that the investigation was focused on whether her abduction may have been the result, of someone, deliberately targeting the girl, or her family.
CNN did get additional detail, on the ransom note, a short time ago, from New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, who said the suspect's fingerprints were found on the note.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ON THE PHONE: GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): There was a ransom note. And that is how -- it was instrumental in leading us directly to the suspect.
COOPER: There's also --
ON THE PHONE: HOCHUL: His fingerprint was --
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.
ON THE PHONE: HOCHUL: -- was already in the database. His fingerprint was already available to law enforcement.
COOPER: Can you say what kind of a database his fingerprint was in?
ON THE PHONE: HOCHUL: State police database, I believe.
COOPER: Was that -- do you know what prior crimes he had --
ON THE PHONE: HOCHUL: Let me get -- let me --
COOPER: -- committed?
ON THE PHONE: HOCHUL: No. Let me get confirmation, because they were still running down. And this is still fairly new information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Governor Hochul also said that investigators tracked cell phone data, from phones that were in or near the park, when Charlotte Sena disappeared, and that they tracked all the people, who had bought tickets, to the park, over the weekend.
COLLINS: So, where exactly did they find her?
TODD: Well, Kaitlan, according to the New York State Police, multiple residents, where the individual is known to have resided, were searched.
One of those residents was then surrounded by law enforcement tactical teams. At about 6:32 PM, Police located Charlotte, safe at that residence. The suspect was taken into custody.
Shortly thereafter, Charlotte was in the arms of her parents, at a hospital, and is being transported, so she can be checked out. But she is apparently in good health, tonight.
COLLINS: And we are just so grateful to hear that. I know her parents are as well.
Brian Todd, thank you, for tracking this. Keep us updated.
TODD: Sure. Thanks.
COLLINS: Up next, an urgent new warning, from Tom Hanks, tonight. Or, is it from Tom Hanks? Stick around. We'll explain what we mean.
COLLINS: Tom Hanks, tonight, telling his fans, to beware, an urgent message from the Forrest Gump star, over AI-generated content that uses his likeness, to sell what he calls, some dental plan. He posted this warning, on his Instagram, saying he has nothing to do with this advertisement.
And I should note, CNN has not independently verified the ad.
But you see these all the time, these deep fakes, these artificial intelligence scams, all over your social media feeds, from things, ranging from politics, to pop culture.
At the same time, we are hearing from Robin Williams' daughter, Zelda, who is also speaking out against these recreations of her father. She says unauthorized use of his voice, to create new content, is personally disturbing to her.
And she added this, quote, saying these replications are "At their worst, a horrendous Frankensteinian monster, cobbled together from the worst bits of everything" that the industry is. Quite a blunt warning there, of course, and big questions, about the future of that.
Meanwhile, thank you so much, for joining us, for this very busy breaking news hour.
"CNN PRIMETIME" with Abby Phillip, is up next.