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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump: Migrants "Poisoning The Blood Of Our Country"; Trump Gives Jordan "Complete & Total Endorsement"; Jailed Iranian Activist Wins Nobel Peace Prize. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 06, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You might have seen David, there, fall in the crowd, by the bull. His effort did not go as planned. See what happened, when you watch. It's quite something.

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Fat Bear Week runs through October 10th. You can still vote for your favorite. Again, the web address is fatbearweek, all one word,

And with that, the news continues. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.


New reporting, on the behind-the-scenes shuffle that led to Donald Trump's late-night endorsement, in the House Speaker's race. He's not only deeply invested in who the next Speaker will be, but also how loyal that person will be to him.

Plus, President Biden, facing backlash, from his own party. After reversing his immigration policy and building more of Trump's border wall, he says he had no choice. A senator, who once called that wall, "Medieval," is here to respond.

Also today, today's Nobel Peace Prize winner, sitting in jail, tonight, continuing to risk her life, from behind bars, fighting Iran's oppressive regime. What she wants the world to know?

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

Tonight, I have new reporting, on how Donald Trump is viewing the race, for House Speaker, in terms of loyalty, to him alone.

As he traveled, from a New York courtroom, back to his Mar-a-Lago club, this week, I'm told that Trump was paying very close attention, to the dramatic ouster, of the man that he often refers to as "My Kevin."

While Trump reveled in the idea of getting the gavel himself, he never really took that suggestion publicly. And instead, I'm told that he focused on making sure that the role is going to someone, who was loyal enough to him.

He scoffed at the idea of some of these more moderate names that have been floated, like the Majority Whip, Tom Emmer, and others.

Trump is actually looking to capitalize on the entire chaotic spectacle by going to Washington, next week, to endorse his pick, potentially, during that GOP meeting that is set to happen, on Tuesday.

But that plan hit a brick wall, when Congressman Troy Nehls tweeted this, catching not only Trump, but his inner circle off-guard. He said, quote, "Just had a great conversation with President Trump about the Speaker's race. He is endorsing Jim Jordan, and I believe Congress should listen to the leader of our party."

Though Trump had been reluctant, to actually do so, publicly, at least, that Trump did force him to post his own, shortly after midnight, affirming that, yes, Jim Jordan does have his endorsement, in this race.

For now, that trip to D.C. is scrapped. And so is a scheduled Fox debate, between the candidates, for the next House Speaker. That fell apart after fellow House Republicans were infuriated that they'd be debating, publicly, before actually doing so privately, within their own party, with one Republican lawmaker telling CNN, quote, "People are pissed."

It's just another sign of the tension that is happening, inside the GOP, right now, as Republicans are still scrambling, to find their new leader.

And speaking of the former leader, Kevin McCarthy spoke today, denying reports that he is planning, on resigning from Congress.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I'm not resigning. I got a lot more work to do, so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not resigning?

MCCARTHY: No, I'm not resigning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you'll stay the entire term?

MCCARTHY: I'm staying, so don't worry. I got a lot more work to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think about running for reelection?



COLLINS: He's going for a much more casual look, these days.

I am joined now, by former Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger; and former Senior Adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod.

Thank you both, for being here.

Congressman Kinzinger, I mean, like it or not, Donald Trump is obviously the leader of the Republican Party. He clearly wants someone, who is loyal to him, as the next House Speaker. What influence, do you think he has, in actually deciding who they vote for, as soon as next week, potentially?


Because what this does is this sets off the right-wing echo chamber, where people will start tweeting, and people will start asking members of Congress, who they're going to vote for.

And you can't play coy. You have to now say it publicly, because that's the pressure. And if you do anything, but Jim Jordan, you're a RINO. And that's of course, unacceptable to be a RINO, or a squish. And so, all the people that would normally be opposed, to Jim Jordan, start publicly coming on board.

So, and it doesn't mean that Jim Jordan has this thing walking away. But certainly, Donald Trump's endorsement, while maybe not a morally good thing, if you're just running for the office, it's probably very helpful.

COLLINS: Yes. It was notable that his post, endorsing him, had more to do with his wrestling track record, than anything really related to Congress.

But David, I mean, there's no blueprint for what someone like Kevin McCarthy is doing, right now, in the sense of being ousted, by his own party, staying in Congress, for now, he says, saying he even might run again. I mean, how do you expect he handles this race? Does he get involved? Does he endorse somebody?


DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR OBAMA ADVISER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, he said he wouldn't. I'm not sure that -- I'm not sure that he will. It's an awkward position, for him, right now, because he was, of course, "My Kevin." He was he was Trump's guy. Now, Trump has interposed himself in this race.

I really don't know. I can't crawl inside Kevin McCarthy's head, and see what -- and think about what he would do.

But I will say this. I think Trump's rolled the dice here. You can't be the self-proclaimed and apparent leader of the party, the front- runner for the nomination, interpose yourself in this fight, and not win it. So, he has a lot at stake here.

The last thing that Trump wants to look like is a loser, as we know. And so, now, it's really on him, to try and deliver his guy. If he does, one thing, I think, will be for sure is that we will see a formal impeachment, of President Biden, during the next few months, because I think Trump will insist on it.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, he was already insisting on just getting to the inquiry, which he wasn't, and he didn't see as sufficient.

I mean, speaking of Trump, obviously, he endorsed Jordan, Congressman, not long after he was on Fox News.

And I noticed, in Jim Jordan's hit, last night, he was talking about Trump, likely being the next President, kept talking about what a great President he was. Obviously, this comes as Trump had been, toying with this idea of maybe taking the Speakership, on a short-term role, which I don't think anyone took seriously.

But do you think that that is something that Jordan was trying to make sure he did not take seriously?

KINZINGER: I don't know. I don't think anybody, I think even Jim Jordan -- I mean, maybe, because I think Jordan has desperately wanted to be Speaker, for a long time. He acts like he's being kind of shepherded into this position, by his bonds to America, and his duty to the country, which he absolutely failed, by the way, on January 6th, and everything leading up to it. And post that, when we wanted to talk to him, so.

But I think this is just a matter of, Jim Jordan probably knows Donald Trump isn't running, and probably wants to just keep kissing Donald Trump's backside, because he knows that he can turn a lot of votes.

And again, even if, in a secret ballot, which in the Conference itself, so in the meeting of just Republicans, it's a secret ballot. You only have to get half of the Conference to then be the quote- unquote, "Republican name" put forward. I think Jim Jordan gets that very easily.

The question in this is are there five to 10 Republicans, so-called moderates that play the same game that the eight that deposed Kevin McCarthy played, and they simply refuse, under any condition, to vote for Jim Jordan? Particularly, because, this will doom Ukraine and, particularly, because, Jim Jordan, frankly, doesn't deserve it. So, that would be the question. And I don't know the answer to that yet.


AXELROD: Let me just -- let me, if I can add, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Go ahead, David.

AXELROD: It doesn't -- yes, it will doom Ukraine, which is a -- which would be a tragedy. It also, I think, would imperil the dozen or more Republicans, in swing districts. I think Jim Jordan, as the face of the Republican caucus, will become a huge rallying point, for Democrats, in these swing districts, because he reflects a kind of hard-edged extremism. That was the reason why Republicans underperformed, in 2022. So, it would not be good for the country, but -- and it won't be good for the Democratic caucus, if he ends up winning.

COLLINS: Well, speaking of all of this, and Trump's influence on this, as we're looking at, Trump is in between the courtroom, and the campaign trail, where he's expected to be back, tomorrow. I want to get both of your thoughts on this.

Congressman, I'll start with you.

These are awful comments that Trump made, when he was in an interview, talking about immigration and migrants specifically. This is what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Nobody has any idea where these people are coming from. And we know they come from prisons. We know they come from mental institutions, insane asylums. We know they're terrorists.

Nobody has ever seen anything like we're witnessing, right now. It is a very sad thing for our country. It's poisoning the blood of our country. It's so bad. And people are coming in with disease, people are coming in with every possible thing that you can have.


COLLINS: "Poisoning the blood of our country." What went through your mind, when you heard that comment, Congressman?

KINZINGER: I mean, like who says that? Who says "Poisoning the blood of our country?"

Oh, you know, who did say "Poisoning the blood of our country?" Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf. When talking about Jewish journalists, said that they were poisoning the blood of Germany, and infecting the country. I mean, this is language, right out of Mein Kampf.


I mean, this is not -- every Republican, and particularly every Republican that wants to be Speaker, every time they're interviewed, should be forced to answer, for this question. "Do you agree with what Trump said or not? And if you don't, do you still consider him the best possibility, for the next President of the United States?"

The President of the United States, talking about poisoning the blood of the country? I mean, even if a President had said this about al Qaeda, after 9/11? It would have been over the top. Instead, he's talking about people desperate for a better life. There is no excuse for this. And it disgusts me, as an American, to hear him say that. COLLINS: Yes. And I should note that his spokesperson tried to deny that it was kind of -- any kind of xenophobic remark.

But obviously, David, this just fits into a long history of comments, like this that Trump has made. I mean, this may be maybe the furthest. But what did you make of it?

AXELROD: Well, look, I mean, it does. We all remember how he entered American politics, in the first place, coming down the escalator, at Trump Tower, and talking about Mexico sending rapists, and murderers, over the border. So yes, this is completely consistent with who he is.

And Adam is, I agree with every word he said. He said, "This is over the top," though. And we should note that Donald Trump's built his whole career on saying things that no one else would say. He's built his whole career on saying things that are over the top. And he's found an audience, for the things that he's said.

And, right now, there is concern and, I think, justifiable concern, about what's going on, on the border, and the influx of migrants. And he is trying to take advantage of that situation, by doing what he always does, by touching these very, very kind of sick cords, but that have a -- that generate a response.

This is vintage Donald Trump. So, we should both condemn him, and recognize the power of his willingness to say what no one else will say.

COLLINS: Yes, and obviously, the power of those words.

David Axelrod, Adam Kinzinger, thank you both, for joining me.


COLLINS: And just to note, we've also fact-checked Trump's claim that mental institutions, in South America, are sending patients to the border. There is zero evidence, none, zilch. His campaign, we've asked them repeatedly. They've never been able to provide any. Just a fact- check there, from those comments.

Also, tonight, we'll take a deeper dive, on the Speaker candidate, who got Trump's endorsement. Fierce loyalist, Jim Jordan. Trump awarded him the Medal of Freedom, just days after January 6th, in a private ceremony, at the White House.

Also tonight, the Biden administration is still struggling, to defend the President's border wall reversal, while Blue state mayors, and governors, are also demanding more help, with the wave of migrants that they are facing. We'll speak with a Democratic senator, right after the break.



COLLINS: Of the two candidates, who are locked in the battle, for the gavel, on Capitol Hill, only one, as we just noted, has gotten the endorsement of the man, who still maintains an iron grip, on the Republican Party.

Overnight, the twice-impeached, four-times-indicted Donald Trump, said that Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio had his quote, "Complete & total endorsement" for House Speaker.

He reminded his followers that he once awarded Jordan, the highest civilian honor that you can get, in this nation, the Medal of Freedom. That was when Donald Trump was in office, of course. He gave that to Jordan, less than a week after the January 6th attack, on the Capitol, during a private ceremony, that happened at the White House.

In between phone calls, to fellow Republicans, today, Congressman Jordan told my colleague, Manu Raju, he appreciates Trump's endorsement. But is also focused on getting support across the board, within Congress, and described himself, as he believes, someone who can bring his party together.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I like the job I got now. I never wanted to do this job. But someone has to, who can -- who can bring the team together, and can go communicate to the country. And that's why I'm running.


COLLINS: "Someone, who unites the party," is not always the way that Jim Jordan has been described. Certainly, not on Capitol Hill. He is the Founding Chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. And he was once called a, quote, "Legislative terrorist," by the former Republican House Speaker, John Boehner.


JOHN BOEHNER, (R) FORMER SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I just never saw a guy, who spent more time tearing things apart, never building anything.


COLLINS: Despite Jordan's reputation as a, quote, "Bomb-thrower," he has risen, from the fringes of the GOP, to the forefront of his party. He's now the Chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. He's playing a key role, in the impeachment inquiry, into President Biden as well.


JORDAN: This is a tale as old as time: Politician takes action that makes money for his family, and then he tries to conceal it.


COLLINS: One former Republican lawmaker offered a blunt warning, if Jordan does end up with the top job. That's Liz Cheney, who of course chaired the January 6 Select Committee. She accused Jordan of being at the, quote, "Top of the list," of Republicans, who enabled that attack.


LIZ CHENEY, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE (R-WY): Jim Jordan knew more about what Donald Trump had planned, for January 6th, than any other member of the House of Representatives.


COLLINS: She also predicted, I should note, in those remarks, that Jordan will lose this race, for the House Speakership.

Her sentiment was echoed by the former Trump White House staffer, and the star of those January 6 hearings that you saw here, on THE SOURCE, last week, Cassidy Hutchinson.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER TRUMP WH AIDE: But Jim Jordan was privy to nearly everything, if not everything, about and pertaining to January 6. Jim Jordan can't be trusted with the Constitution.


COLLINS: Of course, Jordan defied a subpoena, from the January 6 committee.

He has answered questions about conversations that he had, with Trump, on that dark day.


TAYLOR POPIELARZ, SPECTRUM NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Did you speak with him before, during or after the Capitol was attacked?

JORDAN: I'd have to go. I spoke with him that day after, I think after. I don't know if I spoke with him, in the morning or not. I just don't know.

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): Before, during or after the attack on the Capitol?

JORDAN: I talked to the President after the attack.

MCGOVERN: So, not before or during?

JORDAN: Right.


COLLINS: I should note that phone records that were subpoenaed, by the committee, show that Jordan did speak with Trump, for 10 minutes, on the morning, of January 6. [21:20:00]

For more on where he is now, where he is in this race, joining me is former Illinois Congressman, Rodney Davis, who worked alongside Jim Jordan, in the Congress.

You were at the Capitol, with McCarthy, on Tuesday, when he was voted out, of his Speaker position.

Thank you, for being here, Congressman.

When you look at what Jim Jordan used to be known as, what he is seen as now? Charlie Dent, who also is a former Republican congressman, said earlier, to Jake Tapper, that he was always good at blowing up deals, but not necessarily putting them together. You think he's the right person to lead House Republicans, now?

RODNEY DAVIS, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE (R-IL), MANAGING DIRECTOR, COZEN O'CONNOR PUBLIC STRATEGIES: Well, because of Donald Trump, I don't get to make that choice anymore, Kaitlan.

But I can tell you, Charlie, and Adam, and others, you've spoken with, they were right about Jim Jordan. When I got to Congress, in 2013, he would blow things up. He wouldn't legislate. He was not a lawmaker. He was somebody, who completely disregarded any legislative process.

But what I can tell you is Jim Jordan has changed. When we spent time, in the last two terms, in the minority, I watched Jim Jordan grow into somebody, who actually legislated, and legislated well. He's somebody, who clearly has a shot at being Speaker. I don't know if he's the front-runner, right now. But he has a shot.

COLLINS: I think there are some skeptics, probably watching, maybe, who just raised their eyebrows, when you gave that comment. And I think the question would be has Jim Jordan changed? Or is it the party that has changed to be more like Jim Jordan?

DAVIS: Well, some in the party have changed to be more like Jim Jordan. I think we're seeing more gerrymandered districts, which bring more polarized political individuals, into Congress.

But I also saw Jim change, because Jim was somebody who worked with leadership, over the last two terms.

Look, I was excited to be nominated, to serve on the January 6 Select Committee, with Jim, with others. But unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi did what she did best, as Speaker. She set precedents that tore the fabric of the institution apart.

COLLINS: Yes, well, she rejected some of those picks. And then, Kevin McCarthy pulled all of them.

I mean, part of that is also personal to you. I mean, you voted to certify President Biden's win. Jim Jordan notably did not. And that's why -- part of why Liz Cheney was saying he can't be trusted with the Speakership. Do you not think it's disqualifying, if it's someone who voted against certifying the legitimate election results?

DAVIS: Well, voting against certifying election results just didn't begin, on that tragic day, of January 6th. It began, it happened, in many presidential elections, before.

Just in 2017, I watched Jamie Raskin and Jim McGovern, stand on the floor, to object to states that President Trump won. Let's look back to 2004, when you had recent committee chairs that were Democrats that voted to decertify Ohio's election results, for George W. Bush.

No, I don't think one vote determine the future of anybody's ability, to serve in a position, whether I agreed with that vote or not.

COLLINS: I don't think people would see those as the same things. I think you maybe say that wasn't right, when those lawmakers did it. But doing it after a dramatic attack, on the Capitol, where the President is contesting the results, and not just in court, but on his Twitter feed.

I do -- I'm curious what you think of whether or not Trump's endorsement here, of Jordan, is helpful, or hurtful. Because, he kind of downplayed it, earlier, when he was speaking with Manu Raju. Obviously, there's a lot of moderate Republicans that he's trying to bring into his fold.

DAVIS: With the very slim majority that Republicans have, I don't see how this is a net gain, for Jim, at this point. Because there are many, that I served with, in Congress, that will now never support Jim Jordan, because Donald Trump has stepped forward.

It's going to be an interesting -- it's going to be an interesting race, over the next few days, and into next week. And I certainly hope that the Republicans can come together, get a consensus candidate, and begin moving the country forward again.

COLLINS: "It is going to be an interesting race," is maybe the understatement of the night.

Former Congressman, Rodney Davis, thank you, for joining us, with your perspective, tonight.

DAVIS: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Up next, a jailed Iranian activist has just won the Nobel Peace Prize, for her fight, against oppression and for women's rights, in her country. Even from her jail cell, she was a key part of the massive protests that have happened. And tonight, her fight is not over.



COLLINS: The winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize won't receive it in-person, because she's currently locked away, in an Iranian prison.

Narges Mohammadi is one of the most outspoken critics, of the Iranian regime. And today, she was awarded the prize, for her 30-year battle, for human rights. She is currently serving 10 years in prison. A notorious prison, I should note, for abusing political prisoners. And she has been banned from seeing her family.

When protests rocked Iran, last year, after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died, in the custody of the Regime's Morality Police, Mohammadi organized prison protest, and led weekly workshops, for female inmates, about their rights.

Now, tension is once again brewing on the streets of Iran. Activists have accused the Morality Police, of assaulting a 16-year-old, who was not wearing a headscarf. She was seen collapsing, at a metro station. She has been in a coma, since Sunday. Iranian officials claim that she fainted, because of low blood pressure.

But Mohammadi told CNN that the Regime is preventing the truth, from coming to light.

I should note that CNN also received exclusive audio, from within her prison, before today's exciting announcement, where Mohammadi is heard, leading prisoners, in a chant of "Women, Life, Freedom."




COLLINS: What's unclear, tonight, is if she even knows that she has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Her family says that prisoners cannot receive calls, on Fridays.


Joining me now is the Iranian-American journalist, and activist, Masih Alinejad, who is nominated, for this year's Nobel Peace Prize as well, and also knows Mohammadi.

I'm so glad that you're here. I mean you have known her for some 20 years, I believe.


COLLINS: I mean, what did you think, when you heard this amazing news?

ALINEJAD: I screamed. I screamed, out of joy. It's like I myself won the prize, because as far as any woman wins a Nobel Peace Prize, it means that all Iranian women got it. You know what I mean? It's a slap in the face of Khamenei, and its gender-apartheid regime.

COLLINS: Yes. ALINEJAD: So, that is why I got very, very happy.

COLLINS: Well, and just looking at her body of work?


COLLINS: I mean, what Narges Mohammadi has done. I mean, she's reported extensively, about government abuse. And she has paid for that.

I mean, I not only noted that she's serving this 10-year sentence. She's been arrested 13 times, convicted five of those times, and sentenced to 31 years, total, in prison, 154 lashes. I mean, that's the price that she is willing to pay.

ALINEJAD: Exactly. But let me be very honest with you. She is wounded. She paid huge price. But she's unbreakable. She's unbowed to the Islamic Republic.

First, when I met her, it was 20 years ago, when I was a parliamentary journalist. Before even seeing her face, I heard her voice, loudly, and bravely, challenging the members of Parliament, for the situation of political prisoners.

Since that, she herself became a political prisoner. But as far as I know, even inside prison, she became the voice of voiceless people. That is why, I believe, that this award has a significant message, showing the rest of the world, the real picture of Iranian women.

COLLINS: Do you think she even knows that she's won this award?

ALINEJAD: I believe that she knows it, because the Iranian regime attacked her, already, so.

COLLINS: For getting this award?

ALINEJAD: For getting this award. And they see Iranian national television, in prison. So, between the line, she can read that this is -- you know, I mean, for me and millions of Iranian women, when the Islamic Republic attacks someone? She's a hero.

COLLINS: It's a badge of honor.


COLLINS: I mean, and they've been downplaying the Nobel Peace Prize as well.

ALINEJAD: Of course. Of course.

COLLINS: Do you think that's because they don't want society to get this sense? I mean, we've seen all of these multiple protests, stacking up. Do you think they're worried that they'll see that she's getting this global recognition, for her work?

ALINEJAD: That's a very good point. I believe that they try to downplay this prize, to let the people know that this is nothing.

But, at the same time, they know that, this is going to encourage Narges, to be more determined, to mobilize women, within the prison, and to encourage other women, in society to -- because, this is a recognition, to Woman, Life, Freedom. It means a lot to us. I even tattooed it here. So, it means a lot to millions of Iranian women.

But I have to say that this is a bittersweet moment, for Iranians, right now. At the same time, we are happy to be recognized. But on the other hand, Armita, only 16-year-old teenager, is now fighting for her life, in a coma, right after being beaten up by Morality Police, so.


COLLINS: This is Armita Geravand. I mean, Iranian officials are denying that her mother has been arrested as well. I mean, the details around this, from what we know, are horrific.

ALINEJAD: My sister, denying is in the DNA of the Islamic Republic. They actually killed 1,500 innocent people in Bloody November. They shut down the internet. And then, with biggest smile, Ebrahim Raisi came here, United Nations, on saying that, "Death to America. We didn't kill anyone."

We know Iranian regime the best that now if they didn't kill? I mean, if they didn't beaten up Armita, then what was the reason, they forced her parents to do false confession? What was the reason they even detained two of Armita's classmates, two teenagers, and forced them to deny the brutality of Morality Police?

What -- I mean, why they arrested the journalist, a female journalist, who was trying to clearly do her job, making a report, taking a photo? If she really fainted out, just because of a drop in her blood pressure, then let all the international correspondents, all the free journalists, go there, and show it to the rest of the world.

COLLINS: No, you don't just pass out, and go into a coma, from low blood pressure.

You always come with a message, anytime that you and I've spoken, an important message to world leaders. If you were speaking to them, tonight, what would your message be?

ALINEJAD: I want to be actually the voice of Iranian people. Because they say that we are happy, when we are being recognized, by Nobel Peace Prize committee.


But at the same time, what is the point that the West actually giving prize to well-known activists, facing guns and bullets, but at the same time, they are legitimizing our killers? I don't really get it. And Iranian people are furious for that.

So, my message is very clear. Be as brave as Narges Mohammadi. My clear message to the female politicians in the West? Be as brave as Iranian women, and say no to gender-apartheid regime.

This is 21st Century. Women are getting killed, for showing their hair, men getting executed, for supporting Woman, Life, Freedom movement. So, my message is very, very clear. This Regime is either gender-apartheid or not. If it is gender-apartheid regime, then isolate.

And President Biden actually congratulated Narges Mohammadi. And he shared his sympathy with Armita.

But America can take the lead, and ask Europeans, to expand the definition of apartheid, in all international laws, to include gender. That's how we isolate and end the Islamic Republic.

COLLINS: The Woman, Life, Freedom movement.

We always love having you on, Masih. Thank you, for coming.

ALINEJAD: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.


ALINEJAD: One day, I'm going to invite you to Iran.

COLLINS: OK. I would love that. Great. Thank you so much.

ALINEJAD: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also coming up, the fate of the war, in Ukraine, could depend on who the next House Speaker is, on Capitol Hill. My next guest argues that MAGA Republicans outplayed Kevin McCarthy, and Democrats, on funding. And abandoning Ukraine could lead to a wider conflict. That perspective, next.



COLLINS: A surge in migration is leading to some policy reversals, by prominent Democrats.

The Biden administration will resume deporting Venezuelans, directly back to Venezuela, as border crossings have jumped, in recent weeks.

Just last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Protected Status, for migrants, from Venezuela, meaning they could stay, and work, in the United States, for 18 months.

All of this, as President Biden, today, is defending violating a major campaign promise that he made, by resuming construction, on the southern border wall, with President Biden saying that it's because money was already approved, by Congress, in 2019 that he has to take this step.

Meanwhile, we're also hearing, from Democratic mayors, in major cities, asking the federal government, for more help, as they are facing a wave of migrants, who are seeking asylum, in their cities.

I'm joined, tonight, by Democratic Senator, Michael Bennet, of Colorado.

Senator, I'm so glad, you're here, to talk about this, because it's obviously an issue that so many politicians, so many people are dealing with, across this country.

And tonight, I was thinking of a speech that you gave, in 2019, a very fiery speech, on the Senate floor. I want to remind our viewers what you said, in 2019.


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): I can assure you that in Colorado, if a President said, he was going to use Eminent Domain, to erect a barrier, across the State of Colorado, across the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, he was going to steal the property, of our farmers and ranchers, to build his medieval wall? There wouldn't be an elected leader, from our State that would support that idea.


COLLINS: Senator, has your position changed that that you see a border wall as medieval?

BENNET: Well, Kaitlan, thanks for having me.

What I was saying in that speech, which I 100 percent agree with today, was that we should not take farmers' or ranchers' land by Eminent Domain, the government just taking, seizing their land, which is what Donald Trump was proposing. Yes. And no one in Colorado would ever support that.

I didn't support putting spikes on a wall. I didn't support putting alligators in a moat. I didn't support shooting people that were coming, across the border, all of which Donald Trump did.

What I did support was the last comprehensive bill, immigration bill that we passed, in the Senate. There was the so-called Gang of Eight. I was one of the four Democrats, who negotiated that bill.

That bill had a pathway to citizenship, for 11 million people. It had the most progressive DREAM Act we've ever written. Something forgotten is that it had $40 billion of border security, $40 billion. That's far more than Donald Trump ever spent on his wall.

But it was modern border security. It was stuff that we developed, in Afghanistan and Iraq that could allow us to see every single inch of the border, and allow us to manage the border, in a proper, rational and humane way. And that's what we need, in our immigration system.

COLLINS: Well and --

BENNET: We need an immigration system, unlike the one we have today that's not broken. COLLINS: I should note --

BENNET: And we need one that's consistent with our best traditions, as a nation of immigrants. And I think we could create one.

COLLINS: I think people from both sides of the aisle would agree that the immigration system is broken.

I should note that that last suggestion there from Trump, that was a suggestion that wasn't actually a policy process.

But when it comes to the fact that is reality on the ground, the White House is acknowledging, they are expanding the border wall. I mean, what's your response to that?

BENNET: My response to that is no one thing is going to solve this problem.

We have to figure out how to build more capacity on the border, so that we can actually have a rational approach, to people that are coming here.

We got to build a system so that, we're able to give people an answer, within three to six months, of what their status is going to be, in the United States.

We need a system that allows people that are here, to be able to work, and contribute to our economy.

We have none of those things today. We don't have a -- we don't have a system that works at the border. We don't have a system that works for our economy. And it's a national disgrace and a national tragedy. Because we're literally losing farms and ranches, because we don't have the people, to work our farms and ranches.


So, I think, this is one of those things, Kaitlan, just like our health care system and our education system. And whether we're going to fund Ukraine, and all the other stuff we should be working on, that Donald Trump did not fix, not even remotely, when he was President of the United States, he's trying to get another shot at that.

I think we'd be a lot better off with Republicans, and Democrats, working together, in Washington, to actually achieve something that is --

COLLINS: But Senator, respectfully?


COLLINS: President Biden said, when he was a candidate, there would not be another foot of wall built. Do you see this as a broken promise, to voters, since they are indeed not only building more feet of that wall, they're also building 20 more miles?

BENNET: Well, I don't think probably that was a promise that should ever been made.

I think that what we should not be doing is having a fight over this inch of border wall or that mile of border wall, or this person that Donald Trump is attacking.

What we should be doing is figuring out how to have a rational system that can drive economic growth, in this country, that can support our agricultural sector, that can support our high tech sector.

And when needed, can support our history, as a nation, that refugees have found a home, and that immigrants, like my mom, who was born in 1938, in Warsaw, Poland, the worst place, on planet Earth, you could have been born, a nation that where she and her parents could come, and rebuild their shattered lives, after Hitler had destroyed their entire family.

These are the things that we should be doing, as a country.

COLLINS: I know that the environment has been a project for you, a passion for you, something that you've cared a lot about. Are you OK with President Biden bypassing a lot of these environmental laws, in order to expand the border wall the way that he's doing?

BENNET: I haven't studied the 25 miles of the border in detail, although, I am going to Mexico City on Monday, and I am going to the border this week. So, I'll ask those questions, while I'm there.

COLLINS: Well it's the Clean Air Act.

BENNET: I will say that I have been simply --

COLLINS: It's the Safe Drinking Water Act. It's the Endangered Species Act. It's those among, I think, a dozen others that they are bypassing. Are you OK with that?

BENNET: I would need to know the details of it, Kaitlan.

But let me just say, I just want to say in fairness, and respectfully to you, that I have believed my entire career, and my entire adult life, that the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act, not only have been important for our climate, but important for our economy. I continue to believe that.

On the other hand, I also believe, as a general matter, that we have made it too hard to build things, in this country. I'm not talking about the wall, now. I'm just talking generally. We've made things too hard to build.

And that if we are going to create the energy transition we need in this country, we're going to have to figure out how to build things again. That again, I'm not talking about the wall in that context.


BENNET: But I do think, look, I can appreciate the fact that the President said one thing, when he was running, and he's apparently said something else, yesterday. And I think it's appropriate to call that out.

The point that I'm making is that if we are ever actually going to solve this immigration issue, just like the most complex issues, that are facing this country, we're going to have to stop.

And I'm not talking to you about this. I'm talking about politicians, trying to score cheap political points, that don't actually put points, on the board, for the American people.

When we wrote that Gang of Eight bill, we got 68 votes, in the Senate. You can't get 68 votes, for almost anything. That's hard, in the Senate.


BENNET: And unfortunately, it got torpedoed, by the Tea Party, in the House of Representatives.

And we got to get back to the drawing board, and see if we can make that agreement again, or something like it.

COLLINS: Well, Senator, after you go to your trip, to Mexico City, we look forward to having you back, to get your perspective on it.

Thank you, Senator Michael Bennet, for joining us, tonight, on a Friday night.

BENNET: Thanks for having me, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Coming up, it has been a deadly week, in Ukraine. Dozens of civilians have been killed, including children, as Russian strikes, and the debate, in the United States, is continuing, over funding, for the war-torn country, and whether there will be any more of it.



COLLINS: It has been another deadly week, in Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine. You're looking at destruction, from Kharkiv, today, where a 10-year-old boy was killed, while he was sleeping. Yesterday, another child was killed, in an attack, on the small village of Hroza. 52 people, in total, killed.

Back here, in the United States, as you see images like that? The fight playing out on Capitol Hill, for more funding, and whether or not there will be any more, for Ukraine, is now tightly wrapped in the battle, for the Speaker's gavel that we started this hour with.

I'm joined now by Washington Post Columnist, Josh Rogin, who wrote about the politicization, of the Ukrainian aid -- of Ukrainian aid, what that future is going to look like.

Josh, I was just fascinated by this reporting. And essentially what you saw is that McCarthy's ouster, that happened on Tuesday, actually made passing any new aid to Ukraine, you say, quote, "Extremely difficult... perhaps impossible."

What did you hear from these lawmakers?

JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, for weeks, actually, months, Democrats, and some Republicans, and the Biden administration, frankly, were depending on Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy, to get the aid through.

They were telling everybody, including reporters, that it was only a small number of Republicans that were opposed to it, and that those Republicans could be managed. Well, no one can say that anymore.

And McCarthy's gone. And McConnell has lost control of his caucus. And they were successful in stripping the aid out. And McCarthy thought he was doing that as a concession, to the right-wingers. And the right- wingers removed him anyway.

So now, the Ukrainian aid is in the worst possible position ever. It's not in the bill. It's going to take an active act of Congress to put it back into the next funding bill. And there's no (ph) clear path on the House floor. And there's no promise, by Jim Jordan, or Steve Scalise, to bring it up to the House floor, in the first place.

And if the funding doesn't come through, within a couple of weeks, or a couple of months, depending on who you ask, the Ukrainians are going to run out of money. And then, all of the sudden, they're going to be short on weapons. And more people will die. And Vladimir Putin will benefit.

COLLINS: What -- and yes. I mean, Jim Jordan has said he doesn't favor more Ukraine funding, right now.


But what I'm so struck by is that Kevin McCarthy took it out of that short-term bill that they passed, I mean, obviously, in hopes of appeasing the -- getting it passed, and appeasing the lawmakers, who said no, to it. I mean, both results would have ended in him being ousted. So, I mean?

ROGIN: Right.

COLLINS: I think, the question is, should he have just left it in there anyway?

ROGIN: Right. You're right. He got played. He gave a concession for no reason.

And then, even after they took it out of the bill, still Democrats, and the Administration were like, "Oh, don't worry, Kevin McCarthy will get it done, in the long run." But now, he can't get it done. And there's no plan B.

And yes, I think, this shows that the opposition was much more entrenched than we thought that we underestimated the MAGA lawmakers' capacity for maneuver, and their ability to think two or three steps ahead.

And what that means now is that the Biden administration, Democrats and Republicans, who support Ukraine, who don't want to see the counteroffensive, undermined, and the most important point, Americans' credibility undermined, around the world? Will have to come up with a smarter strategy, and a better explanation, to the American people, as to why this is in America's national interest. And, I think, they better get to it pretty fast.

COLLINS: Yes. It seems like a tougher argument, every day, with what we're seeing, in the polling.

Josh Rogin, great reporting.

Everyone can read the full report at the

Thank you so much, for your time, tonight.

ROGIN: Anytime.

COLLINS: And thank you so much, for joining us, on this Friday night, and every night this week.

"CNN PRIMETIME" with Abby Phillip, starts, right after a quick break.