Return to Transcripts main page

The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Sources: Mar-A-Lago Plumber, Maid, Chauffeur, Woodworker Could Testify In Trump Docs Case; U.S. Says Israel To Begin Four-Hour Pauses In N. Gaza; Sen. Joe Manchin Not Running For Re-Election. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 09, 2023 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now. See you, tomorrow.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: -- classified documents case.

Plus, four hours a day, Israel has now agreed to humanitarian pauses, in Gaza, to let civilians move, to safer ground, and let aid in. The question is could it also provide a breakthrough on getting hostages out? The CIA Director is having secret meetings, in the Middle East.

And a political earthquake, rocking Washington, tonight, as Senator Joe Manchin has announced he is not going to seek re-election, leaving a blue seat open in a deeply red state. Does it also open a door, to run against President Biden?

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

We start with two exclusives, for you, tonight. We have the first CNN interview, with former President Trump's former lawyer, who quit the classified documents case, over this summer. And it comes on a night, when CNN has learned who could be testifying, against Donald Trump, in that very trial.

The potential witness list, according to multiple sources, and what they've told CNN, could include some of the people who were working, at Mar-a-Lago, a plumber, a chauffeur, a maid, a woodworker, other Mar-a-Lago staffers, including some, who still work there.

Plus, contract workers, Secret Service agents, former Intelligence officials, as well as people, who were in the room, with Trump, when he was caught on that audio tape, referencing a secret Military document that was about plans, potential plans, to bomb Iran.

These potential witnesses have already spoken, to federal investigators. And some, of course, can provide firsthand accounts, of what they saw, at Mar-a-Lago, where we know hundreds of classified documents were found, including dozens that were marked as "Top Secret." They were found in places like Trump's bathroom, his bedroom, a ballroom, and yes, a storage room. There's a woodworker, who installed crown molding in Trump's bedroom, in February 2022. According to three sources, that person noticed papers that may have been classified.

There's also the maid, who cleaned at Trump's bedroom suite, one source telling CNN that the former President went quote, "Ballistic," when he learned that she had been asked to speak with investigators.

There's also a chauffeur, who drove around visitors, including foreigners and VIP guests, at the club, and many, many others, in this new reporting tonight.

Joining me now, on this new reporting, and much more, for his first CNN interview, since he left the Trump legal team, over the summer, in this classified documents case, Jim Trusty.

Thank you so much, for being here, Jim. It's good to have you back on the show.

I mean, just when you hear this reporting, and what CNN has learned about the potential witnesses, that Jack Smith's team could call, do you have any concerns, about what kind of testimony they could potentially provide?

JIM TRUSTY, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Well, I think, my starting concern is the leaks. I mean, it's just astounding, how when it comes to Mar- a-Lago, and I point towards DOJ, for a lot of this, because it helps them more than it would ever help President Trump, that all of this stuff gets aired publicly. Meanwhile, up in Delaware, it's radio silence.

But in terms of the witnesses, look, I will just say this. I got to meet a lot of really nice folks, salt of the earth, good people, hard- working people, down in the Mar-a-Lago scene. They were aggressively, really intimidated by the Department of Justice, and the FBI. We have a decent idea, or I had a decent idea of a lot of what they would have to say, not necessarily across the board.

But I'd say it's kind of thing, where Kaitlan, you could drive by Mar- a-Lago, on your way to the beach, and you'd get a subpoena. So, we had people that were literally with almost no information, being told to go to the FBI, threatened to go to Washington --

COLLINS: How many people do you --

TRUSTY: -- if they didn't get what they want.

COLLINS: -- would you say that you believe investigators spoke with, as this investigation has gone on, until of course you left the team, over the summer?

TRUSTY: Yes. Well, I'm not going to join the leak course. But certainly, it's obvious that it's at least dozens.

And look, I mean, just the fact that in their zeal, to find something, anything, to justify this case, they were dragging in Secret Service agents? At least that's the report you just had. I mean, that's generally? I know, there's been exceptions in history when it was the Kenneth Starr investigation. But generally speaking, that's kind of a no-go. And that's just the level of aggression that we saw, across the board, while I was on the case, I think, continues today.


COLLINS: Do you think that testimony, from the Secret Service agents, could be potentially the most damaging, in this case?

TRUSTY: Well I'm not going to wade into the substance of what people have to say. That really actually touches not just in terms of my duty or loyalty, to a former client, but to a work product privilege, in terms of any internal investigation we did.

So, look, I think it'll be fascinating, when the case is tried. I'll certainly be one of the people that calls in sick, on my regular job, so I can watch a lot of it, and see how it plays out.

But again, this is kind of unprecedented territory, with not just what they're charging, and the Presidential Records Act, and all the issues that arise, from criminalizing this stuff.

But the level of aggressivity, telling witnesses, for instance, this has been publicly reported, "Give me the password to your computer, or I'm going to drag you up to D.C. in three days, and you'll have to do it in front of the grand jury," I mean, this is heavy-handed stuff that's unlike anything, I saw, in my 17 years, at the Department of Justice.

COLLINS: Well, I understand, you don't like what you say are leaks. I mean, this is just reporting that CNN has done on this. I mean, there are so many witnesses potentially in this. There's a lot of people to obviously talk to, about what could have potentially happened here.

But when you look at this, a lot of these people still work at Mar-a- Lago. I mean, Trump employee number four, Yuscil Taveras just recently resigned, we are told, and Trump was not happy when he found out that he was still working at the club. But he was someone, Jim, who had a Trump-paid attorney, and then changed to a non-Trump-paid attorney, and he changed his testimony.

Do you think that the former President is trying to potentially influence, any of the witnesses, by paying for their attorneys?

TRUSTY: No. Everything you just said goes to the fact that there's self-serving leaks, coming out of one side of the aisle. It's really kind of amazing. And no real -- no real respect for the privacy of these individuals.

Look, it's not uncommon, in a widespread investigation, of any sort, criminal or administrative, for there to be a group of attorneys, that share information, under a joint defense agreement, have some sense of what's going on with the investigation, know where there's things that can be litigated, even pre-indictment. And so, look, paying for attorneys means nothing. The reality, the backstory, the truly horrific, in terms of what this purported conflict was, it revolves around that witness, is that the Department of Justice cannot stand Stanley Woodward, one of the attorneys in this case, because Stanley blew the whistle, on a DOJ official, essentially extorting him, over a pending judgeship, to flip Walt Nauta. I mean, that's been publicly reported.

That is a dark moment, in DOJ history, that they want to gloss over, and then go after all the attorneys, saying there's something wrong with attorneys, either representing multiple clients, or sharing information.

COLLINS: Yes. I know you --

TRUSTY: It's an absurd distraction.

COLLINS: In our last interview, you brought that same instance up. I said, we had not seen any evidence of that. We haven't really seen it brought up as an issue. I mean, Stan Woodward is still representing several of the clients. He's representing a lot of them, to where they think it could actually be, prosecutors have argued it would be a conflict of interest.

But on Yuscil Taveras, I mean, you talk about it's not unusual, for attorneys, to share information, when they have multiple, potential witnesses, or co-defendants. That's true. But he changed his testimony, in a damning way, for the former President that led to another co-defendant being indicted, because he went, from a Trump- paid attorney, to his own attorney.

TRUSTY: Well, I think, you're looping together a whole bunch of things that makes for a great story. But I'm not here to --

COLLINS: But don't you see --

TRUSTY: -- to even --

COLLINS: You can see how there are questions about Trump's influence, when he pays for the attorneys, given --

TRUSTY: Well I --

COLLINS: -- a witness changed his testimony.

TRUSTY: I'm aware there are people that push those questions. I think there's a bigger backdrop, a bigger context, to what's going on, when it comes to some of the lawyers, being challenged, by DOJ.

And let me just also give a broader context, about the idea of obstruction. We certainly, as lawyers, would obviously look into questions of whether there's things that happen, after the substantive offenses that could relate to obstruction, or attempted obstruction. It's not something that any lawyer takes lightly. So, I don't want it to sound like I kind of gloss over it.

But to me, it's really clear that a political decision was made, by a very politicized department, that the best thing they have going, to try to distinguish President Trump's possession of documents, from then-Vice President Biden's, is to suggest that somehow obstruction is the difference.

And that's been a narrative, on this network and others, that somehow "Well, you know, why they're different? Because of all the obstruction."

Now, we don't get any leaks out of Delaware. But we get plenty of leaks, down here, that relate to these different witnesses, like the one you're just talking about, or Walt Nauta, all to suggest that somehow there was obstruction. And I view it very differently.

COLLINS: But it's not suggesting. I mean, Trump fought in a subpoena to turn the documents over. You were there, as all of that was going on.

TRUSTY: Actually, no. But let me just say this. We want that --

COLLINS: You were.


TRUSTY: -- we want executives, we want anyone, who's in kind of the C- suite of life and business, to be able to freely talk to their lawyers, and figure out, "Hey, can we fight this subpoena? Is there something overbroad, overly burdensome about this subpoena? What happens if we respond? What happens if we ask for more time?"

I mean those are things that we encourage, as a society. It's exactly right. And executives, across this country, have those conversations.

COLLINS: So, he did try to fight this subpoena? Is that what you're saying?

TRUSTY: No, that's not what I'm saying.

What I'm saying is, we are in a position, where we should all be encouraging the notion that anyone, that runs a business, has the opportunity, to talk to their lawyers, about whether or not there's some sort of privileges that apply, whether they can fight it, whether they shouldn't fight it, to get that guidance.

COLLINS: OK. But a subpoena is a subpoena, Jim.

But let me ask you this, because the judge seems to be indicating in Florida that she is going to delay this case. Do you think it's going to get delayed past the election?

TRUSTY: Yes, I mean, I don't have any inside knowledge, from her, or her chambers or really anyone else. But I think what's driving the delays, right now, is not some sort of a political concern.

It's the CIPA process. It's this idea that when you have classified material, you have to go through a very serious scrubbing, and review and litigation, long before you can enter the courtroom, for the trial itself. And that seems to be bogging down a little bit. Perhaps unclean hands, from the government? I don't know for sure. But the bottom line is that takes time normally.

And so, the timeframe, these kind of artificial timeframes, for Jack Smith?

COLLINS: But do you believe it's going to get pushed?

TRUSTY: I think it's probably going to get pushed. I don't know whether it goes beyond the election or not. But, generally speaking, CIPA cases, these classified information type cases, don't go to trial quickly, because of that review. No matter everything else, no matter how many witnesses, how complex, what other defenses and motions, there are, that alone usually pushes them --

COLLINS: OK. Jim. Let me ask you?

TRUSTY: -- outside, of a year, so.

COLLINS: Because obviously, the last time our viewers saw you, was when you were still, on the Trump legal team. You no longer are.

Can you just explain why you resigned, from the Trump legal team, the day after he was indicted, in the documents case?

TRUSTY: Sure can't. No, I mean, look, and I certainly didn't suggest to CNN, that I was willing to talk about that.

The bottom line is, I have a responsibility.

COLLINS: We have to ask.

TRUSTY: No, I don't -- I'm not faulting you for asking. It's fine. I'm just telling you, I'm not a kiss-and-tell guy. So, I'm not going to get into anything. It was the right time, for myself to leave, for John Rowley to leave. Tim Parlatore left a little bit before that.

COLLINS: Can you just say did you all --

TRUSTY: And so.

COLLINS: Did you resign? Or were you fired?

TRUSTY: It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. I'm not here to like, try to elevate myself, or disparage my former client. The bottom line is, there was a logical break point. I took that break point. And I don't kiss-and-tell.

COLLINS: OK. Well, let me ask you about something that happened this week, because the civil fraud case has been happening, here in New York.

You saw Trump was on the stand. There were some very testy exchanges with the judge. And, at one point, the judge asked Chris Kise, who is now, was brought on to be on the documents case, but is now in the New York case as well, the current attorney, to get control of him. Do you think you were better, at controlling him, as a client?

TRUSTY: No. Look, here's what I'd say about that. I mean, the response that was reported? And I haven't been up in the courtroom in New York. I've got other clients to serve. But the responses reported that Chris basically said, "Ask better questions." That actually is the right response at that situation.

It's the Attorney General that called him to the witness stand. And when you call any witness, to the stand, that has some expertise, in what they're talking about, they tend to be speech-makers.

I used to deal with cross-examining all sorts of experts, in criminal cases, as a prosecutor, everything from fingerprints, to identification, to God knows what. And the reality is, you get in and you get out. If you have to call this witness? And in civil cases, you can call the other party. You darn well better get in and out with very tight questions, and get what you want and get out.

And they apparently didn't do a very good job of that, to the frustration of the judge. But the judge's ire --

COLLINS: Well I think some would say --

TRUSTY: -- should have been directed towards them.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, he said that Trump wasn't answering questions, with a yes-or-no answer.

But I also, I think part of it would be people say Trump is a challenging client to have. I mean, he's had a lot of attorneys, who have come to work for him, and then left the case. There's a bit of chaos with the New York team, right now, as well.

When you look at this, and you look at what he's been saying, in the Special Counsel's investigation? You used to work at the Justice Department. You know, Jack Smith, who is the Special Counsel.

When Trump calls him "Deranged," and a "Psychopath," do you think those are terms that you would use to describe Jack Smith?

TRUSTY: Look, what I would do is focus, again, as a lawyer, as somebody who's been a prosecutor, altogether 27 years, before I went private, I'd focus on the conduct. I mean, that to me.

It's a different situation, for a person running for president being indicted, in these "Unprecedented, and creative," and I put quotes around that, types of indictments.

But the bottom line is, I've seen things, from the federal prosecutors, in this case, including extorting a fellow lawyer, that are obstructionists, that are wrong, that are over-aggressive. And that's what I --

COLLINS: But would you call Jack Smith, "Deranged?"

TRUSTY: And that's what I called out. And that's what I continue to call out.

COLLINS: I mean, you know him.

TRUSTY: Look, Kaitlan, that's a fun game to play.

COLLINS: It's not a game.

TRUSTY: I understand, why you're asking it.

COLLINS: I'm genuinely curious what you think --

TRUSTY: But I don't --


COLLINS: -- given you've worked with Jack Smith, and you used to represent Donald Trump?

TRUSTY: I don't think America is waiting with bated breath, to hear whether Jim will call Jack, "Deranged." It doesn't matter. It's not part of the -- of my interest, as an attorney. It's not really part of the public's interest. It's just kind of fun, sensational stuff. The bottom line is, any client --

COLLINS: It's not fun.

TRUSTY: -- any client would have a right to be frustrated, with the behavior that he has been facing, on behalf of the department, Alvin Bragg, Letitia James, and the wonderful Georgia case as well.

So, look, I don't have to sign off, or sign on, on anything that the President says. But I can tell you that the grounds for frustration, the concerns about a two-tiered system, are legitimate ones.

COLLINS: OK. But you're not expressing -- well, OK, I was going to let you go after that. But I got to ask you.

You can't really call it a two-tiered system of justice. Look at the number of Democrats, who are being investigated, right now. I think Senator Bob Menendez would argue that it's a two-tiered system of justice.

TRUSTY: Well --

COLLINS: Hunter Biden, I mean, the list goes on.

TRUSTY: Hunter Biden? You're using Hunter Biden as an example of equal justice? I'd have a hard time with that.

COLLINS: I'm just saying you can't call it a two-tiered justice -- system of justice, because there are plenty of Democrats, who are also being investigated, by the Justice Department --

TRUSTY: Yes, I --

COLLINS: -- including the President's -- the sitting President's son. TRUSTY: Well, there's a --

COLLINS: Jim Trusty?

TRUSTY: We'll come back and talk about Hunter's case, some night. That'll be fun. But anyway, thanks for having me on, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Jim Trusty, thank you for your time, first interview, back on CNN. Appreciate your time.

TRUSTY: Yes, see you.

COLLINS: Ahead, no ceasefire, but Israel has now agreed to daily pauses, in the fighting, allowing Palestinian civilians, to flee northern Gaza. The question is will it hold?

Plus there's been a huge shake-up on Capitol Hill.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I will not be running for re-election to the United States Senate. But what I will be doing.


COLLINS: It's a big question. What will Senator Joe Manchin be doing? That is next.



COLLINS: After more than a month of non-stop war, a pause, or rather a series of four-hour pauses. The White House confirming today that Israel is going to notify civilians, in northern Gaza, a four-hour breaks, from bombardment, in their neighborhoods, so that they can safely evacuate to the south.

While these pauses are a respite, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been adamant that there will be no ceasefire, until all the hostages are released, from Gaza.

But discussions are underway, we are told, to get those hostages out. CIA Director, Bill Burns, meeting with the Israeli intelligence chief, and also other officials, from Qatar, who have a direct line to Hamas.

While some members of the Progressive Caucus, on Capitol Hill, have joined in calls, for a ceasefire, my next guest, here tonight, a high- profile progressive himself, has called for humanitarian pauses instead. The question for some is does today's announcement go far enough?

Congressman Ro Khanna of California is here with me.

What's your -- what do you say? Do the four-hour pauses go far enough, in your view? Is that what you were thinking of? REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): It's a good first step. But no, more needs to be done. I mean, you need to get 2 million gallons of water in there. We need to get fuel into the hospitals.

And while Hamas is using Palestinian civilians, as human shields, I have said that they should not be bombing civilian sites, civilian- dense sites, hospitals.

COLLINS: Israel should not?

KHANNA: Israel should -- Israel should not. I mean, I don't think they're intentionally targeting civilians.

COLLINS: But are they doing enough to not hit civilians, in your view?

KHANNA: In my view, they should have more operational patience. I mean, look, they have the right to self-defense. It was a brutal attack, on October 7th. Any country has the right to get Hamas perpetrators.

But when you have a hospital, when you have a school, when you have a refugee camp, with many children, even when Hamas is there, even when Hamas is there, intentionally, I think you try to get Hamas out, you get them into the tunnels, you track them.

Look, it took us 10 years, to get Osama bin Laden.

But the loss of life there is heartbreaking. And so, I would say, do not bomb civilian-dense sites.

COLLINS: Yes, I mean, they struck an ambulance recently, Israel arguing that Hamas was using it, to transport weapons and fighters.

President Biden said today that he was frustrated that it's -- this is not happening soon enough that he's been pushing President -- or Prime Minister Netanyahu, for a three-day pause or more. He has a lot of influence, on what the Prime Minister does. He's kind of bear-hugged him. He's been one of his biggest supporters, since this war broke out. Do you think he could influence him to do more?

KHANNA: He does and (ph) doesn't. I mean, I think certain things, they're just not listening. My sense is that he has asked for the humanitarian pause. He wants the pause to be longer.

I think the United States government has had candid conversations, about doing more, to minimize civilian casualties. And the President is making progress. And I do think that the White House has really stepped up, in talking about Palestinian lives, and making sure that they're protected.

COLLINS: Your Political Director just resigned, recently, because you are not calling for a ceasefire. Is there -- would you ever call for a ceasefire? Do you ever see yourself doing that?

KHANNA: I wouldn't rule it out. I mean, at some point, the war has to end. But the reason I didn't call for a ceasefire is that when you have the brutal murder of 1,400 civilians, and people have committed that terrorist attack, if you just say, "OK, let's have a ceasefire," then you're basically saying there was no consequence to doing that.

So, I think there has to be more operational patience, precision, surgical operations, in getting the Hamas terrorists, that were accountable. And once we do that, I also think there needs to be a peace process with equality for Palestinian rights.

COLLINS: What has your thinking on this been? I mean, have you ever been close, to calling for a ceasefire, because this is really dividing your party, but especially progressives.

KHANNA: It's dividing the country. I mean, look, there was a sit-in, in my district office, today. I've never seen this kind of mobilization, since the Iraq War.

I mean, this is -- there are people, out on the street, and they're upset, with what they're seeing on television. They're upset with what they saw with the Israelis were killed. They're upset with the hostages. And they're upset with the Palestinian children that are being killed. It's an emotional issue.

For me, I said, let's get the water, humanitarian aid. I'm calling 20 Members of Congress. And the UNHCR (ph) Commissioner is having a meeting with us, on Monday. So, we're going to hear directly on the ground what's happening. And I said, let's not have bombing of dense civilian sites. That's where I am right now.


But every member has a slightly different perspective. And I --

COLLINS: But you are not close to calling for a ceasefire?

KHANNA: Not a full ceasefire, because I do think that there's still more to be done, to get the Hamas terrorists. But there needs to be, in my way, different techniques, to doing that.

COLLINS: Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you, for being here, on THE SOURCE, and being here on set, as well.

KHANNA: Thank you.

COLLINS: Appreciate you.

KHANNA: He has given his fellow Democrats, a lot of heartburn, over the years, most recently stalling President Biden's agenda but, at times, advancing it as well. Now, Senator Joe Manchin is giving Republicans a chance to flip his blue seat, in a deep red state, announcing he is not running for re-election.

We're going to ask Maryland governor, Wes Moore, what he thinks about that, also the future of his party. That's next.


COLLINS: Democrats, fresh off their election victories, this week, were hit with a surprise announcement, today. Maybe not so surprising if everyone's been reading the tea leaves. This comes from, one of their own, Senator Joe Manchin.


MANCHIN: I believe in my heart of hearts that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia. I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for re- election to the United States Senate.


COLLINS: Of course, Manchin has been a pivotal Senator, on Capitol Hill, in recent years. From infrastructure to green energy, he put up roadblocks, to the agenda that President Biden was hoping to put in place, when he took office.


But before the Left could even savor in those wins, they saw, this week, from Virginia, Kentucky, another victory on abortion rights, now tonight, they are questioning what does this mean for the Senate majority? And is there potentially more trouble ahead, for President Biden and his re-election campaign?

I'm joined now, by the Democratic governor of Maryland, Wes Moore.

Governor, welcome to THE SOURCE, so glad to have you on.

I want to ask you about your State.

GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): Thank you.

COLLINS: But first, given this major news, today, are you concerned that this could mean that Democrats lose the Senate and, at the same time, potentially complicate President Biden's re-election?

MOORE: No, I mean, I, to be very honest, even had Senator Manchin decided he's going to run for re-election, it still would have been a difficult -- a difficulty to hold on to. So, I don't think that his decision, not to run, is a terrible surprise. And I'm not sure how much, that it really impacts a measure of math.

But one thing that I do know is I still feel very -- very, very confident that it's going to take work. But I feel very confident, in the President's re-election prospects.

I think about what happened in 2020, what happened in the offset goal of 2021. I think about what happened in our year in 2022. And then, we saw what happened, on Tuesday. One thing that has not happened, to Joe Biden, since 2020, is he hasn't lost on any of these election cycles.

And so, we know we have a lot of work to get done. We know there's a lot of things that we are going to have to push forward. And I know how aggressive I'm going to be campaigning, for the President, going forward next year.

But I also know that I have a real deal of confidence that the work that President Biden has done, and the results that he has shown, that the people are going to give him another four years.

COLLINS: Yes. And you are certainly someone who advocated for him, to run for re-election. He has faced a series of polls, this week, ones that he certainly doesn't like, he was talking about them tonight, at a fundraiser, from the New York Times, and from CNN.

He was asked about those numbers today. This is what he told reporters.


REPORTER: Why do you think it is you're trailing Trump in all these swing state polls?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You don't read the polls. Ten polls. Eight of them I'm beating him in those states.

REPORTER: You don't think you're trailing in battleground states?

BIDEN: No, I don't.


COLLINS: He doesn't think he's losing in the battleground States. It's a little bit hard to hear, over Marine One there, for people, who are wondering what that noise was.

But when you just mentioned the work that he needs to do, what does that need to look like, over the next year, to change those numbers?

MOORE: Well, I think, we just have to clearly articulate to people, what's happening, and the role that the President is playing in it.

I think about, in our own State. Since I've been the Governor of Maryland, I've announced the creation of over 31,000 new jobs, in the State of Maryland. I've announced that we're now putting together a Red Line, the first time a generational investment, when it comes to East-West transit, within the Baltimore region.

We've announced that we're putting over $267 million that's going towards broadband expansion, and making sure that everyone in the State of Maryland, by the end of my first term, should be wired, with affordable and accessible broadband. I think about the roads and bridges that we've gotten done.

The thing that I know is this, is that if it weren't for President Biden, and the Biden-Harris administration, none of those things will be possible, that the -- what people are going to see is the work that's happening, the infrastructure builds that are taking place. The fact that, Maryland right now, has the lowest unemployment rate, in the entire country, and we still raised minimum wages, to $15 an hour, and gave our State workers a bump? That we're making choices --

COLLINS: Why do you think we don't see that reflected in the polls?

MOORE: Well, I think we all have to collectively make sure that we are aggressively -- aggressively and assertively showing that the work that's happening, right now, in people's communities, that people are excited about, that that's a partnership with the White House.

And I think as people continue to see that and see just how impactful President Biden has been, he will -- we will make sure, and the people will make sure, that he gets another four years.

COLLINS: And the other thing, that we saw, on Tuesday, and it was just what a powerful issue, abortion is, for your party, still. I mean, it caused voters in Ohio, a deeply red state, to vote to guarantee the right to one. Do you still think that'll be a powerful issue, for Democrats, in 2024?

MOORE: Well, I think it's an important issue that we continue to be full-throated about. I look at in Maryland, just in my time, as governor, we not only passed laws that strengthened privacy that strengthened protections for both patients and providers.

But next year, on the ballot, in the State of Maryland, we have abortion rights are on the ballot, where we're going to make it part of our Constitution. Maryland needs -- Maryland will be a safe haven for abortion rights.

And I think that what we're continuing to see, is all these other States, and these some of these other governors that continue to push back against it, and somehow think that them, as governors, should have a say, as to what should just be a conversation, between a woman and her doctor? That they'll continue getting pushback from people that that's not where people are.

COLLINS: Yes. It did not work for Governor Glenn Youngkin, in Virginia. The other bad news that he got this week was that --

MOORE: Did not.


COLLINS: -- the new FBI headquarters? There was a battle for it to either be in Virginia or Maryland. It is now going to be in Maryland, they have an announced.


COLLINS: But there are some questions, tonight, about this. I mean we're hearing from the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, who is questioning whether or not there was a conflict of interest, in how Maryland was chosen.

Do you believe that this was a transparent process?

MOORE: This has been an over a decade-long process that GSA has conducted. It has been thorough. It has been transparent. The GSA has been very clear that there were five criteria that they were going to make this decision, based off of. And they showed the data. They showed their receipts.

And the five criteria was what's going to be the most cost effective thing for the taxpayer? Are there transportation assets that are already built out? We need a site that is actually built, ready right now. We need to make sure that equity, and what does it mean to have a context and a lens of equity into decision that's made, and proximity to Quantico, proximity to a training facility. Those were the five criteria.

And here's what GSA proved. That of the five criteria, Maryland won on four of them. The only one that Maryland did not win on was proximity to Quantico, which was impossible, because Quantico is in Virginia. That's the only category that they won on.

And so this, I think that the GSA has been going through this process, for over a decade. I was very clear this was going to be a core priority, for our administration, as we came on board. And I'm so thankful for the work that Maryland did, in unity, with our congressional delegation, to be able to make sure that the FBI building, rightfully should be in the State of Maryland.

COLLINS: So, you don't -- just quickly, you don't have any concerns. You believe it, yes, it will be built in Maryland, ultimately?

MOORE: The new FBI building will be in the State of Maryland. Yes.

COLLINS: Maryland governor, Wes Moore, thank you, for joining us, for your first time, on THE SOURCE. We'll hope to see you back soon.

MOORE: Absolutely. Thank you.

COLLINS: And with Senator Manchin hanging up his hat, Democrats need a strategy, to hang on to their majority, in the Senate. Big questions for that. Also, a question about whether or not President Biden needs help, fending off a potential third-party run, from the Senator from West Virginia.

We'll talk to a former Democratic senator, also from a very red state, maybe my home state. That's next.



COLLINS: Someone else may be getting in, on the 2024 race, for the White House. We don't know yet. But it's certainly put out there.

Because to many, in his party's alarm, Senator Manchin did confirm, today that not only is he not running for re-election, he's going to continue exploring that idea that has been out there, a potential third-party bid, for the presidency, as he announced that he is no longer going to be a member of the Senate. He says he'll travel the country to see, quote, if there is an interest, in creating a movement, to mobilize to the middle.

Remember, of course, he left the door open, to running for president, when he was on this show, last.


MANCHIN: I haven't made any decision, nor will I make a decision, until the end of the year. And my reason for that, I've never seen a place in the world that basically, the next election starts, the day after the last election. I've got a lot of work to do, for my State of West Virginia, which I love dearly.


COLLINS: Speaking of States that we love dearly, former senator for Alabama, Democrat, Doug Jones, is here with me.

Senator, what was your reaction, to Senator Manchin's news today?

DOUG JONES, FORMER U.S. SENATOR (D-AL): Kaitlan, I was disappointed, not surprised, but I was disappointed. I think Joe Manchin was the only Democrat. He could really take that seat, in West Virginia. And I've always believed he could take that seat. So, but I was not surprised.

This is going to be a tough race. He always knew it was going to be a tough race. And he's always put the people of West Virginia first. And I think he's done an amazing job, for those folks. So, we'll see where he goes from here.

COLLINS: How much are Senate Democrats? Senator Schumer scrambling, tonight, though, because he was basically the only person, who could hold that seat, and have a Democrat hold that seat?

JONES: Look, I think that Democrats have been looking at this possibility, for some time. I don't think it was a bombshell. I don't think that they're scrambling.

That they have a map, and they're looking at that map. And they've got some incredible incumbents that they're willing to hold. That's first and foremost, to hold those incumbents.

But they're looking to expand them out. They're looking at Texas. They're looking at Florida. Those will be tough races to try to unseat incumbent Republicans. But it's not impossible. We have seen things happen before.

So, I don't think anybody's scrambling. I think they're just going to double down on their efforts, especially to protect their incumbents that they've got that are going to be in tough races.

But the elections, this week, and the elections in 2022, I think, give everybody hope that the Senate will remain in control of the Democrats.

COLLINS: So, what did you make of the other part of Senator Manchin's statement? Not that he was not running. But that he was going to be out in the country, seeing if there is a force to mobilize, to the middle, as he put it?

JONES: Yes, well, Joe has been pretty coy about all of that for the last year. So, at the end of the day, I hope he doesn't even think twice, about trying to run as an independent, or on the No Labels ticket, because they can't win. The numbers are just not there.

You can get out, and you can try to mobilize, and you can get people talking in the middle. But the middle is going to be in the Democratic Party. It is certainly not going to be in the Republican Party.

But look, what's happened. Look at the elections just the other night, with Andy Beshear, in Kentucky. Look what happened in Virginia. Those are middle-of-the-road voters. That's where the Democratic Party is. Maybe a little center-left for sure, and we've got certainly people in the far-left in our party.

But you know if he wants to really have an effect, he could help Democrats, across this country, bring the moderates, back into the fold, and do some things. At the end of the day, Joe Manchin doesn't want to lose.

And I think that at the end of the day, when you look at the numbers, there is just no way an independent or a third-party candidate can win, in this country, especially in the polarized nature that we've got, right now.

COLLINS: And you think it helps --

JONES: And it --

COLLINS: -- it would help Trump?

JONES: I'm sorry?

COLLINS: You think it would help Trump?

JONES: Oh, yes, that's what I was about to say. That I was about to say.

The only thing that No Labels or these third parties could do with a moderate kind of so-called Unity ticket, which is really impossible? Think about how a so-called Unity ticket might govern. The last time that happened was, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. We see how that worked out.


So, I think, it will, there's no question it will help, put Donald Trump in the White House. Back in the White House. And I don't think Joe Manchin, I don't think Larry Hogan, I don't think others, really want that to happen. And when they start looking at these numbers, that's what they're going to see.

And the more people get in the race, the more independents, the more third-party candidates, the more likely that Donald Trump will be re- elected. And that's going to be bad for democracy. It's going to be bad for this country.

COLLINS: Yes. And it was a notable statement, from the White House that we saw as well, from President Biden, on Manchin's announcement, tying him to a lot of the achievements that the White House often touts.

Former senator, Doug Jones, as always, thank you so much.

JONES: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Coming up, we're going to check on what is happening in Israel. You heard us speaking, with the Congressman earlier. But also, there is desperation, outright in Gaza. And now, we have firsthand accounts, from civilians, who are fleeing that warzone.


"NASMA," PALESTINIAN IN GAZA: You literally can't find anything that's edible in any supermarket. And it's really hard, like really, really hard.




COLLINS: Tonight, Israeli officials say that 80,000 Palestinians have flood, into southern Gaza, through an evacuation corridor, today, as Israel is intensifying its offensive, against Hamas, in the north of Gaza. One civilian telling CNN, quote, "Nothing is left." Southern Gaza, however, has not been promising to be much better, tonight.

We are getting firsthand accounts, from Palestinian civilians, their messages received and shared by the humanitarian group, Mercy Corps.

One woman is describing it, saying, quote, "At night, we try to guess which room is the safest. My mom insists on sleeping with us, even though it is very crowded, so that if we die at night, at least we will die together... We rarely sleep. Somehow we quiet our minds long enough to doze off; the explosions wake us up ... We count the minutes to see the light and know that we made it to see another day."

Another Palestinian woman sent this voice memo.


"JAMEELA," PALESTINIAN IN GAZA: What you guys are seeing on social media and on TV is actually 2 percent of the reality. So Know that we are dying here. If we are not dead physically, we are dead inside.


COLLINS: Joining me now is Kate Phillips-Barrasso, the Vice President in Global Policy & Advocacy for Mercy Corps.

Kate, I'm so glad that you're here.

I mean, just to hear that saying that we're only seeing 2 percent of this? I know you have team members on the ground, in Gaza, who are sending in these firsthand accounts. What are you hearing?

KATE PHILLIPS-BARRASSO, GLOBAL VP OF POLICY & ADVOCACY, MERCY CORPS: Yes, we do have 70 staff, inside Gaza. And the situation that my colleagues are facing there is unfathomable.

As you heard, in those audio clips, they are facing everything, from fear, of being hit by aerial bombardment, to extreme situations, in trying to procure water, and food, which is dwindling down to almost nothing, to facing medical situations.

One of my colleagues has an epileptic brother, and he only has eight days of pills left. And they're rationing those, because they just don't know where this is all going to end.

So, what I can say is, they have all been displaced, all 70 of them. Several of them have had immediate family members killed. And some of them have been injured. So, it's an extremely difficult situation to hear about. And we fear for the worst, for our colleagues, and Gaza.

COLLINS: And I know you've even had trouble staying in touch with them as well.

PHILLIPS-BARRASSO: That's correct. What is really difficult, in the situation, of Gaza, is everything there comes from the outside, including water, food, and also connectivity, electricity --


PHILLIPS-BARRASSO: -- and internet service. So, as those things have been actively cut off, to civilians, in Gaza, it's very difficult, for them, to communicate, with the outside world. It's difficult to charge your phone. It's difficult to have connectivity.


PHILLIPS-BARRASSO: And so, we try to check in on them every day. But we have recently started to lose track of some individuals, which is obviously really worrying.

COLLINS: Well, and for the safety, I know, of these workers, you've given them aliases. And you've been, when they do have service, they are able to send in accounts of just what life is like.

And one of these I just -- I want to -- I want everyone to listen to it. I think it's really important. This is from "Nasma," that's an alias, about how difficult it is to find food and water.


"NASMA": You literally can't find anything that's edible in any supermarket. And it's really hard, like really, really hard.

We don't have water. It's been really horrible.

For clean water -- drinkable water -- my cousin goes to wait in other long queues, to manage -- to find, to get clean water. And that line, like the line for water literally, this starts at 5 AM in the morning and stays up to 3 AM in the morning.


COLLINS: Just to hear someone describing, waiting nearly 24 hours in line, just to get clean drinking water?

PHILLIPS-BARRASSO: Yes, it's incredibly -- it's incredibly difficult, to be put in a situation like that.

And we actually recognize that when people are not able to get that clean water, they are starting to drink dirty water. None of the sanitation services are any longer running in Gaza. All of the pumps that desalinize the water, that usually is consumed there, are not running, because the fuel has run out.


And so, we really fear, in addition to spending the vast majority of the day, trying to find these things to survive, that people will resort to desperate measures. And, as a result, disease will spread, things like cholera. In overcrowded conditions, like we see, particularly in the south of Gaza, right now, that we might see a lot of health problems, developing in a place, where there are absolutely no medical services, currently.

COLLINS: It's just difficult to hear that. And I'm grateful, for your team, for sending that, to let people know, because it's important for people to hear that.

Kate Phillips-Barrasso, thank you, for your time, tonight.


COLLINS: And we'll be back in just a moment.


COLLINS: Former House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, unloading on fellow Republicans, Congressman Matt Gaetz, and Congresswoman Nancy Mace, those who voted to oust him from his job.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): People have to earn the right to be here. And I just think from -- I mean he'll admit to you personally, is he doesn't have a conservative bent in his philosophy. [22:00:00]

If you've watched her, just her philosophy, and the flip-flopping, yes, I don't believe she wins re-election.

I don't think she'll probably have earned the right to get re-elected.


COLLINS: In response to that, we heard from both lawmakers.

Congressman Gaetz, saying, quote, "Thoughts and prayers" as "he works through his grief."

Congresswoman Nancy Mace said we have "Moved on to a much better speaker who's honest and trustworthy."

Of course, that new Speaker, Speaker Mike Johnson dealing with a lot of the issues that Kevin McCarthy faced, as House Speaker. We'll see that on full display, in the coming days.

Meanwhile, thank you so much, for joining us.

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