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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
Trump Calls Political Opponents "Vermin"; Trump Backs Push For Cameras In D.C. Election Trial; Biden: Gaza Hospitals "Must Be Protected". Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 13, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: With the Supreme Court, there are no such mechanisms.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wow. Fascinating.
Joan Biskupic, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
BISKUPIC: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. I'll see you, tomorrow night.
The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
It's language that echoes that of Hitler and Mussolini. But tonight, Donald Trump's campaign is defending how he called his political opponents, "Vermin."
Plus, CNN is on the ground, inside Gaza, getting a firsthand look at the tunnels that are used by Hamas. As Israeli forces are closing in, President Biden says that hospitals, in Gaza, quote, "Must be protected."
And for the first time, in U.S. history, the U.S. Supreme Court has adopted a code of conduct, with one major question left unanswered. Who exactly will enforce it?
I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.
It is becoming clearer, by the day, what a second term, for Donald Trump, would center around. Revenge, or as he often puts it, retribution. He's spelling it out, clearly, for us, on camera, warning that it's his political opponents he says, who are the most dangerous threat (ph) Russia or North Korea, his opponents.
For someone, who has long used similar language, to authoritarians and fascists, this weekend, in New Hampshire, Trump took things a step further.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: We will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical-left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.
The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You can see there, Trump appears to be reading from the prompter, not ad-libbing those remarks, where he vowed to root out his political opponents, like vermin. He also posted the same language, on social media, making it clear, he meant it.
The Biden campaign says that the former President and potentially Biden's opponent, in 2024, is parroting the autocratic language, of Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini. I should note that Hitler's biographer once quoted the Nazi dictator as saying, "Should I not also have the right to eliminate millions of an inferior race that multiplies like vermin?"
One person, who isn't condemning Trump's words, the Chairwoman of the Republican Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, RNC: I am not going to talk about candidates that are in a contested primary.
I am not going to comment on candidates and their campaign messaging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: I should note, Trump's campaign is pushing back, on these comparisons, to Hitler and Mussolini, doubling down, saying that those remarks, "those who try to make that ridiculous assertion, are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything... their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House."
Spokesperson, who put that statement out, later clarified, and said that he meant to say, quote, "sad, miserable existence" instead of their "entire existence."
This isn't just language, by the way. There's been a ton of reporting about plans that are underway, for a second Trump term, including from The New York Times, which says tonight that Trump is plotting, mass detention and the deportation of undocumented immigrants, should he regain power.
Trump promised, last week, to conduct quote, "the largest domestic deportation operation in American history."
And not long ago, he said that undocumented immigrants were poisoning the blood of the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It is a very sad thing for our country. It's poisoning the blood of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: I'm joined now by Maggie Haberman, from The New York Times.
You've covered Donald Trump for a long time. You wrote a book on him. What did you make of the comments, in New Hampshire, on Saturday night?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What was striking to me was actually not him reading from the prompter, about enemies within, because he actually has said that before. But "Vermin" was new.
And the dehumanizing language that he is increasingly willing to use, "poisoning the blood of the country," I should note, also has echoes of fascists. And that is a new piece that he has added, to his repertoire, about immigrants.
So, I think the language, which has been, very, very, fascist- invoking, or at least echoes of fascists, in history, for a long time, has become much more dramatic, and much more severe, in recent weeks. And to your point, he's not hiding any of it.
What's striking to me too is when his campaign tries to insist, he's not really saying what he's saying. So, as you note, they push back on what he said. But they push back on it with a quote that, talks about crushing his opponents. And I can see where they think they're being clever, and that they're suggesting this as some kind of a liberal troll. That's not what they said.
COLLINS: Yes. They said crush "their entire existence" --
HABERMAN: Existence, exactly.
COLLINS: -- with Steven Cheung, the spokesperson later said, that's not what he meant to say. But it was something that he typed out --
HABERMAN: That is what he said.
COLLINS: -- and sent to reporters.
COLLINS: And it's something that Trump said, on camera.
When you talk about how the progression in Trump's language? Because he has long used language of authoritarians and fascists. Why do you think it's -- how is it -- why is it progressing the way that it is now? Why is he now saying, does he feel comfortable calling his political opponents "Vermin?"
HABERMAN: I think, for a couple of reasons. I think, number one, he truly does feel as if he has somehow been unleashed by the existence of these indictments against him. I think that he sees this as giving him free license, to say what he wants.
But this is, the Donald Trump who says things like this is the Donald Trump who has always been there. Now, that Donald Trump was much better at masking himself, behind a more socially-acceptable contemporary version, of a developer in New York, or a reality television star, or a media figure. But this is who he is.
And remember, things that we're seeing, like him threatening to go after political opponents, in terms of investigations, or whatever way he means it, when he gets back into office? This is something we've learned since that he did a lot more, when he was in office than people realized.
We know that there were efforts to investigate John Kerry. There were efforts to investigate Hillary Clinton. There were all kinds of efforts to go after people. He also talked about a special counsel, against Hillary Clinton, in 2016. This is who he is.
COLLINS: And now, he though wants to investigate the people, who worked for him. People like John Kelly and Jim Mattis.
HABERMAN: Yes, right.
COLLINS: And when we look at the General Milley, who just left the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
I mean, he wants to go after people that actually worked for him.
HABERMAN: I don't have -- I personally don't have reporting on that. But that having been said, one of the things about Donald Trump is that he never rules out anything, you know this as well as anybody, which means that everything is on the table.
And then, his folks say, well, it doesn't -- "He didn't really say it. Someone else said it." If he doesn't -- if he isn't open to these ideas, then he is perfectly capable of saying that.
COLLINS: And I think that, this is not just theoretical. You've done a lot of the reporting on about what a second Trump term would look like. And the latest one was on what his immigration plans would be. Obviously, that was one of his biggest issues that he rode into Office on, in 2016. What would that look like, if he were reelected, based on what you've heard?
HABERMAN: Yes. So, a couple of things.
He, as you noted, has been pretty direct about that. He said in his speech that he wanted to conduct the largest deportation -- mass deportation operation, in the country that the country has seen, and that he's using an Eisenhower era model, with a racist name "Operation Wetback," as what he wanted to, had in mind.
COLLINS: Which was actually the name of an immigration program under Eisenhower. HABERMAN: Yes, that was the name of the immigration program, under Eisenhower. That is what he wants to emulate here, or something with that in mind.
And when we approached? Charlie Savage, Jonathan Swan, and I approached the Trump campaign, about Trump's immigration plan? They referred us to Stephen Miller, who is not formally advising the Campaign, but as you know, as well as I do, is quite close to Trump, was the architect of his immigration policy, in the White House, and is now working on finding lawyers, for a future Republican administration.
And so, they laid out, and various people we spoke to, laid out a very detailed plan that would involve camps, on massive open land, to enable this expedited removal and mass deportation.
They talk about invoking all kinds of different laws that would enable them, to get around existing systems. They talk about reestablishing Title 42, which was used, during COVID, as a protocol, and which was initially kept in place, by President Biden, and this time for some kind of general illness. And so, it's very specific.
And this is something that, those of us, who have seen Stephen Miller around, a long time, this is something Stephen Miller is pretty passionate about. Donald Trump kicked off his campaign, with demagoguery, and demagoguing immigrants, and talking about Mexicans as rapists. So, none of this is hugely surprising.
COLLINS: OK. But, so I was reading this story yesterday, in The New York Times. Stephen Miller is on the record with you.
COLLINS: You noted in the story that the Trump campaign referred you to Stephen Miller.
COLLINS: So, how do we explain this statement, tonight, that we're getting from the two people, who are running Trump's campaign --
COLLINS: -- saying that all of these stories, about what a second term would look like, they say, "are purely speculative and theoretical," and that "any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions."
HABERMAN: So, we get to that by the basic fact that they are very upset, by our stories, by others, and a number of outlets.
And we've been working on these stories, since June, about what Trump 2025 would look like, that invoke these groups, but not only these groups. And that they have sort of lost, in their minds, control of it, and they are angry at seeing groups get credit, for things, and thesis that they're working on and so forth. But, to your point, a lot of this is not just Trump's own mouth, but people who the Trump campaign is referring reporters to. So, this is what --
COLLINS: So, why are they putting out this statement, tonight?
HABERMAN: Well, I assume because I think they think that what Trump is actually saying is problematic for him, in a general election, which seems more like a them-problem than the things-we're-writing-about problem.
COLLINS: Can I just -- I want to read one line that stood out to me, from your piece, on immigration.
You said that part of what their plan for is for "U.S. consular officials abroad will be directed to expand ideological screening of visa applicants to block people" that "the Trump administration considers to have undesirable attitudes?"
HABERMAN: I mean, look, they are planning for, at least as they describe it, whether this would be doable or not, and how much -- we note all of this is going to get challenged, legally, particularly birthright citizenship, and attempts to end it.
But yes, they are going to try to impose a broader ideological screen, to try to weed people out. Whether they will be able to successfully do that or not, I don't know. But they are saying that. And this is being discussed, at a time, when there are obviously mass protests, about global events, so.
COLLINS: And, I mean, the staffing of a Trump term? I think, what's important for people to remember, when you talked about how there was so many more things that he tried to do that he didn't do? That's because there were people like General Kelly, like Mark Esper, others, who kind of basically stood in the way, maybe not enough for some people, but they did block some of the things that he wanted to do.
HABERMAN: Well, and at the time, and you know this as well as anybody, Trump is very, very responsive, and reactive, to media coverage.
So for instance, when they were doing the family separation policy, which they will not say, what's going to happen with that, Trump noted with you, at the Town Hall that that's, you know, he would not rule that out. But he was very reactive to the negative coverage of it. And that was used to push him away from it, in 2018. And that worked.
I don't know that he will be as responsive, to headlines, as he once was, just because of everything else, engulfing him.
COLLINS: Maggie Haberman, great reporting. Thank you.
HABERMAN: Thank you.
COLLINS: Up next, we have a firsthand look, at the widespread destruction, on the ground, in Gaza. CNN's Nic Robertson says in has 30 years of war reporting, he has never seen anything like it. We'll show you it, next.
COLLINS: Tonight, CNN has an exclusive look, on the ground, inside of Gaza.
My colleague, Nic Robertson, embedded with Israeli Defense Forces, as they conducted an operation, against Hamas, next to a hospital, in Gaza City.
CNN reported from Gaza under the IDF's escort at all times. I should note, CNN did not submit its script, or footage, to the IDF, and has retained complete editorial control, over the final report.
This is from Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Driving into Gaza, with the Israeli forces, it's a warzone. The conditions of our access, only show officers, no faces of soldiers, and don't show sensitive equipment.
We are passing mile after mile of destruction, buildings blown, collapsed, nothing untouched by the fury of Israel's hunt, for Hamas. Streets here, crushed back to sand.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Shops, everything that we see, no sign of any civilians here. And the soldiers have been telling us that even inside the stores, they've been fighting things like rocket-propelled grenades, ready to use against them, as they were advancing, through this area.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): A few miles in, we pull up, at a command post, soldiers living in blown apartment buildings.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Every building I'm looking at here, wherever you turn, is destroyed, and shot up. Hard to imagine how civilians endured the bombardment here.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Our next journey much deeper into Gaza. And it's about to get dangerous.
ROBERTSON (on camera): The troops are going in, in the jeeps. But this is what we're going to travel in, this armored vehicle here.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): We arrive 100 meters from a battle with Hamas.
Tanks blasting targets in nearby buildings.
The IDF's top spokesperson waiting for us.
DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES REAR ADMIRAL: We're now conducting an operation, inside Gaza, next to Rantisi hospital.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israel is facing massive international pressure, over the destruction of homes, the shockingly high civilian death toll and, in the last few days, over its apparently heavy-handed tactics, at hospitals.
HAGARI: We are searching the tunnel, with the bulldozers, to reveal the tunnels that we suspect that's underneath the hospital.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hagari has brought us here, to show the connection, he says, exists between Hamas, and the Rantisi Children's Hospital.
HAGARI: We're now here in an area, between a hospital, a school and a terrorist house.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): A Hamas commander, he says, live there. He points out the solar panels, on the roof.
HAGARI: This is a tunnel that was sliding, like this, the floor. You can see here.
ROBERTSON (on camera): This is the ladder going down there.
HAGARI: You see the ladder going down. Yes?
ROBERTSON (on camera): I see the ladder going down, yes.
HAGARI: OK. This is a 20-meter tunnel. And look at here. Look at the -- look at the -- look at the panel. Be careful here.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Yes.
HAGARI: But look down here.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Cables.
HAGARI: Cables are going down to the tunnel, OK?
ROBERTSON (on camera): So, they're hardwired into the tunnel.
HAGARI: For one, I wanted to show you, the solar panels, on the terrace house, provide electricity, directly to the tunnel.
ROBERTSON (on camera): True.
HAGARI: We've entered -- we've entered a robot, inside the tunnel. And the robot saw a massive door, a door that is on the direction of the hospital.
ROBERTSON (on camera): We're in what is an active fire zone, here. You can hear the small arms fire, the IDF say they're still clearing this area out. They're getting fire (ph) here, just take a little bit of cover, because they said we're still taking fire.
But over here, we were able to smell, what smelled like rotting flesh, bodies perhaps, buried underneath the rubble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no.
ROBERTSON (on camera): No, don't go up, hey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Don't expose yourself.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we move off to the hospital, 100 meters away, we're still taking fire.
HAGARI: We're still conducting an operation, operation conducted by our special unit. The Israeli Navy SEALs are researching the hospitals.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hagari later tells us he took a big risk, bringing us into such a combat zone. It is clear he wants this story told.
HAGARI: We're searching here to see the connection of the tunnel to the hospital, OK? Don't fall here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won't.
HAGARI: We're searching.
ROBERTSON (on camera): So, they search where the connection?
HAGARI: We are looking for the connection.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we finally reached the hospital, it is already getting dark. A huge hole has been blasted, through the walls, into the basement.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Why is the hospital so damaged?
HAGARI: We'll talk about -- why is the hospital so damaged?
ROBERTSON (on camera): So damaged, like this?
HAGARI: I'll explain. You have to push (ph) it.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Yes. Yes. Yes, yes it is.
HAGARI: We came to this hospital five days ago. There were still patients inside the hospital. We did not enter into the hospital.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): He claimed since then, all patients were evacuated, by hospital staff.
HAGARI: We assist this evacuation, of course, to make it a safe pass, for all the patients, in the hospital. We do not know that the hospital is entirely clear. We do not know. We only entered to this area, which was -- which was suspected, because we're being fired.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hagari leads us through a warren of basement corridors, to this room.
HAGARI: This was the armory, OK?
ROBERTSON (on camera): This was the Hamas armory?
ROBERTSON (voice-over): He shows us a few rusting guns, and some explosives, says he can show us evidence, they found a lot more.
But this is what they made safe for our visit. These guns alone have potentially huge implications, for Gaza's hospitals, and Israel's apparent push, to take control of them.
ROBERTSON (on camera): The International Committee for the Red Cross say that hospitals are given special protection, under international humanitarian law, in a time of war. But if militants store weapons there, or use them as a base of fire, then that protection falls away.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): In other rooms, he shows us a motorbike, with a bullet hole in it that he suspects was used by Hamas attackers, October 7th, and nearby possible evidence, hostages could have been held here.
HAGARI: We are now in the basement, in the same area yard from the motorcycle. We see here a chair. We see here a rope. We see here a woman's clothes, or a woman's -- something covering woman. This --
ROBERTSON (on camera): Do you think a woman was tied up in this chair?
HAGARI: This is an assumption, going to be checked by DNA.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): More evidence Hagari says points towards Hamas, and possible hostage presence below the hospital.
HAGARI: This is a guarding list. Every terrorist has his own shift.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): In this room, he says, a guard list that begins October 7th ends November 3rd, not long before the hospital was evacuated.
And on the other side of the room?
ROBERTSON (on camera): This is a knife, right?
HAGARI: Yes, actually, I haven't seen it until now.
ROBERTSON (on camera): What does it tell you?
HAGARI: I don't want -- I don't want to think about it. But -- but Israel does not make assumptions. A forensic team will come here, and check the evidence. I think there is no other answer.
ROBERTSON (on camera): You see -- yes.
HAGARI: By holding hostages here in this room.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Yes.
And by bringing us here to this hospital, and showing us the connection that you believe exists, between the terrorists and the possibly hostages, what does it say about the other hospitals, here in Gaza?
HAGARI: We ask them to evacuate, or we assist or help, because he asked us, the pediatric, the babies, to take them out. We offered our help. We even brought incubators, to who will take them, the Red Cross, Egypt, whoever will take them.
But cynically, Shifa Hospital is known, by fact, by intelligence, to be a terrorist hub. And also, it's suspicious also in holding hostages. This is the best shelter, for the terror war machine of Hamas.
ROBERTSON (on camera): But the hospital authorities said they have no knowledge of Hamas, or other groups, inside the hospitals. Is that possible?
HAGARI: I think it's not possible, for an hospital to have this kind of an infrastructure, like we saw here, and to build this kind of an infrastructure, in a basement that was probably ready before, for getting hostages, after the 7th of October massacre. And we knew the terrorists were here. We knew.
ROBERTSON (on camera): How did you know?
HAGARI: We knew. By intelligence, as also we got some fire, from this area.
ROBERTSON (on camera): From this area, or this building?
HAGARI: From this area. And we were right to fire, because what we found, an armory. And if one of our guys would have died, from an explosive, or a grenade, it's horrible.
Hamas using this war machine of hospitals in a barbaric way. It's a war crime. It's an international crime. Not just as a war machine. But holding hostages, in a children hospital?
ROBERTSON (on camera): But so much damage all around here.
HAGARI: Yes, there is damage all around here, because Hamas made it impossible, for us, to fight him. He built all this infrastructure, in tunnels, and in hospital, around areas, populated.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): As we exit the hospital, it is already dark.
ROBERTSON (on camera): We're just getting ready to leave right now. The firefight's still going on, still intense, bullets fired, explosions going on up the street there. ROBERTSON (voice-over): This war and the controversies surrounding it far from resolved.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Gaza.
COLLINS: It is so rare, to get a look like that, inside of Gaza.
Nic Robertson, thank you for that. And we'll have more, on Israel's war, against Hamas, including an interview, with a top Israeli official, coming up.
But first, here in New York, he spent more than three hours, praising his father, as an artist, even made a joke about committing perjury. Donald Trump Jr. was back on the witness stand, today, in the New York civil fraud trial. We'll tell you what he said next.
COLLINS: Donald Trump Jr. was back in a New York City courtroom, today. This time, he was testifying, as the first witness, for his father's defense. He used his time, on the stand, to hype up his father's business acumen, calling the former President, quote, "an artist" and a "visionary" with real estate.
Of course, at the heart of this, the $250 million civil fraud trial is going to determine the future of his family's business, here in New York.
I'm joined now by former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig; and former Trump White House Communications Director, Alyssa Farah Griffin.
Elie, I mean, this is obviously the defense. So, it's not surprising. But, I mean, how does the judge take, him calling Trump Tower, genius, Mar-a-Lago, one of the few American castles that we have, how does that -- does that work with the judge?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: No, it's all irrelevant. This was a three-hour infomercial. I mean, I was actually surprised by the degree to which this was irrelevant.
The judge indulged him. The judge said, early on, when there was an objection, from the A.G.'s office, the judge said, "I'm just going to let him go. You had six weeks, A.G., to put on your case. Let him talk." But ultimately, it's up to the judge. The judge can filter.
If there was a jury there, by the way, I don't think Donald Trump Jr. would have been allowed to do one-tenth of what he did today.
COLLINS: Why not? HONIG: Because it's completely irrelevant, because it's just self- congratulatory. It's just glossy photos, and sort of, bowing down to the Majesty of the Trump Organization. It doesn't bear on the issues, in this case, the valuations, who was involved in preparing the financial statements?
So, if there was a jury, judge would have cut out most of that testimony. But I think his attitude was like, "Let him go. And we'll move on."
COLLINS: Well, and Donald Trump wasn't actually in the courtroom, today. He is expected to potentially be there, again soon.
But Alyssa, what did you glean from that, seeing how -- I mean, there's a reason he talked about it like that.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He certainly seemed to know that his father would be watching, or would be paying attention to the readout, from the courtroom. It felt like a performance, basically, to hype the business, and to hype his father.
And after he left the courtroom, he gave these remarks, where he essentially talked about Donald Trump is going to rebuild the New York skyline, as though for some reason, we don't have a New York skyline, right now.
It just underscores this -- this trial, in particular, has become basically a PR campaign, for the Trump team. They know that there's no winning, in any effective sense for them. So, it's really just about, "How can we look defiant, when we need to, look strong, when we need to, and convey ourselves as people who are being, unfairly subjected to a witch-hunt?" And that's what we saw again.
COLLINS: I also am curious what you made of something that we watched today. That's this video, parts of it had been released, of Jenna Ellis, a former Trump attorney, who just recently, of course, pleaded, took a guilty plea, in the State of Georgia, in that case.
She's on camera talking about what Dan Scavino, of course, a Trump -- close Trump ally, who ran his social media, had to say, about whether or not Trump could actually win the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: He said to me, in a kind of excited tone, 'Well, we don't care, and we're not going to leave.'
And I said, 'What do you mean?'
And he said 'Well, the boss,' meaning President Trump -- and everyone understood 'the boss,' that's what we all called him -- he said, 'The boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. We are just going to stay in power.'
(END VIDEO CLIP) FARAH GRIFFIN: A pretty remarkable statement, from Jenna Ellis, who's one of President Trump's chief attorneys, at that time. It nearly identically mirrors something that then White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, said to me on, I believe, is December 3rd of 2020.
I was in a meeting, another aide was present, in the Chief's office, when he said, I was saying that, I plan to resign the next day. And he said, "What if I told you we wouldn't be leaving office? We're not going to be leaving office." I shared that with federal investigators. I shared that with the Congressional investigation.
But it clearly shows Dan Scavino, yes, did run the Twitter account. He's also a White House Deputy Chief of Staff, at that time, and probably one of the closest allies of the President, somebody who sat right outside of his office, in the Oval -- right outside of the Oval Office. It shows that at these senior-most tier of the White House, there was a coordinated decision, to potentially try to not leave power. That's terrifying.
And, by the way, Jenna Ellis was a diehard loyalist, up until the point that her attorneys basically got to her, and said, "Ma'am, you've got to take a plea deal," because as recently as a few months ago, she was still rooting for Team Trump. She was still championing him. So, this is a remarkable revelation.
COLLINS: And then, he didn't pay her legal fees, which she also publicly was not happy about.
FARAH GRIFFIN: Yes.
COLLINS: Trump's counsel, in Georgia, Steve Sadow, said that that was absolutely meaningless, that quote from Jenna Ellis. Is it?
HONIG: No, I think it's meaningful. I actually think Jenna Ellis is emerging as a more promising potential witness, for prosecutors, than Sidney Powell, precisely for the reasons, Alyssa identifies.
Jenna Ellis, it seems, has made an actual break, from the Trump people. And during her plea, she said, "I at least now acknowledge that these lies we were spreading, about election fraud, were in fact lies."
Sidney Powell has done no such thing. Since she took her plea, Sidney Powell is back out there, spewing this election-lie garbage. And for that reason, I do not think Sidney Powell is at all a viable witness. I don't think there's any chance the D.A. or any prosecutor ever calls for Sidney Powell.
Jenna Ellis, though, could be a different story.
COLLINS: Do you think Trump will end up wishing he had paid for Jenna Ellis' legal fees?
HONIG: Could be. A lot of times the failure to pay legal fees is the straw that breaks a back, and sends someone over to the other side, yes. FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, and frankly, one of the very trivial reasons he didn't was that she'd come out and endorsed Ron DeSantis, in the primary.
So, she stayed very loyal to Donald Trump, continued to spout the election lies, but did ultimately say Ron DeSantis was the better choice, for the future. And it's believed by people, in Trump world, that's why he didn't offer to pay her legal bills.
COLLINS: You know what stood out to me is just being able to see that clip there, of Jenna Ellis, and what she said. Obviously, we know there's a lot more to come. That's in Georgia.
But there is an argument going on, right now, in the federal case, in Washington, with the Special Counsel, Jack Smith that about cameras, being inside the courtroom. And the Trump campaign arguing for it. They're arguing against it.
FARAH GRIFFIN: Yes.
COLLINS: It doesn't seem likely. But what do you make?
HONIG: No, there's almost no chance that we will see cameras inside the courtroom.
I'll make a confession. If you had asked me this, few years ago, when I was a prosecutor, I would have said, "Absolutely not. I don't want it. I don't want to encourage grandstanding."
Now, I feel 180 degrees different, partially because we're here now, working in media, but also because the Constitution ensures the right to a speedy, and public trial. And the fact that we're not using technology, to take advantage of that, I think, is a real miss.
I will say this. Trump is -- it's a smart move, tactically.
FARAH GRIFFIN: Yes.
HONIG: Because now Trump gets to say, "I wanted you, American people, to see this. And you know who didn't want you to see it? The Justice Department." It's a smart move for him.
COLLINS: Yes, they're saying that's because they believe the Trump team would make it look like a circus.
COLLINS: Elie Honig, Alyssa Farah Griffin, thank you both, as always.
Up next, we're going to speak with a Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu. His response, to what we heard, from the Oval Office, today, calls for hospitals, in Gaza, to be protected.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:40:06]
COLLINS: Tonight, CNN got an inside look, at a children's hospital, inside Gaza City, where the IDF found tunnels that it says Hamas has been using.
The IDF is also accusing Hamas, of having a command complex, beneath the Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest one inside of Gaza. The Medical Director there is describing catastrophic conditions that are happening, premature babies being wrapped in foil, placed next to hot water, just so they can stay warm.
As the fighting outside the hospital is intensifying, President Biden issued this message today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And it is my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospital.
The hospital must be protected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And joining me now is Mark Regev, Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, and a former Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Mr. Regev, thank you for being here.
President Biden just told reporters that he believes hospitals, in Gaza, must be protected. Is Israel preparing to strike the Al-Shifa Hospital, or to go inside of it?
AMB. MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No. Hospitals are protected sites. We don't target hospitals. And we don't target patients and doctors. That's obvious. That's part of our creed.
What is a situation, and what is a legitimate target, is the Hamas Military infrastructure, around and under the hospital. And we have to take them out, as surgically as we can, without causing damage, to the hospital, if at all possible, and to avoid harming the people inside.
COLLINS: OK. So, Israel will not strike the Al-Shifa Hospital. Is that correct?
REGEV: We won't target hospitals. We target Hamas.
COLLINS: What about the thousands of people that are sheltering around that hospital complex? I mean, you can see from the imagery that there are still civilians that are sheltering outside that hospital.
REGEV: Well the good thing is the overwhelming majority of civilians have heeded our advice, and have fled the area. We asked people, about a month ago, already, to start relocating to the south. And they have done so, in their hundreds of thousands.
The number of people left there is a very small group. And we will still, of course, distinguish between combatants, Hamas, who are our enemy, and we will target in between the innocent civilians, and make a maximum effort, as I said a moment ago, to be as surgical as is possible, in a very complex air combat situation.
COLLINS: The Prime Minister said that Israel offered this hospital, fuel. But what we are hearing from, from medical staff is that they're too scared, to basically go outside, to get it, because they're fearful that Israel will fire on them.
Are you guaranteeing that for people, who go outside, to get the fuel that they will be safe?
REGEV: 100 percent, we can guarantee that. I can't guarantee that Hamas won't fire upon them.
But from our point of view, we bought the fuel to about 200 -- 250 yards from the hospital. And we said, "Come and pick it up." Because this was enough fuel for generators, specifically, for the babies, who needed for the incubators, and we were trying to say, "Let's avoid a crisis inside the hospital."
We bought the fuel. But as far as we understand the fuel is still sitting outside the hospital. Hamas has forbidden hospital staff from going and picking it up.
COLLINS: Well some hospital staff had said it wasn't enough fuel that it would have only provided about half an hour's worth of power and electricity.
REGEV: Kaitlan, that's the -- the fuel was for the incubators, for the babies, and there's more than enough there. And if they run out, we'll supply more.
COLLINS: You mentioned those babies. There are premature babies, among other patients that are still at this hospital. You talked about these surgical operations, that Israel is going to be doing, around that hospital, given you believe Hamas is operating, from underneath it.
But before Israel does whatever it is going to do, around Al-Shifa Hospital, will it help facilitate the transfer, of those children, those preemie babies, and the other patients first?
REGEV: We've already said that we're willing to do so. We've said that we will facilitate the transfer of people, patients, and if they need to be in ambulances, they can be in ambulances.
But we have to understand what's going on here. This is a Hamas-made humanitarian crisis. Because we provided fuel for the incubators, for the babies, and we've suggested ambulances, and a way out to move people out. And then Hamas has said no, to any humanitarian solution. They close it off.
They want pictures that will put international pressure, on Israel, to cease our Military operation, against them. And from their point of view, they're trying to be smart, because we're hitting them hard. We're destroying their Military machine. They want us to stop.
And so, they're holding hostage, everyone in that hospital, preventing humanitarian assistance, preventing the fuel, preventing the relocation of people, in ambulances, just so they can try to galvanize international pressure, on Israel, to stop striking against their Military machine.
COLLINS: But is --
REGEV: And what they're doing of course --
COLLINS: Is Israel?
REGEV: -- is a war crime, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Is Israel willing -- how do you conduct your operation if there are still children inside that hospital, premature children, who right now are struggling to stay alive, based on the accounts that we've heard?
REGEV: So, I'm not sure what else we can do.
We provided fuel, for the incubators, so they could be safely inside the hospital, for the time being. And we've provided -- we're willing to facilitate the ambulances, to transfer them, out of the hospital, if they choose to leave, which is obviously the best solution.
And both of those ideas, Hamas has vetoed. And that is the problem.
COLLINS: But what if they're too sick to leave?
REGEV: There are solutions. But Hamas is deliberately putting babies, in danger, for their own propaganda purposes.
But Kaitlan, you shouldn't be surprised. How did they butcher Israeli babies, when they crossed the border, on October 7th? I saw pictures of Israeli babies burned to a cinder. I saw pictures of Israeli babies that were shot in their cots, with multiple bullet wounds, from machine gunfire, in their cots. And of course, you know that our babies were also kidnapped by Hamas. Who kidnaps babies? Who shoots babies?
So, we should have no qualms whatsoever, no problem understanding that Hamas is willing also to sacrifice Palestinian babies, for its crazy, radical extremist agenda.
COLLINS: I've seen that footage as well. And no one is defending Hamas here.
But my question is, what about the children, who are inside the Al- Shifa Hospital, right now? And will you guarantee their safety first, before Israel does whatever it is going to do, whatever operation you do have planned, around the Al-Shifa Hospital?
REGEV: We will make every effort. And in accordance to international law, we distinguish between combatants, that's the Hamas terrorists, who are our target, and non-combatants, who are civilians. And we will be as surgical, as it's humanly possible.
It's very difficult to admit that Kaitlan, because you've got a situation, where Hamas is deliberately abusing a humanitarian site, a site that is, according to all the wars of armed conflict, you're not supposed to put your arms, in a hospital. They're deliberately holding the patients there, the babies, the medical staff, as hostages, to protect their Military machine, which is right under the hospital. It's complex. It's difficult.
But if any finger of blame should be pointed, it must be at Hamas, that has deliberately abused the hospital, putting its Military machine deliberately. It's premeditated crime. They've deliberately built their Military machine, their command and control, their network of tunnels that lead to rocket-launching sites, and arms depots, and other underground fortresses. They've deliberately build all that under a hospital.
COLLINS: Ambassador Mark Regev, thank you so much, for your time, tonight.
REGEV: Thank you for having me.
COLLINS: Up next, here at home, the Supreme Court now has an ethics code, following months of revelations, about justices accepting lavish gifts, and big travel perks. The key question still is who will police this self-imposed code?
COLLINS: Tonight, the Supreme Court is putting new ethics rules, in place, after months of reports, about justices flying on private jets, vacationing on billionaires' yachts.
All nine justices have now signed on to a 14-page code of conduct, governing gifts, fundraising and also finances. Pressure had been building on them to do this, especially because of reports that Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, had failed to disclose luxury vacations that were paid for by the conservative billionaire, and donor, Harlan Crow.
But the new code of conduct leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
So hopefully, here to answer this is Supreme Court expert, and law professor at the University of Texas, Steve Vladeck.
Steve, so great to have you on this.
Is it clear to you, who is going to enforce this ethics code? PROF. STEVE VLADECK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, I think the only thing that's clear, Kaitlan is that the justices are expecting that they will enforce it themselves, which of course raises the time-old question, who watches the watchers?
And so, I think part of the issue with today's development is we have these rules that at least look somewhat reasonable, on paper. But part of the issue with the prior behavior, is rules that weren't followed.
How are we going to know, going forward, that these rules are being followed? What are the consequences going to be, if and when the justices don't follow them?
COLLINS: I mean, that's the, what's so murky about this. And when you look at this on the first page, they talk about the recent questionable behavior, from some of the justices.
I think the question that I have is if this code had been in place, 10 years ago, would we have known more about trips, like the ones that Justice Clarence Thomas took, in advance? Or would we still have had to learn about that from reporting, like we did?
VLADECK: I mean, I think part of the problem is that there's no mechanism, in these new rules, to find out what the justices have done, to publicize instances in which the justices cross the line, to make examples out of justices, even when the rules are clear, and they break them.
And so, Kaitlan, I think what this really does is this kicks the ball, almost squarely back to Congress, which even if it can't actually discipline, the justices directly, has lots of levers it can pull, to try to actually monitor compliance, with these rules, to push the court, to appoint someone, say, an Inspector General, who might monitor compliance with the rules, and then report to Congress, and to us, the public, when those rules are complied with.
But I think this is the point like this is a necessary step, on the justices' part. It is not remotely a sufficient one, because we still have this question, going forward, of how these rules are going to be enforced, and by whom.
COLLINS: Yes. It doesn't seem like it's going to do much, to bolster that public confidence that the Supreme Court is so clearly lacking now.
Steve Vladeck, a lot of questions going forward. But thank you for joining with what we do know, about this new ethics code.
VLADECK: Thank you.
COLLINS: Up next, a Secret Service agent, in Washington, firing his weapon, while protecting a member of the Biden family. The details of that ahead.
COLLINS: Tonight, we're learning more, about a shooting, over the weekend, that involved a Secret Service agent, who's assigned to protect President Biden's granddaughter, Naomi.
A spokesperson, for the Secret Service, says that this agent shot at possibly three people, who were trying to break into a parked government car, in Georgetown, in Washington, D.C.
I should note, no one was hit. There was no threat, according to the Secret Service, to any of those protectees, who have that security detail. But all of the suspects took off in a red car, and are still being searched for, tonight.
The incident is now under investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department, and its Internal Affairs Division.
I should note, all of this comes amid an uptick of crime, in the nation's capital. I lived there, for eight years. Right now, motor vehicle theft is up 98 percent, in just the last year alone. That's according to D.C. Police. We'll stay on top of that story, and continue to monitor it.
I want to thank you so much, for joining us, tonight.
"CNN NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP" starts right now.