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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Jury To Resume Deliberations On Giuliani Damages Tomorrow; House GOP Votes To Formalize Biden Impeachment Probe; Putin: Ukraine's "Freebies" From The West Are "Ending". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 14, 2023 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Check out this wild delay, for late-morning commuters, in New Jersey.

A bull, that's right, a bull got on the tracks, at Newark Penn Station. Trains to and from New York City were delayed, for 45 minutes, until it ran off the tracks. Police eventually corralled it in a fence. No official word where the bull came from. There are reports it could have escaped a Newark slaughterhouse, or en route to one.

In any case, the breakaway works. The bull has been moved to an animal sanctuary, to live out the rest of its days. They've named him "Ricardo." And we certainly wish him all the best.

That's it for us. The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. I'll see you, tomorrow.


It's the $48 million question that's about to be answered, for Rudy Giuliani, as a jury now deliberates the cost of his election lies.

Plus, CNN getting rare access, inside of Gaza, tonight, as Clarissa Ward will take us to the frontlines, of the humanitarian catastrophe, the horrors that she saw on the ground.

Also, Vladimir Putin taking questions, in his first extended news conference, since invading Ukraine, and evidently trying to put any rumors, about his body double to bed, using a deepfake to do so.

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

A verdict is expected very soon, in the defamation trial, against Rudy Giuliani. And his, own lawyer says that it could be quote, the "Civil equivalent of the death penalty."

The jury, made up of eight people of his peers, will resume deliberations, tomorrow morning, in Washington. And they will be the ones, to determine just how much Giuliani owes the two former Georgia election workers, for nearly destroying their lives, with conspiracies and flat-out lies.

Giuliani did not testify, today, after insisting that he would do so, backing out just at the last minute, with no real explanation about why.

He also apparently didn't pay very close attention to the closing arguments that were made, by the lawyer, representing Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the mother and daughter that a judge has already said he defamed. Instead, for more than an hour, Giuliani sat intently reading news stories, on his laptop, which was propped up, on the defense table.

The former election workers are each asking, for at least $24 million, in reputational damages, after they were falsely accused, of committing election fraud. Their lawyer said he'll leave it to the jury, to consider just how much Giuliani should be ordered to pay, for those damages.

That same jury heard gut-wrenching testimony, from both Freeman and Moss, and also these disturbing voicemails, from people, who threatened their lives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eat (bleep) and die, you (bleep) racist (bleep) -- You are (bleep) done you (bleep).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to jail, Ruby. You're going to get locked up, Ruby -- You're all going to (bleep) jail, you piece of (bleep).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey (bleep). I hope you like jail, because that's where you're going on your way to hell.


COLLINS: Yes, those are real voicemails that two women, who volunteered to be election workers, in 2020, got, simply for counting the votes.

Giuliani's lawyer, after the jury heard those voicemails, is asking the jury for mercy, asking them to remember his client, by his reputation, for more than 20 years ago, as the Mayor of New York City, as a former federal prosecutor. Of course, invoking that legacy could also remind the jury, he should have known better.

I want to break all of this down, as we wait for what the jury does decide, with Elie Honig, CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the very office that Rudy Giuliani led, decades ago.

And Andrew Kirtzman, who has covered Rudy Giuliani, extensively, for three decades. He's the Author of "Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America's Mayor," something we've obviously been following closely, on this show. Elie, what do you think, what do you make of Giuliani insisting all along that he was going to testify, and then just pulling out at the last minute?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well it's the smartest move he's made, in years. I mean, if he had taken the stand, imagine what a catastrophe that would have been? This man is a pathological liar. He can't help himself.

This case is really what happens when you combine vicious over-the-top defamation, against innocent victims, with the single worst legal strategy, ever devised by a human mind. I mean, let's go through the way Rudy, and his lawyer approached this case.

First, they agreed that they were liable, that Rudy was liable. They conceded, yes, what he did was defamatory.

Now, there may be a strategy there. If your strategy is "We're just going to try to minimize damages. We're going to go in there. Rudy is going to express remorse. He's going to say, 'I got caught up in something stupid. I didn't intend for my words to have this effect. I'm sorry,'" maybe you can minimize damages.


Instead, they go in, on this damages trial, and commit more defamation. They are just asking, for a massive verdict. And I think we're going to see that, tomorrow.

COLLINS: I mean, the closing argument itself was, I mean, really remarkable.

He was saying that Rudy Giuliani is a good man, talking about how he was -- you know, as you chartered -- covered his rise -- he said he hasn't exactly helped himself, with some of the things that have happened, in the last few days. I take it by that he means probably continuing to defame the women, outside of the court.

And he also said, talked about his age, and said that he's having a hard time, accepting the facts about this case.

ANDREW KIRTZMAN, AUTHOR, "GIULIANI: THE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF AMERICA'S MAYOR": I don't think he's having a hard time, accepting the facts.

I think that one of the things, maybe the, reason, I'm most fascinated by Giuliani, and spent three decades, covering him, is this sense of moral certitude that he's right, and you're wrong. And he's, you know, this is the reason. He almost became a priest. And he's always felt that he has kind of the corner on morality, right, even when he does terribly immoral things.

So, he's on the brink -- the brink of bankruptcy. He's been indicted. He's got 10 civil suits, against him. He's effectively been disbarred. He's been on a downward spiral. And he's almost hit rock-bottom, right now.

And there he was, the other night, outside, saying that he was right, and Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, actually were fixing the election. I mean, he's a remarkably arrogant person, who will go to his grave, believing "He was right. The election was stolen. Donald Trump was a victim."

COLLINS: I mean, but how does the jury listen to this, to what he's saying outside of court, but also to what they're saying in court, and saying, "Don't remember this Rudy Giuliani. Think of him after 9/11, and as the Mayor of New York," and all of these claims that they're making about what he was like then, saying, that's -- I mean, that's not what the jury is considering here?

HONIG: It's irrelevant. This isn't about is Rudy a good person, was he a good person, two decades ago? This is about what damage did Rudy Giuliani's defamation do, to Miss Moss and Miss Freeman.

And there's two aspects of this. And I think they're both going to come into play, tomorrow.

When the jury returns its verdict, there's going to be compensatory damages, meaning you have to repay these people, for the actual out- of-pocket damages they suffered, or economic opportunities they lost.

Then, there's what we call punitive damage, which is this case is why we have punitive damages, because it allows the jury, to send a message, to tell him, "What you did was so grotesque, so over-the-top that we need to punish you, deter you, and deter others."

I think we're going to see heavy numbers on both of those.

COLLINS: You think heavy numbers?

HONIG: I do.

COLLINS: I mean, we have talked extensively that he doesn't have the money to pay that.

KIRTZMAN: No, he's, this is a person, who used to own six homes, had 11 Country Club memberships. He capitalized on his 9/11 fame, and opened up a consulting firm that made $100 million, in five years. He flew on private jets.

I mean, this is a person, who was born lower middle-class in Brooklyn. His father was an enforcer, for a small-time criminal. He went to jail for robbing a milkman. And Giuliani then created astonishing wealth, became one of the most beloved people, on the planet. You know what -- where he is now is, is quite a fall from where he began.

COLLINS: But also -- go ahead, please.

HONIG: Well, I was just saying, if I can add to it? I never met the man. But as you said, I worked in the Southern District of New York, 20 or so years, after he was there. I started in 2004. When I started there, it was two-and-change years, after 9/11, he was a revered figure.


HONIG: I was proud to say I worked at the same office that Rudy Giuliani once led. And now, there's no other way to say, he's a disgrace to the legal profession. I don't know that I've ever seen a lawyer have such a great and drastic fall.

COLLINS: I mean, the judge for -- or the lawyer, for the two women, even quoted, what he was saying back then, in his book, "Leadership," and quoted a line, from dad saying, quote, never pick on somebody "Smaller than you." And just the irony--


COLLINS: --that Rudy Giuliani--


HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: --did precisely that with these two random women, who were just there, doing their jobs, and then were getting those hideous voicemails, they felt like they couldn't go to the grocery store.

KIRTZMAN: Right. I mean, he took on the most powerless, defenseless people, and completely destroyed their reputations.

Again, did he do it thinking that it was, in a cynical way, thinking he was doing something malevolent? No. He was -- he's kind of a martyr to the cause, right? Donald Trump was robbed of the election. And end justifies the means. And we are going to, like use these two women, to prove our case, the fairness and morality be damned.

HONIG: Yes, right. When we think about all the damage done by the lie, about election fraud, we tend to think about institutional damage, damage to our democracy, to our public faith. But there's human beings. I mean, Miss Freeman, and Miss Moss, their lives were torn apart.


HONIG: There's a real human cost to this.

COLLINS: How much do you think -- I mean, they're each asking for $24 million.



COLLINS: If they even get a quarter of that? Giuliani's lawyer said he couldn't pay them. But how much do you think that they'll actually get here?

Because what their attorney is arguing is "Send a message to the world, send a message to other people, who may try to do what Rudy Giuliani did, by rewarding -- or awarding them huge damages."

HONIG: I think they're going to get close to that top number that they're asking for that.

COLLINS: Really?

HONIG: Yes, I do. I think for that exact reason, I think there's going to be a message sent.

Now, Andrew knows a bit more about Rudy's actual finances. I don't think they're under any illusions. I don't think Miss Freeman and Miss Moss expect to get rich off this, because you can only get blood from a stone -- you can't get blood from a stone. And I don't think Rudy has that much liquid.

KIRTZMAN: No. I mean, he's being sued by his lawyer, because he can't afford his--

HONIG: Right.

KIRTZMAN: --his legal bills. Again, there are 10 civil suits against him. I mean, he's got to be headed towards bankruptcy, no matter what happens.

HONIG: Sure.

COLLINS: Well, and he's still facing the case in Georgia, where he's been indicted as well.

HONIG: Yes, right.

COLLINS: And I have to bring this up, because this was one of the most amazing things I saw, today.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that as we know, two of the other co-defendants here, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, took guilty pleas. And as a part of a condition for those guilty pleas, they were told to write apology letters, by the D.A.

We got to look at them today. They're each one sentence long.

And Sidney Powell has written on this line, notebook paper. She said, quote, "I apologize for my actions in connection with the events in Coffee County."

Chesebro wrote, "I apologize to the citizens of the State of Georgia and Fulton County for my involvement in count 15 of the indictment."

I mean, that reads like an apology that like when you're -- you hit your sibling or something, as a child, and your parents like "Apologize to your brother."

HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: And you're like "Sorry." You don't really--

HONIG: Sorry to your fall.

COLLINS: You don't really mean it.

HONIG: Yes. I mean, look, I'm going to take maybe a contrarian position on this.

They treated this like a joke, and they should have, because this is not a thing that real prosecutors do. You don't make people write apology letters. This isn't kindergarten. The way people accept responsibility is they go into court. They plead guilty. They get under oath. They admit to the judge what they did.

This is a stunt by the D.A., requiring these thank you -- these apology letters. And I almost applauded when I saw that they had treated it with disdain and sarcasm. I know, it's not the chorus of them to write these sort of sarcastic brush-off notes. But I think it's deserving of this whole stunt.


HONIG: By Fani Willis.

KIRTZMAN: -- posit one more serious thing--

HONIG: Sure.

KIRTZMAN: --which is that he will not admit any kind of guilt in this case, right? Isn't that kind of an answer to those who say, "Oh, eventually Giuliani will turn on Trump." I mean, I've never believed he would just because he's Rudy Giuliani. But I don't see him, maybe, in the threat of jail, maybe in the last--


KIRTZMAN: --the last second. But he's not the kind of guy who's ever going to go in front of a camera, or write the one sentence, saying "I was wrong."

HONIG: Rudy Giuliani has -- this fantasy that Rudy Giuliani is going to be a cooperating witness, against Donald Trump, will not happen. Because A, I don't know that Rudy will ever come clean. I will tell you no sane prosecutor would ever use Rudy Giuliani, as a witness, put him on a stand, and rely on him.

COLLINS: He has been trying to get Trump, to pay his legal bills, unsuccessfully.

KIRTZMAN: Unsuccessfully.

COLLINS: Andrew Kirtzman. Elie Honig.


COLLINS: "Unsuccessfully," being the key word there.

Thank you both. In Washington, today, you could smell the jet fumes, as House lawmakers were leaving town, for the long holiday recess, not before authorizing an impeachment inquiry, into President Biden.

We'll speak with a member of the House Oversight Committee, right after this.

Also, speaking of evidence, a follow-up, to our interview, Monday night, with Senator Ron Johnson.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): These folks did nothing different than what many Democrats have done in many states--

COLLINS: Which ones, sir?

JOHNSON: I didn't come prepared, to give you the exact states. But it's happened. It's happened repeatedly. It has happened repeatedly. Just go check the books.

COLLINS: Which books?




COLLINS: This week, House Republicans formalized their impeachment inquiry, into President Biden, once again putting the country on a road that was once rarely traveled, in our nation's history, but not anymore.

This all comes as a GOP investigation into Hunter Biden's business dealings has so far struggled, to bear any evidence of wrongdoing, by his father, President Biden.

The President's son, this week, did make his first public statement, since being criminally indicted, which has happened twice. He slammed Republicans, and staunchly defended his father.


HUNTER BIDEN, PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN'S SON, AMERICAN ATTORNEY AND BUSINESSMAN: My father was not financially involved in my business -- not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not in my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home nor abroad and certainly not as an artist.


COLLINS: Joining me, tonight, Republican congressman, Tim Burchett, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, which is leading the investigation, into President Biden.

Congressman, thanks for being here.

If this doesn't warrant any new substantial evidence, will you vote to impeach President Biden?

REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): Well I'd like to see all the evidence put forward to the country. There's $30 million that have flown through Hunter. And the indications are, what we've seen is that it was just Hunter was just selling influence. And it sure wasn't Hunter's influence. It was his daddy's influence.

And the question remains, though, was this all done while he was Vice President? Does that carry over, when he's President? And that's why there's an inquiry. We didn't move to an impeachment like they did Trump, just in a quick secret meeting, in the SCIF, and then bring it out to the floor kind of thing.

And the Speaker's catching a lot of grief. But the reality is Miss Collins that he is just following the rules. And these are the rules of Congress.


BURCHETT: And we're not going to -- we're not going to jump over anything. And we're going to bring all the evidence forward, and then allow Congress, and the American people, to make a decision.

COLLINS: You just mentioned the evidence that Republicans already have gotten.

I mean, using their subpoena power, they got 36,000 pages of bank records, 2,000 pages of the Suspicious Activity Reports from the Treasury Department, dozens of hours of testimony from people who used to work with Hunter Biden.

And still, Senator Chuck Grassley, who has been deeply involved in this, says he has seen no evidence of Joe Biden, being connected to his son's business dealings.

I mean, have you seen any evidence of that?


BURCHETT: Other than the raising $5 million from the Communist Chinese, do Hunter took a very circuitous route. You think that's a big word for somebody from East Tennessee to use. But in fact, he did take a circuitous route. Hunter Biden was involved in a $5 million transaction. It went to Hunter. It went to one of his 22 shell corporations.

COLLINS: But what does that have to do with President Biden?

BURCHETT: Well that's the circuitous route. He went to Joe -- he went to James Biden, President Biden's brother. And then, there's a $40,000 check to President Joe Biden. So, if -- the thing is, will this line up with all that? And that's the question. And I think that's why we're doing this route, instead of just-- COLLINS: But if you--

BURCHETT: --just running up to the hangman's noose.

COLLINS: If you don't see anything new--

BURCHETT: Go ahead. I'm sorry, ma'am.

COLLINS: --or substantial, than what we've seen, which so far, none of it has connected to President Biden himself, despite how it's kind of been fashioned, every time we've heard, from people, are you going to vote to impeach him, if nothing new comes out?

BURCHETT: Well, if it's $40,000 that flowed through a Communist Chinese, when President Biden said in fact, he was not involved with it? He said he never talked to him. And then we'd have testimony that there was.

We have a, you know, we've got the email from the bank saying, "Hey, we need to get out of business with these folks. They're not selling a product."

And of course, everybody says, "Well, what about Trump?" And you and I both know, Trump sold cheap steaks and crappy cards. He at least had a product.

And all Hunter Biden was selling was influence, and obviously, the Biden name.

And I think in testimony, if testimony does show that President Biden was involved in some sort of pay-to-play, or bribery type scheme, then yes, I will vote to impeach him. But if it does not show anything, then I won't. That's the bottom line.

COLLINS: It just, when we hear the complaints about influence peddling, I covered the Trump White House. I didn't hear a lot of complaints, from Republicans then, about his children, and what they were making, from their father being president.

But when it comes to President Biden himself, I mean, what are the specific crimes that Republicans are investigating Joe Biden for?

BURCHETT: Well, I'm glad you brought up his children, because, as you well know, they were subpoenaed, and showed up multiple times, in the SCIF, in a private deposition, which and public, which Hunter decided not to do. He said -- his last thing he said in his so-called interview out that Joe (ph) arranged for him that he said, "And I will answer all your questions." And then he did, just like his father did, he turned around and walked off, and got into his--

COLLINS: You know?

BURCHETT: --taxpayer-subsidized Suburban, and drove off.

COLLINS: You are unhappy about that, that statement that he came out, and gave yesterday. But his offer is to testify publicly. His argument is that if he does it behind closed doors, that Republicans will twist his words, or whatever he says.

I understand you don't like the prospect. You want him to come behind closed doors. But why not just have him testify publicly? Why not take him up on that offer, if you have the questions that you say you have?

BURCHETT: Yes. I don't have a problem with it. But you know, as well as I do, it'll just be time to showboat. And then, and that's what they did, during the Trump impeachment. They did it behind doors. And then, the Democrats walked right out and leaked everything that was said in the SCIF.

And that's why you do it in a secure environment. The SCIF, you can't even take -- you can't even take your cell phone in there. It's just a constant.

COLLINS: But you would be fine with him--

BURCHETT: They control the narrative.

COLLINS: --testifying publicly, you're saying?

BURCHETT: I don't -- I don't care. I don't care where he does. But I'd like to ask him, I like him to answer some questions, because he's either going to have to tell the truth, or he's going to have to plead the Fifth. And that's all he can do. If he lies, he's gone.

But if you look at all the -- there's two other folks, in the Trump administration that refused to testify, and they were held in contempt of Congress. And yet, you're not seeing that on -- with him at all. And so, I would hope that he's held up--


BURCHETT: --to the same standard as everybody else is.

COLLINS: There were a lot of Republican colleagues, you have your Republican colleagues, who also were subpoenaed, and did not respond to those subpoenas. So, I think that's why there's questions about how much credibility they have.

BURCHETT: Well that was in a special -- that was in a special committee, the January 6 committee. And, as you remember, Nancy Pelosi wanted to select the Republicans. And she did. She wouldn't allow Jim Jordan to be on that committee.

COLLINS: Well these are people, who were--

BURCHETT: And so, that--

COLLINS: --talking to President Trump, on January 6th. And I think there were questions about whether or not they could investigate something that they were deeply involved in. But I do want to ask you. Because from your committee, we last saw the first impeachment hearing, back in September. It was very chaotic, that even Republican witnesses, who were there, said they had not seen any direct evidence, or firsthand evidence, of wrongdoing by President Biden.

There hasn't been one since. Do you all have one planned? Is there going to be another?

BURCHETT: I don't know. That's up to Chairman Comer, and of course, Chairman Jordan.

But if you remember, it started off as every couple of months, something came out. And then, it became every couple of weeks. Then it just became about every couple of days. That was the latest with the $5 million with the Communist Chinese.

And you'd have to remember, Joe Biden said "My son's not involved in any business with the Chinese," when in fact, there was a $5 million transfer--


COLLINS: But is that what you're going to impeach him over?

BURCHETT: --went on and that's it.

COLLINS: Saying his son wasn't involved in something?

BURCHETT: Well not at being lied, obviously.

COLLINS: And he did?

BURCHETT: Obviously, to be in Washington, it's almost a prerequisite now to lie, in either party. But if we found out that there was in fact influence, through the Communist Chinese, to President Joe Biden, then yes, ma'am, we should.

China is an enemy of this country, and we better start admitting that, and taking full awareness of their capabilities, because they are in every aspect of our lives, right now.

COLLINS: We have seen no evidence of that. We'll see if this enquiry turns that up.

BURCHETT: Well that's what the enquiry is all about.

COLLINS: Nothing so far.

BURCHETT: That is what the enquiry is all about--

COLLINS: I mean, there has been a lot of evidence collected so far, as I just laid out.

BURCHETT: --Miss Collins.

COLLINS: And still, nothing tying it directly to President Biden.

We'll obviously continue to follow it closely, Congressman Tim Burchett. See you're in the car there. I know you got to go. Thank you for your time, tonight.


I hope you have a very politically-incorrect Merry Christmas, Miss Collins.

COLLINS: Thank you, Congressman.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is now urging Israel, to scale down its assault, in Gaza, to save more civilian lives. CNN is also getting a rare up close look, at the suffering that has been happening inside Gaza. We've been hearing about it. Now, you can see it, from CNN cameras. That's right after this.



COLLINS: Tonight, the United States is putting more pressure, on Israel, to end its large-scale ground campaign that is underway in Gaza.

White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, was there, delivering that message, in person, to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, urging the IDF to conduct a more precise lower- intensity operation, within the next few weeks, we are told.

But Israel appears to be pushing back, at least some officials. The Defense Minister said that he expects this war, against Hamas, will still go on for several months.

Of course, all of this is a devastating prospect, for the innocent Gazan civilians, who are suffering horrific casualties, and a humanitarian nightmare.

CNN's Clarissa Ward got exclusive access, to a field hospital, in southern Gaza. This is part of what she saw.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 8- year-old Janan (ph) was lucky enough to survive a strike, on her family home that crushed her femur, but spared her immediate family.


She said she's not in pain. So, that's good.


WARD (voice-over): Her mother, Hiba (ph), was out, when it happened.


WARD (voice-over): "I went to the hospital, to look for her," she says. "And I came here and I found her here. The doctors told me what happened with her. And I made sure that she's OK. Thank God."


WARD (voice-over): "They bombed the house in front of us and then our home," Janan (ph) tells us. "I was sitting next to my grandfather. And my grandfather held me, and my uncle was fine. So, he is the one who took us out."

WARD (on camera): (FOREIGN LANGUAGE). Don't cry.


COLLINS: Here tonight, Mark Regev, Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and a former Israeli ambassador to the U.K.

Thank you Ambassador, for being here.

I mean, you just heard part of what Clarissa saw, when she was in Gaza. It seems like that that have President Biden himself, warning, about Israel, risking losing global support, as it is continuing to fight this war.

How concerned are you about that?

MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO U.K.: Well, we have to fight this war. It wasn't a war that we sought. But it's a word that we've been forced to fight. And we have to win it.

Because leaving Hamas in power, in the Gaza Strip, is just to condemn us all to more bloodshed in the future. Hamas says openly that they would repeat the October 7th attack again and again and again, their words, they would continue to try to butcher our people.

And frankly, Kaitlan, Israelis just refuse to live any longer, with this terrorist threat, on our southern border. We will, as our Defense Minister said, we will eliminate this terror threat, and so, Israelis do not have to live in fear of terrorists crossing the frontier and butchering their children. No one should have to live like that. We refuse to live like that.

COLLINS: But what about the scenes, in Gaza? I mean, I understand Israel's purpose with Hamas. I mean, that's been made quite clear. But the scenes you just saw, a little girl, with her femur crushed, one child with a disfigured face, calling out, thinking a nurse was his father? I mean, what is your reaction to seeing what is happening inside of Gaza?**

REGEV: So obviously, it's an ongoing tragedy.

But your reporter was visiting a field hospital, established by the United Arab Emirates, a field hospital that Israel has encouraged. And there are other countries that are setting up field hospitals. And this is part of a humanitarian effort that Israel is facilitating, that Israel is supporting, that Israel is encouraging other countries to get involved as well.

We want to see, as we pursue Hamas, who is a bitter and brutal enemy, we want to see a maximum humanitarian effort, to the people of Gaza, that anyone, who has been injured, in the crossfire, between the Israeli Defense Forces and the Hamas terrorists, that there'll be medical support for them, as a humanitarian support.

We understand that's part of our values, out of our moral values. But we also understand that this is also successful counterterrorism. We've got to show that our enemy is only the terrorists, and that we will do what needs to be done, to support the Gazan civilian population.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, I should note that that field hospital that Clarissa visited, the doctors told her there it is the only one in that area that has any hospital beds left, and it has very few left.

But let me ask you about CNN reporting that nearly half of the air-to- ground munitions that Israel has been using in Gaza, since October 7th, have been these unguided munitions. They're known as "Dumb bombs."


Would that not undercut the claim, from Israel, that, you were trying to minimize the civilian casualties, given the very nature the imprecise nature of these weapons?

REGEV: Not at all. Obviously, we're using different munitions, the sort of munitions that the U.S. Army uses as well.

And if you read your own report, the CNN report closely, you will see that the Israeli Air Force actually adopts tactics, in the way we use these weapons, to make them precision-guided, as good as precision- guided weapons. Because the idea that Israel just randomly targets Gaza, that we carpetbomb the place, that's just frankly not true. We are very specific in the targets we choose.

There's a process, and it was shown to the Americans today, a process how we identify a target, how we choose the munitions for that target, that we look at the collateral damage, to see is there, in order to collateral damage that makes such an attack, not viable? And then finally, do we, only after going through a rigorous process of checking and balancing and looking again, do we actually loan such an attack, on a Hamas target.

COLLINS: So, you feel confident that you can know where these unguided bombs, these dumb bombs are going? Even though they have a 45 to 45 -- 40 to 45 percent accuracy rate, you feel confident that you know that it's actually landing on what you're targeting, and not potentially a child, in Gaza?

REGEV: Your own report, and I urge you to read it again, says specifically that the Israeli Air Force has adopted tactics, in the way we drop those bombs that make them far, far more accurate. You quote a senior American official, who's got knowledge, on the subject, who attests to that.

COLLINS: I did read the report closely. But I think we still have to ask about what exactly Israel is using in Gaza.

You mentioned showing the U.S. how you are trying to make those more precise.

Jake Sullivan, President Biden's National Security Advisor is obviously in Israel. We are told that the U.S. expects that Israel will transition to a lower-intensity strategy, focused on intelligence-based raids in Gaza, compared to what Israel is doing now.

Is that accurate? And when does Israel plan to shift to that phase, Ambassador?

REGEV: So, it's clear we can move to the next phase, when we finish the current phase.

And the truth is in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, we've had very strong success. We're seeing more and more Hamas terrorists voluntarily surrender. They understand the game is up. And we're moving there ahead, very quickly. And I think given a bit more time, we can do the same in the South.

There's no point finishing this when it's not over. There's no point finishing this with Hamas still alive. Then, we're just back to square one.

COLLINS: How much more time--

REGEV: And we'll have more violence, down the road.

COLLINS: How much more time do you expect that that will be?

REGEV: I can't give you a specific framework now. But it's crucial, the job is done, right. There's no point going through all this, and then just have to go through it all again, and down the road.

This has to finish in the right way, in a way that Hamas' military machine is destroyed, that Hamas no longer controls the Gaza Strip. That will offer a better opportunity, obviously, for the people of southern Israel, but also for the people of Gaza, who deserve better than this extreme terror regime.

COLLINS: Ambassador, does that include, with the death of Yahya Sinwar that's when this phase will be over?

REGEV: Obviously. Just as it was very important, for the United States, to take out Osama bin Laden, after the terrible al Qaeda attacks, on New York and Washington, it's very important for us to take out the senior Hamas leadership. But that is one in a number of factors that has to be achieved, for us to achieve the victory that we need.

COLLINS: OK. So that's a yes?

REGEV: He'll be taken out. That's only a matter of time.

COLLINS: Ambassador Mark Regev, thank you, for your time, tonight.

REGEV: Thanks for having me.

COLLINS: Also, tonight, in Russia, an unusual press conference, being held, by Vladimir Putin, for the first time, for -- in this nature, since he launched his invasion of Ukraine. A call-in show, including his very own deepfake.

We'll tell you more on what you're seeing here, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: Earlier today, we heard, from Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in his first major news conference, since he invaded Ukraine, nearly two years ago. With Western media there in attendance, the Russian leader confidently predicted that Russia will outlast Western support for Ukraine.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today, Ukraine produces almost nothing. They're trying to preserve some things. But they produced almost nothing. They get everything, excuse the bad manners, for free. But this freebie may end someday. And apparently, it is ending.


COLLINS: This highly choreographed call-in show, from the Kremlin, lasted over four hours. It ranged from acknowledging, for the first time, an American journalist, who was wrongfully being held, in Russia, to the price of eggs.

Joining me here tonight, TIME Correspondent, Simon Shuster, who covers Ukraine and Russia, also the Author of "The Showman," Inside the Invasion That Shook the World and Made a Leader of Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Thank you, for being here.

I mean, to listen to this marathon press conference, obviously, one of the biggest takeaways, as we're watching this fight in Washington, over funding for Ukraine, is he very clearly thinks that it's about to be over.

SIMON SHUSTER, TIME CORRESPONDENT COVERING RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, AUTHOR, "THE SHOWMAN": He does. Yes. And it was a very confident Putin. I think he has reason to be pretty sure of himself.

But what I took away, just watching the events today, was this amazing split-screen you know, with Putin, on the one hand, trying to get across to his people that "We need to be in this war for the long haul. We're facing the West, we're in a kind of existential battle with the West," and preparing them for a kind of Forever War, an almost cult of war.

And then, on the other hand, you had President Zelenskyy, able to tell his people "Look, the European Union is opening membership talks with us."


So I think the visions that the two leaders today presented to their people were so dramatically different.

One is, is able to tell his people at least "Look, at the end of this long horrific war, we do have an opportunity to live in prosperity with the European Union. They are opening the door to us."

And Putin is only talking about continued confrontation with the West. And anytime that he sees a bit of reason to feel confident, he continues to go back to these really dramatic stakes, really dramatic demands, of swallowing basically all of Ukraine, demilitarizing Ukraine, and confronting the West, for years and years to come.

COLLINS: Yes. As he's talked about, we've heard Republicans talking about, a negotiated settlement. I mean, he made clear, he's not looking to make any concessions.


COLLINS: The other interesting moment was where you saw, two Putins on screen. There's been all these questions about his health, whether or not he uses a body double, which obviously, it was something that he was trying to reference.

I mean, what did you make of him showing this, the real Putin on the left, and then the AI-generated version, on the right? I mean, he's clearly trying to say, "I'm not using a body double. I'm in good health. I'm fine."

SHUSTER: Yes, it's a bit of trolling. I think, the idea that he uses a body double, that he has cancers, or some other grave illness that he might soon croak, and then this whole war will be resolved by itself, I think it's a fanciful topic. It's often discussed in the kind of, in Ukraine, in the Ukrainian blogosphere.

I think he was just trying to point out that "No people. I'm in this for the long haul. Don't count on me to kind of step aside, or get ill, or fall away. I'm going to keep fighting you every chance I get."

COLLINS: Also, for the first time, we saw him acknowledge that they are holding Evan Gershkovich. And it's been 260 days now that the Wall Street Journal reporter has been being held. He said that there's a dialog between U.S. officials and Russian officials, but talked about it being a challenging conversation.

What is that? How do you read into that? What does that mean, do you think?

SHUSTER: Well, I'm really glad that my colleague, from The New York Times, Valerie Hopkins, was able to put that question to him, to his face, and make him speak on that issue.

I think we're all really concerned about Evan Gershkovich, and the negotiations to release him. I think the way Putin answered it gave me the sense that he kind of enjoys, at least on this issue, being able to needle the United States.

The United States wants something from him. They want Evan to be set free, as he should be. And Putin seems to be in no hurry to release him. Apparently, he enjoys having these kinds of negotiations, and debates, with the United States, haggling over hostages and so on. This is a place he feels comfortable.

COLLINS: And not just him. Paul Whelan as well, who was obviously--

SHUSTER: Yes, yes.

COLLINS: --also brought up in that.

Simon Shuster, can't wait to read the book. Thank you so much, for being here, tonight.

SHUSTER: Thank you.


We'll continue to follow that.

Also, an important follow-up, coming up. If you were watching this show, on Monday night, when Republican senator, Ron Johnson, was here, making this claim, about fake electors.


JOHNSON: These folks did nothing different than what many Democrats have done in many states--

COLLINS: They certainly did, Senator.

JOHNSON: --throughout history.

COLLINS: Which one?

JOHNSON: Democrats have done the same thing. Republicans never tried to criminalize them.

COLLINS: In Wisconsin, there's been fake slates of electors?




COLLINS: Senator Ron Johnson may not have read the books that he told us to check very closely. He was here on the show Monday night. And when he was asked a pretty simple question, should someone who tried to overturn the last election be involved in overseeing the next one? The Wisconsin Republican said this.


COLLINS: Which one?

JOHNSON: Democrats have done the same thing. Republicans never tried to criminalize them.

COLLINS: In Wisconsin, there's been fake slates of electors?

JOHNSON: No, it's happened in different states.

COLLINS: Which ones, sir?

JOHNSON: I didn't come prepared, to give you the exact states. But it's happened. It's happened repeatedly. It has happened repeatedly. Just go check the books.

COLLINS: Which books?

JOHNSON: I mean, there have been often the slates of electors, by Democrat electors, in our history. Again, you didn't -- this wasn't what this interview is going to be about. I'll come in and I'll provide you the information.

COLLINS: I look forward to your office, sending that information. We'll publish it, if it's accurate.

JOHNSON: Will do that.


COLLINS: So, he followed up, on Twitter, listed the four examples that you see here, none of which proved his point.

Democrats have not repeatedly used alternate slates of electors, none even come close to what Republicans did, in 2020. Really just one of the examples, he cites even is relevant to this, there's some big differences. So, we'll you what they are.

The Senator is pointing to the 1960 election, something that we have seen Republicans bring up repeatedly, since Trump lost in 2020. That year, Democrats, in Hawaii, sent an alternative slate of electors to Congress. Vice President Richard Nixon, at the time, and John F. Kennedy, they were nearly tied in the state.

But here, the facts about what happened next are critical. At the time, a recount was still underway, one that ultimately flipped the results, from Nixon, to Kennedy. A judge would rule that the Kennedy electors were legitimate.

And I should note that when Kennedy was ultimately the winner, in the final count, in Hawaii, it was Nixon himself, as Vice President, who presided over the session, approving that slate of electors, instead of his own, on January 6th, 1961.

In 2020, meanwhile, the recount in Wisconsin was over. It showed that Biden did indeed win, Senator Ron Johnson's home state. Wisconsin's alternate GOP electors met more than two weeks, after that recount, and still signed a false certificate of electors. Trump and his supporters, of course would go on to lose seven more lawsuits, in Wisconsin, related to the electors.

The other examples, on Senator Johnson's list, are instances, where Democrats voiced objection, to the election results, not exactly instances of plots, to overturn an election that was affirmed by recounts, and by the courts.


But even if you disagree with what those Democrats did, most importantly, here, those instances went nowhere, because the candidates who lost those elections conceded them.

Of course, Senator Ron Johnson's role in this has also come under scrutiny, given the text messages, showing that his Chief of Staff was trying to deliver a, quote, "Alternate slates of electors" for Michigan and Wisconsin, directly to Vice President Pence, on January 6th, something that will surely be included, in the history books.

Up next, to a load of bull, in a big city, commuters with a surprise, on their way to work, today, how the runaway was tracked down?


COLLINS: New Jersey commuters, on their way to New York, this morning, were hit with delays, because of a giant steer on the tracks, who was refusing to move out of the way.

I'm not kidding here. The Longhorn bovine, on his own schedule, no care for the delays that he was causing, on one of our nation's busiest rail routes. Passengers rightly surprised by the running of the bull, singular, so far, from Spain.


A local news outlet says that Animal Control said that he escaped a meat supplier, about three miles, from Newark's Penn Station. After a 45-minute delay, he was coaxed off the tracks, with no injuries, to commuters, or himself, thankfully. By dinner time, he was given the name, "Ricardo." He is now safe at an animal sanctuary, where we are told he will spend the rest of his days.

Thank you so much, for joining us, tonight. Such a busy news night. Also, back with you, tomorrow night.