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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Rudy Giuliani Ordered To Pay Nearly $150 Million To Two Georgia Election Workers He Defamed; IDF Mistakenly Kills Three Israeli Hostages In Gaza; Autopsy: Matthew Perry Died Of "Acute Effects Of Ketamine"; Sources: Highly Classified Russian Intel Vanished Under Trump; Former First Lady Welcomes New U.S. Citizens In Rare Public Appurtenance At National Archives. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 15, 2023 - 21:00   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE, Rudy Giuliani learning the price of lying for Donald Trump. $148 million for defaming two former election workers, but he's still pushing those lies on his way out of court.

Plus, Israeli forces mistakenly killing three hostages after the troops mistook them for a threat. How an operation in Gaza went so tragically wrong?

Also, the autopsy results just in from Matthew Perry, what authorities say ketamine had to do with the Friends actor's death. Doctor Sanjay Gupta is here to break it down.

I'm Kaitlan Collins, and this is THE SOURCE.

An already hash strapped Rudy Giuliani is now in ruins for trying to destroy the lives of 2 Americans in Georgia who simply were doing their patriotic duty in November of 2020. A federal jury has now ordered Giuliani to pay Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss a $148 million for defaming them, for their emotional distress and also for punitive damages.

The amount was so astonishing that there was an audible gasp in the courtroom today as it was read. The jury having none of it from Donald Trump's one time lawyer for wrongfully, repeatedly, and viciously accusing an innocent mother and her daughter of tampering with votes in 2020.

Almost just as breathtaking, he is still doing so to this very day.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: The absurdity of the number merely underscores the absurdity of the entire proceeding where I've not been allowed to offer one single piece of evidence in defense, of which I have a lot. I have no doubt that my Comments were made, and they were supportable and are supportable today. I just did not have an opportunity to present the evidence that we offered.


COLLINS: That's not true. He is lying. He had an opportunity to defend himself. He chose not to testify at the last minute after insisting that he would. And speaking of absurd --


GIULIANI: I don't regret a damn thing!


COLLINS: He doesn't regret a damn thing. Flashing that big smile as he left the courthouse today, Rudy Giuliani says that he is going to peeled this verdict and possibly move for a new trial, but he might be busy given he is also facing criminal charges in the state of Georgia that could potentially send him to prison.

The two women that he hurt, that he defamed are vowing to fight on.


RUBY FREEMAN, GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: Today's a good day. Today is not the end of the road. We still have work to do. Rudy Giuliani was not the only one who spread lies about us, and others must be held accountable too.

Money will never solve all of my problems. I can never move back into the house that I called home. I will always have to be careful about where I go.

SHAYE MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: The flame that Giuliani lit with those lies and passed to so others to keep that flame blazing, changed every aspect of our lives.

We hope no one ever has to fight so hard just to get your name back.


I'm joined tonight by an attorney for the two women you see there, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, Von DuBose is here. Thank you so much for being here. You and the other attorneys urged the jury here to send a message.

What message do you think that they sent with this $148 million verdict?

VON DUBOSE, ATTORNEY FOR SHAYE MOSS AND RUBY FREEMAN: Yes. I think the jury spoke here. They spoke on behalf of the voiceless people like Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The message that has been sent is that, powerful folks like Rudy Giuliani cannot lie like he did in this case. The message that the jury sent today is that lies have a price tag. COLLINS: He -- you know, that moment when you saw the two of them speaking, they seemed to get a bit emotional, understandably, at the end after they both finished speaking to reporters. How are they doing tonight?

DUBOSE: Like Ruby said, today is a good day, but there is a lot more work to be done. I don't think they can ever be fully restored to what they were before. Of course, that's what they would prefer to be -- what they used to be, you know, not looking over your shoulder when you go out to the grocery store, being able to give people your name when you meet them. Those are small things that they now cannot do. I don't know that they'll ever get back to the point where they have those freedoms that they have before all of this.

COLLINS: Do they expect that they'll see any of this money given, given what we've known and reported about Giuliani's financial situation?

DUBOSE: I can tell you we intend to collect every nickel. We are already putting, the wheels in motion for that process. We don't know if we'll ever see anything out of it, but we intend to collect everything.


COLLINS: Mr. Giuliani came out of court, he said I don't regret a damn thing. He smiled. And he claimed that he was not responsible for the death threats that that your clients got.

I just want to remind people what some of those threats, some of those calls, the text messages, the people showing up at their house, what that sounded like.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eat (BLEEP) and die, you (BLEEP) racists, You (BLEEP) Beat die, you fucking racist. You're a (BLEEP) whore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to jail, Ruby. You are 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: What do you make of him saying he's not responsible for what we just heard?

DUBOSE: Well, the jury said different, and that's what counts. I'm not surprised he said that, but the jury said differently.

COLLINS: Von DuBose, attorney for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, thank you for your time tonight.

DUBOSE: Thank you for having me.

COLLINS: And I'm joined now by a pair of former federal prosecutors Elie Hoenig, Jennifer Rodgers. Elie, I mean, we were talking about this last night and just -- you said you thought they were going to get what they were asking for, which was 24 million each. They got 100 million on top of that.

ELIE HOENIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: In fairness, I didn't even think they were going to get that much. I thought they're getting a lot. But that number even took me by surprise.

I think the size of this verdict is a reflection of just how over the top, just how destructive Rudy Giuliani's lies were. I mean, look what he did to these innocent victims who never asked for this. They never wanted any part of this. They never engage with Rudy. He picked them out. He destroyed their lives.

And one thing I noticed, and you notice this Kaitlan while we were covering the verdict. The tone of Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, as they talked afterwards, was not jubilant. They were not celebratory. They were relieved. They felt they had some measure of justice. And I thought that was really poignant moment.

COLLINS: Oh, and Ruby Freeman was so -- had so much class and so much grace, I thought in saying, we're not trying to seek retribution here. I think the question is, you know, she talked about how the money cannot repay. It can't give her back her security -- her home that she lived in for 20 years, her name.

But you heard the attorney there saying that they are going to try to get every nickel that Rudy Giuliani owes these two women. What happens if he can't pay? I mean, could he declare bankruptcy and just get out of this? Or what's the likelihood of that?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he can try. I mean, let's -- there's a lot of money here. That's a lot of Cameo videos that Rudy Giuliani would have to do, right. He can try to declare bankruptcy. But these kinds of verdicts do take precedence in -- you know, over declaring bankruptcy, and there are lots of other creditors too. So he can try.

The bigger issue here is he just doesn't have this money, right. So they can certainly try to get as much as they can out of him. And he has some assets. I guess, he has an apartment for sale now. So hopefully, they'll get something. But I don't know. There's no way they're going to get what he doesn't have.

COLLINS: You mentioned the Cameo videos, that's not a joke. He's actually making videos that people can request for I think $500 or something on Cameo. But I mean, he's got that. He has his podcast, his radio show. Can they take that? How does that work? Can they garnish his wages, basically?

HOENIG: Yeah. So the trick that the lawyers are going to be doing now is, first of all, identifying assets. It's hard to garnish a podcast. But real estate property, you can basically put in a claim, put in a lien so that if it gets sold, the buyer will know, OK, there's people who have claims on this.

And what ends up happening. There's a lot of creditors, here's a lot of people who Rudy Giuliani owes money to, and there will be more because there's civil suits outstanding against him from the voting technology, from Dominion, from Smartmatic. So the list of people who Rudy owes money to is just going to grow.

Essentially, they have to divide up the pie pro rata, you know, whoever is entitled to however much, you just have to scale that down to how much assets he actually has.

COLLINS: As an attorney. What do you make of him, though, coming out of court the way he did, so defiant, and telling people as he did the other day, you know, tune in for his evidence that he has. Claiming these two women are still doing what they did not do, what this jury has just ordered him to pay this much money for, he's still pushing the lies.

RODGERS: Yeah, I mean, he -- look, he clearly made the decision a long time ago that he wasn't going to even show up in this case. He didn't provide discovery. There was a default judgment against him from the get go. He just decided to deny, deny, deny, because, of course, he has not only other civil matters, as Elie said, but criminal matters, right?

So he just is going to not even engage with any of this and hope it works out for the best, but this really to me sent a message not just to Rudy Giuliani, about these two particular people, but to everyone including Trump, who has any case that touches on election interference. Which is, if you are coming with nothing, no evidence if it's just lies, it doesn't work inside the courtroom. You have to have evidence, testimony subject to perjury, evidence is admissible and authentic. You can't just come with nothing and that's a really tough lesson for Donald Trump and others who are going to be facing these lawsuits.

COLLINS: Yeah. I mean they've been running short on that. And there is no shortage of -- you know, these are civil suits, defamation suits that we've seen people using from the 2020, you know, lies to try to clear their name.


There are also criminal indictments here the Special Counsel referenced, exactly what was being said, about Ruby Freeman, in his special -- in his indictment against Trump. He said, you know, they're pointing to two election workers receiving numerous death threats. Are we going to see Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss on the witness stand, potentially?

HOENIG: If I'm prosecuting this case, absolutely. I mean, for a couple reasons. First of all, they will drive home to the jury that there were human victims here. There was a human cost of this. Yes, there was cost to our democracy, yes, there was cost to our institutions. But look, they will be a face of the prosecution, you can make it real for the jury. And second of all, you're not going to find two more relatable, sympathetic, credible witnesses than the two women who we saw speak outside the courthouse. And they testified in front of the January 6 Committee couple summers ago and were superb. They were strong, they were clear. They stood up for themselves. I found them really inspiring.

COLLINS: Elie Hoenig, Jennifer Rodgers, thank you both for that.

Also, after that verdict, you heard Ruby Freeman talking about how her life has changed since she and her daughter were singled out by Giuliani, but not just Giuliani former President Trump as well.


FREEMAN: I miss my home, I miss my neighbors. And I miss my name. I've heard some of you. Don't be sad for me. Don't waste your time being angry at those who did this to me and my daughter. We are more than conquerors. Pray for us as we continue to fight -- the good fight of faith.


COLLINS: Still just amazed by those words from Ruby Freeman earlier today. I'm joined now by former Republican Congressman and a member of former January 6 Committee, Adam Kinzinger. Congressman, thank you for being here.

I mean, just to -- side by side, Ruby Freeman coming out of court and Rudy Giuliani coming out of court is about as stark as a contrast as it gets. And as you well know, from being in Washington, when Donald Trump was in office, he often leaves these ruined lives in his wake. Including people who have gone to bat for him the most, people who told lie after lie after lie for him like Rudy Giuliani. But has anyone ever blown themselves up more for Donald Trump than Giuliani has?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I mean, it's -- I still am amazed at how he has gone from America's mayor. You know, this guy that probably in any other world where he hadn't gotten tangled up with Donald Trump, after he passed, he would have an elementary school named after him in every town, to have completely destroyed his life for what?

For temporary fame. He was already famous. For proximity to power? He could have met with any president he wanted to, before he became what he did. But there is just something extremely broken. And there's something broken with this idea that you pick two innocent people.

Rudy Giuliani is a powerful man. But Donald Trump, obviously a powerful man. You find two innocent people, and you punch down, you destroy their lives, you break them. And then you dare to take the name of God and pretend like you are somehow some kind of a messenger from the Lord, while you're destroying innocent people's lives?

I mean, it's -- it makes me angry, sort of sad -- I mean, certainly sad for the victims, sort of sad for Rudy, because of how far he fell. But also disgusted that there is a machine works of people behind them that cheer on these kinds of attacks. I just don't understand what humanity is -- what's happened to humanity, particularly for those who claim to be small government Republicans. It's -- it still blows me away.

COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, these women were too scared to give 911 operators their phone numbers, because of the threats that they were getting. And those threats amplified when Donald Trump called Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State, he invoked Ruby Freeman by name.

I just want to remind people what he said during that call.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S President (via telephone): We're so far ahead of these numbers. Even the phony ballots of Ruby Freeman, known scammer. You know, the internet, you know what was trending on the internet? Where's Ruby? Because they thought you'd be in jail. Where's Ruby? It's crazy. It's crazy.

That was -- the minimum number is 18,000 for Ruby, but they think it's probably about 56,000. But the minimum number is 18,000 on the Ruby Freeman night where she ran back in there when everybody was gone and stuff. She stuffed the ballot boxes.


COLLINS: Not true. And the reason that was trending, the reason. "Where is Ruby?" was trending is, because Rudy Giuliani was the first to tweet about it, to post about it.

But I mean -- Congressman, if what Rudy Giuliani does is -- the damage is worth 148 million. I mean, how much more is it, do you think, with the former commander in chief at the time sitting President, saying you should be in jail?


KINZINGER: I mean, infinitely. I mean, again, I was listening to that. And I sometimes forget, you know, we get numb to Donald Trump and to what he says and how he acts. That was at the time of making that the President of the United States of America who was supposed to be defending people in America, that's his prime job.

Picking two women -- let's be honest, why they were picked, because they're black, let's be clear, who were passing a ginger mint to each other. And then Rudy Giuliani comes out and says they were passing, you know, a thumb drive like, "It was cocaine or heroin."

Like these, these are powerful men that have to punch down to women that made a decision to serve their community, probably didn't get paid a ton of money to do what they do. And this guy is running for president again. I mean, the damage he does to people's lives, there is nobody that has ever been close to Donald Trump, even as his friend that doesn't come out the other side destroyed, battered.

Look at Mark Meadows. Nobody even knows where he is. He has to cooperate with the feds or whatever. And this is a guy that sold himself out. Look at Kevin McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy sold himself out to win the approval of Donald Trump and ends up the shortest tenure for Speaker, still begging to serve in his cabinet.

Like at some point, Americans have got to wake up and say, we either can be a country that accepts this and will never be a great country again if we do. Or we can go back to our principles of realizing that humanity matters, people matter, and we have to have goodness in our soul. And you just don't see that in these folks. It's makes me just -- it really makes me sad.

COLLINS: Sad and a lot of other emotions. Adam Kinzinger. Thank you.


COLLINS: And as the Congressman mentioned there, Rudy Giuliani went from being America's mayor and a top federal prosecutor, even a candidate for president at one point, to what we see today. A longtime friend of his on his spectacular spiral will join me next.

Also, tonight, this story. The IDF is now admitting it mistakenly shot and killed three Israeli hostages and is a tragic mix up, misidentifying them as a threat. How on earth that could happen? After this break.



COLLINS: From America's mayor to a national embarrassment, if Rudy Giuliani was at rock bottom before today, he will go to bed tonight $148 million deeper in the hole. The phrase, "Fall from Grace" is overused, but in this case, few have fallen further.

He was the calming presence, the mayor that the nation watched, walked through those clouds of dust on 911. The man who graced the cover of Time Magazine as a, "Tower of strength." He was once one of the most popular politicians in this country. At one point the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

But these days, of course, you can now see it as a mere illusion of what he once was. Rudy Giuliani not the same. An illusion of a once celebrated legal mind who marked the opening scene of Trump's post 2020 election spiral, the infamous press conference outside the Four Seasons. No, not the luxury hotel, the local landscaping company.

The connection between his reputation and the fate of the former president became so intertwined, that Giuliani stood in front of the soon to be mob on Capitol Hill on the ellipse on January 6, repeating election lie after election lie for a man who would later, and still at this moment, refuse to help pay his legal bills. Giuliani is now left paying that price all alone today. It got a lot higher. I want to bring in Andrew Kirtzman who has covered Rudy Giuliani extensively for three decades and is the author of a very timely book, "Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America's Mayor."

Andrew, I mean, it's just hard to kind of put into perspective, just how far of a fall from grace we are truly witnessing. Do you think Giuliani, based on how you saw him coming out of court today, has any grasp of that?

ANDREW KIRTZMAN, AUTHOR, "GIULIANI: THE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF AMERICA'S MAYOR": You know, if Giuliani were an introspective person, which he is not, he would be asking himself tonight about some of the choices he made. The choices he made, beginning with his extraordinary fame after September 11, when he was more popular than the Pope, according to polls, when he was making astonishing amounts of money, cashing in on his fame, when he ran for president and it was the front runner for an entire year before that race happened.

What was the choice he made after he lost that race, after he had to lead that race in humiliation, having just accumulated just one delegate? His choice was to align himself with Donald Trump. Every humiliation he's had since then, every disaster that Rudy Giuliani has had since then -- the fact that he is now headed for bankruptcy, the fact that he is a national laughingstock, the fact that he's headed for -- towards a criminal trial that can lead him to jail. It's all traceable, to choices Rudy Giuliani made. And particularly the choice he made to align himself with Donald Trump.

And if Giuliani were, you know, honest with himself tonight, he'd be wondering why they do it.

COLLINS: When I covered the White House and Giuliani was often there, we'd run into him, you know, coming back from the cameras to the briefing room. One thing that I heard from a lot of people was that he was very isolated. A lot of people in the White House didn't want to hang out with him.

I mean, he was kind of -- he was then, the way he is now. Does he have friends? Does he have anyone who can sit him down and talk to him? Or is he just so far past that point?

KIRTZMAN: You know, when I covered Giuliani way back at City Hall in the 1990s, he had so many loyalists, some many who would do anything for him, anything for him.


And, you know, I was speaking to one of his old city hall aides today, and she told me, you know, I used to be so proud to say that I worked for Rudy Giuliani. And now, I don't even tell people I worked for him.

They're -- they've -- they're apologizing that they ever worked for Rudy Giuliani. He's extremely isolated, as you say. He has got one or two kind of diehard loyalists who have stuck with him. But all the people who he's been close with over his career, the prosecutors, the City Hall aides, family members, all of the people who are kind of part of the cult of Rudy Giuliani, they've fallen by the wayside. He is very, very much alone.

COLLINS: Andrew Kirtzman, I mean, your book could not be more relevant at this moment. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Speaking of people who, who worked closely with Rudy Giuliani, I mean, few of them have known just how much he's changed. Then my next guest, Jeffrey Harris, who was Giuliani's best friend for many years on served as his deputy when he was Associate Attorney General. And he's here now.

Thank you so much for being here, Jeffrey. I mean, you just heard what Andrew said. Are you someone who is kind of -- the word he used was embarrassed, to talk about how you closely used to work with Giuliani, your friendship that you have with them?

JEFFREY HARRIS, LONGTIME FRIEND & FORMER COLLEAGUE OF RUDI GIULIANI: I'm afraid to say that's true. When I tell people that Rudy and I were great friends, they look at me cross-eyed now. Because they don't -- you know, this goes back to the 70s when we both Assistant U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of New York. Rudy was regarded among 100 or so lawyers as one of the top.

But one thing I will say that does ring true to me today is, Rudy always reacted to criticism more like Richard Nixon and John Kennedy. And when he got backed into a corner, he went into fighting mode. And I think that's what you see in his statements outside the courthouse today and earlier in the week. He always had that that side of him.

COLLINS: Is that what you think that is, you know, this is total lack of a sense of humanity? When you hear, you know, Ruby Freeman talking about how no amount of money can make up what she's been through. And then Giuliani comes out and says, I don't regret anything.

HARRIS: Well, I think it's a function of, it's all about me, you know. I don't think at this point, he's capable of thinking about what he really did to these women. And, you know, when I hear him say things like, I'm going to appeal and I'm going to win. Well, first of all, a civil case to appeal, you got to put up an appeal bond. Where is he going to get an appeal bond?

And if he thinks that after violating court order after court order and refusing to provide discovery, not testifying, and thinks that he will get a favorable review with the Court of Appeals tells me he -- if he really believes that, he's out of touch.

COLLINS: Can I -- just before I let you go. One thing, you know, he accused Ruby Freeman of doing was passing around drugs or USB. It was really a ginger mint. You said you were called an episode in 1982, where he himself was accused of carrying or questioned, I guess, I should say about carrying drugs, when he really wasn't.

HARRIS: That's right. Rudy, and I were coming back from lunch and entering into the central courtyard of the Department of Justice and he had something in a paper bag. And we get back to the office and the head of the Office Professional Responsibility, calls up about an hour later and says someone just called in and said, they saw you bring in narcotics into the Department of Justice.

And I can tell you for the rest of the afternoon, he sat at his desk fuming, he could talk about nothing else. So in that small -- and of course, it was baloney. But in that small moment, it's very similar in that way to what he accused these women of doing.

COLLINS: The irony of that is just beyond. Jeffrey Harris, thank you for your time tonight.

HARRIS: You're welcome.

COLLINS: Ahead, a difficult story. They had survived 70 days in captivity. Tonight, three Israeli hostages have been killed by Israeli forces on accident in Gaza. How this could have happened? We'll tell you their story right up to this.



COLLINS: Tonight there is just gutting news out of Northern Gaza, as Israeli soldiers shot and killed three hostages that they say they mistakenly identified as a threat. These three hostages, Alon Shimriz, Yotam Haim were kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Samer Talalka was abducted from Kibbutz Nir Am on October 7th. Israel says, it believes that they there had escaped their captors or they had been left behind, because the fighting that was happening in Northern Gaza when this happened.

I'm joined now by retired U.S. Army Major General James "Spider" Marks. General, it is hard to overstate how devastating and gut wrenching this news is for these families who have just been in constant pain since October 7th. I think the question everyone has tonight is how does this even happen?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, the first thing you have to realize is that combat like this is not a video game. Lives are at stake. There's immense chaos, smoke, rubble, and Israeli forces and Hamas are firing each other, engaging as a matter of routine. So it's like conducting a gunfight in an elevator.

Tragedies like this occur and it's frankly not surprising. You have rules of engagement, you have collateral damage, estimates that are -- that take place as a part of the planning process. And there are limits their boundaries in terms of go, no go criteria; shoot, no shoot criteria. But when you're in this type of close quarters, these tragedies will occur.

COLLINS: And Hamas, as we know, I mean they obviously operate -- they use civilians as shields. They operate in civilians' clothing, they use areas where civilians live and stay. I mean, how does that make this more difficult as what the U.S. has been urging the IDF to do is, which is more these more precise operations instead of just the aerial bombardments?

[21:35:00] MARKS: Well, this is a tad different from that. This is close combat that's taking place. And the identification of friend or foe in this environment is the number one priority. It's the number one challenge that has to be met as a matter of routine.

Again, decisions are made in split seconds. You have the right as a force, for self-protection, force protection. You want to return with your soldiers with your comrades. And you engage in a fight like this, these kinds of mistaken identities, this positive identification challenge is what remains paramount.

It is -- Kaitlan it is -- I can't overstate how difficult this fight is. And what you've really done -- and to your credit, is you put the human face of combat that we're seeing right now. Again, these are not antiseptic engagements. These are human beings that were uniform. They're trying to conduct an operation for purposes clearly stated. And you have tragedies that exists like this.

COLLINS: Yeah. We talked to a lot of the hostage families today and they were just -- I mean, obviously and understandably devastated to hear this news. General "Spider" Marks, thank you for joining us with your expertise tonight.

MARKS: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Tonight, we're also learning more here in the United States about the death of the "Friends" star, Matthew Perry. The acute effects of ketamine were listed in his autopsy report. We'll look at the other new details that are revealed in that report with Dr. Sanjay Gupta when we return.



COLLINS: Tonight, the autopsy for "Friends" actor Matthew Perry has been released nearly two months after he was found floating face down in the pool at his Malibu home. The Los Angeles Medical Examiner's Office says he died as a result of an acute effect of ketamine, along with other contributing factors, including drowning.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has taken a look at this autopsy and is here now. Sanjay, just -- can you just as a doctor, walk us through what stood out to you in this autopsy and whether this was an overdose of ketamine or what they found from this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, it's a 30 page report. So there's a lot in there that's mostly talking about what did not happen, what did not contribute to his death.

What they really focused in on, as you mentioned, was the fact that he had ketamine, in his body. They found elements of ketamine in his stomach. And they said that that was sort of the one of the primary causes along with the fact that he was in a pool and had drowned. Those are the things that really stood out to me. We looked at specifically the dose of ketamine that he had in his in his blood. And it was pretty high. It was -- you know, you can see the numbers, they're in the 3,000 range. And to give you some context for what that means, ketamine can be used as an anesthetic, Kaitlan, and the range can be from 1,000 to 6,000.

But here's the important thing is that, ketamine in and of itself is very rarely associated with someone overdosing and dying, unlike opioids, for example, which suppress your ability to breathe on your own. That's not ketamine does. It dissociate you from your environment and from your own body. So it's not really that associated with someone dying.

But in his case, he was in a swimming pool. So someone becomes dissociated, they become -- can lapse into unconsciousness. And if they're in a pool, they can they can drown, which is -- I think that's really what jumped out at me. So high doses, elements found in his stomach, which meant that he -- you know, you can inject this, you can snort it, you can swallow it. Sounds like he swallowed it. Takes usually a half an hour to an hour to take effect. He got into the pool at some point after taking this ketamine, and sounds like that that's what caused him to drown.

COLLINS: Yeah, and his live-in assistant, who was -- had been there, who had left to go run errands. I mean, when you look at this, though, it's also said that the test to determine a therapeutic levels of a drug that the examiner said, is used to treat drug addiction and pain. Obviously, that was something he was very honest and public about. What drug is that and what role do they believe it played, if any, here?

GUPTA: Yeah, so this is a drug known as buprenorphine, Kaitlan. And this is a -- it's a synthetic opioid. And it's actually even though it's a synthetic opioid, is used typically to help people get off stronger opioids. It sort of binds to the same receptors as opioids, but it's a lower sort of power drug, so it can actually help people sort of wean off the more powerful opioids.

We don't know if this was part of his addiction treatment, because as you as you mentioned, he's been very open about his addiction. And sometimes that can be used to treat addiction. It can also be used recreationally to sort of dampen the effects -- the hallucinogenic effects of ketamine. People who use these drugs recreationally will sometimes use it for that.

But I think the really important point -- the salient point here is, if you look at these medications, it doesn't seem like the buprenorphine really contributed to it. I'd looked at the levels, they were more in the therapeutic range, as you say, as opposed to sort of a lethal or more toxic range.

COLLINS: Just awful news for his family, his friends, his fans. Sanjay, thank you so much. Thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you. Thank you. COLLINS: Also, really fascinating reporting, months in the making, it is a collection of highly classified U.S. intelligence on Russia that is missing tonight. It was last seen at the White House after Donald Trump had ordered it there are at the end of his presidency. The mystery of this missing top secret binder, we'll tell you next week.



COLLINS: Tonight, a CNN investigation is blowing a hole in one of Washington's most enduring mysteries, it's a binder containing highly classified information related to the Russia investigation that went missing just days before Donald Trump left the White House. To this day, no one has been able to find this binder, which was considered so sensitive. It was kept in a locked safe at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia were the only those with top secret security clearance could actually see it.

But sources tell CNN that in Trump's final days in office, the former President ordered that that binder be brought to the White House. He wanted to declassify what was known as the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into his 2016 campaign and Russia connections. Trump believing that it would prove his claims it was all a hoax.

His order set off a flurry of activity in those final two days of his time in the White House, aides scrambling to redact the intelligence. That made multiple copies of the redacted portions. While the original, unredacted 10-inch thick binder, which could potentially reveal critical sources and methods of collecting that intelligence, inexplicably disappeared.

I want to bring in former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. I imagine you have a lot of concerns about the fact that this binder is missing.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yeah, Kaitlan, it's really hard to overstate how serious this could be. Now, to be perfectly clear, I don't -- I haven't seen in this binder. I think from reporting it's fair to assess that it's the Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian activity targeting the 2016 election. The infamous intel community document that's been so discussed, and likely supporting documentation.

So I think it's important to level set like where this thing came from. The ICA, or the Intel Community Assessment was a result of a tasking from President Obama after the election, knowing that the FBI and the CIA and the NSA had been looking closely at Russia's activity targeting the election.


And he asked the intelligence community to gather up everything they had from their most significant sources on Russian activity, and the election. And to put that all together in one document. That is what the ICA is. So it includes reporting from some of the most sensitive, most significant sources that provide the United States government with the most exquisite and irreplaceable insight as to what is happening inside the Kremlin at the highest level. So the information associated with that document, I just cannot overstate how serious and fragile it is.

COLLINS: So the fact that it's missing, I mean, how dangerous is that?

MCCABE: Well, we know from CNN's reporting that the intel community as recently as -- within the last year or so, actually went and briefed the leadership in Congress on the fact that this thing is missing. That comes from a requirement in the intelligence act of 1947 that requires the intel community to brief Congress on matters that are considered to be intelligence failures.

So it's a statutory requirement. The most serious cases, they have to go the community -- has to go to Congress and let them know what's happening. So that alone tells you how serious and significant that community thinks this is.

I can tell you from my own understanding of the ICA and the work that went into it, there are sources that contributed to that document, both technical and human, that cannot be replaced, and human beings whose lives will absolutely be in danger if their involvement with the United States intelligence community is exposed. So it's absolutely priceless.

COLLINS: Trump was obsessed with this investigation and declassifying this, because he was consumed, I will say to put it lightly, with how this affected his presidency from day one. I mean, we saw what it meant for his relationship with the intelligence community.

And this is something that Cassidy Hutchinson, when she testified to Congress, when she wrote her book about her former boss, Mark Meadows, and the role that he played in those last minute rushed efforts to try to declassify this. I just want to remind people what she said about their efforts to declassify this information.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON: I watched him climb into the limo, noticing the original Crossfire Hurricane binder tucked under his arm. I did not have time to ask what he planned to do with it as he drove away. What the hell's Mark doing with the unredacted Crossfire Hurricane binder?


COLLINS: I imagine that's a question that those who are investigating where this binder is right now are also likely asking.

MCCABE: Yeah, I hope they've leveled that question in a very serious way at Mark Meadows and anybody else who might have been involved in it. And let's be clear, the -- that information in 2020 is relevant only to Donald Trump's desire to exact some sort of political benefit from its exposure. So what we're talking about here is a -- is the ending days of a dying administration focused on revealing ultra secret, sensitive, important government secrets to the world in an effort to settle some political scores with perceived enemies like me and my former colleagues.

I mean, the whole thing is so absurd, but also offensive on a visceral level to people who spend their lives sacrificing their time, their lives, their blood for the intelligence collection for United States, for the National Security United States. To think about people like Mark Meadows and Donald Trump just handling this stuff recklessly and in a dangerous manner, is just absolutely disgusting.

COLLINS: Andrew McCabe, thank you.

MCCABE: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Speaking of those last days in the White House today, we saw a rare appearance from the former First Lady Melania Trump, most notable where she appeared and what she was highlighting. We'll tell you in a moment.



COLLINS: Former first lady Melania Trump making a rare public appearance in Washington at a naturalization ceremony today, congratulating 25 new American citizens as she reflected on her own journey as an immigrant.


MELANIA TRUMP, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: My personal experience of traversing the challenges of the immigration process opened my eyes to the harsh realities people face, including you, who to try to become U.S. citizens.


COLLINS: The former first lady did not mention her husband in those remarks, who I should note, is also planning a hard line expansion of his immigration policies if he is elected to a second term in the White House.

But today's ceremony took place at the National Archives, that stands out to you? It should. Yes. It's the National Archives, the same agency that asked the Justice Department to investigate her husband's mishandling of classified documents. That is after the National Archives went to great lengths to get those documents back before resorting to a search of his property to get them.

Melania Trump's appearance today beyond the substance of why she was there is also notable given she has been noticeably absent from the campaign trail.