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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
Detroit News: Trump On Tape Personally Pressuring Two GOP Canvassers In MI Not To Certify 2020 Vote; Giuliani Declares Bankruptcy After $148 Million Defamation Loss; Harvard President Faces New Plagiarism Allegations. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired December 21, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: The news continues. THE SOURCE starts now.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
Breaking news, from the Detroit News, apparent recordings of Donald Trump himself, in 2020, allegedly pressuring two election officials, in Michigan, not to sign the certification, of Joe Biden's victory.
Plus, the Special Counsel strikes back, urging the Supreme Court to immediately consider Trump's immunity claims. As his former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, files for bankruptcy, hours after being ordered to pay two election workers, for costly lies, he told for Trump. Will he pay up? Giuliani's attorneys are here.
And even more accusations of plagiarism, against Harvard's embattled president. The two student journalists, who broke the story join us, this hour.
Kaitlan Collins is off tonight.
I am Brianna Keilar. And this is THE SOURCE.
And we begin with our breaking news. There is brand-new reporting, on yet another recording, of a phone call, allegedly made by Donald Trump, in 2020, pressuring local election officials. This time, in Michigan, on November 17, 2020, two weeks after he had lost the presidential election, in that state, by more than 100,000 votes.
CNN has not heard the recording of this phone call.
But the Detroit News says it has. And it reports then-President Trump personally pressured two Republican members, of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, not to sign the certification of the election, and allegedly told them they'd look, quote, "Terrible," if they did.
CNN spoke with one of the journalists, who says he listened to audio, of this conversation, a short while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VOICE OF CRAIG MAUGER, THE DETROIT NEWS: What I heard, listening to the audio, of this conversation, was the then-President of the United States, encouraging, pressuring, contending, arguing in favor of these two Republican county canvassers, not signing the certification, of the 2020 election, for Wayne County.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: A Trump campaign spokesperson has responded to the story, saying, quote, "All of President Trump's actions were taken in furtherance of his duty as President of the United States to faithfully take care of the laws and ensure election integrity, including investigating the rigged and stolen 2020 Presidential Election."
And we should note, of course, that the election was not stolen, nor was it rigged.
Also, reportedly on this call was RNC Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, who also allegedly told those officials, not to sign the certification and, quote, "We will get you attorneys."
McDaniel's response tonight, quote, "What I said publicly and repeatedly at the time, as referenced in my letter on Nov. 21, 2020, is that there was ample evidence that warranted an audit."
And I'm joined now by Maggie Haberman, Senior Political Correspondent for The New York Times, and CNN Political Analyst.
Maggie, thanks for being with us, on this.
The then-President, on the phone, with county canvassers. Take us back to his mindset, at this point, in November 2020 that would prompt this extraordinary overture.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NY TIMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, they were a couple of days early on, after Election Day, when Trump seemed to be aware that he had lost, according to multiple people.
And then, short time after that, he dug in on the idea that he had not lost that, in fact, he was going to make sure that the transfer of power didn't take place. And this is part of that effort. He started telling people, and I reported this previously, that he wasn't going to leave. Why would you leave if you lost an election?
And so, it's not surprising, again, to hear -- it is surprising that the President of the United States was doing this. It is not surprising that this particular president was doing it, because we know that he has made up -- he made other efforts, to try to plead with state officials, obviously, in Georgia, is the most well-known case.
But this adds to evidence, Brianna. This adds to -- and I've not heard this tape, to be clear. But if it is, as described, this would add to the evidence, amassed, suggesting that Trump was of a certain mindset that he had been told repeatedly that he had lost. And yet, he was intent on making sure the election was not certified in Joe Biden's favor.
KEILAR: So, to you, this fits into the category, with the Raffensperger phone call, and the other phone calls that we know of?
HABERMAN: Again, without having heard the tape, based on the description of it? Absolutely.
We don't know a number of things, including whether Jack Smith, the Special Counsel, whether he -- his team has this information. If they don't have it already, I imagine they'll have it pretty soon. But it is more of a piece of what we have heard about his behavior.
He has been indicted already. So, I don't think that this dramatically changes the picture, at least in terms of the legal problems that he's facing. But it certainly could add to the evidence of the case, presented against him.
KEILAR: What do you think about -- we hear or not -- we hear. We hear from the description of this, Trump and McDaniel reportedly offering these canvassers, legal protection.
HABERMAN: Well, I think that this is not entirely inconsistent with some of what Ronna McDaniel was doing, at the time. Remember, she is from Michigan.
I think that it sounds a little different. Again, not having heard this tape. But the description sounds a little different. It sounds as if someone is being encouraged to do something. We don't know within what bounds. We don't know what language was used.
But offering to get someone a lawyer? Again, depending on what the dynamics are, and what specifically they were being asked not to do? That could be used to argue that Trump was aware that he was asking people to take steps that could be challenged legally.
KEILAR: And certainly, and I recognize, of course, you have not -- we have not actually heard this tape ourselves.
KEILAR: What is it? Yes.
KEILAR: What is it -- what does it say to you that the head of the RNC, according to this, was going along with having the President in touch with local officials?
HABERMAN: Well, look, I think that we've seen Ronna McDaniel pop up, in various places, in the course of investigations, related to the lead up to January 6, 2021, and the attack on the Capitol by a pro- Trump mob. Michigan, again, is her state. I am not entirely surprised. He was the party. And so, that part doesn't surprise me. Especially
the fact that Trump would make such a call is not especially surprising, given what we know of other phone calls that he has made, (inaudible) that he was exerting not just in Georgia, but on his own Vice President. But again, this just adds to the pile.
KEILAR: Yes, certainly does.
Maggie, thank you so much, for being with us. Obviously, some very interesting new reporting, we're taking a look at here, Maggie Haberman.
And joining us now with more, on the former President's legal troubles, is the Founder of the 14th Amendment Center for Law & Democracy, Sherrilyn Ifill. She is also the former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Sherrilyn, thanks for taking the time, tonight.
We mentioned this Colorado case, where Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump is disqualified, from the primary ballot, because of the insurrection, his role in it, and what the 14th Amendment says, about that.
You've written extensively about state and federal courts, shying away from taking on 14th Amendment cases, like this one. Why do they shy away from it?
SHERRILYN IFILL, FOUNDER, 14TH AMENDMENT CENTER FOR LAW & DEMOCRACY, FORMER PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR-COUNSEL OF THE NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, VERNON JORDAN CHAIR IN CIVIL RIGHTS AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, I will say -- and thank you so much, Brianna.
There's no case quite like this one, because we have never, in the history of this country, had a president, who participated in insurrection or rebellion.
But it is true that the 14th Amendment is a very clear and, I think, read on its terms, radical provision of the Constitution, that courts try to elide, in some way.
And we saw it with the Colorado District Court, the trial court in this case, who while she agreed that Trump had participated in insurrection, did not feel comfortable saying he had to be removed from the ballot.
I'm gratified that the Colorado Supreme Court showed strength, and courage, and affiliation with the law, and with the Constitution, in making their ruling.
The words of Section 3 are very clear that the Reconstruction Congress understood that the spirit of insurrection was dangerous, to the future of the country. They also understood that it would not be short-lived. And they created a provision, to allow us to be able to protect our democracy, against insurrectionists, seeking to do, as they said, by politics, what they could not do in the field. KEILAR: It sounds, listening to legal experts, the prevailing expectation here, is that the court will dispense with this issue, the Supreme Court, one way or another. The Colorado Supreme Court will not prevail.
Is that your read on this?
IFILL: Well, I think, Brianna, it's hard to imagine this court, just given what we've seen, over the past few years, in which the conservatives, on this court, have grown increasingly reckless, in my view, and results-oriented, in a very particular way that I think has caused a lot of concern, about the court's legitimacy.
We have a very serious conflict issue with Justice Thomas, whose wife worked very intently, on precisely the project that you were just talking about, that Trump has been involved in, and what you were just talking with Maggie Haberman. And there's a lot of pressure.
The reality, Brianna, is that the law here is really clear. So, the court will have to, if they seek to avoid this? And we say this very casually. But I want to pause for a moment and say that's a very serious thing, if we believe that our United States Supreme Court would depart, from what the law and the Constitution clearly requires them to do, in order to reach a result.
But if they do that? They will have to do it by other means. They'll have to figure out how to delay hearing the case. They'll have to say, it's too close to the election, to remove him from the ballot. They'll have to say Congress needs to pass a statute or some other way of getting to that result.
It won't be by the findings of the Colorado court. It won't be by the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court. It won't be by the words of Section 3 of the Constitution.
And your conversation about Donald Trump, in Detroit, only turns up the heat, and makes it harder, because he was found to have participated in insurrection, against the Constitution, before we had worried about these phone calls.
This actually strengthens the case that Jack Smith has against President Trump. It strengthens the case that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed, under the KKK Act, against President Trump. And that suit, as you recall, was against President Trump and the RNC. It charged that they were in the conspiracy together.
And so, this call, which none of us have heard, but at least the reports of it, is not only consistent with what happened in Georgia, but consistent with the belief that the RNC was involved, and consistent with what else Trump was doing, in Detroit and with Michigan officials, at that time.
You may remember, Brianna, that the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, flew to Washington, D.C., and stayed at the Trump hotel, and went to visit with Mr. Trump, and were seen drinking champagne, right after the election. He was laying on a pressure campaign, on Detroit officials. And so, we should remember that that was happening, around the same time as this phone call.
So, I don't find it a stretch, to believe that the words of this phone call, as reported, at least are true. And I think it puts additional pressure, on this entire situation, including the Section 3 suit, because it's becoming unequivocally clear--
IFILL: --that Mr. Trump engaged in these activities.
KEILAR: Before we do let you go, Harvard President, Claudine Gay, is facing intensifying pressure, as more plagiarism allegations are emerging.
Students, of course, as you're aware, not just at Harvard, at many universities, have long felt in these situations, there's a double standard, for what they can get away with, or what they might get expelled for, and what a professor, or a university president, in this case, can get away with.
And also, you now have a congressional investigation, of this alleged plagiarism.
What do you think about how this has developed?
IFILL: I think it is incredibly shocking and dangerous. Not that there are plagiarism allegations, or that they would be investigated, within an institution of higher learning.
The part that I find dangerous is that we would bring to bear, the power of the government, our tax dollars, the time of the Congress members, who somehow are unable to pass a border bill, are unable to fund Ukraine, are unable to fund the conflict, in the Middle East, that all of these folks are bringing to bear, the power of the government, against a person, leaving a private institution.
This is unprecedented. I think it's dangerous. I also think that we cannot avoid recognizing the racial targeting. I have not heard anyone combing through the records of the other individuals, and university leaders, who testified along with President Gay. It is ugly.
It is clearly a laid-out plan, by Chris Rufo, who has made clear his plan, to have us do exactly what we're doing now, be talking about the qualifications of this President. He has been pushing this anti-DEI, anti-diversity effort.
But I think it's actually targeted at the independence of institutions of higher learning of universities. We've seen it in Florida, with Cruz -- Chris Rufo, taking over a new college.
And universities are important civic institutions of democracy. When you challenge the independence of private institutions, you are challenging a core element of our democracy. We should be on alert. If Harvard wants to do its own investigation, it is free to do so.
But for members of Congress, to decide that they want to meddle, into the private affairs, of a private institution, in order to make -- score political points, and to target a Black president, is incredibly dangerous. We should be wary of it. We should see what is happening. And we should not be sucked into believing that this is an appropriate use of government resources.
KEILAR: Sherrilyn, thank you, for being with us, this evening. We do appreciate your time.
IFILL: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: And ahead, Rudy Giuliani filing for bankruptcy, 24 hours after a federal judge ordered him, to quickly cough up $148 million, for defaming two former election workers.
Plus, the university massacre that has left more than a dozen dead, and a major tourist city in Europe shaken.
KEILAR: Another huge setback, for Rudy Giuliani. He is now filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
And this comes 24 hours, after a federal judge ordered him, to quickly cough up $148 million, for repeatedly defaming two Georgia election workers. Hard to do that, of course, when you're bankrupt. The judge citing concerns that Giuliani would try to hide his assets.
In the bankruptcy filing, Giuliani lists assets worth up to $10 million, but debts between $100 million and $500 million. He also lists nearly a million dollars, in unpaid taxes, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars owed, to lawyers and accountants.
I'm joined now by two of Rudy Giuliani's attorneys, Gary Fischoff and Heath Berger.
Thank you so much, to both of you, for joining us here.
You list his debt, to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, in his bankruptcy filing. Are you going to argue that that's a debt that's dischargeable, meaning that it can be wiped away in bankruptcy proceedings?
GARY FISCHOFF, ATTORNEY FOR RUDY GIULIANI, PARTNER AT BERGER, FISCHOFF, SHUMER, WEXLER & GOODMAN: So, whether or not that debt ultimately is dischargeable, in bankruptcy, will be determined by the bankruptcy court.
But at least we will get some time, for Mr. Giuliani's other lawyers, to pursue an appeal, and prevent a liquidation of his assets, by this one creditor that's going to get a jump ahead, of all the other creditors.
This way, we'll at least have an opportunity, for his assets to be supervised, and any type of satisfaction, to creditors will be done, in an orderly and fair manner, instead of having one creditor jump ahead of all the others.
KEILAR: OK. Gary, explain how that works. If you're giving him breathing room here, to pursue an appeal, of this $148 million judgment? Because you're well aware that civil litigation like that is stayed during bankruptcy.
So, does that mean that you will be filing a motion, in bankruptcy court, to un-stay that? To un-stay that specific litigation that involves Miss Moss and Miss Freeman?
HEATH BERGER, ATTORNEY FOR RUDY GIULIANI, PARTNER AT BERGER, FISCHOFF, SHUMER, WEXLER & GOODMAN: The only thing that we would be that -- that stay, there's actually actions against Mr. Giuliani. The fact of any actions or the appeal are actually not stayed, and will be proceeding forward, through the appellate courts, or the circuit court, in the District of Columbia, and that will be taken care of by his other attorneys.
If the stay needs to be lifted, we would request the stay be lifted for the sole purpose of filing the appeal.
KEILAR: I don't believe that that is necessarily the case, in this case.
But back to this issue of when it comes to the dischargeable nature, or not, in bankruptcy court? Intentional, willful misconduct, you're well aware, that's not actually something that can be wiped away, in bankruptcy. So, why are you keeping open this possibility, like it is, considering you are an expert on bankruptcy law?
BERGER: First off, the issue on whether debt is dischargeable or not, it's obviously up to a bankruptcy court, to determine.
BERGER: And whether or not a debt is dischargeable will be decided through what's called an adversary proceeding that could be filed, in the bankruptcy court. At the moment, that's obviously not pending before the court.
And if that comes through, we'll have to deal with that, as we will deal with all the other creditors that are out there, and all the other litigations that are currently proceeding, along with the obligations, due and owing to the taxing authorities.
KEILAR: Well Heath, it's pretty clear.
BERGER: Yes. KEILAR: I mean, anyone who's been following the Alex Jones case, knows that it's not, right? I mean, this is a final judgment against Rudy Giuliani. Obviously, he may want to appeal it. But anyone, who has been following what has happened, in the Sandy Hook process, knows that's just pretty standard.
FISCHOFF: Well, if I may answer, if you look at the Sandy Hook, or the Alex Jones case, as a roadmap, they had a judgment of $1.5 billion, against Alex Jones.
And although the bankruptcy court found that that particular obligation was not dischargeable, the Sandy Hook plaintiffs have now offered to accept $85 million, over 10 years, which is a significant difference, between their judgment amount. And, I believe, Alex Jones' lawyers offered $55 million. So, it seems pretty clear that that case is going to settle somewhere between the two numbers.
Now, the numbers, in Mr. Giuliani's case?
KEILAR: Is Rudy Giuliani offering Miss Moss and Miss Freeman, some amount of money?
FISCHOFF: We're not offering anything at this time.
But if you look to that case, as guidance, it might indicate ultimately, if the court finds that the defamation judgment, is not dischargeable, then perhaps this case will take a similar track. It's a little bit premature to say that for sure, though.
KEILAR: Gary, and Heath, when it comes to Mr. Giuliani, now disclosing his assets, why did he just do this? He was ordered to do so, by Judge Howell. If he was willing to file for bankruptcy, why wasn't he willing to follow a court order, to turn over what is the same information?
BERGER: I can't answer what occurred prior to today. I can only indicate that today, we have filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and all of his assets, and all of his liabilities will be disclosed to the court.
And you know what? Hopefully, at that point, everybody will see what he has, and what he doesn't have, and kind of work within those boundaries.
KEILAR: Are you guys getting paid?
FISCHOFF: We have -- we have received a retainer prior to filing, as is typical in a bankruptcy case.
KEILAR: And you expect to stay current on that retainer?
FISCHOFF: I guess, your question really is--
FISCHOFF: --if the retainer is exhausted, do we expect to get paid additional fund?
KEILAR: That's right. To be replenished.
FISCHOFF: As bankruptcy attorneys, that's always the plan. It doesn't always pan out exactly as we plan.
KEILAR: I mean, I ask, obviously, because as you've listed among his debts, the money that his now former lawyers sued him for, for non- payment. Are you sure that you won't end up listed as a debt?
BERGER: That we won't end up listed as a debt? Obviously, the bankruptcy has been filed. And we will do everything we can, to represent Mr. Giuliani, in the best possible fashion. And, whatever happens at the fees, at the end of the day, we're successful? We will deal with it through the bankruptcy systems, and with the bankruptcy court.
KEILAR: Are you sure that he has listed all of his assets, here, because obviously, the judge had some concerns about that.
FISCHOFF: We're going to do everything we can, to make sure that all his assets and all his liabilities are properly disclosed.
Obviously, with Judge Howell's decision, yesterday, to accelerate the collection process, on behalf of the plaintiffs. We had to rapidly file this case. And we have about 14 days, in which to file what's called the Schedules and Statement Financial Affairs, which will have a more detailed disclosure.
And we're going to -- we believe Mr. Giuliani is prepared to respect the bankruptcy process, and understands that true, honest and accurate disclosure, of assets and liabilities, is a prerequisite, to having the bankruptcy court assist him, with his reorganization.
KEILAR: Are you concerned about your client, continuing to repeat the lies that have cost him so much?
BERGER: Well, that -- and as far as we're concerned, in the bankruptcy, we believe that Mr. Giuliani, as we've spoken to, and we've discussed, will continue to be truthful and honest, in all of his disclosures.
What happens outside, in other cases? That's up to Mr. Giuliani and some of his other attorneys.
KEILAR: Heath, Gary, thank you so much, attorneys for Rudy Giuliani. We thank you, for being with us.
FISCHOFF: Thank you.
BERGER: Thank you very much for having us. We appreciate it.
KEILAR: And next, after controversial testimony, on anti-Semitism on college campuses, Harvard's president is facing new pressure, over allegations of plagiarism.
The student reporters, who broke these latest claims, are here with us.
KEILAR: An overwhelming migrant surge, at the southern border, is forcing President Biden, to send top officials, to Mexico, for talks.
Here, in recent days, officials say more than 10,000 migrants have unlawfully crossed into the U.S., each day, which is the highest level that we've seen, in seven months.
CNN spoke to current and former Homeland Security officials, who say the situation is nearing a quote, "Breaking point." Border officials say more than 26,000 migrants are in CBP custody. That's overcapacity, by nearly 10,000 people.
Texas governor, Greg Abbott, escalated his border fight, on Wednesday, by flying 120 migrants, to Chicago, which is a city, led by Democrats, of course. And that sent officials there, scrambling to find shelter for them. Today, the White House slammed it as a dehumanizing political stunt.
I'm joined now by Mark Esper, of course, former Defense Secretary under President Trump.
Sir, you have the Governor of Texas, here, signing this new law, in his state, this week, that takes effect in March. And it makes entering Texas, illegally, a state crime, and allows local law enforcement there, the power to arrest migrants, and judges, the ability to issue removal orders.
You've heard what critics are saying. They're saying Texas is stepping on the federal government's purview here, enforcing immigration law. What do you think?
MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I'm not a lawyer. So, I won't get into all the legal aspects of this.
But clearly, it's a symptom of what most, many on the border see as a crisis. I mean, and the border States are the ones who are bearing the burden of taking care of these people, the migrants.
And as you cited, Brianna, you're talking 10,000 to 12,000 persons a day, the numbers have been the largest ever in U.S. history. This year alone, 2.1 million, 2.2 million people have crossed the border. And that's not counting the so-called gotaways.
And then when you look, dig deeper into those numbers, you see that you have people, thousands from China, hundreds from Iran, from Russia, all types of countries, we have no idea who they are coming in. And many, I think, last year's count was 20,000 had some type of criminal records. So, there's a lot of concern about what's happening on the border. And the states, in this case, that the Texas governor, not the first time, are trying to take some action, to get control of the border.
KEILAR: You think -- and I know you're not a lawyer. But do you think it's the right way to go about it?
ESPER: Well, they're trying to drive action from the federal government. And it's at this point, as you said, it's not just Republican governors. But you have big-city Democratic mayors, New York, Chicago, for example, who are all saying "We need help."
I think this is one of the reasons why particularly we're now less than a year from the 2024 presidential election, that you see that President Biden put this on the table, as part of his international funding package. He asked for $14 billion or so dollars to improve border security. And so, I think you see Democrats are now reacting to the problem on the border as well.
KEILAR: Biden officials, as I mentioned, are set to meet with Mexican officials, here in the coming days. What do you think their top priorities should be?
ESPER: Look, I think it has to be getting help, from the Mexican authorities, on their side of the border.
You read stories about how busloads of people are being dropped off, on the Mexican side, and they walk right up to the fencing. They cut holes in the fencing. There's no evidence that the Mexican Police or Military for that matter are trying to stop this, curtail it. So, I think first of all it begins with enforcement on the Mexican side of the border.
And then secondly, one of the requirements they're looking at, in terms of this new supplemental policy package, would be requiring immigrants coming up from the -- from Guatemala, and Nicaragua, et cetera, and other places that are coming in, from all around the world, having to apply for asylum, in Mexico, first, right?
So, I think those are just two measures. I think, obviously, you have to provide humanitarian assistance, both on our side, and the Mexican side. I think those are a few of the things that are going to be put on the table here.
KEILAR: So, here in Washington, and it sort of never ceases to amaze anyone, I think that Congress likes to leave town, without getting stuff done. But they've gone, without dealing with border security, the Ukraine-Israel aid bill.
What are your concerns, right now, for national security?
ESPER: All of the above. I mean, border security is national security.
I'm very concerned about the state of play, in Ukraine. They need continued support, from us, with regard to weapons and equipment and ammunition. Apparently, the White House announced one last tranche of arms going to Ukraine, at the end of this month. But again, we have to sustain that pipeline.
Israel needs additional support. And part of that package also includes funding and arms for Taiwan.
All these are critical national security things. And what it signals is a dysfunction in our government that we can't get basic things, like this, done.
Now, look, I understand it's complicated now, because we're talking about policy provisions, with regard to the border, in this package, and actually there are immigration changes. But still, we got to be able to work far more quickly.
In Beijing, they don't have government shutdowns. They don't have continuing resolutions. They don't have -- seem to have these problems. And that's who we're keeping pace with right now. Beijing and Moscow.
KEILAR: They do have problems we don't have, though. We have to admit that as well.
ESPER: That's right.
KEILAR: Secretary Esper, thank you very much, tonight. We appreciate it.
ESPER: Thanks, Brianna.
KEILAR: Next, new plagiarism allegations, involving the President of Harvard, already under fire after controversial testimony, on the Hill.
We'll be joined by two Harvard students, who first broke the latest claims.
KEILAR: Correcting course, again. Harvard University President, Claudine Gay, is asking to make additional corrections, to her academic publications, as allegations of plagiarism pile up, and a House committee announced it's investigating.
Gay first came under fire, after she, and other university presidents, failed, during a congressional hearing, to explicitly say that calling for the genocide of Jews would violate their school codes of conduct. They say it would depend on the circumstances or conduct.
Gay survived calls for her resignation that followed. But now she is facing scrutiny, after alleged instances of plagiarism, in her past work, came to light. Last week, Gay made corrections to two academic papers. Now, she's submitting corrections to the dissertation that she wrote, as a PhD student, back in the 1990s.
In response, a university spokesperson told CNN, "The members of the subcommittee and the Corporation," which is the university's top governing board, "concluded that Gay's inadequate citations, while regrettable, did not constitute research misconduct."
Harvard officials did not refer to Gay's actions as plagiarism.
The Harvard Crimson, which is the school's student paper, first broke this news, about Gay's dissertation. And those student journalists, Tilly Robinson, and Neil Shah, are with us now, to talk about that.
Neil, in the course of reporting on this story, you have reviewed the Harvard committee's findings. You've looked at pieces of Claudine Gay's work. One of the examples that you've reported on, includes Gay's 2001 article, where she's describing a study, by two researchers.
You can see. And we have a graphic of this. When you put up the colors here, you can look at these different colors here, the language that she used in, compared, it was nearly identical to the 1990 study. And though she cited these authors, in the previous passage, she didn't directly quote them.
How bad is this, do you think, as you looked into different levels of plagiarism, in your reporting?
NEIL SHAH, SENIOR REPORTER, THE HARVARD CRIMSON, SOPHOMORE, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Sure. So, we, at The Crimson, have reviewed the allegations that have been presented, by various outlets, over the last roughly 10 days.
The allegations vary in size and severity, from shared phrases, with citations nearby, but no direct quotations, to shared phrases with no citation. So, there definitely is a lot of variance, in the various allegations. That being said, our review did find that, they do violate or -- they do appear to violate the stated policy for citations and plagiarism that Harvard has, on its website.
And, from our understanding, the summary that was presented to us, by Harvard, the Subcommittee of the Corporation, and the independent panel they appointed, seemed to have also agreed that they -- there were instances of inadequate citation.
That being said, they did say that Gay's work did not constitute research misconduct, as you said earlier. To clarify on that right -- research misconduct, according to Harvard's policies, to find that, you need to show that it's intentional or knowing or reckless. And the Corporation and the independent panel both said that they did not find evidence that that was the case.
KEILAR: Tilly, does the way that Harvard has reacted to this, and how they label what Claudine Gay did, does it hew to what Neil just said, about what Harvard's policy is?
TILLY ROBINSON, SENIOR REPORTER, THE HARVARD CRIMSON, SOPHOMORE, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Yes. So, it's hard for us, as students, to make full determinations, on what's happening for administrators here. What we can say is whether it seems to square with the broader response, from the scholarly community.
So, we, at The Crimson, have spoken with several of the scholars, whom Gay allegedly plagiarized, and they've given us some mixed responses.
Several of the folks we've spoken to say that they do not believe Gay's writing constitutes plagiarism.
Others have told us that while they do think Gay plagiarized their work, they're not especially concerned, because although technically plagiarism, the borrowed language, appear to be mostly technical descriptions, of methodology or definitions that would be very hard to reword.
But finally, it is also true that some academics do find the allegations troubling, and wish to see further sanctions imposed against Gay.
So, I think that while there's been a mixed response here, I do think that the university has been trying hard, to clarify what constitutes inadequate citation, tried a difficult line, on whether that constitutes plagiarism, and also differentiate that from their policy on research misconduct.
KEILAR: Well, Tilly and Neil, I thank you both, for being with us, and for your reporting, just proving that student journalism and certainly, as we've seen at colleges, here in the last year or so, is really making quite a mark. Thank you.
SHAH: Thank you so much for having us.
KEILAR: And coming up, a massacre overseas, a gunman opening fire, at a university, in Prague, killing more than a dozen people, injuring more than two dozen. One of the deadliest mass shootings, in the Czech Republic, in decades.
KEILAR: Tonight, we are learning more details, about the alleged shooter, who killed 14 people, and injured 25, in a rare mass shooting, in Europe.
The suspect, a 24-year-old philosophy student opened fire, at the university that he attended, in the busy tourist center of Prague, which is the capital of the Czech Republic. Authorities believe that he died by suicide.
Some students locked themselves in classrooms, when the shooter began his rampage, and in what has become a truly stunning image, out of this. You can see others, who were clinging to ledges, of campus building, several storeys above the ground. In those moments, that was the safest place for them to be.
And in the chaos, Prague residents and tourists, ran for their lives, across the famous Charles Bridge.
Joining me, tonight, is CNN's Senior National Security Analyst, and former Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem.
What a sad day, in Prague here, Juliette.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY AT DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Yes.
KEILAR: As we watch this all too familiar sight.
You had Czech officials, getting this tip, saying that the suspect intended to come to campus, to take his own life. And so, they then locked down the building on campus, where they knew that he had a lecture that afternoon. But then, he went to another building. And that's where he opened fire.
Why do you think Police didn't lock down the entire school?
KAYYEM: I mean, part of it is just they don't have the culture, that -- of sort of gun response that we do, here in the United States. I mean, this is a -- this is a republic or a country that the last mass shooting was in 2019. I mean, sort of comparatively, in terms of what they were expecting, or expectations of their population, the extent to which their population is actually armed.
Look, for Europe, for the European Union, the Czech Republic is more permissive than most in allowing for guns.
But when you compare it to, say, a country like ours, it's pretty restrictive. I mean, you have to have training. You can have not a single criminal record. You have to have a mental health screening. And you have to do like sort of a registration effort. So, he was able to get through all of these, to have possession of that gun, and still, was able to kill.
What the university, and the city are going to have to examine is, what was their response time like? How long did he have alone? Did they -- do they have active-shooter protocols that are practiced, if they anticipate that this could happen more in the kind of society that they live in?
KEILAR: Yes. This is so reminiscent of the mistakes that were made, at Virginia Tech, where you had the shooter--
KEILAR: --killing two people at a dorm. And then, the university made some assumptions, about the threat. They did not shut down the campus. And then, hours later, the shooter killed 30 people, in an academic building.
KEILAR: You mentioned they don't have the culture. Is there a way for that culture to be shared? Is there an avenue, for officials, in Europe--
KEILAR: --where this is less common to learn, from these mistakes?
KAYYEM: Yes, it is. I mean, look, I hate to say this is something that we might be good at exporting. But there is -- there are International Associations of Emergency Managers, and of Chiefs of Police, in which these lessons are shared. It's just that if your last active shooter, is almost -- act of shooting's almost seven years ago, these things atrophy. Here in the United States, we're able to practice them.
So, one thing that I'm looking at is exactly what you said, University of Virginia is. What were the notification protocols? Where, here in the United States, we are now used to these colleges and universities coming out, with these tweets, saying, "Lockdown" or "Run." We're not hearing much of that.
So, response and communication are often things that can save people's lives, because they know what's going on. And they're able either, in the best-case scenario to run, or hide.
And, we're obviously also curious about what kind of gun he had. If it was not -- if it was, say, a handgun, that means he had a lot of time, to kill that many people. And that means that the response capabilities were not consistent with what we hope for here, in the United States, although we've seen bad examples, here as well.
KEILAR: Yes, we're still looking for some of that information.
KEILAR: What do you think investigators are looking for, at this moment, considering that we've also learned that the alleged shooter may be linked to other killings, certainly including that--
KEILAR: --of his own father.
KAYYEM: That's exactly right. So, the father thing is going to be relevant. If he killed his father earlier in the day? And then, what was the motivation for him going to the school? Being kicked out? Was he failing out, and other issues like that. So, that is what they're -- they're looking at the nexus.
And this -- as compared to when I was on, this morning, when you didn't know if he had a relationship, with the university. Now that we know that he did, it's going to look to what was his experience there, and what did others around know about him?
KEILAR: All right. Juliette, thank you so much, for this. We appreciate it.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
KEILAR: Next, see what happens, when the Queen of Christmas meets one of her biggest fans, at the White House.
KEILAR: Tonight, let's end on a high note. The Queen of Christmas, spreading the holiday cheer, all the way to the nation's capital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Hello, Mariah. How are you?
MARIAH CAREY, AMERICAN SINGER, SONGWRITER, RECORD PRODUCER, AND ACTRESS: Hello, sir.
BIDEN: I'm a fan.
CAREY: I'm a fan.
BIDEN: I just want you to know.
(MUSIC - "ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU" PLAYS)
CAREY: Oh, we love it.
BIDEN: Come on.
CAREY: Thank you.
(MUSIC - "ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU" PLAYS)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Mariah Carey, visiting the White House, with her 12-year-old twins, by the way, to meet President Biden, and Vice President Harris, a visit that included everything from viewing the Oval Office, to admiring the festive decor.
And this comes as Carey's classic Christmas medley, "All I Want For Christmas" returns to Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, quite right where it belongs, knocking out Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," after it made it there, this year, for the first time, in 65 years, after its release.
And thank you so much, for joining us.
"CNN NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP" starts now.