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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Michigan Supreme Court Rejects Effort To Ban Trump From Ballot; Christie Dismisses Calls To Drop Out In New Ad; Blinken, Mayorkas, Meet With Mexican President, Urging Need To Drive Down Border Crossings. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 27, 2023 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Right. And the frozen ponds of Las Vegas and Florida.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: How many times were you in that segment, John? Was that your segment or Tom's?

BERMAN: Not nearly enough. They cut out some of my best stuff there.

But thankfully, Tom Foreman will have much more, Harry. And thank you very much.

You can catch "ALL THE BEST, ALL THE WORST," this Friday at 10 PM Eastern and Pacific, with Tom Foreman, right here, on CNN.

The news continues. So "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.


A Trump victory, in Michigan, a demand for a recusal, in Maine, and a looming appeal, in Colorado, the fight to keep or kick the former President off the ballot, across the country.

Plus, 19 days out, from the first votes of 2024, new ads and new strategies, from Trump's Republican rivals. The question is, will it make a difference?

Also, a new frontier of one of America's biggest media companies, now go into battle, with artificial intelligence and what it means.

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

Tonight, two State Supreme Courts, with two very different outcomes, over whether or not Donald Trump is disqualified, from seeking the presidency, for a third time, under the 14th Amendment's insurrectionist ban.

In Michigan, justices there, rejecting an effort, to boot Trump, from the primary ballot, on procedural grounds, though appearing to leave the door open, for renewing these efforts, playing out in many states, in the general election. Meanwhile, the Republican Party, in Colorado, has just asked the U.S. Supreme Court, to overturn that State Supreme Court's unprecedented decision, to kick Trump off the primary ballot, with the ruling arguing that he not only incited an insurrection, but participated in it.

Trump responding, to what happened in Michigan, and what could happen soon, in Colorado, earlier today.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: It's very bad for Colorado. Very, very bad for Colorado. But we just had the big win in Michigan today. And that was a good one. And we have 31 -- and we have 33 wins. And this isn't a loss because we'll have to see what happens. This is not a final determination as you know.


COLLINS: Not totally clear which 33 wins he's referencing there.

But what we do know is that these efforts, to disqualify Trump, from the ballot, have been rejected so far in at least four states. Tonight, decisions are still pending, in Oregon and in Maine. Whatever these states decide, it does appear increasingly clear that all of this could ultimately be up to the nation's highest court, to settle this matter.

Here tonight, CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, and former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.

Also, with us, conservative lawyer, and Contributor for The Atlantic, George Conway.

Elie, let me start with you. Because this Michigan ruling is obviously a win for Trump. But can you just kind of walk us through how the Michigan Supreme Court comes to this decision, when we saw a very different decision, still a 4-3 one, from the Colorado Supreme Court, just last week?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, first of all, this is chaos, right? I mean, we see different states, seemingly every few days, coming to different resolutions, based on different criteria.

But if I had to sort of unify what happened here, how do we get one resolution, in Michigan, the other in Colorado?

The answer is that in Colorado, there's this pre-existing legal procedure, that you can use, to challenge someone's qualifications, for the ballot. So, they had this mini hearing, took five days, back in October, November. And the Colorado Supreme Court said "Good enough."

In Michigan, there is no comparable proceeding. So, the Michigan Supreme Court, today, essentially said, we don't have a way to do this in this state. My general criticism, complaint, about this 14th Amendment effort is I don't believe it's up to the states at all. I think the 14th Amendment is clear, on its face, that it's up to Congress, to tell us how this works. And they've not delegated that to the state.

COLLINS: So, for you, there's no gray area?

HONIG: No, I think they're -- this is no-go. I think the only way to do it is based on what Congress has done. The Amendment itself, Section 5 says, Congress has to tell us how this works.

The only thing Congress has done is they passed a criminal law, many years ago, saying, "It's a crime to commit insurrection. If you do, you're disqualified." That's not great. If people have a complaint with that, complain to Congress, because they've failed to act.

COLLINS: So, I'm glad you said that.

Because George Conway, you were initially skeptical, of this entire premise, of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, barring someone, former President Donald Trump, from ever serving again, from qualifying to run for president, again.

But you have changed your mind on that following the ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court. Why?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: Yes. I approached this whole issue with trepidation, because it is a big deal, to throw a former President, off the ballot.

But I was convinced very much by the original law review article, written by the conservative law professors. I said, "Wow, this is a much stronger argument than I thought."


But I still felt that courts were going to try to look for a way out, and that somehow, some genius legal analyst -- legal lawyer or law professor would come out with a response. And when I saw the Colorado case, I didn't see one.

I didn't see a federal argument against what the Colorado Supreme Court did. And all the arguments that I have seen, against disqualification, are bogus, like the one, my friend, Elie, just mentioned.

He suggests that the only way that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment could be enforced was -- is through an act of Congress. That's just not true. There's nothing in Section 3 that says that. There's nothing that says that in the other provisions of the 14th Amendment.

And if it were true, that would mean that if Congress repealed tomorrow, all of the Civil Rights Acts that were enacted, from the time of the Civil War, through the 60s to the present, that would mean under Section 1, that Section 1, which prohibits race discrimination, that would mean that like states could immediately start re- segregating their schools, and there would be no way to enforce it. That's just not the law.

And there's nothing in the 14th Amendment that says that Section 3 is any different than Section 1 in that score.

So, that argument just goes out the door. All the other arguments that I've seen, that had been raised, like the argument that the President is not an officer, is just, that one is silly, because the Constitution refers to the President as -- presidency as an office, dozens of times.

So, I mean, really, the arguments are pathetically weak. And unless somebody comes up with something better, the Supreme Court is going to have a very difficult time, avoiding the consequence of the plain language of the 14th Amendment.


HONIG: I agree with original George here, where he started off. There is language on this specifically, in the 14th Amendment. Everyone's talking about Section 3, which is very important. Says if an officer engages in insurrection, or gives comfort, to enemies of the country, he's disqualified. Great.

But Section 5 is two sections ahead that says Congress shall have the power, to pass legislation, to enact this Amendment. So, has Congress done that? No, it doesn't say Congress shall have the power or states can, if they feel like it.

CONWAY: Yes, but that's nonsense.

HONIG: It's not nonsense.

CONWAY: Elie, that's just complete nonsense.

HONIG: It's the language of Section 5.

CONWAY: It's not.

HONIG: I think we have Section 5. We'll call it up. What's your response to that? Section 5 is clear.

CONWAY: No. It's--

HONIG: It says Congress has the power.

CONWAY: What you just said -- what you -- what you -- it does have the power. But it does not say -- what it does not say is that the amendment is not self-executing. And as that's the point I was making--

HONIG: What does that mean?

CONWAY: --with Section 1, Elie that -- what it means is that if Section 3 says somebody who's engaged in an insurrection is not eligible, if they've already taken an oath, then that's what it means. It doesn't -- you don't need Congress to tell you, to follow the

Constitution no more than you need Congress to tell you to follow the Section 1's prohibition, in the 14th Amendment, that says that you can't put Black kids in a different school.

HONIG: I'm not following that analogy whatsoever.

CONWAY: It's just not that hard, Elie.

HONIG: This says--

CONWAY: I don't know what you're talking about.

HONIG: --Congress shall have the power.

CONWAY: Yes. It's--

HONIG: This is self-executing point.

CONWAY: Congress says--

HONIG: It's self-executing point.

CONWAY: Yes. And that provision--

HONIG: Let me address this, for a second.

CONWAY: Elie. Elie. Elie, you know better. You've read the provision. That provision applies to Section 1 as well. Your logic would mean that courts could -- that states could engage in race discrimination, tomorrow, if all the Civil Rights statutes were gone.

HONIG: Not--

CONWAY: It's just nonsense, Elie.

HONIG: Not at all.

CONWAY: And you know that.

HONIG: That's not what it means. It says Congress shall have the power. You're trying to add in states.

CONWAY: It's nonsense, Elie. It's not an argument.

HONIG: You're trying to add in states. Let me make a point about--

CONWAY: It's not a serious argument, Elie.

HONIG: Let me make a point about this self-executing--

CONWAY: I'm sorry. It's not a serious argument.

HONIG: I mean, you're speaking in conclusory terms. You're not addressing the actual issue. Let me--

CONWAY: No. I'm not speaking. You're the one speaking, in conclusory terms, Eliot (ph).

HONIG: Let me make this point about the self-executing point.

CONWAY: Eliot (ph), I made -- I mean, Elie, I made a -- I made a complete argument that Section 1 -- 3 is parallel to Section 1. That's what we do as lawyers. We don't say that a provision that like Section 5 that says that Congress has the power, that does not mean that a provision of the Constitution is not enforceable, unless Congress says so. That's nonsense.


CONWAY: If the Framers of the 14th Amendment had set -- had agreed to set, had meant to say that, they could have said that in words of one syllable.

Instead, they said in Section 3, that somebody who engage -- who engages in an oath to the Constitution, to support the Constitution, then engages in insurrection, which isn't really a hard requirement, for somebody to meet, not engaging in insurrection, they're barred. And it says that without regard. It doesn't say, "Unless Congress does something in Section 5," it doesn't say that.

And we, I mean, I'm a conservative. I was a member of the Federalist Society. This is how we read plain text. We don't make stuff up, just because we don't like the result.

HONIG: This is not textualism. This is pretzel logic.

I agree with you. Let's take it as a given that Donald Trump--

CONWAY: No, no, no. You're not--

HONIG: George, you have to let me talk, at some point.

COLLINS: Yes, let--


HONIG: George, come on. You're filibustering.


COLLINS: Let's let Elie--


CONWAY: --logical.

COLLINS: Let's let Elie make his point. And then I got a question for you, George.


HONIG: Let's take it as a given that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection. CONWAY: Yes.

HONIG: The Amendment itself is clear. You want to talk text? Section 5 is clear. It's going be Congress has the power. What you're trying to do is read into it. And so do the states. Let me also make this--

CONWAY: Eliot (ph), you're reading--

HONIG: George?

CONWAY: You're misreading Section 5.

HONIG: George?

CONWAY: The text says Congress has the power.

HONIG: We'll put it up again.


CONWAY: It doesn't say that Congress -- OK. It says Congress has the power. It doesn't say that Section 3 doesn't stand alone. It just doesn't.

HONIG: George?

CONWAY: You're just, you know, that's textualism.

HONIG: You have to let me -- you have to give me a second here, George.

CONWAY: OK. I don't--

HONIG: A self-executing point is one you keep on--

CONWAY: Elie? Elie? Elie? I mean, Elie, you're just not making any sense.

COLLINS: OK. OK, let's--

HONIG: George, listen.

COLLINS: Can we -- can we--

CONWAY: I'm sorry.

COLLINS: For the viewers at home--

HONIG: You--

COLLINS: --who are wondering, I mean, at the heart of this?

And I think this is important, George. Because what you were writing, what I referenced earlier, is that you formerly were skeptical of the idea, that this is something--


COLLINS: --that could bar Trump, from the ballot.

But what about the argument here that we've heard, even from people who -- and I should note that you are certainly not a fan of Donald Trump's. But what about the argument that--

CONWAY: I'm not.

COLLINS: --for a court to make this decision, not the voters, that it's undemocratic that they should make the decision, of who's on the ballot, instead of just simply the voters, deciding who should be on the ballot, for something of this matter?

CONWAY: That doesn't work either. Because the provision we're talking about, Section 14 -- a 3 was approved by Congress and by the states.

And there are other provisions, in the Constitution, like the requirement that a president be 35, that a President be 35-years-old, that he'd be a natural-born, or she'd be a natural-born citizen, those two restrict the ability of people to vote for whoever they want.

And the democratic way to overturn those requirements, including the requirement, which is, again, as I say, is a really easy one, don't commit -- don't engage in an insurrection, don't try to overthrow the government? The way to overturn that requirement or modify it is the democratic process of proposing, and the Congress adopting, and then the state legislatures approving another constitutional amendment that undoes Section 14 -- Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, at least as far as it affects Trump. I don't know.


CONWAY: So, that's the democratic process that should be involved here. If they have a problem with what the Constitution says, that's the way to fix it.

COLLINS: Well, Elie, I'm curious.


COLLINS: I mean, this does seem headed for the Supreme Court, the Republican Party and Colorado appealing this. Trump's team is telling us they're expected to appeal it basically any minute now.

How does the Supreme Court hear an argument, like what George Conway is making there?

HONIG: Yes. So, I think the Supreme Court is going to reverse Colorado.

So, a couple points here. The target of the 14th Amendment activists keeps on moving. The original theory was, as George said, self- executing, meaning Secretaries of State could do this.

Every Secretary of State to consider this has rejected it, including Jocelyn Benson, prominent Democrat in Michigan. Brad Raffensperger, guy knows a thing or two about insurrection, he rejected it. We're waiting to hear from Maine. They're 0 for everybody so far.

In the courts. The courts have rejected this, not because they found Donald Trump did not engage in insurrection. The courts have rejected this on due process grounds. And that's why Colorado today is one out of about 18 or so lawsuits that's gotten any traction. You can do the math on that. The batting average George is 0-52. And I think it's about to be knocked down to zero-zero-zero, when the Supreme Court reverses this.

COLLINS: George, final word?

CONWAY: Well that may very well -- that may very well be the case. But the problem is, the courts have to apply the law, as it's written, not as they want it to be. And they can't avoid difficult decision.

It's like, if you become a judge, you have to apply the law as written. It's like, if you become an HR director, at a company, you got to fire people. And that's what's going on here, as courts are looking for a way out. But right now, there is no good, sensible legal way out.

COLLINS: Elie Honig, George Conway, I love a robust discussion--

HONIG: Good times.

COLLINS: --to kick off our 9 PM hour. Thank you both for that.

Up ahead. We'll see if we continue this. The Iowa caucus is drawing closer. Donald Trump sharing an ominous word cloud, as one of his 2024 rivals is pushing back on calls for him to drop out. We'll get reaction, from former Trumper -- former Trump White House National Security Adviser, John Bolton.

Plus, President Biden sending two of his top aides, to meet with Mexico's president, for urgent talks, as a record number of migrants are crossing the border. A report, on the ground, coming up.



COLLINS: Less than 20 days until the Iowa caucuses. And tonight, former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, responding to calls that he should narrow the GOP field, by dropping out of the race.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, (R) FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Some people say I should drop out of this race. Really?

I'm the only one saying Donald Trump is a liar. He pits Americans against each other. His Christmas message to anyone who disagrees with him: "Rot in Hell." He caused a riot on Capitol Hill. He'll burn America to the ground, to help himself. Every Republican leader says that in private. I'm the only one saying it in public.

What kind of precedent do we want? A liar? Or someone who's got the guts to tell the truth?


COLLINS: Christie is launching that new seven-figure ad buy in New Hampshire. I'm told it's his first seven-figure ad buy. And of course, there, the primary falls about a week after the Iowa caucuses.

Polls have consistently shown Christie, and the rest of the Republican field, far behind Donald Trump. But the former Governor says that he believes he's the only one willing to take on the former President, a man that he once supported.

There's obviously another Republican challenger, also in New Hampshire. That is Nikki Haley. She is there, tonight. You can see her here, making her pitch to voters.

All of this comes, and we're joined now, tonight, by Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser, John Bolton.

Ambassador Bolton, great to have you, here tonight.

I wonder what you make of Christie's response, to those who have said, he should drop out, consolidate the number of Trump alternatives. He's basically saying, "Thanks, but no thanks."


And he makes an important point. To beat Donald Trump, you have to explain why Donald Trump is not capable of being President. And that's what he's trying to do, rather than the tactics of some of the other candidates still in the race.

Look, this has gone back and forth. I certainly believed at one point that we could -- we should narrow the field, to have one person against Trump. That obviously didn't go anywhere. It's now three weeks till the Iowa caucuses, four weeks to New Hampshire.


I think the best way to prevail against Trump now, on the Republican nomination, is to diminish his vote, get it as low as possible, and show that he may have a plurality. But there's still a wide-open possibility that somebody else could get to a majority.

Look, if we had picked, at the very beginning, of the primary season, the candidate most likely to win, it would have been Ron DeSantis. He's still in it, but his chances have diminished.

So, I think as long as we're at this point now, I'd rather see anybody, who's still in, if they want to stay in, see what they can come up with. This momentum can change. There's no doubt about it.

COLLINS: So, you're fine with Christie -- Chris Christie staying in this race?

BOLTON: Yes, I think he's made a point that is also important that for Republican voters now, who have to face the prospect of Trump getting the nomination, that people who don't think he's qualified, who really think he's not fit to be president, should be clear about it. And that includes, for example, what Christie has done, and what DeSantis has done, which say, unequivocally, "I will not be Trump's vice- presidential nominee."

Now, every candidate says, "Oh, well, that's hypothetical, because I'm going to win the nomination." OK. So, give the candidate their right to say that.

But then say, "In the unlikely case, you don't get the nomination, would you be Trump's Vice President?" I'm sure a Vivek Ramaswamy would say, in a heartbeat, I'd like to know what the other candidates who haven't given their real opinion on the issue think. And I think Republican voters should hear it.

COLLINS: That seems to very -- be a very clear message to -- about Nikki Haley. I mean, she is someone, who Chris Christie, last week, told a voter in New Hampshire, he would maybe consider supporting her, if she would make it clear where she stood on Trump. And he said that, essentially, because she wouldn't answer questions, like whether or not she'd accept a vice presidential role that he couldn't, at this moment.

I mean, what do you make of her strategy, in kind of talking about Trump, when it comes to the deficit, and other issues, but not taking him on directly, on other fronts, on the most obvious fronts, his legal fronts?

BOLTON: Well--

COLLINS: His all of those issues?

BOLTON: Well, I think, it's a strategy designed to get past the Republican nomination, to get to the general election.

But it also reminds me of what a Mitt Romney campaign official said, during the 2012 election contest. Not Romney, who I don't think believed what his campaign official said. But this guy said, after the primary, it's like an Etch A Sketch. You can shake the thing up, and then start all over again. And I think that's a mistake.

I think people want consistency. They want a profile in courage. They want a candidate, who says one thing to Republican voters, and basically says the same thing, to general election voters. That is a candidate of principle.

And I think, faced with Donald Trump, a man who has no principles, it would be a plus, for a candidate, to be very clear about where they stand.

COLLINS: Do you plan to endorse the 2024 race?

BOLTON: Well I haven't so--

COLLINS: And the GOP primary?

BOLTON: Yes. I haven't so far. And I'm not sure that I will, at this point. The candidates that I would have preferred decided not to run. So, it's sort of left me at the starting gate.

COLLINS: Well, and you yourself, had toyed with the idea of a run.

BOLTON: I was--

COLLINS: I wonder what you made of an--

BOLTON: Not -- not including me.

COLLINS: OK. I wonder what you made of a -- and have you ruled that out, by the way, sir?

BOLTON: I have -- I haven't. But look at the calendar.

COLLINS: Yes. It is getting quite close. I do want to get your reaction to an image that Trump reposted.

It was from this Daily Mail survey. They asked a 1,000 likely voters, what they thought one word that came to mind, when they thought of a potential second Trump term. Some of the words were "Power," "Revenge." But you can see clearly here a "Dictatorship," and "Dictator" are quite large on that image.

Why do you think Trump shared that?

BOLTON: I think because he believes that it will drive people crazy, who don't like him. This is a way to show to the base that the people who hate him, are the people, the base, hates as well.

I think it is revelatory of his character. He cares about himself getting revenge, not for wrongs, done to his supporters, but wrongs done to Donald Trump. But he cares about the power of the presidency. In his mind, I think that's what it's all about. This has nothing to do with political philosophy, or policies in Washington. As usual, it's all about Donald Trump.

COLLINS: Former National Security Adviser, Ambassador John Bolton, thank you, for your time, tonight.

BOLTON: Thank you.

COLLINS: I want to dig in, on the 2024 race, the strategies, with CNN Political Commentator, Kate Bedingfield, who is the former White House Communications Director for President Biden.

Also, here tonight, Republican strategist and pollster, Kristen Soltis Anderson.

[21:25:00] Kristen, let me start with you, because you had this really interesting piece, in The New York Times, where you were comparing Trump, how he ran in 2016, as this chaos candidate, with how he's running now. And you said that for 2024, people should not, quote, "Assume that most voters will consider a second Trump term to be the riskier bet."

I mean, given the fact that he's making jokes, about being a dictator, he's laying out what that second term could look like, why not? Why do you make that argument?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I know. It seems a little bit crazy, if you are somebody, who does not say, think of Donald Trump as the face, you'd put next to the word, stability and order, in the dictionary.

And yet, all of the polling data that I have seen, over the last couple of months, has suggested that for voters, while they may have thought of Donald Trump, as Mr. Chaos, in 2016, when it worked for him, as well as 2020, when it did not work for him? That nowadays, they've been looking at the last three years, and they've been saying, "Gosh, I voted for Biden, because I thought he was going to put things back to normal. It doesn't feel like things have gotten back to normal."

And so, whatever advantage Biden held over Trump, on that metric, has really started to go away, in a lot of the polling that I've seen.

COLLINS: Kate, what do you make of that? You worked for President Biden, obviously, very closely. You were in his circle of advisers that he trusted.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think some of that is a function of people, who really haven't seen or thought about Donald Trump. And that feels like a strange thing to say, for those of us who talk about him, all the time, and probably a lot of the CNN audience, who thinks about him, more than the average voter does.

For most voters, they really aren't thinking about politics, day in and day out. They certainly aren't thinking about Donald Trump. And so, I think the challenge, for the Biden campaign, the task for them, in this coming year, is to really make this contest, about what Donald Trump has said he will do.

I thought, actually, John Bolton said it very, very well. Donald Trump cares about Donald Trump. He doesn't actually care about, about you or your family. And he's not interested in doing anything that's actually going to help you or your family.

And so, for the Biden campaign, what they've got to do is define the contours of this race. Make very clear what a second term of the Trump presidency would mean. Because Trump, of course, is an incumbent this time around too, right? That's another key difference between the kind of race he ran in 2016, and the race, he's got to run this time.

There are a lot of promises he made, he didn't keep. And then, of course, there was a lot of chaos and a lot of damage that he did that sort of, swing voters is dwindling, as they are, are comfortable with. And the more they're reminded of that, the more they see the clear choice between the two, I think Biden will benefit over time.

But that, to me, that's what this campaign is going to be about. And that's the success. The Biden campaign is going to be -- it's going to be make or break, whether they can do that.

COLLINS: Well, and this is, it's important to note, Trump is not the Republican nominee, yet. We don't know what the voters are going to decide. We wait to see what they decide. We look at the polling. But we wait to see what they decide, when the Iowa caucuses happened, the New Hampshire primary.

And Kristen, on that front, Nikki Haley is in New Hampshire, tonight, making her case to voters. She's been doing this repeatedly. She was asked tonight, just a few moments ago, by a voter, about what was the cause of the Civil War? This is how she responded.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the cause of the United States Civil War?

NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, don't come with an easy question.

I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run, the freedoms and what people could and couldn't do.

What do you think the cause of the Civil War was?


HALEY: I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not running for president. And I want to listen your (ph) on the cause of the Civil War.

HALEY: I mean, I think it always comes down to the role of government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2023, it's astonishing to me that you would answer that question without mentioning the word, slavery.

HALEY: What do you want me to say about slavery?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem. You've answered my question. Thank you.

HALEY: Next question.


COLLINS: Now, it's not your average Town Hall question. But she did seem surprised by it. And the voter, as you could hear there, called her out for not mentioning, slavery. What do you make of that answer? SOLTIS ANDERSON: Yes, if I were her, that would have been pretty easy, to just say that and move on. But it's also I think, pretty clear that that voter was kind of trying to catch her, saying something that would potentially make her less appealing, to those Independent voters, in New Hampshire, that she's going to rely on so heavily.

So, this was an easy question to answer. I wish she had answered it, using the easy word, say, slavery. There's a disagreement in our country about it. But ultimately, I don't think it's actually going to hurt her standing, one way or another, with Republican primary voters, at this point.

COLLINS: Kristen Soltis Anderson, Kate Bedingfield, thank you both, for joining, tonight.



COLLINS: Up next, we'll get an update in Israel, as new videos are circulating, of a group of Palestinians, being detained, by the IDF, stripped down to their underwear. And what you see, it appears to be at least two children are among them. That's next.


COLLINS: There are new videos, tonight, that show dozens of Palestinian men, and at least two children, from our account, detained and stripped of their clothing, by Israeli forces, inside a stadium, in Gaza City.

Heads up that what you're about to see is disturbing. But obviously, it's important. That's why we're showing it to you.


COLLINS: You could see here in this video, the men. There are two children. They're surrounded by the IDF, walking in only their underwear, with their hands up.

In the past, the IDF has said that it has stripped detainees, to ensure that they're not carrying explosives. But tonight, they've not responded to CNN's request for comment, on what you're seeing here, and the children that are involved.

In other clips, the men are sitting, on the floor, with their hands, tied behind their backs. Some of them are blindfolded. While other images show women and children, among the detained. An Israeli flag seen hanging, on a soccer goal in the background.

I should note, CNN is unable to verify when this video was taken. We have geo-located it, to that stadium though, in Gaza City, for its accuracy.


Joining me here tonight, Danny Danon, a member of the Israeli parliament, and a former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations.

So, Ambassador, thank you, for being here.

What is Israel's explanation, for why these two children were detained, and stripped to their underwear?

DANNY DANON, FORMER ISRAEL AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Good night, Kaitlan. Thank you for having me.

I'm not familiar with the video you just described. But I can tell you that when we detain people, it's only when we know that they are involved in the terrorist activities.

And unfortunately, we saw in Gaza, many cases of teenagers, and women, that are actually collaborating with Hamas. And that is why we take precautions, when we arrest them. If we found out that they are not involved, we'll release them immediately.

But we have. We have arrested the hundreds of people, who collaborated with Hamas. And many times, they were able to attack our troops. So, it's disguising, when you see somebody who seems innocent. But right after he passes by the troops, he will -- bombing himself. We had one issue of a suicide bomber. That's why we take those precautions.

COLLINS: Well, you said, "When we know." I mean, these are detainees. They're suspected. But they're not all confirmed, right?

DANON: Well, as I told you, I don't know to which video, you refer to. But yes, we do arrest people, who collaborate with Hamas.

But let me remind you that we have 129 hostages that were kidnapped from their homes. Nobody knows where they are, including women that we know that are being tortured every day.

So, with all due respect, to those videos, even if those people will get arrested, they will be arrested in Israel. They will go to court. They will see a lawyer. What about our hostages? Even the Red Cross haven't visited them, for almost three months.


DANON: So, I've noticed that (ph) video.

COLLINS: I want to talk about the hostages, because obviously that's incredibly important.

But these are children. I mean, is that typical IDF practice, to detain even children, and strip them to their underwear? Because we see at least two children, in these videos.

DANON: Well, we have no intention to arrest innocent children. But sometimes, Hamas will use those children, to transfer explosives, to target the IDF troops, in Gaza. So, when we have no choice, yes, we will detain minors, and we will treat them properly. We are not eager to do it. But we know that Hamas will use women and children in order to attack us.

COLLINS: We've asked the IDF, for comment, on this. I should note, they've not gotten back to us. We're waiting for them to get back to us.

But Ambassador, we're also hearing that Secretary of State, Blinken, is expected to return to Israel, next week, to talk about the next steps, in this war. Is that what you've heard? And what do you expect those talks to look like? I mean, what are the next steps that Israel is taking here?

DANON: So, we will come to the visit of the Secretary again in Israel. We know that the U.S. is trying to start a dialog, about the day after, what will happen in Gaza, after we win the war against Hamas.

Far as I can, frankly tell you, that we are still focused on today, not about the day after. We still have the hostages. We still need to eradicate Hamas. We are moving forward. Sinwar and the leadership of Hamas, I am sure that they can hear the tanks stay above them. So, we are operating in order to capture the leadership of Hamas.

But we are willing to talk about the day after, which will for us, it's very simple. We need to demilitarize Gaza. And we need to have a process of denazification of the people of Gaza. That's the challenge.

The same way the U.S. and the Allies did in Nazi Germany, or in Japan, that's something we're looking to do, including partner for the international community, to do in Gaza, to build a new future, for the people in Gaza, not to reconstruct a terrorist state all over again.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, yes, there's major disagreements between a lot of the international community, in Israel, over what this looks like, and the U.S. and Israel. So, we'll wait to see what comes of those talks.

But you mentioned the hostage earlier. And of course, there are still 129 that are being held, including we're told the bodies of 22 hostages, who have been killed.

One of them is Noa Argamani. Her mom has terminal cancer. And she's written a letter, in recent days, asking President Biden, to see her daughter, asking for his help, because she wants to see her daughter one last time, before she dies.

Is there any hope for Noa's mom, for the other parents, of these hostages, tonight? Has there been any progress in restarting a hostage agreement with Hamas?


DANON: Well, as you mentioned, Kaitlan, Noa's story is one of the 129 stories. And I think everybody should watch the brutal video, when she was captured, and brutally brought into Gaza, on a motor cycle, which we are trying. We are willing to negotiate, and also, the negotiators, both Egypt and Qatar, are trying to move forward.

Unfortunately, we feel that Hamas, maybe they're mistakenly thinking that we are about to stop the military operation, before we release the hostages. That is not the case. I hope that we will renew the talks. We are willing to pay a price, in order to bring back Noa, and the rest of the hostages.

COLLINS: But no progress that you can update us on, right now?

DANON: Unfortunately, not.

COLLINS: Ambassador Danny Danon, thank you, for joining us, from Israel, tonight.

DANON: Thank you.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, here in the United States, with the migrant crisis getting worse, President Biden has sent two of his top aides, to Mexico, today.

We're live, near the southern border, for a report, right after a quick break.


COLLINS: Two of President Biden's top aides, in Mexico City, tonight, to hold high-level talks, about how to stop, or at least curb, the surge of migrants, that is creating a chaotic situation, at the southern border.

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, just left a short time ago. He was there with Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. They wrapped up an hour's long meeting, with Mexico's president.


And just now, a top Mexican official, described the meetings as, quote, "Very good." We're still waiting for more of a readout, from what was actually discussed, and whether or not they came to any agreement.

But this comes as the southern border and officials there are scrambling to respond, to what is an unprecedented level, of illegal crossings, in recent days.

CNN's Rosa Flores has been at the southern border, covering the story.

Rosa, I think the big question, now that we are hearing from at least one Mexican official, saying that it was a very good meeting, is whether or not anything changes, whether or not any agreement was made, while these officials were in the room, trying to hammer out what they believe could fix, or at least help this situation.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kaitlan, you're exactly right. That is the big question. What agreements were made? And in that gaggle that Mexico's top diplomat, Alicia Barcena, gave to Spanish-speaking media, and obtained by CNN, it was a short gaggle. But the diplomat did mention that this was a very good meeting. She said, and hinted at this agreement that would be later announced, in a joint statement, by both countries. So, we'll see what that will be.

She also mentioned that some of the discussion points were about the root causes of migration, things like violence, and also family separation and reunification, why some migrants decide to make the trek, and come to the United States, is to reunify with their families.

And she also mentioned the economic impact, of the port of entry closures. Now, these closures were made by the United States, to respond to this latest surge. There are multiple ports of entry, including one here in Eagle Pass that is closed.

While Barcena mentioned that that was one of the top priorities, for Mexico, because as you know, Mexico is the United States' top trading partner. So, both countries have a lot to lose, economically, if these ports of entry continue to be closed. So, that was one of the things that she mentioned.

As for what the United States was hoping for, in these talks? Kaitlan, as we've talked about before, the United States was expected to ask Mexico, to move migrants, south, to control the railways, which are used by migrants, to move north, towards the U.S. southern border, and also to provide incentives for migrants, to stay in Mexico.

And bottom line, whatever Mexico does, or doesn't do, Kaitlan, it will impact how many migrants end up on the U.S. southern border.


FLORES: Kaitlan.

COLLINS: It's a hugely consequential meeting. We'll wait to see what it is that has come from it.

Rosa Flores, great reporting, all day. Thank you for that.

And here tonight is also Texas State Representative, Eddie Morales. He's a Democrat, who has criticized the Biden administration's response, to the border crisis.

And Representative, thank you so much, for being here, tonight.

You just heard Rosa say there that they do expect a joint statement, to come out, with what was agreed to, today. What are you hoping will be included in that?

EDDIE MORALES, (D) TEXAS STATE HOUSE: We've got to stop the 100 percent commercial inspections that are taking place. That is a Governor Abbott initiative, in order to send a message to Coahuila, and to the rest of Mexico, that their migrant surge, and their help with Texas and the United States is not doing enough. I think we've now seen that Mexico has responded. Our numbers, in

Eagle Pass, has drastically reduced. And I think we can end those 100 percent commercial inspections on commercial trucks.

Because we're going what used to be a 30-minute drive, from Piedras Negras, into Eagle Pass, is now taking anywhere from five to 10 hours, for these commercial vehicles to cross. And it does nothing to stop the migrant surge. Because the migrants are not coming through the 18 wheelers. They're crossing through the river, so that they can get processed and then they can get their paperwork.

COLLINS: Yes. You just see--

MORALES: So, this is -- this is wrong and -- go ahead.

COLLINS: Excuse me. But you just kind of see to what you're pointing to there, just the larger effects of this, and how it is not just a simple black-and-white issue, where it's affecting one thing.

It's affecting a lot of commercial interests, as well, which Rosa was pointing out there. But it's the bigger issue, which obviously I think anyone in Washington would agree, that the southern border is a problem.

When it comes to the fact that you see two top aides there, of President Biden's, does him dispatching them, to go and to sit down with the Mexican President, to talk about this, signal to you that he does understand what an issue this is?

MORALES: It does. And it's a long time coming. I appreciate what Biden and his administration have done, and making sure that this meeting would take place. I think it sends the right message to the folks that live this, on a daily basis, to the small business folks that are here in Texas, and to the business community.

We have, the largest trading partner right across from us. They are wasting and spending billions of dollars, with these rail closures, with these 100 percent commercial inspections.


So, I really truly hope that we can get immigration reform, from this. Whether it's added to their Ukraine funding bill, whether it's added to any other sort of funding bill. But we need to have action.

I think not only the United States, but everyone in Texas, is expecting our leaders, up in D.C. and in Austin, to be working for the people. And I think that we have missed on that. And we need to return to that. And our -- not only Texas constituents, but everyone in the country is expecting our leaders to do better, and to fix this issue.

And it's a long time coming. Congress has failed to take action in over 30 years. We should be putting and pointing the finger, in the right place. And it should be Congress that needs to take action.

And I hope that with this initiative, and President Biden doing this, and sending the people down there, to meet with Lopez Obrador, that we can get something significant, to come out of this, and not hurt our economy, the way we're doing.

Union Pacific alone was losing $200 million daily, when the rail closure took place. Just imagine what that would do, not only in Eagle Pass, but regionally, and throughout the domino effect that it has, to the rest of the country.

COLLINS: A lot of important issues to be discussed here.

Representative Eddie Morales, thank you, for joining, to talk about, such a crucial issue, not just for you, but for your voters as well and, of course, for officials, on both sides of the border.

MORALES: Thank you, Miss Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Also, tonight, there's a critical moment, for the booming artificial intelligence world. This is the first-of-its-kind lawsuit that we are seeing here, essentially accusing the industry, of stealing information. The implications that this new lawsuit has potentially for everyone, that's ahead.



COLLINS: Tonight, there's a new legal fight that is playing out which could have far-reaching implications, for the future of news.

The New York Times is suing OpenAI, and Microsoft, for copyright infringement. The lawsuit is really the first of its kind, by a major media company. But it has implications for everyone, because it sets the stage, for what could be some groundbreaking legal fights, between Big Tech and news organizations, over their artificial intelligence products.

Here tonight, joining me, on this lawsuit, is Axios Senior Media Reporter, and CNN Media Analyst, Sara Fischer.

Sara, The New York Times says that this lawsuit is coming after there were months of these behind-the-scenes negotiations. What drove them to file this lawsuit? Why now?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, I think that the OpenAI and Microsoft folks probably thought that they could sort of pay The New York Times off, strike a deal, for a few years, where they're paying them several million dollars.

And I think what The New York Times is trying to do, with this complaint, is say "That is just not good enough." We think, and they note this in the complaint, that there are billions of dollars' worth of damages, not just a few million that they could reap from their IP, their creative intellectual property, being leveraged, to train the algorithms that are used by OpenAI and Microsoft.

COLLINS: And what's the argument, from tech companies? I mean, do they essentially believe that this content that they're using, to build these artificial intelligence products, is essentially fair game to do so?

FISCHER: That's exactly right. So, we have a current copyright law, Kaitlan. But it only protects works that are created by humans. And so, the advent of artificial intelligence has forced us to reckon with how do we adapt copyright law, for the modern era.

Now, they argue it's within something called "Fair use," to be able to leverage works that are made public. And one of the things that The New York Times notes in its complaint is that they're not just scraping, its free content, but they're also scraping content behind its paywall, which I think will help The New York Times.

But ultimately, this is the type of battle that's going to play out, in courts. Don't expect Congress to pass laws. It's these types of lawsuits that will determine whether or not news companies are paid long-term, for their content being used. And by the way, that has a huge implication, for the future of the industry, which is already struggling, and made a weak ad market.

COLLINS: And I think that's an important thing here. Because when I was initially reading, about this lawsuit, this morning, I mean, obviously, this matters to people, like you and me. We work in the news business. It's a question for people.

But there's not a ton of precedent here, maybe no precedent here. And so, what are the implications that this could have, not only for news, but also for the future of artificial intelligence, and what these products are going to look like? Because they're happening, whether people like it or not, or embrace it or not. But what does a lawsuit like this mean, potentially, for the future of that?

FISCHER: A few things. One, they need this content. And not just news content, Kaitlan. They need content, from writers, from artists, from book publishers, to be able to form -- inform and train their algorithms. And so, if they put these types of companies out of business, because we're not compensating them, then what are they going to train their algorithms on? So, that's problem number one.

Problem number two is that if this court decides that they do have to pay out billions of dollars' worth of damages, I don't know that the business models, that OpenAI Microsoft and Google are using, to create their artificial intelligence models, are going to be viable.

And so, this huge growth that you've seen, over the past few months, might come to a screeching halt, if some of these court cases determined that they have to pay out billions, to get the content, to train their algorithms.

COLLINS: So, what are you hearing from your sources? I mean, it's pretty clear what people in the news role, and how they view this.

But what do people, like Sam Altman, who runs OpenAI? What do these other tech officials or tech people say about this, and their concerns, about a lawsuit like this? And whether or not there's going to be more lawsuits like this?

FISCHER: Well, I can tell you, they're blindsided, because they have been talking to The New York Times for a long time. And this is, if you talk to any legal expert, Kaitlan, an unprecedented complaint, that is going to be a landmark case. So, I think they were caught off- guard.

But I think their concern is whether or not they can continue, especially if you're OpenAI, to put forth this image of being non- profit, being good for society, when you have complaints like The New York Times, alleging "No, this is actually a for-profit entity that's to take advantage of our content, for their own benefit and use." That's an existential crisis for them.

COLLINS: It's going to be such a fascinating thing, to keep an eye on.

Sara Fischer, we'll continue to check in with you, as we watch this. Thank you.

FISCHER: Thank you.


COLLINS: Before we go tonight, it seems the trail is not enough for "James Bond" actor, Pierce Brosnan. The Englishman, known for his tenure, as Agent 007, was cited yesterday, in Wyoming, after allegedly walking in the thermal areas, of Yellowstone National Park.

Obviously, that's a no-go. Regulations prohibit walking around those designated trails or boardwalks, off of those, I should note. The Park Service says that water in and around the hot springs can cause severe, or even fatal burns. No kind of MI6 training, of course, could even help with that.

I should note, Pierce Brosnan has been ordered to appear at the Yellowstone Justice Center, on January 23rd.

In 2021, a parkgoer faced similar charges -- who was facing similar charges, was sentenced to seven days, in jail.

We have reached out, to the actor's representatives, for comment. And we'll let you know, if we hear more.

Thank you so much, for joining us, on this busy news night, tonight.