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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
Chair Of House Freedom Caucus Quick To Endorse Trump With DeSantis Out; DeSantis Dangles "Veto Pen" In Response To Bill That Would Pay Trump Legal Bills With FL Taxpayer Money; VP Harris: Border Crisis Can Be Solved, But GOP Playing Politics With The Issue. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 22, 2024 - 21:00 ET
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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: 27-year-old Special Operator Second Class Nathan Gage Ingram was killed, along with the 37-seven-year-old Special Operator First Class Christopher Chambers.
The SEALs were boarding the ship, in eight-foot swells, when one fell in the water. The other, following protocol, jumped in, to attempt to rescue. Sunday, after 10 days unsuccessfully searching for both men, the Navy declared them dead.
In a statement, a Naval Special Warfare Commander called both SEALs, exceptional warriors, cherished teammates, and dear friends to many.
Our thoughts are with their families, and their friends, tonight.
The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.
A show of force, for Donald Trump, in New Hampshire, as several of his former rivals, are now falling in line behind him, as Nikki Haley gets the one-on-one race she's been asking for.
Plus, he is often called the Kingmaker of Democratic politics, and he helped put President Biden in the White House. Can Congressman Jim Clyburn be able to help keep him there? He'll join me live, in a moment.
Also, as families of hostages burst into Israel's Parliament, demanding that the government do more, to bring their loved ones home. We have new reporting, tonight, on conditions, for a possible ceasefire.
I am Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.
The first votes are about to be cast, in the first-in-the-nation primary. Seriously. Starting at midnight, tonight, the six registered voters, who live in the small town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, will cast their votes.
And with three hours to go, there is just one rival standing, in the way of what could otherwise be a 2024 rematch, between President Biden and Donald Trump. That's Nikki Haley, of course, who has been crisscrossing the state, today, after Ron DeSantis dropped out, and endorsed Donald Trump, despite how the former President spent months, trying to humiliate him.
In fact, you're about to see three of Trump's former rivals, on stage with him, in Laconia, New Hampshire. Senator Tim Scott. Vivek Ramaswamy, maybe not really a rival so much as someone who was a surrogate for him, on the campaign trail. But also, North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum.
The old saying goes, Democrats fall in love, while Republicans fall in line. Democrats are maybe not so much in love with their choice. But Republicans, tonight, are certainly falling in line, one by one, as the GOP appears to be encircling Trump, yet again. No matter what he's said about them, no matter how outrageous, and no matter what they've said about him.
Exhibit A, Senator Tim Scott.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I am not going to defend the indefensible.
What we want to see, from our president, is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: That was then.
And this is now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: We need Donald Trump.
We need a president who unites our country. We need Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, when it comes to Governor DeSantis, he will not be on that stage there, tonight, in New Hampshire. I'm actually told that he still has not spoken to Trump, since he bowed out of the race, and ultimately kissed the ring, a notion that DeSantis mocked just eight days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You can be the most worthless Republican in America. But if you kiss the ring, he'll say you're wonderful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Cut to Ron DeSantis, now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESANTIS: Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden.
He has my endorsement, because we can't go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And then, tonight, there is also Congresswoman Nancy Mace. Like Senator Scott, she also hails from Nikki Haley's home state of South Carolina.
And like him, she has just endorsed Trump as well. Doing so despite how Trump endorsed her primary opponent, while Haley supported Mace, in that race, and despite how Congresswoman Mace once vowed to hold Trump accountable, for January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): I believe we need to hold the President accountable. I hold him accountable for the events that transpired for the attack on our Capitol, last Wednesday.
We need to have it, a one-on-one race, between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Everything was better under Trump, by every measurement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You get the point, of course.
It's not unusual to see former rivals or critics in politics, change their tune, back someone who was once their opponent, no matter how nasty that race got. That, for better or for worse, it's politics. We all know that.
But it is still remarkable tonight, to see just how quickly, and just how many, have jumped onto the Trump Train, only one contest into this race. Really raises the question of whether Trump could have this nomination, the Republican nomination, essentially locked up, as soon as tomorrow night, potentially.
We start our coverage, tonight, with Kristen Holmes, who is live, at the Trump event, in Laconia, New Hampshire.
Kristen, what is the latest, on the campaign trail, now that it is just this one-on-one person race, between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, listening to those clips, it certainly feels reminiscent of 2016. This is the same thing that we saw then, with these Republicans, who had come out, against the former President, only to then back him in full force. Now, they have a full show of force here, tonight. And talk about how
the campaign is feeling. They're feeling a lot better today than they were a week ago. We cannot underestimate the value of Ron DeSantis, dropping out of the race, and endorsing Donald Trump, not because of votes, here in New Hampshire.
Ron DeSantis was never really a player. They never really took him seriously. They always viewed this as a two-person race, between Trump and Nikki Haley, in this state.
But, in terms of being able to sell this, as Republicans, coalescing around Donald Trump. As you noted, for a year, Donald Trump went after Ron DeSantis, time and time again. And yet still Donald Trump -- excuse me, Ron DeSantis got up there, and endorsed Donald Trump.
Now, again, as you noted, he's not going to be on the stage, tonight. I am told that while they haven't talked, Trump's team did reach out to DeSantis' team, and offer an open invitation, to campaign with the former President. But it does seem a little bit unlikely.
We heard Donald Trump, on Fox, throwing shade at Ron DeSantis, earlier today, essentially saying he wouldn't have him, in his administration likely. And on Twitter, or X, formerly known as Twitter, Ron DeSantis throwing a little shade back at Donald Trump. So, it doesn't really feel like there's love lost.
But regardless, we know the campaign is selling this, as Republicans coming together behind Trump. They want to sell this as Nikki Haley is done, she needs to drop out of the race.
COLLINS: We'll see if they get their wish, tomorrow night.
Kristen Holmes, at the Trump event, in New Hampshire, thank you.
And my next guest, tonight, is the Chair of the House Freedom Caucus, very influential, on Capitol Hill, among Republicans.
He initially endorsed Governor DeSantis, last May, before DeSantis actually even got into the race. And yesterday, just moments after DeSantis dropped out, Congressman Bob Good tweeted, "It is my privilege to provide my complete and total endorsement for Donald J. Trump as the 47th President of the United States."
And Virginia congressman, Bob Good, is here.
Congressman, thank you, for joining us, here on THE SOURCE, tonight.
As I noted, you initially backed DeSantis, in this race. You had concerns about Trump's electability, in the general election. Now that you've endorsed Trump, do you still have those concerns, tonight?
REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): I think President Trump is going to win the nomination, as soon as tomorrow, as you noted. I think he's going to sail to the nomination. Republicans, across the country, and many independents, moderates, swing voters are rallying behind him.
Everyone is worse off today than they were three years ago, when Joe Biden was president.
President Trump gave us one of the strongest economies we've ever had. We had record low unemployment, record low inflation, record low interest rates, real wages rising. American was energy-independent, on its way to energy-dominance. We had the strongest military that was respected in the world, and no one wanted to challenge us. That's why we didn't get any conflicts, when he was president. And Americans are hungry for that again.
I think they recognize how much we've suffered, under this president. They connect it to the terrible policies. And so, you're seeing Republicans, and many others, rallying behind President Trump. And I'm going to do everything I can, to make sure that he's elected.
COLLINS: Well, you mentioned energy-dominance. I should note the U.S., of course, right now, as you know, Congressman, is producing more oil than any country in history ever has.
But you said that you do believe he's going to sail, to the Republican Party.
GOOD: That's in spite of this President's policies.
COLLINS: You said he--
GOOD: That we've been (ph).
COLLINS: You said -- you did say that he's going to sail to the Republican nomination. But do you think that Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden, in a general election matchup?
GOOD: Well, you would hope that it wouldn't even be close. You wonder how it could even possibly be close. How could anybody vote for, to continue this border invasion that has done irreparable harm to the country?
10 million illegals invading the country, with the help of this President and his policies. 2 million of those, the very dangerous criminal gotaways, the ones who don't surrender for all the free health care, free social services, free travel, free education, free housing, with, you know, they're just released in the interior of our country. That's 8 million. Then you got the 2 million, down to the most dangerous individuals.
COLLINS: Yes. Congressman?
GOOD: How could anyone vote for this record-high inflation? The average American is paying $1,000 a month, average American family, more for the essentials, just for groceries and housing and utilities and gas prices than they were before this president got into office. So, I don't know how it could even be close.
So, I certainly believe that President Trump will win. And hopefully, he'll win handily.
COLLINS: Well, I'm curious about what's changed, in your position on that. Because you mentioned immigration and inflation, certainly two concerns that voters have. But you were once recorded, saying that Trump quote, "Might be the only person that can lose to Joe Biden," if he's the nominee. Are you still worried about that?
GOOD: President Trump was the best president in my lifetime. I've said that many times. I've always said that I would enthusiastically support him, if he was our nominee, and I would do everything I could to help him get elected, as I did, in 2020. I expected when I first--
COLLINS: Right. But the heart of the matter.
GOOD: I expected, when I first got elected in 2020, I'd be serving with a Trump presidency. I regret that that didn't happen, of course. Can do everything I can to make my third term of presidency, where I can work with him.
And frankly, it was the House Freedom Caucus, who were his greatest allies, his greatest friends, during his first term. And certainly, we will be again. I look forward to having a close working relationship with him, and doing everything we can to reverse the harm that's been done, by this president.
That the time for comparing President Trump, to other candidates is over. We're united behind President Trump. I think you'll see that demonstrated, perhaps not as strongly in New Hampshire, just because you could have Democrats, there, voting for Nikki Haley. But when we get -- I think he's going to win New Hampshire anyway. But I certainly think he's going to win very handily, in South Carolina and just sail, going forward.
COLLINS: Well let me stop you there. Because there's been a lot of confusion sown about who can vote tomorrow, in New Hampshire. The Republican governor has made clear, if you have not changed your registration, in the last six months, since October, it's Republicans and Independents, who will be voting tomorrow, not Democrats.
But you previously said -- I'm just curious, because I don't really feel like I'm getting an answer, on what has changed in your thinking. Because you said, I can't stand by and watch and then regret that we nominated Trump.
So what makes you feel differently now about how he'll fare, in a general election matchup, against President Biden?
GOOD: Well, I endorsed Governor DeSantis, back in May. I said, I think -- I think he's a model governor for the country. I thought he was an outstanding governor. I also have said many times, President Trump's the best president in my lifetime.
So, I spent seven or eight months, in support of Governor DeSantis. Now's the time to turn the page, and support President Trump. Again, I said I would unequivocally support him, if he was the nominee, enthusiastically so, as I did in 2016, and 2020. He's the best hope for America today. He is going to be the nominee. He did a great job, in his first term. I think he'll do even better job, in the second term.
COLLINS: And Congressman, let me ask you, because you mentioned multiple times, the House Freedom Caucus, an influential conservative group, obviously, that you chair.
But you're facing a primary challenger, right now, in your race. And Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Congresswoman, has just endorsed him, saying that you're -- she -- and I'm quoting her now. These aren't my words. She said you're angry disloyal MAGA traitor, who was caught on camera, trashing President Trump.
When it comes to your party, what do you think is more important? Is it your conservative record? Or your support for Donald Trump?
GOOD: Well, the last part of that is demonstrably false. I wasn't -- I've never been caught on camera, could never have done it, trashing President Trump.
There's a reason why we kicked Marjorie Taylor Greene, out of the Freedom Caucus, last summer. So, she's a disgruntled former member, who has an axe to grind. She has some kind of deep-seated hatred, towards the Freedom Caucus, now. She's been exposed as the fraud and a liar that she is.
COLLINS: OK. But Congressman?
GOOD: She's upset because -- she's upset because Kevin McCarthy was removed as Speaker. And she has a personal vendetta against people, like me, who didn't support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker.
In terms of me having a primary challenge, I'm not entitled to the nomination. I had to earn it in 2020. I had to earn it in 2022. I have to earn it in 2024. And I believe the people of the 5th district won't let this seat be bought by allies of the former Speaker, by the swamp creatures from D.C., and California--
COLLINS: OK. But can I say one thing?
GOOD: --who are his allies (ph).
COLLINS: Because your -- you don't like -- you and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene don't see eye-to-eye.
But you are on camera, very critical of Donald Trump. And it caused Trump's campaign manager--
GOOD: But that video was -- that video was clarified.
COLLINS: --to claim that you wouldn't be electable, when they were done with you.
GOOD: That video made it, my campaign opponent, who sliced it up and edited, to take out the complimentary praise statements that I said, about President Trump. It's a highly-edited video provided by a campaign operative, for my opponent.
COLLINS: So, you didn't say those things that are--
GOOD: So, it should be dismissed (ph).
COLLINS: --that you're on camera saying? I mean, you're on camera.
GOOD: You take sentences -- you take sentences, and you take part of the sentence out, and you get a different conclusion from that sentence, or different inference from that sentence.
COLLINS: I want everyone, who's watching to see what it was that you said. And because it is edited, there's moments where it says Congressman Bob Good says this, feels this.
GOOD: There's nothing stark (ph) in the video, in this edited video.
COLLINS: But let me just play a moment of that, so everyone can see what's actually on camera.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOOD: I decided to endorse DeSantis in May because I felt, you know what? I can't sit by and watch, and then regret that we nominated Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You are on camera saying those things, Congressman.
GOOD: Well, but that's part of a larger sentence, a larger conversation that's been edited out.
And it takes out the part, where I praise President Trump. And I tell -- said he was the greatest president in my lifetime, and that I don't criticize President Trump. I'm just supporting Governor DeSantis. And explaining to someone, who was asking me well, why did you make that endorsement decision? And I'm explaining that to them.
But I thought in the battleground states that Governor DeSantis would give us a better chance to win. Obviously, that decision hasn't been made by the voters. The Republican voters, across the country, are overwhelmingly supporting President Trump. And I support President Trump as well.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, you do say on camera that you don't want to say those things publicly, but you say them privately. It is notable to hear you say there though that you thought--
GOOD: Well the point of that, you know, the context of that--
COLLINS: --DeSantis would be more effective. GOOD: --the context of how that was said was I don't criticize President Trump publicly. If somebody asks me privately, to answer an issue, question on an issue comparison, I'm going to do that. But the point that I was making is that I'm for president -- to Governor DeSantis, I was not against President Trump.
COLLINS: But are you acknowledging that you say things differently publicly than privately. That's what your answer there sounded like, Congressman.
GOOD: No. Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
COLLINS: But -- OK.
Congressman Bob Good, I really appreciate your time, explaining how this went from an endorsement of Governor DeSantis, to now your endorsement of Donald Trump. We appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us, here on THE SOURCE.
GOOD: Thank you.
COLLINS: And of course, as we noted, this is now a two-person race. And Nikki Haley is making her final pitch, against Donald Trump.
We have our power players here, their take on what you just heard there, and also whether tomorrow's primary will upend the GOP race, or just end it outright.
Also tonight, there is a new deal in the works, on the table, to pause fighting, again, in Gaza, for the release of all the hostages. Will it work? We have the details ahead.
COLLINS: You are looking live, at a political tradition that endures, through the years. Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, there are six registered voters there, four Republicans, two who are Independents. They are going to be the ones, who cast the first ballots, in New Hampshire's primary.
Since 1960, this tiny community, in the northern end of the state, has held its election, right at midnight, just less than three hours from now. And once everyone has voted, in this town? 100 percent turnout is the norm, obviously, given there's only six people. The polls then close. And the results are announced. It's a grand old political tradition.
And of course, in these final hours, before those votes are cast, what could be the deciding primary, for the Republican nomination, we have a new CNN poll that shows with Ron DeSantis, now out of the race, 54 percent of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, want it to be Donald Trump on the ticket. Nikki Haley, at 41 percent.
I'm joined, tonight, by former Obama official, and CNN Political Commentator, Van Jones. Also, former Trump White House Communications Director, Alyssa Farah Griffin. And host of "The Assignment," Audie Cornish.
I'm so glad to have you all here.
Alyssa, I just wonder, as we're looking at the grand scheme of what's going to happen, tomorrow, what you make of someone, like Congressman Bob Good, who is very conservative, is the Chair of the House Freedom Caucus. Yet he's facing a primary challenge, simply because he endorsed Ron DeSantis over Donald Trump, initially this race.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, they're following the polls. They're following the political headwinds. And it's frankly the opportunistic thing for career politicians to do.
At this point, the polls are telling us Donald Trump will very likely be the nominee. However, only 110,000 votes have been cast, at this time. And only about 50 percent of those in Iowa went to Donald Trump.
I think that politicians now saying the field should consolidate, they need to get out, and get behind Donald Trump? That's doing a disservice to the voters. Let the New Hampshire voters turnout tomorrow. It's a fiercely independent state. If there is a state, where there'd be an upset, it would be there. And then, go from there.
COLLINS: Van, what do you make of the dynamic now? I mean, we have Ron DeSantis, who's out of this race. He has endorsed Donald Trump. But we're told that they've tried to reach out to him, as Kristen Holmes said. I mean, we're told that they still haven't spoken.
But look at what he tweeted tonight. There's this idea, this push, by Florida Republicans, to pay for Trump's legal bills. And Ron DeSantis quoted it and said, "But not the Florida Republican who wields the veto pen." I mean, it's notable. That's his first comment, since getting out, after endorsing Trump.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I'm sure he feels that.
Because you would think, if you were going to be competitive, you follow the rules. You go to all 99 counties, which he did. You would go to all the debates, which he did. You would learn some policy, talk about actual people's problems, which he did. And got smoked, just got smoked.
And is now begging, hey, like, I'll endorse you. You won't even get a phone call back.
So, this lets you know the kind of heavy-handed, high-handed treatment, you can expect, from Donald Trump as president. He is humiliating DeSantis. He will humiliate anyone, who doesn't kiss the ring. And he'll expect that as president. So, all you're seeing is a sneak preview of, if you thought that Donald Trump was imperious before, wait till you see the new guy.
COLLINS: So-- AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And also, what they have learned from the primaries is not that there's a massive Never-Trump constituency that was supporting DeSantis and supported. Like that's not what it was. There were some people, giving a look under the hood of some other candidates.
But it'll be interesting to see, tomorrow night, what his threshold is, right? Does it surpass that majority by a much larger number? And there's no snowstorm to talk about.
CORNISH: So, if the turnout is low, that's going to be something to pay attention to. If people are kind of fed up, with this whole thing, that's going to be something to pay attention to, and there's not going to be an asterisk next to it.
COLLINS: So, what does that mean for Nikki Haley, Alyssa? Because she is someone, who was handling Trump, very gingerly, the beginning of this race. In the last 48 hours, I mean, she has come out, talking about his mental acuity, talking about his record, as president, really going after him. But is she turning up the heat on him too late?
FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, yes. I mean, I love Nikki Haley of a day out, from New Hampshire, even just days before Iowa.
I mean, the problem, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and others, if it ends up being Trump as the nominee, which looks very likely, they have themselves to blame. He was indicted on 91 felony charges. And in most cases, they more or less defended him. Ron DeSantis, even in the classified documents case, somebody who served in the Navy, basically attributed to being a witch-hunt.
I mean, they had the golden ticket, to take on the front-runner, by saying he is unfit for office, here's the reasons, the courts are going to take care of him. And they chose not to, and waited and did this delicate dance.
Now, it's not over until it's over. But here's the problem. Nikki Haley has been formidable. She's been better as time has gone on. But the math after New Hampshire actually just looks harder for her, whether it's her home state of South Carolina, or then you go into these winner-take-all states.
COLLINS: How well does she need to do, to stay in this race, to justify staying in the race?
JONES: If she stays within 10 points? If she's four points back, five points back? I think that will shock people. And it would be a good thing for her. But I don't think that's going to happen.
[21:25:00] I mean, part of the problem is when a DeSantis gets out, 70 percent, of his people go to Trump. So, it's not like DeSantis gets out, and that helps Nikki Haley. DeSantis gets out? That helps Donald Trump. And so, you know?
And I think the other thing that you're going to see is a damage to Sununu. You have a very popular governor there, who I think courageously, and with a lot of integrity, put his arm around Nikki Haley, and said this is a better Republican for us. And if she gets blown out, tomorrow, he gets blown out, tomorrow.
CORNISH: He was asked directly though, the Governor, if he'd still vote for Trump. And I believe he said, yes. That was on CNN, a few weeks back.
COLLINS: Even if he's convicted.
CORNISH: Wasn't convicted, I think. It was--
COLLINS: No, he did later, ultimately.
COLLINS: Even if he's convicted.
CORNISH: Oh, really?
CORNISH: Something Alyssa said earlier, about how it's theirs to lose, how they could have done more.
You had Chris Christie kind of shaking his chains, being the ghost of like Republican thoughts past, and saying, I wish I had done this, wish I had done that, trying to open that door, to say, let's have a conversation about being critical of this person, who is seeking on a godlike status in our party. And people didn't take it.
And I think that the reluctance to go negative, all the way to the end, it is on purpose. They didn't have the courage to do it. And they look at the landscape, and they look at the Republican primary base, and they see no incentive to.
And as someone, who's just been watching this, for a few years, I'm not sure what it is either. You might be seeing something different. But it's not been clear to me that there is a moderate Republican voter that wants to leave their house, and cast votes for any of these people.
FARAH GRIFFIN: We will see tomorrow night.
COLLINS: We will see tomorrow night, and see what that lack of -- waiting until this comes out, what that means, and what it portends for this.
Right now, you can see what's happening, in New Hampshire. We are seeing all of these candidates get on stage, with Donald Trump. Vivek Ramaswamy, not really a challenger of his ever, I guess we would say.
Audie Cornish, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Van Jones, thank you all.
And to the other primary that is happening, in New Hampshire, tomorrow, President Biden did not win the state, in 2020. Of course, we all remember that. This time, he's not even on the ballot, after pushing now, South Carolina at the front of the pack.
We'll be joined by the so-called Kingmaker in the state, Congressman Jim Clyburn, who helped propel Biden, to the nomination, in 2020. What can he do to help him now? That's next.
COLLINS: Tomorrow's New Hampshire primary will also be, in part, a test, for President Biden. That's because Democrats will be voting in the state, too. But there's a catch.
Biden won't actually be on the ballot, when they go to cast those votes. That's because the state and the national party are locked in a political civil war of sorts, after the Democratic National Committee booted New Hampshire, from its traditional first-in-the-nation primary spot, in favor of South Carolina.
But New Hampshire is going ahead with its Democratic primary anyway. It's in the state's constitution that it must be held a week before any other contest. And President Biden has opted to keep his name off the ballot, there, leading his allies, in recent weeks, to mount a write-in campaign.
The President himself pushed to make South Carolina, the first stop, on the Democratic nominating calendar. It, of course, is the state that propelled him, to the 2020 nomination, due, in large part, to the endorsement of my next guest, Congressman Jim Clyburn, who joins me now.
Congressman, great to have you, you here tonight.
I wonder, when you're looking at what tomorrow is going to look like, for Democrats, do you have any concerns for how it could go, for the President. Whether it could give, these long-shot competitors of his any kind of opening?
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me.
Well, New Hampshire is kind of interesting, especially this year. Because, as you just mentioned, although President Biden will not be on the ballot, there is a pretty significant write-in taking place.
And I applaud those Democrats up there, who decided to go forward, with this write-in, in order to demonstrate that they are a part of the National Democratic Party, and they are adhering to the rules and regulations of our party. And so, rather than to continue to lambaste the Rules Committee, these people, Annie Kuster and others, who I have great respect for, are running this write-in. And that's the way to do it. Now, I'll be interested in seeing how well that's done. But as you know, in South Carolina, we had a United States senator, Strom Thurmond, who won a seat in the Senate, by a write-in.
And so, write-ins are something that I find rather amusing. And I'll be interested in seeing how that comes out.
COLLINS: Yes. And New Hampshire itself has a history of write-in campaigns. They haven't always gone well. But we'll see what it looks like.
I do want to ask you, because in New Hampshire, there is this robocall that went out to residents there in the state. It appears to be this AI voice, this artificial intelligence voice, resembling President Biden's. But it is not his. And it's advising people to not go vote, tomorrow. Now, I should note, we don't know who's behind this yet.
But I wonder when you hear that, how concerned you are, about tactics like that, being used in the future, and how, as an elected official, you feel about that, and how you should confront it.
CLYBURN: I'm very concerned about that. And that's part of what I was talking about, some time ago, when I talked about being very concerned, about this election. And I don't know why people dismiss what happened to Hillary Clinton. I don't know what happened, last time, with these so-called AI technology.
This could be a very disturbing trend. We have got to get a handle on this. You don't have it yet. But we've got to get it, before the general election. Because I really believe that is something for all of us to be concerned about.
This is the way foreign countries seem to be infiltrating our process, and making a mockery out of it. So, I am very concerned about that, as well as--
CLYBURN: --a few of them.
COLLINS: Yes, it's a real concern, for politicians, in both parties.
Congressman, obviously, as we mentioned, the significant role you played, in Biden getting the nomination, in and of itself, in 2020.
Your home state is coming up on the calendar. And so, I wonder when you look at how his numbers are now, when you dig into the demographics, obviously, not just your endorsement, but the votes of Black voters was so critical to Biden, doing well, in 2020. And I wonder how concerned you are with polls that they show he's underperforming among Black voters, sometimes by double digits, compared to his 2020 results. Do you think he's doing enough to try to fix that?
CLYBURN: Well, the President is not responsible for all of that. The President has two hot walls (ph) to be concerned about.
He has a country that is under threat. Our democracy, whether we want to accept it or not, is under threat. His main competitor, right now, is making it very clear that he has very little respect, maybe even no respect, for our Constitution, no respect for the folkways and mores that make this country what it is.
And the President has to be concerned about all of that. Trying to undercut funding to Ukraine and Israel, trying to stop now, a border resolution that is bipartisan. So, that's the president. We is validated. We have to be out here, getting on these college campuses, getting young people to understand that what they see, in all of this tweeting, and social media, is exactly what we see in ticket players (ph), and have to now. It's not the truth.
If you really want to vote on what is truthful, what is substantive? Then let's take a look at President Biden's record, a record of the so-called Rescue Plan, the infrastructure bill, the CHIPS and Science Act, the PACT Act, Inflation Reduction Act.
All of these things, make up a legislative -- legislative successes that's been unrivaled by anything. You have to go all the way back to Lyndon Johnson, and find anything close to it.
The student loan debt, for instance. I've been amazed at the fact that this President has eliminated $137 billion in student loan debt. And we still hear people saying, he didn't keep his promise on student loan debt.
My goodness, 3.7 million people have engaged in that. And now, we hear from the Department of Education, that every two months, going forward, for the next full year, 75,000 additional people will be given this debt elimination.
CLYBURN: So, we have got to do a better job of penetrating this, because the misinformation is great.
COLLINS: Yes. Well, we'll see if the other young voters, of course, who all wanted student loan forgiven, what that will look like, on Election Day. We'll have to leave it there, for now.
Congressman Jim Clyburn, as always, thank you for your time, and thanks for joining us.
CLYBURN: Thanks for having me.
COLLINS: Up next, we have CNN exclusive reporting, on this extraordinary proposal that is being made, by Israel, to potentially provide top Hamas leaders, senior ones, safe passage out of Gaza. Whether or not Israel will take them -- Gaza or Hamas, I should note, will take them up on that?
We also have new reporting on the possibility of a new hostage release deal, as desperate families are asking the Israeli government to do more.
COLLINS: Tonight, a new deal is on the table, to pause the war in Gaza, and bring the remaining hostages home. We are told Israeli officials have reportedly offered a two-month ceasefire, in exchange for the more than 130 hostages, who are still being held.
Barak Ravid, of Axios, reporting that this agreement wouldn't end the war, outright. And I should note, this comes as at a time when the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, says it has killed more than 25,000 people there. But it would be the longest period of a ceasefire that we have seen Israel offer, since the war began.
Meanwhile tonight, CNN's exclusive reporting, Alex Marquardt, says that Israel has proposed allowing senior Hamas leaders, to leave Gaza, as part of a broader ceasefire agreement. A remarkable development in and of itself.
Here tonight, to talk about the latest, Barak Ravid, also a CNN Political and Global Affairs Analyst.
Barak, let's start with your reporting. Can you just walk us through what Israel is offering, and based on your sense, how likely it is that Hamas would accept the terms?
BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL & GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Good evening, Kaitlan.
Well, this plan was drafted something like 10 days ago, in the Israeli war cabinet that basically decided to go almost all-out, to try and get this deal, and give this very forward-leaning proposal, to the mediators, to the Qataris, to the Egyptians, in order to give it to Hamas.
And the Israelis are basically saying we are ready for a multi-phase process that will take something like two months of a ceasefire, during which Hamas will release all of the hostages, in several stages. Israel will release Palestinian prisoners. The IDF will redeploy its forces, in Gaza. Take some of them out. Some of them, it will keep in Gaza, but in different places, than it is now. And all in all, change how Gaza -- how the Gaza war looks today, and end the biggest crisis in the war, which is the hostage issue.
COLLINS: Yes, I mean, and we've seen these families. They stormed into a meeting, of Israel's parliament, just in recent days. Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing massive protests from them. One of the quotes that they said to them is -- to the Knesset is, you will not sit here, while our children die. I mean, these families, understandably, are just at the ends of their ropes.
But I wonder what you -- what you've heard, in the sense of what the division is, in the war cabinet.
Because we've seen some people, like Gadi Eisenkot, saying that it's time for a deal, because this aim of defeating Hamas is unrealistic. But then, you see others, like Ben-Gvir saying, he'll quit if Israel ends the war.
I mean, what's going on inside the war cabinet right now?
RAVID: So first, let's say, you know, let's talk about this specific proposal.
Everyone I spoke to, on the Israeli side, have no doubt that if tomorrow Hamas says OK, we're ready to more or less this deal? OK, there will be a negotiation, with the details. It will pass with flying colors, in the Israeli cabinet. OK?
People like Ben-Gvir, or maybe Smotrich, the Minister of Finance, will vote against. But there's a -- there'll be a big majority in favor. And I'm not sure that Mr. Ben-Gvir will give up so quickly, on his title and privileges, as minister, and go back with the opposition over such a thing. So, I think there will be a majority.
And what I hear from Israeli officials is that they feel that in the last 10 days or so, every day that passes, they feel that there's more cautious optimism, that Hamas will abandon its maximalist position, of ending the war, releasing all prisoners, in Israeli prisons, giving full immunity, to Hamas leaders, and moving more, more and more towards the ability, to discuss the parameters Israel's laid out.
COLLINS: That's really, really interesting. I mean, obviously, we'll watch closely, and keep up with your reporting, Barak Ravid, to see what they ultimately agree to, if anything. Thank you so much, Barak.
RAVID: Thank you, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Also, tonight, CNN has an exclusive interview, with Vice President Kamala Harris talking about abortion, the border crisis, and much more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Sadly, people on the other side of the aisle have been playing politics with this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: On a day that the Supreme Court actually sided with the Biden administration, when it comes to removing razor wire, at the southern border with Texas, that crisis still remains a critical issue, for the Biden administration.
My colleague, Laura Coates, spoke with Vice President, Kamala Harris, on the campaign trail today, in Wisconsin, for an exclusive interview. And here's what Harris had to say, about why it has taken so long, and the difficulty in finding a solution to the immigration problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to the border.
COATES: Because this is something that is in your direct wheelhouse. It has been something that you have been looked to, to try to accomplish what has been, frankly a decades-long endeavor, by successive presidential administrations.
But there is anger, on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, about an unsustainable border, what they're calling a crisis.
Why can't this be accomplished during this administration?
HARRIS: Well, so there's no question that our immigration system is broken. And so much so that we -- as the first bill that we offered, after our inauguration, was to fix the immigration system, which included what we must do, to create a pathway for citizenship, and to put the resources that are needed into the border.
But sadly, people on the other side of the aisle have been playing politics with this issue. The solutions are at hand. And, you know, gone are the days sadly, where a President Bush or John McCain understood that we should have a bipartisan approach, to fixing this problem, which is a long-standing problem.
COATES: But what are those solutions?
HARRIS: The solution includes putting resources at the border, to do what we can, to process people effectively, and putting in place laws that actually allow for a meaningful -- meaningful pathway to citizenship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: And Laura Coates joins me now.
Laura, one, this was a great interview with Harris that covered so many topics.
COATES: Thank you.
COLLINS: And I know the whole thing is coming up, and I can't wait to watch all of it.
But on the immigration issue, specifically, I mean, she obviously was tasked with dealing with this in part, when the administration first started. They went from, in fall of 2022, saying that the border was secure, to now openly acknowledging that it is a problem, it can be a liability.
What else did she have to say on this issue?
COATES: Well, in many ways, one must admit that it's untenable and not sustainable, given all of the conflicts between Democrats and Republicans, and the acknowledgement on both sides of the aisle.
But she wanted to talk about the notion of the DREAMers, in particular. Many progressives have been very angry that any negotiations do not include that pathway that she spoke about, to citizenship, or having DREAMers essentially become the collateral damage.
She spoke a lot about the idea of DREAMers, in particular. She's very passionate about the issue, even before becoming the Vice President of the United States, hoping to form that pathway.
She didn't want to talk about the ongoing negotiations. But she was hopeful that maybe there would be an opportunity, for there either to be that pathway, or for DREAMers to recognize, for their contributions to the community, and the environment and of course, our economy.
But I would say overall, she is acknowledging, and being quite realistic about the fact that compromises are being made, even those that will not result potentially, in a bite at the apple, being meaningful, this time around.
The big question, of course, Kaitlan is, for so many people, if not now, when? And for many within even the Democratic Party, they're wondering if enough can be done proactively, and reactively, to address the problems at the border.
COLLINS: Yes, and whether it shows up, come November.
COLLINS: Laura Coates, it's a great interview. Thank you, for joining us, to preview it.
COATES: Thanks, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: And of course, you can catch the full interview, you'll want to watch all of it, with Vice President Harris. That is at 11 o'clock tonight, on "LAURA COATES LIVE."
Also, up next, here for us, a college student's milestone, in the world of pro sports. And guess what? He's from Alabama.
COLLINS: Before we go tonight, I have to highlight an unforgettable moment, for one amateur golfer, who managed to beat the pros.
With this winning putt, 21-- 20-year-old Nick Dunlap became the first amateur, to win a PGA Tour event, in 33 years. He is just a sophomore, at the University of Alabama. But because of that amateur status, he doesn't get to take home the $1.5 million prize that he should be able to. Instead, that money goes to the runner-up.
Of course, the hope here is still that he'll have hopefully as bright of a career, a pro career, as the last golfer, who did, exactly this, back in 1991, some guy, by the name of Phil Mickelson. He congratulated Nick Dunlap, by posting, quote, "This is just the beginning."
Roll Tide for him.
Thank you so much, for joining us. I'll be back here, tomorrow, on CNN, 1 PM Eastern, and then, later on, in the evening, for our special coverage of the New Hampshire primary. I hope you'll all be watching.
"CNN NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP" starts right now.