Return to Transcripts main page

The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Bipartisan Border Deal Faces House & Senate Opposition; King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer; Vance: Wouldn't Have Certified 2020 Votes If I'd Been VP. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Tonight, we remember retired New York firefighter, Bob Beckwith, who famously stood with President George W. Bush, in the rubble, at Ground Zero, after the attacks, on 9/11.

Like many retired firefighters, Beckwith had rushed to Ground Zero. He talked his way through several checkpoints, to get there, and got to work, searching the rubble for survivors. He kept going back.

In a tribute to Beckwith, former President Bush said today, his courage represented the defiant, resilient spirit of New Yorkers and Americans after 9/11.

It certainly did. Bob Beckwith was 91-years-old.

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


A bipartisan border deal appears to be on the verge of going bust, as a dramatic fight is playing out, among Republicans, battling each other, behind closed doors, tonight, as Donald Trump is warning that anyone who is considering voting yes, could be ending their career by doing so.

Also, the King diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace not saying yet what kind. As Charles is suspending his duties, William is stepping in, and Harry is rushing to be at his father's side.

Also, Mike Pence wouldn't help Donald Trump overturn the election. But a prominent senator and 2024 vice presidential contender is now suggesting he would have.

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

Tonight, Republicans appear to be on the verge of tanking a bipartisan immigration deal, after years of demanding that more be done, to secure the southern border, and after three months of negotiations.

By CNN's count, a majority of the Senate Republicans are now leaning against it, after an animated meeting, behind closed doors, on Capitol Hill, tonight.

One senator came out of that meeting, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who I should note, is a member of GOP leadership, saying, and I'm quoting him now, "I think the proposal is dead."

All of this is coming, as Donald Trump has been pulling the strings, behind-the-scenes and really, in front of them, ratcheting up pressure to sink this bill.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It probably would mean the end of their career. This is a Democrat trap. It's a trap for Republicans that would be so stupid, so foolish, to sign a bill like this.

Actually it's one of the worst, one of the dumbest bills I've ever seen. I think it's dead, totally dead, at the House.

This bill is impossible to believe that somebody actually negotiated. And he's a very nice guy.


TRUMP: James is a very nice guy.


TRUMP: But this is not a good thing for him.


COLLINS: The James that he is referring to there, is the quite conservative Republican Senator, James Lankford, who Trump once said was very tough on the border. He's also the lead architect, for this bill, on the Republican side.

And he argues that the former President may have an ulterior motive to keeping this legislation from going anywhere.


SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): His job right now is running for president. And so, he's trying to be able to manage that. And obviously a chaotic border is helpful to him in the process on that.


COLLINS: The Senator told reporters tonight that he does not believe the bill that he negotiated, and played a key role in, yet has enough support, to advance, on Wednesday.

I'm joined tonight, by Republican Congressman of Texas, Chip Roy, who opposes this bill.

And Congressman, just given you are obviously a Republican, you live in a border state, why is the status quo better than this bill?

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Well, good evening, Kaitlan. Great to be on.

And first of all, the reality is the backdrop here is really important. We have Ukraine funding, as a big part of this $118 billion bill, $60 billion for Ukraine, as well as some other foreign aid, none of which is paid for. And then, you slap in $20 billion of border funding, tied to legislation that we find to be problematic.

We find it to be problematic on multiple levels. We believe that it is perpetuating the mass migration that this administration has been advancing under Secretary Mayorkas, and under President Biden. We see that in the numbers, we see that in what we're looking at, when we look at the bill.

$4 billion to hire asylum officers, to basically process people that -- these are not going to be conservative hires, right? They're working closely hand-in-hand, with the United Nations NGOs, speaking about another $1.4 billion to NGOs, who have been running people up through the southern border.

And to then put this sort of magical trigger at 5,000, which is basically about a 1.8 million number for the year. And I know they say that's encounters. But the fact is Mayorkas has been releasing about 85 percent to 90 percent of these folks into the country.

We're getting hammered in Texas. This is not going to solve the problem.

And by the way, on the political front, I think, you know, and the viewers of this show, know, I mean, it's not like I was, running around stumping for President Trump out, in Iowa, earlier this last month.


ROY: I'm not waiting for him to tell me what to do.

I'm in Texas. I need a solution, now. This bill would not be a solution.

COLLINS: But Congressman --


ROY: It would actually make it worse by cementing the bad policies into law.

COLLINS: A few things there. Because one, Republicans were the ones who demanded that Ukraine funding be tied to funding for the southern border, so just to be clear.

Yes, on Donald Trump, maybe he's not influencing you. But you can't deny the power that he has. And certainly, he has influence over a lot of your colleagues.

But on what you just said about that 5,000 number. If this was in place, right now?

ROY: Yes.

COLLINS: Wouldn't the border be shut down, at this moment, based on this number of encounters that would -- that would launch that trigger, to shut down the border?

ROY: No. In fact, what would happen is it would set sort of a de facto--

COLLINS: It would.

ROY: No. It would set sort of a de facto standard, right, normalizing about 5,000.

So imagine, if you will, you've got that 5,000 -- 5,000 people are at the border. The cartels are coordinating this all the time.

Take, for example, right now, in Eagle Pass, whether you like it or not, Governor Abbott in Texas have been doing what they've been doing in Eagle Pass. That number is now down to about 200 from 4,000, just two weeks ago.

What happens is the cartels, they look at it and they go, oh, that ain't working there. So, guess where they're all going now? Arizona and California.

If you set a standard of about 5,000, the cartels will go ah, I get it. 4,999? You got it.

COLLINS: But it would shut it down--

ROY: We'll process those through.

COLLINS: It would shut it down.

ROY: Your solemn officers will move them.

COLLINS: If it hit that average of 5,000, it would shut it down, until they dropped by 75 percent. That's what's in your bill.

ROY: Right.

COLLINS: But can I ask you, because you listed--

ROY: Yes. What I'm telling you is--

COLLINS: --other things that is in there, Congressman.

ROY: What I'm telling you is--

COLLINS: I know what you are saying.

ROY: --the cartels would adapt. They would adapt.

COLLINS: I know what you are saying. ROY: There would be 4,999.

COLLINS: I should note. The people who wrote this bill disagree with you. They say it would shut down the border, right now, including Senator Sinema, who, as you know, is from Arizona.

ROY: Right. And they--

COLLINS: But can I ask you because, Congressman though?

ROY: --and they don't -- they don't know what they're talking about over there.

COLLINS: Congressman, I've covered Washington, for a long time. And Republicans have been demanding something be done on the southern border.

And I understand you don't like everything in here. But there is money for the wall. It curbs asylum seekers. It makes the burden of proof higher. ICE is getting $8 billion, in emergency funding. It deals with parole. So it isn't the argument that getting something is better than getting nothing?

ROY: No, because every one of the things you just mentioned, it actually makes it, in many cases, if not all of them, worse.

Take parole, for example. It's going to continue to--

COLLINS: How so?

ROY: It's going to continue to run numbers through parole, to the ports of entry, right? So it does in fact, move them from between the ports of entry, to the ports of entry, using the CBP One app. But that's going to just run those numbers there.

They're going to take the numbers in between the ports of entry. Then they're going to process them, using the asylum officers that they get to hire, using $4 billion, to put the people they want to put in there, to process those 5,000 people. They're not going to go say oh -- down there, oh, no, you've got to go home. They're going to process these asylum claims to release them.

By the way, the asylum changes you just talked about? It's a minor change. And by the way, they're going to continue to have them be able to be released on the alternatives to detention.

COLLINS: Well Republican senators don't say--

ROY: This is a very negligible change.

COLLINS: Republican senators disagree with that. They say it's quite a higher change. And so do progressives. Progressive Democrats don't like this bill, I should note.

But you know what? What I'm a little surprised by is you brought the President of the National Border Patrol Council, to the State of the Union. I believe it was in 2019.

ROY: Yes.

COLLINS: He backs this bill.

ROY: Yes.

COLLINS: So, is he wrong, because he thinks that this is -- this is a good piece of legislation?

ROY: Well, look, Brandon is a friend. And so it's Hector, and all the guys down there. And I know them well. I was just texting with him, a little bit ago. And that was a private conversation. But in general, what I would say is this. He's got a duty to try to provide some relief for Border Patrol agents. If they can get any movement at all, they're happy.

I've got a duty to 750,000 Texans, and all Texans, to not cement into law, a basically perpetuation of mass migration, which is what this bill will do. It will guarantee a 5,000 threshold.

And it will -- by the way, all of those limits? They crater after three years. And in fact in year one can only be used for 270 days, 225 days in year two.

COLLINS: But isn't it important to fix the issue now?

ROY: 180 days in year three.

COLLINS: Isn't that the argument here that right now--

ROY: Yes.

COLLINS: --you say it's a crisis. And if you say no, to something that doesn't do everything? But -- and the 5,000, I should note, is a ceiling, not a floor here.

ROY: Right.

COLLINS: That's what I don't understand, the opposition on that front.

ROY: Yes. See, we actually believe -- we actually believe that it sets more of a floor, right? It doesn't account for the unaccompanied alien children. You're going to create a magnet for children to be abused by cartels, by exempting them from the 5,000 number. You can run as many kids as you want.

So, guess what will happen? Just like two years ago, they'll run kids. They move to adults, because the Biden administration just started releasing people. So, the cartels adapted.

COLLINS: But is the argument here, Congressman--

ROY: They started moving adults.

COLLINS: --that essentially, you're not getting past this. This is going to -- if this fails, that then nothing happens on Capitol Hill.

And what's the -- what's the backup plan? Is that to wait 350 days, and hope that a Republican, Donald Trump, potentially is inaugurated as President? Because you criticized how he handled immigration. You said he failed on immigration, the last time he was in office.


So, why do you think it would be different this time, if he was elected?

ROY: Well, first of all, it's all relative. I mean, President Trump was working hard, to move the numbers down, in his presidency. We just didn't get the permanent legislative fixes that I wanted him run. You remember, that's what I was saying out on the stump, was that I wanted to get the permanent changes.

Yes, right now I want to get--

COLLINS: Yes. You said he failed on that.

ROY: Well we didn't get that done then, all right.

But the Biden administration has no interest in getting permanent changes that would actually get the numbers where they need to be, which is, in fact zero.

What we need to have is what H.R.2 would do, which is say, zero releases. You detain, or you turn away. If you do that, the flow stops. We don't have a crisis. We don't have kids getting abused. And you can actually manage the numbers.

And the fact is, what Republicans should do is send over to the Senate, H.R.2 package, with a continuing resolution, abiding by the very caps that passed on a bipartisan -- bipartisan basis, that would reduce spending by about $40 billion, over last year's spending levels, and send that over to the Senate.

I don't know if the Speaker will do that. But that's what I would do if I were the Speaker. And I would force the Senate to have to deal with it. But we'll see what happens with it.

COLLINS: Congressman?

ROY: We got to keep fighting for it.

COLLINS: We'll see what happens.

Last time we had you on the show, of course, you were out stumping for Ron DeSantis. He's now dropped out of the race.

ROY: Yes.

COLLINS: Who do you prefer now? Donald Trump or Nikki Haley?

ROY: As I said out there, and you heard me say many times, I'm going to support the Republican nominee. I was with Governor DeSantis. And we'll let this play out.

But I don't think that Governor Haley, with all due respect, is representing the conservatives that I represent, when she's going on SNL, and she's out, kind of playing the Establishment game.

COLLINS: Wait, what?

ROY: And taking money from a bunch of Establishment dollars. But look, we'll see how it plays out.

COLLINS: You're not going to endorse her, because she went on Saturday Night Live?

ROY: No, and no, because she was saddling up with Establishment money, out of New York, that she was using to go target Ron DeSantis, to the tune of $26 million in Iowa. So, she made her bed. Let's go see if she can make it. She made her bed on Boeing too--

COLLINS: Donald Trump spent a lot of money against Ron DeSantis as well.

ROY: --when she was taking stock.

COLLINS: OK. So you're waiting till it's a Republican nominee. We will come back to you when that happens.

ROY: Well--

COLLINS: Congressman Chip Roy.

ROY: That's right.

COLLINS: As always, thank you.

ROY: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: So where did Democrats stand on this bill? It is a bipartisan bill. I am joined now by one, a Senate Democrat, who is in support of this, Minnesota senator, Amy Klobuchar.

Senator Klobuchar, what do you make of the Congressman's argument, given House Republicans could be playing a large role, in the fate of this bill, in the Senate?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, thanks for having me on, Kaitlan.

That was a lot. But I'll say this. I will say that we need to do something about the border. We need to do something about border security. And to me, it seems like he was looking more for a political attack than a solution.

This is a proposal, negotiated over months and months, with conservative Senator Lankford, along with Senator Murphy, Senator Sinema, Senator Schumer. And many other Republicans, by the way, had a say in this. And what we have here is something that gives the President, emergency authority, to do something about the border, and shut it down, if necessary, while still preserving asylum.

And one word I didn't hear, out of the Congressman's mouth, was the word, fentanyl. There was a major county, in my state, and this is going on all across the country, where the sheriff just confiscated enough fentanyl, to kill every person in our county.

What this bill does, it puts significant resources, at the border, new technology and the like, to finally do something about fentanyl, in addition to stopping this chaos at the border.

So, it isn't anything everyone wanted. We know that. That's what compromise is about. And I just feel that we have a duty, to the people of this country, to put politics aside, and not use this at some electioneering slogan, and actually get this done.

That's why the conservative Border Patrol supports this bill, because they see it every single day. And while it's not everything they want, they believe this will make a difference. And that's what matters to me.

COLLINS: And what is your response?

Because the sense is, I mean, obviously, the two houses of Congress are controlled by different parties. And when you look even at your party, in the Senate, Senator Alex Padilla, your colleague, is against this, because he says that it is failed Trump-era immigration policy.

But you support this bill. How come?

KLOBUCHAR: First of all, I would love to do more comprehensive immigration reform. Like Senator Padilla, I have long supported that. And I hope that one day we will do that.

If you want to save money, and you want to reduce the debt, you actually put in place comprehensive immigration reform, so people pay their taxes and the like. That's why Grover Norquist, at one point, supported comprehensive immigration reform.

But what I see, right now, is a crisis at the border. And I want to give the President, emergency powers, to be able to stop it from happening. And that does not mean getting rid of asylum, all in all. It means simply making some changes, to make things better.


And what really bothers me about this? I was looking at some of their comments. I think Senator Lankford said it best. He said as -- we, as Republicans, are we going to have press conference, and complain the border is bad, and then intentionally leave it open? What he is getting at here is this raw politics.

Mike Johnson himself, the Speaker of the House, said on the 24th of February of last year, America is the most compassionate nation in the world. But our immigration system is broken. Reforming that system is a job for Congress. And any balanced legislative approach must include measures, to strengthen border security.

COLLINS: Yes. We've heard--

KLOBUCHAR: And we know that.

COLLINS: --a lot from -- from Republicans, on this, time and time again.

I do wonder, Senator, one part of this, as I was reading through it, there are no restrictions on aid to Israel, in this bill. Are you OK with that?

KLOBUCHAR: What I wanted to see actually is Senator Kaine's amendment, which would have taken out this exception that said that Congress could be bypassed, when it comes to aid to Israel? I don't believe that's in there right now.

But again, you don't get everything that you want. And what I want to see in this bill, which I see is yes, to make sure that we are helping our allies, from Ukraine, so that Vladimir Putin doesn't march right into that country, and then head into a NATO country, which would full-out involve our country, in a full-out war. I also want to help the people of Gaza, and the West Bank. That humanitarian aid is in this bill.

So this is about America's security, both keeping our leadership and security, here at home, helping Central Command, as we deal with attacks on American soldiers, in the Mid-East. Helping so that China? I mean, look what they're doing all across the world. This strengthens our hand, in the Pacific with significant funding--


KLOBUCHAR: --when it comes to our military.

So, this is about our own security on our borders, yes, but also with the rest of the world.

COLLINS: Well, and right now, it appears that it may not be successful. Obviously, we will wait to see, on how these conversations go.

Senator Klobuchar.

KLOBUCHAR: Initial -- initial discussions. I will not give up on this bill, and the importance of our nation's security, and doing something about fentanyl and the border.

So, I would not view this first week as indicative of what may happen, down the line. You know, from your astute coverage of politics, that sometimes things have a way of getting done. So stay tuned.

COLLINS: Capitol Hill is an interesting place.

Senator Klobuchar, thank you, as always, for your time, and for joining us here.


COLLINS: Tonight, there's also a new royal health scare that we are learning more about tonight, as Buckingham Palace has revealed King Charles has cancer. He is stepping back from his public duties, because of the diagnosis. We'll tell you what it means, for the monarchy.

Also tonight, we are covering a severe storm system, unleashing record rainfall, on California, causing intense flooding, mudslides. And we are told it is not over yet.



COLLINS: Tonight, there are growing questions, about the health of King Charles, and the future of the British monarchy. Buckingham Palace today, announcing that the 75-year-old royal has now been diagnosed with cancer.

Of course, this comes just one week after he was released, from the hospital, for treatment of an enlarged prostate. Sources tell CNN that today's diagnosis is not cancer-related to that. But Palace officials have notably refused to share really much else, about what is going on, with his health scare.

Joining me tonight is a team of deeply-sourced guests, on all things royal.

CNN's Max Foster has followed the story, from the moment that it broke today; along with CNN Royal Commentator and author Sally Bedell Smith; and former Chief Content Officer of Hearst Magazines, Joanna Coles.

So glad to have all of you here tonight.

Max, first off, what do we know about his condition, and what treatment he's undergoing?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a real shock. And I think it came as a surprise to everyone around the King as well.

Because you'll remember that the King went into hospital, to be treated for an enlarged prostate. He had a procedure. They did some tests. Those tests then came back a bit later on, and they found a cancer unrelated to the prostate. So, it was luck, really, that they found it.

On that news, the King returned to London, today. He's being treated as an outpatient, at Clarence House, which is his home, just down the road. And I'm told he's in good spirits. But his medical advisers have warned him away from going out in the public at all, so he doesn't become vulnerable.

I'm also told that he is carrying out his key responsibilities, as head of state. So, that is appointing a prime minister, if that were needed, but signing bills into law, a crucial role in Parliament.

But also remember Kaitlan, that he's also head of the Armed Forces, the Church of England and the judiciary. None of these systems work, without his sign off, ultimately. But we're being reassured that he is in a position to carry out those key duties, even if we're not going to see him in public.

COLLINS: Yes. It has so many implications here, Sally. And so, that makes me wonder, when they did make this announcement, today, why do you think that they didn't say what kind of cancer it was?

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR, AUTHOR, "GEORGE VI AND ELIZABETH": I really don't know. Because when he -- when he did announce that he was having a procedure, for his enlarged prostate? And everybody applauded him, for being so candid.

And now it's become a matter of mystery again, which is much more in the style of the way the Royal Family has dealt with illnesses, over the years. There's been a lot of, you know, it's been a very opaque, and sometimes even misleading. When his grandfather, George the Sixth then, was diagnosed with cancer, the doctors hid it from -- even from him, and from the family.

So, it was a sort of breath of fresh air, for Charles, to say he had an issue with his prostate.


And I think, over time, and there have been some indications, that he will do this. But I think he is a head of state. And I think it would be -- people don't like uncertainty. People don't like to have a vacuum. And the statement said that they didn't want speculation. But it's inevitable.

And so, I do think that he would do himself a service, Britain, the world really, his subjects, to speak a bit more frankly about it.


BEDELL SMITH: It's really not invading his privacy because it is vital information. I mean, I -- the more I've thought about this, today, I feel as if the monarchy has really been knocked sideways, because--


BEDELL SMITH: --William's wife is ill with a disease that we also don't know. So, I think it's a real moment for them. And there are a lot of issues that are -- that are sort of dangling.


BEDELL SMITH: And I think they're going to need to be more candid.

COLLINS: Well, and Joanna Coles, I mean, when you -- when you look at this? And she talked about, it's not privacy. Where is the line between privacy and secrecy? JOANNA COLES, FORMER CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, HEARST MAGAZINES: Well, first of all, I don't think there is a household in Britain that isn't speculating about the kind of cancer, because of the way the Palace officials have released the information.

And then, you've got to look at the extraordinary. I mean, this is a Shakespearean play, unfolding, in real time, in front of us. This is a man, who spent 74 years in apprentice, to job of the King, finally gets the job. And then, nine months later is diagnosed with cancer. And they won't tell us what kind of cancer it is.

So, I agree with Sally. It's very hard not to speculate. The assumption is that it must be quite serious. Otherwise, they would have said, oh, this is simple. He'll be back at his duties quickly. And they're not saying that.

And I'm hearing it's a serious cancer. Who knows? And obviously, everybody in Britain wishes that he recover. But what an extraordinary outcome that no one could have predicted within his first year.

COLLINS: Yes. He was someone who, whenever he what -- after the coronation, that it was just talked about how long he had waited for this. And now he has it. What does it tell you? You said that it must be serious.

Prince Harry is rushing to go home. Does that signal anything to you?

COLES: Well, it signals that he's clearly, he's trying to make it up with his father, right, which I think is a good sign for the relationship. And we know that Charles said, please don't make my last years a misery, boys. So, I think that's a positive sign.

But the extraordinary thing for Charles is that I think the jury was out, on whether or not he was going to be a good king. People were anxious that he wasn't that he seemed a bit sort of wet, to be king.

And then, actually, the moment he took the role, it became very clear he was going to enjoy it. People liked him. He's been out there dancing. He's doing tons of public appearances. And actually, people really embraced him, and took to him.

And now, this. It's really bad luck.

COLLINS: And what are the implications of this? I mean, you said that they haven't detailed when he's returning for his duties. I mean, he does have a lot of responsibilities, as a head of state, technically.

COLES: He does. But the thing about the Royal Family is there is always an heir waiting. So, I'm sure William is sort of frantically thinking, goodness, when is Kate going to be out of hospital, and back at my side? But there's always William to take over were the worst to happen.

But hopefully, he recovers.

And of course, most of the royal duties are in title only. There is a highly functioning -- well, some would argue, it's not highly functioning. But there is a -- there is a functioning parliament. And it's not like that's going to stop, because Charles is ill.

COLLINS: And Max Foster, with Prince William returning, for those duties, what are you hearing? You're one of the best-sourced reporters, on this family. I mean, what are you hearing from people about this?

FOSTER: Well, I have spoken to someone, tonight, who is pretty well- placed. And I think in terms of what this cancer is, I think, watch this space. I asked, will we be told? And the form is that you would never be told. We still don't know how Queen Elizabeth died, for example.

But the response I got was he may choose to reveal what type of cancer it is. And this was in the context of him working with cancer charities for many years, and to what Sally was speaking to, a moment ago, where he did reveal which he didn't necessarily have to reveal, that he was being treated for an enlarged prostate. So, I think that might come. Obviously, it's not going to come today, because they've got a huge amount to think about.

In terms of who steps in, there is a system in place, of course. They have Counselors of State, they're called. And they are members of the Royal Family, who would be appointed by the King, to step in to carry out his duties, if he were incapacitated, under anesthetic, for example.


I've been told that he hasn't appointed those Counselors of State. So that shows some confidence, if they do it. And I also asked, would we be told if he appoints Counselors of State. And I'm told that we would be. So, if that happens, then that shows an escalation in what could be a crisis.

COLLINS: Yes. That's certainly a key piece of this, is an indication potentially, of how they believe this is going.

Sally, if you're someone, who has paid close attention, to the Royal Family, people who watch "The Crown," any kind of, watching of this family, just how it's proceeded, one person I thought of tonight was Camilla, in all of this, and how she must be approaching this kind of news.

BEDELL SMITH: Well, suddenly, a great burden has been placed on her, because she is kind of leading the Royal Family, right now. She's been out and about and probably doing even more than she would typically do. And obviously, she is devoted to him, and wants the best for him as we all do.

And, I think everybody is hoping that Kate recovers, that he recovers. But they surely have to be planning on how they're going to deal with eventualities that could happen. As Max was saying, Counselors of State. Both Harry and Andrew are Counselors of State. How do they deal with that? It has to be done in Parliament. There's a Regency Act. And that is only done if a monarch is

incapacitated, either mentally or physically. And these are things that sort of need to be dusted off and modernized. And Charles has talked about it, and said that he needed to do it.


BEDELL SMITH: And I think in the weeks ahead, we're going to see more attention placed on those--

COLLINS: Sally Bedell Smith.

BEDELL SMITH: --aspects.

COLLINS: Yes. Thank you so much for your expertise on this.

Joanna Coles.

Max Foster, your reporting as well.

We'll continue to monitor that.

Up next here, Donald Trump is trying to get his trials delayed or dropped even. But most Americans, according to a new CNN poll, actually say they want one particular verdict reached before Election Day.



COLLINS: A crucial factor for voters, in the 2024 presidential election, may not actually be decided, by the time they go and cast their ballots.

A new CNN poll shows that almost half of Americans do believe it's essential to have a verdict, in the federal case, against Donald Trump, the one that has to do with his alleged efforts, to overturn the 2020 election.

That trial was originally supposed to start, next month. But it has now been removed from the docket, off the calendar, as a federal appeals court is weighing his claim that he has presidential immunity.

This new poll also shows that Americans feel about the former President and his actions following the election. The numbers break down like this. 45 percent believe that he acted illegally. 32 percent say he acted unethically. And 23 percent believe he did nothing wrong at all.

A lot to break down, in those numbers.

Here with me is former Deputy Assistant to President Biden, Jamal Simmons; and former Trump White House Communications Director, Alyssa Farah Griffin. And Alyssa, these numbers are so interesting. And when you look at it, 48 percent say that they want to see a conclusion to that case. But, I mean, it may not even have started by then, based on what we know so far.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I think the most stunning number is that it's not higher that more Americans want a resolution of, if somebody who could be the president, is in fact a convicted criminal.

I mean, there are many, many Americans, who don't even believe felons should have voting rights. Yet they would be comfortable with a convicted felon being the President of the United States.

What's interesting to me is, listen, nationally, this about tracks. But when you break down state polls, the number of even Republicans, who wouldn't support Donald Trump, if he was convicted, is astonishingly high. It ends up being about a third of the Republican Party says they couldn't vote for a convicted felon.

So we, I mean, I think there's a basic like patriotic obligation, to know who you're voting for. And there's got to be a decision.

COLLINS: What did you make of these numbers?

JAMAL SIMMONS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR TO VP HARRIS: Democrats aren't just focused on the verdicts, right? The verdicts may happen. They may not happen.

But there is a great conviction, inside the Democratic Party, that if people are reminded about what the Trump-crazy is really like, they will choose to do something else. So, you want to have a choice election, not just a referendum on President Biden. And so, the more you talk about the future, and President Biden's objectives for the next term.

And then you remind people that we could go back to tweets, all the time, and all kinds of, events in the White House that you don't agree with, and all sorts of things? People -- or bleach being injected, if you have another pandemic? Like, people don't want to go back to that.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, that's kind of the question of the election, essentially.

But Alyssa, tonight, Trump, was doing an interview. He was talking about the cases, and why he thinks they're being brought. This is what he had to say.


TRUMP: I call it election interference.

If I weren't running, this would be -- well, none of this stuff would have happened. I would say this. If I were in fourth or fifth place, likewise, it would not. But these are very dishonest people. This is their form of cheating.

I'm doing this for the country. I didn't need this. I have a nice place to stay, you know, it's like.


TRUMP: I didn't need this.


COLLINS: I mean, I should note, these cases were brought before, a lot of them before he even decided to run for reelection.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, correct. And I mean, listen, I can't think of a less inspiring message to people, you're trying to turn out to vote for you, than, I didn't need to do this, I didn't need to run for president. But this is what Donald Trump's been saying, this entire time, is basically, it's a witch-hunt against me. They're coming after me. The state is weaponizing against me.

Here's the thing. We can't discredit how much that's actually breaking through with Republican voters.

The numbers of people, who, I mean, to your own point, don't even really care, if he's been convicted, and are still going to support him? That is a problem that's going to be really hard both for Democrats to break through, but even for people like me, Republicans, who want to see the party go another direction. It's almost an impenetrable number, at this point.

COLLINS: The number of people, who don't essentially care?

FARAH GRIFFIN: Who don't care, one way or the other, and actually don't believe any of these cases are legitimate.

COLLINS: I mean, how does that work with President Biden? I mean, because this poll also, Trump's second term agenda is not popular. When it comes to deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, 52 percent against, 61 percent, against his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, may be because it won't actually happen.

But with what's happening tonight, if this immigration bill does go bust, and it doesn't actually go anywhere, what -- how does President Biden deal with that? Because he will still have the immigration problem.

SIMMONS: He will also have the immigration problem.

COLLINS: Could still have it, I should note.

SIMMONS: He will be--

COLLINS: We can't predict the future.

SIMMONS: Yes, sure. But he will be -- be able to also talk about what he wanted to do about it, and the Republicans playing politics and didn't get in the way.

Here's the problem that I have of where we are. This problem might be reserved -- might be resolved, by the State of the Union, which is we don't yet know what President Biden wants to do, with four more years.

And I think the American public is waiting to find out, what he wants to do, because elections are not rewards, for past behavior. They're always about the future. And I think they're going to have to talk about that, if we to be.

COLLINS: And you think he'll lay that out in about a month from today?


SIMMONS: I think that's about the time when one would do it. And then, he's got to give his allies something to talk about, going into the rest of the election, because Donald Trump, chaos candidate, is one thing. But what do we get if we get Joe Biden and Kamala Harris back?

COLLINS: Jamal Simmons, Alyssa Farah Griffin, always great to have you both here. Thank you so much.

Meanwhile, a Senator, who may be on Trump's shortlist, as a potential running mate, if he's the nominee, making a lot of headlines, for what he said he would have done, if he was Mike Pence, on January 6th.


COLLINS: Ohio senator, J.D. Vance, one of several Republicans, that we are told by sources, Donald Trump is considering potentially, as a vice presidential candidate, should he be the Republican nominee.

It's not hard to see why he is under consideration, especially given what he said, during a television appearance, yesterday, checking all the right boxes, it seems, at least for Trump, on insisting that what he would do, when it comes to what Trump's last Vice President refused to do, on January 6th.


SEN. J.D. VANCE (R-OH): If I had been Vice President, I would have told the states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and so many others, that we needed to have multiple slates of electors. And I think the U.S. Congress should have fought over it from there. That is the legitimate way to deal with an election that a lot of folks, including me, think had a lot of problems, in 2020. I think that's what we should have done.



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

Elie, I should note, just to provide some facts to that. ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes.

COLLINS: What he's talking about what happened in Pennsylvania, the expansion of mail-in ballots, actually happened in 2019, before the Pandemic, and that was passed by a Republican majority legislature, in Pennsylvania.

HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: But facts aside.

What he said there about that is actually the legitimate way to handle this is what stuck out to me.

HONIG: Look, this is a ridiculous and illegitimate way, to contest that election.

He says -- first of all, the thing about the Pennsylvania ruling? If you don't like something the legislature does, you can lobby them. If you don't like something the courts do? He also has a beef with what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court do. You litigate it. And when you lose, you accept the loss.

The other thing he says is, I did -- I thought it was unfair the way social media suppressed certain stories.

Well guess what? Every candidate for office, in the history of American politics, has wanted the media to put more of some stories out there, and less of others. And you don't contest that by refusing to certify an election.

He knows that's bogus by though. He's a lawyer. He went to law school. He's just playing the part here.

COLLINS: But the other thing he was pressed on, by George Stephanopoulos, at the end of that was on defying Supreme Court rulings.


COLLINS: Because he had kind of made this claim that if he hadn't kind of -- he did make the claim that if Trump is back in office, he should fire every mid-level bureaucrat. And he was pressed on that.

And essentially was saying that if the Supreme Court said the president can't fire a general, that would be an illegitimate ruling. I mean, basically saying that he does believe the President could defy the Supreme Court.

HONIG: Again, he knows better. If any president defied the Supreme Court? People use this phrase constitutional crisis. That would actually be a constitutional crisis, because we wouldn't know what happens next.

And Donald Trump, for all of the abuses, and for all the times he pushed the boundaries of the law, when he was President, he never crossed that line. He never took a ruling, from a Supreme Court, or a final ruling from another court and said, I defy you, I refuse to do that.

J.D. Vance knows that's a recipe for lawlessness.

COLLINS: But if J.D. Vance is someone -- I mean, I am told I was just told the other day, he's still very much on the top of the list, for a potential VP candidate. I mean, what would you make of the fact that someone, who does have a law degree, who would have that?

HONIG: Let's hope he's just play-acting. Let's hope he's just auditioning. Because if he really means that, he would undermine the oath he would take as a lawyer, he would undermine everything that he was taught, at a very good law school.

COLLINS: Elie Honig, thank you.

HONIG: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: As always.

HONIG: All right.

COLLINS: Up next here, we are tracking on the ground, in California, a ferocious storm. It's not over yet. Parts of L.A. could be inundated with close to half a year's worth of rain by tomorrow.



COLLINS: Tonight, a massive storm, pounding California, with so much rain, in just such a short period of time. Millions are now at risk of mudslides, and flash flooding.

And there's word that we just are getting in tonight, from the L.A. County Fire Department that crews have been rescuing 16 people, at least five cats, from flooded areas.

The system has already brought close to a year's worth of rain to ports of L.A. and winds have hit up to 160 miles per hour, in parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

CNN's Nick Watt has been tracking it all, from Los Angeles.

Nick, obviously, this is something that people are watching very closely. What are you seeing tonight, at this hour?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it has almost stopped raining, Kaitlan, for the first time, in day and a half. But it's going to be back.

And officials are scared of more rain. Because frankly, we had some storms even before this system came in. And this system came in, and it is already in the top three wettest storm systems, since they started tracking such things way back in the 1870s.

Bel Air is right now been hit worse, most rain. It's just down the road from around. They've had almost a foot so far.

And Tom (ph), if you tilt down? Kaitlan, you'll see what the issue is. This used to be a road. It is now rain and all of this mud and silt.

So everything here is so saturated that it's not going to take that much more rain, for more of these mudslides. More than 120 mud debris and rockslides so far, some homes lost. So just a little bit more rain is going to cause problems.

Now, we just heard from the Mayor. And she, during her press conference, got her phone out, and President Biden was calling. And so, she put it on speaker. And President Biden gave a message to the people of Los Angeles that the federal government is here for us, should we need any more help.


COLLINS: What else did you hear from officials, at that press conference?

WATT: Well, they were talking about their fears of more rain.

And when is the rain going to stop? Well, listen, it was supposed to have moved through L.A. County already. But part of the issue here, it is so slow. So slow, it's been sitting here. And it actually could move away and then come back.

And in terms of the bigger picture. Well, the Mayor has said to us, listen, Angelenos, you're not used to this. But with climate change, you might have to get used to this.

Because what's causing all this? A warmer-than-normal Pacific, that's in climate change, and El Nino. So that brings all this moisture. You get this atmospheric river, 20 times more water then, is carried along the Mississippi River. And El Nino is pushing that right at California. We're told that we should expect more of these kinds of events. And when they do come, they are going to be more intense.

So, the message from the Mayor? Angelenos, get used to this, because over the next few years, we're going to be seeing more, more events, more rain like this.


COLLINS: Nick Watt, you and your team, Tom (ph), please stay safe, all of you. We'll continue to check in with you, as you monitor this on, the ground.

Up next here, it was an epic night of legends that were on stage, at the GRAMMYs, last night. But one of them brought down the house, with an incredible duet, while also just maybe bringing the country together, for a nice brief moment. The return of the icon, Tracy Chapman. [21:55:00]


COLLINS: There were a lot of incredible moments, at the GRAMMYs, last night. But there was one that truly stands out. It is because Tracy Chapman was back on stage.

For a fleeting but triumphant return, Chapman performed her 1988 hit "Fast Car," alongside Luke Combs, the country star, who earned his own GRAMMY nomination, for his cover of her song.




COLLINS: As the two of them shared that stage, the reverence that he has, for Chapman, was unmistakable. The same really goes for the whole room, who gave them both a standing ovation. I'm pretty sure everyone, who was watching at home did as well.


It was a welcome return, to the stage, for Chapman, who has largely stayed away from the public eye. It was 35 years ago actually, at the 1989 GRAMMYs that she performed that song, and took home an award. And I should note, Luke Combs was born just a year, after that.

Her version of the song though has now rocketed back up, to the top of the iTunes chart, tonight.

It was a great moment. Everyone should go watch it, if you haven't seen the whole thing.

I want to thank you so much, for joining us, on this Monday night. We have a busy week ahead.