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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Judge Orders Trump To Pay Nearly $355 Million In Civil Fraud Trial; Haley: Putin "Absolutely" Responsible For Navalny's Death; Haley Vows To Stay In 2024 Race Despite Trailing Trump In Polls. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 16, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: There have been all kinds of political scandals, over the years. But I don't think you've seen them covered, like you will, this weekend.

Sunday night, at 9 PM Eastern and Pacific, join Jake Tapper, for the premiere of his new CNN Original Series, "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL," with back-to-back episodes.

Jake talks with the still-defiant former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, who served eight years, in prison, on federal corruption charges.

Jake also looks at the extramarital affair confession, from former South Carolina governor, Mark Sanford, after his office claimed he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Again, "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL" starts at 9 PM, Sunday night, here on CNN.

The news continues. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINSstarts now. Have a good weekend.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: And good evening. I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.

And it is also judgment day, for Donald Trump and his wallet. Judge Arthur Engoron leveling Trump and his businesses, with a mind-blowing order, to, pay up to the tune of $355 million, plus interest, for being fraudsters. And don't sleep on the interest here, because the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, says that it could bring the total payment closer to $450 million.

The judge found that the Trumps engaged in a years-long scheme to trick banks into thinking that their assets were worth far more than they actually were. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. were both ordered to pay $4 million apiece.

So, when you look at it tonight, $300 million, $400 million, obviously a big deal, even for a billionaire. But he should be able to pay it, right? We've seen what Trump has testified, about how much money he has. But there are a lot of questions, tonight, about whether or not even he has this, or if he'll have to start selling assets.

Here's the former President reacting to this, tonight, shortly after the verdict came down.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: $355 million, for having built a perfect company.

There was no fraud. The banks all got their money.

And the judge knows that. He's just a corrupt person.

We'll appeal. We'll be successful.


COLLINS: That appeal could get very expensive. And I'm not even just talking about the attorneys, though that will be a huge cost too. In order to appeal, we are told that Trump will have to hand over the full $355 million judgment. We'll put a pin on that for a moment, and see what his options are.

But I also want to note what's in the ruling from the judge, as he described the lack of contrition and remorse, from the Trump family, as bordering on the pathological. And he noted that without a massive financial penalty, he says, they'd likely do it again.

We have everyone that you'd want to hear, break down this ruling, tonight.

Here at the desk with me, former Senior Investigative Counsel for the January 6 Committee, Temidayo Aganga-Williams; and former federal prosecutor, Kristy Greenberg.

Also, here is the man, who not only wrote the book on Trump, but several of them, the investigative journalist, David Cay Johnston.

Also, Senior Editor at Forbes, covering Donald Trump's business, whose reporting played a key role, in this trial, Dan Alexander.

It's great to have you all here, tonight.

Kristy, I mean, just looking at this, I think my first thought was talk about hitting Trump, where it hurts. I mean, not just his wallet, but also this image that he had, take him into the White House, this businessman.

KRISTY GREENBERG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF, SDNY CRIMINAL DIVISION: Absolutely. I mean, Judge Engoron essentially used Donald Trump's famous catchphrase, against him.

He told Donald Trump, you're fired, you can't run your business for three years, and your sons can't run your businesses in New York for two years. Instead, there needs to be an independent monitor, whose role and responsibilities are going to expand. Look for in 30 days, an order, where she will propose how she will do that.

But essentially, the businesses now have a babysitter, who's going to be checking and looking at everything they do. And not only looking at what they do after the fact, but before. They have to seek approval, before they even go to a third-party, to make financial disclosures.

They're also, for the first time, going to have an independent compliance director, somebody who's now going to see where the bodies are buried. They've never had that -- they've never had a compliance department before. So, things have really changed here.

And look, you look at the amount. It's obviously a massive amount. But he says he has a perfect company. Well perfect companies don't get -- don't get found liable for $355 million of fraud. So, look, I think you have a business empire that's really taken a hit here. I don't think Trump will be in an empire state of mind, for anytime soon.

COLLINS: Well, he's testified in a deposition previously that he has $400 million cash on hand. I mean, what does happen, next here, in terms of Trump saying that he'll appeal this. But in order to get a bond, he does have to put up some of this. Or to appeal, he has to put up most of it we're told.

TEMIDAYO AGANGA-WILLIAMS, FORMER SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL, JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE, PARTNER, SELENDY GAY ELSBERG: Yes, so that's correct. And he did say he had $400 million in cash, when in that same deposition he testified to the size of his apartment that was wrong and other factual misstatements. So, I think that makes this to undercut whether that's a true statement.

But the question, the issue he's going to have on appeal, is does he have the cash, to put it up, upfront, right? He can put up the cash. But that's going to be -- that's a lot of money. If you go with the bond, he's going to have to put up assets, to back that bond. And the question is, is he going to find someone, who's going to loan him that money?


Notably, Judge Engoron does not allow the former President to take loans from any bank that is licensed in New York. And every major domestic bank is licensed here. So, that means if he's getting a loan?

COLLINS: It's a good point.

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: He's going to have to go perhaps outside the country, to get money from a foreign financial institution that's not licensed in the States.

COLLINS: Is he permanently barred from getting loans for that, or is that in the two-year period?

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: I think that's a three-year period, if I'm not mistaken. But--

COLLINS: That's pretty remarkable, for someone like Trump, who has, for decades, done all of his businesses this way.

AGANGA-WILLIAMS: It's very -- it's very remarkable.

But I think what's also notable is that the judge also walked back some of his prior rulings. Initially, he was going to give what's been called the corporate death penalty, and basically ban the president -- the former President in debt -- forever. He walked that back, and he's not doing that.

And I think, frankly, the reason he probably did that is to make this case even more solid on appeal. He didn't go as harsh as he could have. And I think that's going to remove some of the exposure, the judge might have had, by accusations from the President -- former President, on appeal.

COLLINS: Yes. And I just want to talk more about what the judge said here, because in this ruling, there was a part, where he talked about the lack of remorse that the judge said he believed, was bordering on pathological.

He didn't end there, though. And I'm quoting part of the end of this ruling, where the judge said, quote, as referring to the Trump and -- Trump and his family, and his companies.

"They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again. This is" not -- "a venial sin, not a mortal sin. Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not" Bernie "Madoff. Yet, the defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways. Instead, they adopt a "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" posture that the evidence belies."

David Cay Johnston, you have been covering Donald Trump, and his businesses, and his family, for years. And I just wonder, when you read that part of this ruling, from the judge that was particularly harsh, where he basically says Trump can't change his ways? It made me think of, you have said that multiple times, here on this show.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, LECTURER, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, AUTHOR, "THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP," AUTHOR, "IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THINK": Yes. Leopards don't change their spots. And Donald Trump has done this, his entire life. And not until now has he ever been held accountable.

So, the judge did a fabulous job, 92 pages, meticulously dissecting all the lies, the made-up testimony, with one exception, and pointed out that this person was a Trump witness, was very careful to make sure he didn't say something he could be criticized for.

COLLINS: I wonder what you made of what the judge said, about Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and also even Ivanka Trump, saying that she was very poised and thoughtful in her testimony, but also saying that it was suspect what she couldn't remember, which he said the documents themselves could prove.

CAY JOHNSTON: Well, she was thoroughly impeached. She couldn't remember anything at all, about details that she'd obviously written memos about, and emails that were introduced into evidence, exchanges about details of things.

And this is the Trump way. You simply lie and deny, and don't worry about it, because it's just your word against the other person's. And this judge did a very good job, of showing how this was a web of lies, calculated to deceive even in his courtroom.

COLLINS: I wonder what you made of just the -- no one went into today, knowing this judgment was coming, thinking that Trump was necessarily going to get off. Well, I mean, he had already been found liable for fraud.

But I wonder what you -- what you think it was -- what it was like for Trump, to actually see that he was held accountable for $355 million.

CAY JOHNSTON: Well, Donald will be in a state of denial to the end of his life. He immediately sent people, on his mailing, list like me, you're the one who's under attack. And by the way, please send money, to help me.

And he has more troubles coming ahead. He has one benefit, Kaitlan, the interest rate on loans starting this year is only 2 percent -- not loans, on civil judgments, drops from 9 percent to 2 percent. It's the one benefit perhaps he's gotten out of this.

But Donald not only has to raise money, he can't deal with any bank, certified in New York. So, he could go to Russian oligarchs, MBS in Saudi Arabia, people like that, if they're willing to put up money for him, and--

COLLINS: You really think he would have to do that?


CAY JOHNSTON: Well, he can't borrow from any bank registered in New York State. And every big bank in the world pretty much that deals in the western world is registered here. I mean, Deutsche Bank, for example, his favorite lender, they're registered in New York. They are off limits to him. So, it's going to be very difficult, for him, to raise any money.

And he now has this independent director, who in effect is going to be the Chief Operating Officer of the company. And they can't -- they can pay salaries and routine things. But any financial transaction has to be approved in advance.

COLLINS: Well, that's my other question, when I was reading this immediately was who runs the company now? Because Eric Trump is the de facto chief of the Trump Organization. But he has this ban as well, at least a temporary one, for two years.

So, I do think it's a major question, of who is actually going to be in charge. I've asked people. I don't think that they know yet, at this point. CAY JOHNSTON: Well, as a practical matter, the independent compliance auditor, whose position the judge created, and Trump has to pay for, is going to be running the company, in the executive sense, of making large decisions, because money can't be moved.

You can't even apply for a loan in a New York-registered bank, without the approval of that person, and the monitor, Judge Jones. Because during the trial, and during these proceedings, they violated the judge's orders, repeatedly, moving money without the knowledge of Judge Jones. So nowadays, you can't move the money without pre- approval.

COLLINS: The judge also, in this ruling, cited these specific examples, of when Trump was caught lying, about his business.

One of them, and I'm quoting here, from the ruling, said, "When questioned about whether he had ever inflated the value of 40 Wall Street, Donald Trump was confronted with a Forbes article, including a published audio recording, dated September 21, 2022."

That would be this article here that is written by a guest you've seen here, on THE SOURCE, Dan Alexander. Dan is here with us.

Dan, I mean, obviously, just I think the key question is can Donald Trump afford this?

DAN ALEXANDER, SENIOR EDITOR, FORBES, AUTHOR, "WHITE HOUSE, INC.": He doesn't have the cash, right now. Especially if you add on that penalty with that interest, and the E. Jean Carroll penalty, which comes to -- with the two rulings on that comes at $88 million. Altogether, you're looking at over half a billion dollars.

Right now, Trump has, does legitimately have roughly $400 million in cash. That's not going to be enough. And remember that you can't just empty out your coffers, and say, OK, now I'm down to zero, I'm still going to operate a major real estate company. He needs to have some cushion here.

And so, he's going to have a couple of options. He is either going to need to refinance things. As you guys have talked about, the banks are going to have issues, with being able to lend to him. He can't even apply for a loan with many of these banks.

But there are, for example, plenty of rich guys, who might be interested, in lending him $100 million or $200 million, and may have good interest, in wanting to do that, for somebody, who might become the President of the United States, here in about a year.

Another option is that he could sell assets. But Donald Trump has always been reluctant to sell things, for what they're actually worth much -- not to mention, much less than they're actually worth. And he could be forced into a fire sale here, and get really desperate.

COLLINS: Well, one thing that he's talked about repeatedly, in his criticism, of this judge, was the valuation of Mar-a-Lago. I mean, it's been a huge focus of his. And the judge, got into that in this ruling, saying that, Trump is

claiming Mar-a-Lago is worth between a billion five. He said, that would require not only valuing it as a private residence, which the deed prohibits, but also is more than the most expensive private residence listed in the country by approximately 400 percent.

And he notes, in a footnote, Trump knows that because Trump signed the deed for Mar-a-Lago prohibiting that very factor.

ALEXANDER: It's ridiculous. And those lies are continuing even today.

In that statement that he gave, tonight, he said that -- he didn't say the exact numbers. But if you do out the math, he was saying that Mar- a-Lago was worth $900 million to 1.8 billion, tonight. Even after he's faced hundreds of millions of dollars of penalty, for lying about the value of his assets, he's continuing to lie about the value of his assets.

But I will say that Mar-a-Lago is worth a lot of money. It's a hard thing to value. We peg it at roughly $290 million. And it doesn't have any debt on it, right now. So, he could theoretically take a loan, against Mar-a-Lago, somebody takes Mar-a-Lago as collateral, perhaps, again, some rich guy, or some foreign lender, or whatever, that wants to say, OK, sure, we'll take that as collateral, and we'll hand you a $100 million or $200 million.

But those are going to be the sorts of things he's going to have to do. It's to look at his assets, and say, what can I put at risk, by taking a large loan against it--


ALEXANDER: --in order to now pay these penalties?

COLLINS: Well, and Kristy, the other part of this was there's a lot of talk about Michael Cohen, and his credibility, which obviously has been a subject of ours. We've had Michael Cohen on the show. We've talked about that. But he's wrote, at one point, where they said pleading matters (ph) actually that Michael Cohen told the truth, something that Michael Cohen is touting, tonight.


But I wonder what you make of that, not only given the role that he played in jumpstarting this investigation, but also he's expected to be a key witness, in the hush money case that we now know has a court date, next month.

GREENBERG: So, I have to say that part of the opinion surprised me. When Judge Engoron, basically went witness-by-witness, and when he got to Michael Cohen said, yes, he has been convicted of perjury. Nevertheless, somebody who is convicted of perjury can still tell the truth. I observed him. He was corroborated by other evidence in the case. And I believe he was telling the truth here.

Alvin Bragg must be breathing a sigh of relief, tonight. AGANGA-WILLIAMS: Yes. And I think, again, thinking about the appeal, that's going to make that appeal even weaker, for the former President, because Judge Engoron is saying, I was the one in the courtroom, I saw these witnesses, and here's my credibility finding. And an appellate court is not going to be in a position to overturn that or otherwise disagree, because they weren't there.

COLLINS: Everybody, thank you so much, for breaking that down, a very lengthy and important ruling. Glad to have each and every one of you, here tonight.

Up next, our other major story, because there is global outcry tonight, over the death of Alexey Navalny in prison. He was the face of resistance, to Vladimir Putin. And tonight, President Biden says he's holding Putin squarely responsible.

Nikki Haley, also blasting Donald Trump, for his silence, total silence, on Navalny's death. Our interview, with the 2024 candidate, right after this.



COLLINS: Tonight, President Biden says there is no doubt, in his mind, who's responsible for the death of Vladimir Putin's fiercest critic, Alexey Navalny. That is Putin himself.

Navalny was an anti-corruption activist, who was being held, in a penal colony, after being arrested in 2021, when he returned to Russia, in an incredibly symbolic act of defiance, knowing that very arrest was likely coming.

Navalny had just survived and barely recovered from an assassination attempt, after Russian agents poisoned his underwear, with a nerve agent.

Russian prison officials claimed, tonight, that Navalny suddenly lost consciousness, while at that Siberian penal colony.

And joining me now is Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and former South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley.

Governor Haley, it's great to have you here, tonight.

First, on the major international news, today. Do you believe that President Putin is directly responsible, for Alexey Navalny's death?

NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. I mean, all you have to do is look at his track record. I mean, this is a man, who's known to kill his political opponents. We saw him do this with the Skripals, in the United Kingdom, a few years back, when I was at the United Nations.

And honestly, Kaitlan, that's what was so disturbing, about what Donald Trump said in his rally, in Conway, South Carolina, a week ago, was that he said that he would side with Putin, and not defend NATO allies, if they weren't pulling their weight. But he went even further than that. And he said that he would encourage Putin, to invade any countries, not pulling their weight.

That means Donald Trump is siding with a thug, who kills his political opponents. He's siding with someone, who has made no bones, about wanting to destroy America. He's siding with someone, who arrests American journalists, and holds them hostage. And he's siding with a dictator, instead of siding with our allies, who stood with us at 9/11. It's the problem.

But this is exactly the Russia, I know. I dealt with them every day at the United Nations. It is a brutal dictatorship.

Navalny was a hero. He was trying to call out the corruption. He was trying to call out what Putin did. The fact that he returned back to Russia was nothing short of just amazingly courageous. But he was trying to make a point.

And what Putin was doing was trying to make a point, in front of the next Russian elections, to everybody, not to speak up against him.


HALEY: It's a sad day.

COLLINS: You bring up former President Trump. I mean, he has been silent, since we learned of Navalny's apparent death. Why do you think he's been completely quiet on this?

HALEY: It's not up for me to decide why he's being quiet. The problem is anybody that can't call out a dictator, that's a problem.

He should be calling not just calling Putin out for what happened to Navalny. He should be calling Putin out for the fact that he's got Evan Gershkovich, as a hostage. He should be calling Putin out, for invading Ukraine. He should be calling Putin out for the fact that now they are surrounding the Baltics, and Putin is getting ready for his next act.

When he said that, that day, it emboldened Putin.

And what we're seeing is Putin is emboldened by Biden, because he senses weakness, he doesn't see any sort of resistance. And that's why he invaded Ukraine. And he's emboldened by Trump, because Trump is not willing to stand up for our allies. Both of those are dangerous.

And I can promise you this. Putin would not be doing that if I were president. We know how the Russians are. We know that they cause chaos. We know that they cause distractions. But we never lose sight, of how Putin thinks, and what his end goal is. And that's the fact that he wants to go after our allies, and he wants to make sure he destroys America.

COLLINS: If you were president, today, how would you hold Putin accountable, for Navalny's death?

HALEY: One, you just call it out. And you remind all of your allies that you do it.

But the best way to hold Putin accountable is to make sure that Ukraine wins. I don't think we need to give cash to friend or enemy. I think you always should just make sure that we give equipment and ammunition, so that we can hold it accountable. But we should be standing besides Ukraine as they do this.

And the reason is, I saw at the United Nations, dictators, thugs and terrorists always tell us what they're going to do. They're very transparent. We just have to know to listen.

Hamas said they were going to invade Israel. And they did.

China said they were going to take Hong Kong. It happened during COVID.

Russia said they were going to invade Ukraine. We watched it.

China says Taiwan is next. We better believe them.


Russia said once they take Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics are next. Those are NATO countries, and that immediately puts America at war. We are trying to prevent war. This has always been about preventing war.

COLLINS: One, especially if you're saying that with Trump's comments, from over the weekend, that he's emboldening Putin, to potentially do more here, which is what the very fear is, you talked about giving -- you don't support giving cash to Ukraine.

But there is an aid bill, in Washington, right now, that the Senate has approved that has aid for Ukraine in it. But right now, House Republicans are refusing to take it up.

And I wonder if you believe that if they don't pass that, if House Republicans block that, do you believe that they're handing Putin a victory, after he just killed his loudest critic?

HALEY: I think the problem is, you have to look at the fact that Joe Biden, and Congress has never told the American people, why they should care about Ukraine. They've never told the American people why they should care about Israel. They've never told the American people the dangers about China.

And so, when you look at this scenario, what Congress has done, has been irresponsible. They've basically told the American people, they have to decide, between supporting Ukraine and Israel, or securing the border.

Securing the border is priority number one. But that doesn't mean you can't support Ukraine and Israel, at the same time. If we supported Ukraine and Israel, and secured the border, that's less than 20 percent of Biden's green subsidies.

The job of a President and Congress is to protect national security. The job of the President and Congress is to protect the American people. And the job of a President and Congress is to prevent war.

We have to prevent war by giving Ukraine, the equipment and ammunition, they need, to win, by supporting Israel as they take on the terrorist enemies. And if we do that? There is a reason that the Taiwanese want the U.S. and the West to support Ukraine.


HALEY: Because they know if Ukraine wins, China won't invade Taiwan.

COLLINS: Republicans are not blocking Ukraine aid, though, because President Biden hasn't explained it to them enough. I mean, he does come out and give repeated public speeches, about why he thinks it's important, to not let Putin be emboldened.

I mean, what do you -- what do you want House Republicans to do here? Because they're the ones blocking this aid.

HALEY: Well, I think Joe Biden has not explained that this is preventing war. He's just gone and pushed for Ukrainian aid.

COLLINS: But I don't think Marjorie Taylor Greene cares what President Biden says.

HALEY: Well, it doesn't matter. What is the role of leaders in D.C.? They should be telling the American people, everything. You over- communicate to the American people. You let them know why they should care. Then, they want to be part of the solution.

You can't blame Congress, if you don't have a leader at the top explaining why this matters. I don't say -- there are no saints in Washington, Republican or Democrat. At this point, they need to be explaining that this is about preventing war.

We have to support Ukraine. If we support Ukraine, that's 3.5 percent of our defense budget. The Europeans are putting in more than that. And they should. It's their neighborhood.

But this is about preventing war. This is about making sure that we don't have to ever send military in harm's way. That's why this is important. That's what the American people want to hear.

COLLINS: Can I -- you just were talking about Trump's embrace of Putin. And he's encouraging Russia, to attack U.S. allies, if they don't spend enough that what he believes they should be spending, what they've agreed to on defense. And you said that he's siding with someone, who is a thug that kills, and jails his opponents, his dissidents, obviously talking about Putin.

You've also said, though, that you would support Donald Trump, if he's the Republican nominee. I wonder how you reconcile those two things. Or does it make you uncomfortable that you may have to vote for someone that you say does that?

HALEY: It doesn't make me uncomfortable when I'm running against him.

The whole point of me running is because I don't think Donald Trump should be president. The whole reason I'm running is because I don't think Joe Biden should be president. And neither do 70 percent of Americans.

70 percent of Americans don't want to see Trump or Biden. 59 percent of Americans think Joe Biden's too old and think Donald Trump's too old.

We need someone, who can put in eight years of hard work, not making it about themselves, but making it about the American people. That's the focus that we need to have. That's what I'm trying to do. And the party that gets rid of their 80-year-old candidate is the party that will win.

There will be a female President of the United States. It will either be me, or it will be Kamala Harris. If Republicans nominate Donald Trump, it will be Kamala Harris. But if we can go and do what we're trying to do, we're going to make sure that it's me.

COLLINS: Right. But if it's -- Donald Trump is the nominee, you've said that you would support him. I mean, so that would be supporting someone that you say, is a Putin-sympathizer.


HALEY: Well, first of all, I think you have to look at the fact that you can't look at Joe Biden, and think that he is in good -- in a good mental stable state, to be able to lead this country. We can look at him from two years ago. He's very different than he was two years ago. He's mentally diminished. I think Trump is mentally diminished.

You can talk and give me scenarios all day long. I am trying to defeat both of those men, because we need a new generational leader. And America has the chance to do this. In a general election, we're given a choice. In a primary, we make our choice. Right now, South Carolina is going to make their choice, then is Michigan, then is Super Tuesday states.

I'm not going anywhere. I am fighting this, because we have a country to save. I'm fighting this, because I don't want my kids to live like this. I don't want anybody's kids to live like this.


HALEY: We have got to start getting the ship right.

COLLINS: More of our interview, with Nikki Haley, including her reaction, to that major Trump ruling, tonight, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: More now of our interview with Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, responding to Trump's crushing legal defeat today.

Let me ask you about the news today. Because we did have a New York judge, handing Trump a massive blow. Anyone who knows him knows how this would affect him, because it's not just his wallet. It's also his business image. By ordering him to pay this penalty of north of $355 million, with interest, for engaging in years of fraud, by inflating the values of his properties.

How damning do you believe this ruling is?

HALEY: I mean, my biggest issue is, I don't want the RNC to become his legal defense fund. I don't want the RNC to become his piggy bank, for his personal court cases.

We've already seen him spend $50 million worth of campaign contributions towards his personal court cases. Now, we see him trying to get control of the RNC, so that he can continue not to have to pay his own legal fees.

The problem is, that doesn't help us win any seats, in the House, in the Senate or anything else, if the RNC is all focused on his legal fees. The RNC's practically broke now as it is. And so, this is a bigger issue for the Republican Party.

It's not -- you know, I'll let him deal with his lawsuits. I haven't paid attention to what the charges are, what he's found.

But what I am most concerned about is now he's gone and taken someone, from North Carolina. He's made the co-chair, his daughter-in-law. He's made his campaign manager, the Director of Operations. He's trying to control the RNC after the fact that he tried to get me out of the race, so that he could be the presumptive nominee.

All of that is so that he has an arm to pay his legal fees. That's the fear that every Republican should have, because we won't win anything, if he goes down that path.

COLLINS: It's so interesting to me, though, to hear you say that you're not paying attention, to the criminal charges and the lawsuits. There's a lot of them. I understand, it's hard to keep up with so many of them, especially when you're running for president.

But, I mean, the assumption is that would be a massive liability for him, in a general election. You are running against him. And so, I mean, do you wish that you did make more of his legal troubles. It's the number one albatross hanging around his neck as a candidate.

HALEY: I've talked about that multiple times. I talk about the fact that he's going to be in a courtroom, all of March and April. I've talked about the fact he's going to be in a courtroom, May and June. I've talked about the fact that he said with his own words, he's going to spend more time in a courtroom than he is on the campaign trail. And that is not a reason that Republicans should elect him, because he won't win.

You can look at any general election poll. He's down, to Biden by five, by seven, on a good day, it's margin of error. But you look at those same polls, and I defeat Joe Biden by up to 17 points. That's what we're talking about, because that's the focus of.

You can name him the nominee. If Republicans decide that he's going to be the nominee, they can do that. But he can't win. He knows he can't win.

It's just time for Republicans to realize, if we truly want to change, where we're going in America. If Americans want to change where we're going in America? They need to vote in these primaries, and make sure that we get -- we start to right the ship. Because we can't go down this same path with two 80-year-old candidates, and think that we're going to be OK.

And with Donald Trump, what we've seen is chaos follows him. And we can't be a country in disarray, and a world on fire, and go through four more years of chaos. We won't survive it.

COLLINS: Do you believe -- I mean, that chaos, you've said before, rightly or wrongly. But, I mean, it's his own doing that he has these issues. Is that your belief?

HALEY: I've always said that chaos literally follows him. I mean, you can look at last week, what happened. He lost his case on immunity. They said they're going to try him as citizen Trump. Republicans lost the vote on Israel. Republicans lost the vote on Mayorkas.


HALEY: The RNC Chair lost her job.

And he had his fingerprints in all of that. That's what happens when Donald Trump deals with it.

COLLINS: I wonder do--

HALEY: We lost the House seat in New York.

COLLINS: Did his legal troubles change your calculus about how long you stay in the race? Do you have a mindset that you'll stay longer, because he's going to be bogged down potentially, in court appearances, and it could change how long you want to stay on the campaign trail?

HALEY: I'm staying in this, because I think we have a country to save. I'm staying in this, because I believe in what I'm fighting for. And I'm staying in this, because it doesn't matter what anybody else says. We know 70 percent of Americans don't want to see Trump or Biden in the office.

So, we are going to continue to be competitive, in South Carolina. The day after South Carolina, I'm headed to Michigan. From there, we're doing Super Tuesday states. We did a rally in San Antonio, Texas. Last night, we had 13 people in Dallas, Texas. We were in California before. We're going to continue to fight this as long as we can fight it, because I think that it's that important.


COLLINS: Governor Nikki Haley, it's great to have you here, for your first time on THE SOURCE. We hope you come back. Thank you so much.

HALEY: Thanks.

Go to and join us.

COLLINS: Up next, a journalist, close to Alexey Navalny will react to the death of Putin's fiercest critic.


COLLINS: In Russia, tonight, from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, people have been detained in vigils, honoring one of Vladimir Putin's fiercest critics, Alexey Navalny, after he died in a Siberian penal colony.

I should note, CNN doesn't know what happened to the people that you see here, in these videos, after they were detained.

But what we do know is that in that powerful CNN documentary, "Navalny," he delivered a chilling message to the Russian people, about what would happen, if he were killed?



ALEXEY NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER, LAWYER, ANTI-CORRUPTION ACTIVIST, AND POLITICAL PRISONER (through translator): Listen, I've got something very obvious to tell you. You're not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong. We need to utilize this power, to not give up, to remember we are a huge power that is being oppressed by these bad dudes.


COLLINS: Here tonight, TIME correspondent, Simon Shuster, who has covered Russia, and interviewed Alexey Navalny, many times, just recently by mail in 2022.

And I'm so glad you're here tonight. And I'm so sorry it's for this reason, because I know how much Alexey Navalny meant to you.

And I just wonder, when you heard this news, what went through your mind?

SIMON SHUSTER, CORRESPONDENT, TIME: Well, honestly, I thought back to that period, more than 10 years ago, now, when we did have this democratic awakening, in Russia. This was 2011, 2012, when Alexey Navalny was leading protests, in Moscow, that attracted as many as 100,000 people, sometimes more. And that was really a fork in the road, in Russia's history.

And, in my mind, he represents the kind of alternative Russia that we could have had, a Russia that's peaceful, prosperous, democratic. So, I thought back to those days, when I met him, when I was following him around, watching him speak at those rallies, lead those rallies, and I thought about the Russia that could have been.

COLLINS: We just saw him in court, yesterday. He was laughing, at one point. I mean, this was truly just yesterday. And then, today, this news came out that his family initially said they didn't even know, if it was true, or not.

Just the fact that he was one of the last remaining loud, vocal critics of Putin, even when he was in the Siberian penal colony, I think the big question that so many people have, now that he's gone, is what happens now?

SHUSTER: Yes, I mean, that question, in my mind, is connected to the question of why Putin did this now. I think it's the sense of impunity that he feels.

In that clip you ran, from the documentary, Navalny tries to remind us that there is strength in numbers. There is strength in the movement that he once led, inside Russia.

But clearly, Putin, right now, feels strong enough that he thinks he can get away with this. And that's a sign that the movement that Navalny led, and in many ways symbolized and represented, the movement for a democratic Russia, is maybe at its weakest point. And I don't know how they recover from this.

But I did follow them, while reporting about his work. They still exist as a network, internationally. They still exist as a network, underground, in Russia. So, I hope they can they can recover from this. But it's going to be really, really hard.

COLLINS: They claim that he -- Russian officials claim he lost consciousness, while he was out on a walk. Do you think we'll ever really know what happened?

I mean, I just think back to the lengths his team had to go to, when he was poisoned, where, while he was on that flight, they immediately went back to his hotel, and got his toothbrush, got a towel, got whatever they could find, to try to gather evidence, essentially. I mean, that's a lot harder to do with a Siberian penal colony.

SHUSTER: That's right. And when I was exchanging letters, with him, at the end of 2021, and beginning of 2022, he described this kind of prison, inside a prison that was created for him, specifically to keep him boxed up. He said it felt like living inside a shoe box, where all of the inmates were forced to be silent, around him, not even able to talk to him.

It was this very controlled environment that the Russian state created, specifically for him, apparently with the intention of one day, killing him there. So, it is a very different situation than the poisoning that we saw earlier, a few years ago.

COLLINS: It's a tragic night, and awfully not surprising, unfortunately.

Simon Shuster, obviously, his legacy will live on. Thank you for taking the time to join us.

SHUSTER: Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, CNN, tonight, also digging deep into the most scandalous political downfalls, in U.S. history, a preview ahead.



COLLINS: Lies, corruption, bribery, prostitution, it's all covered in the new CNN Original Series "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL," where CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent, Jake Tapper, dives into some of the most sensational political controversies that we've seen.

Like, when South Carolina governor, Mark Sanford, who was once seen as the future of the Republican Party, tried to cover up his affair, saying that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, when really he was with his mistress, in Argentina.

The affair hurt him politically. But it was really the bizarre cover- up that led to his downfall.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, Father's Day weekend, of 2009, was when everything started to fall apart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the Governor disappeared. It was honestly one of the most bizarre things I have covered in 20 years of journalism. He left. He was gone from the state, and didn't leave anybody else in charge.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It seemed totally out of character. But his constituents would soon learn that they did not know the real Mark Sanford at all.


COLLINS: And joining us now is the Host and Executive Producer of the "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL," Jake Tapper.

Jake, great to have you here.

And when it comes to Sanford, specifically, you were actually friendly with him, when all of this erupted. What was it like to see, kind of the dual identities of him, as the man, but also as the politician, play out?

TAPPER: So, we cover six different scandals, in the series. But this is the only one that I really had a personal connection to.


Because, as you note, I had known then-Congressman, then-Governor Sanford, for 10 years. I met him, when I was covering the McCain campaign, in 1999-2000. He was one of the few members of the House, who endorsed McCain. So, I'd known him, and his wife, Jenny, and their sons, Marshall, Landon, Bolton, and Blake.

And I'd watched the Super Bowl at the governor's mansion in 2004, because I just happened to be there, and happened to run into him at the Capitol, and he invited me over.

So, it was very bizarre for me, because not -- I wasn't a constituent of his. But I thought I knew him. So, the big lesson for me was, I didn't.

Because I believed the explanation his office gave. I believed that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. And I believed that because that seemed exactly like the kind of flaky, artsy weirdo thing he might actually do.

It turned out, of course, he was doing something that never even occurred to me that he was stepping out on his wife, and family, which seemed completely out of character.

And that was a real lesson, for me, as a journalist. You don't really know these people at all. You might think you do. You might think he, you know -- but you might think that you -- even if you're a skeptical person that you can spot which ones are real, and which ones aren't. And the truth of the matter is, you don't. You don't really know them.

COLLINS: Jake Tapper, I can't wait to watch. Thank you.

TAPPER: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Be sure to tune in for that.

Also, thank you so much, for joining us, tonight.

"CNN NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP" starts right after a quick break. Stick around.