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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Manchin On Trump Not Condemning Putin For Navalny's Death: "It's Just Unbelievable"; Navalny's Widow Vows To Carry On Opposition Leader's Work; Wisconsin Governor Signs New State Legislative Maps Into Law. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 19, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: On this Presidents' Day weekend, America's longest-living former President, Jimmy Carter, is marking one year, in hospice care, at his home, in Plains, Georgia.

Over the past year, former President, Carter, turned 99. He also lost his wife of 77 years, Rosalynn. Rosalynn Carter died in November, when she was 96-years-old, just days after entering hospice care, herself, with dementia.

The 39th President has defied the odds by surviving metastatic brain cancer, liver cancer, another health scares. His grandson said, in a statement, Sunday, "We have no expectations for his body. But we know that his spirit is as strong as ever."

We wish President Carter and his family well. Happy Presidents' Day.

That's it for us. The news continues. I'll see you, tomorrow. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: And tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.

President Biden says it's shocking that Republicans are walking away, from the Russian threat, as Donald Trump finally, barely mentions the death of Alexey Navalny, in order to turn it into a message, all about himself.

Senator Joe Manchin has a lot to say about that. The outgoing senator is here with me, tonight, fresh off his announcement that he won't be running for president. Is he now ready to endorse Joe Biden for a second term? We'll ask him.

And speaking of Capitol Hill, George Santos, the ousted Congressman, who tried to dupe everyone, is now suing a late-night host, saying that he duped him.

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

Tonight, it is a tangled tale of two presidents, on this Presidents' Day.

One, who blames Vladimir Putin, for the death of Alexey Navalny. And another, nothing but the sound of crickets, really, for three

days. Donald Trump did finally mention Navalny's name, in a social media post, today, but only saying that his death reminds him of his own persecution, and that America is, quote, a failing nation. Not Russia, America. That's right.

And so, it goes, Trump again failing to condemn Putin, or is a pattern here that has developed over the years, and recently saying that he would let Russia do whatever the hell it wants, to U.S. NATO allies, if they don't spend enough, on defense.

And much of the Republican Party is falling silent, on these comments, not confronting Trump or Russian aggression.

As President Biden said today, he's never seen anything like it.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They're making a big mistake not responding.

Look, the way they're walking away from the threat of Russia, the way they're walking away from NATO, the way they're walking away from leaving our obligations, it's just shocking.


COLLINS: The President there is mostly admonishing House Republicans, with those comments.

Critical aid to Ukraine is on the line. And I should note, right now, the House is on a two-week recess. But we are seeing Russia advance on the battlefield, during that time. Ukraine has pulled out of a key area, where a battle had been raging, for months.

We know the Senate did pass an aid package that would include $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. And that came with the help of my first guest, tonight.

And joining me now is West Virginia Democratic senator, Joe Manchin.

Senator Manchin, it's great to have you here. Just first, on the major international news. How much does it concern you that the leader of the Republican Party can't or, I guess, I should say, won't condemn Alexey Navalny's death, and is instead comparing it to his own legal issues.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): It's just unbelievable, Kaitlan.

First of all, it's good to be with you. And I hope everything is well. And hope everybody's doing well.

But to have a former leader of our country, and now leader of the Republican Party, won't even acknowledge this horrific death, of a 47- year-old healthy man, and put him in this horrible penal situation, and Vladimir Putin basically eliminating any competition that he thinks it might be threat to who, his own presidency, or his own leadership of Russia, is just -- just unthinkable, for us, in a democracy that we could ever stoop that low.

But when people can't even say, my prayers, and my heart and thoughts go out, to the Navalny family, to all of those, who have been affected by this horrific death, and just condolences, is just a decent human thing to do. And when you can't do that, what can you do?

COLLINS: You've said before that you believe Putin recognizes the strength of U.S. allies better than Donald Trump actually does.


COLLINS: I wonder what you think it says about the strength of, of the U.S. as an ally, if House Speaker, Mike Johnson, refuses to bring that aid bill, the foreign aid bill that has a funding for Ukraine, for a vote, on the House floor.

MANCHIN: Well, Kaitlan, we're still very hopeful. We have an awful lot of good people, Democrats and Republicans, over on the House. They just have to have the courage to do the right thing. They know that basically, our NATO allies are very concerned.


And the reason that we are the superpower of the world is we have allies, who have the same values that we have, the love of freedom and democracy, and they're willing to fight with us, which makes us a superpower, because of the ability for us to have other people, with our values, fighting for the same things we believe in.

And it's just unbelievable that if he will not let that come to the floor, for a vote? I've said this before. If that's -- if I have to do things that make no sense at all, that I can't explain, to all the good West Virginians that I represent, because it might hurt me politically, individually? Then I shouldn't be representing them.

I don't want to be in any form of a representative form of government, if I can't do what the facts have led me to believe, to go home and explain the right thing to do.

And people are misled, right now. They just don't know. They're not getting the facts of how horrible this is, and where we stand, and why we have to stand strong.

It is imperative that President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people get all of the help, and resources they need, to defeat -- to defeat the aggression of this -- of Russia, and Putin's commitment to basically putting Mother Russia back, at the expense of all freedom-loving people and countries around the world.

COLLINS: If House Republicans, if they don't end up voting on it? I know you said you're still hopeful. If they don't bring it to the floor, or if they do, and they reject it, do you think that that's effectively handing Putin another military victory?

MANCHIN: Well, what I -- what I still believe, Kaitlan, there'll be enough people willing to do the right thing.

If Speaker Johnson does not believe he has the ability, or if he doesn't have the courage, to bring it to the floor, because it will take -- it'll take a group of Democrats and Republicans, working together, which is the way a representative form of government's supposed to work.

Not one side has all the answers. Not one side is always wrong. There are good people on both sides. Give them a chance to do the right thing. And don't be afraid, because you didn't keep the purity rule, purity of making -- if we can't pass it just with one side, we don't bring it up at all.

We're in such a divisional time in our country.


MANCHIN: That we're going to have to pull everybody together.

And I hope they have the courage to do it. If not, I think there'll be some congress-people, both Democrats and Republicans that have the courage to do what they need to do to get it on the floor.

COLLINS: Yes, it could threaten his speakership. We'll see what happens there.

But I also want to talk about you. Because you announced on Friday, you're not going to launch a presidential bid. Just the day before, you had been floating this idea. You said hypothetical of having a Senator Mitt Romney or former Senator Rob Portman as a hypothetical running mate.


COLLINS: What changed? Why aren't you launching that bid?

MANCHIN: Well, I guess I'd be -- inadvertently may -- just getting good people involved. I mentioned two names of Republicans that I worked very close with, and have the utmost admiration and respect for, because I've always seen them put the country before their own self, or their own party.

It was always do the right thing. It wasn't well, I'm a Democrat, or you're a Democrat, or I'm a Republican, or you're a Republican, and we just can't do that. They never posed any problems that we had. And that's -- I'm just mentioned there's a lot of good people like that.

So, I came to the conclusion that after I saw what happened, what, 10 days ago, or so, when the vote for, on the Senate, for security of the border, a secured vote in the border, which is what our Republican colleagues desired to happen? They pressed that, and they said, we're not going to vote on any aid, until we've secured our border. I agreed with them.

I think President Biden has been wrong on the border. He -- it's his -- it's his responsibility, no matter what his reasoning was, to maybe help people, around the world, who've been displaced by the pandemic.

But he's come to the table now. He understands the gravity of what we're dealing with, and the danger. And he's willing to accept any help -- negotiate a very good bill that secures the border, stops catch and release, changes the asylum definition, gives us the personnel 20 -- I think it's about 2,700 new agents that we could process.

And they took one thing out of that, Kaitlan, they took one thing. And the number 5,000 is what you heard. And all they said, oh, that's 5,000 big, want to (ph) 5,000? That's the furthest thing from the truth. James Lankford, the most decent, honorable person, and conservative, in the entire Senate, negotiated. And he wanted to make sure that we -- 5,000 is all we can ever adjudicate.

COLLINS: And this is what drove you to not--

MANCHIN: That's all we can be doing.

COLLINS: --this is what -- what--


COLLINS: --led your final decision--

MANCHIN: That wasn't--

COLLINS: --not to run?

MANCHIN: That was a big just part of the decision, because I came to the final conclusion.

I always believed that we could -- we could legislate, through a crisis. We'd come together for a crisis.


Well, guess what? We have a crisis. The border is a crisis. And I saw my friends walk away, when they were determined, to pass a border security. And they were on board three days before that. And with Donald Trump, coming as hard as he came at them, and they cowered down and walked away? I said we're not fixing anything in Washington.

The sensible reasonable middle of this country makes up 55 percent to 60 percent of the population in voting, a tremendous voting bloc. But they feel homeless, right now. We're going to try to explain, and give them a home to take, and basically use the strength of their vote--

COLLINS: Yes. Well you--

MANCHIN: --and how they can get involved. That's Americans together.

COLLINS: You also said that in a president, you're looking for someone, in your -- you said, who has the knowledge, has the function, and has the ability, to do that, just there, to bring this country together. Is Joe Biden that candidate?

MANCHIN: Well, that's what -- that's a Joe Biden, I used to know.

I mean, I've -- and I've had this conversation with him, and with his people that he's gone too far to the left. They've pushed him, and pulled him, and whatever. But that's not where America is. That's not where our country is.

So, I'm hoping the Joe Biden that we saw in 2020, will be the Joe Biden, we see in 2024, if that can be done. If not, it's going to be a long road for everybody.

COLLINS: Are you going to endorse President Biden?

MANCHIN: I'm not endorsing anybody, right now. We're going to see what all happens. We still got plenty of time here. I'm going to do everything I can, to help move them, back to the middle, and show them where the strength of this country lies, where the voting bloc of the country lies.

And the extremes are going to be there no matter what. And I respect that. And I will do everything I can to make sure they have the ability to voice their opinion.

COLLINS: What does it say--

MANCHIN: But the minority--

COLLINS: But what does--

MANCHIN: The minority does not -- does not rule the day. The minority--

COLLINS: What does it say that you're not endorsing President Biden? What should people read into that?

MANCHIN: No, no. I'm just I'm trying to do everything I can to make sure that we have a pathway forward, where the center of this country, is going to be represented. And that's the center-left and center- right. That's where the decisions, that's where people live their lives. That's the type of government they want. They don't want the extremes.

And what we're seeing is extremes. Donald Trump is an extremist. And with that, there's people that are going in that direction.

I still believe there's enough good Republicans and Democrats that want this centrist type of approach to governing.

COLLINS: If it is President Biden, and former President Trump, on the ticket, in November, what will you do?

MANCHIN: Well, we'll just have to see what happens. It's a long time before that happens. Right now, there might be other people getting in. There are still independents. You just might have still a third- party run from No Labels. And we'll just see what opportunities and what type of options you have. All of us, we are looking for that, and then make the decision at that time.

COLLINS: The New York Times is reporting that Senator Schumer, obviously, the leader of your party, in the Senate, has been urging you, to formally leave the Democratic Party, to run as an Independent candidate, for your Senate seat, in West Virginia. Really would be Democrats' only hope with that seat. Otherwise, it seems like it's -- given that it's going to a Republican.

Are you considering doing that?

MANCHIN: That's not true. He hasn't done that.

Chuck and I, we have -- we've been friends, and where friends can agree to disagree. We can speak frankly to each other. And we're -- and we sometimes get a little boisterous and loud. But we enjoy each other. We were able to go at it, and come out with an understanding, to respect each other.

But that's -- he's not going in that direction, no. And he knows I made my decision, and it is what it is.

COLLINS: Senator Joe Manchin, thank you, for joining us, tonight. Give your wife, Gayle, our best please.

MANCHIN: I will.

And remember, Americans want to be together. And we're going to help Americans come together.

COLLINS: Thank you, Senator Manchin.

MANCHIN: Thank you. Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Up next here, on THE SOURCE, Alexey Navalny's widow putting out a brave message to the world, vowing to continue his work, taking on Vladimir Putin, picking up where her husband left off.

Also, Israel's new ultimatum for Hamas. Free all the hostages in the next few weeks. Or a major new ground invasion, in a city, where over a million Palestinians are sheltering, will happen.



COLLINS: Tonight, the widow, of the Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, is vowing to take up the torch, of her husband's crusade, to expose Vladimir Putin, and his Kremlin cronies, for the grifters and killers that they are.

In a video message, posted three days after his death, Yulia Navalnaya, her voice cracking at times, in this video, accused Putin, of murdering her husband, and called on Navalny's followers, to keep up the fight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YULIA NAVALNAYA, ALEXEY NAVALNY'S WIDOW (through translator): I ask you to share your rage, rage, anger, and hatred, with me, towards those who were daring enough to kill our future.

And I address you with Alexey's words, which I believe it is not a shame to do. It's not a shame to do little. But it's a shame not to do anything. It's a shame to make yourself intimidated.


COLLINS: That powerful message coming, as Navalny's mother is still fighting, to reclaim her son's body.

She was denied access to the morgue, where they believe that it's being held. And the Russians say they still won't hand it over, for two more weeks. His widow says that's so the Russians, who killed him, have enough time for the traces of poison in his body to disappear.

And with that as the backdrop, look at this, Russian authorities are cracking down on Navalny memorials that have popped up, across the country. Hundreds of people have been arrested, some of them reportedly beaten, simply for laying down flowers.

I want to bring in exiled Russian journalist, Mikhail Zygar, the Author of "War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine," who exchanged letters, with Navalny, while he was in prison.

Of course, getting a final message from him, just corresponding a few weeks ago, what did it -- what was he saying to you?



He described his new prison in Yamal, the Arctic Zone. And actually, he didn't see it, from the outside, because he was -- he lived in one cell, and he had a cell for walks. So, as they say, he died after a short walk. But it wasn't outside. It was in a -- the max.

COLLINS: Yes. He didn't even have like a long space--


COLLINS: --to go and walk.

ZYGAR: In a max prison cell.

And like it was long -- a long letter about literature. We discussed. It's funny -- now it looks funny. But we discussed Dostoevsky, and Nabokov, and Solzhenitsyn, yes. And the chances that Russia had, after the collapse of Soviet Union, to become the democratic country. And he wrote to me that yes, it's really sad that Russia failed to become democracy, in the 90s. But we must not lose those chances, once the Putin's dictatorship will fall.

COLLINS: Given your correspondence, I mean, did you ever imagine that that would be your last letter with him?

ZYGAR: No. Never.

It's amazing, but I never believed that he will die in prison. It's, everyone was discussing that. But in my -- I had very clear perspective that he was going to be our Nelson Mandela, and supposedly, our George Washington. He was designed to be the future president of Russia. And a lot of people believed that he had to be one.

And now, once we know that he's some kind of Russia's Martin Luther King, it's really devastating. But it gives us hope that probably he will be the moral example, for the next generation.

COLLINS: It must be really hard to grasp, to have this idea that he won't die in prison that he will, one day, even through a difficult process become, he will take Putin's place that he would become president. And now, to see this, and to learn this news?

ZYGAR: Yes. A lot of -- a lot of people are. I spent three days talking to people, who are crying, in Russia, in Germany, in Israel, in Britain, here in the United States. So, yes, it's really hard for everyone.

But today was, in a way, day of relief, because everyone loves Yulia Navalnaya, and everyone hoped that she would find some strength, to continue his fight. She is the -- she's the absolutely ideal politician for Russia. She is beautiful. She's smart. She is the symbol of, of future Russia.

COLLINS: But it's a different position for her, because she's -- she was the one, who didn't really embrace the spotlight. She, it was always--

ZYGAR: She never wanted it.

COLLINS: --Alexey.

ZYGAR: Yes. She never wanted it.

COLLINS: What do you make of the fact that she now has it?

ZYGAR: She always behaved like some kind of Michelle Obama. She never wanted to be a politician. And she -- and while he was alive, he was always trying to be -- she was always close to him. She participated in all the protest rallies, everywhere. But she was very, very intelligently quite. She has to do -- I don't know, you know?

She has always been very devoted. We know that, for her, that's top priority. Her husband's career, as a politician, her husband's -- her husband's values have always been top priority for her. So, she -- I know her, for many years. And she always looked like a person, who knows that she does not belong to herself. She belongs to Russia, now. She used to belong to the priorities of her husband. And now, these priorities are hers.

COLLINS: So, what do you make when you see these people, carrying a photo, of Navalny, being arrested, and beaten up? Everyone who -- people who were lying flowers, at the memorials, what do you see when you see that, and the fear that the police are instilling in people?

ZYGAR: We were, frankly speaking, we were really devastated, two years ago, when Russia started full-scale invasion, against Ukraine. And a lot of people were really scared by the fact that probably we didn't know Russian people. Probably we -- even us, even Russians, who had to -- who chose to leave the country, were afraid that maybe the majority of the population supported that war.

Now we know that majority does not support. Now we know that people hate this war. And -- but now we see obvious proof that they are brave enough to, to go to, to publicly, to show some kind of public support, to Alexey Navalny. And that's important. We know that he has always been wanting to -- the most -- the only politician in Russia, and the most popular politician.

COLLINS: Yes. Thank you for coming in, to talk about these letters. I know it's difficult.

ZYGAR: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Appreciate you.

ZYGAR: Thank you.


COLLINS: And up next, on the other international front, Israel is preparing for a major new ground assault, in Rafah. We're going to speak to an American doctor, who just spent 10 days in Gaza. What he saw that he says wasn't war, it was annihilation.


COLLINS: Tonight, the United States is calling for a quote, "Temporary ceasefire," in Gaza, as soon as possible. That's according to a draft United Nations resolution that was seen by CNN.

And it comes after the United States vowed to veto a separate resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire. Still, even using the term, ceasefire, is notable, from an administration that has stayed very far away, and been very careful not to use that word.

This resolution, the draft of it at least, also warns against Israel's planned ground offensive, in Rafah. That's where roughly 1.5 million Palestinians have been sheltering, with really nowhere else to go.

Joining me here, tonight, on THE SOURCE, an American doctor, who just returned from Gaza, saying that what he saw there was not war, it was annihilation.

And Dr. Irfan Galaria is here.

And Doctor, thank you for being here.


I just want everyone, who's watching, to know that you have been to other war zones. You've worked in other war zones, Afghanistan, Sudan. You were even in Gaza, in 2009.


COLLINS: Can you just tell us what you saw this time?

GALARIA: Certainly. Thank you, for having me, on your show.

I was in Gaza, in 2009. And I've been in dozens of other places, where I've operated under poor conditions. So, I thought I was prepared for what I was going to see here, when I went to Gaza, this time.

But what I walked into was a vastly different situation. What I witnessed was an utter collapse, of the health care system. Hospitals have been destroyed. There's not even enough physical space or capacity, to care for all the civilian casualties.

We don't have enough operating rooms, to treat their patients. Physicians have been killed, they have been detained. And there's a significant lack of medical supplies. As a matter of fact, the infection risk, in the operating rooms, is 100 percent, because we don't have adequate equipment and supplies, even maintain sterile fields, which is something unthinkable, or unimaginable, what we have here in America.

And what's especially frustrating is that I and my colleagues had to perform several amputations, while I was there, simply because we didn't have access to the proper medical equipment, and resources that we have here, in America. Those amputations could have been avoided.


GALARIA: And so, that makes it really difficult, to take care of the complexity of cases that we're seeing, during this war, and to take care of the sheer volume of cases that have been created.

COLLINS: What about the people? I mean, you're a father of four kids. And you said that at one point, you stopped counting how many orphans that you had operated on.

GALARIA: Yes. The toll that this war has taken has been incredible. Kaitlan, I'm not naive to war. I understand war is horrendous, and there's going to be collateral damage. However, to see over 1 million people displaced is just too much.

And what needs to be done here is there needs to be an immediate ceasefire. The toll that this war is taking is significant, on the civilian population.

I saw, when I was in Rafah, over 1 million people struggling to survive, trying to find shelter, food, and water, all while trying to manage and bear a war.

COLLINS: I imagine it was difficult for you to leave.

GALARIA: It was incredibly difficult. And I felt incredibly guilty, because I was able to leave, I was able to escape. But million, 2 million other people are trapped in that nightmare.

I still have difficulty in my transition, both emotionally and physically. When I was there, you would hear these drones, 24/7. It was a buzzing noise, like a lawnmower or a Weed Whacker. When I came back here in America, I would still hear that. And even today, almost 10 days out from my return, I still hear that noise, jarring my mind.

COLLINS: Would you go back?

GALARIA: I would. I would. And I hope to. The need there is -- was tremendous. And I just feel like, as I said, incredibly guilty. And there's very little I can do. But I want to do what I can, to help relieve their suffering.

COLLINS: Doctor, it was an incredibly powerful piece that you wrote, and just for being there, even for those 10 days. Thank you for that. And thank you for coming on, to tell us what it was like.

GALARIA: No, thank you for giving me this opportunity. And thank you for allowing me to be a voice for the voiceless.

COLLINS: Absolutely. Dr. Irfan Galaria, thank you very much.

GALARIA: Take care.

COLLINS: Up next here, on THE SOURCE, reaction to our one-on-one interview that started the hour. Senator Manchin making news, saying that he is not endorsing President Biden, at least not yet, even though he himself has said he will not be entering the presidential race.

We'll break it down with our experts, right after our quick break.



COLLINS: Back with more, on that striking news, at the top of the hour that you heard, from our interview, with Democratic senator of West Virginia, Joe Manchin.


COLLINS: Are you going to endorse President Biden?

MANCHIN: I'm not endorsing anybody, right now. We're going to see what all happens. We still got plenty of time here. I'm going to do everything I can, to help move them, back to the middle, and show them where the strength of this country lies.


COLLINS: Let's talk about that comment there, with former South Carolina State Representative, Bakari Sellers; and former Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, Geoff Duncan.

Bakari, I wonder, I think the White House noticed, on Friday, when Manchin said, I'm not going to run for president, I'm not pursuing this third-party bid, that he notably did not say anything about President Biden's run for reelection. And then, tonight, saying that he's not endorsing him at this point.

What did you make of that?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely nothing. I don't think anybody cares.

I think the interview was a master-class, in how to make yourself seem more self-important. I know most senators believe that they are the most powerful person, in the entire country, or entire world, excuse me. And Joe Manchin is just trying to reassert that belief that he is more important than he actually is.

Look, I understand that there are a lot of individuals, who want this President to be more centrist, I would say. But this president has actually passed more bipartisan pieces of legislation than any president in recent history. That's a fact.

And then, also, I'm not sure the White House or the Biden campaign are actually losing sleep, over what the Senator from West Virginia says.

And so, I don't think -- I understand that the gravity of making yourself feel more important, in the United States Senate. And Joe Manchin attempted to do that. But most Democrats are going to go out and vote for Joe Biden, regardless of what Joe Manchin says.


COLLINS: Well, Geoff Duncan, I mean, speaking of the other side of the ticket, he's made also clear that, Senator Manchin, does not want to vote for former President Trump at all. He's been very upfront on his opinion on that. But that is what is looking like the ticket will be, come November. I mean, if something could change, we don't know.

But we did see this picture, tonight, that just posted a short time ago, of House Speaker, Mike Johnson. He's at Mar-a-Lago. It's Presidents' Day, spending the day with the former President. I should note, Republicans have a retreat, down in Miami, which is why so many of them are there, right now.

But I wonder what you make of watching that, or seeing that picture, but also hearing what Senator Manchin said, about House Republicans, and this idea that they very well may not pass any more aid to Ukraine.

GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well let me start by saying it's awkwardly refreshing, to hear Bakari be on his heels a little bit, defending a very powerful U.S. Senator, not endorsed his own party, right out of the gate. So, awkwardly refreshing.

But yes, look, we've got our own host of problems, as Republicans.

COLLINS: Wait, pause what--

DUNCAN: You know?

COLLINS: Why is that awkwardly refreshing? I want you to -- we'll get to the other part. Start with that.

DUNCAN: Well, because we've spent so much time, including myself, talking about how bad Donald Trump is, and how misdirected our party is.

But the Democrats have their own host of issues, too. I mean, to think about if we just voted on Joe Biden's record, instead of having to include Donald Trump's act, and circus and indictments and sexual harassment, and all of that? If we just compare to apples to apples, this is a policy nightmare. And we should be winning as Republicans. But we're not, because we have the wrong candidate.

I'm one of those Republicans that's absolutely embarrassed that who's leading our ticket, right now. I don't think we've got a good chance. I think we're really setting ourselves up for a Herschel Walker moment, where we think we've got a good primary candidate. But then, we walk into a general election, and we get beat by Joe Biden. And we continue to have four years of failed policy.

COLLINS: And what about Speaker Johnson, and his picture, with, at Mar-a-Lago, given Trump just sunk the bipartisan immigration bill, now, the major question of what's happening with Ukraine aid in the House.

DUNCAN: Yes, look, Mike Johnson, he got to be Speaker of the House through a whole bunch of weird gyrations and missteps. But he has a chance to be a leader, right?

When you get nominated Speaker of the House, and get sworn in, you have a chance to truly be a leader. And he's got a chance to literally be part of the global conversation, of trying to fix what's broken, across this globe. But instead, he's -- he seems to be kowtowing, to Donald Trump, and playing second fiddle, to what Donald Trump wants to do for his own selfish reasons, right?

I mean, there's absolutely no reason why we should be siding with Vladimir Putin. None. We should not be letting Donald Trump play games, when we have such serious issues going on in this country. We shouldn't. And Mike Johnson shouldn't either. And those other House Republicans shouldn't be playing games either.

COLLINS: Bakari, what's your view? SELLERS: Well, I mean, my view is that the job is too big, for Speaker Johnson.

And anytime you want the Republican Party, or they have an opportunity to leave, they fail.

This is the same Republican Party that said that they were going to repeal and replace Obamacare. The answer is with what?

This is the same party, who can't figure out immigration, and when Democrats give them what they want, on immigration, and we have comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform, and Donald Trump -- and even -- and we have to think even the -- the Border Patrol union even said that portions of this were some of the strongest that they've seen. They're pushing forward as well.

But Speaker Johnson can't get out the way. The job is too big for Speaker Johnson.

COLLINS: Yes. Brandon Judd said that they liked it. But Republicans seem to say they did not.

Bakari Sellers, Geoff Duncan, thank you both.

DUNCAN: Thanks.

COLLINS: Up next for us here, tonight, on THE SOURCE, it was a big day for Democrats, in a key swing state, new maps that could actually upend not just the balance of power, in Wisconsin, but also potentially nationwide.



COLLINS: Tonight, there are sweeping changes, coming to a battleground state, Wisconsin, which for well over a decade, has been considered one of the most gerrymandered states, in the country, given Republic -- giving Republicans overwhelming control, of the state legislature, even if the state is actually pretty divided.

The governor there, Tony Evers, today, signing the new legislative maps, with major implications for Democrats' hope, to compete in the state. It's a battle happening in state after state, across the U.S. But this one may be the biggest power struggle of all.

Here to join us, to talk about this, CNN's Harry Enten.

Harry, I mean, this is a huge deal. Because I think people at home know obviously, Wisconsin is a battleground state. We saw how critical it was, in 2020. But this is a shift that could actually have national implications.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes. I mean, look, keep in mind, this is not the congressional map. This is the state legislative map. But, as you mentioned, these were some of the most gerrymandered lines, in the country.

I tend to dismiss a lot of Democrats' concerns saying, gerrymandering, gerrymandering, gerrymandering. And I'm like, yes, not really. In Wisconsin, it really was the case.

I mean, as you mentioned, Joe Biden won that state by a little bit less than a percentage point. Yet he only won about 33 percent of the state assembly districts, about 35 percent of the state senate districts. And now, with these new lines, all of a sudden, he's winning, in fact, a majority of the state senate districts. And it basically splits down even evenly 50-50, on the state assembly.

Now, you mentioned national implications, right? Well, how about abortion laws in the state of Wisconsin, right?

How about the state workers and their right to negotiate with the state government, public sector unions? You go back to the beginning of last decade. Remember, Scott Walker and the Republican state legislature basically cut those rights completely out.


ENTEN: These could be major shifts, if in fact Democrats can win control of the state legislature, with these new lines, going forward.

COLLINS: So, someone sitting at home, who may not pay as close attention to you, as -- to this, as you do, may wonder--


COLLINS: --the state legislature approved these maps. It's under a Republican control.

If they're looking at it, and saying, well, what's in it for them, why did they approve this?

ENTEN: Why? Because the State Supreme Court, if they in fact did not approve these lines, the State Supreme Court could have very well picked lines that were even worse for Republicans, in the state legislature. That what was going on, right?

COLLINS: So, they're trying to sell this as a win?

ENTEN: They're trying to sell this as a win.


There's -- I mean, Robin Vos, who's the head of that state assembly, basically was saying, I give up. He had been fighting for ever these -- if you want to keep the lines, he was doing basically whatever he could. He in fact was -- they were floating the idea, potentially, of impeaching a State Supreme Court Justice there.

But the fact of the matter is, if they did not approve of these lines, their situation could be far worse. COLLINS: One, it shows how critical that Supreme Court race was, where Janet Protasiewicz, which was one of the most expensive State Supreme Court races we've ever seen. It shows how critical that was here.

ENTEN: Absolutely. I mean, at the end of the day, I could not see a pathway forward, for Democrats, to regaining control of that state legislature, without the State Supreme Court actually saying that these lines violated the state constitution.

This shows you how much local elections matter, how much state elections matter, how much these off-year elections matter. You're seeing in Wisconsin, right now.

COLLINS: Harry Enten, as always, thank you for breaking that down for us.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, expelled Congressman, George Santos, is now suing one of his cameo customers, who also happens to be one of those famous late-night hosts on TV.



COLLINS: Two major decisions, into Trump cases, could be handed down, at any moment.

We are still awaiting word, from the Supreme Court, on Trump's emergency request, to block that lower court ruling that the former President can be prosecuted, and does not have blanket immunity. How the High Court acts next could also determine whether Trump is going to face a second criminal trial, before the November presidential election.

In Georgia, meanwhile, it is still an open question, tonight, whether the District Attorney, Fani Willis, will be disqualified, from that election subversion case, after we heard from her, in that stunning testimony.

Joining me tonight is Kenji Yoshino, constitutional law professor at NYU School of Law.

And it's great to have you here.

Let's start with the Supreme Court's immunity decision. I mean, we are basically waiting, any moment, to hear from them. When do you think that decision could come?

KENJI YOSHINO, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: It could really come any time. I mean, all the papers are now in. And now, it's just a question of whether it will be like a crawl, a sprint, or like a brisk trot, right?

So, the crawl is what Trump is asking for, where the Supreme Court could say we grant a stay. You can just proceed at your own pace. You have 90 days to file your petition for review. And then, there'll be oral arguments, and briefing, and all of that decision time. So, that's like the glaciers for North America faster kind of scenario.

Then like the kind of sprint is what Jack Smith is asking for, which is deny the stay, even deny review in this case. So let the circuit court decision stand, because you think it's a good decision, or because you want to just dock this controversy. And that would immediately kick it back downstairs, to Judge Chutkan, because she would regain jurisdiction over the case, and she could just proceed to trial.

COLLINS: Would you be totally shocked, if they deny the stay, if they just say nope, and it moves on?

YOSHINO: I would be surprised. But that -- I wouldn't (ph) have been a lot more surprised before the D.C. Circuit court's opinion. That opinion was bipartisan, right? It was very closely reasoned, right? It was just so bullet-proof and airtight that I could just see the Supreme Court saying we basically agree with this--


YOSHINO: --why are we actually taking this?

COLLINS: In Georgia, that remarkable moment, when Fani Willis got on the stand, last week, I think everyone was glued to it, and watching her testimony.

But I think it's an open question of, did she make her point? And did the Trump attorneys, and the defendant's attorneys, do a good enough job, kind of nailing her down, on what they say is this conflict of interest?

What's your sense of what's going to happen there?

YOSHINO: Yes, it's the same thing, right, where it's delay, delay, delay, on the one side, and like full throttle ahead, on the other side.

I, listening to that testimony, don't think that they nailed her down, on the critical point, right, of whether or not she was spending that money, and she benefited from that relationship.

She's already admitted that there was a personal relationship. So, I think that ship has sailed. But the question of whether or not she benefited in a way that would call her objectivity into question, I think, is what's tricky in that case.

COLLINS: Which is so major, because if she is disqualified, this whole case could unravel, potentially. And that -- her being disqualified has nothing to do with Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Donald Trump, and all the other co-defendants sitting in that room.

YOSHINO: Yes. Thank you for saying that. Because this is like already with 15 defendants, it was going to be a very, very protracted prosecution.

But as I understand it, if she gets disqualified, under a 2022 Georgia law, this goes to something that's called of a Prosecuting Attorneys' Council, and they have to decide, at their own leisure, about her replacement. So I mean, there, it's like, frozen--

COLLINS: And it's a who knows?

YOSHINO: --centuries of time, like who knows?

But then even after that person is in place, they have to get up to speed, on what it's taken her months, if not years, to get up to speed on. So, that's a big question mark.

The thing I will say about the state law prosecutions, though, is that Trump cannot pardon himself, right? So, I think that the big worry that's hanging over all of these is that if Trump does get elected, that he will put the kibosh on DOJ prosecuting him, or alternatively, pardon himself. That's not possible under our federalism, with state law claims.

COLLINS: Right. Kenji, we will be watching closely. Maybe when we get the Supreme Court decision, we'll have you back, to talk about what that means. Thank you for joining us, here tonight.

Also, tonight, something we mentioned at the top of the hour, the disgraced former Congressman, George Santos, is now suing Jimmy Kimmel. Yes, you heard that right. He's alleging that he deceived him, that Kimmel deceived Santos, into creating 14 cameo videos, which has become his new gig, after he was expelled from Capitol Hill.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Can you please congratulate my legally blind niece Julia on passing her driving test?

OK. Will George Santos say it?




SANTOS: I'm here to wish you congratulations on getting your driving test. You prove that even the legally blind can do it.



SANTOS: I know that it's a bummer that right after you got the test, and you show that you weren't a quitter, you got into that little accident. Look, a body cast ain't much.

Even Jesus and President Trump will make sure that you're back on the road soon.


SANTOS: And you're going to be amazing.


COLLINS: In this lawsuit, Santos is alleging that Kimmel misrepresented himself, and violated copyright laws, by broadcasting Santos' videos, on his show.

The expelled Congressman is seeking at least $150,000 in damages. We'll see where that goes.

Thank you so much, for joining us, tonight.