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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Biden Meets Navalny Family, Vows Sanctions Against Putin; Critical Aid To Ukraine Blocked By House GOP As Russia Claims Key Victories Going Into Third Year Of War; Trump Moves To Dismiss Charges In Mar-A-Lago Classified Documents Case. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 22, 2024 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Moments ago, AT&T said that massive outage, for its cellular customers, today, was linked to an error that occurred while trying to expand its network. They also said it was not the result of a cyberattack.

Federal agencies are also investigating after tens of thousands, potentially more, were unable to place calls or to text.

Take a look at this map. The outage was massive. According to the website, Downdetector, these were the major cities, reporting outages. Service wasn't fully restored, until a little after 3 PM, today, some 11 hours after the first reports began.

That's it for us. The news continues. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.

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

One powerful image and one clear message, President Biden embracing Alexei Navalny's widow, and warning Putin that his punishment is coming tomorrow, as Navalny's mother accuses Putin, of blackmail, over her son's body.

Also, a massive outage leaving AT&T customers, unable, to make or receive calls, for hours, including some emergency ones. What happened and why?

Also, a dramatic touchdown hold-your-breath moments, as America lands a spacecraft on the moon, for the first time, in more than 50 years. We'll take you inside the lunar mission.

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

Tonight, Alexei Navalny's mother says that Putin's thugs are blackmailing her, after they finally took her to see her son's lifeless body in the morgue. More on that in a moment.

But in the meantime, in Washington, we're hearing from President Biden, who says that President Putin's punishment starts tomorrow. And he's sending an unmistakable image -- message, with this embrace

of Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, and their daughter, Dasha, meeting and morning together, as the President was in California today. It's an image worth a 1,000 words.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I had the honor of meeting with Alexei Navalny's wife and daughter.

He was a man of incredible courage. And it's amazing how his wife and daughter are emulating that.

And we're going to be announcing the sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death, tomorrow.


COLLINS: And CNN is learning new details about what those sanctions are going to look like. We're told that they include some 500 targets, in response to Navalny's death. They're also meant to mark two years, since Putin invaded the country, next door.

U.S. officials say that the sanctions are aimed at Russia's military, and also a new attempt to choke off Russia's ability, to get the goods, it wants, something that it's proven to be surprisingly resilient, in the last two years. But none of that is likely to push Putin, into handing over Alexei Navalny's body.

I should note, Russia also is claiming now that he died of natural causes. Natural causes at age 47, a day after he didn't appear to be in distress, when he was in court, before being returned to the harshest penal colony, in all of Russia, that Putin uses, to lock away and torture his opponents.

And that blackmail that I mentioned earlier? Navalny's mother says that she is being forced to agree to a secret burial, or else they'll do something with her son's body.

And Putin is probably right to be afraid of that. A funeral could bring out masses of Navalny's supporters, and embarrass the notoriously thin-skinned Russian dictator. And then, there's the evidence that may be lurking in Navalny's body as well, about what really killed him.

That brings me to my first guest, tonight, exiled Russian journalist, Mikhail Zygar. He was exchanging letters, with Alexei Navalny, just days before his death. He's also the Author of "War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine."

When you hear what Navalny's mom is going through, what she says is blackmail that she's being told she has to agree to certain conditions, let a Russian authority transport her son's body. I mean, what do you--


COLLINS: I mean, you think that? You're not surprised by that?

ZYGAR: Absolutely. That's everything we expected. Actually, I expected that to happen, in two weeks. Because once they said that they were going to need 14 days, to make all the medical checks, I was expecting that. That was--

COLLINS: Are they--

ZYGAR: That's -- that's--

COLLINS: Are they scared to have a funeral, do you believe?

ZYGAR: Yes, they're scared of the funeral. They are scared of independent medical checks. They are scared of the truth about Navalny's real causes of his death.

And the presidential elections are coming in several weeks in Russia. It's not -- it's not -- it doesn't mean that Putin is not going to be elected. He will be elected. But still, he, you know, everything can change within days.


We just saw a couple of weeks ago, when huge lines were gathering in all Russia's big cities, and people were willing to support the only anti-war candidate. So probably, after Navalny's death, any kind of change is possible.

COLLINS: Do you think we'll ever actually know how Navalny died?

ZYGAR: I'm sure. I'm sure we will.

COLLINS: How do you think we'll find out?

Just because when he was poisoned in 2020, his team was able to immediately go to the hotel room, where he was, get his toothbrush, his underwear, gather things up. This is different, obviously.

ZYGAR: Our friend, Christo Grozev, the investigator, who led that investigation, two years ago, is a very professional investigator. I'm sorry for repeating this word.

But I think we already have a lot of -- a lot of details, to analyze. There were cameras with -- and there is a possibility to track all the billings of the mobile phones, who came to that prison, who was -- whom might have been involved.

We know everything, for example, about that. Factory that produces Novichok. We -- I mean, the journalists, who are investigating Navalny's death. So, I'm sure we will -- we will learn the real murderers, the names of the murderers, and the way how he was killed.

COLLINS: And obviously, his wife, Yulia, has vowed to find out who it was that was behind his death. ZYGAR: She was not joking.

COLLINS: And what do you make of that, the moment today, where President Biden was seen, embracing her, and came out after, and promised those sanctions? How powerful was that moment to you?

ZYGAR: That was important. That was important, for many Russians, who are suffering -- suffering. Today, I saw a sentence, on the social media, today, a caption, for this photo. My president met Joe Biden today, wrote some Russian in exile.

But that was something very important, for most of us, because we were willing to see Alexei Navalny to be President of Russia once. And now, his wife is the new face, the new hope.

Definitely, those photos, and everything that's happening is an outrage, for Russian propaganda, and for so-called patriotic media, Telegram channels. But that's how -- that's -- it is what it is.

COLLINS: It was a powerful moment, indeed.

ZYGAR: Absolutely.

COLLINS: Mikhail, thank you for joining us again, on set, tonight.

ZYGAR: Thank you so much.

COLLINS: Also, I want to turn now to the legendary journalist, Carl Bernstein, who also exchanged messages, with Alexei Navalny, the author of many books, but this one that we're talking about tonight, "All the President's Men," which Navalny read, while he was in that Russian prison.

And, Carl, before we get to your correspondence, with Navalny, which I'm fascinated by, I just want to ask, given your coverage of U.S. presidents, and looking at them, from this historical perspective, what you make of the split screen, of seeing President Biden embrace Yulia and Dasha, and promise these sanctions, which we'll see how effective they are, but taking that stand?

While, last night, we're watching former President Trump compare himself to Navalny, through the lens of his legal troubles.

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: Look, any president, in our history, would have done what Biden did, except Donald Trump. Donald Trump has enabled, at every turn, Vladimir Putin.

Let's talk about who Putin is. He is the most brutal, consequential and really, the great figure, in terms of ending democracy, in Europe, and attempting to end democracy in Europe. That's what this is about. And only Donald Trump. No other American president would do what he has done.

COLLINS: And you know how, unlike Trump, Trump's legal troubles, Navalny was. I mean, he was this voracious reader, which if people don't know that. BERNSTEIN: Yes.

COLLINS: And while he was in that punitive isolation cell, essentially, he was doing a lot of reading.

BERNSTEIN: He was in solitary.

COLLINS: In solitary. And he read one of your books.

BERNSTEIN: He read--

COLLINS: And he posted, on Twitter, last May, saying that he was reading yours, and Bob Woodward's book, and said that the atmosphere helps you, immerse yourself in books, because you truly have nothing to do, but look at the wall and read a book.

And he said, we experienced everything together, with the authors. I laughed with them. I argued with them. I called their sources. For a couple of days, they became like relatives to me.

BERNSTEIN: Well, what happened was we were -- and Mikhail was at the -- at the same conference that Bob Woodward and myself were, out in London. In London, last May.

And we got this surprise message, from Alexei Navalny, saying he was reading our two books, about Nixon and the impeachment, "The Final Days," and "All the President's Men."

And we immediately sent him back a message. We wrote in a copy of "All the President's Men." And that began this correspondence. And he then put on Twitter, the whole exchange, as well as the picture of the book of "All the President's Men."


But I think that what's so significant about this horrible, horrible chain of events, and story, it's also about the United States.

It is about American leadership and failure of leadership to recognize Vladimir Putin, for the threat, and despot and tyrant that he is, the most consequential tyrant in Europe since Hitler and Stalin. He started a land war in Europe, the first since World War II.

And one of our two political parties, the Republican Party, has enabled, continues to play footsie with him, has helped the Russian forces in Ukraine, by making ammunition and other munitions shortage, that we now have an American political party that is aiding, aiding Vladimir Putin, in his European designs, and trying.

He has destabilized Europe, through subversion, through interference in elections. And we don't know where it's going to stop. But we do know that he has also shattered the alliance of America, and Western Europe, in terms of us being the leader of the Free World.

Look what happened in the Cold War. Look at the United States, in the Cold War. What was the great force, the loudest of all against Russian aggression? The Republican Party. And now, where is the Republican Party? They are enabling what Putin is doing in Europe. And this, this terrible event is about that linkage. And Putin knows it.

COLLINS: The other thing you said that stood out to me was that when he wrote that, and you found out that he was reading your books, you and Bob said that it reminded you of the freedom that you're guaranteed, here in the United States, and what he was denied--

BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. And what we said is that carries with it a responsibility, that he is a hero to us, his bravery. We have it easy. And going with that ease, we have responsibilities that go with that. And that includes trying to look at what Putin is doing in the world, and who his allies are, here in this country, whether they are passive or active.

But the great issue, in this election, in many regards, ought to be find another Republican candidate, who knows what to do about the security of the West, and the security of Europe, and the alliance between the Europeans, and the United States.

But the idea of a party that has been captured by forces, who support Vladimir Putin? Think of what that means. And we're talking about it here on the air, tonight. That's the underlying story.

And I would say that that's the underlying story that among other things, and Mikhail knows this as well, that--

ZYGAR: I know.

BERNSTEIN: --that Alexei Navalny has been talking about of late. He's at -- he has been absolutely stunned, by what politicians, in the United States, have done, to support Putin's war in Ukraine, to support his aggression, to support his subversion.


BERNSTEIN: And we need to start looking at this momentous event, of his murder and death, as something that is about the United States, our political system, and not just about the courageous Alexei Navalny.

COLLINS: Yes, he was fascinated by U.S. politics.

It's so special to have two people, who corresponded with him, and to have both of you here, tonight.

Thank you, Carl.

BERNSTEIN: And Bob Woodward, obviously, is the other signatory to this.


BERNSTEIN: And who Alexei Navalny had some very interesting things to observe about both of us.

COLLINS: You're going to have to tell me that in the commercial break.

Thank you so much to both of you.

Of course, all of this has to do with Ukraine's fight, to hold Russia back. It has been growing bleaker, by the day, lately. Crucial U.S. aid still stalled, and Congress, completely stalled. We're going to be joined by a Republican lawmaker, who is fighting to change that, who just got back from Ukraine.

Also tonight, history has been made, and we'll get pictures any moment, of the first U.S. moon landing that has happened in more than 50 years.



COLLINS: Tonight, Congress remains at a standstill, over sending more aid to Ukraine, with the House still out on a two-week recess.

Of course, there is no recess for battle-weary soldiers, who are approaching a third year of war, with the anniversary coming up. Ukrainian forces are trying to hold on, saying that they hit a Russian training ground, today, while also acknowledging that their supplies are running dangerously low, as Russia has been making small gains in key cities.

My next guest is one of the House Republicans, who is pushing to help Ukraine. In fact, Pennsylvania congressman, Brian Fitzpatrick, met with Ukrainian president Zelenskyy, just this week, at the Munich Security Conference, and they met again, when he visited Ukraine.

Congressman, it's great to have you here, your first interview on CNN, since you got back.

When you were speaking with President Zelenskyy, obviously, this is one of the top of the things on his -- on his list of needs. Were you able to offer him any assurances, about getting more aid from the United States?

REP. BRIAN FITZPATRICK (R-PA): Yes, Kaitlan. Thanks for having me.

We were. And we will get this done. Ukraine will not fail on my watch. And I speak for, on behalf of many of my colleagues, from both parties.

President Zelenskyy is an amazing human being, as you know. He has set an example, for so many different leaders, across the globe, of the, just the symbol of courage, willing to die for his country.

And I was there. As you know, I used to live in Kyiv. It was my last assignment, as an FBI agent, very, very close to the people. I'm the Chair of the Ukraine caucus, for that reason. And this is a brutally tough time, for a country that I love, that so many of us love, that are fighting against tyranny and oppression.


And we're experiencing a congressional dysfunction, right now. I wish Congress was not moving so slow. But we're getting to the point now, Kaitlan, where Ukraine has weeks, not months, to get resupplied with ammunitions that only we can supply them. Our European allies are helping though there are certain things, particularly artillery, that only we can give them.

So, we have--


FITZPATRICK: --a very, very critical several-week period here that we have to -- we have to move.

COLLINS: You sound more confident, though, than what I've heard from a lot of your colleagues, about getting that aid. I mean, what--


COLLINS: Have you gotten any assurances from Speaker Mike Johnson, about your bill that you introduced? Did he assure you that he'd bring it up for a vote?

FITZPATRICK: No assurances, Kaitlan, other than -- other than to tell you that we have a very, very tight majority, right now. And I'm not alone. You can tell the intensity in my voice, in my resolve, we will find a way to get this done. Ukraine will not fail under our watch.

There's too much at stake here. This is not just about Ukraine. This is about freedom, versus dictatorships. This is about truth versus propaganda. This is an existential fight. And we've seen this fight play out throughout history. These dictators are trying to re-litigate the outcome of World War II. We thought these images were permanently relegated, to the history books. They're now playing out in real-time.

So now is the time for leaders of both parties, and all members of both parties, in Congress, to step up and get the job done. And that will require, Kaitlan, everybody to come to the center. Because there's a lot of different ways we can frame this package.

But the important thing is that we get the money out the door, particularly the weapons. Humanitarian aid is also critically important. Don't get me wrong. But the weapons are time-sensitive, right now. Avdiivka fell because of the shortage of artillery.

COLLINS: You sound -- you certainly have the resolve, I should say.

But we also hear from other Republicans, who have resolve, but from a different perspective, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who say Ukraine aid is not getting a vote on the floor.

If the Speaker doesn't bring it, are you going to join with Democrats, to force a vote on your bill?

FITZPATRICK: We will find a way to get this to the floor. Mark my words.

COLLINS: You're confident?

FITZPATRICK: We -- I am. There's a two-vote margin. We all represent roughly 800,000 people. Everyone gets to be a voice for their constituents. The good people, in my hometown of Bucks and Montgomery Counties believe in supporting Ukraine, supporting democracy, supporting freedom, opposing dictatorships. And we will reflect that voice, on the floor, of the House.

And I'm one of 435, Kaitlan. So, I can't steer the ship completely on my own. But part of what I'm doing is building a coalition, with my bill, the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act. It is equally bipartisan.

It addresses border security, for our own nation, to stop the deadly flow of fentanyl that's killing our kids. And it also deals with Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, all freedom-loving democracies that have been invaded either by communist dictators, or terrorists.

And borders and democracies are inter-linked. They're interchangeable. They stand side by side. And that's the theme of our bill. And that's why it's equally bipartisan.

COLLINS: Yes, $48 billion for Ukraine, $10 billion for Israel. We'll see what happens when Congress is back, next week.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, as always, thanks for joining us here, on THE SOURCE.

FITZPATRICK: You bet. Thanks.

COLLINS: Up next, there has been a successful touchdown, as we are still waiting, and expect any moment, to get the very first pictures, of the first American spacecraft, to land on the moon in more than 50 years. Standby for those. And details on that nail-biting mission.



COLLINS: Tonight, we're following a historic feat that is out of this world, quite literally. A U.S.-made lander has touchdown on the moon, for the first time that you have seen this, in 50 years. It's something the U.S. has not accomplished, since Apollo 17 mission. That was in 1972.


STEPHEN ALTEMUS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTUITIVE MACHINES: I know this was a nail-biter. But we are on the -- on the surface. And we are transmitting. And welcome to the moon.



COLLINS: A standing ovation there, as the Odysseus lunar lander, nicknamed Odie, is about the size of a British phone booth. This was built by a Houston-based company, Intuitive Machines, in partnership with NASA.

And this is a simulation of what that touchdown looked like, just a few hours ago.

Here tonight is astrophysicist, and NASA advisor, Dr. Paul Sutter.

And it's great to have you, as we were all wrapped watching this, in the newsroom, like they were.


COLLINS: And not as much of a round of applause.

But this is so major, because it's something that we haven't seen the U.S. do, since the Apollo missions. Why now?

SUTTER: Why not now? Why not do it?

We haven't gone to the moon in 50 years. In the 70s, by the time the Apollo missions were winding down, public support for lunar missions was waning. And honestly, we didn't have the technology, to really stay on the moon, and build habitation on the moon, and explore the moon we wanted to. We had the technology to go there, and visit for a little bit. But then, we had to come back.

Now, it's the 21st Century. It's 50 years later. We have the technology to do it. We have a lot to learn. We have a lot to work for.

But now, we have the capabilities, within our grasp, to not just return to the moon, but to stay on the moon, to build bases on the moon, to have a permanent human habitation on the moon, to learn what the moon has to teach us, about the solar system, the history of the earth, and serve as a springboard, for future space exploration.

COLLINS: So, this is just the beginning, as you see it? There's going to be a lot more of what we witnessed today?

SUTTER: I believe that future historians will look back at this era, that we are living in, right now, as the true birth of the space age, as a renaissance in space, where humanity is finally building the technology needed, to maintain a presence off the planet Earth. We are witnessing it, right now, before our very eyes.


COLLINS: Today was a bit touch-and-go. There were some moments, where it got pushed--


COLLINS: --from 4 o'clock to 6 o'clock.


COLLINS: We couldn't call it successful, for a moment, because it wasn't totally clear what had actually happened. I mean, what was going through your mind, as you were watching that?

SUTTER: This, what was going through my mind was, this is normal.

Space is hard. Space is the hardest environment that humans have ever encountered. We have absolutely no analog, or experience of it here on the earth. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong in space.

And so, as this mission was proceeding, the brilliant, the genius and creative people, behind this mission, were constantly adapting, fixing, coming up with clever solutions, to turn this into a successful mission.

COLLINS: You know what I'm obsessed with on this is, is when we went to one of the space launches. When Donald Trump was in office, the White House reporters went with him.

And when you were down there, in Cape Canaveral, you kind of just saw the difference in what has happened over the past few decades, where it's private company, privately-owned companies, compared to U.S. government-funded research that is leading to this.

What do you make of what that's going to look like, if we are in this renaissance era?

SUTTER: Oh, this is tremendous. And this is amazing.

When we had the Apollo missions, to get humans to the moon, required a significant fraction of the federal budget, like a massive amount of money. And now, we're sending smaller craft, more nimble craft. We're exploring. We're testing. We're involving private enterprise. We have so many more partners.

This is not a space race anymore. It's not a competition anymore. It's a collaboration among countries, among organizations, private, public, we are all working together to advance to a better future.

COLLINS: Yes, it's really great to watch.


COLLINS: Dr. Paul Sutter, thanks for coming, to explain all of it to, us, non-astrophysicists. Didn't quite work out for that one.

And of course, if we get these pictures, from the moon landing, we will bring them here to you.

Up next, though, another story that we've been following closely, all week here, at THE SOURCE. Fertility clinics, in Alabama, more of them, have now paused their IVF procedures, because of that stunning ruling that came from the Supreme Court in Alabama, saying frozen embryos are considered children. President Biden called that ruling, outrageous, today.

We'll tell you what other Republicans are saying about it, next.



COLLINS: Tonight, a third clinic, in Alabama, has now paused all of its IVF procedures, after the State Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are considered children. The CEO of the clinic, the third one to close today, says that it was that court's decision, that ruling, that they believe quote, left them with no choice.

Reproductive rights advocates, medical experts, are warning that this could have devastating consequences, for people, who live in Alabama, and are seeking infertility treatments. IVF providers worried that they would face legal trouble, if they continue.

One Alabama doctor, defiant tonight.


DR. ANDREW HARPER, REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGIST: If some D.A., or Attorney General, who wants to come after me? Bring it on. I don't give a damn.

You better believe we're not going down without a fight.


COLLINS: The ruling is already having an impact, beyond, in my home state. Also, it's having an impact on the 2024 campaign trail.

I want to talk more about this, with CNN's Political Commentator, Margaret Hoover.

And I just think when you look at the impact this has, for people who don't know, there's already limited IVF access, in Alabama.


COLLINS: So, for a third clinic to say we're going to have to stop doing this, because they fear the legal consequences that not just the doctors, but the patients could face? I mean, that has devastating consequences for women there.

HOOVER: It really does. I mean, in some ways, this elevates the conversation that one in six women have serious trouble conceiving, and have infertility, real infertility issues.

And these technologies that have developed have enabled millions of women to become mothers. And by the way, not just women. Same-sex couples have been able to have babies, because of IVF treatment. Surrogacy is going to also come next, on the chopping board. You better believe it. If they're coming for IVF, they're coming for surrogacy treatments, and same-sex couples.

So, this isn't going to stop, Kaitlan. This is just going to keep on going. And you can look at birth control as perhaps the next place that the activists that are looking to shut down women's reproductive freedoms, and the women's ability, to have their own families, on their own terms, are going to continue to be impeded and impaired, politically.

COLLINS: And I think that's the fear that you see brought into this. And that's why people look to politicians to say, well, what's your stance on this, and how do you feel about this?

Nikki Haley is getting a lot of those questions, on the campaign trail. Her answer has kind of evolved, from yesterday, when the -- or two days ago, when this ruling first came down, to what she said to Jake Tapper, earlier today.

This is that sound then, and then what she said today.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Alabama needs to go back and look at the law. This is incredibly personal to me, because I had both of my children with fertility.

We don't want fertility treatments to shut down. We don't want them to stop doing IVF treatments. We don't want them to stop doing artificial insemination. We want to make sure that people are able to have these blessings.

But I think this is, again, needs to be decided on the people in every state.


COLLINS: So, she's saying to leave it up to the states, but don't stop the IVF treatments. But IVF is not banned in Alabama. They're just scared of what the legal consequences are.

HOOVER: That's right. And she also -- look, there's -- the debate, and the question you're going to start to see play out, on the right, Kaitlan is, is an embryo a life, right? I mean, that's -- that was the question that the state -- the Alabama State Supreme Court decided upon.

And you're going to have to start seeing Republican lawmakers and, frankly, all lawmakers, answering this question. Is it an implanted embryo that actually creates life? Is that the beginning of life? Or is it 17 frozen embryos that my friend down the street or my friend in Colorado has frozen, in a freezer, and is hoping for the right time to come along, so that she can become a mother?


These are real people. These are real consequences. You better believe this is going to amplify, how women are going to show up at the polls, in 2024.

COLLINS: That's interesting, because we also spoke to Governor Brian Kemp, about this, the other day. He had initially said yes, that he would -- he said it in passing to someone, who asked him about it last year.

I asked him after the ruling came down, now that it's a real thing. And this is what he said.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): These are very difficult issues for people. I think when you're -- I mean, what I've always told people is we're a state that values life, and we value it in different ways.

And when you look at Roe v. Wade, and our heartbeat legislation, a lot of things, I mean, people have very different opinions on that. But there are so many things. And I think the discussion that we need to be having is how do we work together, on the value of protecting life.


HOOVER: Fertility treatments? This -- I mean, it's shocking, because fertility treatments have not been only made available to Democrats. They have been made available to people, across this country, regardless of whether they vote Republican or they vote Democrat.

And I think what you see there, in many of these Republican leaders is there is no stock answer, on how Republicans should respond to this. Because -- I mean, sure, we know, Republicans have been for overturning Roe v. Wade, for federalizing it, for the states deciding. But they don't know. There is no strong answer or unified answer on how to handle this. And by the way, there shouldn't be, because it shouldn't be political.

COLLINS: Margaret Hoover, great to have you here.

HOOVER: Thank you.

COLLINS: To talk about this.

And with this Alabama ruling, drawing national attention clearly, the person who's behind that decision, Alabama Chief Justice, Tom Parker, is also coming under scrutiny, tonight.

People are paying close attention to what he has been saying, not just about this, but also this interview that he did, just in the last week, where Justice Parker said that he was a believer of the Seven Mountain Mandate. It's this popular movement, urging Christians to completely conquer the, quote, "Seven Mountains" of American life, including education, media, and the U.S. government.

Listen to him, talk about it, for yourself.


TOM PARKER, ALABAMA SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: God created government. And the fact that we have let it go--


PARKER: --into the possession of others, it's heartbreaking, for those of us who understand, and we know it is for him. And that's why he is calling and equipping people to step back into these mountains, right now.

I'm very aware that he is equipping me with something for the specific situation that I'm facing.

ENLOW: Right. There we go.

PARKER: I don't have to struggle, trying to find my way through it.


COLLINS: True to form, for those who are familiar, with his career, Chief Justice Parker did not shy away from invoking his faith, in this controversial decision. At one point, in the ruling, he wrote that "Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God."

I should note that he was an aide and ally of the fellow Christian theocrat, and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy Moore.

Of course, the man, who beat Roy Moore, in that Alabama special election, not too long ago for the U.S. Senate, is also here to weigh in on this tonight. Former Alabama senator, Doug Jones.

And Senator, it's great to have you.

Because, obviously, what we can hear and read in this is that he wasn't just relying on the Constitution, and on legal precedent, to explain this decision. He's citing religious doctrine and the Book of Genesis. I wonder where is the line drawn, between law and theocracy.

DOUG JONES, (D), FORMER ALABAMA SENATOR: Well, Kaitlan, obviously with Chief Justice Parker, there is no line. I was listening to Governor Haley, saying Alabama ought to just get back to the law. Well hell, Parker doesn't worry about the law. All he worry about is his Christian philosophy.

And that's nothing new, by the way. For those people, who were shocked at this, across the country? This has been his mantra, for years. He has been in public service for a long time. As you said, he's an ally of Judge Roy Moore. And so, this is nothing new.

And it's really -- what's really sad about this, Kaitlan is not just all of the thousands of families that might be affected by this that ultimately could be affected across the country. But our business community's just not going to step up again. They didn't step up on the abortion bill. They didn't step up on the immigration bill. They're too afraid to speak out.

Our UAB health system has got one of the finest health systems in the country, particularly their pediatrics and OB-GYN. Who the hell's going to want to come to Alabama, after this kind of ruling? Who -- how are they going to attract doctors?

So, this goes way beyond just even the individual families that are going to be affected and the women of the state. It goes to businesses, and who we are as a state.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, we've already seen some of them saying, they're hesitant to either move to Alabama, or questions about leaving.


I want to get your take on, on what we heard, from the Alabama senator, Tommy Tuberville, who was asked directly about this ruling, and gave, to me, a bit of a confusing answer earlier. This is what he told reporters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a reaction to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling on the fact that embryos are children?

SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): Yes. I was all for it.

We need to have more kids. We need to have an opportunity to do that. And I thought this was the right thing to do. But--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: IVF is used to have more children. And right now, IVF services are paused, at some of the clinics, in Alabama. Aren't you concerned that this could impact people, who are trying to have kids?

TUBERVILLE: Well, that's for -- that's for another conversation.

People need to have that. We need more kids. We need the people to have the opportunity to have kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, what do you say, to the women, right now, in Alabama, who no longer have access to IVF, and will not, as a result of this ruling? What do you say to them?

TUBERVILLE: Well -- well, that's a hard one. It really is. It's really hard. Because again, you want people to have that opportunity. And that's why I was telling her. We need more kids.


COLLINS: With all due respect, what?

JONES: Kaitlan? Look, he had no idea what that reporter was asking. None.

This was -- that answer was so similar, it's like deja vu all over again, for folks around here. He had an almost identical answer, in 2020, when he was running for the Senate, when asked, if he would support an extension of the Voting Rights Act. Had no idea what it was, and stammered around, and stuttered around, and was incoherent when trying to answer.

He had no idea what that reporter was talking about. He may have thought it was intravenous, or something with Gatorade, I don't know. But he clearly had no idea. And that's just who he is. He didn't know the three branches of government. He doesn't -- he -- on your show, had to -- you had to argue with him about white nationalists being racists.

So, this is what we've come to in this state. And it's a -- it's a sad state of affairs, when the Republican leaders of this state. That's the face of the Republican Party in Alabama.

COLLINS: Former senator, Doug Jones, major implications. Thanks for joining tonight.

JONES: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Also, there was total communication chaos. Speaking of not being able to articulate things, tens of thousands of people could not make phone calls today. Maybe you were one of them, who woke up to a phone that didn't work, just SOS on your screen for hours.

If you're wondering what happened, you are certainly not alone. We'll be back with some attempted explanation.



COLLINS: Just moments ago, we learned from AT&T, about why many of its customers, across the U.S. today, completely lost service for up to 11 hours. No calls, no texts, no internet, for at least 74,000 customers. Those are just the ones that we know of who reported it.

Our Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, John Miller is here.

John, obviously, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, all got involved on this. What are we hearing about why this happened?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, what AT&T is saying tonight, is based on our initial review, we believe today's outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used, as we were expanding our network, not a cyberattack. We're continuing our assessment.

So basically, what they're saying in English is we were reconfiguring the network at 4:30, in the morning. Something went south, and it crashed. Why it took them all day, until this evening, to say that is part of the problem. I mean, we couldn't communicate for a good part of the day.

But their corporate communications, even if they weren't sure what was happening, what you didn't see the -- what you didn't see from AT&T is here's what we know, here's what we don't know. Here's what we're doing to fix it. Here's when we're coming back to update you.

It was pretty much radio silence, except for a one liner that there was outages.

COLLINS: I mean, this has massive ramifications, because people rely so much on their phones, for GPS, to figure out where they're going, to communicate with their loved ones, to make emergency calls for some of these people who weren't able to do so.

I mean, it does -- the White House was saying they didn't believe it was any kind of cyber activity or nefarious behavior. But it makes you think of what would happen if that did happen?

MILLER: Well, it does. And, I mean, there's two really important factors here, let's say three.

Number one, the scope of this, that this failure was so large and sweeping across their network.

Number two, how long it took them to correct it.

And number three, let's just tack back to the cyberattack theory. AT&T says they're still assessing it, but they don't believe it was a cyberattack.

That's OK. But be sure. And I'm telling you this as somebody, as an intelligence analyst, who studied cyber, in many agencies, our adversaries were watching this, and assessing this is the impact, of a partial failure, of a major carrier, and talking about if we're going to do damage, we just got a preview of what that looks like.

COLLINS: It's pretty concerning.


COLLINS: I mean, you can just see what the ramifications of that could be, a 11 hours just for something that was a mishap.

MILLER: Exactly.

COLLINS: Raises a lot of concerns.

John Miller, of course, glad that you're here. Glad your phone's working. Thank you for joining.

MILLER: It is now.

COLLINS: Up next here, in the breaking -- we have breaking news in Trump's criminal case, involving classified documents. This is a new court filing that we just got in, moments ago. We're reading through it. Stay with us. After the break, we'll tell you what this court filing says.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Back on that breaking news, tonight, as Donald Trump's legal team has just filed a motion, several actually, to dismiss his classified documents case, the federal case, of course, happening in Florida, citing in part that he has presidential immunity, and that they believe that Special Counsel, Jack Smith, was unlawfully appointed to that position.

CNN's Legal Analyst, Elie Honig, has just hopped on the phone with us, as we are reading through this filing.

Elie, obviously, we just have a minute here, before the show ends.

But I'm looking through this. And it looks like a lot of the same arguments that we've seen Trump make, to dismiss his election interference case, in Washington, saying in part that this was related to the outer perimeter, the official duties of the job as president, and therefore he should be immune from prosecution here.

ON THE PHONE: ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Kaitlan. So, this one's got next to no chance of succeeding. Donald Trump is raising that familiar immunity argument. He's saying, well, this relates to my job as president.

Now, if you remember the indictments, this is the Mar-a-Lago classified documents indictment. This all relates to his time, after he left the presidency. In fact, according to prosecutors, it didn't even become a crime, until January 20th, when he left office.

And so, how could immunity possibly relate to a time, when he wasn't president? Donald Trump's answer in this brief is, well, the decision to take these documents was made, while I was president.


It is an incredible long shot. It's even more of a long shot than the immunity argument that he's currently making, in the other January 6 federal case.

COLLINS: So, is it just an effort to--

ON THE PHONE: HONIG: But this is part of pretrial motions.

COLLINS: --to delay this?

ON THE PHONE: HONIG: Well it's a standard motion that people make. Defendants do make motions at this point of the process. But this one has so little merit that I think it can be fairly written off as an effort to delay.

COLLINS: Elie Honig, good to know that. Good to see this. We'll see what the judge decides here, of course. Thanks for hopping on the phone, with us, for this breaking news.

And thank you all so much, for joining us.

ON THE PHONE: HONIG: Thanks, Kaitlan. COLLINS: "CNN NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP" will continue with the breaking news ahead.