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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Now: Trump Speaks To Black Conservatives In South Carolina; Trump Team Submits Cell Phone Data, Records To Try And Undercut D.A. Fani Willis' Testimony; Schumer Presses Speaker Johnson To Visit Ukraine: "No Way He Won't Be Convinced" Ukraine Needs Aid. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 23, 2024 - 21:00   ET



RYAN YOUNG, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot of questions that still haven't been answered yet. We're also awaiting that mugshot that we haven't gotten from the county jail, as of right now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Remarkable reporting, Friday-night developments, Ryan Young, for us, on the campus, at the University of Georgia.

YOUNG: Right.

KING: Ryan Young, thanks so much. Obviously, you'll continue to follow the case--

YOUNG: Thank you, John.

KING: --as we get more developments throughout the weekend.

Thank you for your time tonight as well. The news continues. THE SOURCE starts now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Tonight, straight from THE SOURCE.

Just hours away, from the next crucial GOP primary, in Nikki Haley's home state of South Carolina, the new attacks, and the new fear, for Democrats, if Donald Trump wins.

Also, the clock now ticking, for Donald Trump, to pay up nearly half a billion dollars, for fraud, including interest.

And Vladimir Putin, paying the price, today, as President Biden rolls out hundreds of new sanctions against Russia, as we approach the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.

Tonight, we are 10 hours, from the first polls opening, in the first- in-the-south Republican primary, in South Carolina, Nikki Haley's home state, where she is facing a daunting uphill battle, with Donald Trump leading in the double digits in the latest polls.

But anything can happen of course. Both still fighting until the finish, trading new attacks on the trail.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's going to have a very bad day, tomorrow, because she's not a nice person.

Nikki's actually gone very far left. She's very rude. Do you notice that?

NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Trump is siding with a dictator, who kills his political opponents.

Donald Trump calls anybody that doesn't support him, vermin. That's not normal.


KEILAR: Haley is still vowing to stay in the race, if she doesn't pull off an upset.

And despite Trump's focus on Haley, in these final hours, he says he's not worried about tomorrow, but focused on November 5th, and going toe-to-toe with President Biden again. He's making a push, tonight, to court Black voters in the state, where Biden cruised to victory, in the Democratic primary, this month, with the help of many Black voters, who also helped catapult Biden, to the Democratic nomination in 2020.

Trump speaking now, at the Black Conservative Federation Gala. Let's listen in, for just a moment.

TRUMP: Religious support, evangelical support, in particular, and he was going up, up, up. And I was up there. I came out and we would -- I was doing really well. And I started to get a little bit nervous, about Ben. He was going up a little too fast. I was not.


TRUMP: And he said to me, you have nothing to worry about. God put you in this position. You're going to win. We -- I was running against him. He's the most competitive guy.


TRUMP: But he said, you're going to win. God put you in this position. And I was confused, because I'm ready to go to debate stage--

KEILAR: All right, joining me now, we have the man known as the Kingmaker for Democrats, in the State of South Carolina, National Co- Chair for the Biden campaign, Congressman James Clyburn.

Sir, thanks for taking the time, to be with us tonight.

You heard that right there, Donald Trump, tonight, speaking at a gala, for Black conservatives, in your home state. He's ramping up efforts, to try to flip Black voters, over to the Republican Party. Why do you think he sees opportunity there?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me.

I don't know that he sees opportunity. Trump is sort of a modern blocker (ph). He will do anything to make a headline. I do believe that most people know that if God took him, where he did, he is worshipping what we call a half of God.

I grew up in a parsonage. I practiced Christianity, all of my life. My dad preaches often from the Old Testament, as he did from the New. I don't see anything in each one of those that indicate that he is the type of person that God will send to lead this country. So, I don't know what he's doing. But I'm within the faith that ain't that being successful.

KEILAR: South Carolina senator, Tim Scott, you see him. He is clearly openly auditioning to be Trump's VP pick. Do you worry about Trump picking Tim Scott, maybe attracting Black voters, also maybe assuaging the concerns of some moderate White voters who are turned off by Trump's racist rhetoric?

CLYBURN: Well, I would hope that everybody would look at the record, rather than the rhetoric. The rhetoric is one thing.


Trump has a record that every woman ought to be concerned about. That record has given us three Supreme Court justices that's taken away right after right after right from women. He has supported policies that is tried.

Look at Trump University that he created. And we now have to forgive the debt, of all those young people, a lot -- quite a few of them African Americans, who paid him their money. He did not give them the education and training that he promised them. And they still owe the debt. And Joe Biden is eliminating that debt for them.

So, I think that young people are going to look at this record of Trump, and they are going to vote their selfish interests. And part of that is to get out of debt, especially this debt that was unfair.

KEILAR: Congressman, I've been speaking with some Democrats, who have concerns that some Black voters are unhappy with how the President is handling Israel's war with Hamas. They're joined by young voters. They're joined by Arab and Muslim American voters as well.

How do you think the Biden campaign should be addressing these concerns?

CLYBURN: Well, I think that he is, if all we were to do is just look at some of the headlines. I saw headlines several days ago, indicating that Joe Biden is looking at the possibility of recognizing Palestine as a state. That is something he's discussing. I have seen indications that he has expressed to Netanyahu, he is concerned about the way he is handling this hostage situation. So, Joe Biden is doing the work. Now, all of us can look at it, and

have our own positions, as to whether or not the work is fast enough. But Joe Biden is doing the work. And so, I would say, to anybody that's concerned, let's all give credit to Joe Biden, for doing the work. And we will get this done. So, I understand the concerns. I have them as well.

KEILAR: I do want to ask you. You mentioned women and the Supreme Court. I want to ask you about the situation with the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that embryos are babies, and the fallout that we're seeing with IVF, because of this. Many Republicans are trying to clean this up as quickly as they can, quicker than some other issues, they have, now saying that IVF will not be prosecuted.

Do you think voters will remember this in November? Or do you think Republicans are going to clean this up quickly enough that it kind of takes the bite out of it, as an issue for Democrats?

CLYBURN: Well, we are not going to let them take a bite out of it, because we know where this comes from. This comes right out of that ruling, the Dobbs case that got rid of Roe v. Wade.

We know that those Supreme Court justices, especially those two dissents, we just saw, Alito and Clarence Thomas, chomping at the bit, not just to stop here, but going all the way to contraception. If you are saying frozen embryo must be treated as a person, then what is next? The egg and the sperm? Is that next? These guys, really, on a mission, a mission, to put women, back into second-class citizenship, as well as African Americans, in many instances.

And so, I would say to people, all the time, just remember, when it comes to women, these are White women, and there are Black women, and there are Brown women. They're all women. And they are going to be very, very interested, in voting against anybody that's taking their rights away.

KEILAR: Do you think, in Alabama, they'll be able to fix this quickly, so that IVF can continue there? And do you think that that is enough?

CLYBURN: Well, I don't know what the rules are in Alabama. But will the State Supreme Court of Alabama, they got a way of rehearing this? Do they have a way of backing up off their decision? Everybody, all the hospitals, and the universities, are acting upon this decision. And in doing so, they are taking away basic rights that women thought they had, and did have, for the last half century.


So, I don't see how they're going to do that. Unless the Alabama legislature is going to come in, pass a law that will override what Supreme Court, or clarify what they think the Supreme Court is saying here, I don't see how you do that overnight. I hope they would. But I don't think they will.

KEILAR: All right. Congressman Jim Clyburn, thank you so much, for being with us, on THE SOURCE. CLYBURN: Well, thank you very much for having me.

KEILAR: And as Donald Trump surge shows no signs of slowing, can Nikki Haley do what it takes to stay in the race? Join CNN, for live results and analysis, of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary coverage, beginning tomorrow, at 6 PM Eastern, right here on CNN.

And next, Republicans are now racing, to distance themselves from that bombshell ruling in Alabama, that embryos are children. And that includes former President Trump, as backlash erupts across the nation.

Plus, Trump's team presents new evidence, trying to prove the District Attorney, in Fulton County, Georgia, who was prosecuting him, may have lied under oath.


KEILAR: Former President Trump is calling for action, after the controversial Alabama Supreme Court ruling that says embryos are children. Since that ruling, a week ago, multiple Alabama fertility clinics have paused their IVF treatments. And this has sparked public backlash, across the country.


Trump now says he supports in vitro fertilization, and wants the state's legislature to protect it.


TRUMP: I strongly support the availability of IVF, for couples, who are trying to have a precious, little beautiful baby. I support it.


TRUMP: And today, I'm calling on the Alabama legislature, to act quickly, to find an immediate solution, to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama. And I'm sure they're going to do that.


KEILAR: Alabama governor, Kay Ivey, said in a statement, today, she also wants to protect IVF access. She's just one of many Republicans, now trying to distance themselves, from this ruling. All of it, a sign the GOP is struggling to formulate a winning message, on reproductive rights, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade two years ago.

Joining us now, we have former Communications Director, for the DNC, Karen Finney.

And also here, tonight, with us, we have Republican strategist, Rina Shah.

And I wonder, Rina, what you think the effect is, of Trump and other Republicans, pretty quickly trying to shift in favor of IVF, if it works for them? RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it's the right move, because the backlash was severe, right after this ruling came out.

It bears repeating, this court ruling is the first ruling of its kind, where it determines, what is life, so close to conception. That really shakes the consciousness of the younger American woman that two years after the overturn of Roe, never thought we'd really see this day.

But those of us, who are in the political sphere know, that when you give an inch, they'll take a mile. And that is what the politicians, in Alabama, determined. I think their Supreme Court didn't do this, by any sort of interpretation of laws on the books. They wanted to gauge public opinion, or what they think is public opinion.

But the numbers are stark, Brianna. They're really stark. Across the United States, the CDC says there were 92,000 live births, in credit to IVF. Now, in Alabama alone, there were 966 embryo transfers, in the year, 2021, of which 407 live birth deliveries resulted. That's 50 percent. That's families that would never have the beautiful thing that is life, if there weren't IVF.

So, reproductive-assistive technologies are massive. And the GOP knows that. So, no surprise that the former President would come out and say, I'm fine with it, I'm not going to take it away. Because he knows those are votes that are against him, if he didn't say what he said.

KEILAR: What do you think?


SHAH: Thank you.

FINNEY: But here's the problem. I mean, first of all, Democrat -- voters trust Democrats, on this issue, more than Republicans.

And I think it's going to be a problem, for Donald Trump, given that the other thing that happened, last week, is that he came out and said, or they didn't say publicly, but he supports a 15-week abortion ban.

And the challenge, and part of where I think Republicans, again, when the Dobbs decision happened, it opened up a whole Pandora's Box of issues. How are you, as a candidate, going to say, I believe a woman and her husband, or her partnership for IVF, they can make that decision. But she can't decide, for herself, whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

And think about the stories, we've seen it in places, like Texas, where a woman needed -- wanted to have an abortion, because it would preserve her ability to have more children. And they said no, and they threatened her.

So, I think this, you know, I think there was not -- they were not prepared for what this was going to mean. And so, and don't forget, also during the election, there are going to

be other races. There are Secretary -- not Secretary of State races. But there are down-ballot races that will be impacted by this issue. And I expect candidates are going to be asked, where do you stand on this issue? And just like we saw, in Virginia, in the midterms--

SHAH: Sure.

FINNEY: --not everybody's going to have the right answer. So, this is going to continue to be an issue, for Republicans.

KEILAR: You're hearing in the state, the legislature is planning to deal with this. Democrats and Republicans, they are planning to introduce legislation that will protect IVF. We still need to wait and see what they come up with, to see what the bills look like.

But I wonder, Karen, how does it look to voters, if there is a carve- out for women, who have IVF, which by the way means they are significantly more likely to be financially well-off.


KEILAR: They're significantly more likely to be White.

But then there isn't one for women, who don't have the means, to leave Alabama for abortion, even if they're pregnant, in the case of rape or incest.

FINNEY: That's right. And what that says to women? Again, for candidates when you ask, OK, so where do you stand on these issues? That sets up a hypocrisy, that, as a woman, as someone, who supports women, they'll say, you know what? Let's just go back to what the reproductive rights movement has been saying, which is a woman and her family should be making these decisions. Full stop. Period.

Again, because we know that every woman has a different health situation. And so, do we really want our legislators making these decisions?

SHAH: Yes.

KEILAR: What do you think, Rina?


SHAH: That's been the hard part for me, you know? Seeing this ruling come down, I thought it was a simple thing, to say this is about people, who are unelected bureaucrats, getting in that exam room, between a woman and her doctor.

Because, I was on the Hill, when the Affordable Care Act passed, as a young staffer. And I remember, those were the talking points that we had, as Republicans that we do not want these people, in that exam room. It is between a woman and her doctor.

And so, conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that most conservatives will have a problem with this ruling, because it is not pro-life in nature. It is about government encroaching on the lives of these women. And essentially, you apply that logic that I just talked about, and you get a whole generation of women, pushing back on this Republican Party, and saying, stay out of my bedroom.

FINNEY: Because, I mean, this is the thing that people's values and attitudes have changed, over the last 15 years.

SHAH: Sure.

FINNEY: We're not here having this conversation about reproductive freedom by accident. We saw this, in the movement, 15 years ago, that people in the middle, were uncomfortable with the idea of government deciding. And now, that it's coming to fruition, and now, our politics are having to deal with that.

KEILAR: We are going to see how voters respond to this. No doubt.

Rina, Karen, thank you so much, to both of you.

FINNEY: Thank you.

SHAH: Thank you.

KEILAR: So, let's discuss the impact that this ruling is having, on the ground, with Barbara Collura, an infertility expert, and President and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

Barbara, you have the Attorney General of Alabama, a Republican, announcing today he has no intention of using this Supreme Court decision, in the state, as the basis for prosecuting IVF. Governor Kay Ivey, and other Republicans, trying to reassure Alabamans.

Why is that not enough to assuage fertility centers that have halted treatments? Because you have at least three fertility clinics, nearly half in the state, that are on pause.

BARBARA COLLURA, PRESIDENT & CEO, RESOLVE: THE NATIONAL INFERTILITY ASSOCIATION: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. Thank you for continuing to talk about this issue. It's been an incredible week, for our community, terrified, just really a shocking week, for our entire community.

Why is it not enough, to have an attorney general and a governor say, look, it's fine, it's good. We're not going to go after you?

Get legislation passed that is locks this up and makes it very, very clear what people can and can't do with their embryos, in the State of Alabama. Get it done.

The legislature can do that. They can put forth legislation that's going to protect people's access to care, protect those health care workers, and really protect people's rights, over their embryos.

And let's get it in legislation. Let's get it in statute. Let's get it signed into law. And then, I think we can all take a deep breath, and realize that we can reopen, and we can see patients, and we can move on.

KEILAR: Realistically, how long do you think that would take?

COLLURA: Yes. I mean, you know, your listeners know, the legislative process, even at the state level, can go slowly. It's not as slow as Congress. But several weeks, if not, hopefully a lot less than that.

The legislative process in Alabama, we need to have a bill that everybody agrees with, and needs to get voted on. And then, the governor needs to sign it. We're not there yet. We're not there yet. And you think this would be pretty easy, to get fixed. But we need to get this fixed. And the legislature has the power to do that.

KEILAR: I spoke with Alabama's House Minority Leader, Anthony Daniels, a Democrat, earlier today. He's proposing legislation, to make a distinction, between an embryo that is implanted in the uterus, and one that is not. The one that is not would not have those protections, would not have the rights of a child.

Would that fix this, in your eyes?

COLLURA: You know, I -- we're not sure. But the problem is that legislation is probably not going to go anywhere. We need legislation that is going to move, and that's going to fix this, and that has the greatest chance of passing, and getting signed into law.

KEILAR: So, what is that?

COLLURA: Well, we want protections that says that people have complete rights over their embryos, that medical professionals can deliver IVF care, in the State of Alabama, and that there's no interference in that process at all.

And that whether -- whether they have to come up with what that status of that embryo looks like, it certainly can't be that an embryo is a person. We know that. Absolutely cannot be.

But we've got to be able to say that people have the right to create embryos, they have rights over those embryos, and the health care workers that deliver that care can't be prosecuted.

KEILAR: Barbara, thank you so much for being with us.

COLLURA: Thank you.

KEILAR: We appreciate your time tonight.


And tonight, on "CNN NEWSNIGHT," Abby will speak with seven of the nation's eight Democratic female governors, about IVF, the economy, and the ages of the 2024 candidates. You're certainly going to want to hear this conversation. That is "NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP" tonight, at 10 Eastern, here on CNN.

And ahead, a judge starting the clock, for Donald Trump, to pay up for fraud, nearly half a billion dollars. What could happen, if Trump doesn't come up with the money by deadline day?


KEILAR: The clock is now ticking, for former President Trump, to cough up nearly half a billion dollars.

Now that a New York judge has officially finalized that civil fraud judgment, Trump has 30 days to pay up if he wants to appeal. And that means putting up cash, or posting bond, to cover the $454 million judgment, including interest, of course.

New York Attorney General, Letitia James, seemingly celebrating the moment, earlier today, posting "Friday feeling: No one is above the law."

Joining us, tonight, we have former federal prosecutor, and CNN Legal Analyst, Jennifer Rodgers, to talk a little bit more about this.


So Jennifer, Trump, he's got these 30 days to get this money together, if he wants to appeal the New York fraud ruling. If he doesn't, what happens?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, if he doesn't, within 30 days, get together the bond, or the amount in cash, then the plaintiff can collect against it.

She can start to seize assets, get liens against his properties, bank accounts, and that sort of thing, which is why he certainly will make sure that within the 30 days, he's able to post the money, or more likely a surety bond.

KEILAR: So, between the New York fraud case, and the E. Jean Carroll defamation verdict, Trump has been ordered here, to pay over half a billion dollars, in just a few weeks.

Tonight, he's actually asking to delay his bond payment, in the Carroll case.

Ultimately, who gets the priority here, in getting paid? How does that work?

RODGERS: Well, they'll both -- he'll have to file bonds, in both cases. So, the money will be there, for payments, to those plaintiffs, if and when the appeals come back, and the awards are still legitimate, and haven't been diminished, in any way.

So, it's not so much who gets paid first, because it's not the same money. He'll have to file a separate bond, in each case, so that the plaintiffs can be paid, at the end of the appeal process.

KEILAR: Looking now, at the election subversion case, out of Georgia, where Trump's legal team says they have a private investigator, who has uncovered cellphone data that shows the lead prosecutor, hired by Fulton County D.A., Fani Willis, made several visits, to the area of the condo that she was living, in late 2021, which was, a way, a considerable distance, from his own residence.

They're arguing that shows that she and Nathan Wade lied under oath, about when their relationship started, and whether he ever spent the night. Let's listen.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I just I want to be clear because my credibility is being evaluated here, right? We were friends. We hung out prior to November of 2021. In November of 2021, I hired him. I do not consider our relationship to have become romantic until early of 2022.

ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Has he ever visited you at the place you laid your head?

WILLIS: So let's be clear, because you've lied in this -- this -- let me tell you which one you lied in. Right here. I think you lied right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor. I'm going to object.

WILLIS: No, no, no, no. This is the truth.


WILLIS: And this--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object to this (ph).

WILLIS: It is a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to--

WILLIS: It is a lie.


KEILAR: The Trump team, Jennifer, alleges over 2,000 voice calls, around 12,000 interactions, like texts, between Willis and Wade in 2021, before they say the relationship began.

Lawyers for Willis say the data does not prove anything relevant.

But how do you think the judge might see this?

RODGERS: Yes, the plot thickens, Brianna. I mean, the issue here, for whether she had a conflict that requires her removal, was really about the finances. It was about whether she was financially benefiting, from the relationship.

But now that she and Mr. Wade, both, have said under oath, in their filings and in their testimony, that they were not romantically involved, at the time he was hired? That could be now a separate basis for removing her from the case. So, that's why this is so important.

I think the judge has a decision to make, because the Willis team is saying that that -- the evidence of the subpoenaed phone records shouldn't even come in that the judge shouldn't even consider them. So, he first has to decide if he's considering this evidence, and then what to do about it.

The evidence is supposed to be closed, at this point. They're not supposed to go back for more evidence. So, he'll have to decide whether he now, on March 1st, instead of just hearing arguments, actually want some more evidence, about what these records actually show, and whether the analysis proffered by the Trump team is the accurate one.

KEILAR: And back to New York, another case, a jury today finding that longtime NRA head, Wayne LaPierre, should pay $4.3 million in damages, after misusing charitable funds, on lavish trips and other questionable expenditures.

What is your takeaway, from this ruling?

RODGERS: Well, this is a pretty classic case of corruption and self- dealing.

Charities, in New York State, like all states, are regulated by the government. And you're not just allowed to use the money that people give to your charity, as your own personal piggy bank.

So, the evidence was quite compelling that he was using it, for his own purposes, for lavish trips, and so on. So, the jury verdict makes perfect sense to me that he should have to pay back the money. That was the NRA's money that's supposed to be used for the purposes of the NRA, which is largely lobbying, and not for his own personal expenses.

So, seems like it's the right verdict, to me. He'll have to pay it back. He already had resigned. So, their order that he should be taken off of the NRA anyway, doesn't really mean much.

But now there's another proceeding, following on this one, Brianna, where the judge himself will decide things, about what happens to the NRA, from here out, whether an independent monitor should be put in, and whether other penalties will be put into place, to make sure that the NRA now will be on a proper footing, going forward.

KEILAR: Yes. Wayne LaPierre may be gone. But his influence is still there, very much, at the NRA.

Jennifer Rodgers, thank you so much.


RODGERS: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: And next, today is punishment day, for Vladimir Putin, as promised by President Biden, who slapped Russia with hundreds of new sanctions, as the Ukraine war is about to enter year three. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: President Biden is marking the second anniversary, of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, by imposing sanctions, on more than 500 targets.

This is his largest sanctions package, to date. It hits financial and defense companies trying, again, to choke off Putin's ability, to get what he needs. And they also target those connected, to the imprisonment, of Alexei Navalny.

Putin's new punishment is also a message of support, to Ukraine, as a $60 billion aid package, remains hung up in Congress, blocked by House Republicans.

After Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, and other Democratic lawmakers, met with President Zelenskyy, in Ukraine today, Schumer delivered a message, to the Speaker of the House.



SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We need Speaker Johnson, to make sure that we get that aid.

And he has to see that history is on his back. He cannot have obeisance to Donald Trump.

If he meets with the leading generals, if he meets with Zelenskyy, if he meets with the Americans on our side, he will -- there'll be no way he won't be convinced that we need this aid.


KEILAR: And we're joined now, by the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor.

Ambassador, thank you so much, for being with us--


KEILAR: --on the precipice of this anniversary.

This announcement, 500 sanctions against Russia, it sounds significant. That's a lot, in number. But does it really make a difference, as Ukraine is fighting this war?

TAYLOR: Ukraine need to fight this war, weapons. The sanctions, over the medium-term, will affect the Russians' ability, to provide them weapons. But in the immediate term, right now, the issue is not sanctions. The issue is getting weapons to the Ukrainians.

KEILAR: So, the U.S. has sanctioned Russia, in the past. I mean, 500 is a lot. That's only a fraction, though, of the totality, of what they've been sanctioned here. And it actually pushed Putin, to reorient the economy. It helped him

ramp up domestic defense production, helped him make trade deals, and kind of look for new markets, like India, for instance. And that's not -- that's not getting around sanctions to do that. That's OK that they're doing that. But certainly, it doesn't work for the U.S.

Does the U.S. have any ability, to cripple Russia's economy?

TAYLOR: One way we could, which is not in this 500, is if we seize this $330 billion worth of Russian Central Bank reserves, which are already frozen in western banks. So, those $330 billion is already there. It's not available to the Russians any longer.

But we need to take it from those banks, which may be happy to turn it over, and put it into a fund that would help the Ukrainians, either reconstruct themselves, or to keep their government going, or even purchase weapons.

KEILAR: So, what's the hang-up for that? I mean, Secretary Panetta was trumpeting that very same thing, today. Brilliant minds, I guess here. What's the hang-up?

TAYLOR: One hang-up is, in order to address one of the concerns about this. One of the concerns about this step is that, well, if the Americans do it, then the Chinese and others will take their money, out of American banks, and put them into German banks, or Belgian banks.

But if we all do it together, if the Germans, and the Belgians, and the Americans, and the Brits, and all the Europeans do it together, then there are no chance of them moving their money into another banking system.

KEILAR: You mentioned weapons. Putin announcing Russia has begun this serial production of what's called the Zircon hypersonic missile. Experts say this would be nearly impossible to shoot-downs.

When you're talking about weapons for Ukraine, you can see why they would need things, but also why this may bring new challenges. How worried are you about this?

TAYLOR: So, they've said -- the Russians have said that before that we have this super-weapon that you can't touch. It can penetrate any defenses. And it turns -- I was actually in Kyiv, when these super hypersonic missiles came in. And the Patriots, fired by the Ukrainians, shot them down.

So yes, we should be concerned. We will take it seriously. We always take weapons seriously. But they've overhyped, the Russians have overhyped, their capabilities before.

KEILAR: Former CIA Director, David Petraeus, retired general, of course, four-star general, telling CNN, he sees the tide really shifting here, that Russia has momentum, and that they are pushing forward, as promised. How much longer do you think Ukraine can hold on? TAYLOR: Ukraine will hold on for a long time. Whether or not they can hold on successfully and defend what they've now got, is another question.

That is they are having a hard time on the ground. They're doing well on the sea. They're knocking aircraft, Russian aircraft, out of the sky. So, they're doing well, in that regard. And even if this weapon -- these weapons that we've been talking about don't come, the Ukrainians will continue to fight.

KEILAR: One thing that is also clear, with past sanctions, is it just, it doesn't change Putin's behavior. He seems to continue on undeterred. The war in Ukraine has dragged on. He's been dealt these brutal punishments. And he's dealt brutal punishments, to his political enemies, as we've seen with Alexei Navalny, and others.

How does the outcome, of the 2024 election, as he's looking towards November, how does that change perhaps his calculus about what he's doing?

TAYLOR: So, what he's doing is just waiting us out. He's trying to wait out the Ukrainians, wait out the Europeans, wait out the Americans, hoping that they will blink, or they will falter, or they will get tired, and -- or something changes in the politics. That says -- he doesn't have a strong strategy. Making some progress on the ground, but he is not -- he doesn't have a strategy to move forward.


KEILAR: Do you think that Congress is going to pass aid for Ukraine?

TAYLOR: Yes. I do. I can't -- I can't be sure, obviously. That's up to -- a lot has to do with the Speaker, whom I don't know.

But there are a lot of people working with and around, and in the Congress, who care a lot, about this issue, who see the strategic historic importance, of the Ukrainians, winning this war, stopping the Russians, in Ukraine.

KEILAR: But if Trump isn't one of them?

TAYLOR: There have been a couple of interesting articles written that you analyze what the -- what the former President has said? We don't know where he stands, on this issue. We know where he stands on border. But I don't think we know where he stands on Ukraine. We know he's a big fan of Ukraine. More of a--

KEILAR: Or Zelenskyy.

TAYLOR: Or Zelenskyy. Although Zelenskyy may have had some good interactions.

KEILAR: Ambassador, always great to get your perspective. Thank you so much.

TAYLOR: Thanks, Brianna. KEILAR: And next, why Israel's new plan for a post-war Gaza, is now putting ongoing hostage negotiations in jeopardy.



KEILAR: Tonight, negotiations in Paris, for a hostage deal in Gaza, appear to be on edge. A senior Hamas official, telling CNN, Israel's newly unveiled post-war blueprint, for the Palestinian territory, is disrupting progress.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, presented his plan, to Israel's security cabinet, last night. So, what's in it? And why are many of the proposals, things that key parties, including the United States, reject?

Joining us now, we have veteran journalist, and Staff Writer at The New Yorker, Susan Glasser.

Susan, let's talk about what's in here. No statehood, total Israeli security control of Gaza, potentially illegal buffer zones, many other things. How would you characterize this list?

SUSAN GLASSER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, look, this was Prime Minister Netanyahu, on one hand, responding to criticism that he hadn't already outlined more of a specific vision, for what a post-war Gaza might look like. But at the same time, having now done so, he has angered or shown distance with many of the parties.

So, it's almost an impossible situation. He is not on the same page, not only with the Palestinians, but also with the United States, Brianna. I think that this is really an example where Netanyahu's proposals look quite different.

For example, President Biden, and his administration have talked about a kind of revitalized Palestinian Authority, as the governing authority, in both the West Bank and Gaza, after the war.

Netanyahu seems to reject that, and say, no, we would have military controls, still rest with Israel, and that civilian administration should be handled only by unspecified Palestinians, who do not have any connections to terrorist groups. What does that mean? We don't know. But it doesn't suggest the Palestinian Authority, because he says they should be local, and not living in the West Bank. That's just one example.

You mentioned the buffer zones as well. I think that would be a non- starter, for many parties, including Egypt, which of course shares the border with Gaza, and is already very concerned, about the prospect of trouble spilling over those borders.

KEILAR: Yes, look, no one besides Israel is on board with this plan, or much that's in it.

Secretary Blinken rejecting a lot of this. Egypt rejecting Israeli control of its border with Gaza. The UAE saying they're not helping with reconstruction, if there's no Palestinian State.

Why is Netanyahu drawing up a plan that no one will agree to, or really see eye-to-eye on, really, any provisions in it?

GLASSER: Well, look, I mean, this is, first of all, not only an international issue, but for him, it's also a matter of his own political survival. So, much of what he does, he's aiming at making sure that he doesn't get dumped, by his own far-right coalition. And so, there's a delicate calibration there.

Remember that Netanyahu is very unpopular in Israel. And there's a very real prospect that if the war stops, that the first order of business, for many Israelis, will be to throw Netanyahu out of office. Maybe that'll happen, maybe it won't. But I do think domestic politics are, if not top of mind for him, certainly an important factor in this plan.

Also remember that throughout his long, long career, in politics, Netanyahu has been not a friend, or a believer, in the concept of a separate Palestinian, an independent Palestinian state. And many of the things that he's done, as a politician, have made it harder and harder for that goal to be achieved, frankly. So, I'm not surprised that he's not changing course now.

KEILAR: Yes, hard to see how he would come around to that after all this time.

In the meantime, something else that no doubt would be making hostage negotiations more difficult, you have, Netanyahu announcing 3,000 new homes, for Israeli settlements, in the West Bank. It's a proposal that Secretary Blinken calls inconsistent with international law.

What is Netanyahu doing here? And what's the U.S.'s play?

GLASSER: Well, look, again, look at who is that coalition supporting Netanyahu. It's actually the most far-right coalition, in Israel's history. And that means many settlers, and the people who have advanced the idea of the settlement movement, are key supporters of Netanyahu's government.

What's notable to me is Secretary of State, Blinken, making a point, of rejecting this, and saying it's not consistent with international law.

You'll remember that during the Trump administration, they actually reversed long-standing U.S. policy, which has long been critical, as long as you and I can remember, in fact, that's been Republican presidents and Democratic presidents, have criticized Israel, for expanding their settlements, seeing that as an obstacle to a future peace agreement.


But the Trump administration essentially got fully imbed with Netanyahu's government, at the time, and made a, basically, a policy shift that Blinken now appears to be undoing. KEILAR: Susan, thank you so much, for helping us understand so much more, about this proposal. We appreciate it.

GLASSER: Great to be with you.

KEILAR: And tonight, the Pentagon is tracking a new unidentified balloon, in the skies over America. We'll have details on that next.


KEILAR: Usually, the most public alert we get, from the good folks at NORAD, is to let us know that Santa is on the way. You know the drill.

The other 364 days a year, a message from NORAD is probably about something scary, or mysterious, or weird, or all of the above. And the latest I'd say would fall into the mysterious and weird categories.


Fighter jets spotted a small balloon that is floating 44,000 feet above the mountain west, and drifting east. And where did it come from? Well, who knows? We just don't know yet.

But U.S. officials stress it is far smaller than that Chinese spy balloon that the U.S. shot down, last year. Those American officials say this balloon does not pose a threat. But they are tracking its movement in the air.

Thank you so much, for joining us.