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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Bolton Says He Will Not Vote For Trump Or Biden; Elon Musk: I'm "Not Donating" To Either Presidential Candidate; Kate Cox Recounts "Crushing" Legal Fight After She Was Forced To Leave Texas For Abortion Access. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 06, 2024 - 21:00   ET



DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, a Haitian security source, telling us, tonight, that police are trying to hold the line. They are low on ammo. Morale is depleted. They say that with the Prime Minister out of the country, in this moment, John, they feel like they've been abandoned.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: David Culver, important reporting. Thank you so much.

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


CNN can now call Donald Trump the presumptive nominee. With his last Republican rival vanquished, even Mitch McConnell is throwing his support behind Trump. And Trump is making a head-snapping new demand. We'll tell you that in a moment.

Also, Maggie Haberman will join me live, on what Elon Musk was doing, at Mar-a-Lago, as Trump is pleading with a judge for mercy, which for him means more time to cough up the many millions that he already owes.

And tonight, the agonizing choice, to leave your home state, to terminate a pregnancy. Texas mom, Kate Cox, explains her deeply personal decision, ahead of a huge moment, in the national spotlight. She's President Biden's guest, at the State of the Union, tomorrow night.

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

It's the sequel that most Americans didn't want. But apparently, it's the only thing playing. Super Tuesday has all but cemented the Biden versus Trump rematch, at the top of their party's tickets. Nikki Haley is out.

And Mitch McConnell is apparently on board. More, on the outgoing Senate Republican leader, in a moment.

But this is notable. 570,000 voters backed Nikki Haley, over Donald Trump, in the battleground states of Nevada, North Carolina, and Michigan. Remember that number because it could be very important, come November. 570,000 is more than double the gap that decided the race, in those states, four years ago.

With that as the backdrop, the current and former presidents chose very different ways, to convince Haley voters, to join their team today. President Biden commended her for quote, speaking "The truth," as the now presumptive Republican nominee bragged that he had "Trounced" her.

Here in Washington, it was even enough, for Mitch McConnell, to fall in line, and finally endorse Donald Trump, something he has not done. The same Donald Trump, I should note, who attacked both the Senator and his wife, in vicious and racist terms, over and over and over again.

It's also the same Donald Trump that Mitch McConnell hasn't spoken to, in three years, the same one that he also scorchingly denounced after January 6th.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President.


COLLINS: For his part, McConnell insists that there's no disconnect, between his criticisms of Trump, and helping put him back in the White House potentially.


MCCONNELL: February the 25th, 2021, shortly after the attack on the Capitol, I was asked a similar question. And I said I would support the nominee for president, even if it were the former President.


COLLINS: My first guest tonight, like Mitch McConnell, is a lifelong Republican, who witnessed Trump in action firsthand, and even wrote an entire book, warning, in severe terms, about a possible second Trump term.

Ambassador John Bolton was Donald Trump's National Security Adviser, has been on THE SOURCE many times.

It's great to have you Ambassador Bolton.

I mean, Republican voters were given more than a dozen choices here. Why did so many of them insist that Donald Trump, they believe, is the best their party has to offer?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I'm not sure they think he's the best.

But I think all of the other Republican candidates, with the possible exception of Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson made the same mistake Trump's opponents made, in the 2016 nomination process, of attacking each other, hoping to be the last one standing, so they could take Trump on.

And it turns out this year, as in 2016, you don't beat Donald Trump by attacking other candidates. You have to make the argument that convinces voters, Trump is not fit to be president. And they all basically failed to do that, with a few exceptions.

COLLINS: But even Nikki Haley kind of did that at the end. I mean, she went after him on age. She went after him on fitness for the presidency, on Russia.

BOLTON: Too little, too late. And I think that was part of the problem. They couldn't make up their mind. Are they for Trump? Or are they against Trump? Are they trying to appease Trump?


Political leadership doesn't consist in following what the polls tell you. It consists of persuading people that they should support your candidacy, and reject Trump, for all of his flaws. That case was never made by any of them.

COLLINS: You have said that neither Biden nor Trump is the correct answer, I mean. But that is going to be the choice. So, what choice are you going to make?

BOLTON: So, you're just telling me. I'm very beleaguered these days.

In 2020, I wrote in the name of a conservative Republican. I live in Maryland. And you have that possibility. Because there was no conservative Republican on the ballot. I feel exactly the same way four years later. And that's what I'll do again.

It's a problem with America that we're going to have a rematch of a contest, 70 to 80 percent of the people say they don't want. What's wrong with the political system that produces the result that so many don't want?

COLLINS: So instead of voting for Donald Trump, you'll just write someone in?

BOLTON: That's right. And look, I live in Maryland. So, Biden is going to carry that state anyway.

I'm going to worry what I think priority has to be for people, who, and Republicans who don't like Trump, is get a Republican senate. And in Maryland, we have a real opportunity with former Governor Larry Hogan. I'm going to spend a lot of time on that.

COLLINS: So, for people, who do face this choice, and they don't want to write someone in. We have dealt with a lot of people in the show, who have been critical of Trump, and don't feel like he's the best that Republicans have to offer, for the presidency. But they also don't want to vote for a Democrat.

I mean, what would you say to people, who are willing to vote for their party, but only because it's an R on the ticket?

BOLTON: Well, I'd say don't violate your principles.

I think this is the problem the Democrats have, in pursuing Biden's candidacy. If Trump wins in November, his Election Night victory speech start off saying, I want to thank Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, for all the hard work they've done, to bring me back to election.

Biden is deeply unpopular. It's not going to get any better between now and Election Day. The country would be better off if they found another candidate. I don't see that happening.

COLLINS: So, I know you think he's unpopular. You very much do not like President Biden's policies. You've made that clear, in our conversations before. But is it worth not voting for him, simply because you don't like his policies, if you genuinely think Trump is a threat to democracy?

BOLTON: Well, I don't think he's a threat to the Constitution. I think he caused enormous damage, in the first term. I think he will cause more damage in the second term. But our institutions are stronger than Donald Trump. And I think if you -- if you overstate--

COLLINS: Does that include the presidency?

BOLTON: Pardon me?

COLLINS: Does that include the presidency? Because he has people who, you know, we just talked to Doug Burgum, last night, who Trump says would be a great VP. And he wouldn't say if he thought that Mike Pence did the right thing, on January 6th. Neither will Elise Stefanik. She said that she thought he did the wrong thing.

BOLTON: Yes, look, they--

COLLINS: So did J.D. Vance.

BOLTON: There's no doubt that the one and only interview question, on the vice presidential interview questionnaire, is will you do what I tell you to do?

This time, at least until something dramatic happens though, Trump can't get a third term. I think his presidency would be filled with disorder, chaos and damage to the country.

But that requires fighting against it. It doesn't say, it's so bad I'm going to violate my principles, for voting -- by voting for Joe Biden. It's a very unhappy situation. There's no getting around it. But I don't think--

COLLINS: You think voting for Biden would violate your principles?

BOLTON: I think, absolutely. I think he's conducted a disastrous American foreign policy. To give you simply one example, from today, his proposed budget, on defense matters, for next year, represents a 1 percent increase. That's lower than the rate of inflation, at a time when we need dramatically increased defense spending, to face our threats.

COLLINS: But even though the two of you agree on NATO, something that he has upheld, and the concern that we've heard, a very real one, that Donald Trump will withdraw from NATO, if he takes office, that's not enough to get you to vote for Biden over Trump?

BOLTON: No, because I think the policies he's pursuing have led us to the crisis that we see in Ukraine. He failed to deter the Russians there.

COLLINS: Well didn't Putin do that though?

BOLTON: Well, but Biden made no effort. In fact, said publicly twice, I'm not going to be able to deter him. I think that was fundamentally wrong. I think the same thing's happening in the Middle East now. Biden is more worried about a wider war than it is a threat to our closest ally, Israel.

COLLINS: One thing that President Biden did, right after he took office, was cut Trump off from intelligence briefings, which is often, for 60 years, has been afforded to past presidents, after they leave office.

Typically, the major nominees of parties also have access to classified intelligence briefings. But the White House said today, that they're not keen to change their mind, on letting Trump get that access, even though he's about to be the nominee.

Do you agree with that?

BOLTON: I would not give him access to classified materials. Whatever the past precedent has been, no other candidate has been under indictment, for allowing classified information to be compromised. And given the pendency of that indictment alone, I wouldn't give him the briefings.

COLLINS: Ambassador John Bolton, thank you, for your time, tonight.

BOLTON: Thank you.

COLLINS: And joining me here tonight is also former deputy campaign manager, for the DeSantis presidential campaign, David Polyansky; and former Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, Geoff Duncan.


And given what we just heard, Geoff, on what voters are facing here, and this battle for those Nikki Haley voters, whether they're going to go to Trump or to Biden, what's your sense of what they'll do? GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think we were going to wake up tomorrow, with a 100 million Americans scratching their head, as to what do we do now?

I think it's interesting to break down who these Nikki Haley voters are. It's such a wide category -- scattered categories, right?


DUNCAN: You've got Republicans that don't think the 2020 election was rigged. You've got fiscal conservatives. You got Democrats who are disenfranchised with Biden. And you've got former Republicans that are now Democrats. So, you've got this whole big cadre. It's going to be interesting to see what plays out. And look, seven months is a long time.

But I don't really know what to do, at this point. As somebody who can't vote for Joe Biden, because I don't align with his policies, I don't believe he's got the best interest any longer of the country. And Donald Trump is just broken down. There's no chance that I would ever show up to support Donald Trump.

COLLINS: What's your sense?

DAVID POLYANSKY, FORMER DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER, DESANTIS 2024 CAMPAIGN: Well, look, I think what we've seen with Donald Trump is he's defied the odds, both this year politically and legally.

And so, I think, most in our party, and certainly, most people in the country didn't think he'd have this easy of a romp to the nomination. Nor did they think that he would evade trials, and delay them as much as he has. And so, I think the combination of his potency, politically, and his ability to move seamlessly, through the legal process, has put him in a pretty strong position right now.

And if you look at the RealClearPolitics average, he's two -- almost two-and-a-half points ahead of Joe Biden. And he's leading him on average, in every single swing state, except Pennsylvania, which is under 1 percent. So, if you're asking me how I view it today, I'd rather be in Donald Trump's camp than I would in the President's.

COLLINS: You obviously worked on DeSantis' campaign.


COLLINS: That face says a lot.


COLLINS: But do you think Donald Trump was ever beatable?

POLYANSKY: In retrospect, no. Look, the minute -- there were two things that happened.

COLLINS: You said no.

POLYANSKY: Yes. And there were two things that happened. And I think this is when the nomination ended.

Number one, when he was first indicted. I think the party and the base rallied around him, because they felt it wasn't just an assault on Donald Trump. They felt it was an assault on him. He did a great job messaging it.

And number two, when public polls started to put him in striking distance, and ultimately ahead of Biden, the electability argument went away.

And when those two things happen, the race was over. It was officially over the night of Iowa. But it probably ended last summer.


COLLINS: I mean, this all kind of crystallized today, when we saw Mitch McConnell get behind Trump. I don't think it's totally surprising that Mitch McConnell would do it, in the cynical sense.

But in the political sense, when you look at how Trump has not only attacked Mitch McConnell non-stop, he's attacked Elaine Chao. And she's personally told me, when I've spoken to her in interviews, that she believes those attacks are vehemently racist. And he endorses him.

And Trump now goes from saying, I could never work with Mitch McConnell, to saying he could work with him.

DUNCAN: That's the problem. Yes, I wrote a piece, for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, last week, where I called it "That's just politics," right? We've got to stop just saying that's just politics, to go along, to play along.

I mean, I'm one of those folks, Republicans, I'm thinking Nikki Haley, don't endorse Donald Trump, right?

Where are we going to draw the line in the sand, as Republicans? Where are we going to draw the line that the future of this country is more important than a short-term sugar-high of getting a couple of points or likes on whatever, whatever is driving these people?

Watching Tim Scott, do what he's doing. I mean, he knows better than this. So does the whole list of people that have just fallen in.

That's just politics is going to absolutely destroy this country. And so my encouragement is to wake up, go to work, and continue to say the right things, not to win an election, but the right things for Americans.

COLLINS: And Youngkin, Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, I should note, just endorsed Donald Trump on Twitter, something that he had stayed at an arm's length from him, as he conducted his own race.

Ron DeSantis got out, and endorsed Donald Trump. He has not said really anything, except since then. He's not campaigning on his behalf. I mean, you just heard what John Bolton said, about not -- about

voting your conscience, writing someone in if you don't feel that Donald Trump's the nominee.


COLLINS: What do you say to that?

POLYANSKY: I remember a former boss of mine, in 2016, using that same line at the Cleveland convention. Look--

COLLINS: And for people who are watching and don't know?

POLYANSKY: It was Senator Cruz, I'm sorry, using that line at the convention, in regards to a Trump candidacy, then.

Look, this is complex. The fact of the matter is, you've got a choice between a president, who is not wholly unpopular -- just unpopular with Americans, but he's driving policies that are driving each of us, as we make decisions in our personal lives.

On the economy, he's just not going to get credit, even if the economy does turn around.

On immigration, he's at 18 percent popularity, favorability on it, because he's failed. And I think as we heard earlier in the night, on the network, he's been absent on the issue, only until recently has even emerged, and talking about that, which is the number one issue.

We've got a long way to go in this race. But again, I'd rather be in the Trump camp right now than I would be with the President, leading into tomorrow night.

COLLINS: And the sense is still that Trump and DeSantis haven't spoken?

POLYANSKY: That I don't know.


COLLINS: Geoff Duncan, and David, thank you both for being here.

DUNCAN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Great to have you both.

POLYANSKY: Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, as you heard, Elon Musk saying today he's not giving any presidential candidate money. So, why did he just meet privately with Trump, at Mar-a-Lago? We'll speak to Maggie Haberman, about her latest scoop.

Plus, in North Carolina, Republicans just nominated someone, who has quoted Hitler on Facebook, yes, you heard that, described homosexuality as filth, and mocked school shooting survivors. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COLLINS: The second richest man, in the world, Elon Musk, posting on X today, and I'm quoting him now, "Just to be super clear, I am not donating money to either candidate for US President."

That, in response to the reporting that he met with Donald Trump, in Palm Beach, at his Mar-a-Lago club, over the weekend, as his campaign, and the candidate himself desperately need money.

I'm joined now by one of the reporters, who broke that story. New York Times Senior Political Correspondent, and CNN's Political Analyst, Maggie Haberman.

Maggie, when you saw that tweet today, from Elon Musk? I still call them tweets. How carefully-worded do you think that that message was? Because I mean, he could theoretically give to a Super PAC, supporting a candidate, without specifically giving to that candidate.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think you're hitting on the issue here. He says, to be clear. Well, he's clear that he's not giving hard dollars to candidates. And I don't think anybody expected Elon Musk's valuable $3,300 checks to be at issue here.

I think the bigger issue is whether he would give money to a Super PAC, or a dark money group, where they don't have to disclose who their donors are. And he did not address either one of those. I think the statement left him some wiggle room.

Now, that doesn't mean that he will donate, Kaitlan. I could see a world, where he doesn't write a big check or any check. But that is the hope of people around Trump, is that he does ultimately give money.

COLLINS: Well, and the reason they have that hope is because, I mean, they're trying to close that massive fundraising gap, between them and the current president, President Biden, who didn't have to deal with weeks of a primary challenge.

And I just wonder, based on what you've been hearing from people, how worried they actually are, about shoring up their finances, and the ability to do that quickly.

HABERMAN: Yes, the financial disparity has been a concern for Trump's political advisers, for many, many months, going back to, I would say, the fall, when it became clear that he was likely to be the Republican nominee, and it was clear that there was going to be a huge disparity between what Democrats were able to raise, not just the Biden campaign proper, his Super PAC, the Democratic National Committee, and then there will be other outside groups.

At the moment, Trump does not have something like that. And we have seen that President Biden has outraised him so far. So, this is a real worry. And Elon Musk is in a unique position to come close to erasing that deficit, almost single-handedly. Outside group dollars are not the same as hard dollars that can be spent by a campaign. But they can still help a lot.

COLLINS: Trump is also having financial troubles, beyond the campaign, today asking the judge, who is overseeing the E. Jean Carroll case, to give him more time, a few extra days, to post that $83.3 million bond.

And I just wonder what you've heard from people inside his orbit? Because obviously $83.3 million is just a small portion of the ultimate total that he would have to pay, in addition to the $450 million that he has to post, when it comes to the civil fraud trial.

What are you hearing about the legal fees, and how that's cutting into all of this?

HABERMAN: Well, look, the legal fees piece is a big issue. And as we know, that's a different pot of money, which is the Save America money, the Political Action Committee, that President -- former President Trump controls that he -- money he started raising, while he was still president, during this period, where he was alleging falsely widespread fraud that had impacted the 2020 election, that he needed money to fight.

And he then stored this all on this Political Action Committee or much of it in the Political Action Committee. And it's gone to pay a bunch of things, but among them, his lawyers and other people's lawyers. So, that's one piece.

Then there's the bond piece that you're talking about. And that is a separate issue. And there is clearly a problem so far in acquiring a bond. It doesn't mean that they won't get there. But I'm not sure what a couple of more days delay is going to do. And the judge has already said no, to a delay previously.

COLLINS: In addition to what we've been watching, with Super Tuesday, Trump is now saying, as he's the presumptive Republican nominee, the only person in this race, that he is now ready to debate after, of course, he didn't debate anyone, in the Republican primary, and has spent years, going after the Presidential Debates Commission and railing against them.

I wonder what your sense is, even though we're still a few months away, from when those would actually happen, if that's something he's actually serious, about going forward with?

HABERMAN: Oh, I think that Trump very much wants to debate. And we've been hearing that consistently for a while. He just didn't want to debate any of his Republican rivals.

We know that he pressured Ronna McDaniel, the outgoing Republican National Committee Chairwoman, to cancel debates over and over and over, and he said it publicly too. He did it privately with her, directly, and pushed this with others as well.

But his folks have been clear going back to the summer, his meaning Trump's, he wants a bunch of general election debates. He believes that that is a helpful contrast, with President Biden. It is a question to me what President Biden will agree to.

Because remember Kaitlan, at the first debate, they had in 2020, Trump later turned out to have had COVID, that week. Now, it remains an open question whether he had it on stage. But he didn't look well, on stage.


There was a feeling among the Biden folks that the Commission on Presidential Debates did not do enough, to enforce COVID protocols. They were very angry about it. They remain very angry about it. So, I don't know what they will agree to. We'll see.

COLLINS: What's your just sense generally of -- we're in this moment, and so many people rely on your reporting, about Trump and have, for years. And just as we're in this moment that a year ago, maybe it seemed like we would not be back here. What the next eight months or so are going to look like?

HABERMAN: They rely on your reporting too.

It's going to be a very long general election, is what I would say. I think it is going to be a pretty brutal eight months. I mean, among other things, we're going to have, unless something changes, a criminal trial, for one of the nominees. He won't be the nominee yet. But he's the presumptive nominee, right now.

With former President Trump expected to go on trial on March 25, in New York, that may be the only trial he faces this year. He has three other indictments in three other places. But that alone is unprecedented.

And so, I don't -- it is almost unfathomable to me, what else could happen this year. But even the next two months are going to be shocking.

COLLINS: Yes. Indeed, they are.

Maggie Haberman, great to have you. Thank you.

HABERMAN: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Up next, CNN sits down with two of President Biden's State of the Union guests, tomorrow night, the Texas parents, forced to leave their home state, to end a life-threatening pregnancy.


KATE COX, LOST LAWSUIT FOR ABORTION ACCESS IN TEXAS: It's the hardest thing we've ever been through, in our lives. And the laws today added a lot more pain, to what was already the most painful time in our lives.



COLLINS: The guests invited by the White House, and lawmakers, at the State of the Union, are always selected to showcase policies that they like, or to protest those that they don't.

When President Biden addresses the nation, tomorrow night, one woman, Kate Cox, will be front and center from his box.

The Texas mother had to leave her state, in order to get an abortion, a painful decision, to end a pregnancy that she wanted, because Texas law, and the courts, said she couldn't. Despite two crucial pieces of information here, one, the child that she was expecting would not have survived, and Kate's health and future fertility were also at risk.

She and her husband just sat down with my colleague, Dana Bash.

And Dana Bash joins me here now.

I mean, what an amazing moment, for this person, who had to become, go from being a private person, to this national figure, for such a painfully private reason.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I mean, painful is an understatement.

And when I spoke to her, she said that because she married young, she never thought abortion would be something she would even have to consider. Then, she and her husband, were already parents of two young children, were told that her third pregnancy wasn't viable.

And they did come to the excruciating decision, to end the pregnancy, one they didn't think would wind up with a lawsuit that made national headlines.


K. COX: No idea. I had no idea it would receive this widespread of attention.

I mean, to us, it felt very straightforward. We wanted our baby. And she was never going to be able to survive. And we want to have the opportunity, to continue to build our family, to try again, to have another pregnancy.

BASH: How many weeks pregnant were you, when you first heard Trisomy 18, and that you're at risk for your baby having that which is a rare chromosomal disorder?

K. COX: Right. I think, I was around 13 weeks, when it first came up as a risk. My doctor called, and she asked if I was driving, and I told her I was driving, and I pulled over. And she told me at that time that the screening had come back. So, it took them five weeks, to get the diagnosis.

The first thing we saw was a very clear issue with development of the spine, the neural tube. And so, we thought, well maybe -- maybe our baby will have a life in a wheelchair. And then, the next week, we saw more, and it continued over five weeks. And that's when we got the full diagnosis, and that final ultrasound was like catastrophic. It was our -- our baby would never survive.

BASH: The moment, as a parent, as a mother, when you learn that there's something wrong, with your pregnancy, I know what that's like, and it's etched in your memory forever.

K. COX: I asked the doctor, best-case scenario, if she survived the pregnancy. Because the Trisomy, the full Trisomy 18 babies often miscarry, or are stillborn. And so, if we survived the pregnancy, and we survived the birth, how long best-case scenario did she think we could have, with her. And she said the longest would be a week.

She would be placed directly onto hospice. There was no treatment that could be done. And I didn't want her to suffer, didn't want a life measured in minutes, or hours, or days, with medical machinery, for us, and the risks as well.

We wanted to be able to have a baby. We wanted a sibling for our children as well, want to be able to try again.


When we got the devastating diagnosis, I asked my doctor, what do women do when they receive a diagnosis like that -- like this? And she told me some women choose to continue the pregnancy, and some choose not to. And I asked her if that was an option in Texas, if I chose not to, to the pregnancy. And she told me, it's not.

BASH: So, you filed a lawsuit. And the court granted the restraining order, on the law, saying that you could legally obtain an abortion, and that you would not be at risk for driving your wife--


BASH: --that the doctor would not be at risk.

But then, the next day, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocked the decision. What were those days like?

J. COX: Well, we -- when we got the ruling, from the judge, we were excited and hopeful. We thought, wow, maybe everybody will see the commonsense that comes with this issue, like we do, that this is medical care. It was a very upsetting dynamic and range of feelings with that. Going from hopeful to feeling like, OK, this isn't going to be as easy as we thought, you know?

K. COX: It was really crushing. Pregnancies are complicated. And it's difficult, sometimes, to build your family. So, it's really terrifying, when that's left up to politicians and judges.

BASH: You did make the decision to travel outside of Texas. You went to New Mexico, to have an abortion.

K. COX: Yes. BASH: Tough decision.

K. COX: Yes.

J. COX: Well it's we were on a strict timeline. And we couldn't wait any longer. So, the decision had to be made.

K. COX: It's the hardest thing we've ever been through, in our lives. And the laws today added a lot more pain, to what was already the most painful time in our lives. That's why I want to share our story. And that's why I hope it'll be different, one day.

BASH: Abortion has always been a very political issue, even more so since Roe was overturned.

Were you a particularly political couple? Are you -- were you a political person before this?

K. COX: Not at all. I was not a political person amidst--

J. COX: We both have voted in the past.

BASH: Yes.

J. COX: But we've never been very enthusiastic about the process.

BASH: And you are now?

K. COX: Yes.

J. COX: We certainly are now, yes.

BASH: I'm guessing you're going to vote for Joe Biden?

K. COX: The number one thing we're both voting for is protection of abortion rights.

J. COX: Yes.

K. COX: Because women and families deserve medical care. This, I don't want to see others continue to be hurt. How many -- how many women have to tell their most heartbreaking journey, publicly? How many have to speak out before something changes?


COLLINS: I mean. What a powerful story.

BASH: Absolutely heartbreaking.

And I asked her a couple of different times, in a couple of different ways, why she wants to do this. And whether she really understood when she did file this lawsuit, they both did, whether it would erupt into such a national story?

And she said -- as I mentioned, she already has two young children. One of them is a girl. And she said, I don't want my daughter to have to deal with this, if and when she is trying to start a family. And that is really the key here, for this couple.

And that is that her doctor told her that this pregnancy would not produce a viable child. And when they brought this, into the courts, what the answer was, they said was that the doctor wasn't explicit enough that her life was at risk. Even though that was -- wasn't really clear.

First of all, it's her life. But also, the idea that she wants to have a family, they want to continue to grow their family, to have a third baby.

COLLINS: And that's the irony of these laws, is they're meant to protect life is what you hear from--

BASH: Yes.

COLLINS: --lawmakers, at the state or federal level. But her life was at risk. And also, her daughter, if she had been born, the best-case scenario was one week that she would have survived.

BASH: Yes, it's unimaginable, unimaginable. And the strength that they both have, to speak out, and to know that the bright hot spotlight is going to be on them. They got the call from the President, and they said, we're going to come

COLLINS: Yes, it'll be really powerful, to see them, tomorrow.

Great interview, Dana, I can't wait to see the full thing.

BASH: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And the stage, of course, is set, for the race, and to watch, in a key battleground state, in North Carolina, a moderate Democrat versus a right-wing Republican, who's downplayed the Holocaust, and referred to Michelle Obama as a man.

We're going to speak to the state's outgoing governor, about this bitter and expensive fight, for the fight to replace him.



COLLINS: A man, who has openly downplayed the atrocities of Hitler and Nazi Germany, and has described homosexuality as filth, is now the Republican nominee for governor in North Carolina. Yes, really. It sets the stage for a hotly-contested governor's race in a very key battleground state, come November.

And that man, the candidate that I was talking about, Lieutenant Governor, Mark Robinson, attempted, last night, in his victory speech, to define himself this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK ROBINSON, (R) NORTH CAROLINA GOV. CANDIDATE: Folks have heard a lot about me throughout this campaign. Much of it has been false. Those of you all who know me know who I am.


COLLINS: Here's the thing. A lot of it, well, really all of it, is not false at all. There's a record. You can hear it for yourself, the fringe, the downright hateful rhetoric out of his own mouth, for yourself.



ROBINSON: If you are a man on Friday night, and you at the mall on Saturday night, you better go to the men's bathroom.



ROBINSON: If you are confused, find a corner outside somewhere, I'm sorry.


ROBINSON: So many things were lost during the Civil Rights Movement. So many freedoms were lost during the Civil Rights Movement that shouldn't have been lost.

There's no reason anybody anywhere in America--



ROBINSON: --should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes, I called it filth.


COLLINS: Here tonight, the current officeholder of the job that Robinson wants, Democratic governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, who of course I should note still has 10 months left on the job.

But Governor, when you hear -- when you hear that, knowing that Mark Robinson could possibly be in your job, in a matter of months, what does go through your mind?

GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): Well, this is the most extreme right-wing candidate that we've seen in North Carolina's history. You've heard all of the things. He's also said that men should lead, not women. He's also said he has an assault weapon, to shoot government officials, if the government gets too big for its britches. North Carolina has been through cultural wars before. I got elected in

2016, on the heels of the bathroom bill in North Carolina. I beat a Republican incumbent, who had tried to use culture wars. And we walked through the rubble of that bathroom bill battlefield.

And we have now attracted a record number of jobs. We've been the best state in the country for business, two years in a row. We've gotten the Republican legislature, in a bipartisan way, to expand Medicaid. We passed clean energy legislation in North Carolina.

The people of North Carolina do not want to go back to a culture warrior. And that's what we have in Mark Robinson.

But it's a dangerous time, because Donald Trump is on the ballot. And Donald Trump won North Carolina in 2016 and 2020, although this was his closest win in 2020, 1.3 percent.

So, we know with those two candidates, at the top of the ticket, that's double trouble, in North Carolina.


COOPER: And a lot of people are going to come out to vote against Mark Robinson. And for Josh Stein, who's our current Attorney General, and will do -- he has integrity and grit, and will do an extraordinary job, in keeping our progress going forward.

COLLINS: Well, that margin that you mentioned, in 2020, for Trump, it was just 75,000 voters.

But obviously, Mark Robinson here has done something, to appeal to people in your state. You know them well. They're your constituents. What is it that had him be? I mean, there were two other Republicans running against him, one of them saying, these ads are going to cut themselves for Democrats here. But Republicans in your state picked him.

COOPER: Still most people don't know who he is. It's very difficult to break through on a Super Tuesday. It's important that North Carolinians find out who he really is. And I think he has been able to hide at the Lieutenant Governor's office. And let's be clear, this is an independently-elected office in North Carolina.

During the next few months, the people of North Carolina, and the nation, are going to be introduced to Mark Robinson, and how dangerous he is for our state. You're going to see a lot of people coming out.

This is a guy who has said, I'm against an abortion, in all circumstances, no exception.

And reproductive freedom is going to be a significant issue, in North Carolina, because the Republican legislature, by one vote over my veto, with all Republicans voting to override, and all Democrats voting to sustain my veto, they did pass a 12-week abortion ban, and have said they are coming back for more. And Mark Robinson wants more. And the people of North Carolina don't. So, at the end of the day, I think this is going to be an important issue, in North Carolina. And a lot of people are going to come to the polls, because they don't want politicians in the exam room, with a woman and her doctor.

COLLINS: Well, on that note, the White House has made clear, Democrats, President Biden, they have North Carolina in their sights as well. They're hoping they can win it in 2024.


And given what the political landscape looks like, and the popularity that Donald Trump does have in your state, I wonder what you think is, should be President Biden's strategy to win over those 250,000 voters in North Carolina, who did vote for Nikki Haley. They did not vote for Donald Trump. As they are both very much making that appeal, given how tight these margins are.

COOPER: Yes. Nikki Haley voters can be Joe Biden voters. Women's reproductive freedom will be emphasized in our state. I've talked with the President and the President's campaign. They know this is a big issue here. Health care is a big issue.

Donald Trump was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. This is one of the few promises he actually tried to keep when he was president. He almost gutted the Affordable Care Act.

In North Carolina, we just expanded Medicaid. Mark Robinson is against expansion of Medicaid.

When you look at all that Joe Biden has done, to bring health care to North Carolinians, this is going to be pitting the best of Joe Biden against the worst of Donald Trump.

So, health care and reproductive freedom are going to be on the ballot, as well as Joe Biden successes. I've been able to go throughout the state, and announce--


COOPER: --water and sewer projects in rural counties, and high speed internet connection, and things that matter to everyday family.

COLLINS: Yes. Governor?

COOPER: We're going to be able to emphasize those things as well.

COLLINS: And I should just note, we have heard from Mark Robertson's campaign. They now claim that he does support restrictions or the exceptions. They haven't said exactly which ones.

This is a conversation we're going to be having a lot, going forward. Governor Roy Cooper, thank you, for your time, tonight.

COOPER: Thank you. I just know what he has said before, on tape.

COLLINS: Yes, we heard it, as you heard it there, Governor. Thank you.


COLLINS: And speaking of these fights that we are seeing play out, over this, what is happening right now, in Alabama? You are looking live, as lawmakers, in my home state, are taking a final vote, on a bill to protect IVF patients and providers, after much controversy in the state. But one clinic says that it is not enough.

We're going to have live coverage, right after a quick break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to thank you for being in your place.



COLLINS: You're looking live, at Alabama, right now, where the State Legislature there, has just voted to pass that IVF bill, a bill that was hastily written, I should note, after the state's highest court ruled that embryos count as children, as several IVF clinics closed in Alabama, as a result of that ruling.

This bill, tonight, though, doesn't address that issue, about embryos counting as person, and instead focuses on protecting IVF providers and their patients.

Here tonight, Cameron Ward, a former Alabama lawmaker, has unique perspective on this issue, for two reasons. His past support of a 2018 law in the state that formed the basis of this ruling, and also has two children who were conceived with the help of IVF.

And Cam, it's great to have you here tonight, because you and your wife, Lindsey, shared your own story about this. You called this a stupid ruling, you thought, by the State Supreme Court.

But given this legislation doesn't confront what's at the heart of this, I wonder if you think it's enough tonight?

CAMERON WARD, (R) FORMER ALABAMA STATE SENATOR: No, I think it's a band-aid approach. And I think the Legislature did the right thing. It was bipartisan.

I have served with them for 20 years. And when I was over there, I've never seen a bill pass so fast. They wanted to fix this problem, as quickly as they could, or at least, approach to stop the problems that would occur, and allow for a long-term solution.

So, I think they did the right thing. I think, long-term, they're going to have to -- probably have a constitutional amendment. But they're working on it. They're doing a good job on it.

COLLINS: Do you think there could be support for a constitutional amendment?

WARD: I absolutely do. If you looked at the bipartisan support? And you had a governor, who's in favor of a fix? You had an attorney general who said, I'm not going to prosecute these cases anyway? And you have both sides of the aisle saying, we need to fix this? Yes, I do. I think they'll fix it.

And I'm proud to see the way they're dealing with it, in a fast manner, so that families like me, and my wife, don't have to deal with that going forward.

COLLINS: And this ruling, as you talked about your own experience, and what that mean, it came from an interpretation of a law that was passed by the State Legislature, in 2018, as I mentioned. When you were a state senator, you voted for it.

And I know you're pro-life, and you want pro-life laws. But do you wish in retrospect that you hadn't voted for that law?

WARD: I think no one intended for this to be the consequence of it. I was one of those, who pushed for the three exceptions. I really thought we should have three exceptions. We didn't get that. I regret that part that we didn't get those.

But at the end of the day, I think you have so many lawmakers now saying, we never intended that. We want to fix it. And my former colleagues, who are over there, I think, they're trying to address that. And I'm proud they are, because they should fix it, because no one intended for this to be a consequence of it.

COLLINS: I mean, what does it say, though, that it was, that it led to this ruling, that it led to IVF clinics closing, which you and your wife personal -- have personal experience, of just how devastating that precious time can be, in such a grueling process?

WARD: I think it was an overreach by the courts. And that's a question for the courts. I mean, I can't speak for them. But I can tell you in debates, we had, and there were a lot of very contentious debates on that bill.

I think, at the end of the day, that's a question for the courts. They took an interpretation that went way beyond what the law said. So, I think it's more of a question for the courts than it is for the legislators.

COLLINS: Cameron Ward, great to have you on, and to hear yours and Lindsey's story about this. And thank you for sharing that perspective with us.

WARD: Kaitlan, thank you. And all are glad to say hey, from Alabama, to you.


COLLINS: Thank you so much.

And before we go, tonight, we do have a special show, coming up tomorrow, on this very issue. Four Democratic lawmakers, including one from Alabama, will join to

talk about IVF, and abortion access overall, in America, sharing their own emotional stories, and sending a warning to women, about what they say could happen, in a second Trump administration.

That's tomorrow, right here, on THE SOURCE.

Thank you, for joining us, tonight.

"KING CHARLES" starts now.