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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Classified Docs Case; Harris On GOP Abortion Restrictions: "How Dare" They?; Former Trump Chief Of Staff: Trump Didn't Want U.S. Troops In South Korea Or Japan. Aired 9- 10p ET

Aired March 14, 2024 - 21:00   ET



SEAN PENN, CO-FOUNDER, CORE: People-- this is a -- this is a country that's threatening famine -- threatened with famine, if something isn't done aggressively.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Sean Penn, thank you so much.

PENN: You bet.

COOPER: The news continues. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.


Donald Trump's first criminal trial may now be postponed, 11 days before it was supposed to begin. The unexpected twist coming on the same day that Trump was in court, in Florida, trying to get another one of those cases thrown out, and failing.

Also, Kamala Harris becoming the first sitting Vice President to visit an abortion clinic. Democrats are keeping this issue front and center, and trying to keep Republicans on their heels. A post-Roe reversal, but the question is will it drive enough Democratic turnout, come November?

And striking revelations are in a new book, from one of the best- sourced foreign reporters, on those affairs. What former top Trump aides are warning that a second term of his could look like, including U.S. withdrawal from NATO, and abandoning Taiwan if China invades.

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

They say that timing is everything. And for Donald Trump, that might as well be his campaign slogan, right now. He's been in day-to-day combat in court, to keep pushing his criminal cases, until after the 2024 election. And there are significant developments, tonight, concerning the timing of three of those cases, in New York, South Florida and Georgia.

In New York, the one criminal trial that was supposed to happen, that everyone thought was going to start, 11 days from right now, now appears that it will be delayed by at least a month, after an unexpected announcement, from the Manhattan District Attorney himself.

We'll dig into what that's all about, as Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen and Company are now waiting to see what the judge is going to decide, about the hush money case.

It wasn't all good news, I should note, for the former President, today. He was denied one attempt, to get his charges dismissed, in the classified documents case, in Florida, as he sat there in court before Judge Aileen Cannon.

But there's no trial date still, from that judge. And of course, that can't make the Special Counsel happy, or the witnesses, who are worried for their own safety, as all of this is being dragged out.

I actually spoke with one of those central witnesses, in this case, a former Mar-a-Lago employee, who told me that he's prepared to testify.


BRIAN BUTLER, "TRUMP EMPLOYEE 5": The boxes that were in the indictment. The white Bankers Boxes? That's what I remember loading.

COLLINS: And did you have any time -- any idea, at the time, that there was potentially U.S. national security secrets in those boxes?

BUTLER: No clue. No -- I had no clue. I mean, we were just taking them out of the Escalade, piling them up. I remember they were all stacked on top of each other. And then, we're lifting them up to the pilots.


COLLINS: There's also more. We've talked about New York. We've talked about Florida.

Now, we are also awaiting a decision that is expected tomorrow, in the State of Georgia, from the judge who is overseeing Trump's election case there, over whether or not to disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis.

Judge Scott McAfee said to a reporter, today, quote, "I made a promise to everybody, these kind of orders take time to write, I need to make sure I say exactly what I want to and I plan to stick to the timeline I gave everyone."

Here to help us break all of this down, tonight, is our most trusted CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Elie Honig, who was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, for the Southern District of New York, the very office that is now caught up in this case. And also, of course, his book, "Untouchable," where he uncovered conversations that got to the heart of this case.

So Elie, obviously, you're the perfect person to talk about this with.

I think, the question is why is this all happening, 11 days before this was set to begin? ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: Yes. So, this is about so much more than a likely 30 day or more postponement. This goes to the heart of the D.A.'s case. And it tells me that there's a real problem lurking here for the D.A.'s case. So, let's break this down.

Three years ago, Donald Trump's getting ready to leave office in 2021.

My former office, the Southern District of New York, has a series of internal conversations. What do we do? Do we charge Donald Trump for the hush money scheme?

Ultimately, they come out, of course, no. And a big part of the reason why is they did not trust Michael Cohen. They were not willing to base a case on the testimony of Michael Cohen.

OK. Now, you're Donald Trump's lawyers now. And you know this.

COLLINS: Thank god I am not.

HONIG: Right. But what would you do?

COLLINS: But yes, I am, for hypothetical reasons.

HONIG: You want to get those files, right? Well, geez, the SDNY thought there was a problem with Michael Cohen. We need to know that.

And so, Trump's lawyers have spent the last year and change, trying to extract those documents, from the Southern District. And they just started getting them a couple months ago, 70,000 pages, then another 30,000 pages. And they said to the judge, now we need more time because we have serious stuff in here that we need to use, to undermine Michael Cohen.


And the D.A., to an extent, agrees with that. That's why the D.A. today, said we agree that some postponement is necessary, at least 30 days. The D.A. could have said, it's all useless, it's all irrelevant. They did not say that. They said there is important stuff in there. And this goes to the heart of the case.

COLLINS: So one, that means you think that it is relevant material?

HONIG: Absolutely. Because if it wasn't, the D.A. would say no, no adjournment, let's go in 14 days. The fact that the D.A. is saying, yes, they're entitled to some time, tells me there's something significant in there.

COLLINS: Well, and two, this is the first time -- we've seen Trump tried to delay, delay, delay. We talk about it almost every single day. This is the first time we've seen a prosecutor actually agree in part.

HONIG: Yes. And let me lay the blame here, on my own former office, the Southern District of New York. I will plead guilty on their behalf. They're the problem here, because they've had these documents. They're the only ones, who know what's in these documents. And they have resisted and dragged their feet.

Even Alvin Bragg, the D.A., has been asking the Southern District. Hey, guys, this material could be relevant to the defense. I have an obligation, as the D.A., to turn it over. And only just recently, did the SDNY do that.

COLLINS: OK. But so they -- Alvin Bragg, the District Attorney here said, 30 days, sure.

But what Trump's team is asking for is not even just 90 days.


COLLINS: I looked closely at what they said. They said that they should set a new trial -- or not set a new trial date, until they've been able to complete the productions of this material, and said it cannot be any less than 90 days.


COLLINS: How long do you think this could ultimately be of a delay?

HONIG: So, of course, Trump's team wants to push it out forever.

Here's the thing, though, to keep in mind. So, the D.A. is OK, with 30 days. The judge has to give 30 days, essentially, at this point. If the prosecutor is saying to get 30 days, you have to give him that, but.

COLLINS: So that's a minimum?

HONIG: And there's a traffic jam here. Because Judge Merchan, same judge, who has the Trump case, also has the Steve Bannon trial, the Steve Bannon fraud trial, set for May. So, that is blocking May into June.

Now, the judge could sort of play a game of dominoes here, and move the Bannon trial, to make room for the Trump trial.

COLLINS: What's the likelihood of that?

HONIG: I suspect this is going to be more than 30 days. I really do. I think--

COLLINS: So, you don't think that the judge here will move Steve Bannon's case, to make room for Trump's?

HONIG: That's a -- that's a decision for the judge. But Steve Bannon's case is older. Steve Bannon's case has been occupying that spot.

I think there's a real problem here. I think there's a real question now, about whether this case gets tried before the election at all. And it seemed five hours ago like this one was virtually certain to go. COLLINS: You think it may not get tried, before the election?

HONIG: I do. I do. Because if you have the Steve Bannon case, they are blocking off May, June, maybe into July. It's a complicated case.

When are you going to start this case, into September, October? That's, I think, too close to the election. I think there's now, for the first time, a real question, about whether this case gets tried before the November election.

COLLINS: But that means there's a question of if any case gets tried.

HONIG: This is--

COLLINS: I mean, tomorrow, the Georgia decision is coming.


COLLINS: Where we find out if Fani Willis stays on the case. If she does, that's really notable, because that means it will continue.


COLLINS: But if she doesn't, there is virtually no chance that goes before the election, right?

HONIG: I think either way, that case is not getting tried before the election. It's going to take way too long. If she gets disqualified, though, there's a question about whether that case ever happens.

But you're right, Kaitlan. It felt like for a while, the Manhattan D.A.'s case was potentially the only one that would get tried before the election. And now, I think there's serious doubt about that, too.

COLLINS: Elie Honig, your former office, you said you'd plead guilty for them. We'll see--

HONIG: Sorry, guys.

COLLINS: --we'll see what that looks like. Elie, we'll stay with you on all of this.

Also, I should note that Donald Trump was in a federal courtroom, in Florida, today, for another case, the classified documents case that we've been talking about here all week.

But the presence of him in there, in that court, even though he appointed the judge here, to the bench, did not seem to slow her down. She quickly denied a motion that he was making, one of many I should note, to dismiss that entire case.

And I'm joined now, by an attorney, who used to represent Donald Trump, in that very case, Jim Trusty.

And, Jim, it's great to have you back. This was two of nine total motions, from the Trump team, to dismiss this case. Do you ultimately believe that any of them will be successful?


I mean, look, today's motion, you got to keep in mind, this was a very academic-oriented motion about void for vagueness, challenging the very statutes that are in play, in the indictment. That's always tough sledding.

And what the judge did is she denied it without prejudice. So, this is basically a punt, more than it is a law. She's saying, well let's get to it, when we're sifting through weighty issues of jury instructions, way downstream. So, I don't think that was anything that was particularly grievous, for the Trump team.

I think the interesting thing is apparently, a lot of reporting says that she raised a number of questions, about selective prosecution, about whether President Trump is being treated differently, than any other president, or even vice president, that's a big note here, in history.

And I think that means that what's normally, again, a fairly tough motion, to establish the DOJ, as selectively enforcing a law, has some traction with this judge. It wasn't on the table for today. But that's a huge issue the DOJ has to be worried about.


TRUSTY: And I think it's interesting, you're having Jay Bratt do all the argument, the guy that authored all of this mess, is kind of left on his own, to either have a nice day of winning, or absorb all the blame for the misconduct, by DOJ.


COLLINS: Well let's just -- just to keep this big picture for people, who don't know who Jay Bratt is. Obviously, he's a prosecutor, working for the Justice Department.


COLLINS: What she denied today had to do with the Espionage Act. She said, essentially, the Trump team's argument would have been extraordinary, for her to rule and agree with them, on this.

But the other one that they were arguing today, the other motion to dismiss had to do with the Presidential Records Act. And you and I have actually talked about this before. And essentially, the ability that Trump has to decide what records are personal, what belongs to the government.

Here's what you've said before about that.


TRUSTY: If he wants to personalize them, under the Presidential Record Act? That is his right.


TRUSTY: And that doesn't lead to criminal investigations.

PHILLIP: That -- be that as it--

TRUSTY: It never has before.

PHILLIP: Be that as it may. But I think the --

TRUSTY: And it probably never will again.


COLLINS: She said today that that decision, Judge Cannon would effectively gut the PRA, if she agreed with Trump's team on this, and allow future presidents to say, the documents that are obviously presidential ones are personal. I mean, she's not buying the argument that you are making there.

Did it change your mind on that?

TRUSTY: Well, I don't think you heard much of my argument in that snippet.

But look, not really. I mean, I think that the Presidential Records Act, the issue of whether any of this should be considered criminal, or subject to criminal penalties, which the PRA does not have, is still in play, when you talk about selective prosecution, selective prosecutions latching on to the 14th Amendment, talking about due process and equal protection.

But the concept of whether every other president and vice president has been essentially immunized, by the PRA, is still in play, no matter how you frame it, specifically in the category.

So, I think it's still a live-wire issue. I think it's something she's going to get to. And the fact that she had these questions is, again, I think, a little bit ominous. Not--


TRUSTY: Not absolute, but a little bit ominous for DOJ.

COLLINS: Yes. We're doing a lot of tea-leaf reading.


COLLINS: But the other part of this is not -- it's not just about the records. It's also about the obstruction charges, in this trial.

And I want you to listen to someone, who has only previously known, as Trump Employee 5, now known as Brian Butler, told me, in our exclusive interview, on Monday.


COLLINS: On that day, as you're loading, helping load these boxes, unwittingly, into the plane, and handing them to the pilots?


COLLINS: Trump is back at Mar-a-Lago. And did you know that his attorneys were there that day?

BUTLER: It's funny, because I remember seeing this taller guy, I think, flip-back silver hair. I think it was Evan -- who I now know to be Evan Corcoran. And I saw a bunch of other people, in the living room. I had no clue. I'm just seeing all these people.

COLLINS: And it was Evan Corcoran, Trump's attorney, and members of the FBI, Jay Bratt?

BUTLER: Which, I come to realize now. At the same time, he's going in there, the boxes are going from somewhere into a vehicle, which are eventually going to the plane, which I load, with Walt.


COLLINS: OK. So, Jim, if Trump thought he was allowed to keep these documents, as his attorneys argued today, and as you have argued before, why was he having them moved out, while the FBI is there, at Mar-a-Lago, to collect said documents?

TRUSTY: Well, my first thought is if he was actually trying to obstruct, by hiding documents, why would he leave dozens behind, for them to recover, through Evan Corcoran? So, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Let me just say this. I was a prosecutor--

COLLINS: Well no, no, no. No. Jim?

TRUSTY: Well, Kaitlan, let me just finish one thought about your witness.

I was a prosecutor for 27 years. I guarantee you, if you're a prosecutor, and this guy comes out, smiling on TV, to talk about his testimony, you are cringing. He has not been cross-examined yet. He may not have been interviewed by anybody, but the FBI, at this point.

So, you got to take a wait and see. Maybe he'll be a blockbuster witness. But I'll tell you what, most blockbuster witnesses don't do TV tours, on the same day that Rob Hur's report lands.

COLLINS: Well he did one--

TRUSTY: This guy did.

COLLINS: He did one interview. And I'll note that that was not when -- Robert Hur's report came out weeks ago. It was before he testified on the Hill.

But I'll say, he did this interview, because he's worried that this case is never going to go to trial. And he's also worried about the effort to get his name out there.

But let me ask about what you just said there, because you said why would he turn over some of the documents? Trump is accused of having his co-defendants go in the storage room, and move those boxes before Evan Corcoran, even went in there.

So, why is Trump moving those documents, if he thought he had the right to them?


COLLINS: Even from his attorney?

TRUSTY: Yes. Well, look, let's take a little bit of a wait and see. If the case really goes to trial, I will be the first one to tell you, if the obstruction hangs together, and it looks like a viable case, I'll hear the evidence, and I'll tell you that looks like a pretty viable case.

I have a lot of suspicions. The obstruction was added into the mix, as a political fig leaf, to distance President Trump's situation, from that what happened in Delaware. And that's always been kind of the political fig leaf is.

COLLINS: But you agree that they're different, right?

TRUSTY: Delaware is different.

I agree what? I'm sorry.

COLLINS: You agree that they're different?

TRUSTY: Oh, absolutely. In a lot of ways that are actually hurtful for President Biden's -- for President Biden's position.

But, look, Rob Hur did a report. He laid out his information. I have some qualms with it. But at the end of the day, it's not that I'm saying that President Biden should have been prosecuted.


What we've said, from the beginning is systemic changes need to be made, to protect the information that is entrusted to our leaders. And that's a problem that goes back, at least to Reagan, if not certainly before that, with all sorts of presidents holding on to classified documents. And DOJ saying it's their call, when it came to Clinton, in the Judicial Watch case.

So, there's a lot of murkiness there, in terms of how the law should be changed. I don't think any of it should be criminalized.

COLLINS: Right. TRUSTY: And I think we'll have to wait and see, if that guy gets a day, where he's actually cross-examined, instead of talking to you.

COLLINS: Well, I think, I would say it was a pretty thorough interview.

But Jim Trusty, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate you.

TRUSTY: All right. Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And perspective from someone else, who was formerly in Trump- world. Anthony Scaramucci is here to talk about what Elie just laid out, that maybe none of this will go to trial, before the November 2020 (ph) election, even that one case we thought would.

Also, the Vice President's historic trip, to an abortion clinic, does it mobilize voters, in a crucial election year?



COLLINS: It was a 11 months ago that Donald Trump became the first former U.S. President, who had ever been indicted.

And now, nearly a year later, he is the presumptive Republican nominee. He's just clinched the delegates. And it's not clear if voters are going to get to hear the evidence, against him, in any of those cases, before they decide if he should return to the White House.

Few people can speak to this better than someone, who was his Communications Director. Anthony Scaramucci is here with me.

And Anthony, it's great to have you.

I just wonder, if you look at the big-picture impact, of the conversations we just had with Elie Honig, and with Trump's former attorney, if none of this happens before the trial, what that means?


I think any of those other things that could happen, before the trial, particularly the documents case, where if you really read through that complaint, that's where the most damning evidence is. If none of that happens, it's a Trump versus Biden rematch. And I think people have to get focused on that.

And they've got to run the relay play, the replay of Donald Trump, what he said, what he did, over the four years, what he's saying, now.

He wants to go after you, Kaitlan. He's made it very clear that anybody that he disagreed with, or he has an adversarial relationship with, in the press, he wants to potentially threaten their FCC license.

He said publicly he wants to persecute, using the Department of Justice, his political adversaries, and the list goes on and on.

He's courting with dictators. He wants to be part of the axis of autocracy, with people like Vladimir Putin. And just to remind people, Vladimir Putin is tied very closely to Iran now. So, just think about what that means for the Middle East, because we know how transactional Donald Trump is.

So, I think we got to get off the cases. We have to focus on Mr. Trump being the most un-American presidential nominee, in U.S. history. And we have to go through the things that he's saying he's going to do, as it relates to being the American president.

COLLINS: Well what about--

SCARAMUCCI: And, I think, if we do that, he's going to lose the election.

COLLINS: What about the human aspect of this? Because obviously, there's also questions, about not just what he would do, in a second term, but who would work in that administration.

And Brian Butler, the former Mar-a-Lago employee that we spoke with, this week, he talked about the relationship aspect of this, and what Trump does to those around him.

This is what he told me.


COLLINS: It must feel like you're choosing between loyalty to these -- to your friends, and--

BUTLER: Absolutely.

COLLINS: --and truth.

BUTLER: Absolutely. And there's no person that wants loyalty more than the former President. I mean, he says it all the time.


COLLINS: I mean, what do you make of what someone, who worked for him, for 20 years, has to say about how he treats people, and what that would mean, if he takes office again?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I mean, what I would have asked Brian, though. You've seen people come and go, myself included.

There always seems to be a group of rubes that gets sucked into Trump's orbit, and think they're either going to be different, this time, or he's changed, or he's -- they're going to change him. And then, he just rotates through those people and runs them over. And so, that's why 39 of his cabinet members and sub-cabinet members refused to endorse him, at this time.

But the one last point, Kaitlan. I think this is the most telling point. I'm a little contrarian, and I believe that because he's such a name-dropper, he will bring people in from the establishment. He'll want big names, in the administration. And so, you'll have a much of the same thing that took place in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He's not going to go full loyalist, because there's just not big enough names, for somebody like Donald Trump.

COLLINS: We'll see what that looks like, Anthony Scaramucci. I know you will not be one of them. Thank you so much for joining tonight.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't -- I don't even want one extra day, Kaitlan, OK, not even one extra -- I don't want to make it an even dozen.

COLLINS: OK. Anthony Scaramucci, Mr. 11 Days, thank you for that.

Also here, Jamal Simmons, former Communications Director for Vice President, longer than 11 days.


COLLINS: And CNN Political Commentator, S.E. Cupp.


COLLINS: I mean, obviously, no one wants to be in the political situation that Donald Trump is in, with his legal troubles. But the idea that he's getting all of these delays and delays and delays, and it's working, right now.

CUPP: I think he does want to be in this situation. He is running for president, to avoid all of this stuff.


And this stuff is putting him in significant legal and financial jeopardy, which by the way, I've said this before, makes him a very serious and vulnerable national security target. The idea that he has this much money, and lawsuit liability, I think, makes him a huge target for bribery. And let's face it, he's probably a game for it, right?

So, I think he is using this campaign, to sort of get through all of this. And it looks like he might. I mean, he might get through it all.

COLLINS: I think a lot of Democrats have been thinking that this would make him a really vulnerable candidate, in a general election. What if it doesn't, if he's not on trial?

SIMMONS: Well, I think what will make him a vulnerable candidate, is his position on these issues, like taking away abortion, which we saw the Vice President talking about today.

And when she was in the -- was it Milwaukee? CUPP: Minnesota.

COLLINS: Minnesota.

SIMMONS: Minnesota, sorry.

COLLINS: We got the Governor coming up.

SIMMONS: Yes, exactly.

COLLINS: Soon after this.

SIMMONS: I should know better.

But no, we saw this -- we saw this in the -- in the policy positions that the President -- the former President had. I think -- and people started thinking about whether or not they want to return Donald Trump to office. They will be hearing about so many things, that we feel tested, the last time, bleach being injected. Are we going to have another insurrection, if he doesn't win?

We'll see him in court. And there's a very practical problem here. If he's in court, four days a week, that means he's not out campaigning during those days.

COLLINS: Well what if he's not in court?

SIMMONS: Well, he's going to be.

COLLINS: Does that change Democrats' trajectory here?

SIMMONS: No, because I think Democrats are planning on beating him, regardless of whether or not he goes to court.

But there is a great possibility that he could be in court, for some part of the summer, or going into the fall. And if that's the case, that means that he's not going to be out on the road.

CUPP: I think there was a lot of denialism, on the left. And I include myself, in the Never-Trump camp, in that denialism, hoping some deus ex machina event, like a lawsuit, was going to imperil his road to the presidency.

And the stages of grief, right? We are not in acceptance yet. And I think a lot of people still want one of these things to be a roadblock. I think we have to get to acceptance, past anger, grief, bargaining, and accept he is going to be the nominee. And it's not going to be a lawsuit that probably keeps him from the presidency. It's going to be the ballot box.

COLLINS: I mean, how do people, in Biden-world see this? Did the DOJ wait too long, on some of this stuff?

SIMMONS: No, there's a fight -- well, there's a contest going on. Let's not use the word, fight.

There's a contest going on between those, who believe that there was no alternative, the DOJ did everything right.

And there are those who believe in the White House, my gosh, we really wish that the DOJ would have moved faster on this, and that Merrick Garland would have done something about this earlier, and maybe we shouldn't have had some of the Special Counsel that we had, we really should have done something more.

I think that contest of ideas is happening, inside the Democratic Party. Probably doesn't matter, because the political people--

CUPP: Yes, couldn't finish it up (ph).

SIMMONS: --the political people--

CUPP: Yes.

SIMMONS: --are all focused on the future of Donald Trump, and scaring people about what that future is going to look like.

COLLINS: Jamal Simmons, S.E. Cupp, always great to have both of you here on set.

CUPP: Sure.

COLLINS: Thank you.

And with Trump off the campaign trail today, Team Biden was in full campaign mode today, as he was in that Florida courtroom. It included a historic visit by the sitting Vice President, to an abortion clinic, the first time you have ever seen anything like this.

The Governor of Minnesota was there with her. And he'll join me right after a quick break.



COLLINS: Vice President Kamala Harris made history today, when she became the first sitting Vice President, to tour an abortion clinic.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: How dare these elected leaders believe they are in a better position to tell women what they need, to tell women what is in their best interest. We have to be a nation that trusts women.


COLLINS: Here tonight is Minnesota's Democratic governor, Tim Walz, who was there with Vice President Harris, at Planned Parenthood today, and also has signed legislation, enshrining abortion rights into state law, last year, also, the Chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Governor, great to have you, here tonight.

On this issue, and something that we have never seen before, what happened today, does that mean that you expect abortion and reproductive rights is going to be Democrats' greatest strength, going into this election?

GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): Well, thanks for having me, Kaitlan.

Absolutely. It was -- it was such a privilege, and it was powerful to be in that room with the Vice President. She's speaking truth. And to see her in that space, to talk to providers, to hear the stories of women, traveling from all over the country?

I'm in a part of the country, where my neighboring states have tried to criminalize women getting health care. And we are going to make sure that people hear about it, because it is a health care crisis.

And the idea that they would try and nationalize this, take that away from states, like Minnesota that do trust women to make their own health care decisions, that do understand that abortion is health care? And to see the Vice President stand in that space to be clear that she's not wavering? I don't know if you could see a greater contrast for what this nation is facing.

There are numerous issues. But this one is real. It is not hypothetical. It's real. Women are dying. Women are being persecuted. We're seeing women being threatened with jail time, for simply pursuing what just two short years ago, was a protected right. So yes, we will make sure we know every single day where they stand.

COLLINS: Also, Governor, though, even for Democrats, for your party, just a few years ago, the idea of using this, in a campaign year, as a campaign issue, having the Vice President go to an abortion clinic, is not something that many people or many political advisers would have -- would have advocated for.

I mean, it must have just surprised you, just to really understand the moment we're in, with that visual today.

WALZ: Well, I think so. I think it was probably a mistake, we weren't.


I ran for Congress, in 2006, in a Republican-leaning district, and I spoke very clearly about this. After I won, I remember someone walked up to me, and said, wow, you won in spite of being for abortion rights and gay marriage. I said, you get it wrong, I won because of those things.

And I think Democrats have found their voice on this. I think women have understood that, that we have tolerated this idea that this was just something not to be talked about. It's good to see leaders, coming out.

And these are these are hard decisions. But they're decisions that women make, and that their providers make. And I think that's the biggest thing.

So, you're right. I don't think there was enough about it. But I think you've seen it spring on to this.

And let's be very candid. Over the last 20 years, there's more women, like Vice President Harris, in elected office, who can talk about it.

COLLINS: And when this -- that's definitely right. And we see President Biden, he is someone who -- he doesn't often use the word, abortion, himself. I don't think that's totally surprising. He's an 81-year-old Catholic. And his views on this issue have evolved.

Do you think that he should lean more into that though, over the next eight months, use that word, as often as possible, on the campaign trail?

WALZ: Well, you're right. And I think each person, as they start to try and understand this -- and you can hold two things are not mutually exclusive, that people of deep faith can also understand that a woman's right to make these choices, is important.

I do think it was important to listen to Vice President Harris, today, say, look, I'm going to say some words people don't want to hear, like uterus. And she was saying that. I think old White men need to learn how to talk about this little more.

And I think the biggest thing is listen to women, listen to what they're saying. We've seen that when we listen to them, they're speaking loudly, on the issue, and they're speaking at the ballot box. We've seen time and time again, whether it was the midterms, whether it was in Kentucky, with Andy Beshear winning a race down there, being very firmly supporting women. I think we need to find our voice on it.

But I hear the President talking about. He's out there. His Vice President is making history, by being the first sitting Vice President or President to stand in a space that's a health care clinic. Abortion is health care. There's other things being done there, mammograms, all kinds of screenings. It's just really, it's a moment that we should seize.

And look, the contrast couldn't be greater. Donald Trump has made it very clear. He brags about a lot of things that are not true. He did not create jobs. He's not a scratch golfer. He's not in super good shape. But he did rip Roe out. He did appoint judges, who are taking that away. And he will do it again.

So, I think it's good to hear the language. I think the President's out there making it clear. And the contrast is he said he will sign into law, codifying Roe into law. Donald Trump said he would make the ban nationwide. You couldn't be clearer.

COLLINS: Governor Tim Walz, as always, great to have you on.

WALZ: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Some really notable remarks that happen on Capitol Hill, today, from the Senate Majority Leader. He is the highest-ranking Jewish elected official, in the U.S. He is calling for elections, and new leadership, in Israel, saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quote, an "Obstacle to peace."



COLLINS: Tonight, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu's party is responding, to what they heard, from Senator Chuck Schumer, saying that their country is not a banana republic.

That's after the Senate Majority Leader went to the floor, today, to criticize Netanyahu's handling of the war, and also call for new elections in Israel.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process, about the future of Israel, at a time when so many Israelis have lost their confidence, in the vision and direction of their government.


COLLINS: That rebuke, of course, coming from the highest-ranking elected Jewish political leader, in American history. And it's a pivotal moment, for Netanyahu's support, here in the U.S. potentially.

And joining me now is the Republican whip, Tom Emmer, the number three Republican leader in the House.

And Congressman, it's great to have you joining us tonight.

Do you believe that Senator Schumer's remarks were appropriate?

REP. TOM EMMER (R-MN): No, absolutely not. I thought they were disgusting, Kaitlan.

I think they've been talking about how they stand with our best ally in the Middle East, the free democracy of the State of Israel. And today, he did just the opposite. And he finally, I think, showed people that no matter what they say, their actions are something completely different.

COLLINS: Well, and to be fair, to Senator Schumer, I mean, on this front, when he was making these remarks, he said Netanyahu is one of four obstacles, he believes, that is standing in the way of peace, as he put it. He also cited right-wing Israeli officials, and Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority, and its President Mahmoud Abbas.

Do you have -- do you agree with him, on any of those points?

EMMER: No, I mean, maybe the last one is part of it. But no, absolutely not. Chuck Schumer does not have a problem with Benjamin Netanyahu. He does not have a problem with the people of Israel. What he's got a problem with are the anti-Semites that have taken over his Democrat party.

You cannot equivocate on this, at this time, Kaitlan. You got to choose between right and wrong, between good and evil. And quite frankly, for Chuck Schumer to be calling for a new election in Israel is, it's abhorrent.

And by the way, if he really was interested in calling for an election, how about in Gaza, where they haven't had one, since 2006, when Hamas took over?

What he said, today, was outrageous and disgusting.

COLLINS: Well, you said you agree with him, on the last point, about the Palestinian Authority leader, Abbas. But I imagine you also agree with him on Hamas also being an obstacle here? I mean, I just wanted to make sure that that's clear.


EMMER: If you want to call for peace, then Hamas has to be eliminated. They cannot exist any longer. It's clear after October 7th that that is not an option. So, you want peace? Then Hamas needs to lay down its arms and be done.

COLLINS: The important context of Senator Schumer's remarks is that he is the highest-ranking Jewish elected official, in our nation. And as he was talking about Netanyahu, and calling for a new election, he was talking about the devastating death toll that we are witnessing, happening in Gaza.

Do you personally believe that Israel, and Netanyahu's government is doing what it can, to avoid civilian casualties?

EMMER: I do. We had -- Ambassador Herzog was with us, at our retreat today. Went through what they are trying to do, which is you've got Hamas that is literally using hostages, and Palestinian -- the Palestinian people, to try and protect themselves. They're holding them for a reason.

By the way, they just killed another American hostage, last week, Kaitlan.

This is about Hamas. This is not about the State of Israel, unless you're talking about the State of Israel's survival.

COLLINS: That was the announcement that Itay Chen was killed.

But on the comment you just made, a few moments ago, you said that Schumer's real issue, you believe, is dealing with the people in his party. You said they're anti-Semites. Obviously, the progressives in the Democratic Party would disagree with that. They would say that they have an issue with how Israel is conducting this war. But I think the bottom-line question here is what's going to happen with funding Israel. And you're standing at the Republican retreat, right now. And the bill that came over from the Senate that does have money for Israel has not been brought up for a vote, on the House floor. That's because of, also the Ukraine aid, and what else is in this bill?

What is going to happen? How is the House going to handle this? Are Republicans, in the House, going to split up an Israel aid bill into one, and a Ukraine aid bill into another vote?

EMMER: So first, your statement about what the progressives would say, is that this -- these aren't anti-Semites, when in fact, they refuse to condemn Hamas. They try to justify this, a brutal attack, these prehistoric attacks on women and children and the elderly. If you're not willing to condemn Hamas, then clearly, you are not, it's about the Jewish people to you. And they -- I'll stop there.

But the other piece is they've had the Israel supplemental bill, from the House, since October, Kaitlan. Let's not get into this, the he- said, she-said. We sent that supplemental bill, off the House floor, over to the Senate, back in October.

And Chuck Schumer has refused to act. He complained about a pay-for, because we were taking money away from the IRS, to pay for the $14.2 billion or $14.3 billion net that had been requested.

So, guess what? We tried to do one without a pay-for. And not only would the 166 Democrats in the House voted against that, they chose to side with Hamas instead of the State of Israel. But you had a President, Joe Biden, who threatened to veto it if it passed.


EMMER: You can say that you're not something.

COLLINS: --Republicans in the Senate also had an issue with that bill.

EMMER: But your actions speak louder than your words.

COLLINS: Republicans also had an issue with that bill.

EMMER: Again, Chuck Schumer.

COLLINS: But I think the question is if you're in Israel, or if you're in Ukraine, right now, what the House is going to do, and what House Republicans are going to do. And so that's my question. What is your plan?

EMMER: Again, Kaitlan, the question really isn't what House Republicans are going to do. House Republicans have already done it. The question is, will Chuck Schumer actually move the bill that's in front of him. If he doesn't like the pay-for, he can take it off.

And by the way, yes, maybe Republicans were. But they're not in charge of the Senate. Chuck Schumer is in charge of the Senate. The issue is with Chuck Schumer, and his Democrat majority in the Senate, and with the President and his administration. They are not standing with Israel. They are siding with Hamas.

COLLINS: But are House Republicans going to bring a standalone Israel aid bill and a standalone Ukraine aid bill to the floor? Is that your plan, right now?

EMMER: Two different issues. We already brought a standalone Israel bill, to the floor, two or three weeks ago.

COLLINS: But it doesn't have any chance of passing the Senate.

EMMER: Again, a 166 Democrats chose to vote against it.

COLLINS: So, realistically, what is the House going to do on this issue?

EMMER: Well, why wouldn't it have a realistic chance, of passing the Senate, if you truly do support our best ally, in the Middle East, the State of Israel? Why would it not have a chance, Kaitlan?


Unless of course, Chuck Schumer is -- his problem is with the anti- Semites in his party. And that's the President's problem as well. And they're playing politics with an issue that is not about politics. It's about the very survival of the State of Israel.

COLLINS: OK. I just want to give you one last chance, to tell me what the House is going to do, because they have been the ones that -- the House Republicans are the ones, who are standing in the way, of the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate, with aid for Ukraine and Israel and Taiwan. So, what is the House's plan?

EMMER: Again, the House has already acted.


EMMER: We've not only acted once. We've acted twice. There's a bill sitting over in the Senate, right now, that they can pass. If we have to continue to lead, which we will, we will continue to lead. But right now, they already have the money that they need. They just need to process the bill, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: I think it's still been questioned what House Republicans are going to do. We'll see what happens, when you're back in Washington.

Congressman Tom Emmer, thanks for your time, tonight.

EMMER: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: A new book shedding light, on what a potential second Trump term could look like, with some ominous warnings, from former top officials, who worked there, who served there. We'll talk about that, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: With Donald Trump now locked as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, his brand, of America First, is one election victory away, from becoming American foreign policy, again.

And amid this, there are dire warnings coming from those who worked the closest with him, on that very issue.

In his new book, CNN's Jim Sciutto, cites a senior U.S. official, who served in both the Trump and Biden administrations, at a high level, that says in a second Trump term, the U.S. will be out of NATO. Of course, NATO is probably the most important security alliance that the U.S. is part of.

And CNN Anchor and Chief National Security Analyst, Jim Sciutto, joins us, now with more reporting, on his new book, "The Return of Great Powers: Russia, China, and the Next World War."

Jim. And this book is full of fascinating insights from these people who worked with Trump. And at one point, John Bolton is quoted there, with this story about what he means basically his concerns, about what's going to happen to Taiwan, if Trump is back in office.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, CNN ANCHOR, AUTHOR, "THE RETURN OF GREAT POWERS": Add Taiwan to the list of countries alliances that his former advisers say the U.S. will abandon, effectively, under a second Trump administration.

And what he would do? He would be in the Oval Office. He would hold up the tip of a Sharpie pen, at his desk, and say, and point to the tip of the pen, and say, this is Taiwan, and then point to the Resolute Desk, and say, this is China. The point being Taiwan is so small, too small to successfully defend itself, against a Chinese invasion, and crucially, therefore too small for the U.S. to care about or defend itself.

And I had multiple officials, including Bolton as well, and John Kelly, and others say, if I were Taiwan, I'd be very worried in the second term.

COLLINS: And we've seen the warnings, about how that could be a reality, in the next several years. It's not a foregone conclusion.

SCIUTTO: No question.

COLLINS: The other part though, is John Kelly is similarly as concerned as Bolton. They've different warnings. But one thing that he was talking about is South Korea.


COLLINS: And the U.S. reducing its commitment there. And

I was struck by this quote, where he told you that Trump was "Just dead set against having troops in South Korea, again, as a deterrent force, or having troops in Japan."

And if you've been in the U.S. military, and this has been the status quo for so long, changing that would be fundamentally different for the United States.

SCIUTTO: No question. The thing is, it's a consistent thing with Trump, he does not see the value of these decades-old U.S. alliances, whether it be NATO, as you were describing earlier, South Korea, or Japan, and alliances that have helped keep the peace and defend key American allies. He just sees them as too costly.

And the other piece of that, which we should note, is that the adversaries, on the other side of those alliances, whether it's Russia, on the other side of NATO, North Korea, on the other side of South Korea, or China, other side of Japan, they would love if the U.S. were to reduce or end those commitments, because it would be very much to their advantage.

COLLINS: Obviously, John Kelly and John Bolton aren't going back, in a Trump -- another Trump administration.


COLLINS: But Anthony Scaramucci said something earlier. He said that Trump would be pulled, to have the big names, in a second term that it wouldn't just be the people who, the concerns of the loyalists, and who would be first picked to serve.

What is your sense from the people you spoke with, for this book?

SCIUTTO: These people will never work for him again, John Kelly, John Bolton, others. They say quite openly, he's a danger to the country. I mean, they've said this publicly. I mean, John Kelly had a long conversation with him about how Trump expressed praise for Hitler, while in office, and he was just flabbergasted that this was even possible. So, those folks won't go within a mile of the White House.

Do I believe that Trump will attempt to get big names, to Scaramucci's point? I absolutely believe it. But it's a question as to who would take that job at this point, particularly folks, who have direct experience of working with him, with his decision-making, and decision-making, like we've just described here.

COLLINS: Because if you're a big name, and you go in, and you're running the Pentagon, under a Donald Trump presidency, I mean, what does that look like, if he pulls out of NATO, which is what these officials tell you is a really big concern?

SCIUTTO: No question. And, by the way, Congress has passed legislation, as you know, that requires congressional approval, to leave NATO. But the point that these--

COLLINS: Because Congress is so good to standing up to Trump.

SCIUTTO: Well, exactly. The point is that he could neuter NATO, without signing a piece of paper, to remove the U.S. from it, because as Commander-in-Chief, if he would refuse to send U.S. forces to defend, say, an Eastern European NATO ally, then that treaty means nothing. Article 5 of the treaty means nothing. So, this is the thing. He will have tremendous power.

There are a lot of reasons why this election is a major choice for American voters, as you know, a whole host of domestic policy questions. But on international policy, Trump would represent a 180- degree turn, not just from Biden, but from successive Republican and Democratic presidents, going back decades, and for our allies, a dramatic turn as well.


COLLINS: That's such a good point that he wouldn't even have to formally pull out of NATO. He could just do it, by way of doing all this (ph).

SCIUTTO: If he says like he said the other day, Russia, do whatever the hell you want, in an Eastern European country? He's the man who would have to order those troops in.

COLLINS: Jim Sciutto, the book is fascinating. Thank you for coming up here, to talk to us about it.

SCIUTTO: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

COLLINS: Everyone should read it.

And thank you all so much, for joining us, tonight.