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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Fani Willis Can Stay On GA Elections Case After Top Prosecutor Wade Resigns; Pence Says He "Cannot In Good Conscience" Endorse Trump; VP Harris Acknowledges Her Past Prosecutions Of Marijuana Cases While Pushing Reform Of Cannabis Laws At D.C. Roundtable. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 15, 2024 - 21:00   ET



HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: And I think this is going to be a real question, going forward. Could this brand actually succeed?

And then, the other real question is given Kate's high popularity, she's sort of the face of the Royals?


ENTEN: Will these scandals really drag her down?

COOPER: All right. Harry Enten, thank you.

Before we go, we want to take a moment to say goodbye to a member of our team here. Our line producer, Kristina Callahan, is in the Control Room, for us, right now, for the last time, unless of course she ever wants to come back.

Kristina has been at 360, for nine years. And over the years, become a vital member of that team. She's incredibly calm, incredibly calm under pressure, incredibly professional, which are two really important traits for a line producer. Most importantly, she's an all- around great human being, and we are truly going to miss her.

So, thank you, Kristina. And we wish you the best of luck moving forward.

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


Willis stays, Wade goes, and the case against Donald Trump in Georgia survives. But the D.A. of Fulton County did get a blistering review. What that could mean for the case, moving forward?

Also, maybe not surprising, and yet somehow still absolutely stunning. Former Vice President, Mike Pence, says he cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump. The fallout, tonight, coming fast and furious.

And it's being called Hell on Earth. CNN is the first major news network, to arrive in Haiti's capital, since gang uprisings plunged the country into chaos and lawlessness.

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

Tonight, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen and Company, left waiting for their day in court; Mike Pence left without a candidate, to support for President; and Fani Willis left without a lead prosecutor, as she goes up against the former President of the United States, in court.

But the Fulton County D.A. is still standing, and so is the biggest case of her career, despite a more than two-month effort to derail it, by the Trump team, and co-defendants in Georgia.

It wasn't a complete vindication for Willis, though, not by a longshot. Judge Scott McAfee admonishing her many times, in his searing decision, rebuking her, for both a "Tremendous lapse in judgment," and the "Unprofessional manner" of her testimony, after she was accused of a conflict of interest, stemming from her romantic relationship, with Nathan Wade, the man she handpicked to be the lead prosecutor, on the case.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It's ridiculous to me that the -- you lied on Monday. And yet, here we still are.

You've been intrusive into people's personal lives. You're confused. You think I'm on trial.

You've lied in this -- this, let me tell you which one you lied in. Right here. I think you lied right here.

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

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


WILLIS: And this--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object to this (ph).

WILLIS: It is a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to -- all right.

WILLIS: It is a lie.


KEILAR: The judge today gave Willis an ultimatum, as he noted a quote, "Cloud of impropriety," hanging over the case. Either she goes along with her whole team, or Wade goes. And now he has.

Nathan Wade, resigning within hours of the judge's ruling, and Willis accepting that resignation, praising Wade in the process. A quote from Willis, "I compliment you for the professionalism and dignity you have shown... You were the one who had the courage to accept the role, even though you did not seek it. You are an outstanding advocate."

Donald Trump chiming in on social media, saying Wade resigned in disgrace, calling it, big stuff, as today's events have raised a whole new set of questions, about where this case is headed.

I'm joined now by a pair of veteran Georgia attorneys, Michael Moore, and Amy Lee Copeland with us now.

I'm going to say Michael, three months ago, you were saying that Fani Willis should step aside. And we saw the judge admonishing her, for her behavior. But he didn't find a legal reason why she should. I wonder what your reaction is to his decision.


I was not surprised at the order. I think he basically split the baby on this, and said that, I'm not going to move forward in this case with this problem, because there is an appearance of impropriety. And so, somebody's got to go to clean it up.

The real issue I take with it is that this cleanup should have been done months ago. This could have been handled by the District Attorney and by Mr. Wade, and they could have sort of read the writing on the wall. I don't think it took 20/20 vision to see that.

And they should have pulled him off the case at that time, and eliminated this circus that we've been watching now, for a couple of months, as opposed to talking about the case, or other things going on with the -- with the prosecution of the former President.

So, I'm not surprised at all. I don't think there was -- anyone can make a claim that the District Attorney was exonerated by the order. That just wasn't the case.


And matter of fact, the judge went to some great lengths, to say, I'm constrained by the law that our higher courts have set. But by the way, this is something that it may be considered by the state bar, by the Ethics Commission, by the legislature and other bodies like that. And he talked about the case having a sort of a stink of lying around it. And that's never good, if you're a prosecutor, or a war hero.

But certainly, if you're not -- if you're the prosecutor, moving in to prosecute a case, like this, you do not want the judge viewing your case, your evidence, your arguments, your statements in court, through a lens of skepticism, because of how he may have viewed your testimony, and representations you made to the court that may not be quite accurate in an earlier setting.

KEILAR: Amy Lee, this ruling, by the judge, also dealt with the issue of comments that Fani Willis had made, before a church, in January. That was also something that Trump and co-defendants were concerned about in this case. To that point, the judge seemed to open the possibility of a gag

order. He said that wasn't the question before the court. But he seemed to suggest that maybe if asked that question, he might answer in the affirmative.

Was that what you took away from what he was saying in his order?

AMY LEE COPELAND, CRIMINAL DEFENSE AND APPELLATE ATTORNEY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Absolutely, Brianna. He did say that, that if the some party wanted to seek a gag order, against the state, which is very unusual, he would consider such a motion.

The defense is kind of in an interesting position here. They may want her to say more things, so that they could then bring forward further claims of forensic misconduct. So, even if there isn't a gag order, entered by the judge, I think the D.A.'s office would be wise, to have a self-imposed gag order on themselves going forward.

KEILAR: Yes, that may be in effect, what happens here, Amy Lee.


KEILAR: Also, the implications, Amy Lee, of this case, they stretch across Georgia politics, right? If you take Governor Brian Kemp's unique position, he's actually a witness in the case. Here's what he told Kaitlan, last month, about what he expected the judge to do on this.



GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Well, listen, I believe he's a good man. I mean, I appointed him. And I think he -- I'm very confident that he'll be, you know, a constitutionalist, if you will. He won't make up the law. He'll follow it.


KEILAR: Amy Lee, I wonder what the consensus is, in Georgia legal circles, about how Judge McAfee has handled this issue.

LEE COPELAND: Judge McAfee seems to be not offensive to anybody on either side. He seems to be a guy that is widely regarded, as trying to do a good job, and following the law, to be fair and impartial.

This whole hearing erupted, Brianna, because he was concerned that, given what he had read on the paper, he simply needed to hear more. And when you talk about judges, and when you talk about criminal defendants, it's all about notice and hearing. He would have gotten in more trouble, I think, if he hadn't had a hearing on these allegations, if he had just dealt with them on paper.

So, he has heard everybody out. He has issued an order that he clearly thought a lot about. He followed the law. He explained what the law was, and he dealt with it. He saw that there was a problem, and he remedied it. He remedied the problem that he saw.

So, so far, we haven't heard any political fallout about the judge himself. Of course, the D.A. is always the subject of the Prosecuting Attorneys Commission, or I'm sorry, the new law that's coming in, to deal with prosecuting attorneys. There's a lot of speculation about whether that will be used against her.

KEILAR: Michael, the earliest that we may see this case in court, what do you think?

MOORE: I think it's going to be sometime next year.

I think you saw it, earlier this week, when the judge dismissed some of the counts, in the indictment, he welcomed, or at least mentioned, the idea of an interlocutory appeal, at that time, by the state. He's also -- there's been some discussion of it now, as it relates to his ruling here. And the further we get to the election, the more likely it is to see this case.

Remember that at the outset, the state said that they expected it would take about five months, I believe, to try the case. There's no way he's going to start a trial that's going to drag right across Election Day, not to mention the fact that we have federal courts, out there, that also have cases that they typically take priority over state charges like this.

So, I just really think that there's no way the case is tried this year. And that we're talking next year, if Trump is elected, that's a different thing, because typically, a sitting president would not be hailed into state court, somewhere, to have to answer charges that would be done after their term. So, I just don't see how there's any possible way this goes before the election.

KEILAR: It's quite a reality check there.

Michael Moore, Amy Lee Copeland, thank you to you both.

MOORE: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: And when the history books are written, we'll remember this week, because it rewrote the 2024 calendar, for the presumptive Republican nominee. Not that long ago, Donald Trump had trials lined up ahead of him. After this week, things are looking a whole lot more open between now and Election Day.

CNN Legal Analyst, and former federal prosecutor, Jennifer Rodgers, is with us now, to try to help us sort out where everything stands right here.


Jennifer, starting with New York, and the Manhattan D.A.'s case on this, how long of a delay are you expecting here, as the prosecution is seeking 30 days, and the defendant obviously wants significantly longer? JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, Brianna, well, it really depends on what is in these documents that have most recently been turned over by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The judge is holding a hearing, a factual hearing on March 25th, the date the trial was supposed to start. And he said he will not set a trial date, until he rules on this discovery violation motion that he's hearing arguments about Monday, the 25th. So, we don't know.

So, for people thinking it's just a matter of between the 30 days and the 90 days, Trump wants this case dismissed, because of these violations, or Michael Cohen to be prohibited from testifying. So, the stakes are much higher than just how long will we be delayed.

But assuming that they successfully convince the judge that he should not dismiss the case, and we're just talking about a delay? Again, it just depends on how much time the Trump folks need to review these files.

And then, the calendar comes in. The Steve Bannon trial is scheduled for May, in Judge Merchan's courtroom. Normally, a trial that's already set will take precedence over one that has to move. And then, you get into the summer with all these other possible things coming down the pike.

It's just really hard to say. This could actually upend all of these other cases that we've been waiting to see, whether they can actually get done before the election.

KEILAR: Yes. We have to remember that. The court has a calendar as well. And as you mentioned, Steve Bannon is already scheduled, in front of this same judge.

You said, normally, that scheduled trial would take precedent. Do you see any way that might change, even if that is sort of the normal protocol?

RODGERS: Well, sure. I mean, the judge is in charge of his courtroom. He certainly could call the parties in on the Bannon case, and say, listen, I'm sorry, we're going to have to move the trial. Let's pick a new date. He has the power to do that. And he may do that.

But that's not how it usually goes. Usually, he has things that are set. This one's been set since mid-last-year. The Bannon trial has been set for May. So, I don't know whether Merchan will want to move that or not.

But that's really the issue, because bumping this one back a month, runs it straight into that. So, if he says, well, we have to wait till after the Bannon trial? The Bannon trial won't be over until probably July. So, you're really now starting to get into the end of summer, which would, even if this case can still get completed, before the election, really would preclude any of the other cases, from getting scheduled and completed before the election.

KEILAR: Yes, it certainly would. Jennifer Rodgers, thank you so much for your insights.

RODGERS: Thanks.

KEILAR: Ahead, as Trump's election interference trial, in Georgia, now moves forward, and he falsely claims he's being persecuted by Joe Biden. We're going to talk to a former U.S. Attorney warning about the growing threat of disinformation in America.

Also, former Vice President Mike Pence dropping some major news.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump in this campaign.




KEILAR: When the lead prosecutor gets booted, from a high-profile case, like today in Georgia, naturally, you'd want to get the defendant's reaction.

But when the defendant is Donald Trump, and his response is filled with so many blatant lies, like the prosecutor was hired to persecute Trump? Not true. That the prosecutor was hired by Joe Biden and the DOJ? Also not true, not even remotely true. That this case is for the purposes of election interference? Say it with me, also not true. So much disinformation in that one little post, ironic for a platform called Truth Social.

My next guest says the truth is disinformation is a direct threat to our democracy.

We have Barbara McQuade with us now. She's a former U.S. Attorney, for the Eastern District of Michigan. And she's the Author of the new book, "Attack from Within: How Disinformation Is Sabotaging America."

Barbara, I want to get to your book, in just a moment here.

But I want to talk to you a little bit about this decision, in Georgia. Because the judge, while allowing Fani Willis to stay on here, this is certainly a ruling that has hit on her reputation, even her professionalism.

And I wonder what your reaction was, to Judge McAfee's decision, and what her continued presence is going to mean for the case?

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, AUTHOR, "ATTACK FROM WITHIN: HOW DISINFORMATION IS SABOTAGING AMERICA": Well, I think, one of the strategies that we see people like Donald Trump use is distraction, and to put the prosecution on trial. I think that's exactly what they did here.

Now, I think the ultimate decision here is the right one, which is that Nathan Wade should be off this case, to avoid this distraction.

But I think the judge overreached a little bit, in finding that there was no conflict of interest, and yet, still given her this ultimatum, that either she goes or Nathan Wade goes. And it does give Donald Trump this victory, and this suggestion that she is, in some way, corrupt.

She made a terrible mistake, a tremendous, as the judge said, lapse in judgment, in developing a personal relationship, with someone, who's a prosecutor on her case. But that conflict of interest is not a conflict of interest that in any way affects the rights of the defendants.

And so, I think the judge wanted to remove the distraction. He's done that. And they should move on.


But no doubt, Donald Trump will continue to harp on this issue, in an effort to undermine, the credibility of the entire prosecution.

KEILAR: Yes that it's not a threat to due process was the point that Judge McAfee was making here.

The judge, at one point, said the Wade-Willis relationship does leave what he called, in a very colorful quote, "An odor of mendacity" over the case. Is that something that could be a factor in a potential appeal?

MCQUADE: It could. I don't know that either side will appeal this issue. I think that if you're Fani Willis, you kind of want to just get on with it, and get going on the case. I don't think she--

KEILAR: I mean an appeal in the ultimate verdict, depending on what the verdict is, if, for instance, Trump does not like the outcome in the case.

MCQUADE: I suppose, you could say that she should have been removed from the case, it could be that.

But I think for the same reasons cited, in the Judge's opinion, he very meticulously went through the law, regarding the Georgia standards of conflicts of interest, and found none. So, I don't think so. I think at the end of the day that will not be an issue.

But I do think that that language is something that will be used, by opponents of Fani Willis, to try to undermine her credibility.

KEILAR: Yes. We all learned a lot about the law, when it comes to these kinds of cases, reading his couple dozen pages of ruling there.

It's clear, Barbara, this isn't over. You have the state's GOP-led Senate, still reviewing conflict of interest accusations. Could this continued spotlight, on her, impact a future jury pool?

MCQUADE: It's possible. When you go through jury selection, one of the goals is to weed out people, who might have formed opinions, about the case, or about anyone participating in it. And I've actually found in my work, most of the time, you can find people, who have not read or heard anything about the case.

But to the extent this is big headline news, in Fulton County, it could taint a jury pool, who's hearing about this, and cause them to form opinions about the case. So certainly, I think it's something that prosecutors will need to be cognizant of, when they're selecting a jury, in this case.

KEILAR: So, your book, "Attack from Within," is about how disinformation is sabotaging America. How is it sabotaging America? What is the thesis here in your book?

MCQUADE: Well, I think that disinformation is something that's been around for centuries.

But one thing that we're seeing now, that is different from before, is the ability to use technology, to reach more people, instantaneously, with false claims. Donald Trump's Truth Social, for example, will reach millions of people, in an instant, tonight. They have all read that.

I think the other thing that is different, at this political moment, is the incredible polarization we have in our society. And while some people fall for false claims, there are other people, I believe, who are willing to go along with the con, simply to advance their political agenda. I think, we've reached a point in society, where we are choosing tribe over truth. And I think that is not a way for us to solve problems.

KEILAR: Yes, it's very clear. You see families being split up.

Your book is so interesting. It traces how authoritarians have used disinformation tactics, to seize and stay in power. And I wonder what kind of parallels you see with Donald Trump.

MCQUADE: I see a lot of parallels, Brianna. I mean, one is this idea of declinism.

To suggest to the people that our country is in decline, that things used to be better. And now, things are awful. And it requires drastic means, to restore our country to its greatness.

Using repetition of very simple phrases again, and again, so that people begin to hear it, and they hear it in their echo chamber, things like Stop the Steal, drain the swamp, lock her up.

And then, the idea that if you're going to lie, make it a big lie. Because as Hitler wrote, in Mein Kampf, many people will tell white lies, and not think that that is immoral in any way. But most of us would never imagine, having the audacity, to tell a big lie, about something that is very significant. And we project on to others, that same morality.

And so, with Donald Trump, we see this idea of a stolen election. What could be more audacious than that with zero evidence whatsoever, to just say it is true, and hope the people buy it.

And in fact, we have seen many people believe it. We've got many people, who believe the election was stolen, who were motivated to attack the Capitol, to stop the certification of that election.

And then, as I said, I think there are plenty of other people, who know better. You've got someone like Elise Stefanik, the Congresswoman from New York, who now uses the term, hostages, when talking about the January 6 defendants. I'm certain she knows better. But she's willing to go along with the con, in order to choose tribe over truth.

KEILAR: It's a very timely book.

Barbara, thank you so much, for talking to us about it, and being with us tonight. Barbara McQuade.

MCQUADE: Thank you, Brianna.


KEILAR: He ran with Donald Trump, twice, served as his Vice President for four years. But now, Mike Pence says he can't in good conscious -- conscience endorse Trump for president again. And you're about to hear why.


KEILAR: Former President Trump may have clinched the Republican nomination for president, this week, but he's not getting the support of his former number two in the White House, former Vice President Mike Pence.

In a surprise announcement, today, the two-time Trump running mate made clear, it's not in his conscience to support his old boss.



PENCE: It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year. Look, I'm incredibly proud of the record of our administration.

But that being said, during my presidential campaign, I made it clear that there were profound differences, between me and President Trump, on a range of issues.

Donald Trump is pursuing and articulating an agenda that is at odds with the conservative agenda that we governed on, during our four years. And that's why I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump in this campaign.


KEILAR: Joining me now is former Arkansas governor, and former GOP presidential hopeful, Asa Hutchinson.

Governor, what's your reaction to Pence's decision here?

ASA HUTCHINSON, FORMER 2024 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, (R) FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Well, Brianna, I think it was extraordinary that he came -- he came out, and really, as a matter of conviction to himself, personally, but also a matter of policy, he said Trump is not the right conservative to lead the Republican Party.

I've known Mike Pence, for over 20 years. And this was well-thought out. He realized that he could not support Donald Trump. And for someone to have served with him for four years, was his running mate twice, as you pointed out, for him to say, I cannot endorse him, really reflects an enthusiasm gap, amongst a significant portion, of the Republican Party toward Donald Trump. And I think that's a real problem for him.

And it's the lack of conservative approach that he might have that Mike Pence articulated on the life issue, on the national debt, and certainly on foreign policy and his movement toward isolationism. Clearly, that's the reason he stated today. And I think that's a problem for Donald Trump.

KEILAR: Why do you think it's a significant part of the Republican Party, when Mike Pence saw so little support, as he was running for president? Why do you think it is a big part of the party?

HUTCHINSON: Well, he was very clear, in his message, as he ran, and he was a realist, and he dropped out, and said, it's not his time.

But you've got to move forward. In South Carolina, 40 percent of the people supported an alternative to Donald Trump, among the Republicans? You move into Super Tuesday, and it varied between 20 percent in some states, 30 percent of the Republican base said, look, give us an alternative. Donald Trump has to bring those in, as well as expand to Independents.

And this is not a good omen, whenever you have a significant leader in the party that was the bridge toward evangelical support for Donald Trump. That's what Mike Pence was. He was a bridge to the evangelicals. And now, he's saying, whoa, let's think about this. I can't endorse him.

And so, obviously, Donald Trump has got the operations of the RNC. He's got the delegates wrapped up. But this is a challenge that he has to address, the enthusiasm and that breadth of conservatives that say we ought to have an alternative. It can be a problem over the long- term.

KEILAR: Governor, Pence said, it wasn't January 6, where you heard the crowds yelling, hang Mike Pence. He said it was about policy, and that's why he wasn't endorsing Donald Trump.

Do you believe that?

HUTCHINSON: Well, yes, I believe what Mike Pence says. For him, it's a matter of policy. For me and others, it's a matter of policy, and January 6, does make a difference. And so it's the culmination of all of that.

And he's tried to reframe the issues over and over and again. And many of the Republican base, they said, OK, we accept that. But there's a significant portion that says, no, that's not right.

I do believe that there's a big difference between Mike Pence and Donald Trump. Mike Pence is an encourager, and Donald Trump is an enrager. And that can only go so far. And even though that was not said, I think that's part of the difference as well.

KEILAR: Definitely a temperamental difference.

Governor Hutchinson, great to have you. Thanks for being with us.

HUTCHINSON: Thank you. Good to be with you.

KEILAR: Let's bring in CNN Political Commentator, and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona; and Republican strategist, Rina Shah.

Do you guys believe Mike Pence, when he says its policy, and it's not January 6th, that it's only, it's really policy's the emphasis?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. I mean, how can you really believe somebody who, on January 6th, he was hearing chants, of hang Mike Pence?


Now, maybe this is what he is saying publicly, because he still doesn't have the backbone to tell the truth. And that is the truth that January 6 was a place, where not only his life was in danger, but so many others', elected officials' lives were in danger.

But he was never one, to have the backbone, and the wherewithal, to really go up against Donald Trump.



KEILAR: He's had some backbone though. His family was in danger, by the way as well.


KEILAR: Rina, what do you think?

SHAH: Well, he's found his conscience after almost a decade, it seems, because this is what had to happen, for Mike Pence to be Mike Pence, up until now. He's now made the decision that he will no longer pursue a career in

politics, the conventional way. I think he realized that for that dead-end presidential primary run, that there's not an audience for him anymore.

And so, he's come out, and he's saying the right things. So, I say welcome to the bright side, former VP. But if you really want to do this the right way, the way those of us who have stood firmly Never- Trump, within the Republican Party have, for the past eight years, then you need to give a full-throated rebuke of Trumpism.

And I think he's understood that now. And so, he wants to warn how dangerous Trumpism is. He needs to do that in plain-speak.

And I think this is also a bit of a bad signal, to those, who may still support him, within the Republican Party, that Christian evangelical base, that very much has always liked him. And this may be saying to them, hey, you ought to be looking at who you're casting your vote for, this fall.

But the phrase of the year is turnout, Brianna. We know that

KEILAR: Many of those evangelicals will still vote for Trump. We know that.

I do want to listen to what Pence said at a CNN Town Hall, last year. Let's listen to this.


PENCE: I've always supported the Republican nominee for President in the United States. And I'll support the Republican nominee in 2024, especially if it's me.


KEILAR: Well, it's not him.


KEILAR: Is this the new -- is that pledge the new, I'm going to fill out my term, I'm going to fulfill my term, I won't run for president? I mean, it seems like, this is just an empty pledge? What, Rina?

SHAH: It is an empty pledge. It means nothing these days. These are empty words and promises.

Whereas, you're looking at this thing right now, with Pence saying what he said today? I think in the back of his mind, he is praying for a Hail Mary, for another door to open.

Because we all know we're in uncharted territory. We've never seen nominees, the presumptive nominee in Trump, under such weird circumstances. So, Pence is maybe waiting for something else to happen, with the GOP nomination.

KEILAR: Let's--

SHAH: And he can endorse someone else.

KEILAR: Let's talk about the Biden-Harris ticket, because you had Vice President, Kamala Harris, today hosting a cannabis reform roundtable, where she was addressing her role, in what she called an unequal criminal justice system.

Here's what she said.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I believe that the promise of America includes equal justice under the law. And for too many, our criminal justice system has failed to live up to that core principle. And I say that with full knowledge of how this system has worked, including my experience as a prosecutor.


KEILAR: Who is she speaking to, at this critical time, in the campaign?

CARDONA: I think she is speaking to the breadth of the Democratic coalition that needs to come together, in order for the Biden-Harris ticket to get reelected.

And I think it's really smart of her to do that. It speaks to Black communities. It speaks to Brown communities. It frankly speaks to the majority of America, who have completely switched their stances, on where we are with marijuana. I think it's really, really critical.

KEILAR: Maria, and Rina, thank you to both of you this evening.

CARDONA: Thank you.

KEILAR: Appreciate it.

SHAH: Thank you.

KEILAR: Just hundreds of miles from our shores, there is complete chaos, with violent gangs, taking over Haiti, and essentially no government to stop them.

CNN is the first major news network, to arrive in the capital, since the start of the most recent surge in violence.



KEILAR: Fear and chaos is gripping Haiti. And tonight, CNN is the first major news network, to make it to the capital, since gangs attacked the Caribbean nations' government.

Those armed gangs control much of Port-au-Prince, and warn of a possible civil war, as international powers outside the country haggle over a transitional government, to replace the unpopular Ariel Henry.

Tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes. And 1.4 million Haitians face emergency levels of hunger, and need assistance, according to the World Food Programme.

We have CNN's Senior National Correspondent, David Culver, in Port-au- Prince.

David, tell us what it is like there on the ground.


Been here just a few hours already, and you get this tense feeling. But at the same time, it's eerily quiet. I mean, especially when you compare it to what we saw three weeks or so ago, and that you had vendors out on the street, you had a bit more livelihood and activity.

And now, there's none of that. I mean, there's for, one, nothing to sell. And then, you don't have a lot of folks out and about, because of the growing fear here, and the stretching control of these gangs.

And in the midst of the silence, you also, at times, and you may even hear it as we're talking, get rounds of gunfire. And the popping of firearms going off is just something that folks here have become accustomed to. And it speaks to the growing crisis in the city, and that's been really gripping this country.

Bigger than all of that though, is how it's trickling down to impact everyday life. You've got people, who are barricading their communities. Now, we saw that three weeks ago. But it's intensified.

And then, you have now neighborhoods. I mean, if you think back to how the U.S. handles Neighborhood Watch, this is certainly amplified. You've got people, who essentially created armed brigades, to defend their communities. So, it's elevated to that level.

The health care system is facing incredible situation, right now, with you've got 80 percent, according to one local hospital executive, of the hospitals having shuttered. They've been ransacked. They've been looted. You have medical workers, who are there, who have been targeted. Three of the hospitals in the most impoverished parts. So, the folks who are desperately in need of it, those are totally shut down.


And the food situation is growing increasingly dire. In fact, you've got -- this country's got 90 percent of what they consume coming in. So, it's imported. You've got supply chains that are essentially cut off.

I mean the port goes -- now it's back in police control. But it goes back and forth. I mean it shows you that the gangs were able to block off certain areas. And even our less-than-10-minute drive from when we touched down to where we are now, you notice how the logistics of getting around can change by the hour. It's a very unpredictable situation, Brianna, and one that's growing,

really, for these folks, to be just desperate.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, that gets to the situation for you of getting to Port-au-Prince, which of course is the hardest hit, by the violence here. It was so difficult for you and your team.

What did it take?

CULVER: Yes. So, we were six days in the Dominican Republic. And a lot of that was just day after day, and sometimes several hours, trying to attempt different crossings, and doing land crossings. But then, the bureaucratic aspect, because the Dominican Republic has sealed the border, between Haiti and the DR, has made it very challenging. So, we're trying to go through all those logistical hurdles, to eventually make our way here.

gain, it took almost a week, and we landed just a few hours ago.

Here's a sampling of the journey into what is a city that is, vast majority, controlled by gangs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to re-fly into Haiti. It's going to take us one hour, to get there.

CULVER: The logistics of this trip alone have been incredibly challenging, to say the least. They're confirming with us something that we've been working on, the entire day. And that is the landing zone, trying to figure out where we'll touch down, amidst a very dire situation in Port-au-Prince.



CULVER: Gunshots. Do you hear that? There it is.


CULVER: Already hearing gunshots, just a few seconds into stepping out of the car, after arriving here at Port-au-Prince.


CULVER: Again, six days to make that journey for us. And that was to come into Haiti, Brianna. Imagine the many folks. And pilots told us they have lists that are hundreds long, of those trying to leave, a lot of them diplomats.

And then think about those who just don't have that luxury. They have no opportunity, many of the Haitians here, to be able to escape this situation. It shows you that, for them, relying on the aid, particularly from international community, is going to be a challenge, because the supply chains coming in, as you saw for our journey in, it's just incredibly challenging.

KEILAR: Yes, certainly is.

David, thank you. And we look forward to your reports here, in the coming days, from Haiti.

David Culver, thank you.

CULVER: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: And for more on the situation in Haiti, let's bring in Daniel Foote, who was Special Envoy for the Biden administration in 2021.

Ambassador, thanks for being with us.

Ariel Henry effectively ousted, says he'll step aside, when a replacement is named through this process of a transitional government, being brokered by a number of outside parties, including the U.S. I know that you think that is definitely not the answer.

What is the answer right now, as you see it, for getting to a new government and some stability?

DANIEL FOOTE, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR HAITI: The answer is for the first time in history, the second time in history, I guess, to give Haitians the right and the dignity of self-determining their transition and their way forward.

The U.S. and international community has just completed 32 months of blindly and stubbornly, backing a completely illegitimate and hated leader, Ariel Henry, in Haiti. He did nothing but exacerbate the situation, and make it exponentially worse.

And the international community is getting ready to do the same thing with this CARICOM construct, out of the Caribbean multilateral organization, where they say it's Haitian-led.

And here's how it works. They, the foreigners, pick seven or nine Haitians, they're still fiddling around with the numbers. And then, those seven or nine Haitians pick the transition government, as opposed to the other 11.5 million Haitian. So, the Haitians are kind of up in arms about this.

And the problem is now the gangs, which were talking about genocide a week ago, are now talking about revolution, and they're channeling the populations' desire, not to have a foolish solution that won't work, foisted upon them again.

KEILAR: And I should also mention you resigned in 2021, over the Biden administration's plans, to deport Haitian refugees back to Haiti.


So, what do you think about what we've learned that the administration has been considering Guantanamo Bay, and Cuba, as a processing location, for Haitian migrants, if there's a mass exodus to the U.S.? This is according to a U.S. official.

FOOTE: Look, do we want Haiti to get better, and make it better for Haitians, and national security, because the transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking into and out of Port-au-Prince, is at unprecedented levels that we're completely unaware of at this point.

They need some kind of security intervention. However, if that intervention is seen as propping up an illegitimate foreigner-imposed government, there's where your civil war comes. The Haitians are going to fight the peacekeepers. And the Haitians are going to win their sovereignty, this time, 220 years, after they won their independence, from France.

KEILAR: Ambassador, here in the near-term, what else does the U.S., and what do other nations need to do, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Haiti?

FOOTE: We, A, need to support a Haitian political consensus, which they had arrived at two years ago, was ignored by the political community. And I'm confident that they will put something similar, back together, within four to eight weeks.

The international community then can't ignore Haiti. They're going to have to support Haiti in its path forward. But unlike in the past, when we tell them what to do, which never works, because we don't know, because we don't understand Haiti? We must follow the Haitians lead forward.

It will certainly work better than our pie-in-the-sky attempts in the past, because if it's the Haitians' idea, they are going to work as hard as possible, for the future of their country, and because they believe in this way forward. They've never believed in foreigners' ways forward.

KEILAR: Ambassador Daniel Foote, thank you, for being with us, tonight.

FOOTE: Thank you, Brittany (ph).

KEILAR: And ahead, a surprising connection uncovered, in two missing persons cases that had long gone cold. We have a CNN investigation, next.



KEILAR: Severe storms and tornadoes sweeping through Ohio, Indiana and other states, last night, killing at least three people, and injuring dozens, as well as reducing towns to rubble.

CNN's Whitney Wild has the very latest.


KYLA ALLAMAN, TORNADO VICTIM: She was screaming, please help me, please help me, the house is on top of me, please get me out.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kyla Allaman says the frantic call from her mother came in around 8:15, Thursday night, after an EF-3 tornado ripped her mother's home, from its foundation, while she sheltered inside.

ALLAMAN: The house was over there, and they got thrown across the street.

WILD (on camera): How do you feel knowing that she survived that?

ALLAMAN: I'm really surprised digging through this, and looking where she was buried.

WILD (voice-over): Allaman's mother and brother were found under a wall of the home, with only minor injuries.

Now, Allaman and her siblings pick through the debris, still stunned this is all that's left.

ALLAMAN: Oh look, great-grandma's picture.

They literally lost everything. So, we're just trying to dig up any part of their life, for them, to have anything, my dad's awards from the army, clothes, anything that we've been trying to save for them.

WILD (voice-over): Only yards away, Andrew Day was washing dishes, inside a now-obliterated Taco Bell, when the tornado hit.

ANDREW DAY, TORNADO VICTIM: Then it just started shaking, and it blew me back, about 15 feet, from there to about right there in that debris. And I just held on to whatever I could grab ahold of.

WILD (voice-over): Scenes, like this, stretch from Kentucky to Ohio, after strong storms and tornadoes moved across the Midwest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god, we need to (bleep) leave.

WILD (voice-over): Hail shattered windshields from Missouri to Illinois.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never seen anything like it.

WILD (voice-over): To Indiana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got to go. Oh my god, look at the hail.

WILD (voice-over): First responders working night and day searching through the wreckage.

DOUGLAS CARTER, SUPERINTENDENT, INDIANA STATE POLICE: We don't know the extent of the damage.

To actually go through and subdivide every single one of those properties and do everything within our power to find out if there is anyone still within the confines of those collapsed buildings. WILD (voice-over): As Allaman looks at the piles of debris, around her, mostly what she sees, she calls a miracle.

ALLAMAN: I'm just thankful that they're alive. And I mean, stuff can -- some stuff can be replaced. But you know lives can't.

WILD (voice-over): Whitney Wild, CNN, Winchester, Indiana.


KEILAR: Unbelievable what those families are dealing with there.

And on this week's episode, of "THE WHOLE STORY WITH ANDERSON COOPER," CNN Anchor and Chief Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, investigates two missing persons cases, with one mysterious connection that was first reported on, by our Crime reporter, Thomas Lake. Both got into a patrol car, driven by the same man, a deputy sheriff named Steven Calkins.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's several details that appears that what Calkins account of the events are not accurate.

He didn't check out with Mr. Williams (ph), on the radio, as you're supposed to.

He didn't notify dispatch that he was transporting someone from one location to another.

The timeline of when he said it occurred versus the independent witnesses, all of that appeared that he was not being truthful, about the encounter between Terrance Williams and himself.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST (voice-over): Those inconsistencies surfaced during a months-long internal investigation. Corporal Calkins took three polygraph tests, during the probe. One of those tests indicated deception.

COATES (on camera): Marcia, there was a time when Calkins was interviewed. I want to play this for you, in this meeting.

CPL. STEVEN CALKINS: I may have broken a couple rules, but I have broken no laws. I feel that this agency needs to stand a little bit taller here. I'm not going to be dragged through the mud no more because a couple of scumbags are missing.

Is this being recorded?


COATES (on camera): Scumbags?

MARCIA WILLIAMS, TERRANCE WILLIAMS' MOTHER: My son wasn't a scumbag. Maybe he's calling his own self, a scumbag. Maybe he was a dirty cop.


KEILAR: Be sure to tune in, an all-new episode, of "THE WHOLE STORY WITH ANDERSON COOPER," one whole hour, one whole story, airs Sunday, at 8 PM Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.

And thank you so much, for joining us.