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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump Short On Cash To Cover Fraud Judgment; Manafort Possibly Back In The Fold For Trump Reelection Effort; Princess Kate Reportedly Seen In Public Fueling More Rumors. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 18, 2024 - 21:00   ET





Breaking the bank, Donald Trump needs about half a billion dollars ASAP. But the former President says he can't find anyone to help him cover the massive payment that's coming due, for fraud.

A week from the deadline, Michael Cohen is here to respond.

Also, are they getting the band back together? Because Paul Manafort, who once gave secret Trump polling data, to a Russian intelligence agent, not to mention was jailed for fraud and then pardoned by Trump, is now in talks to return, for the Republican National Convention.

And after a flood of conspiracies, Princess Kate was just seen, on camera, for real, this time. We think. That renewed speculation since she underwent surgery, in January.

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

Donald Trump is finally acknowledging, tonight, that he does not have the cash that he has long claimed he does. And it comes exactly one week before he needs to fork over at least $464 million, to cover that fraud judgment, against him, here in New York. I say, at least, because there's also interest, a $115,000 a day, to be precise.

Trump's lawyers, telling a court today that their client is facing, quote, "Insurmountable difficulties," that he can't pay the bond, and he can't find anyone to underwrite it. He was denied by more than 30 companies that they approached, to help, each one unwilling to accept his real estate holdings as collateral. Instead, they want money.

That means the New York Attorney General, Tish James, could start collecting as soon as next week, as Trump is facing the very real prospect that some of his accounts could be frozen, his property seized, or both.

It's a precarious situation, for the presumptive Republican nominee for president. And it gets to the very heart of what this whole fraud trial was about, inflating the value of his assets, claiming that they're worth more than they actually are. Not to mention inflating how much cash he actually has.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We have a lot of cash. I believe we have substantially in excess of $400 million cash, which is a lot for a developer. Developers usually don't have cash. They have assets, not cash. We have, I believe 400-plus and going up very substantially every month.


COLLINS: That quote there at the end, "Going up substantially every month" apparently is not true. A reminder about what his attorney, who argued and then lost this case had to say about this.


ALINA HABBA, TRUMP ATTORNEY: This guy is worth a lot of money, billions and billions of billions of dollars.

He happens to have a lot of cash.

Of course, he has money. You know, he's a billionaire. We know that.

There will be a bond and there will be no issues with that.


COLLINS: Well apparently, there are. That much was clear today, by what his attorneys told a court, here in New York.

These are thorny issues, of course, for the man, who has staked his entire identity, on being wealthy, even appearing in movies like "Home Alone 2," as a rich New Yorker, not to mention the theme song, for his own TV show.




COLLINS: It is no surprise what's on Trump's mind, tonight. He often makes that quite clear, on his own website. And he posted just a few moments ago, that a bond this big is, quote, "Practically impossible" for any company to pay, possibly foreshadowing that not only does he not have the money, right now, it also may not be coming by the deadline.

I'm joined tonight, by the man whose testimony jumpstarted the New York fraud case, and stands to be a key witness, in the one criminal case against Donald Trump that could go to trial before the election.

He spent more than a decade, working as Trump's personal attorney, before writing the book, "Revenge," and hosting the podcast, "Mea Culpa," and "Political Beatdown." Michael Cohen, welcome back to THE SOURCE. Great to have you here.

I just wonder what you make of this prospect that your former boss finds himself in, of having his attorneys go and say, we're not going to be able to post this bond right now?

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Well, in 2018, you may remember, when I spoke before the House Oversight Committee, with Elijah Cummings, and I stated that he's a con man, he's a fraud and he's a cheat.

Once again, what I stated holds true. Donald Trump doesn't tell the truth, whether it's about his finances, or about anything.

COLLINS: We actually have that moment, because I was looking at that today and thinking about that.

At one point, you were speaking with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. This is what you told her


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): To your knowledge, did the President ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?



OCASIO-CORTEZ: And where would the committee find more information on this? Do you think we need to review his financial statements, and his tax returns, in order to compare them?

COHEN: Yes, and you'd find it at the Trump Org.


COLLINS: Did you ever think, in that moment that we'd be in a situation, like we're in, right now?

COHEN: No, I didn't. I didn't think that they would ultimately take it to this length, even though it's not a difficult case to prove. If something is worth $1, it's worth $1. If it's $10, it's worth $10. It's not worth $100, which is what Donald had done.

And remember something. Every statement that I made, to Congress, was backed up by documentary evidence. Consistently, they would post something up on the board, to show a document, whether it was a check, or some other form of documentary evidence, to the members of Congress, in order to substantiate and validate what I was saying.

COLLINS: And I want to talk more about your testimony.

But on the, what happened today, the fact that his attorneys are saying 30 companies, they went to them, and they said, no, we're not going to underwrite this bond. Obviously, they don't like having real estate, as collateral, which is where most of his net worth is tied up in.

But I wonder just as someone who knows him how you think he took that.

COHEN: Yes, he didn't take it well. But I understand the reason why the bonding companies don't like real estate, as an asset. First of all, people don't understand that Donald's basis in these properties, are extremely low.

For example, 40 Wall Street, $1 million was his acquisition. So, if that property gets sold, Uncle Sam is waiting at the lawyer's office, to collect its tax. And tax comes first. After tax, comes mortgage. And after the mortgage that he has on to it, whatever the remaining amount is, that's what he'll be able to use, in order to satisfy this 500--

COLLINS: So, you are saying that even if there was a fire sale, basically, it would just only create a whole another subset of problems, for him?

COHEN: Yes, because a fire sale is even worse, because it reduces the amount of money that ultimately would be left for him to use, to pay off this $500 million debt.

COLLINS: Mark Levin, the Fox host tweeted just a few moments ago and said, asked, why are there no Republican multi-billionaires offering to lend President Trump the funds to file his appeal in the outrageous case in New York State? Are none of them liquid enough to help or join with others to help? This is an outrage.

COHEN: Yes. Well, good for Mark, he should be the first one, to start donating to Donald's fund.

And who knows? The real problem that we, as Americans, need to be watching, is where the money, if at all, comes from? Is it going to come from Qatar? Is it going to come from Saudi Arabia? Could it come through some back-channel oligarch from Russia?

If in fact, that happens, just think about the danger that Donald Trump is putting America and our national security at risk. He will now be indebted to a foreign entity. And as the potential President of the United States, imagine if God forbid, a million times that he wins, imagine the indebtedness that he will have, to a foreign entity, over the benefit and the needs of America?

COLLINS: So, you think that should be a very real concern for Americans?

COHEN: It should be a real concern to every American, who's going to be voting, come November.

COLLINS: You know him. I just wonder what you think is on his mind, tonight, just looking at the fact that this is due in a week, and they don't have the money for it?

COHEN: Yes, he's really angry right now. That's what happens. When Donald gets frustrated, he gets angry, when there's a situation that is completely out of his control.

And we know that it is out of his control. 30 different lenders said, hey, thank you. But no, thank you. We just can't do it. And he's not wrong about that. To post a $500 million bond is not easy to do, no matter who you are.

Now, to be fair, there are plenty of billionaires that could stroke that check, in a heartbeat. And many have, who have had issues for substantially greater than $500 million, which brings me to the point that Donald is so fast to call for everyone to be charged with perjury. That's his new thing. He likes everyone to get charged with the 1001 violation, myself included.

What about the fact that he swore, under oath, to Judge Engoron that he had more than $400 million in the bank? Well, I'd like to know where that money is.

Where's the $400 million that you swore under oath that existed that Alina Habba, and others, had come out and stated, yes, he's really rich. He's -- you know he's a billionaire. And he's got the money.

As they said in, what do you call it? You know, Tom Cruise, "Show me the money?"

COLLINS: Can I ask you about the other--

COHEN: "Jerry Maguire"?

COLLINS: "Jerry Maguire."


Can I ask you about the other development today, though, that happened here in New York, which is in Trump's first criminal case that could go to trial before the election, it's been delayed. But the judge did deny an effort, by Trump's team, to block you, from testifying, and Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, saying yes, you can testify at that.

That trial has also been delayed by at least a month, because all of these documents, were turned over, to Trump's defense team, just recently, including your phone records, some of your text messages, your phone calls.

Is there anything in there that could help -- that could help Trump's legal team, and hurt prosecutors?

COHEN: So, I don't even know what the documents are. I haven't had an opportunity to see them.

What I do know is that the District Attorney, more than a year ago, made a request, to the Southern District of New York, asking for all of these documents that are relevant to search terms. And what they got, they turned over, which is part of discovery.

This is on the Southern District of New York, and the Department of Justice, for failing to turn it over. And the delay is their -- it's their mistake, not the Manhattan D.A.'s.

COLLINS: But could it affect this case?

COHEN: I highly doubt it.

COLLINS: Michael Cohen, thank you for being here, tonight.

COHEN: Good to see you.

COLLINS: Also, here tonight, is a journalist, who spent years, tracking Donald Trump's money, dissecting his business deals and, frankly, exposing the gaps between image and reality.

Dan Alexander, Senior Editor at Forbes, and the Author of "White House, Inc." And regular, here on THE SOURCE.

And it's great to have you here, Dan.

Because you just heard what Michael Cohen was saying, about what Donald Trump and his legal team are up against, next week. Realistically, what options does he have tonight?

DAN ALEXANDER, SENIOR EDITOR, FORBES: Well, he's going to need to sell properties, or leverage things.

And the tricky thing, for Trump, is if you look at his assets, these aren't simple assets. So, he has limited partnership stakes, in things. He has buildings that are on ground leases. He has golf clubs that have agreements with hundreds of members. It's not like you can just take these things in market, and in a week, sell them, for what they should get.

But now, because they've spent so much time, searching for a bond, that he wasn't going to get, now they're going to have to take something, to market very, very fast. And that probably means that they're going to sell it for less than it's worth.

And if he sells a bunch of different things, all at once, to try to gather this amount of money, which is the only way, really, that he's going to do it, or to leverage them, he's going to end up with a much smaller empire than he has right now.

COLLINS: If he was never going to get that bond, as you just phrased it, I mean, do you think that they should have been doing this weeks ago, instead of doing this, maybe a week before it's actually due?

ALEXANDER: There's no question. I mean, if you look at his big liquidity events, recently, for example, the refinancing of 555 California Street, in San Francisco, that was a deal that took over a year. If you look at the sale of the D.C. hotel, same thing, that thing took a couple of years. In order to get the sorts of pricing that you need, for these large marquee assets, you need a lot of time. You can't do that in a week.

But now, he needs the cash. And so, he's going to be forced into these fire sales, and difficult financing arrangements, where either he's going to get bailed out by a buddy, or somebody who has something to gain, from being a business partner with Trump. Or he's going to be in business with somebody, who's demanding enormous interest rates. And so, it's going to get really, really expensive for him, very fast.

COLLINS: Well, you just heard Michael Cohen talking about the concerns, his national security concerns, of what that could look like, by who could bail Trump out here. I mean, you just mentioned friends. I mean, what are the options there? What does that actually -- who actually is out there that could potentially front him half a billion dollars?

ALEXANDER: The problem is, is that people, who have that kind of money, got there by being smart, generally.

And so, to stroke a check, for half a billion with this guy, who you don't know if he's going to pay you back, if things go south, you know? He's famous for saying, oh, my lenders are sharks, you know, I don't have to pay them back. He hasn't paid back lenders for years. That's going to be a difficult check for anybody to write, even if they do have the cash. It's just, the numbers don't make sense.

And you start to get to this situation where, as you said, Trump can boast about what his assets are worth. And they are worth a lot of money. But when it actually gets time to sign deals, it's going to be really difficult, for smart, sophisticated people, to just shrug those checks, with no worries, unless they're tracking terms from him.

COLLINS: What's the likelihood that we're in a situation, where we see the state seizing Trump's assets?

ALEXANDER: I don't think it's very, very unlikely. I mean, I think that there's a real possibility.

In fact, I think that Trump, there's a chance that he might like the spectacle of that. He sits back and they seize the assets. And he says, this is all a witch-hunt, and look now they're taking my empire. You could see him getting political points out of that. However, it's going to come at an enormous cost to his business.

The time where he could control what's going to happen to the business is closing fast, where he could pick which assets to leverage, or pick which assets to sell. Pretty soon, somebody else is going to be making those decisions.


And as Michael just laid out, there are people, who have to get paid back before this goes to the judgment. And so especially, with some of these complicated assets, if you end up in fire sales, you might not actually squeeze that much money out of it that can go to the judgment. And therefore, you could have to seize one, two, three, four, lots of assets. And all the sudden, that empire really starts to shrink.

COLLINS: Trump hates the word bankruptcy. The New York Times reminded me tonight that he has often referred to it as the B-word. And, I mean, that's because of the history of his own companies filing for bankruptcy, six times, over the years.

Is that something that you also think could be a likelihood here?

ALEXANDER: I think it's a real possibility. For somebody, who hates the word, he's sure used the Bankruptcy Code a lot. And there are assets that were in trouble, because of reasons that have nothing to do with this case, long before this case happened.

So, for example, 40 Wall Street, you have a treacherous ground lease, it's going to escalate there in nine years, and you have the office troubles that are infecting every office owner in the country. That loan comes due a year from now. It would not be a huge surprise to see a bankruptcy at that asset.

And I wouldn't be surprised to see him elsewhere too, as he tries to, build fences around certain things, to try to protect what he's built up.

COLLINS: It would just be so remarkable, to see the state, seizing the assets of the presumptive Republican nominee. It just speaks to the moment we're in.

Dan Alexander, great to have you. Michael Cohen as well. Thank you both for starting us off tonight.

Up next, he went to prison before Donald Trump pardoned him, as he was on his way out of the White House. A major question, tonight, about whether Paul Manafort is returning to help the Trump campaign.

Also, just in, new video of Princess Kate, tonight. But instead of quashing skepticism, it is still fueling a lot of speculation.



COLLINS: Remember Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, who was convicted of defrauding banks, and the government, who pleaded guilty to witness tampering and conspiracy, admitted to money laundering and pushing a pro-Russian agenda, as an illegal lobbyist.

He was also caught passing secret campaign polling data, to a Russian intelligence operative. A bipartisan Senate committee said that his actions pose a quote, "Grave counterintelligence threat."

Well, now CNN has learned that he's back in discussions, to help with the Republican National Convention, this summer, in Milwaukee.

The presumptive Republican nominee for president, of course, knows all about his former campaign chair's crimes. Trump pardoned Paul Manafort, before he left office. That was after Robert Mueller came out and said that Manafort broke a deal, to cooperate with investigators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. I feel badly for him.

I think it's a very sad situation. And I saw that just a little while ago. And certainly, on a human basis, it's a -- it's a very sad thing.


COLLINS: A very sad thing.

I'm joined tonight by the former Defense Secretary under President Trump, Mark Esper.

And Secretary, I just -- do you think that someone like Paul Manafort should be anywhere near the Republican National Convention, given what I just laid out?


It wouldn't seem to be the case, in most instances, right, in a normal campaign. But look, as I and many others have said, Trump values loyalty above all else. And I think the fact that Paul Manafort went to -- went to prison, and then has remained pro-Trump since then, his incurred favor, if you will, with Donald Trump. And he likes that.

He likes that loyalty. He likes that fealty. And it's clear, again, he's trying to put his people in key positions. He's already overtaken the RNC, by putting in his folks, his daughter-in-law, other people. He's done the same with throughout the Republican Party. So, this is just another step if it indeed happens.

COLLINS: But I think when you just step back and look at this, I mean, yes, Paul Manafort is someone, who, look back at Bob Dole and Ronald Reagan, he has helped with conventions before. But that would be ignoring his most recent history, and the fact that he passed polling data and intelligence to -- polling data to a Russian intelligence agent.

And I wonder if that makes you believe that there is a security risk here. I mean, this could be coming, as there are potential classified intelligence briefings that are being given, as is typically standard to the major nominee of each party.

ESPER: Well, look, I would certainly consider it a risk. But that's me. And, look, I go back, I've always said that I'm a Reagan Republican. And to me, that means that you value character and integrity. And this is not what we see.

And I'd be very concerned about having people like this, around me, in a cabinet, or working for me. And this is not an issue for Donald Trump, however. But it should be a concern for Americans. You want to make sure that you have people in positions of power that you can trust.

And, again, Trump places loyalty, above all other attributes.

COLLINS: Secretary Esper, you have made clear you're not going to be supporting Donald Trump, in this election.

And a notable former colleague of yours, the Vice President, Mike Pence, just joined you in that, and said he will not be endorsing Trump, and not be voting for him.

Given that, given clearly what camp you and Pence are going to be in, I just want your take on something that Trump said, at a rally, on Saturday, about what will happen, he believes, if he doesn't win this election.



TRUMP: I don't think you're going to have another election in this country. If we don't win this election, I don't think you're going to have another election, or certainly not an election that's meaningful


COLLINS: What do you make of that?

ESPER: Yes. I don't know what to make of it. It does seem to be very threatening. He's done this before.

But look, I have faith in the American people. I have faith in this country. It's 247-years-old. It's the oldest democracy. And it will remain. It will have election after election.

Now, look, we have to safeguard it. We have to protect it. We have to revitalize it. That's why I've said before that I believe Donald Trump is a threat to democracy, as we know it. He continues to chip away at the institutions, at the norms, that make us such an exceptional democracy. And so, that's my big concern.

I also don't like seeing a president that speaks to give such a grim view, of the United States, when he talks about, where he talked about in 2016, American carnage. Whereas, Ronald Reagan, in 1980, appealed to all Americans, by speaking of America as the Shining City on the Hill. You could just see that contrast between optimism and pessimism, and a bright future as compared to a dismal one.

And so, this type of rhetoric, it's just not appealing at all, and I think could be dangerous, too, because you might inspire people to do bad things.

COLLINS: Quite a warning.

Secretary Esper, thank you.

ESPER: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Also here, tonight, to weigh in, former Obama administration official, Van Jones; and former Trump campaign adviser, David Urban.

David, you're perfect to have on tonight. I mean, you had experience working with Paul Manafort. And obviously, the fact that in the play -- what he role -- the role that he played in the 2016 election, I wonder what you make of the fact that he's now being discussed, openly, as a consideration, to come in to help with the Republican National Convention, this time around?

DAVID URBAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. So, Kaitlan, I like to hear all the facts before I make any decisions, right? So, there are some rumors that he -- Paul may be coming back to help in some capacity. But we don't know what capacity as of yet.

I think, as you alluded to before, Paul Manafort is a -- is a -- has a great political mind, has helped out on several conventions before. In 2016, he was brought in, because there was going to be a potential delegate fight, on the floor, and he was well-versed in that, having dealt with that before, at a convention.

And so, before passing any judgment, before hyperventilating, I'd wait and see and let's -- let's just see what role Paul Manafort would be playing in this convention. And don't want to say anything before I know what we're talking about.

COLLINS: Well, I don't -- I'm not personally hyperventilating.

But Van, I wonder what you make of what David says. Does it matter what capacity Paul Manafort is brought back on, and given his history?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just think Trump is not being fair to the new generation of crooks, the new generation of fraudsters, the new generation of traitors. How can he keep going back to this old fraudster, this old traitor, this old liar?

What about the young liars, who are coming up, who want to sell American secrets, who want to lie to judges? They deserve a chance. I think it's an outrage. If I were a young crook? If I were a young traitor? I would think Donald Trump is not giving me an opportunity.

Paul Manafort has already hurt the country enough. Let other fraudsters hurt the country, Donald Trump.

COLLINS: David? Do you want to respond to that?

URBAN: Come on, Van. You're all about second chances. Come on. You're all about second chances.

COLLINS: Oh, my. This could--

JONES: I mean, it's totally ridiculous, Kaitlan.

URBAN: You're Mr. Second Chance, Van.

JONES: Hey, listen, this guy has had 15 deserving chances.


JONES: He'd blown them off. It's ridiculous that this guy -- his name should not even be associated with American politics anymore. I believe in second chances. But this is not the kind of a -- kind of

a second chance that he deserves, because he's not apologized. He's not changed his ways, as best we can tell. We don't want people like this around.

And by the way, if in fact, he turns out that it's all you know, he's this wonderful, wonderful person, then, he should not want to tarnish the Republican Convention. He should step to one side, and make sure that at least some new young blood traitors can get a shot.

COLLINS: Yes, I mean--

URBAN: Oh, geez.

COLLINS: I mean, in all seriousness--

URBAN: And listen, again, let's just--

COLLINS: --though David?

URBAN: Again, let's wait and see. Let's wait and see what -- let's wait and see what he's being asked to do, or if he's being asked to do anything. This is all but -- this is all some murky reporting.

And he's been -- there are talks taking place about involving him, in some capacity. Nobody knows what capacity. Nobody's saying, Paul Manafort is coming in to run the convention, or going to run the floor operations, or going to do anything. It's very murky reporting. And so, listen--

COLLINS: Yes, but -- well it's not murky reporting.

URBAN: --by good reporters, Josh Dawsey, Maggie, Jonathan--

COLLINS: It's been confirmed by main outlets.

URBAN: No, no, no, they're all great--

COLLINS: And the point of this is, David?

URBAN: --they're great reporters.

COLLINS: But can I say the point of it is, is that, when -- as a Trump White House reporter, we all remember the first year of his administration, this loomed over, this very issue with Paul Manafort, as he was, you know, Trump was complaining that Michael Cohen was telling everything, and he was praising Paul Manafort for not cooperating.


I mean, it's the fact that someone, who went to jail and had to be pardoned, would be brought in to help with a convention, after he also passed--

URBAN: Yes. COLLINS: --data to a Russian intelligence operative.

URBAN: Yes. And Kaitlan, again, that's why I'm not -- I'm not getting excited till I see exactly what happens. Nothing may happen. He may not be a part of the convention, all right? Then he may--

COLLINS: Sounds like you think it's a trial board (ph).

URBAN: I think we're going to wait and see. I am not -- I'm not getting too excited about anything yet.

COLLINS: OK, Van, let me -- let's just talk about something else that happened that -- just before we came on air.

It was an interview that was published today, where Trump was responding to what's been happening in Israel and in Gaza. And he made this comment that any Jewish person, who votes for Democrats -- and he has a history of doing this, I should be clear -- of hating their own religion in Israel.

He really did say this. I mean, listen to this.


TRUMP: Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. They hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed.

And guys like Schumer see that, and to him it's votes. I think it's votes more than anything else, because he was always pro-Israel. He's very anti-Israel now.


COLLINS: Van, what do you make of those comments?

JONES: Well, it's shameful.

First of all, Chuck Schumer loves Israel. You can love Israel and still have criticisms and concerns about the direction of the Netanyahu government. There's a lot of people, in my party, who love Israel, who loves the people in Palestine, and want a better outcome than we're headed toward.

But what you're seeing here is an attempt, on the part of Donald Trump, to try to drive a wedge, and to make some hay out of what is a very painful situation for everybody. But you're going to see more of this type stuff.

But listen, the vast majority of Democrats, the vast majority of Republicans, they care about Israel, they love Israel, they care about the Palestinian people. Nobody wants to see wars. And people may disagree about how you land that plane.

But this is Donald Trump, trying to make hay, over a very difficult situation. He's insulting a lot of people, in the Jewish community, by doing it.

COLLINS: Yes, it's offensive to them.

Van Jones, David Urban, as always, great to have you both on, together.

Ahead, CNN is on the ground in Haiti, as the Caribbean nation is grappling with escalating gang violence, and major political instability.

David Culver is only one of the journalists there, in the capital. We'll tell you what he's seeing, after a quick break.



COLLINS: There was an explosion of violence, in Haiti's capital today, after at least 10 people were killed, in a shooting rampage, in a residential area of Port-au-Prince.

A warning that the video of the aftermath is disturbing. Eyewitnesses say that they saw bodies lying in the street, with apparent bullet wounds.

CNN's David Culver has been on the ground, inside of Haiti. He's actually one of the only journalists, who's able to report from Port- au-Prince, right now. And that's where the violence has been surging, ever since gangs attacked the Caribbean nation's government. Our team is witnessing these post-apocalyptic scenes, as the social fabric is frayed for millions.

CNN's Senior National Correspondent, David Culver, is joining us now from the Haitian capital.

And David, it's great to have you there, on the ground, to be able to see this.

And I know that you were at a police station earlier. What did you see there?

DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kaitlan, good to be with you.

You pointed out those scenes of destruction, of the most recent gang attack. And I think a lot of us would see that and say, well, that's something that obviously police would respond to.

Well, police here are so strained. I mean, they are broken, when it comes to morale. Resource-wise, they have little to nothing. And they even point out that the gangs are better-resourced, and have more ammo than they do.

Now, you're right, we did get to go into a police station, to get a first-hand look as to what kind of situation they're dealing with. And you realize it's not a safe space. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: So police stations, like this one, here in Port-au-Prince, are main targets, for gangs. They feel like as soon as they can get ahold of a station, like this, they can then take siege, and take control of much of the community. So, and they've tried coming after this, won many of times.

The reinforcements have been built up, not only because of the police, but because of the community. They built barricades all around here. For the police station to function properly, they need to rely on the community, and to have these almost vigilantes, building a lot of the barricades, to keep out any gang members.


CULVER: But it goes a step further than that, Kaitlan. I mean, these are not just community members, and neighbors, helping neighbors. It's to an extreme, and they have to oftentimes be the first line of defense, before police can actually get to a location. I mean, even outside of that police station, there were several squad cars that had no gas in them. So, they can't go anywhere.

And these neighbors are those, who oftentimes will be the ones, to bring justice, as they see it. They'll take it into their own hands. And even a block or so from where we are, earlier today, we know that they cornered one suspected gang member, and they executed him in the street.


CULVER: And they oftentimes will record that in part to send a message to other gang members.

COLLINS: I mean, what are you hearing from those, the regular people, who are being caught, in the middle of all of this, the actual crossfire, but also just this crisis, this political crisis that's playing out? What are they telling you?

CULVER: Yes, we really wanted to get to the heart of that. In the past couple of days, we were able to meet with folks, who are really bearing the brunt of all of this.


And you're right. They're everyday folks, who, for the past several months, if not years, have never really had a stable home. And it's because they've oftentimes been forced out, because of the gangs of their neighborhoods, and their homes have been torched, and they -- many of them have had their own family members killed, at the hands of gangs. And so then they've had to move from place to place to place.

And one of the locations we went to recently was a school that isn't operated, right now, because of the situation. So, schools are essentially closed. And if students are lucky, they can do remote learning. But the school has become a dormitory, for folks, who have had to flee other parts of the city.

And there are about a dozen or so classrooms, Kaitlan. But inside that one school, they had more than 1,500 people, who have started to camp out there. And they are dealing with extreme situations of not getting food and water. And they're worried, because the resources that normally are coming to them have been cut off, because the gangs have severed the supply lines.

COLLINS: David Culver, I mean, every day, it seems unimaginable. But it's great to have you and your team there, to be able to witness this--


COLLINS: --and to report on this.

CULVER: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And so, thank you for bringing us that report.

Please stay safe, David Culver.

Up next here, on THE SOURCE, we have that new video that we mentioned, at the top of the hour. Will it put rumors to rest about what happened to Kate Middleton? Or is it only just fueling more questions? We'll talk about it with an expert, next.



COLLINS: Tonight, new sightings of the Princess of Wales, after her abdominal surgery that the Palace says she had, earlier this year, amid plenty of conspiracies about where she has been ever since. The Sun reporting that Princess Kate was filmed, near a farm shop, with her husband, Prince William, over the weekend.

It was only last week that the Royals were facing major backlash after she posted a picture, for Mother's Day in the U.K. that was discovered to have been edited. She herself was forced to acknowledge that she was behind those edits.

Here tonight is Joanna Coles, the former editor and chief -- former Chief Content Officer for Hearst Magazines.

And it's great to have you here.

Because you look at this new video that's out tonight, I wonder what you see in that, and what kind of clues it gives you about what's going on with her?

JOANNA COLES, FORMER CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, HEARST: Well, first of all, how fantastic for the Windsor Farm Shop? This is the most exciting thing--

COLLINS: Yes. COLES: --that's probably ever happened to it, since the last time it introduced a new cheese.

And it's unclear, if it is actually Kate. When I first looked at the video, I thought oh, that is her. Then, of course, you go down the spiral of social media, which is what everybody's doing now, and you're like, well, is it her? It looks like it might be her without makeup, and as if she's lost a considerable amount of weight, which of course she may have done, because she's had abdominal surgery.

COLLINS: And what does that make you -- what does that lead you to believe, about her state of being? I mean, just given the longer she's been behind closed doors, it feels like the more and more speculation there is about what's going on with her.

COLES: Well, I think the Palace press advisers, or the Wales' press advisers, who are different to King Charles' advisers, are behind the times on this one.

I think they've handled the tabloids and the paparazzi quite well. And there's been respect shown, from them, for Kate. And in fact, The Sun actually came out this week and said, leave Kate alone, leave her alone. This is tantamount to bullying now. But what they haven't figured out is how to manage social media, where everybody says whatever they want.

And I think what they've also failed to understand is that now, Kate and Will's, but particularly Kate is a global mega brand, and has to be treated like that. And it's not OK, and it's naive, actually, to put out a photo that's got weird photoshopping, like, why would you care what the children's hands look like? What was the thing with the sleeve? It didn't make sense.

And then also, strangely, to omit the wedding ring, which is really a strange symbol. And--

COLLINS: Because you know people are going to look at that--

COLES: Of course.

COLLINS: --and ask question about it.

COLES: Of course. And you saw the press agencies say, we're not going to trust photos, from you anymore, we're not going to run it, and they withdrew it.

But more importantly, you now have millions, literally millions of armchair detectives, who are quite tech-savvy, sitting at home, very capable with Photoshop, who immediately notice what's going on. So, it's very odd.

And for those of us who remember the Diana-era, the thing that you learned was what you first heard a story, and you thought was preposterous, often turned out to be only the beginning of enormous kinds of weirdness going on. I mean, there was a story that everybody thought was untrue, when someone wrote that Diana had tried to commit suicide, by throwing herself down stairs. And people were like, this is ridiculous. Of course, this would never happen.

And of course, it turned out that Diana was actually the source of the story. It was in Andrew Morton's book. Andrew Morton's book was completely denied. Everybody said this couldn't possibly be true. And then, it turned out to be based on a series of interviews, with Andrew Morton--

COLLINS: So we may--

COLES: --and Diana.

COLLINS: We may be only seeing, I mean, just based on their history, a version of this. I mean, does it feel like they're losing control, over their own narrative, because the speculation--

COLES: Great question.

COLLINS: Obama walked into 10 Downing Street, today, for a meeting about his foundation that didn't -- but that even spurred speculation that well maybe he's there to try to help figure out what's going on.

I mean, what is -- what's going on, with them being able to control the narrative, which is so important to them?


COLES: Well, I think King Charles sort of seamlessly actually took over from the Queen. But, of course, now he's having treatment for cancer. We don't know what kind of cancer. So, there's also a vacuum in the information that's been presented about him.

And it now seems like we're not sure, who's in control. Is it Camilla? Is it William, who obviously is heir to the throne? So, there are many, many questions that are unanswered. And the trouble is every time they do something like the photo? That only renders more questions. It doesn't answer anything.

I don't know why she just doesn't come out with a quick video, and say, thank you so much, everybody that sent me good wishes. I'll be back out, doing public duties, in a couple of weeks. I mean, it'd be very easy to do, very simple, just quash everything that's going on.

The funniest thing, by the way, was a picture, of where she'd been replaced with Bernie Sanders, with all his mittens everywhere. You remember his famous mittens?

COLLINS: From the inauguration, yes.

COLES: Very, very funny meme. The great news is it's launched a million memes.

COLLINS: Indeed it has. Joanna Coles, always great to have you on. Thank you.

COLES: Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, we are going to talk to the Library Director, the former Library Director, from my hometown, who was just fired, last week. He has now been caught in the crosshairs of a national political battle that is taking over libraries, bookstores, and schools, right here in America.



COLLINS: Here on CNN, we have covered, how efforts to ban books, have spread across schools and public libraries, here in the U.S. And tonight, that fight is taking place, right where I grew up, in Prattville, Alabama, including at the very library, where I love to go and read, while I was growing up.

To get you up to speed, on what's been going on, in my hometown, the Director of the library, Andrew Foster, was abruptly fired, last week, by the Board of Trustees that oversees the Autauga-Prattville library.

The Board declined to provide a statement, tonight, to THE SOURCE, about why. But they did share minutes, from a meeting, where it was alleged that Foster had revealed confidential information, and they claimed he had broken the law.

He says, he was fired simply for responding to information requests, about the efforts, underway, to remove books that has been playing out there, in that city, for months.

In early February, the Board of Trustees implemented new policies, banning the library, from buying new books, with sexual or LGBTQ content, for readers, who were 17-years-old or younger, or to move certain books with certain content, to different sections of the library.

Tonight, that fired Library Director is sharing his story. And Andrew Foster joins me now.

And it's great to have you here.

Just when you look at this, do you believe that this was all motivated, by your pushback, to that change in the policy?


I definitely. In the reporting that's happened, especially at that local level, I think there have been several stories that have been published, including some that do seem to allude to that it was my disagreement, my asking many, many questions about it, to try and receive clarity, on how I was supposed to act, in my capacity, as Library Director, that that could have motivated it, though, I cannot speak for the Board on that.

COLLINS: But what had been happening, I mean, behind-the-scenes? This was something that didn't just come -- that didn't just happen, last week. It came to a head obviously, last week. But what had this battle been like, behind-the-scenes, over the last few months?

FOSTER: Well, when the new policies were voted in, in February, I had a lot of questions, on those policies. And so, I've, for the last month and a half, been asking for clarity. And in my asking for clarity, an important point is that I, as the Library Director, am answerable to the entire Board of the Library Board, not to individuals.

And so, in my question asking in, my pushing for answers, several times I asked, I need this to be a clarification by the Board. I need this to be clarified to me, by the entirety of the Board, all six, seven, it's a seven-person board, but we had six members, in an open meetings, because that is legally, to my full understanding, how that process has to work.

And there were several incidents, where I'd ask that pushback. And the Board lawyer would respond and say, no, we don't have to do this in an open meeting. The policies, say yes.

COLLINS: And those were just questions about the changes to the book policy, right?

FOSTER: Questions saying, can you please define what you mean? Because, the terms used in the policies were very vague. There were words like just no books with obscenity, no books with gender identity, no books, you know, words that if you take the full scope of what they mean, at face value, could be nearly any book in the library, for some of them.


FOSTER: And so, I couldn't -- either I have to make that assumption myself of what may have been meant, and in doing so, risk, both the Board not being happy with my decision, because it may not be the same interpretation that they have, but also possibly risking that legal liability, for myself, if I'm acting--


FOSTER: --without the guidance--

COLLINS: Well can I just ask you--

FOSTER: --and direction of the Board.

COLLINS: Can I just ask you quickly, big picture, before we go, which is--

FOSTER: Of course.

[22:00:00] COLLINS: --did it feel like your job, as just someone, who was supposed to run the library, to make sure kids can go and read, was being politicized?

FOSTER: Absolutely. And that's unfortunately happening at libraries, all over the state, and all over the nation, is it's turned in to this politicization of libraries.

COLLINS: Andrew Foster, it's an important story. Thank you, for joining us, tonight.

I should note, before we go, we did reach out to members, of the library's Board of Trustees, before we spoke to Andrew. We'll reach out to them again.

I want to thank you so much, for joining us.