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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Governor: Community Showing What It Means To Be "Maryland Tough"; Trump Barred From Talking About Michael Cohen & Other Potential Witnesses In Hush Money Case; RFK Jr.: Our Campaign Is A Spoiler For Biden & Trump. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 26, 2024 - 21:00   ET



GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All 31 people that I questioned if RFK Jr. was out of the race, would you lean towards Trump, Biden or neither. 22 of those 31 people say they would not support Trump, or Biden. Eight of the people say Trump. Only one of the people, the woman you saw on this story, says Biden.

So, there's obviously RFK's candidacy, in this particular place, on this particular night affects Trump more. But it's something we have to keep an eye on, nationwide.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Gary Tuchman, thanks so much.

The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. I'll see you, tomorrow.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Breaking news from THE SOURCE tonight.

As the search for survivors is over, in Baltimore, a rescue mission is now a recovery. And amid this search for answers, CNN is now hearing, about the heroic actions, of the ship's pilot, in the moments, before it slammed into that bridge.

Also tonight, there's a new message from the judge, in Donald Trump's upcoming criminal trial, telling him he's banned, from talking about witnesses and even jurors, hours after Trump went after a prosecutor in the case, and the judge's own daughter.

And a decision coming from the Supreme Court, that could change the way the overwhelming majority of women end their pregnancies. A little pill and a landmark case, tonight, as the justices are sending very strong signals to which way they may be leaning. A doctor suing to ban that pill is here.

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

But we start with the breaking news, tonight, as there is darkness in Baltimore and, really, disbelief across the nation, as we look at the mangled wreckage, of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, after it collapsed, when a cargo ship slammed into it, during the early morning hours. We have just learned moments ago that six people, who were unaccounted

for, are now presumed to be dead. The Coast Guard is ending its active search and recovery and rescue operation, saying that it doesn't believe any more survivors will be found. Divers will now shift to a recovery mission, tomorrow, when that is expected to begin.

We're also hearing an account about someone, who was on that ship, as the American Pilots Association says tonight that the pilot, who was steering did everything that he could, to slow it down, telling officials there, it was a total blackout on board, as you could see so clearly here, in this video.

He called for extreme maneuvers, right away, with only seconds to act. But it wasn't enough to stop the crash.

Some answers are coming to light. But there are still so many more questions, tonight.

And let's get straight to THE SOURCE, tonight, with the Governor of Maryland, Wes Moore.

Governor, thank you for being here tonight, on what obviously has been such a difficult day, for your state.

With this latest update, what does this process look like now, that it's no longer a search and rescue operation?

GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): Thank you so much.

And my heart goes out to these families. I wish -- I wish we had different news. And I wish we had different results.

And when over -- when the incident first happened, I ordered and instructed for all resources and assets, both air, land and sea, to be able to go towards helping to find survivors. And as we move into this now, going from search and rescue, to recovery, my instructions are we are going to put the same assets, now, just to make sure that we can give these families, closure.

So, as we move on to this next phase of what is just an absolutely catastrophic and horrific occurrence in our state, we also want to make sure that these families understand that they are being prayed over, that they are being supported. And our focus is also making sure that they can find closure.

COLLINS: And have you been able to speak to the families, of these six people that are now presumed to be dead?

MOORE: I have, yes. In fact, the Lieutenant Governor and I spent quite a bit of time, with the families. And we prayed with them. And we prayed over them and prayed for them.

And the strength of these families, it really is remarkable, because what they really did was they reminded us, who these individuals were that they weren't just special workers, who were doing important work, for the city and for the state. But they were people, who were husbands and sons and fathers and brothers-in-law.

And so, this is a -- this is a really -- a really devastated community of families. And so, we just want them to know that we are here for them always.

COLLINS: It's hard to even imagine their pain, tonight, and just so many unknowns still, even at this hour.

And have you been -- have you learned personally, why they were still on that bridge?


MOORE: The thing that we know is that the response that happened, between the initial Mayday, the initial -- the initial indication from the -- from the boat that something was wrong, and how quickly the first responders moved.

And when I say first responders, that means, first from law enforcement, who were able to put blocks on the -- on the road, to try to keep other cars, from going on their bridge, because had those first responders not did what they did, this catastrophic day would have been even more catastrophic.

To the first responders, who were able to get out and have police officers on site quickly, to have people and divers inside the water, to try to recover -- to try to recover -- to try to recover the people, who had fallen in.

And so, we saw a very quick response time. And even for one of the response -- one of the survivors, from this, who literally told me the story, how he was steps away, when running away, when the bridge fell, you just saw how these quick reactions made a -- made a huge difference.


MOORE: And so I'm just I'm grateful for those first responders, who were able to move so quickly.

COLLINS: We actually have some of the radio traffic, of those people, who were trying to clear the bridge, as officials, right before the ship hit. I just want everyone to be able to listen to that for a moment.


PERSON #1: I need one of you guys on the south side, one of you guys on the north side, hold all traffic on the Key Bridge. There's a ship approaching that just lost their steering.

PERSON #2: 313, dispatch. The whole bridge just fell down. Start, start whoever, everybody. The whole bridge just collapsed.


COLLINS: I mean, as governor, what's it like to hear that?

MOORE: It's devastating. Because you can just imagine what was going through the minds, and the minds and the hearts of all those people.

The thing that we know is that that time between when they started calling for Mayday, and the time that the ship ended up hitting the bridge, and the bridge collapsed, we're talking matters of seconds.

And so, it's devastating to be able to hear that, because you can only imagine what was going through their minds, and their hearts, at that moment.

COLLINS: From what you've been briefed on, do you believe that the pilot of the ship, the one who is experiencing this total blackout, do you believe that he did everything he could, once the comms and the power on that ship went down?

MOORE: We're in the process of a full investigation, where we both want to know what everything that led up to the initial crash, but then also how we dealt with the aftermath of it as well. And we'll get the results of that investigation, as we -- as it comes to its conclusion.

The thing that I also know is when you're talking about a ship, of that size, and you're talking about a ship that's moving, at that speed, that especially when you have challenges, when it comes to steering and the power behind it, it just becomes extraordinarily difficult.

And so, we'll get to the bottom of what exactly happened, what caused -- what caused that power outage, what made it so difficult for it to steer.

But that distance that we saw between where the ship needed to go, and then where the ship -- where the ship ended up -- ended up hitting, really ended up making all the difference in this situation.

COLLINS: Do you know if those officials have been able to talk to any of the crew that was actually on the ship yet, the NTSB, the other officials, who are investigating this?

MOORE: I do not know if they've -- if they've begun that questioning yet.

COLLINS: I know you spoke to President Biden, today. He came out and was talking about not just the recovery and the effort that's happening here, but also what this bridge means to this community. And I heard you talk about earlier, 30,000 people go over this bridge, every single day.

And with the federal government saying it wants to pay for the entire reconstruction of that bridge, how soon do you think that could happen?

MOORE: Well, I can't say enough about the Biden administration. We've been in constant communication with them, literally, since the middle of last night.

I think I received a call from Secretary Buttigieg, I believe it was like at 3:30 in the morning. I've spoken with the Vice President. I've spoken with the President. And their level of commitment to what they've -- to what they've given about making sure that we are going to build this right, and build it together and build it quickly, has been absolutely astounding.

And so, we want to be able to move smartly. We want to be able to making sure that we are -- we are also honoring the recovery phase that we are -- that we are very much in right now.


But we are eager to be able to move in partnership, with our federal partners, with our local partners, and everybody, to ensure that we are not just going to build the bridge back, but we're going to build it in a way that honors the people of this moment, and honors the community that that bridge will -- that bridge will support.

COLLINS: Governor, I know, as the governor of a state, any state, but especially a state as big as Maryland that, that a lot comes on your plate. I just wonder, I mean, what it's like to get a phone call, like that, in the middle of the night, and calls from the federal government at 3:30 in the morning?

MOORE: I've come to learn that whenever my phone rings, in the middle of the night, it's never good news. And, last night, I think a little after 2 o'clock in the morning, when my phone rang, and it was my Chief of Staff and the Mayor of Baltimore, to tell me about what happened, I knew this would be exactly what this situation is.

I'd tell you though, these hours, the process of this day, I have seen classic examples of what it means to be Maryland tough. And I've seen classic example of what it means to be Baltimore strong.

I have seen a community rally. I have seen us overwhelmed with the amount of calls, from philanthropists and the private sector, wanting to come in and support.

I've been overwhelmed by the support of the Biden administration, saying -- and Secretary Buttigieg, who literally spent his entire afternoon with us, in Baltimore. We've been overwhelmed that we even had no sandwich shops that closed to the public, so they can make food for first responders.

We've watched a community rally. We've watched a community that takes care of each other. We've seen a state that truly shows what it means to be Maryland tough.

And while today has been challenging and difficult, for a lot of Marylanders, most importantly these families of the impacted families, we have also seen a lot of Marylanders rally in a really beautiful way. And it's one of the many reasons why I'm so proud to be their governor.

COLLINS: We'll be thinking about that community and, of course, continuing to get updates from you. Governor Wes Moore, thank you.

MOORE: God bless you. Thank you.

COLLINS: And we're joined, tonight, by someone who knows how these ships, like the Dali operate, in and out of these ports.

Sal Mercogliano is a maritime expert, who knows these container ships in and out. He covers these issues on his YouTube channel, "What's Going on With Shipping." And he joins me now.

And Sal, it's great to have you here, because I do think it's really important, to kind of go through moment by moment what happened, in the lead up to this catastrophic crash.

And the first visible issue seems to be, were caught on camera, where you can see the lights, they start flickering, on and off and on and off. Obviously, there's the wind, there's the current that they're factoring in. What's the first thing you do when that happens?

SAL MERCOGLIANO, FORMER MERCHANT MARINER: Well, thanks for having me, Kaitlan.

Sound and quiet on a ship is the worst thing you can imagine. Because when it's quiet on a ship, that means you don't have control. When the power went out, on that vessel, on the Dali, those, the crew on board would have lost propulsion and, most importantly, they would have lost water control, meaning they cannot control the vessel.

So, what happened was exactly what you want to happen. The pilot, the one of the two Maryland pilots that were on board, initiated a call, via their VHF radio so that they can warn everybody that the situation was happening. They called for tugs. They called for a response. They tried to get people off the bridge.

They lowered an anchor. They dropped an anchor. But unfortunately, a ship at that size and speed, you're talking about a vessel almost 1,300 feet long, over 100,000 tons, moving at eight knots about 10 miles an hour, the amount of inertia there is very difficult to stop. Even if they had full propulsion, it would take over a mile to stop that vessel.

COLLINS: As those lights were flickering, you could see smoke, coming out of this ship, it seemed to be this dark kind of smoke. Do you know what would cause that?

MERCOGLIANO: So, when ships lose power like that, they have an emergency diesel generator that's supposed to kick on. That would provide lighting around the vessel. It would also give them limited control of the rudder.

So, what we're not sure is, is that an indication that the emergency diesel generator was coming on? Or was the crew trying to put the engine astern, to try to slow the vessel down, because they knew they were losing control at that moment? So, that's a big indication.

We don't know yet. We will figure that out once the Coast Guard and the NTSB get on board, get the vessel data recorder, talk to the crew, and ascertain what exactly actions the crew and the pilots took on the vessel.

COLLINS: I mean, how valuable is that data recorder?

MERCOGLIANO: It's going to be essential. I mean, you're going to be able to piece this together. It's the black box of ships.

So, the Coast Guard would have boarded the vessel, almost immediately. They would start getting statements from the crew. They would have done drug testing, and alcohol testing, just to ensure that they were not impaired. But they will try to reconstruct this entire incident.


Plus, they will go back in records. This ship was inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, back in September, up in New York, when it made its entry there. So, they'll want to be able to figure out has this ship, a record of maintenance issues? Were there any issues when the ship was in the Port of Baltimore, or coming up the channel to Baltimore, at the time?

COLLINS: And as they try to figure out that and piece that together, I mean, obviously, the moment of impact is the key part of this entire reaction that they're going to be investigating, and looking at.

You just said you think it would take a mile, that they need a mile to be able to slow a ship this big down. I mean, when you see that moment of impact happen, is there anything that you believe would have been able to turn that ship, or to avoid hitting the pillar of that bridge, the support pillar that it hit, and then caused the rest of the bridge to go down?

MERCOGLIANO: No, this is the worst nightmare of mariners, of being on a ship without being able to control it.

But we need to remember, this bridge was built 50 years ago. And the ships, at the time, were a fraction of the size of what Dali is today. And Dali isn't even a big container ship. There are much larger vessels that are out there. So, in many ways, we have infrastructure that was built for another time.

And so, the preventive measures, the dolphins, the barriers around them, were really not designed to stop a vessel of this size. And even when the ship hit those dolphins, the ship was so large it towered over them, and actually struck the bridge itself. So, there's very little the ship could do, to really prevent this from happening, once the power went out.

COLLINS: Sal, you answered a bunch of questions that I had about this. We'll continue to look to your expertise on this.

Sal Mercogliano, thank you, for coming on and joining us tonight.

MERCOGLIANO: Thank you for having me. COLLINS: Ahead, a big question that has also still remained is why weren't tugboats with that ship, as it was getting close to the bridge? They were there initially. Why did they leave? We're going to reconstruct that scene, right after a quick break.

Also, the latest on Donald Trump's criminal trial here, as he is now under a new gag order, in New York. His team is calling it an unconstitutional silence, for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.



COLLINS: We're continuing to follow the breaking news, out of Baltimore tonight.

Right now, you're looking at what's left of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, after that massive cargo ship crashed into it, after losing power and going into what officials are now describing as a total blackout.

CNN obtained location data, for two tugboats that had been guiding the Dali, which is the name of the ship, from the dock. But they quickly separated from it, as it continued to navigate the harbor, on its own, before it ultimately crashed into that bridge, in the early morning hours.

CNN's Tom Foreman has been following all of this.

And Tom, obviously a big question here has been why those tugboats didn't continue to escort the ship past the bridge.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if they had known what was going to happen, I presume they would have. But it does not appear to have been the custom there.

Let's look at that tracking, you mentioned just a minute ago. What you're going to see in this image is the tracking, where the ship is the red part. The tugs are the two blue parts. And you see them help the ship through the initial turn there, as it left the dock. And then they split away.

Why did they do that? Because a big ship, like this, unless it has momentum, unless it has propulsion, it doesn't have enough pressure to guide itself. It needs them to push it around, while it gets going. But as soon as it gets going, both the tugs split away, which would presumably be standard procedure.

You'll notice, before it even reaches the bridge, when it's very close here, and you see it starts curving off this way? And somewhere in here, it would appear that the call of a problem went out, somewhere in here, I would guess based on the location, about three minutes or so before. We'll find out for sure. But you'll see this tug has already started to turn to come back, to see if it can help. So yes, Kaitlan, if the tugs have been with it the whole time, it could have helped. But they were not with it the whole time. And presumably, that's simply because that's just not the normal way that they do this.

COLLINS: And Tom, looking at this, everyone's going to be talking about the construction of the bridge. What could have been done differently? What could have helped?

I mean, can you just put into perspective, how big this ship is, as Sal was just referencing, and, really, the amount of force that this bridge was hit with?

FOREMAN: Yes, this is really, in some ways, that unstoppable force that we talk about. In terms of length, this is almost the length of the Chrysler Building in New York. If you're not familiar with that one, just think of any building that you do know that's just tall. That's what it is. And it weighs a massive, massive, massive amount.

Once it gets moving, even though it's coming in at this bridge at only about nine miles an hour? That is just a remarkable amount of force that perhaps no bridge could withstand.

Your guest, earlier, made a really great point, though, about how difficult it is to do anything about a ship at this point, and how infrastructure may not even be capable of doing it. Certainly, older infrastructure may not be able to.


COLLINS: Yes. He basically said nothing built today would have been able -- or built 50 years ago, would have been able to withstand this.

FOREMAN: It's tremendous force. Tremendous force.

COLLINS: Tom Foreman, thank you so much for looking into that.


COLLINS: And we also heard from President Biden, on all of this today. He says that officials undoubtedly saved lives, when they were blocking traffic from crossing that bridge, in the moments before it collapsed.

At any other time, traffic could have been much busier, given it was the middle of the night. There are typically 30,000 vehicles a day that crossed that bridge. And it's caused a lot of drivers, to wonder what they would do if their car crashed into water. You may be wondering this same question.

Someone, who has the answers to that, tonight, safety and security expert, and also retired New York Police Department officer, Bill Stanton, and the author of "Prepared Not Scared."

And it's great to have you here. Because, obviously, this is, it's a nightmare scenario. It probably

won't happen to a lot of people. But when they see something like this happen, it makes them think what do I do, if I'm in that situation?

BILL STANTON, RETIRED NYPD OFFICER: Well, Kaitlan, you bring up a very good point.

We've all driven over bridges, and you'll look over the side, oh my god, suppose this would have happened. So, let's take that and extrapolate it out.


During emergencies, such as this, you have to do your homework. You have to have the presence of mind and the steel, if you will, to enact your plan. Don't think it up as it happens. Do what-if scenarios. Have that plan in your mind. And God forbid something happens to you, where your car gets submerged? Go into that plan and take action.

COLLINS: So, what's the first step? If you're -- is it seatbelts? Is it rolling down your window? I mean, what is the first step here?

STANTON: OK, the first step is to do your homework. Have like seatbelt cutters, have a glass break, have I -- in my car, I have everything, for multiple different scenarios, and have that in your car, at the ready, in the dashboard, in the pocket and the side. And sometimes, you can even have it on your jackets.

So, now the car hits the water. If it's not submerged fully yet, you want to get those windows down, and get out of the car. Now, if the water is rushing in, you have to wait for it to equalize, and try to push open the door.

But if you have to go through the glass, break that glass, but make sure you're not wearing every -- anything that's going to weigh you down, like an anchor. You know, that winter coat is not going to help you when you're under the water trying to get to the surface.

COLLINS: You just mentioned presence of mind. I think that's -- that would be one of the biggest and toughest issues, for anyone, which is staying calm, if your car is suddenly submerged into water. It's the middle of the night. I mean, what's your advice, in that scenario?

STANTON: Well, we live in a society now, when what's the first -- anytime there's an emergency, what's the first thing people do? They take out their cell phone, and they want to film it.

No, no, no. Go through these dress rehearsals in your mind. I call them fire drills for life. Do these what-if scenarios, not only -- listen, we have so many things that come up, active shooters, plane emergencies. This is another one to add to the list.

And just spend a little couple of dollars out, make sense. Have that seat belt cutter, have that glass break. Sway yourself away. So God forbid this happens, you're good to go. COLLINS: Bill Stanton, it's obviously a situation nobody wants to be in, but one that comes to mind on a day, like today. Thank you for joining tonight.

STANTON: Thank you for having me.

COLLINS: We're also following other news here, on THE SOURCE, as Donald Trump is now responding through his spokesperson, after another judge hit him with a partial gag order. Who he's allowed to talk about and who he is not? That's next.



COLLINS: Donald Trump's first criminal trial hasn't even started yet. And the judge is already trying to rein him in, issuing a new partial gag order in the hush money trial. That's the one that's set to start three weeks from now. Scolding the former President today, for making what the judge calls, quote, "Threatening, inflammatory and denigrating" statements.

That means that some of Trump's favorite targets that he has been going after lately, are now off limits to him. He can no longer go after Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels or any of the other potential witnesses in this case.

The judge also says that Trump can't talk about the jurors, the court staff, the attorneys, or the prosecutors, who are working, under the District Attorney, Alvin Bragg. Notably, when you read through this gag order, Bragg himself is still fair game, and so is the judge here, Juan Merchan.

If you're wondering why this order is coming today, when the District Attorney, asked for this, a month ago? Look no further than Trump's post-court news conference, yesterday. In his order, Judge Merchan specifically points to one of the several false things that Trump says, about Bragg as a prosecutor.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You had other instances, like Colangelo. Colangelo is a radical left from the DOJ, who was put into the state, working with Letitia James, and then was put into the District Attorney's office to run the trial against Trump. And that was done by Biden and his thugs also.


COLLINS: Not only is there no evidence to support that claim, as he's referencing a prosecutor, who's on this team. What he said there would now violate this new gag order.

It's also worth noting here that hours before Judge Merchan ordered -- issued this order, Trump was not only attacking him, he was also going after his daughter. I'm joined, tonight, by a pair of THE SOURCE regulars.

Retired California Superior Court Judge, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell.

And also, former federal prosecutor, Jennifer Rodgers.

Judge, let me just start with you. I just wonder if you were in Judge Merchan's seat here, would you have issued this gag order.

JUDGE LADORIS HAZZARD CORDELL (RET.), RETIRED SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: Oh, absolutely. This judge did absolutely the right thing. Since 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court has said gag orders are constitutional, if they follow certain guidelines.

So, this judge, by the way, just issued this gag order to one person only. And that is the one person that the judge feels, and this is in the judge's words, in the opinion, presented an imminent risk of harm that is now paramount.

So, this judge looked at what Trump has done, in the past, in other cases, and said, I'm not going to wait anymore. So, this order is directed to him alone. And it'll be very interesting to see what happens when -- and I don't -- I'm not saying if, when he violates this.

So remember, Trump keeps quiet when he's in the courtroom. It's when he's outside, when he starts attacking people. And this judge has basically said, you can't do this.


And not just jurors, but prospective jurors, because they'll get a list of possible jurors, none of them can ever be talked about. The judge is very concerned about potential witnesses and, as you mentioned, family members as well.

So, yes, this was the appropriate thing to do, and since the trial date is so close.

COLLINS: You said not if, but when he violates it. What happens then?

HAZZARD CORDELL: So, if a judge issues an order, and says you must do something or not do something, it's of no moment, if there are not immediate consequences.

And so, in this instance, what a judge would normally do is issue a warning. Well, that's already been done, in other cases. The warning doesn't seem to matter to Donald Trump at all.

So, the next step, step it up, is fines. And any fines against this man have to be so substantial, because otherwise they're not going to be a deterrence. So, I doubt that fines are going to work.

So, the next step, people have basically said, well, that would mean jail. No, it doesn't. I think the judge could, for example, order that expand the gag order, and says to Donald Trump, you cannot speak to the press, about this trial, and you cannot utilize social media or direct anyone to use social media, on your behalf, to talk about the trial.

So, I think the gag order can be expanded, because without the social media, and out, standing on the courthouse steps, giving a press conference, then that will basically, I think, shut him down.

COLLINS: Jennifer Rodgers, I mean, just hearing what the judge said there, maybe expanding this, I mean, Trump campaign's already saying, what we've got here, they say, prevents him from being able to engage, in that core political speech, saying that, he's the presumptive Republican nominee, he should be able to talk about this.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, it doesn't. I mean, he has a First Amendment right to speak, and to do political speech. But it doesn't stop him from doing that.

He can attack the case. He can call it a witch-hunt, a hoax. He can attack Alvin Bragg, the D.A. He can attack the judge. So, he really can do everything that he ought to be able to do, to say to his supporters, this is not, you know, this has no merit. This is all a witch-hunt, this is a political stunt, or whatever he wants to say.

It's just about these people, who are underneath the main people, who are not bold-face names, who are being attacked, intimidated, in the case of witnesses. And so, that's why this order is going to stand up, because it's narrowly tailored to those people, and not stopping him from saying what he needs to say, to attack the case.

COLLINS: So, you think it'll stand up.

I mean, Judge, just hours before this judge issued this order, Trump was on Truth Social, and he was talking about Michael Cohen, specifically, calling him, who I should note is going to be a star witness here, "Liar," "Felon," and he referenced "Death." I mean, that would obviously violate what the judge issued today, would it not?

HAZZARD CORDELL: Absolutely. The purpose of the gag order is to give the judge control over management of the courtroom.

And there is a Supreme Court case, from 1966, basically says that a judge can and must do what is necessary, to control the courtroom, to keep it from devolving into chaos. So, this judge has to be ready to move, if I say when, Donald Trump violates this order. It will be of no moment if there are no consequences.

So, this order is directed to the only immature adult in the courtroom. This order was not directed to anybody else other than one person, who appears not to be able to control his behavior. He controls it in the courtroom. But now, we're taking it a step further.

COLLINS: You think that's the reaction we'll get, if he violates it?

RODGERS: I don't know what the judge will do. It's a really tough situation, with someone, who just will not comply with a court order. I mean, think about how crazy it is that we're in a situation, where Donald Trump will not comply with a court order. Yes, I don't know what the judge will do. We'll see.

COLLINS: Yes. And good luck to his attorney. I mean, this is the judge who would sentence him, if he was convicted here.

RODGERS: Exactly.

COLLINS: Jennifer Rodgers, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, thank you both, for joining tonight.

Also today, another big update, out of Washington, as the Supreme Court heard its first abortion case, since the overturning of Roe versus Wade, now going to decide the fate of the most widely used abortion pill in the nation. The justices seemed a bit skeptical.

We're going to go straight to THE SOURCE, tonight, to get reaction, from one of the doctors, who brought the challenge, after a quick break.



COLLINS: Outright skepticism, from a majority of the Supreme Court, today, or so it seemed, to our court watchers and legal experts, faced with the possibility of a nationwide ban, on the popular, safe and effective abortion pill, known as Mifepristone.

Several of the justices were asking the anti-abortion plaintiffs, if they have the grounds to argue this case.


ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: You need a person, you need a person to be able to come in and meet the court's regular standing requirements.

So who's your person?

NEIL GORSUCH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've had, one might call it, a rash of universal injunctions or vacatures. And this case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on -- on an FDA rule or any other federal government action.

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm worried that there is a significant mismatch in this case between the claimed injury, and the remedy that's being sought. And that that might or should matter for standing purposes.



COLLINS: And joining me, tonight, is one of the plaintiffs, who is suing to restrict access to Mifepristone, Dr. Christina Francis. She's the CEO of the American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs. And she is joined here by her attorney, Kristen Waggoner, who is also

the CEO, President and General Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

And it's great to have you both, after listening to that really fascinating, back-and-forth today.

And Doctor, given some of the sharp questioning, from some of the justices, I wonder how you think today went?

DR. CHRISTINA FRANCIS, INDIANA OB-GYN: Well, we were honored to be there, in court today, to be able to bring our case that is about the harms that are being done to women, because of the reckless actions of the FDA, in removing essential safeguards.

And what I heard, today, in the court was that the FDA feels like it's above the law. They said that no one would have standing, to bring this kind of case against them.

And what I also heard, from our attorney, was a good presentation of the evidence, of the reckless nature of what the FDA has done, and presenting our case that those of us that are on the frontlines, that are taking care of women in the hospital, are seeing more and more women being harmed, by these high-risk drugs, because of the FDA removing these essential safeguards.

COLLINS: Well, their questions seem to be really centered, not even around the merits of the issue itself, but whether your group has the standing, to bring this case. I mean, do you believe that they were able to effectively argue that, to some pretty skeptical justices, both liberal and conservative ones?

FRANCIS: I do. I think our legal team did an excellent job, of talking about why, in an emergency situation, when women are presenting with life-threatening complications, related to the use of these drugs, why we, as physicians, are being called down to the emergency room, to complete the abortion process.

And the fact that we are seeing more and more of these women, who are suffering, from the effects of these drugs being given under unsafe conditions, coming into our emergency room is a harm to us, as physicians. And we desire better care for that -- than that for our patients. And we really think that no matter what someone's position on abortion is, we should all be in agreement that women deserve better health care than this.

COLLINS: But just to be clear, Dr. Francis, I mean, you have never had to go to the emergency room, to do this. You've never been required to perform an abortion, for someone who had complications from taking this, right?

FRANCIS: So, I have actually taken care of women, in our emergency room, who have come in with complications, and had to do procedures, to finish removing the contents of their pregnancy from their uterus.

But, again, it's the FDA's actions in removing these safeguards that would give women an in-person visit.

COLLINS: But not an abortion, right?

FRANCIS: I have been brought down to the emergency room, to complete the process that was started by these abortion drugs.

And, again, this is happening more and more frequently, because women are not even receiving in-person medical care, prior to receiving these high-risk drugs, because of the FDA's decisions.

COLLINS: Kristen, you're the attorney here. I mean, what the justices were making clear today is that, despite what the doctor says, they weren't able to show that they had actually suffered harm, from this drug, and that they would, in the future, if it remains available. I mean, the whole thing was really on the federal conscience objections, being able to be enough here.

KRISTEN WAGGONER, PRESIDENT, CEO & GENERAL COUNSEL, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM: Well, I think there were a number of stunning admissions in the court today. One was that we've heard for the first time, the federal government suggest that there are conscience rights that exist.

But again, as Dr. Francis has said, it's extremely impractical to suggest that you can raise your hand, in a life-threatening situation, and not provide your patient, care.

And that's not really even completely about what the burden is here, on the physicians. Because they know that the FDA's own label, right now, when you go out, and you purchase this drug, it tells you that one in 25 women are going to have to visit the emergency room, and up to 7 percent of women are going to have surgical interventions.

And what we are talking about is restoring common-sense safeguards, just like visiting a doctor in-person, before you are essentially induced into labor, in your dorm room.

We're told that it's safe that no one has the right to challenge the FDA. And this is the same FDA that told us that opioid safe was -- opioids were safe to use, for chronic pain, and that surely no one would get addicted.

COLLINS: But is that a fair comparison given this drug is pretty safe? If you look at the actual facts here, the death rate is 0.0005 percent, from someone who uses this drug, and has complications.

Penicillin is more dangerous than Mifepristone, and that's plenty used in the United States.


COLLINS: That's not being argued before the Supreme Court.


WAGGONER: Kaitlan, that's actually not true, in the sense of what the FDA's own statistic--

COLLINS: It is true.

WAGGONER: No, it's not. What the FDA's own statistics and documents say are that up to 7 percent of women are going to have surgical interventions. In just 2,000 -- or in just 2020, the FDA said that an in-person doctor visit is not only minimally burdensome, on a patient, but it's necessary.

And they explicitly said that thousands of women are presenting with severe complications, as a result of taking this drug. This isn't me saying it. It's what the FDA has said. What they say in court now is very different than what their own data tells you.

COLLINS: I mean, it's a widely used pill, it's quite safe.

But on the -- on the -- not even on that in and of itself, the question was, whether or not they have the standing, to bring this.

And Doctor, Justice Amy Coney Barrett herself seemed especially skeptical that she pointed to, to what you had submitted, in particular, basically saying that you weren't able to show that you had suffered the harm, to actually bring this case, to have the legal standing to bring it.

Do you still think that she'll ultimately rule on your side in the end of this?

FRANCIS: Well, I certainly hope that the justices will hear what we have presented, which is that those of us, again, who are on the frontlines, taking care of these women, women that have been abandoned by the FDA, women that have been abandoned by those who are giving the abortion drugs, who are not performing any kind of follow-up, those of us who are taking care of them, are seeing the harms that women are experiencing.

We are seeing it in droves, as they come into our emergency rooms. And I hope that the justices heard that today, and heard the harms that that's causing for us as well.

And that really, this was the FDA's responsibility, to ensure that these high-risk drugs were dispensed in a safe manner. They recognized when they approved these drugs, in 2000, that they were high-risk drugs, and put into place very common-sense safeguards, as Kristen said.

We're just simply asking for those common-sense safeguards that provide ongoing medical care for women, who are taking these high-risk drugs, be reinstated, so that women can receive the care that they deserve.

COLLINS: I mean, the judges seemed very skeptical of the evidence, to back that up. We will see what they decide in July.

Thank you, Dr. Christina Francis, and Kristen Waggoner, for both being here tonight. FRANCIS: Thank you.

WAGGONER: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also, another political update for you today as RFK Jr., of course running in this presidential election, could be a potential spoiler, is now revealing who will be running alongside him. A big question for Democrats. We'll speak to one of them next.



COLLINS: Today, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. named Nicole Shanahan as his independent running mate, as he tries to seek the White House in a longshot bid. She may not be a household name or a known politico. But she is a super-wealthy Silicon Valley attorney, who has previously donated to Democrats, in the past, including Joe Biden in 2020.

At his announcement today, Kennedy made his campaign's intentions quite clear.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., (I) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our campaign is a spoiler. I agree with that.


F. KENNEDY JR.: It's a spoiler for President Biden and for President Trump.


COLLINS: Joining me tonight, someone who might agree with that or disagree, former Democratic Alabama Senator, Doug Jones, who is supporting President Biden, I should note.

And Senator, let me just ask you though, because people look at this. We've been talking about whether or not he's a spoiler. I know you believe that he would hurt Joe Biden's campaign.

But the fact that he's putting someone, on his ticket, who has already contributed over $4 million, to a group that helps him run that Super Bowl ad, are you worried that she'll be able to really help, when it comes to funding this third-party bid?

DOUG JONES, FORMER U.S. SENATOR (D-ALABAMA): Well, look, Kaitlan, that's the only reason she's on the ticket. No one could seriously believe that she brings any qualifications to this job.

I'm sure she's a very nice person, and a good lawyer. But the only thing she brings to this table is money. This is a marriage of convenience, because he needs the money to fund this, and that is the only reason she is on this ticket. And the fact of the matter is that she will -- he will be a spoiler for Donald Trump, but not for both of them. But he will be a spoiler in favor of Donald Trump. Everyone knows that.

It's why Trump's friends, like Steve Bannon, and his finance people, like Tim Mellon, who've given millions of dollars to Donald Trump and Republicans, have coaxed him into the race. They'll never vote for him. But they coaxed him into the race, because they need him to try to be a spoiler, in favor of Donald Trump. That's exactly what this will end up being.

COLLINS: Senator, I was going to ask you, because we just have some breaking news in, that maybe people at home haven't been watching this race, very closely, but it deals with our home state, and it's really important.

And CNN is now projecting that the Democrat, Marilyn Lands, is going to win this special election that was going on, for a State House seat in House District 10. It's notable because she made reproductive rights, a centerpiece of her campaign, something you don't often see in deep-red Alabama.

And she said in a statement, tonight, the Alabama women and families sent a clear message with this that is going to be heard in Montgomery, but also across the nation, and said they must repeal Alabama's no-exceptions abortion ban, fully restore access to IVF, and protect the right to contraception.

What do you make -- what does her win mean, tonight, for Democrats?

JONES: It's a huge win for Democrats. It's, look, this is a huge win for Alabama, not just for Democrats. This is a huge win for Alabama.

It's a huge win for women, who are going to be pushing back, consistently pushing back, on all the restrictive women's reproductive rights that we're seeing coming out of Montgomery, these days.

It's a win to push back on the culture wars that's all that is being fought, by Republican leadership, in Montgomery.


It's a win for people, who want to work together, for education, for jobs, for opportunities, and to do things for all Alabamians, not just fighting the culture wars.

It's a huge deal, Kaitlan, a huge deal.

COLLINS: It certainly is.

Doug Jones, couldn't have timed this interview better. Thank you so much, for joining us, tonight.


COLLINS: And thank you all so much for joining us, tonight. "LAURA COATES LIVE" starts right now.