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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Manhattan D.A. Suggests Trump Broke Gag Order In Hush Money Case By Targeting Judge's Daughter; WaPo: Three Other Billionaires Were Also At Trump's Palm Beach Meeting With Elon Musk; WSJ's Evan Gershkovich Now Detained In Russia For One Year. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 29, 2024 - 21:00   ET





But he always knew beyond doubt, the true value of things. I saw him ready to reclaim friendships that had been seared by disagreements, ready to look for ways to bridge divisions, ready to seek reconciliation, ready to stand for his principles, always.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Senator Joe Lieberman was 82-years-old.

And the news continues. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.


A new war, over Donald Trump's gag order. Prosecutors argue that it covers the judge's daughter that he's been attacking, while Trump's legal team says it doesn't.

And new reaction, to our exclusive interview, with a sitting federal judge, raising alarms that Trump's attacks, on the judicial system, could lead to tyranny.

And also, tonight, Trevor Reed is here, the former Marine, who was once held captive, by Vladimir Putin, now fighting to help free other U.S. citizens, including Evan Gershkovich, who was jailed in Russia exactly one year ago, today.

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

A private fight has exploded into public view, tonight, between Donald Trump, and the prosecutors who could be the first to make him a convicted felon.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office is now strongly implying that Trump is violating that gag order, that was placed on him just days ago, by the judge here in New York, in his hush money criminal case, when Trump attack Judge Juan Merchan's daughter. Let's get right to former federal prosecutor, and CNN Legal Analyst, Elliot Williams, tonight.

Because Elliot, when you read through this, the District Attorney's office is essentially asking the judge to clarify his gag order. What do you think they mean by that? And what's their argument that Trump did violate it?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: To be honest, Kaitlan, by clarify it, they mean add terms to it.

The simple fact is the language of the gag order, specifically does not mention, sort of additional people, beyond a certain sort of enumerated folks. And they're using the terms sort of, I think, it was clarify, and there was one other term. But they're really asking for a new gag order.

And I think that's the question that the judge has to answer here. Are we merely construing the language of this gag order, to apply to family members of judges? Or are we just adding terms to it, in which case the judge can rescind the gag order and just issue a new one.

COLLINS: Well, Trump's team seems to be saying, no, the reading of it since this came out--


COLLINS: --has been that it does not include -- it doesn't include the judge, doesn't include the District Attorney. And it doesn't include the judge's daughter.

But they also, I noticed, at the end of their response seem to be saying kind of a justification for Trump's attacks, on Judge Juan Merchan's daughter.

WILLIAMS: They do. And look, and they also go with a little bit of a dig, about the political work that she has done, professionally.

Now, look, I think there's no rational universe in which we think that defendants ought to be able to start going after the family members of court personnel. But if that's the case, then the court -- the judge should have put that in the order in the first place.

And now, they're in this odd space, where they have a gag order that does not specifically mention this class of individual, and are now having a party, ask him to sort of construe the language of it, to be brought in there. So, it's a little bit of a stretch. I think they can work this out.

But the Trump folks do have a point that the prosecutors are asking to add terms to a gag order that simply are just not there.

COLLINS: Yes, we'll see what the judge himself decides to do here. No easy position to be in.

Elliot Williams, thank you for that. WILLIAMS: Thanks.

COLLINS: And with that as the very important backdrop, to what is happening, to what we are witnessing, it's something unprecedented, and it's in response to this. Donald Trump relentlessly attacking one of the pillars of our democracy, as he is facing that first criminal trial that is going to start, just 17 days from now.

The once, and potentially future, most powerful person in the world is doing what he clearly relishes. Using his words as weapons, to potentially hurt people, not just the powerful, like judges and prosecutors, but also private citizens, facing his wrath.

And this time, he went so far over the line, he's now on the receiving end of a really extraordinary rebuke. It happened here, last night, on THE SOURCE, an extremely rare television interview with a sitting federal judge, something you never see.

And, based on the intense response to that interview, Senior U.S. District Judge, Reggie Walton, clearly struck a nerve.


JUDGE REGGIE WALTON, U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: It's very disconcerting, to have someone making comments, about a judge. And it's particularly problematic when those comments are in the form of a threat, especially if they're directed at one's family.



COLLINS: Judge Walton knows from experience. He himself, and also his daughter, had been the target of threats, simply because he's on the bench. And for him, he told me that it's only gotten worse, since he's now been overseeing some of the January 6 trials.

Just as an aside here, and for those who are critics of him coming out and speaking, this is a federal judge, who is used to dealing with some of the most high-profile cases.

In his 42 years on the bench, he's presided over the trial of then- Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby; the Roger Clemens trial; arguments over Whitewater, Guantanamo Bay, the Mueller report. He was nominated or appointed to his judgeships, by Republican presidents, Reagan, and both Bushes, 41 and 43. That's who Judge Reggie Walton is.

So, hearing him say this, carries a lot of weight.


WALTON: And the rule of law can only function effectively, when we have judges, who are prepared to carry out their duties, without the threat of potential physical harm.

If we don't have a viable court system, that's able to function efficiently, then we have tyranny.


COLLINS: Strong words there, from Judge Walton, who also, I should note, in our interview, made a point not to directly attack Trump, or weigh in on any of the specific cases.

He actually never once said Donald Trump's name. But he did emphasize the responsibility that someone like Donald Trump has, to know how his words can upend lives.

Look no further than Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss. You'll remember them as the Georgia election workers, simply doing their civic duty, in 2020. They ended up in the crosshairs of Trump's lies about a stolen election that wasn't.


RUBY FREEMAN, FORMER 2020 GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: There is nowhere I feel safe.

Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States to target you?


COLLINS: My next guest is someone, who knows exactly what it's like to be targeted by Donald Trump. He was one of the five teenagers, wrongly accused of raping a jogger, in New York Central Park, in 1989.

After that attack, then-businessman Donald Trump took out this full- page ad, in several of the City's papers that read quote, "Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police."

Except, as we now know the Central Park Five didn't do it. They were exonerated in 2002.

Yusef Salaam, one of the Exonerated Five, and now a New York City Council member, is here with me, tonight.

And I'm so glad you're here.

Because as someone who knows what it's like, for Donald Trump, to attack you. I mean, you were 16-years-old, at the time, I should remind everyone. What's it like to see him doing what he's doing now, 35 years later?

YUSEF SALAAM, MEMBER, "EXONERATED FIVE," NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: When I think about a person, like Donald Trump, who is using his power to influence judgment. I follow a faith, as a Muslim, that tells us that we shouldn't use our power to influence judgment.

And here it is, 35 years ago for me, 1989, what he did, placing that ad in New York City's newspapers, had a domino effect where people, the way I describe it really is that it was a whisper into the darkest enclaves of society, for them to do to us what they had done to Emmett Till. We have a long history of oppression in this country, when it comes to Black people in general.

And when I think about a person, like Donald Trump, who's in power, who's trying to use influence, his influence, to affect the outcome of elections, to be a person, who says, look at this shiny apple and that'd be a sneaker, or any of the other things? That whisper, that influence that causes people to say, well, I'll take care of it, and hope, and I'm saying the people that do this hope that they will garner the favor of a president that is moving tyrannical like that.

COLLINS: And you talked about in that moment how he was, it felt like he was kind of directing people toward you. And you were scared. You were at home. You're with your families. You're 16-years-old.

I mean, you brought this letter tonight that you got--

SALAAM: Right.

COLLINS: --from an anonymous person.

Could you just read it for me, to share what someone said to you?

SALAAM: I carry this with me as a reminder that I can't live in fear. I have to live full, so that I can die empty.

But this letter right here says, the Lord will punish Yusef, for what he did to that poor, defenseless girl. And then directing their attention to my mother, you will also be punished for raising such an animal. He does not deserve to live and neither do you.

Folks sent this to us. They sent us letters like this. I have a whole billfold full of them. And it was all on the heels of that ad that Donald Trump placed in New York City's newspapers.


Even folks like Pat Buchanan said, well, let's just take Korey Wise, and hang him from a tree in Central Park. And he was urging us to do this by June 1st.

COLLINS: And they sent that to your house?


COLLINS: I mean, it makes your stomach turn, to think of you, as a 16- year-old, knowing you didn't do this, reading that, and for your mom to have to read that.

SALAAM: The worst part is that my mother did read this, and she kept this away from me. I didn't even know this was in my apartment, for the whole time that I was in prison. I came home to a box of letters that I had sent my mother. And attached to them, was a little stack of mail that contained all of these letters.

And as I read them, the first thing I thought was how strong my mother could have been, to still continue forward, unafraid, unapologetic, standing up for herself, standing up for me, standing up for my brother, and my sister. And she's always been like that.

And I think that that's the real strength of what these types of things potentially can do. But when you push back, that fear that they're trying to posit inside of you is false evidence appearing real.

COLLINS: And it must make you, I mean, to think of the judge's daughter here. She's worked for Democratic campaigns. But she's been targeted by name, by Donald Trump, as you all were as well.

I mean, I just -- there was this moment, from Trump, back then, as a businessman, and I just want to remind people, the kind of things that he was saying, about you all.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do I have hatred for them? And I said, look, this woman was raped, mugged, and thrown off a building. Thrown off a building, on top of everything else. She's virtually -- I mean, she's got some major problems to put it mildly.

I said, of course, I hate these people. And let's all hate these people, because maybe hate is what we need, if we're going to get something done.


COLLINS: I think just listening that -- to that, I think of the power he had then, now the influence as this, big-shot business guy in New York, but to now, I mean, he's a former President, who may be president again.

SALAAM: Wow. I'm lost for words. But unfortunately, and I hate to say this, this is as American as apple pie. This is America.

When we look at the history of America, when we look at the fact that good people have tried to advance us, into becoming a United States of America? And there are people that continue to divide us, that continue to make sure that even though we're in the melting pot of the kaleidoscope of the human family, that there's great opportunity here for us to be able to thrive.

But yet, oppression keeps the foot or the knee or the hand around our necks, disallowing us to really reach the full potential.

When people use their influence and power, to keep people afraid, to even stand up or say anything, and even directing that vitriol at their family members, who have nothing to do with anything associated with the judgment? This is where the real problem lies.

And I think we need more good people to do the right thing, to ensure, in fact, and really to know that you will be protected, by the hedge of God, that you are here to do a very specific thing.

And indeed, even in a country that says you're innocent until proven guilty, I didn't get that opportunity. And so, when I talked about Donald Trump, hoping that he received all of the legal remedies associated with law, I talked about what I didn't receive, hoping that he would go through the process and get all that he is justly due.

COLLINS: You talk about people speaking out.

Do you think Judge Reggie Walton, by coming out, and doing something that no federal judge really ever does, and just talking about the threats, and that they're real, and that his fear was, he said any reasonable-thinking person with the -- would appreciate the impact that rhetoric, like what Trump is using has on people.

SALAAM: This is not a game, you know? At the end of the day, for a person to be as courageous as he, to stand up and talk about what's at stake.

We need to understand as we are laypeople watching this. This is almost like a TV show, a program. But the truth of the matter is that we are watching this, and at the same time we are seeing someone courageous say, this is what -- this is what we're facing every day, when we try to uphold the law.


There are so many people, who are trying to keep us in the dark. But that true fight that we're fighting is against spiritual wickedness, in high and low places. And so, we have to continue to just try to add more light, so that that darkness dissipates. That's what this is all about.

COLLINS: Yusef Salaam, I always appreciate hearing from you.

SALAAM: My pleasure.

COLLINS: Thank you, for coming on to put that in perspective for us.

SALAAM: Thank you as well.

COLLINS: We'll have much more on this, ahead, and really what this moment means, in a historical sense, after this.

Plus, Marine veteran, Trevor Reed, is also going to join us. He's a former Russian detainee as well. He'll talk about the fight to bring home, the American journalist, Evan Gershkovich, who has now been wrongfully detained in Russia, for exactly one year.



COLLINS: We've been reflecting, tonight, about the state of our democracy, and those warnings, from a sitting federal judge about how former President Trump could upend it.

I want to turn now to presidential historian, Mark Updegrove, to shed light on just what this moment means, how historic it is. And, Mark, it's great to have you here, to just kind of look at this moment, where we're seeing a former President, the presumptive nominee, who obviously could easily win back the White House, and how he's targeting this judge, and more importantly, the judge's daughter that we've been talking about, in this case.

I wonder if any of this, based on what you look at in the past, if any of it surprises you.

MARK UPDEGROVE, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LBJ FOUNDATION: Well, it's shocking on its face, but it's not surprising, if you know the behavior of Donald Trump, Kaitlan. I mean, this is somebody, who employs tactics to his own end. He has poised these scorched-earth tactics, when they suit him.

James Comey, when he was fired as FBI Director by Trump, early in Trump's term, likened Trump to a mob boss. And this is the kind of behavior we see, not from a President or a former President, but from a mafia boss. I mean, it's something you see in a movie, about the mob, not from a former President. So in that respect, it's shocking.

But we've always had demagogues rise up balefully in American life. In the 20th Century alone, we had father Charles Coughlin, and Joe McCarthy, and George Wallace.

But the difference is they didn't have the power of the presidency, and they didn't have a cult of personality surrounding them, that Donald Trump has, that almost makes him immune from criticism, at least among his base, for this kind of outrageous behavior, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Well, and the other side of that is that, as Trump is doing this, you're hearing from people we typically wouldn't hear from.

We would never hear from a sitting federal judge, to come out and say what Judge Walton said, last night, which is that these attacks, on the judiciary, aren't just happening in a vacuum that he believes it could actually upend democracy, that it could result in tyranny, if we can't have this effective judicial branch that isn't scared to do their jobs, because they're facing threats of potential physical violence.

UPDEGROVE: Well, John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers called us a nation of laws, and not men.

We live by guiding rules and regulations. That is the basis of our society. A president puts his hand on the Bible, and swears to abide by the Constitution, which is our set of rules.

So, he's absolutely right. If you don't have a respect for law in this country, you are holding our most basic democratic principles in contempt. We are a nation of laws and not men.

And Donald Trump frequently talks about abiding by law and order. But he often thumbs his nose at the law, at the rule of law, and disregards the disorder it causes, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Mark Updegrove, great to have you put this in perspective, tonight. Thank you for joining us.

UPDEGROVE: Thank you.

COLLINS: And as we talk about the importance of this moment, the fact that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, we are learning new details, tonight, about that effort, to get back in the White House, and a billionaire breakfast that that involved, and it could give Donald Trump a boost that he needs, when it comes to what he is fundraising.

We reported on Trump's private meeting, with Elon Musk, in Florida, earlier this month. You'll remember that. But what we didn't know until now was who else was there. It turns out, a whole bunch of other billionaires.

"The Washington Post" reports that they were joined by Republican megadonor, Nelson Peltz; the casino mogul, Steve Wynn; and also the former Marvel Chairman, Isaac Perlmutter.

Now, you may be wondering, why does it matter that a former President had breakfast with all these billionaires? Well, it does, because of which particular billionaires it was.

It was just three years ago, that Peltz said that the January 6 Capitol was a disgrace and that he was sorry he had ever voted for Donald Trump. Now, he tells the "Financial Times," he'll probably vote for him in November.

He's not the only one. There are also a handful of other billionaires, according to "The Washington Post," in their new report, who are coming around on Trump, quietly throwing their support, but more importantly, their money, behind the former President.

I want to bring in CNN Political Commentator, Van Jones, who worked in the Obama administration; and CNN's Senior Political Commentator, Scott Jennings, who was a Senior Adviser to Mitch McConnell.

And Scott, it does speak to the moment of what we are watching, this political comeback of Donald Trump's.



But I hate to break it to you guys. It's not just billionaires. I mean, if you look at the polling, on what people say, whether they approve of Donald Trump's job versus Joe Biden's job in office, Donald Trump is in positive territory. People remember his years, fondly, because they're comparing it to Joe Biden's administration.

And I think what's happening with these billionaires, and other Republicans and donors, is that they had no idea that Joe Biden was going to run an administration, like this. He ran a campaign as a moderate dealmaker, a transformational or transitional figure. And he's turned out to be a real ultra-progressive president, probably the most liberal progressive president we've ever had.

So, I think that's why you're seeing people return to the fold for Donald Trump, right now.

COLLINS: Well, but quickly on that, Scott. None of us are billionaires on this panel that I'm aware of, at least. But the sense that they're doing it so quietly, don't you think it's also that they're just really wealthy, and they want to be close to whoever's in power, because it will affect them and their money potentially?

JENNINGS: Sure. I mean, I assume they're like any other -- by the way, Van's closest, if you're keeping score at home, of billionaires (ph).

But I assume they're like any other American voter. They're looking at this administration, and saying, none of this is good for me. And maybe they're thinking it's not good for the country. And so, they, like the rest of us, are probably casting around, for which politician might be giving them the best deal, based on what policy actions they would take.

So, I cannot underscore enough, though. There are Republicans, who are deeply unsatisfied with Trump, after January 6th, who are coming, this is happening across the board, who are coming back around, based on what they've seen out of Biden. It is Biden's fault, for being too ultra-progressive, and not being a more middle-of-the-road president.

COLLINS: Van, what do you make of all this?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. I just -- I love my brother Scott. I just I see it very differently. I don't know what ultra-liberal president he's talking about.

You have a bipartisan infrastructure bill, the CHIPS Act, to keep China from destroying our technology capability, making sure we're strong here. I mean, which particular bill are you talking about? That most of them were passed on a bipartisan basis.

And by the way, the economy feels bad for most people, because food prices are stuck up too high, and housing is too high. But the unemployment rate is low. Gas prices are comparatively low. The stock market is up.

Like, I don't know, this idea that we're living through some hellscape, with this crazy liberal president, and before with Donald Trump, everything was so wonderful? I just don't -- we're living in different realities.

I remember everybody waking up, afraid to check their phone every morning, because Donald Trump was going to do something else, terrifying, or crazy, or norm-busting. And I also remember him dropping the ball, in the middle of the pandemic, and putting us into one of the worst recessions we've ever had.

So, I don't know why these billionaires are doing what they're doing. I will say this. Donald Trump's ability, to consolidate the support

he's consolidating, should scare the crap out of everybody. Because you -- we've just spent the first 26 minutes of this show, laying out a mobster-style approach to power, on behalf of this person.

And when he gets power again, none of the people who are around him, right now, will be safe. Ask the billionaires who supported Putin, and who wound up in all kind of trouble.

This is a trouble -- troublesome -- I had to defend my president. I had to defend our president. But this is a troublesome development. Some billionaires have -- more concerned about their economic value than their democratic values.

COLLINS: Well, Van, I mean, on that note, and what you just laid out?

And Scott, I want to get your take on this too.

But Van, first to you, "The Washington Post," or excuse me, "Politico," Jonathan Martin is reporting that in this moment, all of the people who, the Republicans, who are not voting for Donald Trump that are not supporting him, and have made very clear, including on this show that they will not be voting for him in November? Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, Susan Collins, Larry Hogan, Chris Christie, George W. Bush, none of them have heard from Joe Biden.

Why is that? Do you think he should reach out to them?

JONES: Well, if he hasn't, I would call that political malpractice. We need the biggest broadest tent possible.

The pro-democracy forces, the anti-authoritarian forces, include Republicans, Independent, Green Party, Libertarians, Democrats, and further to the left and Democrats, all have an interest in making sure we don't have an authoritarian in the White House.

And so, if Biden has not reached out to them, look, it's still -- it's still early in the night. I hope he'll pick up the phone and do it right now.

COLLINS: Scott, what do you think?

JENNINGS: I think everything Joe Biden does is aimed at Democrats, or people, who consider themselves to be more liberal than Democrats.

I think he does very little to nothing, to aim at the middle of the country, or the center-right that you're talking about that could probably be had. He didn't do it in the State of the Union. They don't do it in their campaign messaging. Maybe they'll get there someday. But I don't see evidence of it so far.

COLLINS: We'll see what the progressive -- I mean, the progressives would agree -- would disagree with you on that. But we'll see how this all shakes out.

Van Jones, Scott Jennings, as always, great to have you on. Let me know when you become a billionaire.


Other than that, moving on to our other big story of today. Today's important. The shirt that I'm wearing is a shirt that I'm wearing for a reason, because today marks one year, since Evan Gershkovich has been Putin's prisoner. He's an American journalist. And we are now marking this grim milestone.

Very few people know what he is going through, what it is like. But our next guest does. We'll hear from Trevor Reed, in just a moment.


COLLINS: Vladimir Putin is still trying to blame Ukraine, tonight, for last week's terror attack that killed at least 144 people, near Moscow.

Just today, Russia's Investigative Committee accused Kyiv, of promising a reward, to those who committed this attack. Moscow has been peddling that narrative that Ukraine was involved, without offering any evidence, I should note.


And as Putin has been ramping up his war effort, today also has another milestone. Marks one year since "The Wall Street Journal" reporter, Evan Gershkovich, was detained, in Russia, on espionage charges that the U.S. State Department says are baseless, and fabricated.

"The Journal" today, paying tribute to its reporter, leaving an empty space on its front page today, for Evan and his stolen stories.

My next guest is really the only person, who can talk about both of these topics, Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine, who was detained in a Russian prison for three years, and now is thankfully back in the United States.

And Trevor, I mean, you know what it's like. You have this idea. And you're just you're one of these few people, who has experienced this personally. And I wonder what -- how you're kind of reflecting on this one year of Evan being wrongfully detained.

TREVOR REED, FORMER U.S. MARINE IMPRISONED IN RUSSIA FOR THREE YEARS: Yes, I think the first year of detention is probably one of the most difficult.

The first year that you're in there, you're kind of being bombarded with, with all these different experiences, from this kind of denial that you have, that it's actually happening, trying to organize and speak to your family, to the U.S. State Department, figuring out how to communicate, how to talk to the other prisoners, learning how the administration works. So, there's a lot that that you go through in that first year. COLLINS: Well, and we were at "The Wall Street Journal," their newsroom, their bureau, here in New York, yesterday, talking to their journalists, and just how they're processing it.

And one of the parts of this, when you read Evan's reporting that he did, for "The Moscow Times," he talked about people who are being held, getting their sentences extended by 15 days, by 30 days, and kind of the mental punishment, you go through, of not knowing how long it's going to be extended the next time.

REED: Right. So, at the beginning, there, when you're in the, they call it the Sledstvenniy Izolator (ph), which means like the investigation isolator, basically, your pretrial detention facility, you're being constantly, every month, at the beginning, sent back to court, to go have your time in prison extended.

There's a chance, in some of those courts, that you could be given house arrest or bail. But it's all a facade. So, unless you're someone, who has an incredible amount of money, to bribe the prosecutor, or the judges with, pretty much no one is given house arrest or bail.

So, they have that in their system, to kind of show that they have a working judicial system. But it's a facade.

COLLINS: Well, and when you're not in that courtroom? He's in prison. And you spent a few days in the prison that he is being held in. And you described it once as the most sinister, of all of the six prisons that you were in. I mean, what is it like inside of there?

REED: So the conditions, I would say, in Lefortovo Prison were probably a little bit better than a lot of the other prisons that I was in. But the atmosphere is completely different there.

So, that is an FSB prison, which is completely locked down. If you leave the cell, they've made sure that all of the other cells, in the entire prison, are closed, so that you don't ever have any contact with any other prisoners, you don't ever see another prisoner.

When you're taken out of the cell, to go up to the top floor, to do your, you know, your one-hour walk, around in a circle inside of another cell, there's no way to communicate with the other prisoners there.

So, unless you've been given a cellmate, or something like that, very little communication with other human beings. The guards are not going to talk to you. The contractors, who deliver food are not going to talk to you. And they censor all of your mail there. So, all of that stuff is strictly controlled.

COLLINS: As someone, who knows what it's like for -- for your parents -- we know your parents, the anguish that they were in, as they waited for the Biden administration, and for your release to be negotiated. I mean, what would you say, like what's your message to the White House about what Evan's living through, and the message to keep trying, basically? [21:40:00]

REED: I would say that I understand that these types of things can be difficult. From a political perspective, obviously, you're going to receive criticism either way. If you do decide to do something, and how, people are going to criticize you. If you don't, people are going to criticize you. But I think it comes down to making the ethical decision.

And getting Evan out of there, getting Paul Whelan out who's been in there now for five years and three months, and lots of other Americans, who are wrongfully detained, I think that's not only the ethically correct thing to do. But that's also a duty that we have, as an American. And as the President of the United States, I think, that's something especially important.

President Biden made the right decision, to get me out of there. I know that was tough, to make that decision. But I think he needs to continue to do that. And if he needs to impose costs, on Russia, for taking hostages, do that, by all means, but still work on getting Americans home.

COLLINS: Trevor Reed, always grateful for your time.

REED: Thank you.

COLLINS: Of course, we here, at CNN, agree with "The Wall Street Journal" that journalism is not a crime, and that Evan should be brought home. And we will continue to follow that story.

Ahead here tonight, we do have some major news, coming out of that fundraiser we were talking about last night, with all three presidents, former presidents, on stage. Making a joke that was teed up about Donald Trump, by Stephen Colbert. We'll tell you what it was, in a moment.



COLLINS: There's an old saying in the news business. If your mother says she loves you, check it out. Meaning that everything you hear, you shouldn't just take at face value, you should double- and triple- check to make sure it's true.

When you hear about Donald Trump's golf prowess?


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Donald Trump, as far as we can tell, has just been trying to win a third championship at his own golf course.


COLBERT: My question to you, sir, can voters trust a presidential candidate, who has not won a single Trump International Golf Club trophy?


COLBERT: At long last, sir, have you no chip shot?



BIDEN: I'd be happy to play. I told him once before, when he came into the Oval when he was being -- before he got sworn in. I said, I'll give you three strokes if you carry your own bag.



COLLINS: Stephen Colbert, and President Biden there, making -- poking fun at Trump's expense, last night, at that star-studded fundraiser, here in New York. The media wasn't allowed in. But the Biden campaign made sure that that moment got out.

Joining me now is a man, who wrote the book about Trump's golfing etiquette, or maybe he would say, lack thereof. "Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump." And sportswriter, Rick Reilly, joins me now.

And Rick, I mean, you have reported extensively, on Trump's golf game. Can you just remind us what it's like to be on the golf course with him?

RICK REILLY, SPORTSWRITER, AUTHOR, "COMMANDER IN CHEAT: HOW GOLF EXPLAINS TRUMP": Well, his -- he jerry-rigs his golf cart, so it goes three times as fast as yours. And there's -- that's how he gets ahead of you, by 200 yards, which allows him to kick it, oozle it, set it up.

He has these green tees that when he's in the rough, he literally tees it up in the rough, which is it's so far out of the realm of the rules. So, he's always way ahead.

He took with me the one time, seven Mulligans, and to give me chip-in, which I've never heard of. And then, you always lose to him. Even though you have no idea--


REILLY: --what you just went through.

COLLINS: You said you never heard of what?

REILLY: Sure was involved (ph).

COLLINS: You never heard of what that he does?

REILLY: He -- so, when you play golf? You tee up the ball on the tee box, right? COLLINS: Yes.

REILLY: Well, he orders a thousands of these green long green teas, so his caddies tee up his balls, in the rough. So, that looks like he just hit a great shot out of the rough. But there's actually a tee there, I mean, the lengths.

The guy's diabolical. I've never heard of some of the things he does to cheat. For instance, he says he's won 23 Club championships. Well, do you remember that time he went to Diamond and Silk's funeral? I think it was in Alabama or something. It was a two-day tournament going on.

COLLINS: North Carolina, I think.

REILLY: Thank you. It was a two-day tournament going on in Florida. He missed one of the days. He came back, said he won the two-day tournament. And they said, how? And he said, well, I put in a really strong round, earlier in the week. I mean?

COLLINS: I mean.

REILLY: And it's don't care about politics much. But I care about the game of golf. And he's leaving a big orange stain, on the golf. And I'm afraid people are just going to turn away from it, and think we all cheat. We don't cheat. This guy cheats.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, what about the other--

REILLY: He cheats like--

COLLINS: What about the other 22?

REILLY: He blames the warden (ph).

COLLINS: What about the other 22 championships?

REILLY: OK. He told me how he won 12 of them. He said, what I do is when I buy a new course, I play the first round by myself. And then, I'm the club champion. How do you beat that?

He won one Club Championship, Kaitlan. When he was in North Korea, they held one back in America. And some guy won it. And Trump sees it a month later, and says, well, you didn't beat me, so you're not the champ. And suddenly, he was the champ.

One time, he called in a score from Philly, to a tournament in -- he was having at Bedminster, and decided he was the champ.

One time he walked in, and missed the tournament completely. He looked at the guy, who had won on the trophy board, said, ah, I beat that guy all the time. And they had to take this poor guy's name off and put his up.



REILLY: I mean, it's nuts.

COLLINS: --you're doubtful that he's winning championships beating golfers, who are in their 20s and 30s when he's in his late 70s now?

REILLY: Am I doubtful? I wrote a whole book about it. I couldn't find one single tournament that wasn't a complete sham.

Now, just so you know, he's never won a tournament at a course that he didn't won (ph) right? So, he's played in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He played in the Lake Tahoe Celebrity Championship.

COLLINS: Rick Reilly.

REILLY: He's never -- he's never come close to winning a game, oh.

COLLINS: We -- unfortunately, we're out of time. We're going to bring you back to talk more about those other 10 or so championships, when we get to.

Rick Reilly, as always, thank you so much.

Up next here for us, a fascinating new memoir that is going to be from a very familiar face. It reveals all kinds of raw and in surprising details. You won't want to miss it.



COLLINS: From the dangerous back alleys of the punk rock scene, filled with menacing skinheads, and dark corners and spots where you would really not want to use the bathroom, back in the 1980s, in New York City, comes a new book, detailing a young woman's exploration into all things sex, drugs, and punk.

The author of that book is none other than CNN Anchor, Alisyn Camerota. It is called "Combat Love." And she does not spare a single detail, about a life that you truly have to read to believe. And she joins me now.

I mean, this is not your average memoir, certainly not your average cable-news-anchor memoir.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, AUTHOR, "COMBAT LOVE": No, it's not. Really, I, in fact, I make that clear in the intro. This is not -- if you're expecting journalism, and my different sit-downs with different newsmakers, this is not it.

I really did want to peel back the curtain, and I think I did that because it's pretty raw and personal, on how I became this person. The seeds that were planted in a kind of bumpy path, during my turbulent teenage years that allowed me, I think, to have this journalism career, and to have the thick skin that I have developed.

COLLINS: Well, it kind of helped you fare better in cable news.

CAMEROTA: I think so.


CAMEROTA: I mean, I think so. Like, for instance, you have a really tough skin. I would love to know what the formative experiences were, that allowed you to be, so great in a confrontational interview.

I feel like I developed a lot of stuff, as a teenager, that allowed me to interview murderers, in prisons, and rapists, in their jail cells, as well as slippery politicians, and everybody else, heads of state. And I think that I do trace it back to those years, when I was fending for myself, as a teenager.

COLLINS: Well, and in those years, when you're fending for yourself, I mean, you're going -- you're following the band, Shrapnel. That was my one obsession, when reading this book. I mean, what was--

CAMEROTA: Mine too.

COLLINS: What was your obsession with Shrapnel? Tell us about it.

CAMEROTA: Oh, where do I begin? I mean?

COLLINS: Shrapnel's a band, for people who don't know.

CAMEROTA: Shrapnel was my local hometown band, OK? So, from Shrewsbury, New Jersey, it's two square miles. So, we all knew each other. These were basically the older brothers of my friends, OK? And they were so electric and so charismatic, and the band was so great. And I loved their songs.

So, it wasn't really that I was into punk rock. I was into Shrapnel. And along with Shrapnel came this entire punk rock CBGB's milieu that I entered at a very young age.

COLLINS: When you wrote this book, though, I mean, there's a lot of, this cool scene, and you're coming of age. But you're also 16. And that's a tender age. And it's frightening, some of the experiences you read through, when you read through the lens of that should not be something a 16-year-old is experiencing.

CAMEROTA: For sure. The 80s were a particularly free range un-parented time. I wasn't the only person who was semi-parented, or un-parented. There were a lot of us. But I was, I would say, an extreme.

So, I was the only child of divorced, distracted parents, who had their own things going on. And I was left to kind of roam around with my band of other music-loving teenagers. And we were definitely in dicey situations, in the Bowery, in New York, outside of CBGB, or just even in our hometown, doing things that we shouldn't have been doing.

Personally, I feel that the pendulum has swung too far to the point, where we're now helicopter-parenting all of our teenagers, and bubble- wrapping them. But there has to be a happy medium, because I was at the other extreme of it.

COLLINS: And you write about your mom. I mean, she was moving you around a lot. And finally at 16, you were like, I can't move around. And you write about how she wanted you to wait until she was dead, to write this book. But you actually ended up interviewing her--


COLLINS: --as you wrote it. How was that?

CAMEROTA: I went back and interviewed every primary person, in the book, because I'm a journalist, and because I didn't want to just rely on my memory.

My mother was the toughest one, because she doesn't want all of these stories published. She's from a different generation that's not as confessional and as open, as we are.

But she has always believed in me, and she's always been a big cheerleader of mine. And so, she was very torn between wanting me to do this, and knowing that it might be a good book, and not wanting me to talk about her at all.


Ultimately, I interviewed her. And I found out what she was going through. When I was 15, she was 41. She wanted a certain path for her life. I wanted a different path for my life. And it really, I think, was healing, being able to hear her perspective, and some of the secrets that she was keeping at that time that I didn't know about.

COLLINS: Alisyn Camerota, I've always appreciated you. But reading this book, I mean, it just, it's amazing. And it's so great. I think everyone should read it. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: I really appreciate that. Thanks for reading it.

COLLINS: The book is "Combat Love." Everyone should read it. It is on sale now.

Thank you all so much, for joining us.

"LAURA COATES LIVE" starts right now.