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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump Says He'll Testify In Hush Money Trial; VP Harris: Trump "Gaslighting" Country On Abortion; Sources: U.S. Expects Iran To Carry Out Strikes Inside Israel. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 12, 2024 - 21:00   ET



GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, SENIOR FELLOW, UCLA BURKLE CENTER: I think they're going to wager that things will look different if they can become a nuclear power, and somehow that's going to keep them in place.

So, I see them trying to do something. But being sly, clever, maybe something that's semi-deniable, not giving Israel a chance to really come in there, and take out the drone factories, or the nuclear capacity that Iran is building.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: General Wesley Clark, thank you.

Jeremy Diamond, as well, thanks.

That's it for us. The news continues. Have a great weekend. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.


Donald Trump pressing his luck with the jury that will decide his fate. His historic first criminal trial set to begin 72 hours from now, as the judge overseeing it just denied another attempt to delay it.

Also, an election integrity stunt, House Speaker, Mike Johnson, making the pilgrimage, to Mar-a-Lago today, in an effort to salvage his speakership, also hyping a bill to ban non-citizens from voting in federal elections, which guess what, is already illegal.

And our source tonight is one of the most popular authors of all time, best-selling legend, James Patterson, out with a new page-turner that could help turn the page in the war on books in America.

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

The first former President in U.S. history to ever face a criminal trial is now hurtling toward it. It kicks off in just under 72 hours. And Donald Trump is totally calm, cool and collected.

Just kidding. He's absolutely steaming about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: What are you watching as jury selection begins in New York?

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. Well, you know, jury selection is largely luck. It depends who you get.

It's very unfair that I'm having a trial there. It's very unfair that we have this judge, who hates Trump, and has tremendous conflict, as you know, tremendous conflict. Nobody can believe that this judge isn't recusing himself.


COLLINS: He is right about one thing. When it comes to picking a jury, neither side knows who could end up deciding Trump's fate.

But as we sit here tonight, three days out from the trial start, Trump's legal team is asking for changes, to how those questions will be asked, as they try to determine which of the jurors can be fair.

You just heard Trump blasting Judge Juan Merchan, with these baseless accusations again.

The judge, tonight, just denied another attempt by Trump to delay the start of this trial, this time blaming excessive pretrial publicity. With that denial though, tonight, all systems appear to be a go, at the moment, for the Monday start.

One of the big questions at his news conference earlier that still stands despite the answer that you're about to hear, is will Trump himself get on the witness stand?


TRUMP: I would testify, absolutely. It's a scam. It's a scam. That's not a trial.

REPORTER: Is it risky for you to testify?

TRUMP: I'm testifying. I tell the truth. I mean, all I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there's no case. They have no case.


COLLINS: He has said before that he will testify, in other moments, the Mueller investigation, other legal issues that he's faced. We'll see if it actually happens this time because, of course, the truth now is that Trump faces the real risk of jail time, if he says anything to incriminate himself.

I'm joined here tonight by a trio of the top legal sources, all veterans of the New York legal scene, Ron Kuby, Renato Stabile, and Arthur Aidala, all here.

I kind of -- I mean, raise your hand, if you think Trump's going to actually take the stand in this.


COLLINS: Only one out of three?


STABILE: He's been -- look, he's been telling everyone that he's going to do it. He's going to have to put his money where his mouth is. And it's the one decision that his lawyers cannot control. If a criminal defendant says he's taking the stand, nobody can stop him.

KUBY: That's right. But Donald Trump has made many, many assertions about what he intends to do, what he's going to do, and indeed, what he has done, none of which are true.

And this kind of momentous decision is a decision that's going to be made at the close of the prosecution's case, not beforehand. And he almost certainly will pass up the opportunity to be cross-examined.

COLLINS: So, it could be weeks, if he does actually take the stand before we see that happen?


And I know and so does Ron, his defense attorney, Susan Necheles, she's a total veteran. She will handcuff him to the table, before she allows him to take the stand.

He took the stand in his last civil case, and the jury crushed him. They gave a $85 million judgment. So, the proof is in the pudding. He's done it once before, and it failed miserably. So, shut up and let your lawyers do the work.

COLLINS: OK. So, we'll wait to see if it happens.

What we do know is it's going to start Monday. That's what it looks like, right now. There have been 12, I guess, this is now the 13th effort, to try to get a delay from Monday. It's not working. It hasn't worked. It didn't work 12 times.

Is there anything left that they can still try to do before Monday? Or is it starting?



KUBY: Heart attack, hospitalization, a lawyer suddenly being rushed to the emergency room. I've seen it done.

COLLINS: Eclipse.

KUBY: I've never done it.


KUBY: But short of that, the trial is going to be starting.

STABILE: Well but you're going to see number 14 attempt, on Monday morning. That's going to be the first thing out of the box, because it is going to be an absolute circus outside of that courthouse.

And the first thing they're going to say to the judge is Judge, jurors have to walk through this gauntlet. They're going to be prejudiced by this atmosphere that's going on. And they're going to ask for a delay, just based on that, Monday morning.

COLLINS: And they will get it, or?

STABILE: They won't get it. But they're going to ask. And they're going to ask over and over and over again, as things happen throughout this trial.

COLLINS: So, once this jury selection gets kicked off, I mean, it seems like something that most people probably won't pay attention to. But it's actually a huge part of this trial.

KUBY: It's probably the most important part of the entire trial. And Judge Merchan is running things in a way that is extremely efficient, and will expedite jury selection.

For example, every juror is going to be asked whether, at the beginning, whether they can be fair and impartial. And anybody who says they cannot be fair and impartial just raises their hands. And those people are then excused.

So, if you call 100 jurors, and 80 of them can't be fair and impartial? Fine. You've got 20 who said that they can. Now, the fact that they say they can doesn't mean that in fact, they can be. But you already will get rid of so many people in advance, who either love Trump, or hate Trump, or don't feel that they can sit in the case.


COLLINS: Well, and one of the questions that they wanted to ask today was, you know, they wanted to ask that question separately about whether you can be fair. Do you think that's a reasonable ask of the Trump legal team?

AIDALA: Yes. But just to clarify, or just like enlighten people, how it usually works. If you -- if a juror says I can't be fair and impartial, you usually try to rehabilitate them a little bit. Well, why can't you be rehabilitate -- and why, and tell us why.

COLLINS: Oh, you still ask a follow-up question.

AIDALA: Yes. And you try to rehabilitate them, especially if it's someone, who has a background that looks suitable, to your side, whether you're the prosecutor, the defense attorney. And the judge will get involved. And sometimes, it works.

Here, it just, no, I can't be fair? Boom, you're out.

And I just spoke to people at the courthouse, right before he came on the air. They're going to have about 1,000 people that. So, to Ron Kuby--

COLLINS: Prospective jurors?

AIDALA: Prospective jurors.

So, to Ron Kuby's point, if 80 of them say I can't do it, you still have 920 behind them, to say, OK, well, who can?

And I think also something you have to look out for is who really wants to be on the trial. In other words, for the wrong reasons, who wants to be a juror? To write a book? To be sitting next to you, when the verdict comes out? And they'll be celebrities? So, that's another thing that all sides have to look at.

COLLINS: A 1,000 people ready to go? I mean, is that how many jurors normally are waiting for a trial?


COLLINS: How unusual is that?

STABILE: Oh that's -- it's highly unusual. It's probably the largest number of jurors that have ever been summoned to 100 Centre Street.

But although this -- the process will be efficient in the beginning, in terms of people raising their hands, and walking out the door, then it's going to get excruciating, because he's going to question these jurors orally, one by one. And there are a 42-question questionnaire.

Now, you would expect in a case like this, that you'd have a written questionnaire, which would probably more -- be more efficient. But some of these questions are, you know, do you belong to the Oath Keepers? Have you ever worked for the Trump Organization? Do you subscribe to Truth Social? All of those things that people aren't going to be comfortable saying in open court.

So, I think there's going to be a lot of people, raising their hands and saying, can I have the sidebar? Can I go in the back? And that presents all kinds of logistical security concerns.

COLLINS: And do they allow that if you've--

STABILE: Of course. If you want to speak privately, the judge is not going to deny something like that.

KUBY: Except--

STABILE: But then you have the Secret Service marching up, and all kinds of things happening. KUBY: The judge has already ruled, in this very elaborate ruling, that the ordinary process, they simply can't do that because of the number of people, who would be at sidebar. All of the attorneys, the prospective juror, the court reporter, the judge, the defendant, and the United States Secret Service, and they just don't have space for that.

So, it could get complicated. But it's not going to be that hard. We have picked juries for people, who are less popular in New York than Donald Trump.

COLLINS: Yes. We were just talking with, you know, about Harvey Weinstein, and someone like that going on trial.

But can I ask you quickly, though, because you know Judge Merchan.

KUBY: Yes.

COLLINS: What's it going to be like for him starting on Monday? What should we be expecting?

KUBY: First of all, Judge Merchan is a veteran of the Trump Organization trial. So, he knows the players. He knows the people. He knows Susan Necheles, one of the defense attorneys. And he brings a very understated but profound sense of dignity to the proceedings. He's very much in control.

He's not a Judge Engoron, who seems to just want to have a good time. He was, of course the one who tried the civil trial.

And he's not Judge Lewis Kaplan, in federal court, who tried to E. Jean Carroll case, he was just abrasive and bullying and nasty.


Judge Merchan brings dignity, gravitas and expects it from everyone else.

COLLINS: I mean we just talked about the scene, and I mentioned Harvey Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein was at this courthouse. John Gotti was at this courthouse. I mean, this courthouse has seen a lot, and now is about to see history.

AIDALA: Yes, and I'm going to throw a bouquet to the people, who run that courthouse. The court offices and the clerks, they are fantastic. They really are. And they do it so well. And they practiced. They've been rehearsing, who goes where.

And one point about if they have to approach the bench, there's a waiver that Donald Trump could sign, so that Trump and the Secret Service don't go and approach, if a jury wants to speak to the judge and the other parties.

When Renato and I worked on the Harvey Weinstein jury selection, it was a written questionnaire, where they then made photocopies, and both sides got photocopies. And it did go a lot -- a lot quicker. Here, it's going to be all orally. And I mean, yes, they have questions like who do you listen to in the morning on talk radio, and, you know?


AIDALA: So it'll be -- but we all agree that it's not going to be such a long jury selection.

COLLINS: Yes, you guys were taking bets, not real ones, in the green room of how many days it's going to last.

STABILE: I'm saying five days, at least.

AIDALA: I vote four.

KUBY: And I went with three.

COLLINS: OK, all right.

KUBY: All right?

COLLINS: Anything else that you're watching for?

KUBY: The winner gets invited back.

COLLINS: Yes, exactly, only the winner now. We'll have you all back.

STABILE: Look, I mean, the big thing is that the people working on this case, and I'm sure that they have jury consultants working on this case. They're going to be doing deep research on these jurors, to make sure that the answers that they're getting in court are truthful answers.

And they're not saying one thing just because they want to get on the jury. But their social media says something else, their Twitter says something else. So, that's going to be a huge factor in this jury selection.

COLLINS: It's going to be fascinating. We'll have you all back, don't worry, no matter if you're wrong. And maybe if you're not really off on the amount of days it takes.

Ron Kuby, Renato Stabile, Arthur Aidala, thank you all for being here.

Up next, the big announcement that wasn't so big, the embattled House Speaker, Mike Johnson, flew to Mar-a-Lago today, as he and Donald Trump cast more doubt, about election integrity and manufactured crisis that actually does not exist in America, proposing a law though that already does.

And after claiming that he broke Roe versus Wade, Vice President Harris agrees with Donald Trump on something. We'll tell you what they both said today, about abortion, next.


COLLINS: What you see on your screen, right now, two politicians, who tried and did not succeed in overturning the last election, holding a press conference, today, with their pitch on how to make U.S. elections secure.

Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, stood next to the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. And both pushed lies about people who aren't citizens voting in, and spoiling U.S. presidential elections.

Speaker Johnson even pitching a bill to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist. And it's a bill that he would know, would never actually make it through the Senate.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): So, what we're going to do is introduce legislation, to require that every single person, who registers to vote, in a federal election, must prove that they are an American citizen first. Have to prove it. That will be a new part of the federal law, and a very important one.


COLLINS: Here is the situation though. It's already illegal for anyone, who is not a U.S. citizen, to vote for president. There are already systems in place to make sure it doesn't happen. And decades of data proves that it practically never does, certainly nowhere near enough to impact the outcome of an election.

I want to dig into what's really going on here, with a key Republican source, who knows the truth about this issue, and the impact that lies about it can have on real people.

Gabe Sterling is the Chief Operating Officer for the Georgia Secretary of State.

Of course, everyone remembers you, Mr. Sterling, from the 2020 election, and as you were out there often putting the truth out there.

And I just wonder, I mean, do you see the point in proposing a bill like this that would prevent something that's already illegal, and also almost never happens?

GABRIEL STERLING, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER FOR THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, there's a few points about this. Everybody's kind of king of the topline of it, where he says, we're going to make it to where you have to ask on the front end.

Because you're right, it's already illegal to vote that way. But the way that the National Voter Registration Act is written, states can't ask that on the front end, except through the normal processes.

Like in Georgia, we're leading the nation, on citizenship verification, because we are a REAL ID state, and have been since 2012. Just to get a driver's license, you got to walk in there, with a passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, all those things.

So, it is a rare, rare thing. But codifying is not a bad idea, necessarily.

And one of the very specific things, the Speaker talked about was opening up the SAVE database from Homeland. We can do -- we use it on one side with the alien identification numbers, for those who can become naturalized. But we can't, and no state can use the Social Security numbers, to go the other direction.

That'd be a great election administration thing to allow. And I don't think it requires a law. I think the Biden administration could open it up right now, or a future Republican administration, or any administration, could allow that to happen. Right now, we can't do it that way. We can only do it one way.

But Georgia, again, leads the nation of this.

It's rare. It's tiny. But these elections are very close. You can see how this can be exploited.

And what I don't understand, in Georgia, we just had to beat back for the second time in two years. Most recently, two days ago, an Obama- appointed judge threw out a lawsuit, gave a directed verdict against the People for the Coalitions -- the Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda, here in Georgia, trying to get rid of our citizenship check.


Progressive groups are trying to do this. It's a real thing. That is a -- we're not making this up. We've had to beat back a Stacey Abrams lawsuit, one time, and the Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda.


STERLING: It's real.

COLLINS: But let me--

STERLING: We have cities, around the country, trying to do this.

COLLINS: But -- OK, but they're trying to do it through lawsuits. And they're not, you know, it's not just people showing up and trying to register to vote, if they're not U.S. citizens. A lot of states, you have to have a driver's license or a Social Security number.

So, the idea that a ton of people, who aren't U.S. citizens are going and voting that are coming across the southern border, and then voting and throwing our presidential elections? That's just not true. It doesn't happen.

STERLING: Oh, it's teeny -- it's teeny tiny. But my question on this is 80 percent of Americans agree it's just be illegal. This would just be belt and suspenders, if they pass a law like this. I think you're right. I think politics will kill this, although

there's some good stuff in there that would help every state in the union, red and blue, to have better cleaner lists. Georgia spends millions of dollars cleaning our lists. We got the cleanest lists in America. Other states could do this.

One of -- a great thing they could do was say, you have to use the SAVE database, and do a match through your voter registration system.

COLLINS: But here's--

STERLING: And the Feds can provide the money for the states to do that and pass that law. That'd be great.

COLLINS: It just it -- talking about it the way that it was talked about today, if you watched that, and you didn't hear a fact-check on it, or got context of what's really going on, and what actually doesn't happen, it's misleading to people. And it makes people think that there is a problem that doesn't exist here.

And I just, given what you personally went through, around the 2020 election, when you were a top state election official, I wonder what it's like for you to see a press conference being held by Donald Trump, at Mar-a-Lago, on what they call election integrity.

STERLING: Yes, and it was, again, there are parts of it that I think were good. The underlying issue we have, we're seeing it across the country in every state, whether it was 70 percent for Trump, or 70 percent for Biden, the tide is rising, again, of people denying elections.

My point is, the way you increase trust in elections is through good election administration, and transparency, and following the law and telling the truth, obviously. This is something, again, over 80 percent of Americans agree on, there shouldn't even be a fight about some of these things.

But I see the point, where people are trying to say they're trying to exploit it. My point is why don't we just take the good parts of it, and say, there's some we can all agree on. I know it's hard to say that we should be bipartisan on anything, because if Trump says something sometimes, it's obviously bad.

But I think that in reality is there's ways to bring people to the table on this, and maybe pass something that can increase people's faith in elections, and give us better elections, in terms of transparency--

COLLINS: But isn't--

STERLING: --and great voting lists.


STERLING: That's what we have to focus on. COLLINS: OK. But the reason that people have doubt in the U.S. election? And I know that I'm telling you this, and you know this. But the reason people have doubt is because they've been beat over the head, for four years, by top Republicans, who go out there and say that there are legitimate questions about the 2020 election, when there aren't.

It was a safe and secure election. Georgia, who did multiple recounts, some of them by hand, knows that better than anyone. And there is no fraud that exists. And even Speaker Johnson acknowledged that today, and said, well, we've got to stop the widespread fraud before there is widespread fraud.

But there is no widespread fraud. And I think that's why people doubt the election is because they're told, by a lot of top elected officials, that it wasn't safe and secure.

STERLING: They're lied to over and over and over again. I get it.

But maybe they would feel better -- Americans who do have doubts, maybe they would feel better, if there was a coming together on issues that we can all agree on. And then, maybe it makes those claims out there have less juice to them.

That's kind of what I'm saying here, is Democrats play into this because they start fighting it immediately. They're swinging the baseball bat. And they both are swinging the baseball bat at each other. And that makes people feel like well, they're just -- why are they fighting non-citizen voting?

Because every time I talk to a Democrat, they say we're not for non- citizen voting. And I say, well then vote to put those guardrails in place that could help us to make people believe that. And maybe that's a way we can come together.

I get, they're trying to lay a foundation for, if he loses, saying the election was stolen. I 100 percent agree with that. And I think that's true.

But why not take the card out of their deck and say, OK, fine, we'll pass this, or we'll do part of this. Like I said, there's good parts that we're talking about. And then maybe they can say, Democrats are finding all this election integrity things. And maybe, those people who are on the fence not that -- there's people with who, you know, will never believe.


STERLING: But there's a lot of people who have questions because a lot of where there's smoke, there's fire. How are we addressing those people? Because it's fair, in their heart, they believe some things, because their friends believe it and people they trust, believe it.

COLLINS: Yes, because elected officials lie to them.

STERLING: And we haven't answered enough to their satisfaction. COLLINS: Yes. It's--

STERLING: I know. And listen, I get annoyed from elected officials, who tell me all the time, I know this is not real. But my people, I'm like, you need to be a leader. And leaders tell people things they don't want to hear. That makes you a better leader, and those citizens, better citizens.


COLLINS: Gabriel Sterling, it's great to get your perspective on this. Thanks for joining.

STERLING: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: We have another Republican source here, tonight, joining us, former congressman, Adam Kinzinger.

And Congressman, I was going to start with you, on something else that happened in that press conference today.

But I just wonder what your take is on, on hearing from Gabe Sterling, again, a top election official in Georgia, in the 2020 election, who had to go out there and combat what was the lies that were being told about elections. But I just wonder what your -- what your reaction to that is?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: No, look, I think he's right in saying, look, everybody agrees, it's an 80 percent issue. I think it's probably even more than that. He makes a good point in terms of, you know, look, I think voter ID is actually a good thing. I think certifying that you're a citizen.

That said, I think we're missing the big point, which this press conference today, as you mentioned, had nothing to do with Speaker Johnson's real concern, about non-citizens voting.

They did this, so that on certain networks, we can talk about, OK, maybe it's just a voter ID thing.

But on other networks, they can point to that and say that Speaker Johnson was there, talking about election being stolen and election integrity issues. This is a wink and a nod to the people that believe the election was stolen.

That is the only reason that they did this at Mar-a-Lago today. There was no other reason, for the two of them to stand up there and talk about election integrity, except to throw shade at 2020, and continue to push the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

COLLINS: Right. I mean, we all knew that's what it was going to be, going into this, because there is no widespread fraud. There is no need for this. It's already illegal.

But I think, obviously the underlying reason is if you're watching politics in Washington, Speaker Mike Johnson has had some people, who are out for his job, right now, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman from Georgia, who has been making very clear that she doesn't support him, and she doesn't think he's doing a good job, and she would like to oust him.

And as he flew down there today, this is the vote of confidence he got from Donald Trump.


TRUMP: We're getting along very well with the Speaker. And I get along very well with Marjorie.

We have a Speaker. He was voted in. And it was a complicated process. And I think very -- it's not -- not an easy situation for any Speaker. I think he's doing a very good job. He's doing about as good as you're going to do. And I'm sure that Marjorie understands that.


COLLINS: That was notable. I mean, that assurance, as a prominent member of the House conference was trying to say that he shouldn't be in that job anymore. Donald Trump saying he should does hold weight with Republicans, as you know.

KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, look, this is, Marjorie Taylor Greene has jumped the shark. America is sick of her, honestly.

And her colleagues are sick of her. I mean, I've not talked to a single one of her colleagues, on the Republican side, and I still stay in touch with many of them, that have anything nice to say about her.

She's out there for show. She's trying to raise money. She's trying to get attention. And I think she thought that she would have people with her, in this effort, to hold this over the head of Mike Johnson.

It'll be interesting to see if in fact, the House takes up Ukraine, for instance, this coming week, which I, God, I hope they do, and they need to. Is this a way for Mike Johnson to have gone down, talked with Donald Trump, gotten his endorsement, in essence.

And now, Marjorie Taylor Greene can threaten a motion to vacate all she wants. But you have to have two, in this tight majority. If she's alone on this, they're not going to vacate the chair against Johnson, if he puts Ukraine on the floor. And frankly, the Democrats should cut a deal with him anyway, if he does.

But I think there's probably a little of that to play. We'll know next week. But certainly, for -- if you're Mike Johnson, you're happy about that press conference today.

COLLINS: Yes, we see why it happened.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger, great to have you tonight. Thank you.

KINZINGER: You bet, yes. COLLINS: And with abortion bans spreading across the nation, as we saw what happened in Arizona, this week. The Biden campaign is going on offense, dispatching Vice President Harris, who tore into Donald Trump for what he said at that press conference, accusing him of gaslighting America.

Biden team has a powerful ad that has a powerful guest. And she's going to join me. She nearly died, after she was denied care for a miscarriage, because of an abortion ban in her state. She's here, next.



COLLINS: A real split-screen on abortion, today, and for the next six months probably, as the battle over reproductive rights is taking center stage, ahead of the 2024 election.

Former President Donald Trump simultaneously calling Arizona's near- total abortion ban, from the Civil War era, inappropriate, while also urging state lawmakers to remedy the 160-year-old law, all as he is also continuing to take credit for the very reason that Arizona is in this position in the first place. The Supreme Court overturning Roe versus Wade.

When he was pressed today, on whether or not he'd sign a federal abortion ban, if he's reelected, Trump insisted that he wouldn't, because he says it's not needed anymore.


TRUMP: We don't need it any longer because we broke Roe v. Wade.

And what we did was give it back to the states. And now, the states are working their way through it. And you're going to -- you're having some very, very beautiful harmony, to be honest with you.


COLLINS: At harmony quiet, given there are dozens of lawsuits, challenging abortion laws, across the country, and also women living in fear and limbo, really every single day.

And compare all of this to how the Biden campaign was handling it today. The Biden campaign, on offense, as they dispatched Vice President Kamala Harris, to issue this warning, from Arizona.



KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Trump wants us to believe he will not sign a national ban. Enough with the gaslighting.


HARRIS: Enough with the gaslighting.


HARRIS: We all know if Donald Trump gets the chance, he will sign a national abortion ban. And how do we know? Just look at his record.


COLLINS: The Biden campaign, in addition to doing things, like sending out the Vice President, is airing two new ads, in Arizona, to highlight how these anti-abortion policies are putting women's lives at risk.

One of the ads features my next guest, a Texas woman, who nearly died twice, after she was denied care for a miscarriage, because of her state's abortion ban.

As you'll see in the ad, Amanda Zurawski is still mourning the loss the baby that she wanted to name Willow.


AMANDA ZURAWSKI, FEATURED IN NEW BIDEN CAMPAIGN AD AFTER BEING DENIED AN ABORTION: Here's her little baby book. This was the outfit that she was going to maybe wear home from the hospital. All of these. This is the blanket that she would be in. Her little footprints.



COLLINS: And Amanda Zurawski joins me now.

And Amanda, it's -- I can't even imagine first off how hard it is to rewatch that ad, let alone to have done it, and to be in it, and to be out here publicly talking about it. I mean, as the ad notes, you went into septic shock. Things were so bad.

And just given that, what is it that drives you to come out, and to share your story, and to talk about it like you are?

ZURAWSKI: Well, thank you for having me. And thank you for acknowledging the difficulty, because it's not easy to watch it. I've seen it several times. And it's still really difficult.

But what happened to me was barbaric. And it was completely preventable. It didn't need to happen. It was avoidable. And I think one of my greatest fears is that what happened to me will happen to other people.

And so, as difficult as it is for me to relive that over and over again, there's nothing more important to me, right now, than making sure that we fix the state of reproductive rights, in our country, so that this doesn't continue to happen to other people. COLLINS: Well, and I know you've been out on the campaign trail, for President Biden. And I imagine you've probably been hearing from a lot of people, who see your story, and they have a similar story, or they are scared that they could be that woman going through what you went through.

ZURAWSKI: You're absolutely right. Every time I talk about this, every time I do an event, on the campaign trail or otherwise, I hear from so many people, who either have had a very similar experience, or they know someone who has, or they're afraid they're going to.

This is impacting everyone, across the country. And I met a woman, in North Carolina, just this week, who had a very similar story to me. She turns 80, I think she said, next week. And she had an abortion--


ZURAWSKI: Yes, she had an abortion pre-Roe. So, it was illegal. But she went into septic shock, and nearly died just like I did.

And so, when I hear these stories, I realize, unfortunately, mine is not uncommon anymore. And if Trump is reelected, this is going to be the norm in our country. And so, when I hear other people's stories, and when I meet other people in this community, that's what really, really keeps me going.

COLLINS: I mean, it must be remarkable too, to hear from someone, in our generation, to hear your story. But then to hear something, an 80- year-old woman saying, yes, I went through something like that, too.

ZURAWSKI: It's really jarring. Because you think we've come a long way since the 50s and the 60s. But it seems to me certainly like we're going back in time.

And the thing that is especially jarring to me is thinking about the generation in between, right? My mom, my mother-in-law, they had more rights than we do. And that's insane to me. We are literally going back in time.

COLLINS: When you hear former President Trump, today, as we just did in that sound bite, insisting he won't sign a federal abortion ban, if he's reelected? I mean, do you -- do you believe him?


ZURAWSKI: No, of course not. He is a liar. We know that. He's a proven liar, time and time again. He has said that he would support and sign a national abortion ban. All you have to look at, in order to know how he feels about the situation, is his track record. It speaks for itself.

COLLINS: Well, what about when you hear from other -- I mean, Arizona has been the focus this week. And Kari Lake is one of these politicians, who previously was on the record, voicing support for the law that is now going to be in place, this Civil War-era abortion ban, near-total abortion ban. But now she's saying, that's not how I feel, I oppose this.

I mean, what are -- what are voters supposed to do, in a situation, where they're hearing from someone who says, well, now I agree with how you feel, but a year ago, I didn't?

ZURAWSKI: Well, I think voters need to not fall for, as Kamala Harris said, the gaslighting, and not fall for the smoke and mirrors show that Republicans are now putting on, because they know that this is a key issue.

They know that this is a critical aspect of this year's election. And they know that most voters don't agree with these barbaric near-total abortion bans. And so, they're trying to walk both sides of the line, when in reality in the past, they have already said, the extremists, that they support these bans.

And so, I encourage voters to really educate themselves, and don't fall for the smoke and mirrors, because that's what it is. It's all for show.

COLLINS: Amanda Zurawski, it's great to talk to you. Thank you for joining me, tonight.

ZURAWSKI: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate you.

COLLINS: We are getting some breaking news this hour, as sources are telling us here at CNN that the U.S. expects Iran will carry out direct strikes, against targets inside of Israel.

We're gathering details right now. We'll have more with our sources, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: Back with the breaking news, tonight, as we are now learning, from senior administration officials, that the U.S. expects Iran will carry out strikes, against multiple targets inside of Israel, in retaliation for Israel's strike, last week, in Damascus, that killed senior Iranian commanders.

Here tonight, retired Air Force Colonel and CNN Military Analyst, Cedric Leighton.

And just to hear this that Iranian proxies could also be involved, in these expected attacks on Israel directly, what do you make of that?


Now, I think one of the key things here is that the Iranians are going to use as much of their force that they can, in other words, both the proxies and possibly some of their own forces, as specifically the Revolutionary Guards that are forward-deployed in places like Syria and Lebanon, and perhaps other areas. And they would be able to do some major damage, if they were able to synchronize their operations with Hezbollah, in the area with Lebanon and Israel.

And then, as well, the possibility exists that they might use Jordanian soil to mount attacks as well. Now the Jordanians will not give approval for that. But the Iranians might use that anyway.

So, this is the kind of thing that Israel has to deal with, potentially, that they should be ready for it. But it is a definite escalation, if it does come out that the -- that Iran will actually use its own soil, and its own troops, for these retaliatory strikes.

COLLINS: I mean, the U.S. observed Iran already, according to our reporting today, readying as many as a 100 cruise missiles. I mean, what's this actually going to look like, when it seems as if it's imminent?

LEIGHTON: Yes. And what they're going to try to do is overwhelm the Israeli defense systems. We've heard a lot about the Iron Dome. There's also a system called Arrow that is designed to actually prevent ballistic missiles from coming into Israeli airspace, and doing damage in Israel.

So, the Israelis are going to have to make sure that these systems are ready to go. Of course, they also have the Patriot system. And that's the kind of thing that is going to, I think, play a large role.

It's going to be in essence a war of drone swarms, and concentrated missile attacks, against certain targets, if it goes the way we think it will, right now. And that also means that it's more of air defense systems. So, that would be the kind of thing that we could see.

And these kinds of battles could be of very short duration, or they could foretell a larger, more involved conflict between both Iran and Israel.

COLLINS: Yes. We'll be watching this closely. Obviously, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the Situation Room, all watching this.

Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you for hopping on with us, on this breaking news.

We will continue to monitor this story. And if there are any more developments, in this hour, we will bring them to you.

As we continue to wait for that though, just in the next few weeks, the other thing we've been watching and paying very close attention to, the Supreme Court. They are going to be deciding a handful of high-profile cases that have profound consequences for all Americans.

Whether or not Donald Trump is immune from prosecution, if he can face charges in his federal trials? Whether prosecutors went too far in charging some of the January 6 rioters? And also, the availability of Mifepristone, a primary drug that is being used, across the U.S., by many women for medication abortions. I want to bring in my inside source, tonight, Joan Biskupic, who is also CNN's Senior Supreme Court Analyst, and the author of the excellent book, "Nine Black Robes: Inside the Supreme Court's Drive to the Right and Its Historic Consequences," out in paperback on April 16th, if you don't already own it, like I do.

And Joan, you are one of the best Supreme Court reporters and observers that I know. And ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, we've seen everything playing out, like with Arizona this week.

Do you think the justices were at all bracing for that? Did they have an understanding of what it was going to look like?



First of all, it's great to see you.

But remember, it was a bare five justice majority that reversed Roe v. Wade. So, they were bound and determined, and they reached out to even handle that decision, when it was just a 15-week ban in front of them. So, I think the determination of the majority was there, irrespective of what they might have seen in the future.

That said, Brett Kavanaugh, who was a key fifth vote, wrote a separate statement, Kaitlan, talking about how it would now be left to the people, and their elected representatives, and that judges would no longer be put in the position of making these difficult policy decisions.

But look, Arizona was a group of judges who did that. And the Mifepristone abortion medication case that you referred to, it's a group of federal judges, who have tried to restrict that. So, what Brett Kavanaugh at least envisioned hasn't come to pass.

COLLINS: Yes. And we've seen it the Alabama State Supreme Court.

BISKUPIC: Exactly.

COLLINS: With IVF, and that matter as well.

Speaking of Brett Kavanaugh, there's a key moment in your book that stood out to me, when I first read it, from 2018, where Trump held the swearing-in ceremony, for Brett Kavanaugh. I was covering the White House at that time.


COLLINS: I remember this very well.


COLLINS: Every single Supreme Court Justice attended, and their names were read aloud.

And when you look at that moment now, and how unusual that is, I wonder what's telling to you about it?

BISKUPIC: A couple things. First of all, the justices themselves were a little bit tricked into attending. They had been given a bit of a guarantee, from the White House Counsel's Office, that it wouldn't have been an overly political event. And it turned out to be extremely political.

But when Donald Trump read all their names individually, it was almost as if he was holding them up as blue ribbons.

And he always acted as if the court was his. Remember, in the early days of his administration, when he lost in lower courts, on some policy issues, he'd say, wait till we get to the Supreme Court.

But I have to say, Kaitlan, just last Monday, when Donald Trump announced his new abortion position, saying he wanted to leave it, for sure, to the states. At the end of that announcement, in that video, he again thanks the justices individually, by name who voted to undercut Roe v. Wade, and thanks the justices as if it were done for him. And I think that we're just going to see more of that.

The key question will be is when the justices take up cases that are tied to Donald Trump, in upcoming weeks, how much he will be able to thank them?

COLLINS: Yes. And in two weeks from now, we'll listen to them, talk about, hear his immunity arguments and, of course, from prosecutors.


COLLINS: Joan Biskupic, the book is the perfect preparation for those hearings. Everyone should read it. It is "Nine Black Robes." Thank you for coming on tonight.

BISKUPIC: Sure. Thank you.

COLLINS: And of course, Joan is not the only best-selling author, who is here.

Up next, James Patterson is out with a new book of his that has a very personal mission, and about something we've covered here a lot at THE SOURCE, to celebrate what has been coming under increasing attack, here in the U.S.



COLLINS: Here's a number that's hard to believe. Last year, Americans tried to ban more book titles than the U.S. ever has before, in this fast-growing movement that we've been covering here, banning certain books based on claims that they are inappropriate for children. That's why my next guest, the best-selling author, James Patterson says, there has never been a more important time to celebrate booksellers and librarians. Period.

His new book that is out this week, "The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians," and it is excellent.

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

Because we are seeing this moment that we've ever been covering in my hometown in Alabama--


COLLINS: --of booksellers, librarians been caught in the middle of this fight. And I wonder what it's like for you to see that.

PATTERSON: It's just very sad.

I wonder, Kaitlan, if you would be here in your job, if it wasn't for your experience, in your hometown, in a library.

And I don't think I would be here, if it wasn't for my experience, in my small town in Upstate New York, in a library. My mother was a teacher. But she worked in the libraries on Saturday.

So, I'm all in on librarians and booksellers. They're very good people. They're trying to do the right thing. And they're being beaten up now, which is really sad. And it's just crazy.

COLLINS: What was so special for you about going to the library growing up?

PATTERSON: Just learning, learning how to use a library, and just the variety of voices that the number of -- you could just visit anywhere, and you could learn about things that you could never learn about, in your hometown. The hometown was a little limited. And this was just a big stage.

And in terms of banning, it's such a crazy thing in the sense that you have people, who a lot of people, who are in terms of banning books, they're the kind of people that they -- they don't want the government in their face. They want the government in your face, though.

And I don't want strangers telling the people, in my family, what they should and shouldn't read. I don't want that. You take care of your house. I'll take care of my house. I think that's reasonable.

COLLINS: Yes, libraries are supposed to be safe havens for kids to read.

And you have the book -- this amazing statistic, in your book--

PATTERSON: Absolutely. COLLINS: --that it starts off you take -- you say, in America, we urge everyone over the age of 18 to vote, but only 15 percent of voters read books.

I mean, we should be encouraging more people--


COLLINS: --to read, at this point.

PATTERSON: No, absolutely. Yes, yes, yes. And open our minds. I mean, that's the key to everything.

It used to be, you know this Kaitlan, in Washington, the Democrats and Republicans would fight, fight, fight over -- basically over big government or small government. That's what it really comes down to. It's not about the other side is that. And then they go out to eat together. We need to get back to that, human beings talking to human beings, and coming to solutions, I think.

And one of them, this book banning thing is just -- it's just sad and crazy.

Here's my one thing, for the libraries, though, and my marketing thing. Big banners in front of every library, in the country, The Free Store, The Free Store, The Free Store. If we had The Free Store, in your mall, you'd have a line around the block.

We just need to need to change the perception of libraries a little bit. They're wonderful places, wonderful people. They are safe places. And it's all free. What could be better than that?

COLLINS: That's such a good point that it really is it's just -- it's a place for people to go to read to learn. You're completely right about a small town, because that is why I valued my library, I think. It was a moment to go and read about things--


COLLINS: --that I didn't know about.

PATTERSON: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

No, I loved it. And when my mother, I guess, it was teacher, and the librarian on Saturdays. So, yes, we were there, my two -- my three sisters and myself. That was the deal.


COLLINS: Well, James Patterson, I love all your books. But I am especially excited about this one. Thank you for joining us to talk about just how important it is.

PATTERSON: OK. And we're going to get together for the Alabama- Wisconsin game next year, all right.

COLLINS: Yes, we are, we are. And I'm going to have you--

PATTERSON: This year actually, late this year.

COLLINS: I'm going to have you wear an Alabama T-shirt.

PATTERSON: I don't think so.

COLLINS: James Patterson, great to have you. Thank you for joining us.

And thank you all so much, for joining us.