Return to Transcripts main page

The Source with Kaitlan Collins

New Filing: D.A. Wants To Use Trump's Past Legal Run-Ins If He Testifies; Johnson: "If I Operated Out Of Fear... I Would Never Be Able To Do My Job"; Boeing Whistleblower: "They Are Putting Out Defective Airplanes". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 17, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Abortion rights opponents gathered outside the State House, today.

A member of the Arizona Chapter of Right to Life said, quote, this is "Not a political issue, it's a moral issue."

Abortion rights advocates were also on hand. They've been gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would enshrine abortion access, in the state's constitution, up until fetal viability, which doctors estimate is around 22 to 24 weeks.

That's it for us. The news continues. "THE SOURCE" starts now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Straight from THE SOURCE tonight.

Donald Trump's first criminal trial resumes in hours, and we just got hold of new ammo, dropped by the prosecution. What could be coming at the former President if he ends up taking the stand?

An impeachment trial ends just hours after it began. Yes, a Biden cabinet member now keeps his job, while the Speaker of the House is clinging on to his. After teeing up a vote, it's only expanding a right-wing revolt.

And a new blow to Boeing, as a whistleblower testifies the aviation giant is knowingly putting out defective planes that could break apart during flight. Our source tonight, is an engineer, looking at the safety at Boeing, who also lost his sister in a deadly plane crash.

I'm John King, in for Kaitlan Collins. This is THE SOURCE.

A shot across the bow to Trump. Arguments not yet underway in the former President's first criminal trial. But the prosecution just revealed what it wants to use against him, if, big if, he ends up testifying in his own defense.

That is a giant if despite the former President's claims.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would testify. Absolutely. It's a scam. It's a scam. That's not a trial.

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. And again, you have to read the scholars, read all of the legal scholars. I haven't seen one legal scholar that said this is a case.


KING: Prosecutors beg to differ. They're now unveiling some of their ammunition, what they would bring up, while potentially cross- examining Trump, to discredit him, to the jury. It's a long list. We don't have time for all of it.

But prosecutors say they would ask the former President, about the recent verdicts against him. How, for example, he was found liable for business fraud, ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars to E. Jean Carroll for defamation.

And prosecutors say they would bring up how he was fined for violating a court order, by publicly attacking a judge's law clerk, despite being warned not to do so.

There will be a hearing eventually on whether all of that is fair fodder. But it does beg the question, whether prosecutors are hoping to discourage Trump from testifying, by showing him all of he would face if he takes the stand.

The trial resumes tomorrow, with jury selection continuing. Seven jurors seated yesterday. Five more needed, plus alternates, six of those most likely.

On this off day, Trump's on another one of his trademark fact-free tears, carping today about not being allowed, quote, "Unlimited" strikes, meaning disqualifications, when picking the jury, ranting because he says his side can't veto any prospective juror they want. Each side only gets 10 strikes. That's New York State law. And his lawyers certainly know that.

We've got legal sources from all perspectives, tonight.

From the prosecution table, our CNN Legal Analyst, former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Elie Honig.

From the defense side, veteran New York attorney, Arthur Aidala, whose past high-profile clients have ranged, from Harvey Weinstein to Rudy Giuliani.

And bringing us the view from the bench, former New York State Supreme Court Justice, Jill Konviser.

Arthur, I want to start with you.

With this list, it's a routine step. Prosecution says if your defendant takes the stand, these are some of the things we'd talk about him. If you're Trump's defense counsel, and you look at this list, does that dissuade you? Does it make it less likely you would say testify?

ARTHUR AIDALA, VETERAN NEW YORK TRIAL ATTORNEY: Look, the first thing I'd be doing is moving for a mistrial, at this point, already, because this list should have been first of all put out under seal, because they're now tainting the jury, with all these bad acts that the judge may rule never come in.

So, the prospective jurors, who are watching CNN tonight, are already now, they're being dirtied up by these acts that they may never hear in the courtroom. So, that's my first motion for a mistrial.

My second motion for a mistrial is I wanted to know this, and this judge's ruling, before he start picking the jury, because I may want to stand up there and say, Mrs. Jones, my client may very well testify here. And if he does testify, you may hear that another judge has sanctioned him. How is that going to affect you assessing his or her credibility?

So, none of that has taken place. So, those are the steps I would take legally.

Also, Mr. Trump, his lawyers can ask the judge, to give him more than the 10 trials, that the more -- the more strikes. There's a case law that goes back to the 1970s, where a judge has the power, to give more challenges.

In the long run, John, my client's not testifying in this case.

KING: Fair points?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think they're fair points.

The purpose of this filing that we saw today is not to intimidate. It's not to, sort of bare your teeth at the defendant, and intimidate him from taking the stand. It's to inform him. It's to put him on notice. If you take the stand, here's what we, the prosecutors, are going to use to impeach you.


And if we look at that list today, I agree with Arthur, I think some of it is not applicable here. Some of it's not relevant. But some of it certainly is.

For example, if Donald Trump takes the stand, it would be fair game for prosecutors to cross-examine him on, you just got hit with a massive fraud verdict, you're not reliable, you're not a truth-teller.

So, some of those things I think are, A, fair game, Trump needs to know about them, and could be used to dissuade him from taking the stand.

And by the way, John, he's not taking the stand. Like, I know, he's going to say he is, every day from now until the end of the trial. It would be completely self-destructive, for him to take the stand. And he doesn't need to.

What would he say? His defense here is going to be a reasonable doubt defense. They haven't proved their case. You can't rely on Michael Cohen. No reason for me to take the stand.

KING: Judge Merchan at least still has to prepare for the possibility he does. And this is a hard trial, to keep control of already.


KING: And we're only in jury selection. We've done pre-trial and jury selection.

To Arthur's point, how much of all this, what can he be asked, how do we need to lay this out, how much do we have to decide, even before we come to that decision? Does Donald J. Trump testify? What's the judge do?

KONVISER: Well, I think, I agree with a lot of what Arthur said, but not all of it.

And I agree with the fact that this should have been done before trial. So that if in fact the lawyer wanted to make a colorable argument to a jury, about what they might hear, they would have the information, so that they would know. I think that's a very, very good point, well-taken point.

With respect to whether jurors are watching this show, tonight, and they may be tempted -- tainted rather. Of course, the jurors are told they are not to watch or listen to news reports. And we're going to presume that they do follow the rules. So, I don't know that that's something--

AIDALA: Well, Your Honor, these are prospective jurors.

KONVISER: --I would worry about.

KING: Right.

AIDALA: They're not jurors yet. They're just -- there's 500 people, who are waiting to be called into jury duty.

KONVISER: That's true. That's true.

KING: Right.

AIDALA: And everyone watches this show, right, John?

KING: Right.

So, we're talking about the risks of jurors in the social media age, and the cable television age, and the like.

The former President, on Truth Social, Elie, posted this today. "They are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump Jury." And he says he's quoting Jesse Watters, of Fox News, of course.

That's not a repost. It's Trump.

HONIG: Right.

KING: Typing out something he heard on TV.

Is he trying to influence the jury pool? And is he within the lines of the gag order?

HONIG: He's always finding the thinnest little loophole, to try to work his way through.

So, the gag order -- if Donald Trump had said that himself, if Donald Trump said they're trying to lie their way into the jury, straight-up flagrant violation of the gag order.

There's a bit of a gray area. What if he took a clip of Jesse Watters saying that and just reposted it without comment? He's done that a couple times. And I think I called it out on this show earlier. I said the D.A.'s office needs to stop that because it's essentially him making the statement. But they have not done that.

And now, Trump's taking it to the next level, where he's retyping something that a media figure said, and then sending that out. I think that violates the gag order.

And here's the thing. The most sensitive group of people here, the people who need to be protected most are the jurors. So, if I'm the judge, I have the least tolerance, for anything that might interfere with the jury.

KING: What does the judge do? He knows what he has here, is a political case. It's a legal case. But it's a political case. And he's tried to give Trump some elasticity, sort of stretch maybe, where the line is.

How far can he let him go and maintain order in his courtroom?

KONVISER: I think he's given an amazing amount of leeway. And in that sense, we hear Trump talking about him being treated differently.

He's getting a benefit here, because the judge is not holding his feet to the fire, because he's trying to be as balanced as he can, because he wants to move this case forward. Because he doesn't want any more stops. He wants to get it over with.

KING: Is this one dancing on the line, crossing the line?


KING: Coming up against the line?

KONVISER: It is dancing on the line. Trump was doing the tango, last week, too, with his comments.

KING: Right.

KONVISER: So, I think the judge would be well within his rights to make that -- make that call now. But what does it get him? At the end of the day, we still want to get through this as quickly as possible.

KING: Yes. But we're not in the room. In the past, Trump has not said hey, defense team, what do you think of this? He's just--

AIDALA: No, I don't think he's done it.

KING: He's just unfazed.

AIDALA: I'm sure Judge Merchan is thinking of two things, number one.

Number one, when it comes to these things, we do have First Amendment rights. And that's he's just re-quoting someone else. So, that's one issue.

But John, when it comes to this Sandoval ruling, that's what it's called, about what could come out against Donald Trump, if he testifies? One of the bedrock foundations of our law, is the defendant can testify, and they can give their side of the story. And I think judges go out of their way to not -- to not stop a defendant.

And if I'm the prosecutor, I would say, I'm not bringing any of this up. My case is so strong, I don't need to talk about what you did somewhere else. Let's talk about what you did right here. And I'm going to destroy you, on cross-examination, based on what you did right here.

KING: Right. We're moving along, judge says, possibly it'd be done in time to start Monday. If you're a prosecutor, looking at what's been said, the pace of selecting jurors, you're happy, concerned, where are you as a prosecutor?

HONIG: I'm satisfied. I'm not overjoyed. It's definitely premature. Nobody should be celebrating, at this point.


Looking at the seven jurors, who've been picked so far, they strike me as what you would want in a jury pool. They do not appear to be -- and again, we don't necessarily know everything about these people. But they don't appear to be ideologues. They don't appear to be people who have their hair on fire for or against Donald Trump.

And if I'm a prosecutor, that's all I want. I want a rock-solid jury. And I'm watching. I am on highest alert against a rogue Trump supporter, if I'm a prosecutor. I just, I promise you, the number one thing, is this person, a Trump supporter, who's not fully coming out and saying it? Who knows? I don't see anything in any of those seven that leads me to believe that they may have that.

KING: What about the defense perspective?

AIDALA: Well-- KING: You happy?

AIDALA: First of all, what's with the head jokes? You talk about guys with their hair on fire, the two of you over there? Come on.

Just the opposite, right? So, there are jurors, who are going to lie, on both sides really, to get on the trial, because it's a great trial to be on. And they may have underlying feelings.

When we picked the Harvey Weinstein trial jurors, we had jurors swearing they can be fair and impartial. And then they were dismissed. And we followed them on social media. And they were bragging how, oh, I was almost on the trial to bring this piece of garbage down. So, it's what, what we're talking about here is making sure that there are people, who don't have any ulterior motives.

What I want as a juror, I want a conductor on the subway. I want a bus driver. I want someone, who guide, who deals with regular people all the time. And when I ask them, where do you get your news from? They say, oh, I don't watch the news. I take care of my family, I mow the lawn, and I'm not into this whole thing.

KING: If you're the judge here, you know that if Trump is convicted, this process will be one of the things, as part of any appeal.

KONVISER: Of course. Of course.

KING: And so -- and so, put yourself in Judge Merchan's. Are you happy with this so far? You really -- do you really think based on where we are now, I have seven, looking for alternates, that would start on Monday?

KONVISER: I think it's entirely possible. I was surprised by the number that they got in the day one, or day one and a half, if you would, which tells me that they're probably following the rules.

The lawyers are following the rules of the court, asking appropriate questions. The judge was very clear what they could ask and what they couldn't ask. The jurors seemed to be interested in following the rules as well. And so, I don't see why it would take that long.

This is a Class E Non-Violent Felony offense. So, as Arthur alluded to, there are only -- or maybe you did, only 10 challenges that are peremptory challenges, where someone can be challenged, from the jury, for any reason or no reason, so long as it's not discriminatory.

So, they've already used more than half. They could get more. But that's discretionary. The judge could say no, that's the rule. That's the law. Everyone else gets 10. You get 10. And then, they're going to end up with whoever's left.

AIDALA: Look, and then we have to go, judging your storied career, did you ever try an E-level Non-Violent Felony offense? No?

KONVISER: I might have.

AIDALA: Because they, John, they don't try, like those cases don't go to trial.

HONIG: Well they take pleas, right?

AIDALA: They take--

KONVISER: They often take.


HONIG: Donald Trump's not taking a--

AIDALA: It's a misdemeanor -- it's a misdemeanor case.

HONIG: Donald Trump's not taking a plea.

AIDALA: It's misdemeanors.

HONIG: Mark my words.

AIDALA: It's misdemeanors

KING: Right.

HONIG: Right.

AIDALA: So, like nothing. It's the lowest of the low.

KONVISER: It can happen. Obviously, the defendant is facing state prison if convicted. But there's every alternative in the book, even if he is convicted on the Class E felony. So, that could happen too.

But some defendants have immigration issues or other issues. And they don't want to plead guilty. And they will try their case.

KING: Well we'll finish jury selection first, then it appears we move on.

Elie Honig, Arthur Aidala, Judge, thank you very much. Appreciate your time tonight. We'll continue this conversation.

Trump might be envious of what happened up on Capitol Hill today. Democrats were able to end an impeachment trial, just hours after it began. Speaker Johnson's headache however, only growing, why his job is now in deeper jeopardy.

Plus, a Boeing whistleblower tells Congress, get this, he was told to stay quiet, as he voiced concerns about what he calls quote, "Defective" planes. That's ahead.



KING: The Grand Old Party, at the moment, is acting like the grand old circus, Republicans finding themselves in a whirlwind of dramas.

Their presumptive nominee, for example, Donald Trump, is in criminal court, in New York.

Senate Democrats, today, using their majority, to reject as without merit, the House Republicans' impeachment of the Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas.

And the man who sent the impeachment paperwork over to the Senate, House Speaker, Mike Johnson, is himself in peril, facing a growing revolt from the right, over his plan to pass foreign aid bills.

Let's get perspective now, from New York Republican congressman, Marc Molinaro, who played a key role, in elevating Johnson into the speakership, back in October.

Congressman, grateful for your time.

Let's begin by listening to the Speaker. Just a short time ago, he says he's doing the right thing, not worried about losing his job. Listen.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): My philosophy is you do the right thing, and you let the chips fall where they may. I don't -- if I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job. Look, history judges us for what we do. This is a critical time, right now.


KING: Do you share his confidence?

Already, two of your colleagues, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Thomas Massie have threatened to pull and file a motion to vacate the chair. As you know, a host of other Republicans are unhappy with the Ukraine piece of this.

Is his job safe?

REP. MARC MOLINARO (R-NY): The members that don't want to vote for a component can vote against it.

I think what the Speaker has put forward is democracy. And for too many of my colleagues, they feel as if democracy is too much work. If it is, they should find a different job.

What the Speaker has done is allowing us, in this critical moment, to take a vote, on whether or not America is going to make clear to our enemies that we mean business, and to our allies that we can be trusted. The Speaker is doing the right thing.

And those that want to move forward, this motion to vacate? They ought to put it to rest. The people who sent me here, Americans, all across this country, they're tired of the theater. They don't want the dysfunction. They want us to deliver. And the Speaker is doing the right thing by allowing us to vote, at this critical moment in time.

KING: You used the word, theater. You use the word, dysfunction.


I'm going to read some numbers that you know too well. These are more for our viewers. You won 51-49. You're a freshman. You just won 51-49. Joe Biden carried your district, President Biden, by nearly five points.

We're in a presidential year. You're in a tough district. What happens when you raise your hand in the room and say, people, people, if we keep up the circus, I won't be here next year?

MOLINARO: Well, I will offer to you that I truly don't make my decisions based on that. But there are a good number of us, who understand that we live in a divided nation.

We have a bipartisan government. And the only way good policy is going to be made better, the only way we're going to stand shoulder-to- shoulder, with our allies, Israel and Ukraine, the only way we push back against evil, like Putin, is to do it in a bipartisan way.

And I want to be judged by my ability, and willingness, to work across the aisle, with anyone who's honest and earnest about solving the problems that face America, and the people I serve.

KING: Is Marjorie Taylor Greene honest and earnest?

MOLINARO: Her theater, and this constant effort to hold the Congress hostage, has to come to an end. I'm going to have no party -- a part in it. And a good number of my colleagues, conservative and moderate, believe that enough is enough. It is time to move on, and to move past this kind of nonsense.

KING: Our Capitol Hill team reporting today that the House Majority Whip, Tom Emmer, working behind-the-scenes, saying he hopes Speaker Johnson stays. But if he doesn't, if the chair's vacated, I'll be here for you.

Is that already happening? Do senior members like that think that the Speaker is in trouble?

MOLINARO: I don't think that it is. And I don't think that it's terribly helpful. I think, right now, the entire leadership team, and all of us, are focused on just getting this -- these measures to the floor, and then vote up or down. And ultimately, vote your conscience and vote your constituency.

But no, I think, right now, we are fairly unified in the private -- at least in the concept that these have got to get to the floor. There are a good number, who don't want it -- want these bills to come to the -- this bill to come to the floor. They don't want to support the provisions. That's on them. But we recognize the need to vote, and then to be judged on that vote.

KING: Congressman Molinaro, grateful for your time. Thank you, sir.

MOLINARO: Be well. Thanks.

KING: Continuing with the conversation, joining me now the Democratic congressman, Ro Khanna, of California; former Senior Adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell, CNN's Senior Political Commentator, Scott Jennings.

Scott Jennings, you're the Republican at the table. Let me ask, can any Republican be an effective Speaker at this moment?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think Mike Johnson is doing as about as good as you can do.

And I am very proud of what he said today, on CNN, with Jake Tapper. He laid out his plan to get these foreign aid bills to the floor. He referred to himself as a Reagan Republican. He said he was going to do what's right, and let the chips fall where they may. And most importantly, he's going to let the House of Representatives vote, which is what it's supposed to do.

And so, I'm looking forward to this weekend, because I think it looks to me like he's taking a bold posture, and he's saying, I'm doing what I'm doing. This is my plan. And you guys do what you do, and we'll see -- we'll see what happens. I love the confidence, and what he did today.

KING: In the see-what-happens department, Congressman Khanna, if this Speaker lost his job, if another Speaker lost his job, or it was threatened, threatened to lose his job, would Democrats step into save him, or would Democrats say, let's let the Republicans stay in chaos, because that helps us?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): John, I would certainly consider voting for a motion to table to save Speaker Johnson.

Look, Speaker Johnson and I came into Congress together. We have strong ideological differences.

But one of the things our class talked about is having votes that are single subject, allowing members of Congress to vote separately on Ukraine, on Israel, on Taiwan, and vote their conscience. And I give him credit, for putting these up for votes as individual bills. That's what Congress is supposed to be. And people can vote up or down.

KING: Scott, President Trump could help here -- former President Trump could help here.

He had a seven-word message when asked about whether he would try to help protect the Speaker. He said, well, we'll see what happens with that. Well, we'll see what happens with that.

Jake Tapper asked the Speaker about that today. Listen.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Have you talked to Trump about this plan, this legislative plan, in terms of how you're introducing these foreign aid bills? And ultimately, will he have your back?

JOHNSON: Oh, I think he will.


KING: Should he be that confident? Or does that sound confident? I mean, it's not -- not even sure it does.

JENNINGS: Well, they, look, they just had a big event together. They had a nice press conference, and had a big -- a big public meeting. Johnson has been a strong ally of Donald Trump. And he said he briefed the former President on his plan. I take him at his word. And I think if he did that that was a smart political move.

And look, at the end of the day, all anyone can ever do is vote. And my suspicion is Johnson's position on this is going to get a whole bunch of Republican votes, and a whole bunch of Democrat votes. And it's probably going to reflect about what the American people think about these various issues, which is exactly what the House of Representatives was designed to do.

KING: A lot of this, Congressman, would be comedy, if the stakes weren't so high, because of the policy issues that are at play here. Israel, Ukraine, sometimes it's just keeping the government open, just creating confidence to the American people that the institutions of government work.

The funny part comes -- the funny part comes when you have people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, today, likening her Republican Speaker Johnson to a Democrat, comparable she says, even to Nancy Pelosi. Listen.



REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): He is the Democrat Speaker, because Mike Johnson is literally going to pass Chuck Schumer's agenda from the Senate. It's the same bill. And he's -- he's trying to shove it down Republicans' throats.


KING: Is there a strategy there?

KHANNA: Well, look, there a lot of things I've said on CNN that haven't aged well. One of the things I said about a year ago is the question is whether we'd have more British prime ministers, or more Republican House Speakers.

And I think their caucus is a total mess. I mean, to blame someone, for bringing up votes, where people could vote their conscience, I think just is making them look like a circus. It's why I'm confident we'll win back the House.

And the other thing, John, is the Congress is an independent body. You're supposed to be independent of the President of the United States, let alone the former President. And it's really silly to me that Donald Trump, as a former President, still has such control over an independent body, Article 1 of the Constitution, The House of Representatives.

KING: Scott, the Congressman just mentioned, vote your conscience. Let's keep the word, conscience, in mind here. I want you to help me try to square this circle.

The former Attorney General, Bill Barr, has been incredibly critical of his former boss, since resigning. He called Trump a danger to democracy. He had said Trump betrayed his office. He warned, on this show, Trump would weaponize the Department of Justice.

Yet he was asked how he would vote in November. Listen.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think it's my duty to pick the person I think would do the least harm to the country. And in my mind, that's -- I will vote the Republican ticket.

I think the real danger to the country, the real danger to democracy, as I say, is the progressive agenda. And while Trump -- and I said, Trump may be playing Russian roulette. But continuation of the Biden administration is national suicide, in my opinion.


KING: What do you make of that?

JENNINGS: Well, I think you could have that conversation with a whole bunch of Republicans, all over this country. Millions of people are going to come to that conclusion, I suspect.

They don't like a lot of things Donald Trump did. Maybe they don't like some things he says. Maybe they don't like some of the things he's in court over. But they are petrified of what Joe Biden might do with four more years, because they've seen the results of the first term.

KING: So, I guess, Congressman, let's close it. So, that's ideological consistency, maybe, but it's not intellectual consistency?

KHANNA: It's not principle.

But John, here's one of the good news for the country. Despite all the dysfunction, we're going to bumble our way, towards getting these aid packages passed. And so, at the end of the day, I would just say, to other countries, don't underestimate America. Our democracy still seems to work, despite the polarization.

KING: Congressman.


KING: Congressman Ro Khanna. JENNINGS: Very good.

KING: Good times on the Amen.

Congressman Ro Khanna, Scott Jennings, appreciate you, gentlemen, thank you.

KHANNA: Thank you.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

KING: Up next, stunning, simply stunning claims, from a Boeing engineer, alleging the aviation giant is knowingly putting out defective airplanes.

We'll talk to another key witness, who testified today, a safety expert whose sister died in a Boeing crash. He is now trying to save lives.



KING: A bruising day for Boeing, up on Capitol Hill. In two different Senate hearings, today, current and former Boeing employees, detailed problems, with how the company makes sure airplanes are safe to fly.


ED PIERSON, FORMER SENIOR MANAGER AT BOEING: I'm not going to sugarcoat this. This is a criminal cover-up.

SAM SALEHPOUR, BOEING ENGINEER: They are putting out defective airplanes.


KING: Boeing has built more commercial jets flying in America than any other company. To be clear, it's been more than a decade since there was a deadly plane crash, here in the United States. And flying in this country is still remarkably safe.

But today's hearing added to more than five years of tough scrutiny, about safety and manufacturing safeguards at Boeing. That scrutiny traces back to two deadly crashes, both in other countries, involving the 737 MAX.

Then, came this scene in January, a door plug, blowing out in the middle of an Alaska Airlines Flight.

A month after that, pilots reported the flight controls jammed, as the plane landed in New Jersey.

And in February, the FAA flagged issues with the icing equipment, it said, could cause engines to lose thrust.

Today, a Boeing engineer testified he'd been threatened, for raising safety concerns about the 787.


SALEHPOUR: I want to make clear that I have raised these issues over three years. I was ignored. I was told not to create -- not to create delays. I was told frankly to shut up.


KING: Boeing did not have witnesses at either hearing today, but earlier this week, defended its standards, that, including a statement that reads in part, quote, "Boeing is fully confident in the 787 Dreamliner because of the comprehensive work done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft."

Still, independent analysts point to a deeper corporate problem.


DAVID SOUCIE, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: It's clear that there's a culture problem there. And I attribute it to one thing, and that is that the mission statement, and the vision statement, of Boeing, for the last 10 years, did not have the word, safety, in it.


KING: My next guest is an aerospace engineer, an MIT aeronautics lecturer. His sister was onboard a Boeing 737 MAX 8, when it crashed in Ethiopia in 2019. He was also part of an expert panel that interviewed witnesses, at every level of Boeing, and a key witness in front of Congress today.

Javier de Luis, thank you for joining us.

I want to start with the words of one of the witnesses today, Mr. Luis that Boeing is quote, "Putting out defective airplanes," that from a whistleblower, "Putting out defective airplanes." That's a lot stronger than cutting corners here and there on safety.

What do you make of that?


JAVIER DE LUIS, SISTER DIED IN 2019 BOEING CRASH: Well, I'm not sure that defective that -- well, let me put it this way. In the work that we did with the panel, we didn't identify any purposely defective aircraft.

However, we did identify many instances, where work is being pushed through at a faster pace than it should be, which leads to situations, where aircraft are heading out the door, with things that are just not right, with parts that are not installed correctly, with what they call FOD, Foreign Object Debris, in the -- in the aircraft, leftover tools, leftover shavings, things like that. And that can lead to disasters. The picture you showed of the door, blowing out, that was caused in part because of defective work on the fuselage. In this case, it was from the Boeing supplier, Spirit AeroSystems. It arrived with faulty rivets. Those rivets now had to be repaired. In order to repair those rivets, you have to remove the door. You remove the door. When you put it back, you forget the bolts, and you have a near catastrophe.

That's the kind of stuff that our panel looked at. And it's still ongoing, sadly.

KING: Right.

DE LUIS: I mean, it's been five years since the two crashes.

KING: I want to come back to some of the specifics.

But I want you to help me a little bit with your personal journey. You have, obviously, you have the expertise, the engineering, the aeronautics expertise. But you're helping dig in to investigate the company that built the plane, on which your sister perished.

Walk through -- is that a motivation? Is that -- is that a challenge? Is it both?

DE LUIS: Well, this wasn't something that I look forward to doing. Let me put it to you that way -- this way.

Since my five years -- since five years ago, when the crash has happened, I've been working with a small group of families that lost their loved ones on Ethiopian 302. And we've been trying to make sure that this doesn't happen again.

We engaged Congress with legislation. We engaged the media to make sure that the story gets out there. I myself talked to students around the country, on campuses, about ethical engineering -- ethical problems they might face, as engineers.

And in that role, when this panel was formed, I was asked to be on it. But I got to tell you, it was a bit difficult, walking into Boeing headquarters, on a personal level. That was not an easy thing. But I felt that it was necessary.

And I got some -- a very nice compliment from one of the members of the panel, when they said that the nice thing about -- the good thing about having me on the panel was that when they would look around the room, they would get to remember that this isn't an abstract discussion. This is a very real discussion, because people's lives, people's family members' lives are at stake.

KING: Here is, I want to go through some of what Boeing said about the concerns that you and your panel raised.

Quote, "Since 2020, Boeing has taken important steps to foster a safety culture that empowers and encourages all employees to raise their voice. We know we have more work to do and we are taking action across our company." In the five years since your sister died, do you believe those changes have been made? Do you think Boeing can do it on its own? Or does it need somebody, regulator, somebody else, nudging them along?

DE LUIS: I think that they have taken steps. That is correct. There are -- there have been changes. And we note them in our report.

The problem I think that we had, at a very high level, was that there were a lot of words that are being said at the Boeing management level.

But what people reported to us, through interviews and surveys, what people reported to us, was that the actions, on the floor, on the factory floor, in the engineering room, are not matching the words that they're hearing.

So, they're being told, yes, safety is the number one priority. And what they see is that that's true, until you fall behind on the line, and then it's get it out the door.

They're being told, speak up if you see anything wrong. And they see that when they do speak up, most of the time, there's very little follow-through on the issues that they raise. And if they insist, they might find themselves on the short end of the stick, when it comes time for raises or promotions.

Those kind of -- those kind of events really contribute to a faulty safety culture, or a lack of a safety culture, in a company that makes this kind of hardware, this high reliability hardware, like an airplane.

You need people to not be afraid that they're putting their livelihoods on the line, if they raise an issue that they think is important. You need the focus to be not on blame when something goes wrong. But on why did it go wrong, and how could we prevent it from going wrong in the future? That's the attitude that has not -- that we did not see yet at Boeing.

Will they get there eventually? They might. I don't know. I do know that it has been five years. We need to move at a faster pace.


I don't believe that the rate of change that we're seeing is commensurate with the events that caused this, to be needed, in the first place, namely, the crashes of two brand-new airplanes, and the deaths -- then the deaths of 346 people. Things need to pick up, and we need to -- they need to go much faster.

KING: Critical perspective. Javier de Luis, appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.

DE LUIS: My pleasure.

KING: With China's rise, Russia's gains in Ukraine, and now Iran sending missiles into Israel, we are living in quite dangerous times. My next guest calls it the New Cold Wars, how America keeps making the same mistakes to deal with major threats.



KING: Everywhere you turn, it seems there is global tension, war, crisis.

In the Middle East, for example, Israel promising to respond to Iran's unprecedented strike. And that region, of course, already on edge, because of the Israel-Hamas conflict and more.

In Ukraine, President Zelenskyy says they're running out of missiles, and don't have the air defenses necessary, to stop Russia's attacks. Pentagon leaders now worried the tide shifting, dramatically perhaps, in Russia's favor.

A lot to discuss with David Sanger, the White House and National Security Correspondent, for The New York Times.

His new book, "New Cold Wars" is out now. Sanger has covered five presidents, starting with Bill Clinton. In the book, he describes how a fundamental misunderstanding of countries, like Russia and China, influenced U.S. policy.

For instance, Sanger writes, quote, "Each President claimed he had achieved meaningful progress toward integrating America's adversaries into a world order Washington had created and nurtured for seventy- five years... Each new bond... A sign the world's most powerful nations were rowing together. They were not."

David Sanger, grateful for your time tonight.

Let me just start. I think one of the most provocative things is just the title, not New Cold War, but plural, "New Cold Wars." The mess is everywhere.


And what I want to try to make clear from that title is that the old Cold War was sort of a singular event, between the United States and the Soviet Union. It had a predictability about it. We understood who had launch authority for their weapons. We understood pretty much what they would do and what motivated them.

This is a new era in which you have Russia, China, to some degree, Iran, gathered together, in something that the Iranians call the Axis of Resistance to U.S. influence.

It's a huge shift. Just nine years ago, during the Iran nuclear negotiations, the Russians and the Chinese were sitting on the American and European side of the table. Hard to imagine that today.

So, we're in a very different environment. And the question the book tries to pose is how did we get here? And how do you get out of it? KING: Well, let's dig into that. It was back, when I was covering the Clinton White House, as you were as well.


KING: Bill Clinton thought, let's bring China into the World Trade Organization. When they come in and join us, they'll see how great we are. They'll start acting like us. Let's integrate them, and they will change their ways.

George W. Bush came to change his mind. But remember that famous first meeting, with Vladimir Putin, where he said he had looked into his soul.

Mistakes, mistakes. One of Biden's closest advisers told you in the book, quote, "I think it's fair to say just about every assumption across different administrations was wrong." That's not just that -- not just talking about Russia.

I guess the question today is, including the man who's President, right now, have the right lessons been learned?

SANGER: Well, it's a good question, because they're hard to absorb.

Look, everybody was well-intentioned here. They thought after the Cold War, it would make sense for Russia, to continue getting its revenue, through its oil sales to the west. And therefore, it would put aside its territorial desires. That China would do something similar in order to keep open to the markets. We were, to some degree, projecting our motivations on them.

And what President Biden has inherited is the wreckage that has come from the discovery we weren't watching carefully enough.

There's a scene, at the beginning of the book. And I think you may remember this, John, from when George W. Bush and his wife are floating down the Neva River, in St. Petersburg, with Vladimir Putin, one of their two dozen meetings.

Joe Biden has had one, and probably will never have another with President Putin.

And on the boat, they're talking about joining -- having Russia join the European Union, having Russia maybe, one day, join NATO, the alliance that was created, in order to contain them. Today, that looks fanciful.

And the question is, did we have to give it a shot back then? Or did we recognize and react too late, after Putin issued his warnings, took Crimea, and now of course, all of Ukraine.

KING: Where--

SANGER: Attempted all of Ukraine.

KING: Attempted all of Ukraine. President Reagan, of course, back in the day, was defined by the singular Cold War, you spoke of. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall. Used it to build both a leadership and a political identity.

Joe Biden doesn't have a singular challenge. How is he being defined by this? And how would you -- it's complicated. Iran is--


KING: --different than Israel. It's different from China. It's different from Russia. We're not even talking about problems in Africa and beyond. What is the test?

SANGER: Looking at those pictures of Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gate. I was just living in Berlin, not far from that gate, for a couple of months.


There are still a good number of people, in Germany, who think we are going back to an era, in which we'll resolve Ukraine, and then embrace the Russians again, and buy their oil, and that will be the way to safety.

The elites in Europe have a very different view. They are -- that we're in this Cold War, this new Cold Wars, for decades. And that the unpredictable -- unpredictability, right now, comes from the fact that Russia and China are working so closely together. And that's what the U.S. has got to go begin to address.

KING: David Sanger, I appreciate the time. The timing of the book, obviously, is spectacular, important. Appreciate your time, tonight.

SANGER: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you.

Ahead, a lot of people post on politics, of course, on social media. Most though, don't end up as potential jurors in the trial of the former President of the United States. We'll show you some of the posts that caught the eyes, and the attention of Donald Trump's lawyers and prosecutors.



KING: Tomorrow, jury selection resumes, in former President Donald Trump's criminal trial. Seven jurors are already selected.

And we already have a pretty good idea, as to how the next 11 are picked. Six jurors and six alternates will have their social media intensely scrutinized. We have that idea, because of what the transcripts -- transcript -- excuse me -- tell us about jury selection so far. I want to bring in, for this conversation, veteran tech journalist, Kara Swisher, a Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times, and the host of the great podcast, "Sway."

Kara, great to see you.

I want to read a few of these tweets. I guess it's a sign of our times. Dug up by Trump's lawyers and flagged during the trial.

One person, who was a prospective juror posted, "[G]et him out and lock him up," and "Watch out for stupid tweets by DJT."

Another posted an A.I. video titled, "I Am Dumb As" insert expletive "Trump."

While another prospective juror's husband posted a picture of Obama and Trump from 2016, and said, "I don't think this is what they meant orange is the new black." The last juror was not dismissed, because it was her husband's posts.

What do you make of this? Is there some karma, some irony, in that Donald Trump, the king of offensive social media, sitting there, listening to tweets about him?

KARA SWISHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He's probably seeing them for the first time, because he likes to see the happy stuff.

But the internet's written in indelible ink. Everything you've done, every path you've made, is there for people to find. I mean, I don't even want to think about the things I've tweeted, or said online, or anywhere else.

And so, when you're in positions, where you might get scrutinized, like a jury, or the head of NPR, or anywhere else, you're going to have that happen to you. And you either have to say, yes, that's what I said, or I don't think it anymore. But you're going to -- you're going to live and die by it, essentially.

KING: Well, I guess the live and die by. I tell my kids, they're all old and professional now, but when they were in high school, when they were in college, be careful, be careful, be careful, you're going to have to get a job someday.


KING: I guess I'd never thought about it in the context of a jury. But I guess, at that point, I was never thinking that a former President of the United States might be at the defendant's table. So politics too, it's not just stupid--


KING: --it's not just stupid stuff.

SWISHER: Yes, except to pretend people don't have opinions, is kind of silly too. Everybody has opinions. And they, sometimes, they just are joking, or they're passing around memes or something like that.

And I'm kind of, of the Christiane Amanpour School of Truthful-Not- Neutral. I think if they can do their jobs and be fair, that it's possible. You can have political opinions, and still be able to judge someone based on the evidence.

And I think that's really where the rubber meets the road. And I think the judge has been knocking out stuff that seems ridiculous. And if someone's very clearly anti-Trump, they shouldn't serve on the jury.

But in general, making jokes or passing around memes is sort of table stakes, these days.

KING: You get a good view at this because of your expertise, at how the corporate world handles this. And maybe the judge is trying to do the same thing. Is there a statute of limitations? Or if it's one post, from five years ago, doesn't have as much weight as maybe a series of posts all the time? Is that sort of how you go through?


KING: Is this person like lock-stone biased? Or is this person just once or twice did something they thought was entertaining?

SWISHER: Yes. I think that's appropriate to do. If they did it yesterday and said, he's guilty, and I'm going to vote to convict if I get on this jury? That's a very different story than passing around orange is the new black thing. I just don't -- I just don't -- it's a joke, kind of thing.

And Donald Trump does it all the time. He's never getting on a jury, if that's the case, right, on almost anything. And so, he liberally uses these things, and he uses them to great effect, and he does them to get revenge, or to -- not often a joke, usually all-caps screaming.

Everybody has their -- has their digital history and their path, inscribed in it, in something that's never going away. And so, you have to live with it, essentially.

KING: You mentioned Donald Trump. He has a past. It's a very colorful, controversial, sometimes wildly offensive and reckless past, on social media.

He also has a present, this one, just this morning. It begins this way. Let me get up to the tweet here. "Stupid Jimmy Kimmel, who still hasn't recovered from his horrendous performance and big ratings drop as Host of The Academy Awards."

That's not a juror, of course. That's Donald Trump. That is Donald Trump, in the middle of a trial--


KING: --while he's the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

[22:00:00] SWISHER: Yes, well, he needs an emotional support social network. That's what he needs. This thing is very important to him, to express himself. He's got -- he's got a kind of like a lot of it (ph), and not a lot of impulse control. And so, that's what he does. And this is how he feels better. So, let him do it.

KING: I'm going to write that down. Just like that. A lot of it (ph), and not a lot of impulse control. I'm going to steal that line. I will give you credit, though.

Kara Swisher, grateful for your time, tonight. Thank you very much.

SWISHER: Thank you.

KING: And thanks for your time at home. And thanks for joining us.