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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump: "That Jury Was Picked So Fast. 95 Percent Democrats"; Prosecutors & Trump Defense Zero In On Michael Cohen; Cheney: Supreme Court Should Rule "Swiftly" On Trump Immunity. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 22, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: All right. Melanie Zanona, appreciate that. Thanks very much.

We have continuing coverage of the trial of Donald Trump, tomorrow.

The news continues right now. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS."


12 jurors and one angry former President all listening in, as the prosecution opened its case, alleging a conspiracy and a cover-up.

The People of the State of New York versus Donald J. Trump now underway, as Trump's attorney was arguing, and I'm quoting him here, "There is nothing wrong with trying to influence an election." Hmm.

There was a hush in the courtroom today, as the first witness took the stand, a longtime confidant, who helped Trump catch and kill negative stories, and could now help make the former President, a convicted felon.

And Trump meanwhile, relatively quiet in court, but ranting outside court, attacking Michael Cohen, the widely expected star witness for the prosecution. My source tonight is Michael Cohen's legal adviser, Lanny Davis.

Also just in, Trump in a new interview, talking about the jury. Did he just violate a gag order? Maybe again?

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

For the next six weeks or so, prepare to expect the unexpected. Speaking of which.



(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Trump saying that the first true day of his criminal trial went well, in his view, even after the prosecution accused him of trying to cover up an affair with a porn star, to influence the election. Even after they read his own words from the infamous Access Hollywood tape, about being able to sexually assault women because he's famous. And even after one of his longtime confidants and a tabloid king took the witness stand.

There were no outbursts from Trump in court today. But outside of the courthouse was a very different story.


TRUMP: It's a case as to bookkeeping, which is a very minor thing in terms of the law.

Cohen is a lawyer. Represented a lot of people over the years. And I'm not the only one. And he wasn't very good, in a lot of ways.

He puts in an invoice or whatever, a bill, and they pay, and they call it a legal expense. I got indicted for that.

Checks being paid to a lawyer.

Whoever heard of this? He got indicted for that?


COLLINS: Actually, that's not at all what this case is about.

Here's how the prosecution put it to the jury today. They said it is about quote, "Falsifying business records with the intent to conceal an illegal conspiracy to undermine the integrity of a presidential election". 34 counts of it.

And Trump is of course, innocent until he is proven guilty. His lawyer told the jury today that he "Had nothing to do with the 34 pieces of paper, the 34 counts, except he signed onto the checks in the White House while he was running the country."

Signing the checks seems like kind of a big deal, and while he was running the country at that, especially given that when Trump was asked back then, when I was covering the White House, said that he knew nothing about this payment at all.


REPORTER: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No.


COLLINS: The prosecution, as they put it, says that this was all quote, "Election fraud. Pure and simple." The defense, and I'm quoting Trump's lead attorney here says, "There is nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It's called democracy."

Of course, it is wrong, if it's illegal, which is what all of this is about.

Today, the first witness took the stand, a guy whose name you might be familiar with by now. If not, you certainly will be so in the coming weeks.

David Pecker is the former publisher of the supermarket checkout line tabloid, the National Enquirer. And he has been granted immunity, in this case. And prosecutors today put him on the stand, as they argued that he helped orchestrate a so-called catch-and-kill scheme, to control the public narrative about Trump, ahead of the 2016 election.

Pecker and Trump go back to the late 90s, when Pecker actually put out a magazine for guests of Trump properties, called Trump Style. He was really seen as a guardian, of Trump's image, issuing glowing covers of the National Enquirer that made Trump look good, and his rivals look bad.

How could any of us forget the one about Senator Ted Cruz, falsely linking his father to JFK's assassination? And others, falsely alleging affairs? Ted Cruz actually had to come out and deny that, and called it himself a smear.

Prosecutors are alleging that what's at the heart of this was a three- pronged scheme. One, positive stories for Trump. Two, negative ones for everybody else. Three, kill the stories that could hurt Trump's campaign. That's what this trial is now centered on.

David Pecker is going to be back on the witness stand, tomorrow. But when he stepped down from the jury box today, he actually smiled and said hi to the defense table, where Trump was seated, as he walked past.


We have some of the best legal sources, here tonight, to suss out everything that happened today.

Jennifer Rodgers is a former federal prosecutor, and CNN Legal Analyst.

Arthur Aidala and Renato Stabile, two veteran New York attorneys.

And of course, Judge Jill Konviser, former New York State Supreme Court Justice, who is also friends and knows the judge overseeing this case, Judge Juan Merchan.

Jen, before we get to everything that happened tonight. And it was a lot. There's a comment from Trump, just now, where he was talking about the jury in an interview. This is what he had to say.


TRUMP: That jury was picked so fast. 95 percent Democrats. The area is mostly all Democrats. You think of it as a -- just a purely Democrat area. It's a very unfair situation that I can tell you.


COLLINS: One, what do you make of him commenting on the jury, like that outside of court? And two, his legal team seem to think that that they did pretty well in figuring out the jury here.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, I think it is another violation of the gag order.

The judge put certain strictures on different pieces of the gag order, like you could only not talk about witnesses, if it had to do with their participation in the case. Even more strictures on when it was a violation if you talked about court personnel and so on.

But the jurors, the judge basically said you may not make public statements that relate to the jurors, period, like full stop. So, I think any talking about the jurors is a violation of the gag order, which I think brings us to 12 violations, for tomorrow's hearing. So, we'll see what Judge Merchan does about that.

And it's just wrong. I mean, jury selection took a week. In a six-week case, that's not at all unusual. I'm sure those of you on the table will agree. There's just no basis to this notion that it was too fast or unfair.

COLLINS: Well also there are two jurors on the team, who actually said pretty favorable things, about Donald Trump.

ARTHUR AIDALA, VETERAN NEW YORK TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, one of the reasons why jury selection was so fast, is Judge Merchan did something that is not typically done, and I compliment him for it. He said, if anyone here can't be fair and impartial, just raise your hand and you're dismissed.

That's not typical. Normally, you go with them one at a time, why can't you be fair and impartial. And that's what takes a long amount of time.

So, once they got rid of those people, both sides only get 10 challenges. You go through those pretty quickly. And they did go through them pretty quickly.

And I do agree with Jennifer, I think talking about the jury is verboten. I don't think you're allowed to. I mean, he didn't say anything really, like attacking them. He just said they're Democrats. It's a Democratic area. They're Democrats.

RODGERS: And it was unfair. He said it was unfair.

COLLINS: Yes. But for Trump, that's an attack. I mean?

AIDALA: Well OK. All I'll say that--

COLLINS: It's he's not just saying oh, they're Democrats.

AIDALA: --we've heard a lot worst attacks, than just accusing them as Democrats. That's all.

COLLINS: Judge, what do you make of this?


One is for the defendant to come out and say this is unfair, because it's a Democratic county, a Democratic state, Democratic area, is kind of laughable in a sense.

We do. Arthur does. Renato does. We try cases, in this system, murder cases, rape cases. I'm going to say more than 90 percent of New Yorkers don't like murderers and don't like rapists. But those individuals get fair trials, in this county, every day of the week.

And you know what, Mr. Defendant? If you don't want to be tried in New York County, don't allegedly commit your crimes in New York County. It's a little bit silly for him to come out and say that.

With respect to the issue, on whether or not there's a violation of the gag order. I agree with both of you that this is a violation.

I think one of the problems that Judge Merchan is facing is quite frankly, if -- there's not a whole lot of places to go. A $1,000 for each one, is not much for a guy who owes let's say $400 million, I don't even know at this point, or put him in jail for a limited amount of time, which I assume no one really wants to do. So, I don't think there's a lot of room for him.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, and that's obviously one of the first things that the judge is going to be hearing, tomorrow. This may have just added fuel to the prosecutor's case.

But Renato, let me get your take on, on what else is going to happen, tomorrow, which is David Pecker returning to the witness stand, and coming back.

What did you make of the prosecution's choice, in picking of the witnesses that we do expect to testify? Stormy Daniels, Hope Hicks may be, Michael Cohen, of course. What do you make of the fact that they picked David Pecker to go first?

RENATO STABILE, ATTORNEY: Well, they want to set the table. That's why they're bringing him out here. He's going to explain the overall scheme that this was something that was done over and over again. I think he's going to be on the stand, all day tomorrow. He's the only witness we're going to see tomorrow.

And then, I don't think we're going to see Michael Cohen this week, because I think they wouldn't want the defense to have, over the weekend, to kind of look through Michael Cohen's testimony, and come up with additional cross.

I'm not sure who we're going to have later in the week. But it kind of makes sense to call David Pecker.

COLLINS: So, they'd want a shorter window before the defense has to turn around, and they're able to cross-examine Michael Cohen?

STABILE: I think so. I think we're going to see Michael Cohen next week--

AIDALA: But they have to pounce.

STABILE: --so that they have to do something midweek.


AIDALA: And they have to pounce on him, the defense, tomorrow, or whenever they stand up, either tomorrow afternoon, or I guess it would be Thursday morning, and say, basically, the message you're telling the jury is this prosecutor just stood here, and said the conspiracy was between the defendant and Michael Cohen, who's not at that table, and Mr. Pecker, who's not at that table, who wasn't charged and has a cooperation agreement.

They gave him immunity. He's as guilty if not more guilty, because he's in charge of the headlines. He's the one, who creates the headlines and doesn't create the headlines. And they gave him a get- out-of-jail-free card. He doesn't even have a charge behind him. And he's got a cooperation agreement. It's full-blown immunity. And they have to exploit that to the hill.

COLLINS: But what does that -- how does that come across to the jury? I mean, how do they see hearing?

AIDALA: He's got motivation to lie. He's got every motivation to lie. If you don't tell--

COLLINS: To Michael Cohen or?


COLLINS: Or David Pecker?

AIDALA: For Pecker.

You don't tell us what we want to hear? I'm the prosecutor. I subpoena you. I bring you to my office. You don't tell me what I want to hear? You're sitting next to Donald Trump at the table. You tell me what I do want to hear? I'm giving you full-blown immunity. You got -- that's why he could smile coming on and off the stand.

COLLINS: But isn't that kind of just how immunity works here?


COLLINS: I mean that they have to find someone to give-- KONVISER: Yes.

AIDALA: They don't give immunity out like it's cotton candy.

KONVISER: Yes, they do. Arthur, you've had plenty of clients you've represented who are cooperators.

AIDALA: Well, I'll usually get a cooperation agreement. They usually--

KONVISER: There's a cooperation agreement.

AIDALA: And she can tell you better than anyone, as a former federal prosecutor. They make you plead guilty. And then, they give you a cooperation agreement. So, you have that guillotine hanging over your neck. They don't just give you immunity.

RODGERS: Here's the problem. David Pecker is not in charge of the Trump Organization's internal financial documents, nor is he a candidate who has obligations to file like federal campaign finance forms. He's not criminally responsible for this scheme, in the way it's been charged.

AIDALA: But in the opening, he's part of the conspiracy.


KONVISER: But at least for (ph) wasn't getting the benefit, right?

RODGERS: A conspiracy to catch and kill, right? A conspiracy to catch and kill.

COLLINS: He's wasn't benefiting (ph).

RODGERS: He is a great candidate for immunity. There's no way you get that guy to plead to a cooperation agreement. The Feds didn't either. That's why he's there.

And I got to say, if he's credible, and his demeanor is good, he seems like a reluctant witness? The jury's going to believe him.

COLLINS: Well he's also someone who when the Karen McDougal payment was being made, he researched, is this a campaign finance contribution violation? Because he was worried that his corporation, his entity paying that, that that would constitute one. So, this was certainly something they had on the brain, over that course of the period of suppressing these stories.

KONVISER: But I think that'll be part of the cross-examination, clearly. He's a, you know, he's low-hanging fruit for cross -- for a good cross-examiner. But at the end of the day, when you look at who had something to gain here? It was the defendant more than Mr. Pecker.

STABILE: The problem is, they're going to go after all these witnesses, and they're going to say, all have an axe to grind. Everybody has an axe to. Well, eventually you run out of axes. And not everybody here is going

to have a motive. And some of their stories are going to corroborate the stories of the people they say have motives. So, it only takes you so far to say everybody's motivated to lie.

COLLINS: Well, and David Pecker had wanted Trump to be president.


COLLINS: I mean, he was someone, who covered for Trump, when he was, had The Apprentice. He went to Trump and said, how can I help your campaign? And this was how they came up with the way to help the campaign.

STABILE: Right. Right. I think one thing, though, in the prosecution's opening statement, that was kind of interesting. We still don't really know what the underlying crime is. I mean, did anybody catch that?


STABILE: Now, it seems to be it's going to be a New York Election Law violation, 17-152, which, by the way, is a misdemeanor itself.

COLLINS: So, I wanted to have this conversation. But just for everyone who's watching at home and is like, what are you talking about? When this was brought?

STABILE: Yes, I know. I know. I got a little legal.

COLLINS: No, but it's important. Because when this was brought by the District Attorney, last year, he -- there were essentially three potential underlying crimes. He didn't say which one it could be.

But I -- it seemed to me, and tell me if I'm wrong, from the prosecution's argument today that they thought that it relied on convincing them, Trump violated the state law that forbids conspiracy to promote or prevent an election.

STABILE: Exactly. And that's a statute I refer to. That, what they're referring to there is New York Election Law 17-152, which says, if you use unlawful -- unlawful means? I don't know what the unlawful means are. I guess we'll find out. But if you use unlawful means, to promote a candidate, that that in New York is an, a misdemeanor.

And so, the theory is, records were falsified, I guess, to cover up this a misdemeanor in New York State.

KONVISER: Look, I think this is the hard part of the case. What is that other crime? They do not have to prove what that other crime is, just that with intent to defraud he entered or omitted with intent to commit another crime. They don't have to prove what that is. But it's a good idea, if they do, because the jurors will be looking for it.

COLLINS: Can we talk about what it was like inside the courtroom as well, today. When just the opening statements were being made, and prosecutors objected several times during Todd Blanche's opening, which was probably half as short as the prosecution's was. And this is just opening statements.

I mean, is this a preview of what the next maybe six weeks, however long this takes, is going to look like?

RODGERS: Yes, maybe. It's unusual to object during an opening statement. Lawyers try not to do it.

But if the lawyer tries to sneak in something that's not allowed, which is what Todd Blanche did, when he referred to Michael Cohen's, having pleaded guilty to something, and then tried to back off of that. That was excluded by the judge. And so, starting to reference that as he did in the opening statement is worthy of an objection.


And I do think we're going to have a very fraught objection series in this case, because there's going to be a lot of really high-intensity examinations.

COLLINS: Fraught, to say the least.

Thanks everyone for being here. Crazy day one, many more of them to come.

Soon enough, it is not going to be David Pecker on that stand, but another key witness, former Trump attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, who already went to prison, in connection with this case. His lawyers tried to convince the jury today that he can't be trusted. My source disagrees. Cohen's legal adviser is here next.

And later, a question, did Trump violate his gag order even before the comment that he made tonight about the jury? We'll talk about it with a former judge.



COLLINS: A notable moment today, inside that New York courtroom, as Trump's criminal hush money trial got underway, prosecutors and Trump's legal team seem to agree on something, kind of.

Both sides made clear to the jury, they are going to be hearing a lot about Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney and his personal fixer. Of course, very different viewpoints on what that testimony is going to mean, and the impact of it.

Trump's attorney went with what you might call the Mariah Carey defense, saying that he's obsessed with Trump, that he's a criminal and that he can't be trusted.

On the other side, though, prosecutors were linking Michael Cohen to key evidence, backing up their argument that Trump was part of a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up.

In fact, the D.A.'s team told the jury they will hear their -- this surreptitious recording of Trump and Michael Cohen, talking about a hush money payment that was made to the Playboy model, Karen McDougal.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that -- I'm going to do that right away. I've actually come up and I've spoken--

TRUMP: Give it to me and (inaudible).

COHEN: And, I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with --

TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?

COHEN: - -funding. Yes. And it's all the stuff.


COLLINS: Jurors will hear that later on in this trial.

But joining me here tonight, Michael Cohen's former attorney, his current legal adviser, Lanny Davis, who I should note, can't talk about the specifics of this case, because it's on trial, right now. But he's known Cohen for five years, and is here tonight.

Lanny, it's great to have you.


COLLINS: You have been by Michael Cohen's side through all of his own legal troubles that he was dealing with. And right out of the gate, Trump's attorney was going after him, saying he's not credible, as a witness.

What do you say about what he provides as a witness, what he could provide?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, thank you for allowing me to have a personal comment on this interview, and not do anything about the legalities, or the testimony, or the evidence.

I do believe we should remind ourselves and everyone that Mr. Trump is innocent, until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So, that presumption of innocence guides me that to do nothing, to influence or comment on the evidence. And that's up to the jury now.

COLLINS: OK, because of the legal specifics.

DAVIS: But I did this--

COLLINS: Now what do you--

DAVIS: Right. I--

COLLINS: What do you make of him as a credible witness? DAVIS: He's, number one, been found credible after scorching cross- examination, by the Trump team, during the New York Attorney General's trial. And the judge, Judge Engoron, found him to be credible.

Secondly, I know him on a personal basis, as a father, as a husband, as a friend. And I think he's a person of great integrity, who owned what he did for 10 years, when he did a lot of wrongdoing for Mr. Trump, on his behalf, at the direction and for the benefit of Mr. Trump, including all the lies that the defense team accused him of. That was not for his benefit. That was for Mr. Trump's benefit.

And my own view, as a personal opinion, and don't want to affect this evidence that the jury needs to hear, is that he's a man of character and a man of integrity.

COLLINS: So, you seem to think that it's kind of a mistake to undermine or underestimate how he may come off to the jury, when he's on the witness stand?

DAVIS: Well, to some extent, he has owned his mistakes.

In testimony, before the country, even the world, streamed, in the House Oversight Committee, in February of 2019. He started out his testimony by saying I'm ashamed, I lied, and I did wrong for Mr. Trump. And he owned that 10-year history. That says a lot and will say a lot to the jury, when they have to decide. And it's up to them to decide is he credible?

In addition, there will be other witnesses and other documents, as you've mentioned, that they'll have to decide for themselves, whether he's credible.

But I do remind you that after being cross-examined, by another set of lawyers, Judge Engoron, in the New York Supreme Court, found him to be credible.

COLLINS: Yes, that was in the civil fraud case.


COLLINS: And when the judge put out his judgment of that, we all -- we all read that.

One thing that Trump's attorneys have been arguing is that he was just getting paid for legal work, and for legal fees.

And it reminded me, today, of something that we actually asked a Trump attorney about, a few weeks ago, which was this moment from Rudy Giuliani, when he was on TV, when Trump was in the White House. And he was talking about, as all of this was unfolding, what Michael Cohen was actually being paid for.

This is what Rudy Giuliani had to say publicly.



RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: When I heard Cohen's retainer of $35,000, when he was doing no work for the President. I said, but that's how he's repaying. That's how he's repaying it, with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes. For Michael.

He did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this.


COLLINS: Does that -- wouldn't that undermine it? I mean, he's saying he wasn't actually doing legal work for Donald Trump?

DAVIS: Well, again, I'm not going to comment on how the jury is going to view his own lawyer, contradicting what he said today that it was only about legal expenses.

But I would remind everyone what's in the public record, by federal prosecutors, who worked for Donald Trump's Justice Department.

They wrote on December 7th, 2018, in a public document that these checks, written while he was a sitting President, to Michael, as Mr. Giuliani said, were reimbursements for what? For Michael Cohen's advance payment to Stormy Daniels. He didn't make that payment for his benefit. He did it, he believed, for Mr. Trump's benefit.

So, that's got to be in the minds of the jury, and everybody else. That's in the public record by federal prosecutors, who were then working for the Donald Trump Justice Department. They were reimbursements, as Mr. Giuliani said, not legal expenses.

COLLINS: When Bill Barr was the Attorney General?

DAVIS: Correct.

COLLINS: So, when Trump comes out today, and he brings up Michael Cohen? And just given how well you know, Michael Cohen. This is what Trump said about him as he was -- as he was leaving the courtroom.


TRUMP: The things he got in trouble for were things that had nothing to do with me. He got in trouble. He went to jail. This had nothing to do with me.


COLLINS: You're basically saying, well, it was connected to Donald Trump?

DAVIS: So, all I'm saying is read the public record.

I don't want to say anything at all about that comment by Mr. Trump. I said he's entitled to a presumption of innocence, and let the jury decide on the evidence. But I do want to remind everybody watching, Michael Cohen, for the

last five-plus years that I've worked with him, has been attacked. His family has been threatened. I know his family. I know his children.

And I know has -- Michael has stood up in front of the world publicly and owned his mistakes. If he does that in front of a jury, I believe that what Judge Engoron decided, I hope that the jury will decide, this is a credible man who has been through a lot and owned his mistakes. And that contrition adds to his credibility.

COLLINS: I think people are reading between the lines here. Lanny Davis, great to have you on. Thanks for joining, tonight. I really appreciate you.

DAVIS: Thank you. Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And as we all know, this testimony is going to resume, tomorrow.

But before it does, something that may have just gotten a whole lot more different, even just with those comments, tonight, a hearing on whether Trump violated his gag order.

Prosecutors are asking the judge, to fine him, for attacking witnesses. We'll see if they fold in his new comments about the jury that you just heard here, on THE SOURCE tonight. More next.



COLLINS: Tomorrow morning, a key hearing is going to happen before the trial resumes at 11 AM. Judge Juan Merchan is going to consider accusations from prosecutors that Trump violated his gag order, by attacking key witnesses, in this case.

And just tonight, a new comment from him, in a new interview, talking about not the witnesses, not the prosecutors, but the jury.


TRUMP: That jury was picked so fast. 95 percent Democrats. Uh -- the area is mostly all Democrats. You think of it as a -- just a purely Democrat area. It's a very unfair situation that I can tell you.


COLLINS: A big question, right now, is whether or not prosecutors will bring up that comment, tomorrow, as they are already claiming Trump violated the gag order, at least 10 times, and they want to fine him a $1,000 each time he does so.

Joining me, tonight, retired Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, who spent 19 years on the bench in California, and is now a SOURCE-regular.

Judge, I'm reading from the gag order directly, right now. And it says making or directing others to make public statements about any prospective jurors or any juror in this criminal proceeding is a violation of this gag order.

What do you say?

LADORIS HAZZARD CORDELL, RETIRED JUDGE, CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT, AUTHOR, "HER HONOR": If you're talking about the comment he made today, I think he's got a problem.

Just saying well, they are Democrats, 95 percent, itself doesn't seem like it's violating the order. He's just making a comment about demographics. I don't even though that that's accurate. I think he's made it up.

But the point is, he's sending a message to his MAGA base that who are not Democrats that that this is bad, that these folks 95 percent of them are bad. And so, I think he has a big problem.

It's not going to come up tomorrow. It's unlikely that it will, because it isn't a part of the motion that's before the judge, tomorrow. So they -- I think the prosecutor would have to file another motion about this particular violation.

COLLINS: OK. So, for what does come up tomorrow, all of these statements of him and the witnesses, how do you believe the judge -- what does the judge do here? How does he decide on this?

HAZZARD CORDELL: Yes. So, tomorrow is a criminal proceeding. It's a criminal contempt. And that means that the prosecutor, who has filed this motion, is asking the judge to find beyond a reasonable doubt, three things.


And this is for each violation, that there was a legitimate order, the gag order. Secondly, that Donald Trump had notice of it, had knowledge of it, which he did. And third, that he knowingly and willfully violated that order. So, those are the three things that have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt for each violation.

And it's up to the judge. This is not a jury issue. It's up to the judge to determine if indeed, those violations have been established beyond a reasonable doubt.

When that happens, and should it happen, and I think it likely will, then the judge has three options. The purpose of contempt is to deter conduct, and also to punish the conduct that when the order is violated.

So, the judge can impose a fine. In New York, it's up to $1,000 per violation. The judge can order jail time, incarceration, up to 30 days for each violation, or put them together. So, the maximum could be 300 days in jail, if there are 10 violations, and then $10,000 total.

COLLINS: But what -- I mean, if you're watching this, tonight. And we've seen already how Trump has kind of handled this. I mean, how -- does the judge realistically do that in this case? I mean, obviously, he's got a lot to balance here, in the way of how he handles this.

HAZZARD CORDELL: Right. So, the fine is easy. And the fine is not going to be a deterrent at all. I think that Donald Trump would go to his MAGA base and have them raise the money and pay it.

The other issue is, is imprisonment, incarceration in jail. And if the judge were to say, OK, you're going to jail? That would delay the trial. It would just put a hold on it.

So my view, and if I were the trial judge hearing this, and did find a violation, and I decided that, incarceration would be the way to deter it? I think what I would do is stay any kind of sentence, maybe hold up on it, until the end of the trial, and then decide what kind of jail time I would impose.

And a lot would depend upon how Trump reacted, during the course of the trial. So, I could hold him in contempt, and say, I'm going to send you to jail, and then wait until the end of the trial, to impose a jail sentence.

COLLINS: Will we know tomorrow what the judge decides?

HAZZARD CORDELL: Yes. The judge will decide the contempt.


HAZZARD CORDELL: I mean, that's why he's having the hearing. And it's not going to be a long one.

And by the way, it's a criminal proceeding. So, Donald Trump has the right against self-incrimination. He can take the Fifth, and not have to say anything. Or he could be asked by the judge, to explain why he posted on his website, and on social media, all of these things that are clearly in violation of the gag order.

COLLINS: Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, great to see you again. And we'll see what the judge decides tomorrow. Thank you.


COLLINS: And of course, a lot of questions of the political implications, of what all of this is going to look like.

Also, another major case that is very clearly on the President's mind tonight.




TRUMP: This is what I got indicted over. This is what took me off and takes me off the campaign trail. Because I should be in Georgia now. I should be in Florida now. I should be in a lot of different places, right now, campaigning. And I'm sitting here. And this will go on for a long time. It's very unfair.


COLLINS: That was Donald Trump, outside of the courtroom today, listing off all the places that he and his campaign staff would rather be, than sitting in for a criminal trial.

But of course, campaigning on off days is now even proving to be difficult for him. On Saturday, he was supposed to hold a rally in North Carolina, which is going to have some tough races, come this fall, his first campaign event since the trial actually began.

But the weather had different plans.


TRUMP: So if you don't mind I think we're going to have to just... do a rain check.

I'm so sad. I'm in North Carolina right now, and waiting to go in. But they're saying the weather is really getting bad.


COLLINS: Meanwhile, back here in New York, Trump was complaining today that his supporters weren't allowed to be closer to the courthouse to protest.

Of course, we have been there, on the ground, multiple days, as this has been playing out. Only a small number of supporters were actually there at all.

Joining me tonight. Former Deputy Assistant to President Biden, Jamal Simmons. And also CNN's Political Commentator, S.E. Cupp.

And S.E., I mean, Trump was on Truth Social, complaining that they couldn't get closer to the courthouse, which I should note is still open to the public, essentially kind of saying that it's more of this plot that he has been claiming, to undermine his campaign.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, again, the victimhood. And it doesn't have to be true. People were allowed to go. I mean, they were allowed to gather. They have done that before. They were allowed to amass outside of the courthouse.

I think people have just kind of moved on with their lives, and don't really feel the need to go and do Trump's like fandom, during the day. And I know that really, really gets to him.

COLLINS: I mean, it does affect the campaign trail, because he's got to be in the courthouse four days a week. We've seen some truncated days, today and tomorrow. But on the aspect of roaming (ph), he was saying he wished he could be in Florida campaigning.

Biden's actually going to Florida, tomorrow. I mean, the Biden campaign has been handling this by really putting Biden out there on the campaign trail, while his trial has been underway.


Listen, I wonder why it is that he wants his camp -- his campaign supporters to be so close. Is this part of -- does he want the jury to hear them chanting his name through the windows? Like what is that's going on? Because it does feel like--

COLLINS: Yes, probably.

SIMMONS: Yes, his and this jury intimidation thing, right?

CUPP: Yes.


SIMMONS: And he -- what he does is he raises the stakes, on all of us, and then dares people to try to stop him. And I think this is another one of those attempts, to try to influence what's happening inside that courtroom, not just influencing what's happening, on television, but also inside the courtroom.

CUPP: Yes. Why did he want people to go to the Capitol, on January 6th? What does he want? I mean, it's a pretty -- I think it's a pretty sinister desire.


CUPP: He wants people to go. He wants people to interfere. He wants people to intimidate other people, on his behalf, and maybe even change an outcome.


COLLINS: Well, I'm glad you bring up January -- well go ahead, because I'm going to talk about January 6, and about them.

SIMMONS: No. Let's go to January 6. I'll get there, because I noticed something about how they're spending their money, right? If you look at what they've done at the RNC?

COLLINS: The Trump campaign? Or the Trump--

SIMMONS: The Trump campaign and the RNC. What they've done is they've closed these community centers, these community access centers, around the country, they have. 38 of them, they had. They closed them down. They only got seven left now, right?

Well, what they're doing is they're hiring election integrity officers, around the country. They've got these election integrity directors, in 15 states, who are focused not just on trying to get in the way or monitor elections on Election Day, but also collecting information for post-election legal action, right?

CUPP: Yes. Yes. SIMMONS: So, this is not really a campaign, it seems that's focused on winning the majority of the American people over to his side. It's a campaign focused on how do we keep pressing the system, to try to break it, to win, or getting him back into the White House.

COLLINS: Well that's interesting. And it also reminds me of what Liz Cheney wrote in an Op-Ed today.

Because the other thing that Trump is clearly preoccupied with, which is what's going to happen on Thursday of this week, when the Supreme Court hears his arguments that he can't be prosecuted, because he has total immunity, as he claims.

And Liz Cheney wrote today in an Op-Ed saying that, essentially, if they don't rule -- she doesn't think that they agree with Trump. But she's saying if they don't rule quickly, on this, she says, "It cannot be that a president of the United States can attempt to steal an election and seize power but our justice system is incapable of bringing him to trial before the next election four years later."

CUPP: Yes. Well, yes. And she obviously she was on the Jan 6th committee. She knows all this stuff. And she knows there's more stuff that the public didn't get to hear. She wants a full airing of all of that. And she really thinks it's important to do this before the next election.

But I think what's interesting, if we're talking about Republicans and how they see all of this, this week, both the hush money trial and the immunity trial. I have talked to Republicans who believe it or not, are relieved, these trials are finally here. You know why? Because the last month, they have had to defend the Republican war on women, and they think that is worse.

They think it's easier to just yell witch-hunt, about these very unseemly, seedy, gross, awful trials, than to actually defend their own policies on abortion, IVF, the Arizona ban. I talked to one Republican who said, we can't message that. We cannot message that.

COLLINS: So, you're talking to Republicans--

CUPP: Yes.

COLLINS: --who are telling you--

CUPP: Privately.

COLLINS: --they are grateful that Trump is on trial.

CUPP: Finally.

COLLINS: Because they could talk about this case, and Alvin Bragg.

CUPP: Right.

COLLINS: And not abortion. CUPP: Imagine having to make this choice, as the Republican Party. These two stories are a huge drag on the party. And there's one person responsible for both of them, Donald Trump.

You are happier to talk about the president paying off a porn star than you are to talk about your own policies on abortion. That's how toxic you know they are.


CUPP: It is a wild state of affairs. But that's where the Republican Party is now.

SIMMONS: And I got to tell you. I think that they are -- they are probably missing the boat on this.

I had an experience, just tonight, getting ready to come here. I'm getting my kids food, in the kitchen, and as I'm trying to get dressed and do all the things. And the television's on, when my kids walk in the room, and were talking about porn stars and Playboy and hush money. I had to hit the volume control as fast as possible, to get the -- get the volume down.

I got to believe all over America, there are people, who are being returned to a part of their lives, they thought was over, and the idea that we have to go back to Trump-land, where we're talking about National Enquirer, and porn stars, and all these things, all over again, that just doesn't feel like a place we ought to be.

CUPP: Yes.

COLLINS: But is the Biden campaign worried that if there's a hung jury, or Trump is acquitted here, which even his team doesn't think is likely, that it helps Trump, and hurts Biden?

SIMMONS: No, I don't think they're worried about that that it hurts Trump and helps Biden. I mean, it could -- it could help Trump, because Trump's trying to do everything.

But again, these, reminding people about what happens, when you get Trump in your life, right? These are the things that you're going to have to manage and deal with in your life, if you've got four more years of this.

I'm not sure they want to. Even Melania is just outselling that what's she's not even -- she's not even really participating that much in all of this.

COLLINS: She was at a fundraiser, over the weekend, for Log Cabin Republicans.

SIMMONS: It's true.

COLLINS: Jamal Simmons, S.E. Cupp, great to have you both, as always.

SIMMONS: Thanks. COLLINS: As Trump has been making his pitch, to return to the White House, as Jamal was just noting there.

A special programming note, because this Wednesday, we have a source, who was once inside the last Trump White House. Cassidy Hutchinson is going to be here, as this historic trial, against her former boss, unfolds Wednesday night.

Also, a tale of two Trumps up next, one on his best behavior in court, and venting outside of it. A question is what do the next six weeks look like for him? We'll ask one of his former attorneys.



COLLINS: If you're covering the Trump trial, you are seeing two very different Donald Trumps.

A man that we're all seeing of course is ranting outside the courtroom, going in and often when he's leaving.


But when he's inside the courtroom, he has been relatively subdued, at least for today, and so far as this trial has really just gotten underway, today being the first true day. No outbursts, no disruptions. He was often seen today passing notes, and whispering to his attorneys.

And when the prosecution was up for opening statements, we're told Trump stared at a screen, showing a view of the courtroom, essentially watching himself, watch the trial.

Want to bring in Trump's former attorney, Tim Parlatore, who is joining us tonight.

And, Tim, as you're watching this, Trump obviously is someone who likes to be in command of his schedule, his environment, his ability to respond to that environment. What do you think that these next few weeks are going to be like for him?

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Oh, I mean, I think they're going to be torture, I mean, in every sense of the word.

Because not only is he not in control, he has to sit there quietly, let other people speak on his behalf, where he's so used to getting up and speaking for himself. And then, he also has to basically sit down, stand up, whenever the judge asks him to.

And this is going to happen all day, every single day. So, I think it is -- it is something that particularly for somebody of his stature is a difficult experience to go through.

COLLINS: Yes, it's also quite cold, in that courtroom, which even reporters were complaining about today. But as far as the arguments that you heard from today, given you were on the Trump legal team, previously.

Todd Blanche, who is the lead counsel on this, was arguing he was saying that there's nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. He said, that's democracy.

I wonder if you had been in that courtroom today, if you were in that position, is that what you would have argued?

PARLATORE: I mean, I don't disagree with the arguments that he's made.

And I think one of the things that he's trying to get at here is that there is a difference between things that are illegal, and things that are, maybe immoral. I mean, when we talk about these type of hush money payments, to keep things out of the -- out of the view of the voters, I mean, that is something that people do all the time.

And unfortunately, politicians often are dealing with that kind of thing. And people in positions of power, like Donald Trump, he's probably been having people come to him, with these types of stories, long before he got into politics.

COLLINS: Yes. But would you characterize it as--

PARLATORE: I mean, John Edwards had a very similar situation.

COLLINS: Yes. And John Edwards' argument was, I did this -- I paid this to protect my wife, and my relationship with her, essentially, not to influence the election.


COLLINS: But would you argue that it's democracy? I don't think anyone, if you're teaching about democracy or how the elections work in the United States would say, yes, this is just part of that.

PARLATORE: Well, influencing an election as opposed to interfering in election. I mean, anytime a politician gets up, and gives a speech? Anytime that there is an endorsement? Anytime that you had run a campaign ad? That is meant to influence an election.

So, I mean, when you say it that way, influencing an election is democracy? Yes, that's why we have debates. That's why we have TV. That's why we have all these different things, so.

COLLINS: Yes. I think--

PARLATORE: But there's a difference between influence and interfere.

COLLINS: And what do you believe this did? Did it influence or was it interference in the election?

PARLATORE: Honestly, I don't think it really had that much of an effect. Don't forget at the time, Donald Trump was saying that he could shoot people in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and it wouldn't change things.


PARLATORE: I don't think that anybody went into this, thinking that Donald Trump was a perfectly clean white knight.

COLLINS: Yes. But his campaign was melting down at the time, because the Access Hollywood tape had come out. That's why they went back to Stormy Daniels, and offered to pay her.


COLLINS: But on Stormy Daniels herself, what -- we do expect her to potentially take the stand. It was clear Trump's team thinks that she's going to take the stand.


COLLINS: They were kind of characterizing her as an opportunist, and saying that she's biased.

I wonder what you made of the effort to do that in their opening statements today. And if you think that was wise.

PARLATORE: I don't really see her as being a relevant witness to this case. I don't think you really need to attack her credibility. Whatever she's going to testify about, is something that's not really in dispute.

She went and she said that she wanted to tell the story publicly. She asked to get paid off. She got paid off. And she didn't tell the story publicly at the time. That's not really in dispute.

So, I don't know what she's really going to add, and therefore what purpose there is, to attacking her credibility.

COLLINS: Do you think Trump ultimately testifies here? What's your sense?

PARLATORE: I don't think he should. Will he? Obviously that's his choice. That's a decision that really comes down to the wire, and based on how the trial has progressed, up to that point of, is it worth it? Is it worth taking the risk to have him testify? Or do they think that they've made their point without it?

COLLINS: Do you think it's--

PARLATORE: And I personally would suggest that he probably should not.

COLLINS: Does it increase or decrease the chances of a conviction if he testifies?


PARLATORE: Oh, I think it would significantly increase, because if the jury disbelieves him on anything, however small? That's something they're going to hold against him, and be much more likely to convict.

COLLINS: Tim Parlatore, got more questions for you. We'll be back with you, and join you, as we got much more coverage of this coming up. Thank you for joining, tonight.

PARLATORE: Thank you.

COLLINS: And thank you all so much for joining us, tonight.