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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Bill Barr Vilifies Trump But Says He'll Vote For Him; Trump's Hush Money Trial To Resume Tomorrow Morning; Trump, DeSantis Meet In Florida For First Time Since GOP Primary. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 29, 2024 - 21:00   ET



JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO & NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Got to have fierce hope, for these hostages, who are still being held, in Gaza, as well as deep compassion for the Palestinian civilians who are suffering.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Jonathan Greenblatt, appreciate you being with us.


COOPER: Thank you.

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


No holds barred, the aftershocks from our extraordinary interview with Trump's Attorney General, both vilifying his former boss and also voting for him. And he's far from alone. What our revealing conversation tells us about the state of the race, and the state of the Republican Party.

Also, a new front in the flashpoint on college campuses, as protesters are being told tonight, that time is up. Columbia beginning to suspend students, and police in riot gear making hundreds of arrests across the country. Our source on this movement, tonight, is Michael Moore.

And did a potential Trump vice presidential pick just shoot herself in the foot? There's new fallout tonight, for South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, after her story about shooting her puppy on purpose. We're digging into what's behind her latest bizarre defense.

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

Tonight, an exclusive window, directly into the disconnect, at the heart of our current national politics, a window that was thrown wide open, by former Attorney General, Bill Barr, right here on THE SOURCE.


BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think that that -- I've said this all along. If faced with a choice between two people, neither of which I think should be president, I feel it's my duty to pick the person, who I think would do the least damage to the country. And I think Trump would do less damage than Biden.


COLLINS: That's the rationale, from a former cabinet member, who had a front-row seat to the turbulent final weeks of the Trump administration, as Donald Trump was seeking to overturn the 2020 election results, an act that Barr himself has described in pretty frank terms before.


BARR: Sort of nauseating.

It is a horror show.

He didn't really appear to care about the facts.

Someone who engaged in that kind of bullying, about a process that is fundamental to our system, and to our self-government, shouldn't be anywhere near the Oval Office.


COLLINS: Barr's justification of his support for Trump now, despite what you've just listened to there, can kind of feel like a dizzying about-face.

But keep in mind, that came after this moment, when I asked him about Trump flat-out mocking Barr, after he said he'd support him in November.


COLLINS: I had to ask you about something that Trump posted about you this week, because he responded, in response to you saying you'd vote for the Republican ticket.

"Wow. Former A.G. Bill Barr, who let a lot of great people down by not investigating Voter Fraud in our Country, has just Endorsed me for President despite the fact that I called him "Weak, Slow Moving, Lethargic, Gutless, and Lazy" Based on the fact that I greatly appreciate his wholehearted Endorsement, I am removing the word "Lethargic" from my statement. Thank you Bill."

BARR: Yes. Classic Trump.



Barr's personal humiliation, as well as his embrace of Trump's autocratic wishes, even the revelation that talk of executions, were not rare occurrences inside the Trump White House, at least what Barr told us. All of that explains the barrage of headlines you see here launched by that very interview.

But what also makes it different is from the others that he's done, the one that he did here with us on THE SOURCE, Friday night, is that we had the opportunity to dig beyond the sound bite, the talking point, and really press Mr. Barr, whom I should note is one of the few individuals to ever serve as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, twice, on how he could vote for Trump, given his previous blistering criticism of him.

And we challenged him, on his argument that the Biden administration's policies are worse than his former boss' attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.


BARR: Parents are losing the freedom, to control their children's education. And, you know, people can't speak their mind, without losing their jobs, and things like that. This is worse than the McCarthy era. Where is that coming from? It's not coming from the right.

COLLINS: Those two things that you just noted there, you believe are worse than a President of the United States, trying to subvert the will of the people by overturning the results of the election?


BARR: No, I think -- no, I think a -- I think a country, all the things together, like we're not enforcing our borders, we have open borders, we have lawlessness in our cities. We have regulations coming fast and furious. So, telling people what kind of stoves they can use, and what kinds of cars they have to drive, and eliminating cars and so forth. Yes, those are -- those are the threats to democracy.

COLLINS: But President Biden is not in control of what some school boards, across the country, are doing.

BARR: He's using the administrative--

COLLINS: You think -- you can make the argument.

BARR: What are -- these major--

COLLINS: But -- but how is that the same way?

BARR: Well major changes are being made in our country without the democratic process, and they're being made by bureaucrats, and these agencies.

COLLINS: OK. Pause. You cannot argue that Republicans across the country are not doing that as well. In my own hometown, there's a huge fight at the library, over which books kids can read. This is not something that is a--

BARR: There's always been--

COLLINS: --single-party fight.

BARR: You think there are -- don't you think there should be some limits on what people are able to read at very young ages?

COLLINS: I just think people -- I just think people look at what you're saying, and they don't--

BARR: Well some people might.

COLLINS: And maybe -- maybe even Republicans, who have concerns about what's happening with school boards, or the culture, and don't -- abortion even, don't equate that with January 6th, and Trump's efforts.

When you told him the election was not stolen, and he still went out there and said it was stolen, and led a lot of people to believe that. They don't -- those things aren't equal. It feels like a false equivalency.

BARR: Well, I disagree, I think and -- I think the country is much more susceptible to losing freedoms, by the excesses of the left, and they have been steadily. And that's clear. People lose their jobs. Kids can't speak out in the classroom. They have to go along with what their professor says, in order to get good grades and so forth.

COLLINS: Well Republicans are also trying.

BARR: It's become like a Stepford Nation being directed by the progressive elites.


COLLINS: Of course, McCarthyism was one of the darkest chapters in American history. It's also Republican governors, who have led the nationwide effort to ban certain topics from classrooms.

And whether you agree or disagree with what they're saying, at this very moment, students on college campuses across this country are certainly speaking out. We'll talk more about that in a moment.

But six months out from a presidential election, Mr. Barr's position is far from the only one in his party. Look at this. A new CNN poll shows that 92 percent of Republicans believe that Trump's first term in office was a success. Four criminal indictments later, that is actually higher than it was when he left the White House in 2021.

Look no further than what Trump himself is saying, tonight, touting what he says that the full and enthusiastic support of Governor Ron DeSantis. Trump met with DeSantis, in Florida yesterday, to talk about how he can help with Trump's campaign. This is the first time they've spoken since DeSantis, dropped out of that ugly primary race.

But we see this paradox echoed by Republican after Republican. That Donald Trump is to blame for January 6th and everything that entailed in that period, yet they are still going to vote to put him back in the Oval Office. And most certainly, they aren't casting their ballots for President Joe Biden.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): That President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.

I would support the nominee of the party, whoever that was. And I do.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You said: It is clear that President Trump's rhetoric and actions contributed to the insurrection. The domestic terrorists who attacked the United States Capitol must be held accountable and prosecuted.

Do you stand by that statement?

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): A 100 percent.

I'm going to support the ticket. I'm going to support Donald Trump.


If I can start a nationwide write-in campaign for Dick Cheney, maybe I should do that.


COLLINS: We begin with a source tonight, who served in the Trump administration alongside Bill Barr. Alyssa Farah Griffin was the White House Communications Director, and is now a CNN Political Commentator.

And I just wonder what you've made of what Bill Barr had to say.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I could spend the whole hour, unpacking that historic, stunning and bizarre interview, with the former Attorney General.

I want to say one thing. He made this point that, in fact, the left and Joe Biden are more dangerous than the right because autocracies don't emerge from the right. I would point to Viktor Orban, who Donald Trump regularly praises, Bolsonaro in Brazil, also came from the right. It's an absurd, historically inaccurate claim that he's making.

But I don't know Bill Barr well. I served alongside him. I was in high-level meetings with him in the West Wing.

He, matter of factly, admitted to you that Donald Trump talked regularly about executing people. I knew of the one instance, I personally witnessed. I had heard of other examples secondhand. But he seemed to dismiss it, and then goes into this line of like, oh, don't take him literally.

Well, we didn't take him literally when he wanted to steal the election or when he incited a mob to go to the Capitol, and it turned violent. It's time that people start taking Donald Trump much more literally at his word. [21:10:00]

And I would just also add this. Donald Trump has done a masterful job and with, I would say, his friends and the right-wing media, of painting America as being in this hellscape, right now. We can't survive another four years of Joe Biden. We've survived 9/11, World War II, economic downturns. I don't like Joe Biden's policies.

That is demonstrably untrue. The border -- whether it's the border. Crime is down. Republicans were blocking a border bill, right now. We can survive bad policies. You cannot necessarily, as a democracy, survive an anti-constitutional President again, like Donald Trump.

COLLINS: I mean, when he brought up gas stove regulations, and truly was legitimately saying that that is as dangerous, as what he personally witnessed and spoke out against and angered Trump, when he spoke to the Associated Press, in December, and said, there was no widespread voter fraud here in the U.S.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Honestly, the interview felt like a hostage video. I noticed that he was not regularly making eye contact with you, especially when he was making some of the more bizarre claims like gas stoves.

It felt like he was kind of clinging to some right-wing talking points, that nobody is turning out this election because of electric vehicles or gas stoves, rather than talking about issues that he knows are fundamental.

Donald Trump was going to fire him, as Attorney General, had he not stepped down. He wanted a loyalist in that role, who was going to lie about the election, and was going to help him try to carry out overturning it. Bill Barr knows that. I mean, this, it's frankly disgraceful that he's doing this about-face now.

COLLINS: The, what you just mentioned there, you posted this last week, and said that, on an occasion where Bill Barr was present, you heard Donald Trump talk about suggesting executing a leaker who -- from the White House.

We -- I brought that up with Barr. And this is what he said.


COLLINS: But Alyssa Farah Griffin, who was Trump's Communications Director, posted yesterday and said, that you were present at a moment when Trump suggested executing the person, who leaked information that he went to the White House bunker, when those George Floyd protests were happening outside the White House.

Do you remember that?

BARR: I remember him being very mad about that. I actually don't remember him saying, executing. But I wouldn't dispute it, you know? I mean, it doesn't sound -- I mean, the President would lose his temper and say things like that. I doubt he would have actually carried it out. I don't, you know.

COLLINS: But he would say that on other occasions? You said he would lose his temper.

BARR: The President, you know, the President had a -- I think people sometimes took him too, literally. And he would say things like, similar to that in occasions, to blow off steam. But I wouldn't take him literally every time he did it.

COLLINS: Why not?

BARR: Because at the end of the day, it wouldn't be carried out, and you could talk sense into him.

COLLINS: But just because it's not carried out, and you could talk sense into him, doesn't that still mean that the threat is there?

BARR: No. I mean, I think -- I don't think the threat is there. The thing that I worry about President Trump is not that he's going to become an autocrat and do those kinds of things.

COLLINS: Why not?

BARR: Because I don't think he would.


BARR: At the end of the day.

COLLINS: What's the basis for that, that understanding that you have?

BARR: Well.

COLLINS: Is it just your own hunch?

BARR: That's my feeling, having worked for him and seen him in action. I don't think he would actually go and kill political rivals and things like that.


COLLINS: I mean, are people that desensitized in the Trump administration that he was like, oh, it's just blowing off steam?

FARAH GRIFFIN: I mean, maybe in the moment. But with the hindsight of history, I mean, in the moment, by the way, he was sitting to the left of the Resolute Desk, Bill Barr was, and the conversation was about invoking the Insurrection Act to try to quell domestic protests.

Bill Barr, having been Attorney General during Rodney King was talking the former President out of it. And he then launched into a tirade, saying we needed to execute somebody who leaked this. It's treason.

I don't know how he couldn't remember that moment. I think that that's lawyer-speak for I don't want to answer it. But that's even more shocking if it was something that he didn't even see as significant and didn't file away for the history piece.

COLLINS: I mean, I remember that day because that was when Trump was upset that someone had leaked that, that that's why Trump did that walk across the White House grounds, where they cleared the protesters.


COLLINS: He held the Bible upside down.

I remember all of that. I mean, we were told by sources, I think Kevin Liptak reported, Trump did that, because he was embarrassed that it had been reported he went to the bunker.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Very much so. And there were two -- at least a dozen other people in that meeting, who witnessed that same statement by the former President.

COLLINS: Alyssa Farah Griffin, thank you for your perspective on that.

Also here tonight, as we're talking about this, Bill Barr at one point in that interview, said that the Biden administration, he believes, is a real threat to democracy. My next source is a Republican, who might disagree with that.

Adam Kinzinger investigated the threat to democracy around January 6th, as a member of the House Select Committee, and is now also a CNN Senior Political Commentator.

Congressman, just I want you to listen to how Barr tried to equate the threat that was posed by that period, of leading up to January 6th, with the policies that are being implemented by President Biden.


COLLINS: How can you equate? The border is a real issue. I've been to the border. No one's denying that.


But is that the same thing as what you said recently, which was that, the conduct that was involved with Donald Trump, you said trying to subvert and prevent the progress, the execution of probably the most important process we have, which is the peaceful transfer of power after an election.

Name one thing that Biden has done that's worse than that.

BARR: I think his whole administration is a disaster for the country.

COLLINS: Is worse than subverting the peaceful transfer of power?

BARR: Did he succeed?

COLLINS: Only because Vice President Mike Pence stood in the way.

BARR: Yes. He tried to pursue--

COLLINS: And now the people who are lining up to be VP again say that they will not do what Mike Pence did.

BARR: Yes. I mean, look, I was very loud in saying I thought it was a whole -- the whole episode was shameful. And I'm very troubled by. And that's why it's not an easy decision. But I think when you have a Hobson's choice, you have to pick the lesser of two evils.

COLLINS: You don't see this as the definition of putting party over country?

BARR: No. No. Not because -- because, unfortunately, we're having a -- we're in a situation, where the policy differences between the two parties are very, very vast. There's a huge gulf. And so, in that kind of--

COLLINS: And you're saying Trump can achieve the policies?

BARR: I think he's going to have a much harder time achieving them.

COLLINS: But you're voting for -- so, you're voting--

BARR: And I also think--

COLLINS: So, just to be clear, you're voting for someone, who you believe, tried to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, that can't even achieve his own policies, that lied about the election, even after his Attorney General told him that the election wasn't stolen? And as the former chief law enforcement in this country, you're going to vote for someone, who is facing 88 criminal counts?

BARR: Well, look, the 88 criminal counts, a lot of those are in -- and I've said are--

COLLINS: Even if 10 of them are accurate?

BARR: The answer to your question is, yes. I'm supporting. I'm supporting the Republican ticket.


COLLINS: Congressman?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I just -- the only person happy about that interview was probably Chris Sununu, because he actually looked worse than him, because Sununu was doing the same thing.

I just, I cannot. When you ask him, isn't that the definition of putting party over country? It absolutely is the definition of putting party over country.

Not because, you know, he could have come back and said, well, look, if I was going to vote on the economy, like I agree with Republican economics more than Democratic economics. But then -- but he was talking about who is a bigger threat to democracy, to democracy.

Look, you can have an out-of-control border. An out-of-control border does not threaten the peaceful transfer of power.

Because what we saw on January 6th, and what we saw, frankly, in the intervening period before that, including when the person that succeeded Mr. Bill Barr was told by the President at the time, just say the election was corrupt, just say it was corrupt, you don't even -- don't prove it, just say it, and then leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen, implying that he will put enough doubt in people's mind to overthrow it. This is the definition of a threat to democracy.

And Bill Barr, to go through his litany of things, you know, stoves, they're trying to get rid of cars, which is the most insane thing I've ever heard. Nobody's trying to get rid of cars. But he is trying to convince himself and you can see it in real-time, because he's struggling there.

COLLINS: He didn't want Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee. I mean, he made that pretty clear, when we spoke to him eight months ago, on this show. It was -- he was scathing, downright scathing in his criticism of Donald Trump.

I mean, without asking you to kind of -- I mean, only Bill Barr can explain his position on this. But what do you think is behind the change?

KINZINGER: It's easy -- it's easy to just go with the Republican nominee. I mean, trust me, as somebody that's kind of been kicked out of a tribe, if you want to try to stay in your tribe, and your whole identity is based on the fact that you're a Republican, or he's a former Republican, and that's how he's going to go make money now, and that's everybody knows him. It's much easier just to say, I'm just going to default to supporting the Republican nominee, because they're both bad people.

It is hard to turn around and say, I'm going to vote Democratic, even if I don't agree with the policies because of the threat.

And that's what you're watching in real-time, him wrestling with that and he made the wrong decision. And he's, frankly, ought to be embarrassed for that interview. It was a great interview you did. But he ought to be embarrassed for his answers.

COLLINS: He certainly was not. He stood by them.

Adam Kinzinger, thank you for your perspective on this tonight.

KINZINGER: You bet. See you.

COLLINS: Up next, the other big story that we are following here tonight, on THE SOURCE. Students have been suspended. Hundreds of people have been arrested. Across the city, you are seeing these pro- Palestinian protests, defying deadlines, and continuing to rally against Israel's war in Gaza. My next guest is no stranger to protesters. The filmmaker, Michael Moore, is here.

Also, the first part of the criminal trial of a former President is going to continue tomorrow. We'll break down who we are expecting to see, on the witness stand, with someone who used to work at the Manhattan District Attorney's office.



COLLINS: Tonight, CNN is monitoring the pro-Palestinian protests that we have been seeing playing out on college campuses across America.

Texas State Police were in riot gear, not only arresting several people, at the University of Texas, but also deploying pepper spray, on those who attempted to push them off campus. School officials say that the majority of protesters there were not affiliated with the school, I should note.

Virginia Tech arresting over 90 people, including 54 students, who have all been charged with trespassing.

Cornell and Columbia suspending students, who refused to leave encampments that have been put on their campus.


Columbia gave protesters until a 2 PM deadline, today, to vacate an encampment on their school grounds. This is how the student leaders responded.


SUEDA POLAT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY STUDENT: We demand divestment. We will not be moved unless by force.

MAHMOUD KHALIL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY STUDENT: This is a movement, an anti-war movement.


COLLINS: My source, tonight, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Michael Moore, who has documented nationwide protests, and has also been a part of them, himself.

And, Michael, it's great to have you back on the show.

I just wonder, as we've been covering this, and you really saw it, hit a high point today, at universities all across the United States, from coast to coast, how do you think that these schools should be approaching these protests?

MICHAEL MOORE, OSCAR-WINNING FILMMAKER & DIRECTOR: In the opposite way that most of them are doing it. I mean, there's -- what's great about the democracy and free speech,

freedom of assembly, freedom of not having a state religion, this is what every -- you know, those who came here, the White people who came here wanting to escape that.

And so, the lesson teaching the children of today, in this case, Gen Z, that we will -- we will tase you, we will beat you, we will club you, if you -- and what -- none of them are committing any acts of violence, none of them are destroying the university.

Worst maybe, in some people's minds, they're doing is holding signs that say Free Palestine, or From the River to the Sea. This is the one that is constantly being thrown out there. Oh, look at this, this sign is, is frightening all the students, From the River to the Sea. And it's like, well, why don't you talk to them?

Because, actually, first of all, large numbers of these students are Jewish students, who are with the Palestinian students, who together are forming these encampments. I don't know if that's been covered, very much, how much.

I saw this one instance, where the Palestinian students inviting the Jewish students into the encampment. And then, the next day, they had a little nighttime entertainment in the encampment, and the Palestinian students decided to do a Jewish folk dance, for their fellow protesters, who are Jewish students.

COLLINS: Yes. But can I--

MOORE: With instance -- yes.

COLLINS: But Michael, can I ask you about that? Because there are some people, definitely sitting at home, right now, watching this who say OK, but I've also heard Jewish students on air here at CNN, and in other interviews saying--


COLLINS: --well, I'm hearing anti-Semitic rhetoric at this. And it's not all just, a kind of kumbaya thing. That it is there are moments, where Jewish students have said they felt harassed.


COLLINS: They felt unsafe on campus, going to -- going to class.

I mean, I think that's the question of where is the line in. Yes, at some schools like Yale, where we've seen a Jewish student--


COLLINS: --who has wrote for CNN today, saying he was sitting in, with a pro-Palestinian protester.

But where's the line between protesting and free speech, but also Jewish students-- MOORE: Yes.

COLLINS: --feeling safe going to class?

MOORE: Right. Well, first of all, the protesters who are there supporting the Palestinian people, and their right to be free? I would guess probably 98 percent of them are not saying anything that's anti- Semitic because they don't believe in anti-Semitism, in part because the Palestinian people are Semites. So, to be anti-Semitic would be if you're -- if you speak against Jewish people.

And yes, anti-Semitism is a, I think, one of the most horrific things, that the way people have behaved, Jews have been suffering as victims of this for 5,000-plus years. And everybody needs to stand up against that and fight it and speak against it.

But what's going on? And I noticed that there was a report thing I read in the L.A. Times today, and also on ABC News, where they're, you know, they were interviewing students, and they were being harassed, and the Hamas flags are flying.

And ABC and the L.A. Times did their own investigation, trying to find at these college demonstrations, one Hamas flag that the protesters were carrying, and there were none. This is all a made-up thing, just like that, like I said, the River to the Sea.

I just -- I wanted to -- Kaitlan, just read, this is from the charter of the Likud Party. That's the right wing party that Netanyahu is the head of, 1977, I'm reading direct quote, from the charter of the Likud right-wing Israeli party, and it says the following.

The right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is eternal and indisputable. Between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty.

That's their own charter, the Likud Party.


That's where this River to the Sea, because the real victims, in these last decades, have been the Palestinian people, not being able to have their freedom, not being able to live in a democracy, not having their rights.


MOORE: And why so many Jewish students are joining with Palestinian students, because they know it's wrong too. That's why the majority, I think, of Israelis certainly want Netanyahu out of there. Your own polls have shown that. And I think that--

COLLINS: Well I want to ask you--


COLLINS: I'm glad you brought up polls. And one, I should say that it is happening on some campuses. We saw the one student, who was barred from campus, after he said in a video in January, that all Zionists should be killed, or that Zionists should be killed. That was something that was spread around.

And I understand obviously, it's complicated, and schools clearly are grappling with how to handle this.

MOORE: Yes. And he's a knucklehead.

COLLINS: And canceling.

MOORE: That guy's a knucklehead. And he's now apologized for it.

I've been to Giants Stadium, where I can't tell you how many times I've had to listen to White people shouting negative -- using negative words about Black players using those epithets. Does that mean all football players are one thing or the other or White people are? Well, we know there's enough of them.

Bad stuff is said in this country constantly, because we have had a historic problem with bigotry, with racism, with all kinds of bad things said about minority groups.


MOORE: And including and especially Jews.


MOORE: And that is not allowed.

And all the organizers of all these demonstrations, I've talked to a lot of them. They've been in touch with me. And I have to tell you, they are the salt of the earth. They are kind and generous. They want to work with Jews. They want to live in peace.


MOORE: They do not work with Hamas.

COLLINS: And Michael? And--

MOORE: Or for October 7th.

COLLINS: Exactly. I mean, capturing the nuance here, and the complex nature of this is one thing.

But you brought up a poll about Israel's leadership. But you're wearing a Michigan hat right now. One, I won't hold you against that, because I'm an Alabama fan, as you know. But two, there's a CNN poll--

MOORE: Sorry. Our apologies.

COLLINS: There's a CNN poll that showed today 81 percent of voters, who are under the age of 35 disapprove of how President Biden has been handling this war. I mean, we're seeing it on campuses. There is a question of what we're going to see in November.

I wonder what you think he should be doing differently to change those numbers.

MOORE: Thank you for asking that question, Kaitlan.

This is why I was so, when I got the call, asking if I'd like to come on tonight. I really was coming on. I know we're speaking to millions of people. But I'd like to speak to one particular individual. And that is President Biden.

I wanted to say this on your show tonight that his chance of not being reelected, I think, at this point, is so great, because of those numbers. Because he's losing the youth vote. He's lost the Arab American vote in Michigan. So even Michelle Goldberg in a column, in The New York Times, last month, said that you lose Michigan, you lose the election.

I am fighting to make sure that doesn't happen. I am trying to save Joe Biden. Because as soon as he does the right thing, as soon as he -- and if you're listening, watching Mr. Biden, fellow Catholic, although some will say recovering, in my case, but still, we are -- we are Catholics.

And the Pope is right on this. We need an immediate ceasefire. It is wrong. A mass slaughter of innocents, of children, of women, of the elderly, is a sin. It is absolutely against what we believe in.

I know you know that too. I know that's why you're not really happy with what Netanyahu has done here. And you can stop the killing tonight. You pull the plug, you close the bank. You shut it down. Doesn't mean we're not going to support Israel, protect Israel. Absolutely. All of that.

But it's not what's going on here. It is a mass slaughter. It is -- it is a -- it's so, it's madness, President Biden. And you know this. And I speak to you, as a fellow seminarian, to the Catholic priesthood, that's me, that this is wrong. This is not what we believe in.

And I think, you know, after the World War II, we are all -- we are all in the shadow of the Holocaust. We are all sons and daughters of that era. And what did we want to do? We wanted to make sure that no Jew would ever have to suffer again, or be killed again. And so, everybody got behind the idea that they should have this home.

But the home, the land wasn't taken from the Nazis, the Germans. We didn't give them Bavaria. We took land from people, people who -- who not a single Palestinian, built an oven at Auschwitz. Not a single Palestinian, historically, ran the Spanish Inquisition. Not a single Palestinian turned away boatloads of German-Jewish refugees that tried to dock in Boston, New York, Miami, prohibited, tried to escape before they were all exterminated. And we turn them away, we, the United States.

[21:35:00] And it's, I'm just saying, yes, it's, you're right to be, as you say, you care and you love the Jewish people, obviously, yes. But not this. This is -- this is mass extermination. When you carpet-bomb a civilian population? And by us, who are watching this, that's our tax dollars and my tax dollars. That means we are funding this. We are responsible.

COLLINS: Michael Moore.

MOORE: We have to own this. And we have to own it.

And so -- well I'm sorry, Kaitlan. I just want to make this, because people, Democrats are going oh, don't be saying this. We got to win the election.


MOORE: But we're going to lose the election. We're going to lose Michigan, if we don't turn this around. And President Biden isn't turning this around. That is going to do more to put Trump back in the White House. And I refuse to have Donald Trump back in the White House.

So, what are we all going to do? How are we going to fix this? There's a simple way, right now, to try to bring back--

COLLINS: Michael Moore.

MOORE: --some of the young people.


MOORE: And I know we're out of time. Thank you for letting me say that, and speak directly to the President, where I hope is watching.

COLLINS: You know, we love -- we love having you on. And we'll have you back.

Michael Moore, thank you for that.

MOORE: All right. Thank you so much.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, tomorrow, here in New York, on the witness stand and inside that courtroom, as we have been watching this so closely, porn stars, hush money, election interference, you'd be forgiven for thinking that is what the trial is all about.

But actually up next, we're going to hear from a former Manhattan prosecutor, on what it's really about, as we are set to see Trump back in court, in just a few hours.



COLLINS: Sex, lies and an audio tape. We heard a lot about all three of those, in the first week of Donald Trump's hush money trial, here in Manhattan. But that was just the starters. Sleazy tabloids, slamming political opponents, a porn star, a Playboy Playmate, and David Pecker all took center stage.

But it's easy to lose sight of what the alleged crime is here. It's all about documents, legal fees, business records, that will really be what determines Donald Trump's fate.

My next source tackled this topic, today, in a New York Times Op-Ed piece, writing, "It's not surprising that the lawyers on both sides are trying to make this about something sexier... but," she goes on to write, "the case about preventing wealthy people from using their businesses to commit crimes and hide from accountability."

Joining me now is the author of that piece, former Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan D.A.'s office, Rebecca Roiphe; along with Jennifer Rodgers, former federal prosecutor and CNN Legal Analyst; and also Arthur Aidala, a veteran New York trial attorney.

Rebecca, let me start with you.

Because we often just say this is the hush money case. Alvin Bragg, the D.A., says it's the election interference case. You're kind of saying it's neither of those.


But I think it's important to focus on that, in part because it just simplifies the case, a huge amount. And there're sort of these promises with all of these stories that things that don't need to be proved are going to be proved. And that has the potential of confusing the jurors.

Once you boil it down to the case, it looks a whole lot more simple, a lot more like things that are normally done in the D.A.'s office, and therefore more legitimate.

COLLINS: And Arthur, you've kind of argued about what the crime alleged here is. I mean, you pointed out that this is pretty fairly common actually, in New York. I think it was 10,000 cases that have been prosecuted, for falsifying business records.

I mean, what does that say to you about what you're -- what this is actually going to get to when we hear jury instructions?

ARTHUR AIDALA, VETERAN NEW YORK TRIAL ATTORNEY: Sure. Here's the use simple difference that everyone can understand, those cases that were prosecuted? They were within the statute of limitations. They weren't outside the statute of limitations, which is what's going on here. And now, they got to figure out a way to get around this whole statute of limitations issue.

On top of them, this second prong, which is he violated some sort of election law. Is it New York State election law? Is it federal election law? That still isn't very clear. They may not legally have to make it clear. But a juror, a commonsense juror wants to know what the former President, and possibly future President of the United States actually did that was a crime.

COLLINS: Jen, I mean, how do you see that?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I've been talking to people, who were A.D.A.s, which I was not. But it's analogous to a burglary.

When you charge burglary, you can make it a felony by proving that they went in to do another crime. But you don't have to specify what the crime was. If you prove the breaking and entering was to commit another crime, you don't have to be any more specific than that.

And that's exactly what's happening here. You prove the falsifying business records, as Rebecca is talking about, and then you prove that there was an intent to commit another crime. You don't have to say it was just federal crime.

AIDALA: Right.

RODGERS: It was this state crime.

AIDALA: OK. But let's talk about--

RODGERS: You don't have to do it at all.

AIDALA: --let's use your example, because I've used that example, as well. But let's talk about New York City jurors. They want to know what the burglary is for. Is he going in to commit a larceny? Probably. Why you're going in, someone says you're probably going in there to steal something.

Juries want, even though you don't have to prove motive, you don't have to prove what that thing is. They know the pressure on them. They're going to say Donald Trump is guilty. They want to know what is he guilty of.

RODGERS: And the D.A.'s telling them.

AIDALA: Not assume he's going--

RODGERS: But the point is--

COLLINS: Well. Rebecca, again, I mean what's your--

RODGERS: --they don't have to specify.

ROIPHE: So, my view is it's just not all that hard to prove intent. And you -- they are suggesting what his intent is. The problem, in my mind, is too much emphasis on that.

Because, yes, it looks like they're using the state election law as the crime that he was intending to commit. The state election law makes it unlawful to try to suppress an election, when you're doing so with unlawful means. The unlawful means are all sorts of the tax problems, the campaign contribution problems.

COLLINS: So, what do they need to do differently?


ROIPHE: I think they just need to scale back a little bit, on the emphasis, and focus a little bit more, on what this case is really about, which is simple old falsification of business records, lying in your business records, and why would you go to so much trouble as to falsify, what was it, 34 different records?

I mean, it's pretty easy to use just circumstantial evidence, to show your intent wasn't to just do that for fun. Obviously, you were trying to do something unlawful. And there's all sorts of theories, and there's all sorts of evidence of what those other unlawful things are.

I don't think the statute of limitations issue is so hard because the state law has a kind of conspiracy element that would bring those in, to this state election law problem. But none of that has to be proved with the kind of detail, as if that were the actual crime.

COLLINS: Well, we'll see what happens when Gary Farro, Michael Cohen's banker, gets back on the stand, tomorrow.

Thank you, everyone, for being here. We'll have special coverage, tomorrow night, of that next day in court. So be sure to tune in.

Up next here, tonight, we are going to go inside Donald Trump's private meeting, with his former rival, Ron DeSantis. Notice he's not calling him his nickname anymore. We think we know why.



COLLINS: Donald Trump is reconnecting with his former Republican rival, Ron DeSantis. The two had not spoken since DeSantis dropped out of the Republican primary, a bruising race, where Trump labeled him at times as Meatball Ron, and often called him DeSanctimonious.

Yesterday though they have breakfast as Trump is seeking to shore up donors, with DeSantis, we are told, promising to help the Trump campaign with the one thing that he desperately needs. Cash.

Here tonight, former Deputy Assistant to President Biden, Jamal Simmons; and CNN Political Commentator, S.E. Cupp.

S.E., I just wonder, first off, I mean, I guess it's just mutually beneficial for the two of them. Ron DeSantis clearly wants to still be in Republican politics, and he can help Donald Trump with fundraising and connecting him with donors.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I actually think Trump needs DeSantis more than the other way around right now. Ron DeSantis is a governor. He's a pretty popular one. He could sort of silo in his own state and do his own thing.

But I think Trump needs Ron DeSantis. He needs fundraising. He needs money. He needs a Florida operation. I think he can lean on Ron DeSantis for that.

But it's real funny how quickly everybody forgets all their insults, and how much they hate each other, when political expediency is on the line.

COLLINS: Yes. Trump posted today. No nicknames were spotted, or jokes about his clothing.

But Jamal, there is this new CNN polling that came out over the weekend that I was looking into it. And basically, Trump is far -- is ahead of Biden in this.

And obviously, a poll is a snapshot. It is not a predictor of what's going to happen. I have to make that clear every time we talk about a poll.

But I wonder how the White House is looking at this that Donald Trump is polling ahead of Joe Biden.

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's frustrating to people, to see that Donald Trump is still ahead of Biden.

But I think they also feel very confident that the fundamentals of the Biden campaign are in far better shape than the fundamentals of the Biden -- fundamentals of the Biden campaign are better shaped than the Trump campaign.

The Biden campaign is putting people on the ground, in key states. They are raising money at an incredible clip. They are -- they figured out some social media tactics, over the last year and a half, while people were complaining about what's the Biden campaign doing? They were actually testing a lot of things. So, they figured out how to talk to the voters, they need to sway.

And so, if you look at the voters, they're trying to get, those voters do care about democracy. They do care about abortion. They do care about the economy and inflation and housing, absolutely. But they care about these other issues. And I think they're focused on trying to target those voters, and get to them.

Let me tell you something they are worried about, and I think all Democrats are, is what's happening on these campuses, what's happening around Gaza.

CUPP: Yes, sure.

SIMMONS: This is something that is kind of a free-flowing thing that is--

COLLINS: Because they're worried it is--

SIMMONS: --clearly trouble. COLLINS: --spelling trouble for November.

SIMMONS: Yes. Look at the numbers.

I mean, you look at where Donald Trump is with Republicans. He's in the 90s.

Joe Biden is in the 70s, when it comes to Democrats. And when it comes to young Democrats, he's nowhere near -- is he's five or six points below where he should be, at this particular point. So, he has got to find a way to get those Democrats back home. And that will close the gap with Donald Trump.

COLLINS: I mean, we were all in Washington, this weekend. I've never seen protests outside the Correspondents' dinner, certainly not in large numbers. And there were over these protests, over what's happening in Gaza, exactly.

CUPP: Well, the anti-Semitism, and that's not to characterize all the protests, but the anti-Semitism on the left is a big problem. For the left, it's a bad look. And you've got a large amount of Democrats, who are dissatisfied with Joe Biden and the White House's stance on Israel. He's going to have to contend with that, for sure.

SIMMONS: My dad was an anti-war protester in the 60s around Vietnam. I asked him about this. He said, at the same time, they had people who showed up with those protests, who were trying to hijack the protests with these extremist messages. And they had to confront those people, shut them down, and get them out of the way.

That's what these young people need to do.

CUPP: Yes.

SIMMONS: And if they find people who are having that kind of extremist rhetoric, get them out of the way, because it's not doing anybody any favors.

CUPP: It is not.

COLLINS: Can I separately, also ask you about Democrats, because what the concern that I heard also is watching RFK, Jr., and what ballots he's getting on. He just qualified, a few hours ago, his campaign says, for access in California.

We're seeing both Trump and Biden go after him. Trump saying, you know, he's a Democratic plant, and a wasted protest vote. But clearly, you are seeing concern in both campaigns.

SIMMONS: Yes, he is -- he's a problem. The name -- the name is a problem on the left, right? If his name was like Robert F. Klondike, like I don't know if anybody would care. But his name is Kennedy. And that's the thing people are focused on.

COLLINS: Robert F. Klondike.

Jamal Simmons, S.E. Cupp.

I'm going to keep that one in my head. Thank you.

Up next, why we are seeing a bunch of Democratic governors posting pictures with their dogs. It's a dig to South Dakota governor, and less considered to be Trump's running mate, Kristi Noem.



COLLINS: South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, who has been widely seen as a possible contender, for Trump's vice presidential pick, is now defending shooting and killing her own dog. She wrote about this in her book, in a horrific story, about killing her 14-month-old dog, Cricket, because she said the dog was quote, "Untrainable."

The revelation has sparked intense backlash, including from a slew of Democratic governors, who have been sharing pictures of their dogs in response, with this caption. Post a picture of your dog that doesn't involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit.

With that introduction, joining me now is New York Magazine's Washington correspondent, Olivia Nuzzi.

And I mean, Olivia, it's -- I don't even know what to say about this story.


COLLINS: Great. We'll just sit here in silence.

NUZZI: Thanks for having me.

It's pretty dark. It was not that long ago that Mitt Romney, arguably part of the narrative about Mitt Romney that prevented him from winning the 2012 election was that he had put his dog Seamus, whose name I still remember, on the roof of his car, for several hours, while driving on a family vacation in like 1983.

This is a lot worse than that. I think animal rights activists would agree.

COLLINS: I think what's wild about it is, she's defending it today, and saying kind of that she believes it shows that she has like a quality of grit. But this wasn't an investigative reporting. This didn't come from a political opponent.


COLLINS: She wrote about this in her own book that's coming out next month.

NUZZI: I can't figure out what the strategy was. I guess there's one school of thought that she was getting out ahead of the story that perhaps people knew about this. And if she is truly a VP, contender, as people think, that maybe she wanted to try and tell the story, on her own terms. People do, do that with all sorts of negative information that they assume will come to light.

Or she's sort of pitching herself. I mean, Trump doesn't like dogs, kind of famously. Maybe she was trying to pitch herself as this sort of Sarah Palin-esque country woman, who's capable of committing acts of horror against animals. I don't know. It doesn't really make a lot of political sense.

And animals are the kind of one thing that are a unifying idea. Most people, regardless of party, are not in favor of this.


NUZZI: I talked to Newt Gingrich, earlier tonight, who--

COLLINS: What did he have to say?

NUZZI: He's fascinating guy. But no, he had made a 2012 attack ad, in that primary against Mitt Romney, over the dog story. And so, I was just curious. He's a famous animal lover, even if they don't always love him back. He did get bit by a penguin once.

And he said it was terrible and horrible. And I thought it was interesting. Things haven't changed that much, at least, as it relates to animals in Republican politics.

COLLINS: That's interesting. So, he was critical of it.


COLLINS: I mean, because we've heard yes, that even conservative media has been questioning why she did this.


COLLINS: One guy saying, on Fox News, that she basically has like eliminated her, any consideration as being VP, even though some people didn't take that seriously.

I mean, what's your sense of what Trump-world, how they're viewing this?

NUZZI: I saw The Daily Beast reporting that there was some freak-out and that they felt, among the Trump advisers, that this had sort of disqualified her.

I think Trump is maybe right that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and get away with it. But he could not have shot a dog, and gotten away with it. People feel very strongly about animal protection in this country.

COLLINS: They do. And so do I, and you.

NUZZI: Yes. And so do I, definitely. I hope lest anyone think differently. [22:00:00]

COLLINS: Olivia Nuzzi, thank you for always joining us, on the most bizarre headlines.

And thank you all so much, for joining us.

We'll see you back here, tomorrow, for special coverage, of Trump's trial, 9:30 AM Eastern.