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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump: Far-Left Agitators "Terrorizing" College Campuses; J.D. Vance: I'm "Skeptical" Pence's Life Was In Danger On January 6; VP Harris Blasts Florida Abortion Ban: "Trump Did This". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 01, 2024 - 21:00   ET



JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, frankly, that's clearly not the strike that we have documented here, and that we have described to them.

So, their answer, frankly, was nonsensical at times. It didn't -- it didn't amount to what we've seen on the ground, and what we've documented. And like I said, it just raises more questions than it actually answer.


Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much.

That's it for us. The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. I'll see you, tomorrow.


From never-Trumper to potential vice president. Never say never, I guess. Republican senator, J.D. Vance, now one of Donald Trump's staunchest advocates, not only trying to help him win the White House, but also in the running to join him this time. He joins us live, in moments.

And the former President back on the campaign trail, tonight, after being held in contempt, for violating his gag order, nine times. He's now racing back to New York, just to learn if he just violated it again.

Also tonight, we are tracking the clashes and the crackdowns that are happening on college campuses across America. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested. And we'll show you new exclusive police bodycam footage, in moments.

One of our sources tonight is former New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, on how his successor is handling it all.

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

At long last, there is music to Donald Trump's ears. Macho Man and Y.M.C.A., the hallmarks of his MAGA rallies, blaring again today, as the former President returned to the campaign trail for the first time since his criminal trial began here in New York.

Trump held rallies in two critical battleground states that he captured in 2016, but lost in 2020, Michigan and Wisconsin. Yet even out on the campaign trail, the legal cloud was still hovering over him.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: As you know, I have come here today from New York City, where I'm being forced to sit for days on end, in a kangaroo courtroom, with a corrupt and conflicted judge, enduring a Biden Sideshow trial.


TRUMP: I have a judge who gags me. I'm not allowed to talk about things.


COLLINS: It's really just a normal courtroom. I've been inside of there, as Trump was sitting at the defense table.

And I should note this is not a Biden trial. His claims about the judge being corrupt are baseless.

But despite his assertion that he's not allowed to talk about this case, while he is talking about this case, on camera, he is allowed to say everything that you just heard there. Attacks on the judge don't fall under the gag order that Trump is under.

And his return to the campaign trail was quite brief. He'll actually be back here in court tomorrow when his hush money trial resumes, and bright and early at that.

Before the witness gets back on the stand tomorrow, there will be another hearing on whether Trump violated his gag order again. He was just found to be in contempt of court, and fined $9,000 for violating the order nine different times. The judge, in his finding, warned that Trump could go to jail, if he continues to attack witnesses and jurors.

Trump didn't comment on either today though. He did attack President Biden, and take credit for restricting abortion rights. And also, he weighed in on the nationwide protests that we are seeing, on college campuses.


TRUMP: The radical extremists and far-left agitators are terrorizing college campuses.

When you see that video of raging lunatics, and Hamas sympathizers at Columbia and other colleges.


TRUMP: No, but when you look at it, I say where did these people come from?

Where did they come from? And they do come from other countries, and they are paid.


COLLINS: I should note that we have not seen any evidence that protesters are being paid to be on these campuses.

But while Trump was in Wisconsin today, he also addressed the question, the open one, of who he's considering to be his running mate, come November.


JASON CALVI, POLITICAL REPORTER, FOX6 NEWS: Who's on your shortlist? Doug Burgum, Tulsi Gabbard, who are you looking at?

TRUMP: I mean, all good names. We were speaking before, all good names. We have--

CALVI: Marco Rubio?

TRUMP: Marco's great. I think he's been great.

CALVI: Is he one of your tops?

TRUMP: Well, he's one of the people I respect.


COLLINS: My source tonight is also a top contender to be Donald Trump's vice presidential pick, Republican senator of Ohio, J.D. Vance.

And Senator Vance, thank you for being here.

On just what we're seeing on college campuses, you've been very outspoken, about the need for free speech on college campuses. But I wonder where you believe the line is in defending free speech and denouncing hate speech.

SEN. J.D. VANCE (R-OH): Yes, Kaitlan, the way that I think about it is that you have a right to free speech. People are allowed to speak. But you don't have a right to turn college campuses into garbage dumps. You don't have a right to prevent other students from going to class. And you don't have the right to commit violence.


And so, I think it's pretty straightforward. We're never going to strike that balance perfectly. But there's clearly, I think, an effort, in this country, to make sure that we have a First Amendment right to speech. And at the same time, we make sure that students can go to school without attacks.

And sorry, there's sort of weird echo.

COLLINS: OK. Maybe it's mix-minus. We'll see if the Control Room can stop that, because I know how crazy it is when you can hear yourself.

But on that, in your home state of Ohio, I know Republicans led in passing a law, protecting free speech on campuses. We saw that students at your alma mater were arrested, even though the newspaper had described it as pretty much a quite peaceful protest.

And I just wonder how you see how administrators are handling what's happening there. What's happening, like what we saw at Columbia, last night, here in New York?

VANCE: Yes, Kaitlan, nobody's going to strike this balance perfectly.

And I appreciate you fixing the audio issue. It is fixed.


VANCE: But the basic problem here is that you do have some radicals, in these protests, who are committing violence, who are preventing students from going to class.

And certainly, you don't want to arrest people, who are just engaging in basic First Amendment speech. But you also want to make sure that people can go to school safely, and that college campuses, which of course, are public spaces, are not turned into garbage dumps by these encampments.

So look, I'm sure that we can find examples of college administrators being too aggressive, and how these -- they police these things. But I also think you can find some pretty good examples of students, who are clearly violating the rights of other students, and violating the law, by engaging in some of these protests.

So, we've got to strike that balance. I think that so far, we're doing a pretty good job in this country, between letting people express their viewpoint, but not making sure, or at least, I should say, making sure that our Jewish students and other students are able to go to class without infringement.


VANCE: The other thing I'll say, Kaitlan, I come at this from a very pro-Israel perspective. And my view on this is that Israel is our ally, and that we should support them. But you can't police people for being anti-Israel or pro-Israel. You can't police people for violating the law. And we have seen some of that with some of these protests.

COLLINS: OK. So, you agree that people, who break in, and vandalize a building should be prosecuted?

VANCE: Exactly. COLLINS: OK. I'm just checking because you did help raise money for people who did so on January 6th, which was impeding an official proceeding, breaking into a building that they weren't allowed to be in, and vandalizing the Capitol.

VANCE: Well, Kaitlan, I know that this is the obsession of the national media to talk about what happened two years ago, three years ago, on January the 6th, as opposed to talk about the future.

COLLINS: It's not an obsession. I'm just seeing if it's a double standard.

VANCE: No. Let me -- no, let me -- let me answer the question, Kaitlan. I mean, look, here's my -- been my basic argue about January the 6th. If you beat up a cop, of course, you deserve to go to prison. If you violated the law, you should suffer the consequences.

But there are people, who protested on January the 6th, who have had the complete weight of the Justice Department thrown at them, when at worst, they're accused of misdemeanors. Now, again, there are people who are accused of worst offenses, and that's a problem.

But you can't have Black Lives Matter protesters, who rioted and vandalized goes free, when you have people, who were actually peacefully protesting, on January the 6th, who have the book thrown at them. That's the double standard that I'm most worried about.

COLLINS: Yes, I don't think there's an obsession with January 6th. But it is a legitimate question.

And given what you just said there, and as Trump is getting closer to, as he's the presumptive Republican nominee, he has said he would pardon, it's considered a blanket pardon, for everyone, on January 6th.

Are you saying that that shouldn't happen? People who beat up cops should be excluded from that?

VANCE: Well, I think what President Trump has said -- and of course, he can speak for himself. But I pay attention, pretty close attention to what he says. And yes, I think what the President has said is that people, who have this double standard applied to them should be pardoned.

And you shouldn't have the Department of Justice letting violent offenders walk scot-free, and then you have a misdemeanor trespassing case from January the 6th, that person has their life ruined, because of the lawfare of the Biden administration.

I think that's a totally reasonable standard for the President to apply. Hopefully, he does get reelected. And I think, frankly, there are some innocent people, who have been caught up in the lawfare of the Biden administration, Donald Trump included, if we're being honest.

COLLINS: But the ones who beat up cops, should they be excluded? VANCE: Certainly, if you assaulted a police officer, you should go to prison.


VANCE: And I think that's a pretty broad and agreed standard, across the political spectrum. At least I hope so. I certainly think that my fellow conservatives agree.

COLLINS: OK. We'll see if Trump agrees with that.

But back to what's happening on these campuses, as this has been such a national story. Trump, when he was in New York, compared it to what happened in Charlottesville, in 2017. Obviously, when neo-Nazis were chanting, Jews will not replace us, three people were killed, 35 were injured. Trump said that was a little peanut compared to what we're seeing right now.

Is that an accurate equivalency in your view?

VANCE: Well, look, I think that what you've seen is nationwide, anti- Semitic protests, and number of students who have been assaulted, and number of people who have prevented from exercising their constitutional rights.

And I think Trump, as he often does, highlights the really ridiculous double standards that sometimes exist in this country.

When you had what was coded as a conservative protest that had a lot of anti-Semites, the entire national media was preoccupied with it, obsessed with it, I would say.


When you have a series of very often--


VANCE: --anti-Semitic protests, all across college campuses, a number of acts of vandalism, somehow all of a sudden, the media doesn't care about it.

I think it's reasonable for the President to draw attention to that. And I agree with him.

COLLINS: But what was happening in Charlottesville was one of the largest gatherings of White nationalists in a decade.

Obviously, what's happening on these campuses, we've seen how it's gotten out of control. But ostensibly, they're there protesting the war in Gaza.

I just I'm curious why there's a need to compare the two, and if you see it that way.

VANCE: Well, I don't necessarily think there's a need to compare. In fact, I'd say that President Trump is one of the few people, who's

actually condemned both sides. In other words, he condemned the protest in Charlottesville, to the extent that it got violent. He also noted, honestly, that there were peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, too. He's also condemned the protests that have broken out, across our college campuses.

So again, I think that if you actually look at what President Trump has said, he's making a reasonable observation that there's a ridiculous media double standard. But he has, I think, the courage to condemn acts of anti-Semitism, whether they're coming from the perceived right or the perceived left.

COLLINS: I would disagree that it's a media double standard.

But you're a Yale-educated attorney. And I want to get your take on what we saw happen, last week, those immunity arguments, before the Supreme Court, where Trump's team, his attorney argued that a president could order the military to stage a coup, and to have their political opponent assassinated, and be immune from prosecution, unless this theory that they were impeached and then convicted by the Senate.

Do you share the view that presidents are basically above the law?

VANCE: Look, look, Kaitlan, I think we have to be careful about imputing words into the President's attorneys that they didn't actually say.

What the President's attorneys said is that--

COLLINS: He agreed with it.

VANCE: What the President's attorneys said, Kaitlan, to be clear, is that there is a checks and balances system, in our Constitution.

Now, some things the president does, private acts, are liable to criminal penalties. But most of the things that the president does in their official duties, we have a system of impeachment, we have a system of checks and balances, in the legislative branch that I'm a member of, the judicial branch.

I did not read the President's attorneys saying that the President could order a coup. The President's attorneys were saying that the constitutional checks and balances system--


VANCE: --would address that problem.

COLLINS: OK. But let me stop you right there.

VANCE: And I think that's an important distinction.

COLLINS: But let me stop you right there. Because I listened to this. It's John Sauer, Trump's attorney. And when he was asked by one of the justices, if the President could order the military to stage a coup, and would it count as an official act, meaning he couldn't be prosecuted for it? He said it would depend on the circumstances.

I mean, what circumstances warrant a president ordering the military to stage a coup?

VANCE: Well, first of all, I did say it depends on the circumstances. That opens up a whole lot of avenue for context there.

But more importantly, Kaitlan, he's just saying that would count as an official act.

COLLINS: But that's not--

VANCE: But there are a number -- there are--

COLLINS: That's an official act, in your view too?

VANCE: But can I finish the answer to the question, Kaitlan?

An official act, there are a number of checks and balances in our system. There's the impeachment process. There's the budgeting authority that Congress has. There are a number of ways, where Congress has a check and balance control over the President of the United States.

All he's saying is that the criminal liability procedures that exist in this country don't cover the President's official acts. And by the way, how could anybody disagree with that, Kaitlan? Should Barack Obama be prosecuted for killing an American citizen via a drone strike?

There are a number of examples, in American history, where if you apply the standard, the lawfare standard of the Biden administration, against Donald Trump, it would make the presidency impossible, to actually execute the law. So, in the name of taking down--

COLLINS: Yes. I know that's the argument that--

VANCE: In the name of taking down their political opponent, Kaitlan, these guys are, are really pushing a legal theory that I think would destroy the presidency, whether a Democrat or Republican was in charge.

COLLINS: Well, I don't think Jack Smith is running for office.

But on what you're saying, you're basically saying that if the president orders the military, to stage a coup, you believe the only remediation for that is that he can be impeached, or that Congress can restrict the budget?

VANCE: Well, Kaitlan, first of all, you're dealing with hypotheticals here that are completely outside the bounds of this particular situation. Donald Trump did not order a coup, despite the fact that a lot of media people say that he did, on January the 6th. He encouraged people to protest peacefully. And of course, most people on January 6th did protest peacefully.

What I'm saying is that you have to have some measure of liability, for the official acts of Presidency of the United States. And the way to create a check and balance on that system is what the Constitution prescribes here.

You can't have prosecutors, many of whom, of course, are deeply embedded with the Democratic Party, trying to destroy the life of a former President, who's now running for president, because they think that they have a better argument, for what that president should have done.

You can have a political disagreement with Donald Trump, and that's totally reasonable. You shouldn't destroy the presidency in the process.



VANCE: And I think that's what a lot of the Biden administration Department of Justice is trying to do.

COLLINS: But you essentially are agreeing that the presidents should not be able to be prosecuted.

Let me ask you something else. Because, as I mentioned, there is an open question of who Donald Trump will pick to be his vice presidential candidate.

We just heard him talking about Marco Rubio.

You're hosting a fundraiser with him, in your home state of Ohio, later this month.

I know you say that you two haven't discussed the vice presidency directly. But you said you'd certainly be open to it if he did offer it to you. Considering that, does it give you any pause whatsoever about taking that job when you see how he treated his last vice president?

VANCE: Well, Kaitlan, first of all, again, I haven't talked to Donald Trump about becoming vice president.

I think it's important to support President Trump, as Republicans, because I think he was a good president. And I think that he made the country more prosperous. And I think he made the world more peaceful.

What gives me pause, Kaitlan, is another four years of Biden's administration, where he's opened the borders, and where you have, effectively a conflict, a major world conflict in nearly every continent in the world, so. COLLINS: But my question was not about President Biden. It's about President Trump.

VANCE: Well, look, it's fundamentally about President Biden, because if you're comparing the two records of these presidents, and asking, who do I want to be president, it's very clearly that I want Donald Trump to be president.

And I understand that there are a lot of things that people like you disagree that he did. But I think fundamentally, he was a good president. He accomplished a lot for the country. And the question fundamentally for our country is, do we want four more years of Joe Biden? Or do we want four more years, the peace and prosperity of Donald Trump?


VANCE: That to me is an easy question.

COLLINS: The last time I checked, President Biden wasn't approval -- approving of the chants to hang his vice president, and did not call his vice president, when their life was in danger, on Capitol Hill, something that Mike Pence himself has testified to.

So my question is does it give you any pause to be his vice president, given how he has treated Mike Pence?

VANCE: Kaitlan, I'm extremely skeptical that Mike Pence's life was ever in danger. I think politics -- in politics, people like to really exaggerate things, from time to time. I know a lot of folks, in the Democratic Party--

COLLINS: I think Mike Pence would disagree with that, Senator.

VANCE: A lot of folks, in the Democratic Party, Kaitlan, act as if January the 6th was the scariest moment of their lives.

I think, look, January 6th was a bad day. It was a riot. But the idea that Donald Trump endangered anyone's lives, when he told them to protest peacefully, it's just absurd. And the entire legal basis of this prosecution of Donald Trump, from Jack Smith--

COLLINS: But they were chanting that they wanted to hang him.

VANCE: Look, Kaitlan did a few people say some bad things? Sure. But do we blame Donald Trump for every bad thing that's ever been said, by a participant in American democracy? I think that's an absurd standard.

And look, Kaitlan, I know you're worried, and look, I think, justifiably so--

COLLINS: This isn't about me, Senator.

VANCE: --about threats to American-- COLLINS: I'm asking questions about you, and how you would feel about this.

VANCE: Yes, look, I'm trying to answer the question. I'd appreciate if you let me.

We know that there are threats to American democracy. I think the biggest threat to American democracy, Kaitlan, is that the Biden administration is trying to prevent Donald Trump from campaigning, and taking his case to the American people.

COLLINS: It's a judge, in New York--

VANCE: Even as they hide their own candidate.

COLLINS: --that's presiding over that case. It's -- the Biden administration is not preventing Donald Trump from campaigning.

VANCE: This -- this is a--

COLLINS: He just did two campaign events tonight.

VANCE: This is a really important point, Kaitlan. Who is the number three person, from the Biden Department of Justice, who went to work for the New York prosecutor, just months before he brought this case, against Donald Trump?

You can't have people moving, from the Biden administration, to prosecute Donald Trump, in New York, and say it has nothing to do with the Biden administration, especially--

COLLINS: Attorneys go from the Justice Department--

VANCE: --when the judge is a Biden administration donor.

COLLINS: --to local D.A.'s offices all the time. That's not that unusual.

VANCE: It's pretty--

COLLINS: I mean, you're an attorney. You know that.

VANCE: It's pretty unusual.

COLLINS: You probably have colleagues, who went to Yale with you that did that.

VANCE: It's pretty unusual for the number three person, in the Department of Justice, to then go to the New York prosecutor's office, to bring a bogus case against Donald Trump, and then to have the judge presiding over that case, to be a donor to Biden-Harris. I think that's pretty unusual, Kaitlan.

And really is, aside from your views or anyone else's views about Donald Trump, this is a real threat to Americans' trust in the legal system. If you look at polling, even a lot of folks, who are going to vote for Joe Biden think that the lawfare against Donald Trump is bogus. We're destroying faith, in the American system of law and in order--


VANCE: --to try to bring down Joe Biden's political opponent. That's a threat to democracy.

COLLINS: It's a jury of his peers that indicted him, and a jury of his peers that will be -- that are in that room, right now, and will decide this case.

Senator J.D. Vance, thank you for joining us, here on THE SOURCE.

VANCE: Thanks for having me.

COLLINS: Up next. Maggie Haberman is here to talk about that interview.

Also, the view from Trump-world about his ongoing trial as he's set to return tomorrow.

Also, amid the ongoing chaos that is happening on college campuses, we're learning more tonight, about the influence, the potential involvement of outside agitators in this, and questions over what we're hearing from the New York City Mayor on that.



COLLINS: Moments ago, you just heard from Republican senator, and potential Trump running mate, J.D. Vance, on everything that is going on, and including with that potential question of who Trump is going to pick.

I asked him what he thought about this idea. We've heard from J.D. Vance, on what he would have done if he was Vice President on January 6th. He wouldn't have done what Mike Pence did. He's made that clear.

But also a question was what he thinks about how Donald Trump has treated his former Vice President.


COLLINS: The last time I checked, President Biden wasn't approval -- approving of the chants to hang his vice president, and did not call his vice president, when their life was in danger, on Capitol Hill, something that Mike Pence himself has testified to.

So my question is does it give you any pause to be his vice president, given how he has treated Mike Pence?

VANCE: Kaitlan, I'm extremely skeptical that Mike Pence's life was ever in danger. I think politics -- in politics, people like to really exaggerate things, from time to time. I know a lot of folks, in the Democratic Party--

COLLINS: I think Mike Pence would disagree with that, Senator.


COLLINS: My source, tonight, to react to that, New York Times Senior Political Correspondent, and CNN Political Analyst, Maggie Haberman, now Trump court-watcher as we were in the courtroom yesterday.


On J.D. Vance, he is someone who is, you know, there are a lot of names always swirling around, for Trump's potential vice president. But J.D. Vance is usually on the top of the list, when you talk to these people, in Trump's orbit.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: 100 percent, there's a lot of people who think that ultimately it will be Vance.

Now, to be clear, we have no idea what Trump is going to do.


HABERMAN: And it's a real fool's errand to try to predict who he's going to choose for anything.

But Vance is very clearly a top choice. And part of it is because of what we just saw in that interview. He is really effective in defending Trump on television.

Now, I think the Secret Service would also disagree that Mike Pence's life was not in danger. But that's a separate issue. Vance is communicating the message that Trump wants, both on the legal cases and against the media.

And so, there are -- there are a lot of reasons, including Trump's own personal comfort and chemistry. You know this as well as anybody. For Trump, so much of what he does with personnel comes down to chemistry and interpersonal relationships. And he really likes Vance.

COLLINS: He also brought up Matthew Colangelo there, at the end. That is one of the prosecutors, on the Manhattan District Attorney's team.


COLLINS: When Trump was going after him, that was found to be a violation of the gag order.


COLLINS: And the gag order was -- or the gag order was expanded, I should say, to include the people on Alvin Bragg's team, not Alvin Bragg.


COLLINS: Because there was a concern about them being put at risk, for implications like that.

Trump's got another gag order hearing, tomorrow.


COLLINS: I mean, I wonder what you're making of how he's reacting to being fined. $9,000 is not a huge fee for him. But being told by the judge, if you keep doing this jail is a real possibility.

HABERMAN: There are some people around him, who think that he is intentionally trying to see how far he can go, and that he thinks that being jailed will help him even if it's for a day.

Most people I talked to, who know Trump pretty well, do not think that he actually really wants to go to jail. There's -- I don't think he wants to sit in that courtroom every day. Did people think that jail is going to be a more pleasant experience for him?

But I do think that we see him often go up and touch the hot stove, and then he comes back a little bit. And sometimes, he goes up again. He is always testing the bounds of what he can get away with.

Now, he did take down the social media posts that he was ordered to take down yesterday.


HABERMAN: He did not, as you note, attack witnesses, or people connected to the case, relatives of the court, et cetera, at his rallies today. But we'll see what happens going forward.

COLLINS: Yes, Trump doesn't even like to stay in hotel rooms.

HABERMAN: Correct.

COLLINS: I remember, on foreign trips, when he was president, he didn't even like staying in other hotel rooms.

But on the courtroom itself, you and I were both in there. You were in the row, in front of me yesterday, watching. It's really fascinating to be inside that courtroom, and to see it. There's no cameras. But to actually see it with your own eyes, and to watch Trump's demeanor, as people like Keith Davidson, are testifying about negotiating hush money payments, on Stormy Daniels' behalf with him.

HABERMAN: Yesterday was very tense in that courtroom. And there have been some days that have been tense. Some days have been pretty lax.

Yesterday was very tense for a couple of reasons. The testimony that you're talking about, you had Keith Davidson, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, during that time period of October 2016, just reading, to validate these text exchanges with Michael Cohen or with Dylan Howard, the AMI executive, who he was working with.

And they were really, really damaging, about Trump, with his middle son, sitting behind him in the courtroom, and a phalanx of aides. The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, was there. David McIntosh, from the Club for Growth was there. This was unusual to watch.

And Trump deals with it. Sometimes, he is sleeping. I know there's this huge sleeping debate. But sometimes--

COLLINS: Yes. The great debate of our time--


COLLINS: --is his sleeping.

HABERMAN: Most important thing of the trial, and I mean that in no way.

But sometimes, he is -- sometimes he is sleeping. That is a 100 percent true. I've seen it. People around him have confirmed to me that he has been sleeping at times that we have said he is.

However, sometimes he is closing his eyes, and I've talked to people around him about this too, because that is how he tries to just basically stay calm and deal with it. And whether that then leads to sleep or whatever, who knows? But he is sitting there with his eyes closed for long periods of time. It's not always sleeping.

COLLINS: Yes, I noticed this, because he's very clearly awake, but his eyes are closed, for like a minute at a time as--

HABERMAN: Sometimes more, yes.

COLLINS: --as Keith Davidson or the witnesses is answering. It's like he doesn't want to hear what they're saying either.

HABERMAN: I think it's -- I think it is a compartmentalization method. And he's pretty good at compartmentalizing,

COLLINS: And I know you'll be back in the courtroom, tomorrow.


COLLINS: Maggie Haberman, great reporting as always. Thank you.

HABERMAN: Up next, we have new exclusive video, here tonight on CNN, of the arrest of protesters at Columbia University. This is from the bodycams of the police officers, as they were going into the building to arrest them.

New York City's former Mayor Bill de Blasio is here to weigh in, his take on how his predecessor has been handling -- his successor, I should note, has been handling the unrest.



COLLINS: Tonight, you are seeing, right now, exclusive video to CNN, from NYPD bodycams that show the moments, and take you inside last night, as police retook Columbia University's Hamilton Hall, from the pro-Palestinian protesters inside.


COLLINS: The crackdown that you were seeing here, where hundreds of protesters were arrested, is exactly why New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, has come under scrutiny. He has been defending the City's response, including on CNN, here tonight.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NYC, NY): We need to be clear on this. I received a letter, from the school. And in the letter from the school, that ask us to come in, they said it was a clear and present danger, and that they had outside individuals, who were on the grounds participate in this activity.

So, it was not only our observation, from our intelligence division, but it was also the school officials who asked us to step in.


COLLINS: Mayor Adams is saying that many of the 280 protesters, arrested last night, were outside agitators, which students at Columbia are pushing back on.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When NYPD came in, they pushed all press away from -- from where we were, so they couldn't document anything. And then, they ambushed us, they tackled us, they beat us. And I want to also highlight that majority of the protesters there, last night, were young women, were young college women from marginalized communities.


COLLINS: I should note, while CNN has not been given a breakdown of how many outsiders they say were arrested, at Columbia, last night. We are getting numbers from New York University. School officials there say less than half of those arrested at protests, on campus, last week, were students and staff members. We're still trying to figure out the numbers from last night.

Joining me now here to discuss is former New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio.

And Mayor, obviously, you know exactly the role and the position that Eric Adams is now in. What do you make of how he's been handling this? Is it how you would handle it?

BILL DE BLASIO, (D) FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Yes, I think he did the right thing. Look, you can't have protests turn into violence. You just can't allow it to happen.

I respect protesters, peaceful protesters, who are saying they want a change in U.S. policy, for example. That's legitimate freedom of speech.

But when you start taking over buildings, destroying property, creating an atmosphere that bluntly, is threatening to a lot of other fellow students, and extremely disruptive, that's the point where something has to be done.

COLLINS: Yes. But I think there is that question about his claim about the outside agitators.

And the only reason it's been questioned and raised is because before they went in, this is kind of what he had said was the rationale for going in.

Some of the people though, that he's saying were there, say they weren't there, in recent days, at least two of the women, one of them says she wasn't there. Another says, she was a 63-year-old that was on campus, and she's someone, who is known to go to a lot of protests, and is an activist.

I mean, if you're in leadership, when you say things like that matters.

DE BLASIO: Yes, of course. But Kaitlan, there has been a trend, in recent years, to -- a small group of protesters, who are willing to use violence. We saw this in the 2020 protests. We saw it all over the country. I was talking to mayors all over the country in that very, very tense moment. Vast majority of people were peacefully protesting. But there was a subset that were willing to use violence.

COLLINS: Yes, we saw the riots. I mean, we just heard Senator J.D. Vance talking about that.

DE BLASIO: And unfortunately, you could have five people, 10 people, 20 people who poison the well for everyone else. But the minute you introduce violence, it's incumbent upon leaders, to step in and bring back peace and order to the situation.

And by the way, I would say, the protesters -- I've been a protester myself over the years. If you let folks, who are going to commit violence, into your ranks, you actually undermine your own cause.

So, I respect the students, who are lifting their voices, and acting non-violently. But they actually have responsibility too, to make sure that everyone in their movement comports themselves peacefully.

COLLINS: It's been fascinating to watch how your party has been handling this. Different Democrats, obviously not a monolith, handling this differently.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was asked about these protests, in recent days, when she was on Capitol Hill. And I just want you to hear what she said about Jewish students, on college campuses, in a comment from this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I think it is really unfortunate that people don't care about the fact that all Jewish kids should be kept safe, and that we should not have to tolerate anti-Semitism or bigotry, for all Jewish students, whether they are pro-genocide or anti-genocide.



COLLINS: Pro-genocide or anti-genocide?

DE BLASIO: I mean, that's a horrible terminology. And I've disagreed with the Congressmember before. I disagree with her using those words.

But I will say there are a lot of students who feel afraid. I know plenty of Jewish students, around this country, feel afraid right now. And they've been exposed to clearly anti-Semitic language. That's not everyone who's protesting.

Again, I believe most people are protesting, are trying to raise legitimate concerns, about what's happening in the region, and calling for peace. I want peace too. I want this war to end.

But we have to be clear. There's language being used. And I think some of it's on each side. We saw what happened in UCLA as well.

The minute you use threatening language, the minute use exclusionary language, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism? That's not progressive. That's not democratic. That should not be allowed. And I think college campuses have a right to crack down on that kind of situation, because it creates an atmosphere of threat.

Remember, these universities have a responsibility, to keep their kids safe, and ensure that they feel safe, that they can go about their education, not expecting to be confronted in a way that could be physically threatening.

And so, right now, I would say, as a Democrat, as a progressive, we need to come to grips with this. We need to be very blunt. Democrats should embrace that we do not allow any violence, any anti-Semitism, any Islamophobia. And I think if we don't do that, the Republicans are going to weaponize this issue, for the fall election.


So, I would further say, if you care about this country, from my perspective, you care about Joe Biden being elected? Then let's stop fooling around here. We have to condemn any kind of violence, any kind of exclusion. You can't have any tolerance for anti-Semitism, for example. It will poison the well, politically and morally.

COLLINS: Former New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, thank you for joining us here, on set, tonight.

DE BLASIO: Thank you, Kaitlan. COLLINS: Up next, speaking of how Republicans are using this, you have seen Donald Trump blaming them, on President Biden, who has also been pretty quiet about this issue.

The question is what does it mean for November? We'll talk about it with our experts right after this.


COLLINS: The former President has made clear, in his public comments, that he sees these images, of police arresting college students by the dozens, amid these nationwide protests, as good for him politically.


TRUMP: They went into one of the big buildings, a beautiful landmark building. Boy, they got the -- it got the hell beat out of it last night.

It was a beautiful thing to watch. New York's finest.




COLLINS: Those comments fit a pattern that we have seen from Donald Trump. We've heard from his own former Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, who wrote in his book, "A Sacred Oath," about Trump asking, "Can't you just shoot them?" about George Floyd demonstrators.

The way Trump talks about protests is harkened back to a racist history that we have seen in this country, of a police brutality, including when Trump once tweeted "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Even when the protest was peaceful, on the sidelines of a football game, Trump wanted those NFL players removed.


TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now.



COLLINS: Meanwhile, the person in the Oval Office, right now, President Biden has said quite little about the unrest that we are seeing on campuses.

The White House, today, tried to answer questions about his relative silence by saying no president has been more forceful about combating anti-Semitism than he has.

Here to talk about all this tonight:

Cornell William Brooks, the former President and CEO of the NAACP and a Harvard professor.

And David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic, and a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

And, David, let me start with you.

Because Biden has been quite silent about this. I mean, there was that one moment, on Earth Day, where he was asked, and he kind of had this statement that even some Democrats believed was a bit ambivalent.

And I just wonder, do you -- is this a moment for the President to be speaking out more, in your view?

DAVID FRUM, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, let's bracket something. You set this up by introducing remarks from former President Donald Trump, who incited the worst violent attack on the authority, of the U.S. federal government, the worst domestic violent attack, on the authority of the U.S. government since the Civil War. So, he doesn't have any standing here.

But the issue for President Biden is one of whether he is going to seem firm or weak.

The great question -- there are two great questions that haunt each of the two parties.

The great question, with any Republican leader is, are you uncaring? And Republicans have to constantly reassure people that they can -- they can have humanity, that they care, that they have respect, that they regard -- they have an understanding of the equality of all Americans.

The great question, fairly or unfairly over Democrats, is always are they too weak to stand up against the forces of disorder in society?

So, President Biden doesn't have an anti-Semitism probably, exactly, because everyone understands that he stood with Israel, he stands with the Jewish people. He's got a long record of that.

The question is, will he enforce authority, both against the kind of violent rioters who attacked the Capitol, both -- and against the violent rioters, who are attacking campuses. Not that those are equally important, because obviously attacking the government is worse than attacking a campus. But they are the same psychology. And he has to stand for law in all cases, against all challengers to law.

COLLINS: Cornell, I wonder how you see that, and what the President's role in, in speaking out on this is.

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I would very much agree with David, that President Biden has a long history of standing with the Jewish community, of standing with Israel and standing against anti-Semitism.

Where I might differ is that, President Biden is looking at across the landscape of America, and he's probably taking note of the fact that there are many protests, many demonstrations, overwhelmingly non- violent. And he's looking at college campuses, where there are people, who had engaged in violence, who have taken over buildings, where law enforcement has had to respond.

But there are moments where you can question how they're responding, when they should respond, who, what else can we do, to prevent these kinds of eruptions of violence?

And he's looking across the country, and I suspect that he would much rather not make a bumper-sticker response, or rather, respond thoughtfully, carefully, in a way that's tailored to the place we find ourselves as a country.

And so, I'm not sure if it's silence, or is it being thoughtful, as opposed to what we've heard from the former President.

COLLINS: David, I wonder, one thing we've also heard.

And that's a really good point, Cornell, about the comparison here.

But I wonder, we also are hearing comparisons to 1968.

FRUM: Yes.

COLLINS: And I wonder how you view that, David?

FRUM: I think it's nonsense.

Look, many of the rioters have seen YouTube videos of 1968, and think they know the history. But the police have actually learned from the history.

And this is one of the reasons I wrote for The Atlantic, why I think there -- that the small cadre of really violent people, who imagined disrupting the Democratic convention, are kidding themselves.

The 1968 convention, security was provided by an unprofessional, overly emotional, bigoted Chicago police force, under local control.


Modern conventions are national security special events, security is provided by the Secret -- so the federal government provides about $50 million to each convention for security. It's directed at both conventions by the Secret Service. They can call on not only the resources of that particular city, but the whole state, and indeed, the resources of the federal government, including the Department of Defense and the Coast Guard of the cities on the water.

I was at the 2004 Republican convention, at the peak of anti-Iraq War mobilization, a much bigger protest movement than this on campus, with much wider social support. There were 1,800 arrests in 2004. It did not disrupt the Republican convention that year, because the police were able to enforce perimeters.

And with all of these demonstrations, the key to lawful peaceful protest is for the police to be clear. Here's where the boundary is. If you're on this side of the fence, and if you follow certain rules, non-attack (ph) people, you can speak. If you cross the perimeter, we arrest you.

COLLINS: Yes, I mean, it's a big question.

And Cornell, also, I mean, just, seeing this going forward, final word from you on that.

WILLIAM BROOKS: Sure. Let us take note of this. The past is a lesson book. It is not a mirror.

So when we look at 1968, and look at Columbia, we look at Cornell, in 1969, Jackson State and Kent State University in 1970. The lessons are that when the police come in, when the National Guard comes in, we can't always predict what will happen. Students may be killed. Students may be hurt. Bystanders may be hurt.

So, the lessons of the past is we need to be thoughtful, we need to be careful. But it -- the past is not a mirror. The student protests and demonstrations up to date are not nearly as large as they were a generation ago, or even two years ago.

So, this is a moment, where out of concern and caution, for Jewish students, but students more generally--


WILLIAM BROOKS: --we all have a role to play. It's not really a matter of when we call in the police, and what they do, this also what college administrators do up until the point of a crisis.

COLLINS: It's a great question.

WILLIAM BROOKS: And presidential candidates and all of us as commentators.


WILLIAM BROOKS: So, in other words, let's think about this way. We have to think about students as not merely demonstrators, today, but as citizens of tomorrow, and let's stand by them, and help them improve this democracy.

COLLINS: Yes, it's a great question. We'll see what it looks like going forward.

Cornell William Brooks, David Frum, thank you both.

FRUM: Yes.

COLLINS: As one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation is going into effect today in Florida, Vice President Kamala Harris was there, blaming former President Donald Trump. You'll want to hear her comments, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: Lawmakers in Arizona voted, tonight, to throw out a near- total abortion ban from the Civil War era, in that key battleground state, just three weeks after we saw the Supreme Court there, in that state, revive it.

Today, also in Florida, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation went into effect.

Vice President Harris was in Jacksonville, today. And she blamed one person by name for it all.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Across our nation, we witness a full-on assault state by state on reproductive freedom.

And understand who is to blame. Former President Donald Trump did this.



COLLINS: And Ashley Allison and Margaret Hoover are both here with me.

And Ashley, I just wonder what you thought of how the administration has been using Vice President Harris, and deploying her, very specifically, to Florida, the day this ban went into effect.


COLLINS: This six-week law. Let me be clear.

ALLISON: Yes. Which I will say is a ban.

COLLINS: I just saw Ron DeSantis tweeting.

ALLISON: Yes, yes, sure.

COLLINS: I want to make sure I have it right.

ALLISON: I will say, use that word that it is basically a ban at six weeks, as most women don't even know they're pregnant at that point.

I think it's important that the Vice President continues to go, not just to battleground states, but even to states that are traditionally more conservative, like a Kansas or a Montana, where those restrictions are playing, are going into effect as well. And voters are standing up, and saying that's not the way we want our government to be, and our doctors, and making decisions about our life. So, this is not just a battleground issue state. This is a state that

is affecting women and families across the country. And so, it's really important that the Vice President's voice, and the President's voice are being used in the campaign, but also in the administration, to protect reproductive justice and freedom for women.

COLLINS: Yes, especially Florida, because all the neighboring states also have similar restrictive laws.


COLLINS: In Arizona, though, when they're voting to repeal that Civil War era near-ban, only two Republicans broke with their party, and voted with Democrats to do so.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And it was -- it was a same very, very small vote in the House of Representatives, even the week before in the State House that did it. I think it were three Republicans in the State House. Of course, they only have a one-vote majority in both of those houses. So it's enormously close.

And I think that's the answer, is the stakes were so high, for Republicans and for Arizona. I think the Trump team breathes a sigh of relief, tonight, actually, because this was catalyzing, and going to catalyze so much mobilization of new voters in Arizona.

It probably still will, because abortion will probably still be a ballot amendment in Arizona. But it won't probably have the thrust of energy that it would have had, if there had been a near total ban on abortion, except for the life of the mother.


HOOVER: Come November.

COLLINS: Well, it's also kind of created a rift among Republicans of, are we in support of this or do we want it to stay in?


ALLISON: Yes, I just think -- I know that they did this act. But for the next 90 days, women still won't have access to reproductive justice.

But the important thing is that they're doing it, right now, for politics, because they don't want to lose the election. What happens after the election? That's what voters need to pay attention to, and keep that energy around for November.

COLLINS: We'll see what it looks like. Of course, the administration taking full advantage of it.

Ashley Allison, Margaret Hoover, great to have you both here, on set, tonight.

Thank you all so much, for joining us, tonight. We'll see you back here, tomorrow.