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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Sanders: Biden's Threat To Stop Sending Some Weapons To Israel "Good Step Forward"; Republicans Rip Move To Vacate Speaker As A "Temper Tantrum"; NYT: RFK Jr. Says Doctors Found Dead Worm In His Brain. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 08, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: New video, from police in Michigan, after at least one tornado hit a town, outside Kalamazoo, Tuesday night. Significant damage occurred in homes and businesses. Officials there, say more than a dozen were injured, following a tornado.

Right now, authorities south of Nashville, Tennessee, say a large tornado has hit. There are reports of significant damage, along Interstate 64, in the area. We'll continue to follow the story.

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


A CNN exclusive that is making headlines around the world. President Biden issuing a warning to Prime Minister Netanyahu. If Israel invades Rafah, the U.S. will stop sending bombs. A demand my source tonight has been making. Senator Bernie Sanders will join me live.

And inside the most explosive and explicit testimony yet, in the Trump hush money trial. Trust me. I was there. How his attorneys are now prepping for when Stormy Daniels will retake the witness stand, tomorrow. We've got an insider, who is deeply-sourced in Trump-world.

And Marjorie Taylor Greene's temper tantrum, as it is being called, by her irate fellow Republicans, on Capitol Hill, saying that her dramatic move, late today, to oust House Speaker, Mike Johnson, is the wrong one. Instead, now they're uniting against her. One of her most vocal Republican critics is here live.

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

Despite the constant complaints that we have heard, about how his ongoing criminal trial is keeping him off the campaign trail, Donald Trump spent his day today, off from court, at his Mar-a-Lago club in South Florida, not on the campaign trail. But then again, after what we all heard in that courtroom yesterday, maybe it's not just the former President who needed a breather.

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail today, in that key battleground state of Wisconsin, President Biden is trying to beat back the issues that are vexing his campaign, before November. In an exclusive interview, here on CNN, Erin Burnett asked President Biden, if he's worried that he's running out of time, to improve his standing with voters, when it comes to the economy. Biden says that corporate greed is to blame, for some of the pain that Americans are feeling. But on the whole, he argues he's already made huge progress.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The polling data has been wrong all along.

We have the strongest economy in the world. Let me say it again. In the world.

No president has had the run we've had in terms of creating jobs and bringing down inflation. It was 9 percent when I came to office. 9 percent. But look, people have a right to be concerned.


COLLINS: President Biden also said that he thinks there's no chance his presumptive challenger, Donald Trump, will accept the results of the election.

He probably will, if he wins. But we'll talk more about that in a moment. We've got all of our political experts standing by.

But Biden also said in this interview, for the first time, that he would stop the shipments of American weapons to Israel, if Israel conducts an invasion into Rafah.


BIDEN: If they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically, to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities -- that deal with that problem.

We're going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks that came out of the Middle East recently. But it's -- it's just wrong. We're not going to -- we're not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells used that -- have been used--

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Artillery shells as well?

BIDEN: Yes, artillery shells.

I have made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet, they're not going to get our support if, in fact, they go on these population centers. We're not walking away from Israel's security. We're walking away from Israel's ability to wage war in those areas.

BURNETT: So it's not over your red line yet?

BIDEN: Not yet. But it's -- we've -- we've held up the weapons. We have held up the one shipment. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Biden also acknowledged, for the first time, that U.S. bombs have been used, by Israel, to kill civilians in Gaza. That withholding that he mentioned there is that new shipment of 2,000-pound bombs that the U.S. worried could have been used in Rafah that they put on hold, last week.

My exclusive source on this, tonight, is the Senior Senator from Vermont, a vocal critic of both how Israel's fighting the war, and American policy there, in Gaza. Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders.

And Senator Sanders, great to have you back here on THE SOURCE.

You just heard President Biden saying there, if Israel invades Rafah, he won't supply the offensive weapons, to carry out that attack. Is that a strong enough response, from the U.S., in your view?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Well, I think it's a good step forward. I think we've got to do even more.

The bottom line is, Kaitlan, is what Netanyahu has done in Gaza is unconscionable. I mean, we're talking about 35,000 Palestinians killed, 77,000 wounded, 70 percent of whom are women and children, over 5 percent of the population killed or wounded.


We're talking about the destruction of 60 percent of the housing. Every university in Gaza has been bombed. There is no -- virtually no clean water. Raw sewage is running all over the streets. And right now, according to humanitarian organizations, we're looking at the possibility of massive famine and starvation, hundreds of thousands of kids, starving to death.

In my view, Netanyahu should not have gotten a nickel, so long as he continued this incredibly destructive war. I'm glad to see that the President is beginning, beginning to move in that direction.

COLLINS: Yes, you're saying beginning, and a good step. It's -- it doesn't sound like it goes far enough for you?

SANDERS: It doesn't. But I hope it continues. I hope the President understands what we all understand. Israel had a right to defend itself, against the horrific Hamas attack, killing 1,200 people. But you don't have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people, and bring about unprecedented damage and destruction and death. And America should not be complicit, in what is going on there, right now.

COLLINS: Even with this warning, obviously, the Israeli military already has enough weapons, supplied by, by the U.S., and by other nations, to carry out the invasion of Rafah, if it so chooses to do so. So, I mean, is it a warning that, in your view comes too late maybe?

SANDERS: Well, it should have come a lot earlier.

But look, the truth is, we are sitting on billions of dollars of military support for Israel, which the President could deny them tomorrow. Netanyahu understands that we have enormous leverage. And the time is long overdue, for us to utilize that leverage.

I voted against giving Netanyahu another $10 billion for offensive weapons. I hope we can move in that direction.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, you're standing in the halls of Capitol Hill that just approved and passed a lot more aid to Israel.

But some other people, who view this differently than you do, may look at it and say, well, President Biden has also said Israel should do what it takes to defeat Hamas.

And the IDF says that there are Hamas battalions, in Rafah that Yahya Sinwar, a key leader of Hamas is there, hostages are there.

So, I think some people may hear this and say, well, what should Israel do?

SANDERS: Look, it is a difficult issue. Hamas is a very difficult enemy to fight. They are a terrorist group. They use civilian shields. It is true.

But, look, what America cannot and must not be part of is literally the destruction of all of Gaza. I mean, the infrastructure, education, the health care system decimated, and so many women and children who are killed.

So yes, you've got to go after Hamas. But no, you cannot continue to rough it, literally almost to destroy the entire people in that region.

COLLINS: The last time that you and I spoke, you declined to say whether you believed Israel was committing a genocide. Have you -- are you prepared to do so now?

SANDERS: Look, that is a media question that is asked all the time, and it generates talk (ph).

COLLINS: But people care about that question.

SANDERS: No, no, no, no, no. Look, no, what people care about is stopping Netanyahu -- Netanyahu, from the massive destruction that he is bringing forth in Gaza, right now.

As you know, the International Court of Justice is looking at that issue. What constitutes genocide? Is it the killing of 6 million Jews in World War II? Is it 2 million Cambodians being killed by Pol Pot? Is it what happened in Rwanda? I'll let the International Court of Justice determine that.

What I will tell you though, what is going on now is horrific. It is unacceptable. And we have got to use all of our leverage to stop it. COLLINS: OK. So you're not prepared to call it a genocide yet.

You have been obviously really outspoken on this. And one thing that you told Christiane Amanpour is that you believe that this could be President Biden's Vietnam.

Senator, obviously, you've lived through the draft. 58,000 Americans died. And I do wonder, but what do you -- what do you mean, in the comparison--

SANDERS: No, no, no, no. That's the wrong--

COLLINS: --between those two?

SANDERS: Kaitlan, that's the wrong point to be made. Of course, this is not Vietnam. Of course, tens of thousands of American soldiers are not dying in this war.


SANDERS: The point was a political point. And that is that Lyndon Johnson, in many ways, was a very, very good president. Brought forth some major pieces of legislation that helped working people, that helped low-income people, OK, brought forth Medicare helping senior citizens.

He chose, despite all of those accomplishments, he chose not to run for reelection in 1968, because of his support for the war, and the opposition, grassroots opposition to the war in Vietnam. That's the point to be made. It's a political question.



SANDERS: Obviously, this is not like the war in Vietnam, in terms of American participation.

COLLINS: OK. Well I'm glad you cleared that up, because I had seen some responses, when you -- when you initially said that. So, I'm glad you cleared that up.

And you are so connected with young voters, with progressive voters. You're a champion for them. Do you think that President Biden could lose the election over this?

SANDERS: Well, that's what I worry about.

Look, I think Biden has a lot of accomplishments. And the point that I would make, and have made before, Joe Biden is not running against God. He's not running against the perfect candidate. He's running against the guy, named Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in the history of this country.

So, what I would say to young people and all Americans, if you believe in the foundations of American democracy, you cannot vote for Trump, who is undermining democracy.

If you believe that women have a right to control their own bodies, you can't vote for Trump. He appointed the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade.

If you believe that climate change is real, and we got to save this planet for our kids and future generations, you can't vote for Donald Trump. He believes climate change is a hoax.

If you think that -- you're concerned that we have massive income and wealth inequality, you can't support Trump, because he wants to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to the 1 percent.

So, I think, yes, Biden is not a perfect candidate. I have very strong disagreements with him, over Gaza. I'm glad to see he's making some good movements forward. But the choice in this election is pretty clear.

COLLINS: Can I ask you a question about the campus protests that we've seen?

And a comment that your fellow senator, John Fetterman, made about those protests. He said that the students are working against peace, that they don't know what they're protesting against. And he said it's helping Hamas, from a PR perspective.

What's your response to that?

SANDERS: No, I think -- I think that the students do know what they are protesting. And they are looking at what's going on in Gaza, and the massive killing of women and children. And they are saying, you know what, our great country should not be part of that type of destruction.

They understand that Netanyahu not only has a right-wing government. It is a government in which you have out-and-out racists attached to it, working with Netanyahu.

So, I think that that -- look, I'm not going to speak to every single protester. But I think the overwhelming majority know exactly what they're talking about, and they want U.S. -- to end U.S. complicity in that war.

COLLINS: Senator Bernie Sanders, always great to have you here, on THE SOURCE. Thank you for joining us tonight.

SANDERS: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Up next, those halls of Capitol Hill aren't as quiet as they are right now. Because earlier, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, over in the House, finally made good on her threat to try to oust House Speaker, Mike Johnson. It failed spectacularly on the House floor. We're going to be joined by one of many in the party, who voted against that tonight.

Also, how Donald Trump's legal team is preparing for another Stormy day in court tomorrow. New reporting ahead.



COLLINS: Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene succeeded at one thing tonight, infuriating almost everybody in her party. All because she moved to oust -- to oust Republican House Speaker, Mike Johnson, on the floor, in a surprise move.


REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG (R-ND): Reality of this is, is this is like the congressional version of a temper tantrum.

REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): Most of us, by the time we turn 12-years- old, figure out that tantrums don't actually work. And apparently, not everybody in Congress has got the memo.

She is engaged in a failing act of political theater.

REP. STEPHANIE BICE (R-OK): Marjorie wants to, you know, sow chaos and division within the Republican Party.

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Moscow Marjorie has clearly gone off the deep end. Maybe the result of a space laser.


COLLINS: The attempt to remove the House Speaker lasted about half an hour, earlier today, as in a majority of Democrats in the House, helped shut it down, and keep him in his job.

One of the 196 Republicans, who wanted nothing to do with that motion, is here, joining me now. South Dakota Representative, Dusty Johnson.

And Congressman, Thomas Massie, your colleague, was the one seated right behind Marjorie Taylor Greene, as she introduced this earlier today. He said earlier that he has sympathy for those of you, who are lashing out at us right now, the few of you we just showed on the steps, because, quote, they're going to go home and take an ass- whipping from their base because they voted wrong here tonight.

What's your response to that?

JOHNSON: Thomas is a smart guy. But he's being pretty dumb here.

I mean, I spend a lot of time at home. I go home every weekend to South Dakota. I talk to hundreds of people every weekend. They're not focused on this, Kaitlan. What they want is for us to actually be big boys and big girls and get our work done. I think they're actually a little exasperated by all the D.C. power games.

And so listen, Thomas, I love you. But you are dead-wrong on this.

COLLINS: What does it say, though, about the state of the GOP that, and the House conference, that you needed Democrats to help save the Republican Speaker?

JOHNSON: I get it. Everybody always wants to talk about the Rs and the Ds. I try not to get all caught up in that, Kaitlan.

I mean, if you're Speaker Mike Johnson, your job is, week in and week out, to go do something good for America, and you got to get 218 votes to get that done. Now, that coalition is going to look a little different, in any given vote.

Today, the coalition, we had good people, good Americans, who crave stability, who crave real work, who came together to push back against the chaos of Marjorie Taylor Greene.

COLLINS: Do you believe that she should be removed from the Republican conference for what she did?

JOHNSON: I've got a lot of my colleagues, who are talking about punishment. I'm not so much into punishment.


The only thing I want is a U.S. House that works, that gets our job done. I'm really open to some rule changes that would help us do that. Admittedly, some people will look at those rule changes, and assume that the motivation is about punishment. It is not for me. I just know we got real stuff to tackle, and these kinds of games are not helpful.

COLLINS: Congressman Dusty Johnson, I have a feeling, we might see them again, in the future. Thank you for joining with us, tonight, in this breaking news.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

COLLINS: And our political sources here tonight, on all of this.

Former Trump campaign adviser, Jason Osborne.

CNN Political Commentator and Author of "The Moment," Bakari Sellers.

As well as former New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio.

I mean, Jason, your party. Tell us.

JASON OSBORNE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I don't really know what her point was, other than I feel like a number of these members, like Marjorie Taylor and Matt Gaetz, is that they're listening to or they think that their constituents are on Twitter. And they're not listening to what the folks back home, and their district, actually have to say about this.

And to Dustin's point, I guarantee you that there is probably a scintilla of amount of pressure, back home, for any of these members, with regard to Mike Johnson, if they even know his name.

This is all an effort by Marjorie Taylor. She got caught in a box, and realized that there was the only -- the only way out for her was to actually go ahead and pull the trigger on this. She knew she was going to lose. And now, she's going to try and fundraise off of it.

This idea that you're going to kick her out of the Conference. I don't even know what that means because she's still a Republican, and she's still going to vote Republican. But maybe she's not on a committee. And she survived several months without being on committee, last Congress.

COLLINS: I mean, what -- Donald Trump weighed in though on this. I mean, I don't think this threat hasn't gone away, because he didn't explicitly condemn it. He, one, weighed in after the vote had already happened, urging them to kill it. But two, he said, maybe we'll need to use this at another time, but saying basically--


COLLINS: --that time is not now.

SELLERS: For Democrats -- and I actually agree. But for Democrats, what we realize is that Republicans can't govern. Every time Republicans get in leadership, where we -- what we recognize quickly is that they have a fundamental inability to govern.

We did Repeal and Replace, right? Remember that whole fiasco, where they were going to repeal and replace Obamacare. They went through this whole episode. They got elected on it. And then, all of a sudden, they weren't able to do that.

You had a Speaker just recent -- recently, Kevin McCarthy. Now, you have Mike Johnson. People realize the job is too big for him.

No one's really paying attention to the palace intrigue. But what they are realizing is that Republicans simply can't govern. And so, what this means, I do believe, and I'll bet you a steak dinner on this, maybe a little bit tequila, but definitely a steak dinner, is that Hakeem Jeffries is going to be the next Speaker of the House.

COLLINS: Well, so there is reporting. Manu had said that a progressive told him that Hakeem Jeffries' approach, and basically said, there's one time that we'll save Mike Johnson's speakership that essentially it's not going to happen many times.

I don't think anyone thought they'd see the day, where a Democrat would save a House Speaker, in this kind of House.

But what do -- how do Democrats handle this? Is Mike Johnson better than an alternative? Or would it end up where Hakeem Jeffries is the Speaker?

BILL DE BLASIO, (D) FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: I give Hakeem Jeffries a lot of credit. He cut a deal, I'm sure, that works for the Democrats.

And look, the bigger statement here, the American people are seeing, is an incredibly un-unified, dissonant, upset, angry Republican Party. I mean, we have a Republican Party that actually resembles what the Democratic Party so often used to look like. This is almost like a total flip, Kaitlan, it's kind of amazing. I've never seen the Democratic Party this unified in my entire life.

And it's been decades, since Republicans were this dysfunctional. I mean, there's primaries everywhere now. And they're turning on their own speakers all the time. And the idea, look at, even in Indiana, the other night, you have most of 20 percent of Republican voters turning against their own nominee.

Something's wrong in the Republican Party. And every time they have one of these dysfunctional fights, it communicates to the American people, they are the party of dysfunction.

Actually, today, Democrats are the party of unity and stability. Never thought I'd be able to say it. But it's true.


COLLINS: Yes. Well, you're talking about that zombie vote for Nikki Haley.


COLLINS: We're still seeing it in Pennsylvania. We saw it in Indiana. It's remarkable. She's not even in this race, and people are still voting for her.

But speaking of what that race is going to look like, in this interview, with Erin Burnett, earlier, President Biden weighed in on this idea of President -- former President Trump not accepting the results of the election. This is what he said.


BIDEN: The guy is not a democrat with a small d. I mean, he is the -- the idea -- look, you can't only love your country when you're winning. Number one. How many court cases are there, Supreme Court cases. They all said this is a totally legitimate election. This is -- this is Trump. I mean, it's the same whether he -- and he may not accept the outcome of the election. I promise you he won't.


COLLINS: I mean, he probably will if he wins, right? I mean, I think that's the--

OSBORNE: Oh, for sure, he will.

COLLINS: --the Donald Trump,

OSBORNE: Right. I mean, I admit that is a problem.

SELLERS: No, no, no, say I agree with Joe Biden. Say it.

OSBORNE: I'm not going to say I agree with Joe Biden, because I was having--

(CROSSTALK) OSBORNE: --to be honest, I was having a hard time following what he said.

COLLINS: He hasn't had that tequila in yet.


OSBORNE: I will say that I think for any election I think I -- it's disappointing to see folks like Tim Scott, and others that are not saying that they will accept the results of the election.

You can say the election should be fair and free, right, and you can demand that throughout the process. But starting now, to cast dispersion on what the election may end up being, I think, is a troubling sign. And we're going to continue to hear throughout the rest of this.

COLLINS: I mean, that Tim Scott moment was remarkable. He would not say whether or not he would accept it.

What did you -- I mean, South Carolina, what did you make of it?

SELLERS: I really want to toss this to somebody else. I know Tim Scott very well.

COLLINS: We have New York over here, so.

SELLERS: Yes, I know, New York, and over there.

I know Tim Scott. I love Tim Scott. I've said this many times before. I would give Tim Scott a kidney today, if he asked me for it, I would never vote for him.

The person that we're seeing today, though, is someone, who is really fighting very, very valiantly, to be Vice President of the United States. And he'll probably land at somewhere around Secretary of HUD, if he's lucky.

And I think Donald Trump has this unique ability to transform grown men into something that we're not used to seeing them be. And that's going to be a story that's told 20 years from now, how people like Tim Scott or Lindsey Graham, or other people -- other people who we thought had some fortitude just crumbled in his hands.

DE BLASIO: I agree with that. I think the psychological reality of Trump is something that's still been under-examined.

We look back into history. Why did certain leaders sort of capture their nation's psyche, in ways that often were not productive? Obviously, you think of -- to use a very different analogy, I'm not going to compare directly, but you think of your Mussolinis and your Hitlers in one level. You think of people--

SELLERS: We just can't throw -- can't just throw that out there, Mr. Mayor.

DE BLASIO: No, no, I'm saying you can't -- you can't make a direct comparison. But how did nations fall under the sway?

Equally, you think of other leaders. Charles de Gaulle, at one point in France, had France enraptured with him, or Churchill in the best moments in Britain. So, I'm trying to make a broader point.

Certain leaders have a psychological ability, to get under the skin of their people. But the difference here, and I think it's a very notable difference, is that Trump has a kind of a narcissism, that is so obviously destructive to everything around it.

How many people? I mean, it's not just Michael Cohen. How many people from his world have left in disgust, in anger, feeling betrayed? How many people did he stiff, when he was in business and never paid? This is a pattern that I think makes him unique. And I think, this time, the trick's not working the same way. Him being in the courtroom every day?

I mean, what I thought was amazing today with Erin's interview, Joe Biden is in Wisconsin. Now, our candidates, some years ago, didn't remember to go to the battleground states enough. But Joe Biden has been out in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in these states, in Pennsylvania, incessantly.

Where's Donald Trump? In a courtroom.

COLLINS: We'll make sure Hillary Clinton sees that you said that.


COLLINS: Jason Osborne, Bakari Sellers.

Bill de Blasio, happy birthday. Thank you for joining us here.

DE BLASIO: Sure. Thank you.

SELLERS: Happy Birthday.

COLLINS: Where--

SELLERS: Happy 40th. Happy 40.




DE BLASIO: That's good.

COLLINS: Where better to be on your birthday, than THE SOURCE?


COLLINS: All right. And speaking of that testimony, in the courthouse, we're just hours away, from the return of Stormy Daniels, to the witness stand, at that hush money trial. Trump was cursing audibly in the court, yesterday, during her testimony.

We're going to be joined by my source, who was also inside that courtroom, next.



COLLINS: The adult film star, Stormy Daniels, left little to the imagination, during her hours-long testimony, yesterday, detailing her alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump, including how she swatted him with a rolled-up magazine that it had his face on it, in a Lake Tahoe hotel room, as they first met, even reenacting how she says that Trump posed on the bed for her, as she exited from the bathroom.

Details that were so explicit, the judge, Juan Merchan, had to cut her off, multiple times, and remind the prosecution, to keep her answering the questions they had asked her.

It wasn't just what she said, but also how she said it. I was in the courtroom. And she also almost seemed to be taunting Donald Trump. He was seething away at the defense table, forced to listen to every word.

My source, tonight, was also inside that courtroom, while all of this went down, and has been there every day. New York Times Senior Political Correspondent, and CNN Political Analyst, Maggie Haberman.

And I mean, it's been over 24 hours, but I kind of feel like I'm still processing what we witnessed in there.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. What I do for a living requires words. And I was still having trouble to come up with the words, to describe what I saw. It is actually something of a travesty, at least just for the public that there are no cameras allowed in courtrooms in New York, for this reason.

But it was -- it was incredibly intense. And as you said, a lot of the detail was excruciating.

Now, prosecutors made the argument that they needed to get into some of this detail, to show what she would have said, had she told her story in 2016. And therefore, what Trump was worried about coming out. That's their argument.

The judge had put pretty constrained parameters, on what that was supposed to be. And as you said, her testimony blew past that over and over and over. Todd Blanche, Trump's lead defense lawyer objected several times, many of those objections were sustained. That's all stuff the jury got to see. And the judge was clearly not pleased, as we got to see out of the jury's presence.

But it was -- it was a lot. I mean, it was -- it was talk about a condom, it was talking about the sexual position. It was -- it was -- I don't -- let me stop. Yes. COLLINS: I know. But it's hard to stop, because you also want people to know what we heard, and what we saw. And that's, I think, the difficulty is like, we're just--


COLLINS: --relaying what's now in the court record.

And you've reported, before all this started, the trial, that the hardest part you had heard from sources, of what Trump was going to have to -- the part of this is not necessarily the outcome, but just sitting there--

HABERMAN: The process.

COLLINS: --and listening.

HABERMAN: Yes, there's the process. It is everything from having to be in this really decrepit courthouse and courtroom, to having to listen to that, which -- and that was what a lot of people around Trump were very concerned about him sitting through.

They weren't positive that Stormy Daniels was going to get called. But they thought there was a chance of it. And they were concerned about what level of lurid detail would be gone into.

Todd Blanche's argument was this was done, just to shock. The prosecutors argued otherwise.

I think the defense had one of its best days, yesterday, because Susan Necheles, in her cross-examination, and she's not done with cross- examination, now they'll resume tomorrow. She did get some dents into Stormy Daniels' story.

But does it ultimately matter? I don't know. Because we don't know how the jury is viewing this.


And at the end of the day, Stormy Daniels still told the details, of that early encounter, the way she's told it before, and the way she has told it in various forums. And, at the end of the day, that is what underlies this case, not other specifics related to -- wants to make money, or whether, you know.

That is going to be the defense argument is that she is out to get money. I'm not sure that the jury will necessarily see Trump as a victim here.

COLLINS: Yes. And one, the question of whether the Trump team wants to revisit those details that we heard.


COLLINS: He's posting today. He has his gag order in place. But he's kind of basically going around it saying, sleazebags, lowlifes-- HABERMAN: Right.

COLLINS: --and grifters who are allowed to say anything they want, while he's asking this New York appeals court to speed up the appeal on his gag order.

I mean, it must be incredibly difficult for him to not be able to comment on her testimony--

HABERMAN: I think--

COLLINS: --or on her.

HABERMAN: I think we're seeing that. I mean, I think that we're seeing every day that he is having trouble not commenting on her or her testimony.

I mean, we talked about the more graphic details. But there were other aspects of this testimony that were really striking, including Stormy Daniels, getting asked about a Truth Social post, where he calls her horseface.

There was another moment, where she points him -- to identify him on the stand, while she's on the stand, and while he's at the defense table. It was just all, it was all very intense. It was very -- it was riveting. This was a confrontation that has been in the making for many, many years.

She actually got in. While I think the defense had some very good moments in the afternoon, for what they were trying to do. She did come across well, at points in the afternoon, where she was defending herself.

So at, one point, Susan Necheles said something to the effect of you stood to make a lot from this, in terms of money. And she said it's also cost me a lot. And I think that that might resonate with jurors, because the whole case that the prosecutors are telling is that people, who come into contact with Donald Trump, whether it's Stormy Daniels or Michael Cohen, end up suffering.

COLLINS: The moment, when she stood up and identified him, it felt like every ounce of oxygen was sucked out of that room.

HABERMAN: I mean, yes.

COLLINS: And it happened kind of quickly, like in the middle. She's already been testifying for about 10 minutes, when she stood up to do it.

HABERMAN: Yes. That was certainly one of many moments that I thought felt that way. There were other moments too.

And it was -- there was a moment of sort of disbelief. And I know, we've clearly both articulated some level of shock, at what we were hearing yesterday, not shocked that it happened. It's sort of shocking being there, hearing this said on the stand, with the former Present of the United States feet away. But that was one of those moments, where it was oh, she really is going ahead with this.

And there was a moment early on, as before she came to the stand, and the lawyers for the defense, and lawyers for the prosecution, were debating with the judge, about what could be allowed in. And Justice Merchan was very clear, I'm allowing a very narrow strip here.

And Susan Hoffinger, the prosecutor, who was questioning Stormy Daniels, said something to the effect of well, I have to -- I have to be able to ask these questions. We do need to know X, Y, Z. We didn't quite know what that meant. It became very clear what that meant very early on. But there was -- there was much more to the testimony than just the bit we have talked about.

COLLINS: Yes. And also speaks to the years of denials, from him.

HABERMAN: Correct.

COLLINS: Maggie Haberman, I know you'll be back there tomorrow. Thank you.

More to come on what to expect tomorrow, in court, including new reporting, on what the defense plans to do, when they're cross- examining Stormy Daniels, also how all of Trump's trials keep getting delayed, all the other ones at least.



COLLINS: Gird your loins, as they say, because when Stormy Daniels gets back on that witness stand, tomorrow morning, it promises to be yet another day of dramatic testimony. As we know, Trump's defense team is going to try to undermine her, again, as they cross-examine her as part of this testimony.

As we just mentioned with Maggie, the lurid details that jurors heard on Tuesday, may have been a bit much. According to the judge, at least, some of it was better left unsaid.

But that sexual encounter which Trump has repeatedly denied ever happened, is at the very heart of why a hush money payment was made in the first place.

For more on what we could see tomorrow, I'm joined tonight by David Kelley, a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

I mean, what do you think the defense does, when she gets on the stand, tomorrow? Is it a quick cross-examination as they wrap up, or they drag it out?

DAVID KELLEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I think they spend some more time with her. Susan Necheles, I mean, there's a reason why Susan is doing it, and not Todd. And they're looking to not offend people. But they're trying to make her look really bad. I think the challenge is, is that her appeal is the fact that she's not appealing, as a -- from a prosecutor's perspective. I mean, that's what you're trying to paint here. You're not trying to make this look like some lovely person. She's not. And they don't hide from that.

So, I'm not quite sure what more the defense can accomplish here. But I think the temptation to drag it out a little bit more, is probably going to be a little overwhelming. And you'll see a little bit more cross-examination.

But remember, the prosecution gets to do some redirect examination--


KELLEY: --and clean some things up.

COLLINS: And so, they'll get that chance. Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen were the last two big blockbuster witnesses. How quickly do they move to put him on the stand? Or does this make them kind of tamp down that? What does that look like?

KELLEY: Well, look, I don't think that -- this prosecution team has not dragged things out. They've done things very quickly. The judge has controlled the courtroom very well. So, this has moved, really apace.

I don't know that there's much more to do here. They'll do some more document stuff, I think, after Miss Daniels finishes her testimony. But then it's time for Cohen.

And I think from a prosecutor's standpoint, there's a temptation to think jeez, do we really need, given everything the way it's come in, do we need Cohen? The problem is that they've set this thing up. They're going to have to put Cohen on. But I'm saying there's this temptation to think maybe we don't need him.

They're going to put him on. And I think that will be you know, they may put another witness on after Cohen, just to kind of not end on that note.

COLLINS: To turn the temperature down?

KELLEY: But it's hard to say.

COLLINS: I mean, if we thought Stormy Daniels was -- the testimony was insane to just witness and intense. I mean, Michael Cohen would be even more so.

But overall, as we've been watching Trump's trial, and thinking about the fact that there are no cameras in that courtroom. I was thinking about the other cases that he's facing.

Because in the last few days, as we've been covering minute-by-minute of the New York trial, Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida has indefinitely delayed his classified documents case. Georgia, the appeals court there, has said they would hear Trump's

request to try to get to the District Attorney, Fani Willis, disqualified.

I mean, who knows when the Supreme Court is going to make their decision on immunity?

Every other of these major cases all delayed now.


KELLEY: Yes. But look, the Fani Willis case, the Georgia case, I didn't see that as likely to get going anytime soon. In any event, there's a lot of defendants, a lot of things to accomplish. It's not moving really apace. So, I don't think that that's a big deal.

The case in Florida, the federal case, with the -- with the classified documents, I don't get that. I think they've made that case too complicated. The question is whether or not the items are classified, the documents. Some of the documents, whether or not it relates to defense material. But overall, it doesn't really matter what the substance of the documents are. Were they classified, or they're not classified.

COLLINS: Also, there's easy motions that the judge is not even moving on.

KELLEY: Easy stuff that she's just not moving on. And the question, lots of folks raise, is this because of some sort of political bent of the judge? Or is it incompetence? Is it a fear to try to tackle these issues, because she's not confident in her ability to do it? We've heard reports about her, you know, in her chambers, she doesn't really have the support she needs.

So, there could be a whole host of factors here. But the bottom line is she is not moving things, the way any judge would try to move. Even as you point out, there's some very simple motions that could get decided here.


KELLEY: So it really, the thing that concerns me most is it undermines the credibility and doesn't instill competence in the judicial system.

COLLINS: It's remarkable, David Kelley. We'll see what that cross- examination looks like, tomorrow.

KELLEY: We will.

COLLINS: Thank you for that.

Up next. I mean, you got to just kind of hear this one to believe it, because apparently, the dead worm that once ate part of RFK Jr.'s brain. I'm not kidding here. This is a health issue, flagged by the presidential candidate himself. More, next.



COLLINS: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says a worm got into his brain, ate a portion of it and then died, revealing this bizarre health episode, if we are calling it that, according to The New York Times, during a 2012 deposition, for a divorce proceeding.

The presidential candidate described in that deposition, what doctors told him in 2010, when he sought treatment for severe memory loss and mental fogginess. Kennedy told The Times that the parasite didn't require treatment, and that he has recovered with no after-effects.

My source on this, tonight, CNN Senior Political Data Reporter, Harry Enten.

Harry, I mean.


COLLINS: I don't -- it's hard. I don't -- I read this. It's like one of those things that you read it, and you click on it, and then you read it again, and you're like, is that -- did I read that?

ENTEN: It truly is just another element to the bizarre political world that we've seemed to have been a part of the past little less than a decade.

And RFK Jr. coming onto the scene and you're going, OK, we know that both parties have nominated candidates, who a lot of the American public don't like, who have net -- negative favorability ratings, and you end up nominated -- and then the third-party candidate, who could potentially be somebody is RFK Jr., who obviously has a whole bunch of things going on. And this just adds to it, Kaitlan.

But the thing I'll point out is, he's actually doing pretty gosh darn good in the polls, right? I mean, look what he's polling nationally? He's polling in on average 13 percent of the vote. That's the best for a third-party candidate at this point in the cycle, since Ross Perot in 1996.

And more than that, remember, the threshold to make the debates is 15 percent. He's right there. All he needs to do is slightly better, and he could be on the stage.

COLLINS: So we could actually see him on the debate stage?

ENTEN: Absolutely. This is a very plausible thing. I mean, look, if you look at his polls, you might have suspected as more people have gotten in on, that his polling might have gone down a little bit. But the fact is, it's basically holding in the low-to-mid teens.

So all he needs is a little bump in the cycle. Maybe Trump and Biden lose a little bit of favorable ratings. And he could be at that 15 percent. And he could be on the debate stage. COLLINS: And I should note that his campaign said, this issue with the dead worm in his brain was resolved more than 10 years ago, and he is in robust physical and mental health.

I mean, polling the best since Ross Perot, I think, would surprise some people who maybe dismiss his candidacy, and don't take it seriously.

ENTEN: I think that's definitely the case. But the fact is, especially with Trump and Biden, not polling particularly well, I don't think it's too much of a surprise that a third-party candidate is polling as well as he's doing at this point.

COLLINS: The other news story that I'm obsessed with this week, the other political story, is what is happening to South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem. I mean, I have never seen, and witnessed a soft book launch that vice-presidential-hopefuls always do, go as poorly as hers.

And now, she's canceling interviews with CNN. She's canceling interviews with Fox News. I mean, it's not -- it's kind of like a bipartisan issue. You're seeing Republicans come out and criticize her.

ENTEN: What the heck is she doing? Thank God she's starting to cancel these interviews, because they were gosh darn awful. She kept digging herself more of a hole.

Who goes after dogs in America? They have a favorable rating of 88 percent. People either like them a lot or like them a little. And look at that. Like them a lot, 74 percent. You see my face on the stage there, on that photo, of my childhood dog, Cody. I love dogs.


ENTEN: Cody, who was adorable. A little lesson (ph) you're going after dogs, you're going after people's hearts and souls. And thank God she decided to cancel her press stuff, because she was just doing awful at it.

COLLINS: Well, it wasn't just that. It was also the Kim Jong Un completely made-up story.

ENTEN: Just a complete disaster.

COLLINS: Harry Enten, not a complete disaster.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you for being here.

Up next. A CNN Special that you may remember this shocking murder that happened. It was the Olympics superstar, Oscar Pistorius, who went to prison for years, after he was convicted of killing his fashion-model girlfriend.

A preview of this Sunday's new installment of the CNN Original Series, "HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED."



COLLINS: It started off as a charming love affair, between a world- famous athlete and a fashion model. And it ended with a four hollow- point bullets, through their bathroom door.

This Sunday's episode of "HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED" investigates whether or not it was a terrible accident or a callous murder.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Early in the morning of February the 14th, the neighbors woke up to pa-pa-pa pa-pa.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first people who arrived found a really gruesome scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They saw a man carrying a woman down the stairs, and he was hysterical. He laid her body at the bottom of the stairs on the tiles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was bathed in blood, and shrieking, and howling, and crying.

OSCAR PISTORIUS, SOUTH AFRICAN FORMER PROFESSIONAL SPRINTER, CONVICTED MURDERER: I just sat there with her, and I waited for the ambulance to arrive. I felt helpless. I wanted to take her to the hospital. I was trying to stop the bleeding.


KAYE: Oscar Pistorius tried to save her. Others there tried to save her. But there was nothing that they could do for her.


COLLINS: Be sure to watch "HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED" "OSCAR PISTORIUS: THE BLADERUNNER," this Sunday, at 9 o'clock, here on CNN.

Thank you all so much, for joining us.