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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Defense Rests Without Trump's Testimony; GOP Senator Says He'll Vote Against His Own Border Bill; Trump Backtracks After Opening Door To Birth Control Restrictions. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 21, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The book is called "In My Time of Dying: How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife," by Sebastian Junger. And the book is available, just now, starting today.

That's it for us. The news continues. I'll see you, tomorrow.



The moment of truth, for Donald Trump, is now just days away. Both sides have rested their cases, as a contentious new battle begins, over what the jury will hear before the case is in their hands. My lead source was in court for every moment.

And we'll also speak live with Michael Cohen's attorney.

And it was a moment that we could all hear for ourselves really. Hours after Trump left the door open, to restrictions on birth control, he now says he never said what he did, in fact, say. You can hear it for yourself in moments.

And we have new reporting, tonight, on that terrifying scene in the skies. A passenger is dead, many more injured when extreme turbulence strikes without a warning.

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

Donald Trump's fate will soon be in the hands of 12 New Yorkers. And with that, we will finally know whether the presumptive Republican nominee, the former President and the potential future President, will be running as a convicted criminal.

Both sides in his hush money trial are now preparing for a critical moment, the closing arguments, after resting their cases. But this being the Trump trial, there's already a new battle underway. And it's one that could play a huge role, in what that verdict actually is.

Judge Juan Merchan reprimanded one of Trump's attorneys today, as the prosecution and the defense argued, over what the judge is going to tell the jury, before they lock themselves in a room, and the rest of us wait for a verdict. At one point, during those arguments, this afternoon, Justice Merchan actually told Trump's attorney to sit down, and said please don't, when he kept raising one of his points. More on that with Michael Cohen's attorney in a moment.

But the defense, in the meantime, has rested its case today, after calling just two witnesses in total. Neither of them was named Donald Trump, despite how he said repeatedly that he wanted to testify. If you've been following our reporting, here on THE SOURCE, you knew that was actually likely never going to happen.

Though, Trump did have plenty to say, away from the witness stand, outside the courtroom.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We'll be resting pretty quickly. Resting meaning we're resting the case. I won't be resting. I don't rest.

I'd like to rest sometimes, but I don't get to rest.


COLLINS: It appeared something was on the former President's mind there.

Of course, we know, he had his eyes closed, throughout much of this trial, whether it was sleeping, or pretending like some of the testimony wasn't happening. It was widely reported on. And I was there. I witnessed it at times. So did courtroom sketch artist.

And even just today, as those arguments were going on, the CNN team, in the courtroom, reported that Trump appeared to be dozing off a bit. At one point, his eyes closed, with his chin on his chest and his mouth open.

We have the ultimate insiders here tonight, who I should note are wide awake. People who've been in the room throughout this entire landmark trial, as it now moves into its final phase.

My lead source tonight, is New York Times Senior Political Correspondent, and CNN Political Analyst, Maggie Haberman.

And Maggie, I mean, you have been in that room, every single day, as we went from David Pecker to Robert Costello, and the fireworks that we saw, late yesterday afternoon, and when he was on the stand today. I mean, what do you just make of what you've witnessed, now that you're looking at all of it?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, to the very first day that he fell asleep during jury selection.

COLLINS: And you -- angered, when you reported on that.

HABERMAN: So, look, this trial has been long. It has been really long. It is not absurdly long. It's not the longest trial in history. There has been a lot that has taken place. And I think it is easy to lose track of everything that's taken place.

Because David Pecker was the first witness. And he was seen pretty widely as an effective witness for the prosecution. He told a very compact story, which is what the prosecutors have been telling. Hope Hicks backed up parts of that story. Madeleine Westerhout backed up parts of that story. Even as they said things that the defense found helpful.

Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels, and Robert Costello are different stories.

And I don't think that the jurors thought that Michael Cohen was a member of the clergy. And so, I think that a lot of the commentary, about how he performed, has been based on this idea that he came in, seen as pure, and that this all fell. However, he did have a pretty rough couple of days, particularly yesterday, when he acknowledged that he stole from Donald Trump that -- I don't know how the jurors received that.

Robert Costello, however, did come in, as a former federal prosecutor, and lawyer, and member of the court, and he had a very rough outing yesterday. He had a better performance, today.

If there is an acquittal, or if there is a hung jury, then I think that the defense will point to the aggregate of those performances, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, and Robert Costello, as basically just creating this air of who knows exactly what happened here. And I don't know that that's how it's going to go. None of us knows how it's going to go.


There is this sort of constant drumbeat, outside the courtroom, of people shouldn't talk about both sides of this case. Well you know what's amazing about a courtroom, is there's two sides, definitionally. And so, and we have no idea what is going to happen.

But Trump has used it, to sort of reinforce campaign themes, right? That he's persecuted. He has brought in a phalanx of supporters every day. He has rolled very heavy with these supporters. He has his indicted top legal adviser, who shows up with him, every day to court.

I don't know how the jurors see those atmospherics, where we may never know how the jurors ended up seeing this case, because they may decide not to talk. And I can understand, for their sakes, why they might not, because there's real risk to that.

There's a lot of talk about a possible hung jury. Hung juries are actually not that frequent. It gets talked about so much that you'd think it happens all the time. It really doesn't. But it does happen slightly more in high-profile cases.

COLLINS: And one thing about the jury is it's been the same jury, the entire time. No alternates have been used yet. HABERMAN: Right.

COLLINS: We don't know.


COLLINS: But it's remarkable.

And it's interesting watching the jury, and how they reacted to Robert Costello, because we probably saw more reaction then than at any other moment in the testimony, even when the Stormy Daniels moments were happening.

And today, you said he did better today. The bar was pretty low, given the courtroom had to be cleared, because of him, yesterday.


COLLINS: But there was -- there was a moment, where the prosecutors were using his own emails against him, including the one where, at the time, he said to his partner, our issue is to get Cohen on the right page without giving him the appearance that we are following instructions from Giuliani or the president.

HABERMAN: I mean, emails just are what they are, as Costello himself said repeatedly. And some of these were very hard to suggest there was an opposite context.

I will say there were a couple of moments, when Susan Hoffinger, the prosecutor, interrupted him or cut him off, when he was saying there's context, can I give it? And I don't know how the jurors felt about that. Because if he had something else that he wanted to say, they might take it as the prosecutors are not being that fair to him.

I mean, the basic challenge here for prosecutors, is there -- well there are many challenges. But one is that they are telling a very neat compact story, which is just sort of clear. This is what happened. And this is why.

And Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels in particular, putting Costello aside, but Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen, they have complicated motives. And so -- and David Pecker also has sort of complicated motives. And that makes it a more complicated story to tell.

That having been said, there is a lot of documentary evidence. There is a lot of discussion, about matters that I am confident the former President would not want to be sitting discussing, over the course of five weeks. But what that looks like we don't know.

COLLINS: Can we talk about how he never testified? I don't think--


COLLINS: --between the two of us, either of us ever thought he was getting on that witness stand.


COLLINS: But I mean, he put it out there a lot. He was the defendant himself, who offered, and said he was going to testify.

HABERMAN: Sure, and he was saying to people as recently as about a week and a half ago that he really wanted to testify, and that he was likely going to. And most on his team did not want him to, because they were afraid that that was going to be the end of the case, if he got on the stand.

Defendants, he is -- he still has the same presumption of innocence as any defendant because that's what the system is. But if you are someone, who is going to go out there and repeatedly claim falsely that you're being prevented from testifying, that you're gagged, so you can't testify? He could have gotten up there, and he could have answered all of this. And he chose not to.

COLLINS: And instead, speaks outside the courtroom--

HABERMAN: Correct.

COLLINS: --on a daily basis--

HABERMAN: And complain--

COLLINS: --and saying--

HABERMAN: And complains that he's unable to speak, yes.

COLLINS: Right, and says multiple things that just aren't true, if you've been inside the courtroom.

HABERMAN: Correct.

COLLINS: We also have other legal voices that are here tonight.

Veteran New York defense attorney, Arthur Aidala.

And also, CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Elie Honig.

And, Elie, a big thing that happened today that was not as insane as Robert Costello's testimony, but maybe more important, was what the instructions are actually going to be, from the judge, when he speaks to the jury, next week.

I mean, can you just put it if -- it's basically telling this jury, in non-legal terms, what the statutes are, and what they're making their judgments based off of.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, the jury instructions are so important. They're sort of dry. But they're crucial.


HONIG: They're the last thing the jury will hear, before they disappear into that jury room, to deliberate. And we, as a criminal justice system, we do the best we can. We try to have the judge explain it, in non-legal understandable terms.

Some part of the jury instruction is easy to understand. For example, it's up to you, the jury, to assess the credibility of the witnesses. Anyone can understand that. Other parts get really deep into the weeds, usually when we get into the elements of the crime.

And what happened today, when the parties were arguing about what the jury instructions should be and should not be, absolutely blew my mind. We are -- I need to call this out. We collectively, prosecutors, are pushing the boundaries of due process here.

The general back-and-forth in the courtroom today was the defense lawyers, defense lawyers saying, Your Honor, please tell the jury specifically what the other crime is, right? Prosecutors have to prove falsified records for another crime. Defense lawyers were begging him, they have to know what the other crime is.


And prosecutors were saying no, let's go keep it very vague and general.

It's a bizarro world. I know that there is some aggressive reading of the New York statute that says, well, the jury doesn't really have to know what the other crime is. But to me, that suggests that the D.A.'s office is hell-bent on getting the conviction now, and worry about the--


HONIG: --the fallout later.

AIDALA: And Kaitlan, that's exactly the opposite of the way it usually is.


AIDALA: Usually, it's the prosecutors, who want things more narrow and the defense attorneys want things wider. And here, it's just bizarro world.

But in terms of him not testifying, and saying he's going to testify, look, that's Defense Attorney 101. You want to keep your adversary on their toes. You want them preparing. Even though they got 18 prosecutors on this case, you want them, being spending time, preparing to cross-examine the defendant. You--

COLLINS: I mean, they would probably love to cross-examine the defendant here?


AIDALA: Maybe--


AIDALA: Maybe or maybe not, because Donald Trump does things that no other human being could pull off, sometimes. He--

HABERMAN: Sure. He testified in the Carroll case.


HABERMAN: And he got an $83 million judgment--


HABERMAN: --in that case (ph), so.

AIDALA: It's in front of -- excuse me. But it was in front of Judge Kaplan, who and the first time ever said to a lawyer, I want to know everything your client is going to say before he testifies, and I'm only allowing you -- you'll ask him three questions. That was, talk about lack of due process. That was ridiculous.

COLLINS: OK. But the jury decided how much money was happening there.

But let's talk about what's happening here. Because I mean, if you're the defense attorney, and you're making that argument, about what the instructions can be, and what this looks like, for the jury, I mean, it could truly decide this verdict, and what that jury walks out of that room.

HABERMAN: Absolutely. And I think Elie's description was, was exactly right, in terms of where we are seeing -- I mean, not necessarily coming to your description conclusions.

HONIG: Right.

HABERMAN: But it is absolutely true that prosecutors are asking for a very broad interpretation of what could be allowed.

And at one point, you heard Emil Bove, one of the defense lawyers say today, that essentially, you know -- and I don't remember exactly how Merchan came down on this. But it was, the argument was, you're leaving this so vague, that one interpretation is that he could have broken a civil election law, and that not even a criminal violation.

And it just gets into very complicated areas. I mean, this is one of the challenges of this case, is that in trying to explain it to people, it is -- it is very complicated. The charges are very complicated. And prosecutions--

AIDALA: It's because they've never happened before.

HABERMAN: And prosecutions don't get crowd-sourced. But when you're dealing with -- typically. But when you're dealing with a former President and a current presumptive nominee, the circumstances just are what they are.

COLLINS: Yes. And I think it all goes into the bigger picture of what we're looking at.

Because this is separate, but it's a development that happened tonight, and I wanted to ask you all about it.


COLLINS: Because this is in the classified documents case that Trump is dealing with. He is now coming out, and saying on Truth Social, Elie, that--


COLLINS: --Joe Biden's DOJ authorized the FBI to use deadly lethal force against me.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is taking it. She's saying that they were planning to assassinate President Trump and gave the green light. I won't even mention that Trump's attorneys are arguing to the Supreme Court, right now, that technically the President has that authority.

But obviously, that's not true. The FBI had to put out a statement, today, saying this is standard procedure that the FBI always has lethal force.

They showed up, to Mar-a-Lago, knowing Donald Trump wasn't there. They didn't show up at 6 o'clock in the morning. They didn't come with the lights flashing and the guns blazing. It was a very chill scene, for a scene, where they were showing up, to find classified documents.

HONIG: This is ridiculous. There's nothing to see here.

And I looked even at what specifically they're talking about. If you look at the search warrant documentation, there is a standard form. It's page 11 of the sheet. And it gives the FBI and the generally acknowledged standard for use of lethal force.

It says essentially, you can only fire your weapon, you can only use lethal force, if there is imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to somebody else, if you see somebody else, about to shoot somebody, about to stab somebody.

It is, if anything, a very tight limit on when you can use lethal force. Almost never. It appears in every search warrant, every ops -- operational plan, ops plan. There is nothing to this. The notion that there's something dangerous wrong? I am hesitant to even dignify the assassination talk, by even mentioning it. But completely out of line.

AIDALA: Look, but you got to still just take into consideration that this is a guy, meaning Trump, who has Secret Service protection there. I mean, there are elements that do make this difference, where Miss Haberman, I disagree with you, there are elements. Him being the president has nothing to do with the jury charge, nothing.

HABERMAN: You're completely misrepresenting what I just said.

AIDALA: I thought you said-- HABERMAN: So let's just -- that's not what I said.

AIDALA: I thought you said it was complicated.

HABERMAN: Let's get -- let's go -- let's just--

AIDALA: I thought you said it was complicated--

HABERMAN: What I said--

AIDALA: --because he was the former President of the United States.

HABERMAN: No. What I -- no, that is not what I said.

What I said was that prosecutions don't get crowd-sourced. Typically, you don't actually pay attention to the political realm. But in this case, it is understandable. And I'm not talking about the jury charge. You've totally misunderstood what I said.


HABERMAN: You misrepresented them.

AIDALA: Regarding the jury charge. Then I'll go after Elie.


AIDALA: On the jury charge.


HABERMAN: Do whatever you want. But--


AIDALA: But it's really -- it's usually not complicated to describe the elements of the crime. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution had the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt to prove that Mr. X caused the death of Ms. Y--

HABERMAN: You're literally repeating what I just said.

AIDALA: --on this date, and this place.

HABERMAN: You're literally repeating what I just said.

AIDALA: OK. So, we are agreeing.

HABERMAN: Well I'm--

COLLINS: She said it was complicated.

HABERMAN: I know -- I know you had to take the position that I must be taking something oppositional to you. But that's not actually what I said.

AIDALA: No, no. No, I just--

HABERMAN: To go back to what we were talking about, on the documents case. And in terms of the Secret Service--

COLLINS: Yes. This is going to confuse--

HABERMAN: --no offense.

COLLINS: --more people at home, who are watching this.

HABERMAN: But in terms of the Secret Service, the Secret Service was fully aware of what was going on with this search warrant. It's not as if the FBI just showed up, and the Secret Service was shocked by that. They knew ahead of time this was happening.

The reason -- and listen, people have feelings about this search warrant that was executed on Mar-a-Lago. The reason that there was a search warrant was that -- was there was a grand jury subpoena that was ignored over and over again. And finally, the DOJ has said, they felt like they had to go in and do this.

Now, people can take issue with that. But that is what happened.

COLLINS: And they showed up at 9 AM.


COLLINS: They had a lighter presence.


COLLINS: They didn't have guns drawn.

HABERMAN: Correct.

COLLINS: And they are always armed.

HABERMAN: Correct.

COLLINS: They weren't even wearing the FBI jackets.

HABERMAN: Correct.

HONIG: I should add, Donald Trump's team has the opportunity, and they are now in the process, of legally contesting the search. They're making a standard motion--

HABERMAN: That's right.

HONIG: --to suppress the search.

HABERMAN: That's right.

HONIG: They're saying the cause wasn't there. It'll be litigated by Judge Cannon, by the way. But again, the ideas about lethal force are preposterous. COLLINS: Yes. But watch. This is going to become a thing, because you're already seeing Trump's allies--

HONIG: You bet.


HONIG: You bet.

COLLINS: --putting it out there tonight.


COLLINS: Luckily, we addressed it.

Maggie Haberman, Elie Honig, Arthur Aidala, thank you all.

Meanwhile, the hush money case could hinge on one person's testimony, and the evidence that he provided to the jury. Will they believe Michael Cohen? Of course, he has a long history of lies that we saw trotted out inside that courtroom that you're looking at here.

Michael Cohen's attorney is here next.

Also, Trump torpedoed a bipartisan compromise, to address the crisis at the border. But it is now going back for a vote on the Senate floor. Guess who else is planning to block it now?

We are going to speak to the Republican senator, who helped craft that bill, first time, here on THE SOURCE, in moments.



COLLINS: 22 witnesses testified at Donald Trump's criminal trial. But it is one, who could really make or break the prosecution's case.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney and fixer. He was the one, of course, who paid off the adult film star, Stormy Daniels, to ensure her silence, ahead of the 2016 election. And he testified that it was all at the direction of Donald Trump.

The key question that we don't know the answer, until maybe next week, potentially is, does the jury believe him?

My source tonight, is Michael Cohen's attorney, Danya Perry.

And it's great to have you here.

First, I mean, we haven't seen Michael Cohen since he left the witness stand. Have you spoken to him? How's he doing?

DANYA PERRY, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL COHEN: He's good. He's certainly relieved. He's catching up on sleep. He's taking his blood pressure meds. He's doing well. He had a rough couple days, for sure, and a rough couple weeks and months, leading into the trial. So, he is now -- I can't say he's fully relaxed. He's waiting, like everybody else, for the jury to return with their verdict.

But he's in a good frame of mind, I think, and, as am I. I think he -- I think he handled himself well, and has reason to feel good.

COLLINS: And you were there--

PERRY: About his testimony.

COLLINS: --in court, every day. I saw you would sit right there behind the prosecution team.

When it comes to how he -- his demeanor in court, I think a lot of people were surprised that he was calmer, cooler and collected than the Michael Cohen that everyone has interacted with, for years, and knows, certainly reporters, and whatnot.

Is that something that you spent a lot of time prepping for? Or what were those conversations like, going into this?

PERRY: I won't get too deep in the weeds of our conversations. But certainly, a lot went into it. As you pointed out, it's not necessarily his baseline go-to mode. But he had a couple of advantages going into this. He is telling the truth. He has told this truth, for six years now. He's corroborated by all kinds of data points and pieces of evidence.

And so, I think he understood -- I think I helped him to understand that it was really important that he maintained composure, and also presented the same way to the jury, whether he's on direct or cross, or in this case, recross, redirect, and I think we re-recross perhaps, briefly.

COLLINS: There was a lot of -- a lot of questioning.

But on that point, just about something that happened today, while we're talking about the jury instructions, one of Trump's attorneys, kind of was told to -- or was told to sit down by the judge.

Because they were arguing that they were being disingenuous by, and as the judge was phrasing it, saying that they wanted a jury instruction to say the fact that this entire trial was based on the word of an attorney, who worked for President Trump, and that he was entitled to draw some inferences from that.

It would essentially be an advice of counsel defense, which we learned, before this trial started, they were not going to be able to use.

What do you make of that?

PERRY: I make exactly what Judge Merchan did. They've tried it. They tried to dress it up in a couple different ways, advice of counsel, information of counsel, or general involvement by counsel, counsel just kind of hanging around.

No matter how you slice or dice said, it's a very specific defense that comes with some consequences. If you are going to try and proffer that defense, then you do have to open up a whole can of worms, including any conversations that the defendant might have had, that otherwise would have been privileged.


And so, it's a very specific defense that you can't just throw in, particularly not the 11th hour, when none of the elements have been established, and the other side of it has not been presented.

COLLINS: Obviously, one of the moments, you said it's been a -- it was a rough few days for him.

One of the most damaging moments to him that I think everyone would agree, was when the defense was asking him about the payment back to the firm that basically, he had paid to -- or he had had rig a poll, to boost Donald Trump, and to put him higher up in the poll.

He admitted that he did not pay them the full amount that he got from the Trump Organization. And under cross, Todd Blanche got him to say that, yes, it was stealing from the Trump Organization.

Did that moment, stealing, that phrase of it, come up, when the prosecutors were talking to Michael Cohen?

PERRY: I also can't -- look, the trial is still pending. And so, I have to be a little bit careful here.

But I will say, whether it came up with the prosecutors or not, I do think they elicited it, and drew the sting on direct.

But it came up four years ago, when Michael published his first book, "Disloyal." He is the one, the reason the defense have this line of argument is because Michael handed it to them on a silver platter. He admitted in his book that he had stolen this money from the Trump Organization.

And of course, he gave his rationale for it, he gave it again, that he engaged in some form of self-help, because he'd been stiffed on his bonus. A lot of people would argue that's not good rationalization. But he is the one, who provided this information.

So, a lot of what they crossed him on, are tidbits and pieces of information that came from Michael Cohen. So it's, you know, I understand this--

COLLINS: There's also mentioned in that -- that Trump lawsuit, of course. I know that was -- that was dropped over the idea of a deposition. But on that front, I mean, we've -- we're hearing from people in Trump's world saying, well, Michael Cohen should be charged here actually, with stealing.

PERRY: Well, that ship has sailed. Whatever you might make of the -- of the merits of that argument, the statute of limitations has long since expired. I believe it did, even before Michael, first, let the world know about this.

But it's not -- you know, I understand that the tit-for-tat argument. That's obviously as the defense and -- it came up both on defense and prosecution. Michael Cohen was not on trial here.

He's not even the typical cooperator, who has a beef to work off, who has a sentence that he wants reduced. He has served his time. So understood that he has some baggage, I've never -- I had been involved in hundreds of trials. I've never had a cooperating witness--


PERRY: --who didn't.

COLLINS: Before we go, do you think that Robert Costello, who was brought on by the defense, ostensibly, to undermine Michael Cohen's credibility, did more to undermine your client or maybe his own credibility?

PERRY: Look, it sounds like he was asked a very simple basic question. And he answered. And then, that was immediately dispelled on cross- examination.

So, I think this whole notion that he was sent in by Trump, and that he was back-channeling with Rudy Giuliani and Trump. He said, no -- even though he had the receipts, he had seen the emails, he himself had sent the emails. So, I thought it was just a strange gambit.

And I thought it -- I certainly thought it backfired. And I certainly thought it bolstered Michael's testimony that he never trusted this guy, and I think the jury saw in full force, why he didn't.

COLLINS: Danya Perry, great to have you on. Thank you for joining us, as we are all waiting to see what happens next week.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the Senate is about to vote, again, on that bipartisan border bill. Yes, the one that was tanked by Republicans, not long ago.

The GOP is once again vowing to block it, including my next guest. We'll talk to him about why. We'll go straight to THE SOURCE with Senator James Lankford.



COLLINS: Senate Democrats are going to force a vote, this Thursday, on the bipartisan border security package that former President Donald Trump killed, back in February.

A bill that was described this way by one of the Republicans, who helped write it.


SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): And we're getting as much as we possibly can. And we're going to try to be able to move forward, because we have got to stop having the thousands of people that are crossing the border every day unchecked.


COLLINS: Senator James Lankford now says this about the bill.


LANKFORD: Why are we doing this? All the American people see it. Everybody sees this is political. But everyone in the country also sees why don't you guys and ladies fix this, instead?


COLLINS: And our source tonight is the Republican senator you see there, Senator James Lankford.

And Senator, it's great to have you on the show, welcome, for the first time.

You said that you will vote no, on this bill, even though of course we all know about the efforts that you put into it. Why are you voting no, on Thursday?

LANKFORD: Right. It's no longer a bill. Now it's a prop.

We spent four months sitting down, in a bipartisan way, to be able to work out what do we think we can actually get passed. Obviously, I was not successful in getting something that could actually get passed. The problem still remains.

Everyone knows that this bill is not going to pass. And Senator Schumer is bringing it back up to try to bludgeon people. But what will be interesting on it is you're not going to have Republicans that are going to vote for it, the same Republicans who didn't vote for it last time.

But I expect there'll be more Democrats that will vote against it this time as well. When it's standalone, there were some Democrats that said I'm not going to vote for it, if it doesn't have DACA, if it doesn't have amnesty, if it doesn't have all those things they wanted. They were willing to vote for it if it had Ukraine and Israel funding in it, but not willing to vote for it on the standalone. So, it'll be interesting to see how many votes it gets total.


My challenge to the Senate, and as you played the clip, from earlier today, was let's actually sit down like grownups. If the whole thing wouldn't get -- wouldn't work, and we couldn't pass the Republican proposal, which is H.R.2, we couldn't pass this particular bipartisan proposal, which was my bill, I worked on with Senator Sinema and Senator Murphy, if that couldn't pass, let's at least sit down and figure out what will pass.

Let's not just keep putting the same bills up over and over again, that we know we're not going to pass, and pretend we're doing something. We're not getting it solved. Let's sit down. Let's actually work this out. And let's get it done.

Because yesterday, we had more than 5,000 people, again, that illegally crossed the border yesterday.


LANKFORD: This has got to stop.

COLLINS: But Senator, you knew the first time that you voted for it that it also wasn't going to pass then, and you still did vote for it, then.

LANKFORD: Yes, that was actually when we're in the heat of trying to be able to get the moment out. And my challenge to my colleagues was, let's actually see if we can actually pass this.

That was when we brought the bill up. Obviously, the week before, I felt like we were going to pass it. And over about 72 hours, I had quite a few folks that walked away and said nope, not going to vote for it this time. My challenge was to my colleagues, let's step up and do it. That's now several months ago.

We know it's not going to pass again. Senator Schumer is just bringing this up for a political reason on it. And I've said, hey, Senator Schumer, if you want to actually pass something, let's sit down and actually work this out. But this is not a bipartisan attempt to be able to solve something. This is a partisan attempt, for fundraising, or for whatever attempt they're trying to do.

And honestly, don't think most of the American people are paying attention to this, at this point, because we've already voted for this.


LANKFORD: You wouldn't run into anyone on the street today that said that bill is going to pass this week, because everyone already knows the outcome, just like we do in the Senate.

COLLINS: Well, I take your point that Democrats are using it as a messaging bill. I mean, they've made that clear that they believe they can pass this and say--


COLLINS: --look, we tried to get something done, and there was nothing to get done.

But on that front, you said adults need to get in the room and work it out. But that already happened, with you, and with Senator Murphy and Kyrsten -- Senator Sinema. LANKFORD: Right.

COLLINS: And so, that moment has already happened in a bipartisan fashion. And it still didn't work. So, I think some people, who sit at home, and do believe immigration is a real issue, may say, well why would it work this time, if it didn't work two months ago?

LANKFORD: Right. Well, in the exact same bill, they would be completely correct. If it didn't work two months ago, you can't bring the same bill up again, without working it all and think nothing's going to happen.

We tried to, at one point, get everything. That was H.R.2 that got everything.

And then, we tried to get a bipartisan bill to say, OK, let's at least do what we can. That didn't work.

So, my next statement is OK, what can we get done? Because there are things that can be done on this.

My challenge to the Biden administration and my communication with Department of Homeland Security is do as much as you can do.

This same exact law that we're functioning under, right now, under President Obama -- don't even think about President Trump in this. Under President Obama, we had dramatically fewer people cross, using the exact same law, the exact same enforcement. We have as many people illegally crossing now in three months, is what President Obama had in a year.

So, if the President would just use the exact same authorities, President Obama used, those years ago, this would be dramatically different.

But Congress also has a job. We got to change the asylum definition. We've got to change all the appeal process that everyone knows is way too long, and doesn't work, and allows people to be able to game the system.

COLLINS: Yes. And on asylum--

LANKFORD: We got to change some of the funding. We need to hire more agents. Let's do all those things. So, they need to do their part. We need to do ours.

COLLINS: On asylum, obviously, that is something I know you've talked about only Congress being able to do. And legislation is obviously more permanent--


COLLINS: --than an executive order that can just be undone. We saw that basically at the beginning of every administration now.

But you talked about Democrats playing politics with this using it as a prop, as you said. But that was exactly what your Republican colleagues did, when they walked away from the bill that you put so much effort into, two months ago.

So, do you think voters will hold Democrats accountable for that, and not Republicans, who also played politics with this bill, when Democrats were willing to vote for it?

LANKFORD: I would -- I would tell you that I talked to folks at home in my state. Obviously, I come from Oklahoma, it's a conservative state. That they're upset with Democrats that they wouldn't support H.R.2, which passed the House, came over to the Senate, no Democrat voted for that in the Senate.

They're frustrated with Republicans, because Republicans wouldn't vote for the bipartisan bill.

What I hear the vast majority of people in my state saying is somebody do something. This is a problem. Both sides need to sit down, and be able to figure out how to be able to solve it. It is easy in Washington, D.C., to be able to point at each other. There's a time and a place for that.

But when we have what we have now, with the rise of terrorism, with what we know right now, this administration notes is the dramatic increase, the number of what they call Special Interests Aliens, that are coming across the border, from all over the world, from places of known terrorism that we don't know anything about them?


They are coming by the thousands, at this point, and you can't filter out who's looking for a job, and who actually means us harm? When that is occurring now in very high numbers, we need to stop playing politics with this issue, and to say let's sit down and resolve as much as we can.

White House needs to do what it can do, because it can do the same thing President Obama did in enforcement.

We need to do what we can do, because for generations now, we have seen gaps in this. This has been more than 30 years, since we've had a change in immigration law. And everybody knows we need to fill those loopholes.

COLLINS: And I understand that you hold -- you put a lot of this on the White House, and say that they shoulder a lot of blame for, right now, what's happening with immigration. Obviously, Joe Biden is the President of the United States.

But do you also hold Donald Trump accountable, since he prolonged the crisis that's happening that you say your bill would have fixed?

LANKFORD: I don't know if he prolonged the crisis on that.

COLLINS: Well he sunk your bill--

LANKFORD: I would take any one of the President Trump enforcement years--

COLLINS: --that you said would have addressed it.

LANKFORD: Well, yes, if we're talking about when he was President, his enforcement of the -- of the same laws that President Obama had, his enforcement of the border was dramatically different than what President Biden is not doing in enforcing the border.

But you're right. President Trump was one of the folks, I was saying, he wanted to get everything. He says if we're going to do a bill, dealing with immigration, let's solve all the problems. We weren't solving everything. We were solving as many as we could get bipartisan support for. And his statement was if you can't solve everything then don't solve it at all. When he gets there, he'll try to be able to solve it all.

COLLINS: Well he said--

LANKFORD: He will no doubt enforce the border--

COLLINS: Senator?

LANKFORD: --very different than what's actually happening.

COLLINS: Respectfully, Senator, he said the bill, that your bill was ludicrous, that it was a gift to Democrats.

And so, it sounds like, the reality that you're dealing with is that he only wants to address immigration, when he's in office. But when it helps him, when he's not in office, and he's running to get back in, he doesn't want a commonsense solution that you proposed.

LANKFORD: I think he wants to make sure that this is actually solved. And he doesn't believe that President Biden is going to actually solve it. And he also knows, this is a key issue for the American people that it was not as big of an issue until he was not President.

This -- we were literally -- we're 2.5 million people that will illegally cross this year. In 2020, we were at half a million people that illegally crossed that year. So, there's literally 2 million more people a year are crossing the border illegally than the last year President Trump was president.

So, there is a significant difference. He is right on that one. It is a major campaign issue. And I know a lot of my colleagues are saying, why would you take this off the table during a campaign time period?

There are others that have disagreements with the bill, because they wanted more in it. There was no amnesty. There was no all those things that we've typically seen, in a lot of these agreements in the past. There was just not enough--


LANKFORD: --for some of my colleagues. And I get that. I say, get as much as we can get, and then let's keep negotiating for the rest. COLLINS: And of course, no one is defending the numbers now. But it obviously was also down the last year he was in office, because there was a global pandemic underway. I know you know that well. You look at these numbers regularly.


COLLINS: Senator James Lankford, great to have you here on THE SOURCE.


COLLINS: We hope to have you back. Thanks for joining.

LANKFORD: You bet. Glad to do it.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, speaking of Donald Trump and the campaign trail, after going after and talking about -- figuring out how to talk about abortion rights, Donald Trump said today that he is looking at birth control restrictions, then walked that statement back, very clear quickly, and shut the door on it.

We will play the moment of what he said.



COLLINS: Donald Trump denying tonight that he would support restricting birth control, despite comments, just hours earlier today, suggesting that he was open to that very idea.

This is what the former President told a Pittsburgh television station.


JON DELANO, MONEY & POLITICS EDITOR, KDKA-TV (CBS): Do you support any restrictions on a person's right to contraception?

TRUMP: Well, we're looking at that. And I'm going to have a policy on that very shortly. And I think it's something that you'll find interesting.


COLLINS: The Biden campaign did find those comments interesting, and quickly seized on them.

Meanwhile, the former President, that led him to post on Truth Social tonight saying, quote, "I HAVE NEVER, AND WILL NEVER ADVOCATE IMPOSING RESTRICTIONS ON BIRTH CONTROL, or other contraceptives." Trump said that anyone claiming otherwise was a -- was peddling a "Democrat fabricated lie," even though of course, as you just heard there, it came from the former President himself.

Joining me tonight, at the table, to discuss all of this, former National Coalition Director for the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign, Ashley Allison; also CNN's Political Commentator, S.E. Cupp.

I mean, he opened the door, and then he slammed it shut.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, this is typical, especially on this issue. He has waffled on this issue from the 90s till now, on everything from whether there should be a federal ban, a state ban, six weeks, 10 weeks, IVF, contraceptions.

And what's wild to me is that this is a defining issue of this election. This is a defining issue for women. Most importantly, this is a defining issue for Republican voters. That he doesn't have a coherent position on this issue is bananas, and almost malfeasance.

How you haven't hammered this out, so that you know exactly what to say when that very easy question is asked. You don't have to backpedal. You don't have to waffle. You don't have to keep saying well, we'll kick it over to the states, as if that answers anything.

COLLINS: Which is exactly what he did with his abortion position.

CUPP: That's what he usually does.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, I think I'm a little -- somewhat more skeptical of Donald Trump, at this point. I think he--

CUPP: It's possible?

COLLINS: Between the two of you?

ALLISON: I am. I think he is very clear--

CUPP: Yes.

ALLISON: --on the issues. And I think he does want to do it. And I think he does want to monitor women's pregnancies. And I think he does want to limit contraceptions. And I think he does want to ensure that Roe stays overturned. And it's not a state by state issue. I think he would sign a national abortion ban.


And I think he does this waffling, to confuse people, so he can pander to whoever may hear it at the time. Maybe he can get a Nikki Haley voter, if he says I'm going to announce something later.

It's a simple answer. You were President at one point--

CUPP: Right.

ALLISON: --where you had an opportunity, to weigh in on these issues. And you want to be President again.

So, I think this is a game that he plays, on many issues, but particularly this issue since Roe has been overturned, which is why it's so dangerous, because he's -- he's -- you should be very clear on the issue about a woman's right to choose, about a woman's right to have contraception.

We have cases in the Supreme Court, right now, that are going to be decided, that people he nominated to the Supreme Court did. And if he becomes President, again, he'll get to nominate most likely more Supreme Court justices.

So, I hope people continue to ask him these questions. I hope voters, Republicans, Independents hold his feet to the fire, on this issue, because he knows where he stands on it. He just isn't being honest with voters.

CUPP: But see, I mean, I get why Democrats want to impress upon voters, we know what he's going to do, and he's going to do the worst possible things. I get that as an election tactic.

But if he's actually very clear about it, he is pissing off a base that got him elected, the pro-life Republican voter. They are furious. They're not confused. They're mad at him for waffling on this, and not just coming out and saying, of course, I'll sign an abortion ban, a federal abortion ban. Of course, I'll protect X, Y and Z. They're mad. They're not confused.

COLLINS: But they're not going--

CUPP: And that's a problem for him.

COLLINS: --they're not going to walk away from him though.

ALLISON: That's right.

COLLINS: Because it's not like President Biden and Democrats are offering them that is closer to their position.

CUPP: Right.

COLLINS: But this is the tried and true Trump formula of kind of putting something out there, being vague enough. When you're criticized for it, blaming Democrats?

CUPP: He said it.

COLLINS: It had nothing to do with Democrats.

ALLISON: Yes. He said it.

CUPP: He said it.

ALLISON: And then walking it back. Oh, and then the infamous big announcement that's coming--

CUPP: That's coming, right.

ALLISON: --that never comes.

CUPP: Yes.


CUPP: He's done that before.

ALLISON: He's done it before.

COLLINS: Two weeks.

ALLISON: And he'll do it again.

CUPP: Yes. Yes. Yes.

You're going to love it. It's going to be a very interesting plan. It's going to be very smart. You're going to love it. We'll reveal it soon.

COLLINS: S.E. Cupp, Ashley Allison, great to have you both here.

Meanwhile, a really seriously disturbing story, tonight, that we are still tracking and still trying to get answers to, after extreme turbulence killed one passenger, and injured dozens more.

We're going to hear a harrowing account from someone who was on board that Singapore flight, next.



COLLINS: A Singapore Airlines plane plummeted hundreds of feet, and out of the sky, with severe turbulence, ultimately killing one passenger, and injuring 71 more.

One of those passengers gave his chilling account to CNN, detailing the moment that others on board tried to save the man, who was seated directly behind him.


ANDREW DAVIES, SINGAPORE AIRLINES PASSENGER: I mean, it was fairly obvious that he passed, I'm afraid, from the moment we call it (ph) onto the floor. As I say, they gave good 20 minutes of CPR, and then they pronounced him dead. You know, they covered him with a -- with a blanket. And the poor gentleman was -- was on the aisle, you know, on the floor. So, from that point onwards, it was to try and preserve as much decency (ph) as possible in those circumstances.


COLLINS: It's just a heartbreaking thing, to hear from these passengers.

We're told this turbulence that lasted about 90 seconds, this is the aftermath that you're looking at here, inside the plane after passengers were rattled around the cabin.

Joining me tonight is CNN's Aviation Analyst, Miles O'Brien. And Miles, I mean, you just heard what the passenger on this plane lived through, what he was saying happened is everything, was just everywhere, during the turbulence.

And the CNN animation shows, this is similar to what was experienced on that flight, before it made that emergency landing.

What causes this?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Yes, it's horrifying. Isn't it, Kaitlan? I got to tell you that that really took me back, just hearing that story.

What we're talking about here, most likely, is an event, where a crew flew into what is called a clear-air turbulence, which quite literally comes out of the blue. You can imagine invisible streams, rivers of air, we call them jet streams, at altitude, and the wind is hundreds of miles an hour.

And it's kind of like a layer cake. They go in layers. And if you end up in a situation, where there is a sudden and dramatic change in the direction of these streams, the amount of lift on the wing changes quickly and dramatically. And that's why you get that kind of upset.

And interestingly, there has been a trend, over the past 50 years, where more of these events have occurred, over longer periods of time, because of climate change. It unsettles the atmosphere, changes these jet streams in ways that are harder to predict. And perhaps, we're going to see more of these, as time goes on.

It's impossible for a pilot, for air traffic controllers, and for that matter, meteorologists, to predict these clear-air turbulence events, unfortunately,

COLLINS: I mean, if a pilot can't predict that, what are they left to do, when they're watching something, as horrifying as this?

O'BRIEN: What pilots rely on, believe it or not, is the pilot ahead of them. Pilot reports. And when we hear about turbulence, at a particular altitude, we get advisories, from air traffic control, and we change altitude. But somebody's got to be first. And sometimes, things happen this way.

There are other kinds of turbulence that you can avoid, which are more associated with weather. Obviously, big towering cumulus clouds, associated with thunderstorms, you want to avoid those. There are weather events, just being in the wake of the big airplane, can cause turbulence. Mountain wave is another one, wind, and if it skips off a mountain.

But this one insidious kind, clear-air turbulence, defies. It's invisible to the system, unfortunately. So, it's important, if a pilot gets one of those reports that that light goes on, to buckle your seatbelts, by all means--

COLLINS: Yes. O'BRIEN: --buckle it, while you remain in (ph) your seat.


COLLINS: I mean, after seeing that video, I think everyone is doing that, especially people who are watching this, from a plane, right now.

Miles O'Brien, it's great to have you.

Of course, our hearts go out, to the passenger, who was killed on that flight.

Thank you, Miles, for that.

Also, a programming note, because tomorrow, here on THE SOURCE, we will be joined by Republican senator, Ted Cruz, his first interview, here on THE SOURCE. You won't want to miss it.

Thank you so much, for joining us, tonight, though.