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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Cruz: Controversy Over Flags Outside Alito Homes "Overstated"; Nikki Haley: "I Will Be Voting For Trump"; Sanders Doubts ICC Arrests Will Happen. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 22, 2024 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Now, this comes just a day, after the new Uvalde school district Police Chief submitted his resignation. The man, who held that position, during the massacre, was fired, months after the shooting.

As you may know, 19 children and two teachers were killed at Uvalde's Robb Elementary School, after the shooter barricaded himself, in a classroom. And it took 77 minutes for officers to breach that classroom door, and kill the gunman.

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


She blasted Donald Trump as unhinged, unstable and total chaos. But after publicly refusing to kiss the ring, Donald Trump's ring, Nikki Haley says she'll vote for him in November.

Republican senator, Ted Cruz, is here, on the state of the 2024 race.

Also, another flag with links to January 6th, another house, but it's the same Supreme Court Justice that's under fire tonight. New reporting, on what was seen, at Justice Alito's home that has critics calling for him to recuse himself.

Also tonight, Senator Bernie Sanders joins us, on his break, right now underway, with the White House and even top Democrats.

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

Nikki Haley has not spoken publicly, since she suspended her race, for the White House, more than two months ago. But tonight, in her first remarks since that, she made clear who shall be voting for in November, given it won't be her name on the ballot.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) FORMER GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I have made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So, I will be voting for Trump.


COLLINS: In those arguments, Haley said that she believes President Biden is a catastrophe.

But of course it was not that long ago, and voters will remember, that she was arguing to Republican voters and really, the United States, that former President Donald Trump is a quote, "Disaster," "Unhinged," "Unfit," "Unstable," the list goes on.

He also launched a series of attacks, against her, during that primary race, of course, often deriding her as birdbrain.

On the trail though, Trump's last major rival also said this.


HALEY: I feel no need to kiss the ring.

I have no fear of Trump's retribution.


COLLINS: Haley, of course, may not have kissed the ring. But she has certainly tried it on tonight. Her statement is notable, given Trump, of course, was far ahead of her in the polls in that race. But she still was drawing notable swaths of the Republican electorate.

When she dropped out, this is what she said to Trump, and what he needed to do to win over those voters.


HALEY: It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it, who did not support him. And I hope he does that.


COLLINS: That was on March 6th. But it still stands today, as we are seeing primaries happen, where she is winning sizable portions of voters, in Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump, we should note has not spent much time, trying to court those voters. But he has certainly got her vote, as she made clear tonight.

My lead source tonight is someone else, who also once ran a bruising primary campaign of his own, against Donald Trump. Texas senator, Ted Cruz, is first time here on THE SOURCE.

Thank you for being here.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Glad and good to be with you.

COLLINS: And I want to talk to you about the 2024 race and everything that's going on there.

But you proposed a bill this week--

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: --focusing on IVF.

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: And this fight that we've seen play out since what happened in my home state of Alabama.

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: This bill would essentially make states ineligible to receive Medicaid funding, if they banned IVF in their state.

CRUZ: Right.

COLLINS: Some may look at that and say, why not go one step further and just protect and create a federal protection for IVF access?

CRUZ: Well, that's exactly what this bill does. It provides a categorical protection for IVF.

And the reason I did it is number one, I strongly support IVF. I think IVF is an incredible technology. I mean, it has given millions of parents, hope, who couldn't otherwise have children. The statistics are amazing. 2 percent of all births in America come from IVF. There are over 8 million babies that have been born through IVF.

And you look at the state of things, right now. I think there are a lot of people, who are confused and scared that they feel that IVF is in jeopardy. And following the Alabama Supreme Court decision, a lot of people were very worried about that.

In the Senate, to the best of my knowledge, all 100 senators support IVF. I'm not aware of a single senator who doesn't.

And so, what happened, I approached Kate -- Katie Britt, Senator from Alabama. And I said, look, let's team up, and let's draft a very simple bill that creates strong federal protections that makes clear, no state can ban IVF. And that's what we did.

We made it as a condition of Medicaid funding. That's a frequent method of imposing a federal restriction on the states. It's long upheld in the courts.

COLLINS: Yes, but I'm curious about that because I mean, your home state of Texas, my home state of Alabama, they're not seeking to ever expand Medicaid funding. It's more of a punishment. So, it's kind of tied to that. So, they could still technically ban IVF.



COLLINS: They just wouldn't be able to receive Medicaid funding, if they did.

CRUZ: But as a practical matter, no one is going to turn down billions of dollars, in Medicaid funds.

It's a method. For example, it's how Congress used -- Congress used Highway funds, to get states to raise the drinking age to 21. And it was the same thing. It was a condition, you don't get your Highway funds unless you raise the age. And they did so.

It's how Congress, you go back in the 70s, used Highway funds, also, to lower the speed limit to 55. They ended up allowing it to raise again.

But if you look at congressional authority, the Spending Clause is a component of the Constitution that Congress has unquestioned authority, to attach conditions to federal spending. And so, we attached it to Medicaid.

There is no state in the union, that's going to turn down the massive amount of money for Medicaid. And so, it operates as a clear federal protection, an ironclad protection, that no state and no local government can ban IVF.

COLLINS: Yes. But in Alabama, they didn't ban IVF. The Supreme Court just came out there, ruled that essentially embryos count as children. And that was why you saw, there's not that many IVF clinics.

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: A lot of them closed down out of fear of what the legal landscape was there.

If there was a federal law protecting access to IVF, that wouldn't have happened.

CRUZ: Well, that's right. And that's why I think we should pass a federal law. And I think it's notable, when the Alabama Supreme Court decision came down, that the Alabama legislature came in very quickly, within weeks, and passed a law.

COLLINS: Which you don't often see from them.

CRUZ: You don't often. And they moved quickly to make clear IVF is fully protected, in Alabama. And that's true in all 50 states. That I'm not aware, I literally don't know of a state legislator, in any state, that wants to ban IVF.

But I want to take the fear off the table, because people are afraid. And I understand. And you're right, in Alabama, following the Supreme Court decisions, the clinics, there, halted their treatments. And that's fundamentally wrong.

And that's why I said, look, part of it is we're seeing a lot of fear- mongering. We're seeing people, for political reasons, that are trying to scare voters and say-- COLLINS: So, I've heard you say that, which is interesting, because in Alabama, that wasn't what I saw up-close. I mean, I know these people. It was that they were worried that they were going to be prosecuted, if there was a mishap and an accident--

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: --in a facility, like in Alabama. It wasn't fear-mongering out on the media. It was people in the state were worried that they would be prosecuted.

CRUZ: Well, and let me be clear, the fear-mongering is all across the country. But look, I understand why the IVF clinics that they were uncertain what to do in Alabama, and they halted temporarily. And I'm really glad the Alabama legislature came in, and said no, you guys are fine. This is important.

I think IVF is incredibly important. And where the fear-mongering is happening is in the other 49 states. And you have, frankly Democrats, who are fairly cynically trying to scare voters and say, the mean Republicans want to take away IVF.

COLLINS: Well I'm glad you've brought--

CRUZ: And that's not true.

COLLINS: I'm glad you brought that up. Because the reason that premise is out there is because of what's happened with abortion, and what we've seen happen in states like your State of Texas, where almost all abortions are banned. There's no exceptions for rape or incest in the State of Texas. And they only have a pretty narrow exception, if the health and the life of the mother is at risk.

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: That didn't apply to Kate Cox. Everyone knows her story.

Did you support that Supreme Court ruling from your state, preventing Kate Cox from getting an abortion?

CRUZ: Look, what happened to Kate Cox was horrific. And she was a mom, who had kids, who wanted to have another child, and discovered that her unborn child had a fatal disease that that would kill her child. And that is a horrific situation.

As you noted, the Texas law has an exception in it, for a birth that would do serious damage, to a critical life-functioning of the mother. And what the Texas Supreme Court concluded -- and I think there's a very good argument that that she fell under that exception.

But what the Texas Supreme Court said in its opinion is it asked the Texas Medical Board, go in and set clear rules, because the Texas Supreme Court said look, under this law, it's doctors that should be making this determination. It shouldn't be courts. It shouldn't be lawyers. It should be--

COLLINS: So, do you disagree with the ruling?

CRUZ: I think the Texas Supreme Court was right in saying that the Texas Medical Board should set the rules. And listen, there's a big difference between abortion and IVF.

COLLINS: But the Medical Board doesn't make the law. I mean, it's lawmakers in the state.

CRUZ: Well but it clarifies the standards. And the Texas Supreme Court unanimously called on the Medical Board, to clarify the standards because doctors were uncertain. And--

COLLINS: That feels like it's deflecting from the lawmakers in the state to the doctors, to have to decide, what the law is.

CRUZ: Well, no, it's actually empowering the doctors, because there's a Medical Board there for a reason.

And listen, there's an enormous difference between abortion and IVF. On abortion, abortion is an issue that people are hotly divided that there's a real division of opinion. And people of good faith can disagree on that and can disagree passionately and emotionally.

And what the Supreme Court said, in returning this to the States, is under our Constitution, the way we resolve issues that there are strong disagreements, is through the electoral process. And what that means is the voters in Texas decide the Texas law.


COLLINS: Yes, you believe it's a state's issue, for abortion -- or for IVF, but not for abortion?

CRUZ: I think what the court has said is abortion is an issue the states can decide, because Texas is going to adopt very different laws than New York. And, of course, they should.

IVF is different, because the overwhelming majority of Americans strongly support IVF. 84 percent of Americans want to see it protected in law.

COLLINS: Well, as you know, a lot of Americans support abortion rights as well. We'll see, of course, the political, how that plays out in November.

But I do want to ask you about the Supreme Court.

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: You clerked there.

CRUZ: I did.

COLLINS: And Supreme Court Justice Alito has been in the news, for what happened recently, where he was flying an upside-down flag at his home. He says it was his wife who did it. But of course, it was right after January 6th. That was a symbol of Stop the Steal. Do you think that was inappropriate?

CRUZ: Look, I think this entire hoopla is greatly overstated. And I think there is a concerted effort that is driven by Democrats, in the Senate, to try to delegitimize the court, and to try to demonize. We're seeing it with Justice Clarence Thomas. We're seeing it with Justice Sam Alito. I think the whole thing is disgraceful.

In my view, Sam Alito is an extraordinary justice. Clarence Thomas is an extraordinary justice. I know both of them very, very well.

And this has been, if you look at from the far-left, the court is the one institution that they do not control. And we saw -- we saw Chuck Schumer go to the steps of the Supreme Court, and threaten the justices, and say, if you do not vote the way I want you to vote in the Dobbs decision, he said you will unleash the whirlwind, and he threatened them by name.

COLLINS: But on the flag itself, are you OK with him flying an upside- down flag outside his home?

CRUZ: Well, listen, Justice Alito's explanation is that his wife -- that he had a neighbor, in Maryland, who was apparently a vicious partisan, who had a sign in his front yard that said, F Donald Trump, which is pretty nasty, in a neighborhood that you got kids there.

COLLINS: But the neighbor is not a Supreme Court justice.

CRUZ: No, but the neighbor also screamed and cursed at Justice Alito's wife, and apparently called her the C-word, which I'm sorry, is repulsive.

Listen, there are justices I disagree with. And yet, you should treat everyone with civility and respect. And what Justice Alito said is his wife was upset. And let's be honest, if you had a neighbor screaming and cursing--

COLLINS: I think neighborly disputes, probably a lot of people watching can understand that.

But he is a sitting Supreme Court Justice. And they're about to make key decisions about January 6th, two of them, they're related to that. Do you not worry that it undercuts his credibility, as a justice, when he does something like this?

CRUZ: Number one, he said he didn't have anything to do with it that it was his wife, who did it.

But number two, this is all about trying to delegitimize the court.

The Democrats, almost every Democrat in the Senate, if they win, they want to pack the Supreme Court. They want to grow the Supreme Court, from nine justices, to 13 justices. The reason they want to do that is they want to add four left-wing justices, immediately. And I got to say, it is unfortunate.

COLLINS: I'll tell you, President Biden, of course, doesn't agree with that. I know -- I know--

CRUZ: No. He said he does. No, no, he has said he would support packing the court. He did not resist that

COLLINS: They would have to get rid of the filibuster. I mean, that's not going to happen. And you know that.

CRUZ: Well, and I'll tell you what, if the Democrats gained one seat in the Senate. Chuck Schumer has 49 votes, to end the filibuster. If he got one more, he would end the filibuster, and they would pack the court.

COLLINS: I want to talk about what's happening in the Senate. We have a lot more questions for you, Senator Ted Cruz.

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: I hope you'll stick around.

We're going to take a quick break and be right back in a moment. Much more with Senator Ted Cruz, when we return.



COLLINS: The jury, in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial, in New York, is set to deliberate in the coming days.

There was one revelation, from that trial, confirming something that pretty was incredible, that happened during the 2016 election. Trump's fixer and attorney at the time was working with a tabloid magazine, and its king, to pump out negative stories, targeting his Republican opponents.

Under oath, we heard from David Pecker. He was the first witness, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, who said that Michael Cohen would call and say, we would like for you to run a negative article on, let's say, for argument sake, Ted Cruz. Then he would send me -- he being Michael Cohen -- send me information about Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Marco Rubio. That was the basis of our story, and then we would embellish it from there.

That means that Senator Ted Cruz was right when he said this as a candidate in 2016.


CRUZ: The National Enquirer, the CEO of the National Enquirer is an individual named David Pecker. Well, David is good friends with Donald Trump. They have a friendship that goes back for many years.

This has no business in politics. This doesn't belong. Years from now, when my daughters Google this, they will read these lies, these attacks that Donald and his henchmen and his buddies at the National Enquirer spread. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: And Senator Ted Cruz is back with me now.

Do you feel vindicated when you have heard this testimony now?

CRUZ: Well, listen, I think it was an -- obvious, it was a lie then. And it's obvious it was a lie now.

Now, I don't know that anyone ever thought the National Enquirer was a reliable news source. I'm not sure aliens arrived yesterday. I'm not sure Elvis is living in Des Moines. And so, when they wrote the story, it was absurd.

Now, I will say, the National Enquirer wrote that my father killed JFK. And--

COLLINS: He said they mashed two photos together to create that photo.

CRUZ: Yes. They created a fake photo. And I will say, my dad was pretty pissed, and although he laughed about it. But he was still like, like, what do I do? And I just said, look, dad, it'll be fine.

I will tell you, the best response to that, happened shortly thereafter, Marco Rubio, at the Senate Republican lunch, he actually stood up, and told all our colleagues, he said, look, I can tell you for a fact, there is no way that Ted's dad killed JFK, because if a Cuban had done that, he would have told everyone. And that was Marco's defense. And it was, there's a lot of truth to that.

COLLINS: But when you hear that, I mean, he said he directly tied it to you gaining popularity in the polls.

CRUZ: Yes. Yes.

COLLINS: I mean, do you feel like that hurt? People do read that at supermarkets.


COLLINS: Do you feel like it hurt your campaign?

CRUZ: It was a rough and tumble race. It was -- I will say, Donald Trump and I have a different relationship than most people in Washington. Because in 2016, I fought him repeatedly, I beat him over and over and over again, in 12 states. But he ultimately prevailed. He beat me.

COLLINS: Yes. He lied, when you -- when he beat -- when you beat him the first time, in Iowa.


CRUZ: And when he became president, I had a choice to make. I could be pissed. I could be pissed off at what he'd done. But if I was going to do that? He'd just been elected president. I got a job. I got a job to represent 30 million Texans. And frankly, if I was going to let my hurt feelings make me say, I'm not going to work with you? I needed to be prepared to resign my job and go home.

And I made a decision, then. I said, listen, I'm going to go represent 30 million Texans, I'm going to fight. I got on a plane. I flew to Trump Tower. I sat down with him, spent four and a half hours. This is the week after the general election in 2016.

And what I told him then, I said, Mr. President, we have an historic situation. The voters have given us control of the White House, and both houses of Congress. We can't waste this. And I told him then, I said, listen, I want to roll up my sleeves, and go to work and lead the effort to deliver on our promises.

And as I look back to the Trump presidency, I think we accomplished incredible victories--

COLLINS: But can I -- can I--

CRUZ: --for the American people.

COLLINS: But this moment, what you said there, you talked about your family. They targeted not just your dad, but also your wife.

And I think a lot of people sitting at home would say, well, that's pretty cynical. I mean, this is someone, who attacked your own members, of your family. And what we learned from this testimony is that not only did Donald Trump know about it, he coordinated it.

CRUZ: Look, I understand. But I knew then, it was lies. It was lies, then. It's lies now.

COLLINS: But you didn't know Donald Trump himself was coordinating it.

CRUZ: Of course I did. I said he did. It was obvious.

And at the end of the day, I'm a big boy. And as I said, I could have made a choice. Listen, if I were a private citizen, I could decide, my feelings are hurt, and I'm just going to leave. But if I do that, I can't do my job. And I care about my job.

And I will say, if you look at the people of Texas, under almost any measure, the people of Texas were much, much better, when Trump was president than compared to now. You look at -- we passed an historic tax cut. I worked very hard with him on that. It produced incredible economic prosperity. We had the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.

COLLINS: But do you think of the tactics that he used to get where he was?

CRUZ: I don't like him. I can't stand him.

COLLINS: Do you think he would have been the nominee, had he not done stuff like that? CRUZ: I don't know. I think Donald Trump is a unique character in American history. There are things he says and does that I like, the things he says and does that I don't like.

I'll tell you what millions of Americans love about him is that he's got backbones and guts, and that he's willing to stand and fight.

COLLINS: But we talk to voters--

CRUZ: And that matters.

COLLINS: And we talk to voters all the time about this.

But at the time, I mean, this wasn't -- it was eight years ago, but it wasn't that long ago. You were both adults then.

And you said that Trump didn't know the difference between truth and lies, that he lies, practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And you said it was straight out of a psychology textbook that his response to is -- to an accusation is to accuse everyone else of lying.

I mean, do you feel differently now, despite working together?

CRUZ: He says all sorts of things, I wish he didn't say.

I value civility in politics. I think we should treat each other with respect, even if we disagree with each other. I can't control what other people say. I can't control what other Republicans say. I can't control what other Democrats say.

I can say that the people of Texas were a lot better when the border was secure. And under Donald Trump, we had the most secure border, the lowest rate of illegal immigration in 45 years than they are right now with an invasion at our southern border.

COLLINS: Yes, we talked about immigration, last night. We had Senator James Lankford, on the program. Obviously, he crafted the bill that Trump sank that would have helped with a lot of those problems, according to James Lankford.

CRUZ: So, it wouldn't have. It was a terrible bill.

COLLINS: Well James Lankford disagreed. We talked about that criticism.

CRUZ: Well he's going to vote no, on it, tomorrow.

COLLINS: But on Nikki Haley, and what you heard from her?

Yes, we talked about that.

Well, you heard from her, tonight, saying that she will vote for Donald Trump. Do you empathize with her? She's in a similar position to you. CRUZ: Well, look, I understand that journey. And I was in that position. Now, she didn't win any states. But she was the last-person- standing.

I understand. And that's -- and she was in a hard-fought primary. I had been in that spot. And it took some time for me to decide what to do. And I did not initially endorse Donald Trump. And as I thought about it, I wrestled with it. I wrote a long two-page essay that ultimately explained when I did endorse Trump.

And I said at the time, I said, listen, I'm not sure what Trump will do in office. I don't know if he'll be a conservative or not. But I know what Hillary is promising to do. And what she's promising to do, I think would be really harmful. And so, I'm going to make the decision to go with someone, who is saying he will do good things, and I'm going to do everything I can to help encourage him to do those things.

COLLINS: Yes, we've seen this argument. I mean, we've had -- Bill Barr was sitting in that seat.

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: And he said he's voting for Donald Trump, even though he said Donald Trump can't get his policies accomplished. He said Donald Trump basically gets in his own way.

But I do want to ask you about the election. You were the first senator to object--

CRUZ: Yes.

COLLINS: --to the votes.

In 2024, will you certify the election results? Do you plan to object? Or will you accept the results regardless of who wins the election?

CRUZ: So, Kaitlan, I got to say, I think that's actually a ridiculous question.

COLLINS: It's a yes-or-no question though.

CRUZ: No, it's not. Let me explain why it's a ridiculous question. It's not a question. You've ever asked a Democrat that?

COLLINS: Of course.

CRUZ: What Democrat?

COLLINS: But what Democrats--

CRUZ: Yes, no, but hold on a second. What Democrats challenge it?

COLLINS: What Democrats--

CRUZ: Hill-- [21:25:00]

COLLINS: I know. I know. I've been down this road many times.

CRUZ: But -- but -- but--

COLLINS: No Democrat -- you cannot compare the two situations. We have talked about that. We've seen the audio of that when they protested on the Senate floor.

CRUZ: OK. But -- but hold on a second.

COLLINS: But have they ever -- have you ever had a sitting president, who refused to facilitate the peaceful transition of power--

CRUZ: And by the way--

COLLINS: --refused to acknowledge that his successor won the presidency?

CRUZ: So, A, we did have a peaceful transfer of power. I was there on January 20th. I was there on the swearing-in.

COLLINS: Barely.

CRUZ: B, if you look at in 2000, Democrats went to the Senate -- or 2001, Democrats went to the Senate floor and objected to George W. Bush. In 2004--

COLLINS: And what did the Vice President do?

CRUZ: --they went and objected. In--

COLLINS: And what did the President do?

CRUZ: In 2016, Democrats went and objected to Donald Trump. And so, look--

COLLINS: And what happened in 2016? Because, I remember a guy named Joe Biden was Vice President, and he went to the Senate floor, and certified the votes.

CRUZ: So, do you want me--

COLLINS: Am I wrong?

CRUZ: So, you're asking, will you promise, no matter what, to agree an election as illegitimate, regardless of what happens? And that would be an absurd thing to claim.

Like, we have an entire election law system that people challenge elections, elections get overturned, voter fraud gets proven. That happens all the time.

And the media engages in this weird game, post-Donald Trump that you insist no voter fraud has ever existed. Why does every state have laws in place to challenge voter fraud, if it occurs--

COLLINS: The media doesn't--

CRUZ: --why do you have election challenges?

COLLINS: This isn't a game. There was no widespread voter fraud.

CRUZ: It is a game. It is -- you only ask Republicans that.

COLLINS: There was this--

CRUZ: You ask what--

COLLINS: Because it was Republicans, who tried to block the transition of power. You have to acknowledge that.

CRUZ: So--

COLLINS: We've never seen it on a scale of what happened in 2020. And we've never seen the President refuse. He wouldn't even let Joe Biden get classified briefings at the beginning. I recall that.

CRUZ: So let me be--

COLLINS: So, my question for you, again, free and fair election, will you accept the results regardless of who wins?

CRUZ: Look, if the Democrats win, I will accept the result. But I'm not going to ignore fraud, regardless of what happens.

COLLINS: But was there fraud in 2020?

CRUZ: Of course, there was fraud in 2020.

COLLINS: No, there wasn't. And you still objected.

CRUZ: Oh, you know for a fact there was zero voter fraud, really? What's your basis for that? Show me your evidence.

COLLINS: We've spoken with Governor Kemp. They did three hand recounts in the State of Georgia.

The Director of CISA said that that was the safest and most legitimate election in the United States history.

CRUZ: So, but you're saying zero voter fraud occurred?

COLLINS: These are--

CRUZ: That's what you just said.

COLLINS: Nothing that would have changed the outcome of that election.

CRUZ: OK. But that's a different statement.

COLLINS: But no, it's not. CRUZ: Yes, it is.

COLLINS: Because if it wouldn't have changed the outcome--

CRUZ: You said there was no voter fraud. That's--

COLLINS: There was no voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election. And you know that, Senator.

CRUZ: So, what I know is, is that -- what I stood on the Senate floor and objected, what I called for, I'll tell you, I wrestled with what to do in that circumstance. And the reason I wrestled with it, is because I think there was significant voter fraud in 2020. And--

COLLINS: You wanted the 10-day commission, I know.

CRUZ: I did.

COLLINS: But was there voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election?

CRUZ: But do you know why I wanted a 10-day commission? Because I tried to look -- I'm a Supreme Court litigator. I argued cases in front of the Supreme Court.

COLLINS: I know.

CRUZ: I tried to look through history and precedent. And the best precedent I could find was the election of 1876.

1876 was between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden. And what happened there, there were serious allegations of voter fraud. And Congress didn't throw its hands up and say, you know what? CNN demanded that I accept the results no matter what. So, ignore the fraud. I got to go.

COLLINS: It's not on -- it's not--

CRUZ: So, but hold on. What did Congress do in 18--

COLLINS: It's the President of the United States. How did the President--

CRUZ: What did Congress do in 1876?

COLLINS: How did the President handle it?

CRUZ: What did Congress do in 1876?

COLLINS: Senator, I have to go.

CRUZ: What -- I'm asking a question.

COLLINS: You can't answer yes or no, to this question.

CRUZ: I'm asking a question. What did Congress do in 1876? COLLINS: You can't answer yes or no, to this question.

CRUZ: Can you answer my question?

COLLINS: And Republicans--

CRUZ: Why are you refusing to answer my question?

COLLINS: Well I'm conducting the interview--

CRUZ: OK. But -- but--

COLLINS: --with all due respect, Senator.

CRUZ: But--

COLLINS: And let me ask you. It's, Republicans have twisted themselves in knots. It's just a yes-or-no question.

CRUZ: I'm not twisting myself. I'm answering your question. You just don't like my answer.

COLLINS: And what's your answer? Is it yes, or is it no?

CRUZ: So, in 1876, what Congress did is it appointed an election commission that consisted of 15 people, five House members, five senators, five Supreme Court justices. The election commission was charged with studying the evidence, and making a determination of what voter fraud occurred, and that determined the winter.

And what I called for in 2020 was to do the same thing, appoint an election commission.

COLLINS: After it had been--

CRUZ: And a 11 senators joined me in doing that.

COLLINS: Senator, with all due respect, after it had been thrown out of many courts, after the Attorney General, Bill Barr--

CRUZ: Why was it thrown out? Why?

COLLINS: Because there was no basis for those court cases. Doesn't--

CRUZ: No. So, that's -- that's actually not--

COLLINS: Senator, with all due respect.

CRUZ: You asked me a question. You want me to answer it?

COLLINS: And you didn't answer the question.

CRUZ: Yes, I did.

COLLINS: Dozens of court cases were thrown out. The Attorney General said there was no widespread fraud. CRUZ: Hold on a second.

COLLINS: You are not clearly answering the question.

CRUZ: I -- what question am I not --

COLLINS: I want to thank you for that.

CRUZ: I'm answering every question.

I think the country would have been a lot better off with a determination of what evidence of voter fraud there was that -- occurred. And instead, the media didn't want to hear it and insists voter fraud never occurs. You ought to go back and look at The Carter- Baker Commission.

COLLINS: Wasn't the media. It was the Attorney General.

CRUZ: It was the media.

COLLINS: And my question was in 2024--

CRUZ: It was CNN that relentlessly pushed--

COLLINS: My question was about 2024, Senator.

CRUZ: --relentlessly pushed that propaganda. And, by the way, never holds--

COLLINS: What propaganda?

CRUZ: Never holds--

COLLINS: That there was no widespread fraud in the election?

CRUZ: Yes, that voter fraud doesn't exist. And anyone who says it does is wearing a tinfoil hat. That is propaganda.

And by the way, you never ask Hillary Clinton this. You never ask Stacey Abrams this. You never ask Al Gore this.


COLLINS: With all due respect, Senator?

CRUZ: And every one of them--

COLLINS: With all due respect, Senator?

CRUZ: --said the Republicans, who won were illegitimate.

COLLINS: I haven't had any of them on my show. We'll talk to them. But I don't remember there being a president, who was refusing to turn over the transition of power, and facilitating it.

CRUZ: And Trump didn't either. Joe Biden became president. COLLINS: My question was about 2024. You did not answer it.

CRUZ: Let me say a final -- let me say a final point for you.

COLLINS: But thank you for coming on the show. Senator, Ted Cruz, we're out of time.

CRUZ: You said they haven't come?

COLLINS: Thank you very much, Senator Ted Cruz.

CRUZ: My opponent, Colin Allred, hasn't either. He ought to come to your show.

COLLINS: Senator Ted Cruz, no answer to that question. Thank you very much.

CRUZ: That's -- that's not true.

COLLINS: Much more on that interview, and what we touched on earlier. Of course, you heard the news story, about the latest Supreme Court Justice. We talked about Justice Alito there. There is more news on that tonight.

Back in a moment.


COLLINS: Tonight, we're following another story reporting on another (ph) controversial flag that was flown at the home, of the Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito. The New York Times reporting that this Appeal to Heaven flag, as you see here, flew outside of Alito's vacation home, in New Jersey, last summer.

The flag was seen prominently on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, carried by rioters, on January 6th.

Justice Alito and Supreme Court did not respond to a request for comment on this new reporting, from The New York Times.

Here to discuss, CNN's Donie O'Sullivan; and CNN's Legal Analyst, and former federal prosecutor, Elliot Williams.

I mean, Elliot, I think -- and well first, I want to talk to you about the Supreme Court--


COLLINS: --and the context of why this is so headline-worthy.

But Donie, you were there on January 6th. You have spent a lot of time, kind of getting into the mindset of the people, on that day. Can you just tell us about this flag, for people, who aren't familiar with it?

[21:35:00] DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And when you asked me first, earlier today, about this flag, I'll admit I had -- didn't recognize it. But it was when I went back to look at pictures and videos from January 6th that you see this flag everywhere. It's known as the Pine Tree Flag. It does date back to the Revolutionary War.

But look, there were a lot of symbols at January 6, right? There was a lot of people holding the Christian flag. There was a lot of people holding crosses. It doesn't necessarily mean that all of those -- that all of that imagery, in some way, condones what happened, and that there is a symbol of what happened on that day.

But specifically, this flag, the Pine Tree Flag, from what I've been able to understand in the past few hours, even speaking to some pastors, across the country, is this flag has kind of come back into circulation, very clearly, over the past decade or so, less almost about January 6th, but more a representation of Christian nationalism, of this idea, which is very popular, among a lot of people, who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, that Christianity should take precedence over all other religions in this country.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, and this surfaced because it's outside of Speaker Mike Johnson's office.


COLLINS: I mean, it's not -- some people would defend it, and say, well it flew over ships, during the Revolution. It's not always a sign of that.

But it's the context also of what we were just talking about there with Senator Cruz, on the flag outside Justice Alito's home, and the idea that the Supreme Court is very soon going to make some critical rulings, on two cases, related to January 6th.

WILLIAMS: And more to the point, Kaitlan, as they were deciding whether to take the case on, if you look at the timing, it was flying over his house, roughly at that time.

Look, it is perfectly within one's First Amendment free speech rights, to fly whatever flag they want, in front of their house. Some flags are political statements.

And when a political statement is a statement, related to a movement, that is ultimately before your court, as the Supreme Court, you have a perception problem, at a minimum. I'm not saying that -- you know, all of the possible explanation for the flag might have been or -- are certainly true. But there's a political meaning to it. And it's a bad look for the court.

COLLINS: Well, and the standard obviously is different for a Supreme Court justice. I mean, we talked about, he said, what happened at his home, here, when it was the upside-down American flag, long seen--

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, it's just weird, right?

COLLINS: --as a distrust of--

O'SULLIVAN: It's weird.

COLLINS: Because you know--

O'SULLIVAN: That's weird.

COLLINS: --that you're a Supreme Court justice.


COLLINS: Obviously, they don't have a binding code of ethics. But it's something that people have looked at, in the sense of, why is he signaling anything outside of his home?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. And look, I think, again, it just seems to be part of a pattern. It's the same way that Trump talks about vermin and everything else.

This is -- these are two very clear symbols that is clearly, you can debate them whatever way you want, and point to history. But these are very part -- much part of a movement that was relevant in that moment.

COLLINS: Donie O'Sullivan, Elliot Williams, great to have you both here.

Joining me next, here on set, Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been a vocal critic of Israel's war in Gaza, what he makes of Netanyahu's next potential invitation to Washington.



COLLINS: House Speaker, Mike Johnson, says he's moving ahead with a formal invitation, to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to give a joint address to Congress soon.

It's expected to be a bipartisan invite, in an overwhelming show of unity for Netanyahu, as a prosecutor, the Chief Prosecutor, I should note, with the International Criminal Court, says he plans to seek a warrant, for Netanyahu's arrest for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

But while most in Congress have -- are standing against the ICC Prosecutor, and that announcement that he made, to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, there is one prominent exception. He's my source, tonight. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.

Senator Sanders, welcome back to THE SOURCE.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Good to be with you.

COLLINS: And thank you for being here.

What do you make of Netanyahu coming to address Congress?

SANDERS: I think it's a terrible idea.

COLLINS: Would you go to that?

SANDERS: No, I won't go.

Look, you have a prime minister, who has created the worst humanitarian disaster, in modern history. Israel, of course, had the right to defend itself against the Hamas terrorist attack. But what Netanyahu has done is gone to war against, all-out war, against the entire Palestinian people, women and children.

5 percent of the population is now dead or wounded, 60 percent of them are women and children. Some 200,000 housing units have been completely destroyed. Every university in Gaza has been bombed. There is no -- there is now imminent starvation taking place.

So, why you would invite somebody, who has done such horrific things to the Palestinian people, is something that I think is a very bad idea.

COLLINS: Well, it's not just Speaker Mike Johnson. Senator Schumer is on board with this.

SANDERS: Well, I strongly disagree.

Look, what the ICC Prosecutor has done is very important. What he has said is there must be -- war is horrific in general. And I would hope that someday the human race might end war. But what he has said is there've got to be standards.

And as you know, last year, he went after Putin of Russia, who has taken, kidnapped, thousands of Ukrainian children and taken them to Russia. And he said that's a war crime, not to mention Putin starting the largest war in Europe since World War II.

What he said about Sinwar, the head of Hamas, he said, this is the guy, who started the war, committed a terrible atrocity on October 7th, he's a war criminal. He is a war criminal.

But when Netanyahu goes to war against the entire Palestinian people, kills 35,000, wounds 77,000, destroys the health care system, their educational system, their civilian infrastructure, you know what? You got to have standards. And if you turn your back on that, then the next guy around the world comes in, hey, we could destroy the whole thing. Let's do it.

So, I--

COLLINS: Well, what do you make of what we heard on this? Because the common refrain to that and what President Biden has said, is that it draws a false equivalence between Prime Minister Netanyahu and--

SANDERS: No. I don't agree.

COLLINS: --Yahya Sinwar. SANDERS: No one -- Netanyahu is the head of a democratic nation. He was elected. That's true. Sinwar is a terrorist, head of a terrorist organization. That's true. But what the ICC Prosecutor looked at is what they have actually did, what they did.


And what Sinwar did, what Hamas did, is, to my mind, an act of -- a criminal violation of international law, no question about it. He's a war criminal.

What Netanyahu is doing to the Palestinian people is different, but that is also, to my mind, a clear violation of international law.

COLLINS: Yes. And we saw that video today, of the female Israeli soldiers--


COLLINS: --being tied up and bound.

SANDERS: Disgusting. Disgusting. All right, but -- and what Hamas is, you know, what they did is horrific. They are a disgusting terrorist organization. End of discussion. Sinwar is a war criminal.

But does that give the head of a modern powerful industrialized nation, the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people?

I want to read you one thing, which is important. As you know, Defense Minister of Israel, Gallant, has also been -- there's a warrant out for his arrest as well. This is what he said, soon after October 7th.

He said, quote, Defense Minister, quote, I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals. And we are acting accordingly. End of quote. That is the Defense Minister of Israel.

And you know what? That is exactly what they did.

COLLINS: Yes. And we--

SANDERS: Today, there is no electricity.

COLLINS: We covered those comments. And we've covered also what's been happening, obviously there.

On this front, though, if those warrants are issued, countries that are a party to the ICC will have to arrest Netanyahu and Gallant, if they go into those countries. I mean, would you be OK with?

SANDERS: Look, between you and me, I don't think Putin is going to get arrested. I don't think Sinwar is going to get arrested. I don't think Netanyahu is going to get arrested.

But the world community has got to have certain standards, or else we move into barbarism. And the next country at war will say, look, look what Israel did. Yes, we're going to wipe out all the housing, we're going to starve all the children. Hey, that's OK.

So, what the ICC is trying to do, I think, importantly, in a crazy world, in a world of so much violence, trying to hold at least some minimum standards of what governments have got to do.

COLLINS: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you for joining us here tonight.

SANDERS: Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, we'll get new reaction, from our political experts, to our interview, a few moments ago, with Republican senator, Ted Cruz, and what the state of the race is with 2024, and also accepting the results in 2024.

Back in a moment.



COLLINS: A few moments ago, here on THE SOURCE, I was joined by Republican senator, Ted Cruz, of course a prominent supporter of Donald Trump's, and an important member of the U.S. Senate.

We talked about whether or not he would accept the 2024 election results. Here was part of that interview.


COLLINS: In 2024, will you certify the election results? Do you plan to object? Or will you accept the results regardless of who wins the election?

CRUZ: So, Kaitlan, I got to say, I think that's actually a ridiculous question.

COLLINS: It's a yes-or-no question though.

CRUZ: No, it's not.

COLLINS: Senator, with all due respect, after it had been thrown out of many courts, after the Attorney General, Bill Barr--

CRUZ: Why was it thrown out? Why?

COLLINS: Because there was no basis for those court cases. Doesn't--

CRUZ: No. So, that's -- that's actually not--

COLLINS: Senator, with all due respect.

CRUZ: You asked me a question. You want me to answer it?

COLLINS: And you didn't answer the question.

CRUZ: Yes, I did.

COLLINS: Dozens of court cases were thrown out. The Attorney General said there was no widespread fraud.

CRUZ: Hold on a second.

COLLINS: You are not clearly answering the question.

CRUZ: I -- what question am I not --

COLLINS: I want to thank you for that.

CRUZ: I'm answering every question.


COLLINS: Two political veterans, here to respond to that, Karen Finney and Scott Jennings.

I don't know who I should call on first.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm going to let Scott take that first.


FINNEY: Because I know what he's going to say.

JENNINGS: Well, I -- first of all, there is an easy answer to the question. Yes, of course, I'll accept it.

But if you -- if you believe that there are things that can be looked at, there's also an easy answer to that, which is, the beautiful thing about American elections is there are processes to adjudicate everything. We vote. And then, if you have challenges, there are courts to look at it.

The courts make decisions. Then the Electoral College -- I mean, there's a whole process that you can believe in, if you believe in institutions, and say, as long as those processes and institutions function properly, I have no reason to say that I would ever dispute the results of an election. There's an easy answer.

FINNEY: But isn't part of the problem that what has happened under Donald Trump is he has spent so much time, undermining so many of our democratic institutions, that the truth is if you're a Republican, who is -- has a political future in mind, and you're trying to stay on Trump's good side, you can't answer that question as a yes-or-no question. And you can't actually answer it in the affirmative.

And I'll tell you the other thing that I really resent, when they bring up, you know, when he was saying, you didn't ask Hillary Clinton. Let me tell you what. Late night, right before she conceded, we were all on the phone, trying to decide, do we want to contest, if we want more time? And she basically said, you know what? It's not good for the country. If we don't think that we can, that there -- there's real something that we could really count on to get us to 270, we're not doing that.

JENNINGS: But she still--

FINNEY: And then she conceded.

JENNINGS: But she still believes today that the election was probably stolen, no?

FINNEY: No. I think we believe that there were a lot of things that went on that we'll never know the truth about.

JENNINGS: But she has said--

FINNEY: In terms of--

JENNINGS: But she has said publicly, many times, she believes the Russians--


JENNINGS: --interfered and--


JENNINGS: --and tipped the election.


JENNINGS: So, she believes that the election was stolen?

FINNEY: No, that's not what -- that's not the same thing as saying you would -- would you accept the outcome of the 2024?

JENNINGS: No, I agree with you on that point.

FINNEY: But -- right, so?

JENNINGS: But I'm saying but she has continued to say, she has continued to call into question publicly, the results of the 2016 election, and whether it was free and fair, the term we're using tonight, because she is arguing that a foreign power interfered in it.

FINNEY: But when it mattered, she -- we didn't. We said, OK. We -- she conceded, and Trump became president.

JENNINGS: But if you believed Russia, interfered and stole the election, why wouldn't you contest it? Wouldn't that be your responsibility as a political leader?

FINNEY: We didn't have all the information. We didn't think it would be right for the country, at that moment in time.

COLLINS: But it is a moment, you know, he cited Stacey Abrams and others.


COLLINS: We have seen those moments, where we have Republicans, who use those, to justify their actions.


COLLINS: I mean, but obviously, this was a presidential election. The President of the United States was not conceding the election. He was openly disputing it and claiming fraud, even though every attorney around him, the ones who were actually paid to work inside the White House, they were telling him, there's no widespread fraud that would change this. I mean, he was so angry with Bill Barr, when he came out and said that to the Associated Press, in December.


JENNINGS: Yes. I think Republicans get upset, when there is an insinuation that only Republicans challenge the veracity of claims, about elections, when, there have been some Democrats, not to the extent we saw on January the 6th, obviously.

But obviously, there have been some Democrats, who have said, oh, my election was stolen or this or that. And Republicans feel like it's, they're not properly heckled the way, you know--

COLLINS: But that feels like an argument of like a fifth grader that well they did this so I'm justified, in refusing to it too.

FINNEY: Right, well and nothing justify January 6, full stop. That was not justifiable--


FINNEY: --in terms of the violence, in terms of -- OK, but that's not--

JENNINGS: I totally agree. But I think also we can agree that nothing justifies the continued undermining of elections, long after a decision is made.

COLLINS: Karen Finney, Scott Jennings, great to have you both, no shouting.

Ahead, Donald Trump explains why he did not testify in the hush money trial, after he did say repeatedly, at the beginning that he would.



COLLINS: Tonight, Donald Trump explaining why he says he didn't testify, in his hush money trial, after at the beginning repeatedly saying that he wanted to.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He made rulings that makes it very difficult to testify.

Anything I did in the past, they can bring everything up. And you know what? I've had a great past. But anything.


COLLINS: Closing arguments are on Tuesday. We will see what the jury decides, after the six weeks of evidence, in this case that they have heard, laid out.

Thank you so much, for joining us, here on THE SOURCE.

"CNN NEWSNIGHT" starts right now.