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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump Hosts Angry Rant At Trump Tower After Conviction; Trump Attorney On Possible Prison Sentence: Would Never Happen To "Other 77- Year-Old First-Time Offenders;" Former "Apprentice" Producer: Trump Caught On Tape Using N-Word. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 31, 2024 - 21:00   ET



BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL & FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST: The current Israeli proposal, for a hostage deal, enables or allows Israel, to achieve exactly those goals, meaning what was interesting in Netanyahu's statement, after Biden's speech, he did not attack the speech. He confirmed that everything Biden said was basically the Israeli position. And he did not push back.


RAVID: And I think it was very interesting. Because, at least I'll tell you my own opinion, I was expecting Netanyahu for some sort of a pushback.


RAVID: It didn't happen. And it's very, very interesting.

COOPER: Barak Ravid, appreciate it. Thank you.

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


Hell hath no fury like a former President turned convicted felon. Donald Trump is lashing out, calling the judge, who will sentence him quote, "The devil," in a rambling rampage.

And a question that is on many Americans' minds, tonight, is will Trump actually go to prison? It's certainly on his, as he is vying for sympathy and falsely claiming that he is facing a 187 years behind bars.

And a former "Apprentice" producer, who had an NDA for 20 years, has just now expired. He's now breaking his silence, claiming that he personally heard Donald Trump use the N-word. That producer is here tonight, and will join me.

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

Little bit of a pro tip, to start you off with tonight. It may not be the best idea, to refer to the judge, who is going to sentence you soon, on felony charges you were just convicted on, as "The devil."

But Donald Trump did just that in the wake of his conviction.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a judge who is highly conflicted.

Looks like an angel, but he's really a devil.

I wanted to testify.

But the judge allowed them to go into everything that I was ever involved in.

Was he a bad boy here? Was he a bad boy there?

This is a scam. This is a rigged trial. It shouldn't have been in that venue. We shouldn't have had that judge.

We're living in a -- in a fascist state.


COLLINS: It's a lot to absorb. And really, that was just a small snippet of it. It's just the tip of the iceberg of what we heard today.

And if those surroundings that you saw there, in the background, looked familiar, they should. It was right there that the same golden escalator at Trump Tower, where all of this started, nine years ago, when Trump kicked off his first run for the White House. He was speaking from there, this morning, as a former President, and now a convicted felon. It's safe to say a lot has happened in the last nine years.

In what sounded like a mini version of a MAGA rally, Trump also took a shot, at his own attorneys, during his 33-minute set.


TRUMP: Falsification of business records in the first degree, it sounds so bad. I said, wow. And even my own lawyers, I get very upset with them because they don't say what it is.


COLLINS: Trump has made clear how he is going to say it, capitalizing on his conviction, and folding it into his political strategy.

The Trump campaign says that since yesterday's verdict came down, in the 5 o'clock hour, they have raised nearly $53 million. I should note, CNN hasn't confirmed that number. We can't, until the FEC reports come out.

But in the meantime, the person that Trump is personally, and I should note, baselessly blaming for his prosecution, President Biden, also weighed in today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself.

It's reckless, it's dangerous, and it's irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don't like the verdict.

The justice system should be respected, and we should never allow anyone to tear it down.


COLLINS: I should note that one of the many people, Trump referred to today, during his diatribe at Trump Tower, was Michael Cohen. But he didn't do so by name, given Trump is still under a gag order tonight. Instead, Trump simply referred to him as a sleazebag.

Cohen responded, on CNN, just a short time ago.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: The days of me being in the cult, of that dumpster cult of Donald Trump is over. Right now, he wants to call me a convict? He wants to call me a felon? Guess what, pal? So are you.


COLLINS: And with that, my lead source tonight, was in the courtroom, every day, with Donald Trump throughout his trial.

CNN Political Analyst and New York Times Senior Political Correspondent, Maggie Haberman is here.

And Maggie, I was just thinking. I mean, obviously, you wrote an entire book on Trump and his biography. What is it like now, to see that this moment has happened, that he is a convicted felon, because we didn't know how the verdict was going to go, over the last several weeks.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. Although I will say being in the courtroom yesterday, once the judge came back and said the jurors had said they had reached a verdict, it was pretty clear in the room where this was likely going, particularly watching the defense table. I think they all knew.

COLLINS: Because it was so--

HABERMAN: It was--

COLLINS: --quick essentially?

[21:05:00] HABERMAN: It was under two days. And it was very unlikely that this was going to be an acquittal, just based on the volume of the evidence, and based on all sorts of testimony.

Look, this is something that Donald Trump has spent decades, trying to avoid. He has lived in this legal gray area, for a very long time. And he has played gamesmanship with prosecutors and regulators, and people who have overseen his businesses, and aspects of his public-facing life.

And he befriended prosecutors. He was very proud of his relationship with Bob Morgenthau, who was one of Alvin Bragg's predecessors.

So, this is a momentous event. Now, what it means long-term, we don't know. He could win an election. He's going to appeal this. This appeal is like, if it succeeds? I have no idea if it will, or it won't, you know? They are going to throw a lot at it. They're going to try to get it before the Supreme Court.

It will drag on for a while. It is highly unlikely that anything gets resolved before the election. So, it is likely that Trump is going to head into the election with this -- with this conviction on his record. And that just puts us into uncharted territory.

COLLINS: You've reported on him deeply. You've been there at White House briefings, on the campaign trail, obviously, in the courtroom. What was it like, to actually be sitting in there, and to see him, as he -- as he turned around and walked out, knowing what the verdict was.

HABERMAN: So, we had an obstructed view of him, while the verdict was being read. One of the sketch artists, Jane Rosenberg, relayed to us that he shook his head. I think he closed his eyes and shook his head.

When he got up, we could see his whole face, he looked as if he had been punched in the gut. I have no other way of describing it. His frown was really, really pronounced. He reached for his son Eric's hand. They clasped hands and shook very hard. And then, Eric patted his father on the back, and he walked out. But the air was just entirely still.

And I should note that there was a massive technical difficulty in the room as well, which added to some of the drama in there, where the internet kicked out, for many of us, reporters. But it was -- it was an incredibly intense moment.

COLLINS: So when, you know, we heard from people saying, he was in high spirits and ready to fight. I mean--


COLLINS: --that doesn't seem like that's what you saw.

HABERMAN: Well, it certainly wasn't what we saw in that moment.

I know that he did present that to a bunch of people. I've heard this from a bunch of people I talked to. He's doing what he often does in times of high stress, which is work the phones, pretty aggressively, and he's talking to a lot of people.

I don't think that he's exuberant and excited about this. And I understand that they're raising a ton of money off of it, and that's significant to their campaign.

But Donald Trump doesn't want to be a convicted felon. And there's no world in which he's actually happy about it.

COLLINS: Yes. And it's interesting, because Melania Trump is here. Barron Trump is here. I believe Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are also here, based on our reporting. He -- Trump went and dined with these megadonors, last night.


COLLINS: I mean, he kind of just went about his business, in the evening. It was two hours -- after two or three hours after he was convicted for the first time.

HABERMAN: Yes, he went straight to a donor dinner, with his friend, Steve Witkoff, who was with him in the courtroom, when the verdict came down, and a bunch of other folks.

And he -- this is what we have seen him do, after a number of upheavals, impeachments and election losses. And he just powers forward. And so, we will see him doing that in this campaign.

COLLINS: What did you make of today? I mean, they kind of build it as this news conference, which is always the trick, if you're a Trump--


COLLINS: --a reporter covering Trump is.


COLLINS: You never know if there's actually going to be two hours of questions, or if it's going to be--


COLLINS: --today, which was none.


COLLINS: He just turned and left.

HABERMAN: Yes, look, I think, actually, I talked to a number of people around him, who were very happy he didn't take questions, because that probably would have led to more problematic areas for him.

He, in their ideal world, he would have just kept it focused on the process. And this is unfair, in the parts of his speech where he talked about, this is about the Constitution, and they're trying to make this a much bigger fight.

But he can't help himself. And so, he attacks the judge, and he attacks Michael Cohen, and he attacks this one and that one, and he says all kinds of other things. Then, he starts talking about the January 6th House investigation, which is never a topic his advisers want him talking about.

So, it turned into a mini rally, and it was filled with grievances. And I think you will see more of that. I think we will see him publicly in some way in the next two days. He's in New Jersey, right now, at Bedminster. I expect we will see him out there in some fashion. But yes.

COLLINS: And he's also someone, who is, responds to things based on not how he actually experiences them, but the coverage and the perception of them.

HABERMAN: Correct.

COLLINS: And he was critical of his attorneys today. He said that they never say it, it is what it is. And he also talked about why he didn't ultimately take the stand.

We talked to Todd Blanche, his lead attorney here, about what was behind that decision, last night. This is what he told us.


TODD BLANCHE, DONALD TRUMP'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Of course, he wanted to testify. And I don't say that because that's what he has said. He wanted to get his story out.


I think the judge had made some decisions before the trial, or the day of the trial started, about what would be allowed to be asked of him, by the -- by the prosecutors, if he took the stand. And some of those questions were really complicated to answer, because there's still appeals going on. And so, there's a lot of -- there's a lot of decision points that go into whether somebody testifies.

Ultimately, it's his decision. And he listened to us. And he relied on our counsel. And he reached the decision that he -- that he thought was right, which I very much agreed with.


HABERMAN: Yes, I -- that was true as far as I know, from what was taking place in real-time. He did want to testify. His lawyers were concerned about it, for all of the reasons that every other lawyer, who has ever represented him, has been concerned about him testifying. He ultimately didn't.

I think there are things that Todd Blanche decidedly didn't do well, during this trial. But there were a couple of things he did do well, and one was that he got Trump, by some miracle, not to essentially self-cut during the proceedings.

He, you know, there were a couple of instances of cursing, or shaking his head, or doing something, the judge didn't like, in front of the jurors. But generally speaking, they got him not to do things like that. And those moments defined the two civil trials that he had in the past year.

So, I'm not surprised Trump didn't testify, at the end of the day. Trump absolutely could have testified, if he had wanted to. Only Trump turned this into a big thing, by insistently, repeatedly claiming he wanted to testify.

COLLINS: Well, he also complained about -- he said that there are witnesses that were exculpatory to him, essentially.


COLLINS: And that they weren't called. But I mean, the defense has the right to call.


COLLINS: They don't have the burden. But they have the right to call witnesses.

HABERMAN: Correct. They absolutely could have called Keith Schiller. They absolutely -- there are a number of people, who they could have called.

And one person, who they did call, which was a source of controversy, within Trump's world, was Bob Costello.

And Bob Costello, I don't know a single person around Trump, who actually thought that that went well, him being on the stand. Now, the reasons why, you hear various different explanations for that Costello wasn't prepped well, and that was other people's fault and so forth.

But that was a call that ended up confirming a lot of what Michael Cohen was saying, about some of the pressure. Even as Costello was denying it, he was doing it in a way that the jurors were paying very close attention during that testimony. And it seemed like a very strange choice.

I will say one other thing that Todd Blanche made very clear to you, last night, in that interview, was how much the defendant was running the strategy, on a lot of fronts, in this case. And not every single one, but a lot of them.

And when that happens, you run into things like Todd Blanche, telling the jurors that Donald Trump didn't reimburse Michael Cohen because, this was legitimate legal work. It wasn't a reimbursement.

Trump himself called it a reimbursement over and over in 2018, which the prosecutor, Josh Steinglass, in his own closing argument, was able to point to tweets about. So, I don't know how well this case ever necessarily could have gone for them, for a variety of factors. But I don't think they made it easier--


HABERMAN: --on themselves either.

COLLINS: What have you heard about Trump's concern about the sentencing? Because who knows if it's going to be jail time. We don't know what Judge Merchan's going to do.

But I mean, even if he's on probation, he's to check in with a probation officer, he could get community service. We'll talk about that coming up.


COLLINS: But is he worried about the sentencing?

HABERMAN: Yes, he doesn't want to go to jail. I mean, no matter -- no matter how much political upside he sees from it, he doesn't want to go to jail. There's no question.

COLLINS: Maggie Haberman, great reporting over the last several weeks.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

COLLINS: And always, thank you for joining us, here tonight.

Trump is of course going to learn what that punishment is soon, just about six weeks from now. It's safe to say though, it will not be this.


TRUMP: This is the crime that I committed, that I'm supposed to go to jail for, a 187 years for.


COLLINS: Our legal minds will be here next, to talk about what the actual options are.



COLLINS: Could Donald Trump be the first former U.S. President to actually go to prison? Judge Merchan has an unprecedented decision to make, six weeks from now, during that sentencing hearing that is now set for July 11.

Trump could be sent to prison with a 20-year maximum, given the counts that he was found guilty on, yesterday.

He could also be fined up to $5,000 for each of the 34 counts.

Or he could be put on probation, perhaps even with strict supervision.

Or maybe one of those nerve-racking of all of the options for a well- documented germaphobe, community service, up to 400 hours of it potentially.

Here tonight, to break down all the options.

CNN Legal Analyst, and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson.

Attorney and jury consultant, Renato Stabile.

And also, retired New York State Supreme Court Justice, who was known Judge Merchan for more than 15 years, Judge Jill Konviser.

And Joey, I mean, this is probably one of the number one questions, I got today, after this -- after this verdict, from friends was, is this actually something we could see happen?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In terms of a sentencing, go to prison?


JACKSON: Look, I think he could be sentenced to prison. And I think I'd hasten to add, for people, oh, there's nothing to see here, he's not going to go? I'd say, slow down a bit.

Now remember, there'll be a PSR, Pre-Sentence Report. And that Pre- Sentence Report will do a deep dive into his life. We know about his life. Financial conditions, status, nature of the offense, et cetera. I don't know that he'll participate, in that particular report. But we'll get that. The judge will be guided by that.

COLLINS: And so what would -- would they do it with like a Secret Service officer or?

JACKSON: Well, Secret Service is always around him, because he's a former President. He's entitled to that. And so, certainly whatever he does, that'll be the case. But I don't think he'll be a participant in that report, as others may be. Certainly, he will not address the offense.

One of the things we know that comes up is the issue of whether people accept responsibility. Obviously, he doesn't. You're calling the judge a devil. You're talking about this being a prosecution by Biden. You're talking about how it's rigged, the jury does this, et cetera. And I think that factors in, so.


And you also have to know this, Kaitlan. There are people in jail for misdemeanor offenses. Let's be clear about that. New York State, right, we have Rikers Island. So, it's a jail. And the reality is people have been sentenced for far less. And so, I don't think we can presume that it will not happen.

Last point. I know there'll also be bail pending appeal. What does that mean in English? In the event the judge does sentence him, there'll be a number of legal maneuverings, to perhaps prevent any type of sentence, until any appealable issues are resolved. If he gets elected president, it'll be delayed until after he gets out of his presidency. And we'll see what's happened then.


JACKSON: So, separate issue between a sentence, and whether it'll actually be imposed, and he'll serve it.

COLLINS: Well, and based on what he said today, Judge, I mean, he said that Judge Merchan looks like an angel, but is actually the devil. I mean, it was -- even for someone, who every single day almost has railed against this judge, outside the courtroom, it was a really striking comment.

And you know Judge Merchan. Does something like that factor into a judge's thinking, on this, the way they've acted outside the courtroom, the way they've acted inside the courtroom?

JILL KONVISER, FORMER NY STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Absolutely. In fact, this is the one time, where there aren't a lot of rules set down, by the legislature, or anyone for that matter, in terms of what a judge can do.

Sentencing is a moment, for judges, to look at the entirety of the conduct, the crime, the person, the conduct that they've had inside and outside the courtroom, and to use that in making a determination, what is an appropriate sentence here.

So, when the judge will look at a Pre-Sentence Report, or probation report, we use those terms interchangeably. If a defendant doesn't cooperate, that is something I would consider. I told you to go to probation. That's a requirement. You didn't. You didn't follow that rule. I'm going to hold that against you.

COLLINS: The other thing that I've heard mentioned, by Todd Blanche, his lead attorney, is his age. He is 77-years-old. Trump talked about that today, and was saying, well no one ever pities him for his age. And he was saying, maybe that's a good thing. But that is a factor, typically, that goes into sentencing.

And just Todd Blanche, we talked about this last night. I want you to listen to what he had to say about it.


BLANCHE: Somebody like President Trump should never, never face a jail sentence, based on this conduct. And it would just kind of confirm what we've been saying all along, and a lot of people say that we're wrong and that we're missing -- we're missing key pieces. But if other 77-year-old first-time offenders would never be sent to

prison for this conduct? (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Is that true?

RENATO STABILE, ATTORNEY & JURY CONSULTANT: Well, if you just want to look at a 77-year-old first-time offender convicted of an E felony, maybe we could have that conversation.

But he has also made comments about the judge, will show no remorse at sentencing, will not ask for forgiveness, will not show any contrition, has said that the system is rigged. So, there are a lot of factors that Todd Blanche left out in that description.

Yes, normally, you would say to the court, well, my client is 77- years-old, there's a low likelihood of recidivism, all of those things a court would take into consideration. But there are so many other factors.

I've been saying I didn't think he was going to go jail. I do think he is going to see jail time.

COLLINS: Really?

STABILE: Based on, if he keeps--


STABILE: I just think the lack of contrition. I think the lack of remorse. And I think this is a fairly serious crime. This is not falsifying a business record to save $1,000 on your taxes. This is falsifying a business record, in furtherance of manipulating an election that affected millions of people.

COLLINS: If he doesn't -- will the judge ask him if he is remorseful, at the sentencing hearing? How does that work?

KONVISER: Every defendant has a right to be heard.

So, the way it will go down is that there will be submissions. Both sides will be submitting papers, letters, documents, for the judge to review, ahead of time. And the judge will read everything that is sent to him.

And then, at that moment, in the courtroom, for the sentencing hearing, the judge will make sure everyone has seen the probation report, and then say do you want to say anything about the probation report? Do you want to say anything prior to sentence? To the People.

The People will be heard. The defense lawyer, Todd Blanche, will be heard. And then, there'll be a personal invitation, by the judge, to ask whether or not the defendant, Donald Trump, wants to be heard. And at that point--

COLLINS: And can those comments affect the sentencing?

KONVISER: Sure. Sure. Absolutely. If he were to get up and say, you know what? I shouldn't have done

this. This is something that I've been thinking about. I'm sorry I said all those terrible things. I'm sorry I demeaned pretty much every branch of government in the United States of America? Well, maybe, maybe he would look at that differently.

STABILE: Which he'll never say any of those things.


KONVISER: That's right.

STABILE: He'll stand up and say, this was rigged.

KONVISER: That's right.

COLLINS: But that's a safe prediction he will not be remorseful.

KONVISER: Safe prediction.

COLLINS: Joey, what do you -- I mean, do you agree that it's a real possibility he could see jail time?

JACKSON: I mean, I really think that that's a factor.

Now, just and thinking about this, Kaitlan, I know we've been talking about 20 years. And he said today on TV of being 187 years. This is what we call concurrent time. Not to get in the weeds, but it's involving the same transaction, the same offense.


It's an E felony, there's a four year. And so, I don't think there'll be any stacking of time. I think four years, in my view, would be the total exposure. I don't think he'll face anywhere near that.

But I think it would only be appropriate. If we're of the view that everyone should be treated equally under the law, what makes this not equal? And so, to the extent that he hasn't accepted responsibility, to the extent that he will never get up there and say, forgive me, Father, for I have sinned? I just think that there's a sentence that maybe waiting him.

COLLINS: So, you're the only judge here, tonight. If it was you, what would you do? Would you sentence him to jail?

KONVISER: I would never give an opinion about a sentence before the sentencing hearing. I would wait to read and see everything.

Sometimes, prosecutors have victims, if there are any, in this case, that are interested in coming forward. They would -- they would hear. I would hear them. I would hear the parties. And I would hear from the defendant. And it is then, and only then, would I make my decision.

In terms of stacking time, like you said, because there are so many different dates, where these alleged incidents? Well, they're not alleged. With these crimes occurred, I think that he probably could be exposed to consecutive time. I don't think he will get it. And it would, it would merge and max out at a 10 to 20.

I don't think we're talking about that. But he is facing, I would say, in real-time, 10 to 20. But I agree with you that's not something that he would get. It would be a one to three, one and a third to four years in state prison is the maximum for all intents and purposes.

JACKSON: You know, it's so refreshing, though, judge that you know that you would wait until after everyone has given their submissions.

Because as we know, before sentencing, of course, there'll be submission by the prosecutor. They'll ask, Kaitlan, what their view is of this case, and what they believe is appropriate sentence.

The defense will do likewise, and have a number of people weigh in. And hopefully, those people say something other than it's rigged, and it's false, and it shouldn't have occurred.

But it's nice to know that a judge will listen to all the remarks before sentence is imposed.

STABILE: But if I had any client--

KONVISER: I wouldn't do that (ph).

STABILE: --not named Donald Trump, acting the way he has acted, throughout this trial, and the lack of remorse, I'd be saying to that client, get ready for jail.

COLLINS: Really?


COLLINS: Not probation? Not community service?

STABILE: Just given -- given the contempt being shown for the system, and saying that that trial was rigged, all those and?

But you know what might be actually worse than jail? Would be community service, because you know what community service is in New York? It's picking up garbage in the park. It's cleaning graffiti. I mean, could you imagine if he was sentenced to five days of community service?

COLLINS: Does he have to do the community service in New York?

STABILE: Well, you can try and work something out.

JACKSON: Not necessarily.

STABILE: If the court approves it.

KONVISER: Not necessarily.

STABILE: Not necessarily. He could do private community service. He could try and rent (ph). But typically, for anybody else, for anybody sitting here, if you got sentenced to community service, you're picking up garbage in the park.


KONVISER: I would never transfer community service, in this case. I'm going to keep the reins on that ticket. I mean, as he could get probation too. And probation means you got to report to a probation officer, and tell them where you are, what are you doing? That wouldn't--

COLLINS: And that probation officer would be here, in New York?

KONVISER: Yes. And that also can be transferred. But again, I'm not transferring Mr. Trump.

COLLINS: Judge, great to have you. Renato Stabile, Joey Jackson as well. Thank you all for being here.

Meanwhile, Trump's vice presidential contenders are rushing to his defense, after that guilty verdict yesterday. Joining us next is one of those potential running mates.



COLLINS: After the verdict came down, yesterday, the leading contenders in Donald Trump's veepstakes, rushed to defend him, in a show of loyalty.


SEN. J.D. VANCE (R-OH): This was a political sham prosecution.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): The verdict and the outcome is a hoax of a trial.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I think Trump benefits from this. I think they elected him president, last night.


COLLINS: Trump spent that first night, as a convicted felon, in the company of megadonors, at a private residence, here in New York.

According to the billionaire, and the Trump ally, John Catsimatidis, the names on Trump's VP shortlist that came up at that dinner, last night, include South Carolina Senator Tim Scott that you saw there; former U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley; former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, a name we haven't really heard much in this race; and also, North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum.

And Governor Burgum is here with us now.

Governor, we've talked about you being under consideration for this before, and Donald Trump becoming president again.

Does yesterday's conviction, would that change your mind about accepting the offer as Vice President at all?

GOV. DOUG BURGUM (R-ND): Well, no, it doesn't.

But I think the whole -- the whole discussion about the veepstakes, I think, is kind of a giant distraction, because it doesn't really matter. President Trump is so strong across all demographics. He can win this election on his own. And I think that the people of this country are really focused on the issues, not on who's going to be the VP.

Because whether he is gaining in votes with Hispanic Americans, African Americans, people under 30, he's gaining in all categories. He's laid a big swing in independents coming his way, all the things he needs to sweep the country, next fall. So, I think it's important, again, just to focus on the issues.

Because right now -- and everybody's focused on the trial. You know that blocks and blocks of reporters down there. And there's a part of me, when I'm there, I'm kind of sad, because I'm like, wow, everybody's covering this. But meanwhile, out there in America, yesterday, people got up, didn't have enough money to pay for the food on their table, the gas in their car, pay their rent. And then, today, they get up, and they have the same issues.

COLLINS: Yes, I take you on that, because obviously, inflation is a major concern. We look at the numbers every day, the new numbers that just came out today.

But also, it got a lot of attention, because it was a former President. He -- they've never been on trial before, one's never been convicted of before. It was historic.

But when you mentioned the demographics, and certain voters that Trump is going forward, and trying to shore up his support with, obviously what happened yesterday fires up the Republican base. We saw the fundraising numbers that the campaign put out.


But I wonder if it helps with moderate voters, with independent voters, because the margins will matter, come 2024.

BURGUM: Well yes, and they will. And I think one thing that was really telling, when they've just released the record, over $50 million that were raised today, that some, like 30 percent of those were from donors that had never donated before, small-dollar donors.

And I think, again, when there's a part of our country that feels that this whole trial was very politicized, and that when -- and because it was political, they want to rally behind. There is a real sentiment, like, wow, if they could do this to Donald Trump, what could they do to me? And so, they want -- they want to express their support for someone who's fighting for the issues that matter to them, like the border. The border is a big issue. It's not about immigration. It's about national security. It's about public safety. It's about the spending that's going on, for people that have come into our country, illegally.


BURGUM: And all those things are on the minds of these voters.

COLLINS: Voters -- voters can have multiple concerns. Obviously, we always see that.


COLLINS: But if you're a moderate suburban woman, always a demographic that is -- that is sought after, in presidential elections, especially when we can see how much the margins will matter, potentially this fall.


COLLINS: What would you say to that person, if they're -- that voter, if they're concerned about voting for someone, who is a convicted felon?

BURGUM: Well, I think that, you know, I like to listen before I talk sometimes. And I think one of the things that has to be understood is, is what would their concerns be?

Because if they're concerned about someone, who had an alleged business filing error, from seven years ago, that somehow 34 slips of paper related to one decision became 34 felonies, I mean, through some kind of magic alchemy, that it turned into felonies?

Because I think most Americans have no idea what this case was about. I mean, the legal experts that were standing on the curb, outside, for five or six weeks, can't really explain what happened.

So, I think in the minds of most Americans, who had issues yesterday, and they have issues today, they're moving on. And by the time we get to November, they're going to make a decision about am I better off now than I was four years ago? And a lot of people are going to say, no, I'm not--


BURGUM: --I'm better off under President Trump.

COLLINS: Well, we saw -- I mean, these 12 jurors saw all that evidence, laid out about the checks, including the ones that Trump signed, in addition to the invoices. They clearly were convinced by it.

But Trump held this kind of free-range news conference, not news conference, a statement earlier today, at Trump Tower. I want you to listen to part of what he said.


TRUMP: This man was told, you're going to get 15 years in jail, if you don't give up Trump. And he was told that. You're going to get 15 years in jail. And he made a plea deal, because he didn't want to spend the rest of his life. And he was told that viciously. We're living in a -- in a fascist state.


COLLINS: What do you make of that comment that we're living in a fascist state?

BURGUM: Well, I would just say, I think a lot of Americans understand the frustration that President Trump has with this whole -- this whole process.

And I think as a -- as someone -- I spent my life in tech, as people know. But part of that -- chunk of that time was in accounting software, which I was -- it was we had hundreds of thousands of customers around the world. And that's all about, creating business documents, like invoices and vouchers and checks. I mean, that's what we did.

I have -- this, as a business guy, forget the politician. As a business guy, I've never seen a CEO of any company, dragged before a court, and charged with 34 felonies, on an alleged business filing error that happened seven years ago with even in the State of New York. That's a--


BURGUM: It's a two-year statute of limitations, so.

COLLINS: But it's not alleged because he was convicted. So, I mean they are crimes. That's what's the jury found.


COLLINS: It was a jury of his peers.

But on calling America, a fascist state, I mean, do you agree with that?

BURGUM: Well, I think that -- I think the American people that are out there, feel a little bit like this was a situation like, again, I don't want to say Soviet, but it's a, you know, you show me the -- you show me the person, and I'll show you the crime.

Because this was a little bit of we're going to start this trial, and we're not even going to identify what the crime is. And then 55 pages of jury instructions that were super broad and they didn't even have to agree on what the crime was. So I think that there are people--

COLLINS: But Trump's team had a say on those jury instructions. I mean, the crime was falsifying business records. It wasn't--

BURGUM: Right. But then--

COLLINS: --undefined.

BURGUM: But it'd be, again, I have not heard anyone explain how a false -- if there was a falsified -- and they will appeal, of course, but a falsified business record, from seven years ago, that had a two- year statute of limitations somehow becomes a felony? I'm not sure how that happens, unless you're trying to connect it to federal election law.

And federal election law doesn't fall in the jurisdiction of the County of New York--

COLLINS: But I think--

BURGUM: --which is just Manhattan. It's this, the single county of Manhattan.

COLLINS: I just keep going -- I remember when you were running, in the Republican race, for the primary race, and you were talking about only in America, can this happen and extolling the virtues of the United States.


And if you don't like the outcome of this case? I think there's certainly a lot of Republicans, who don't. That's not surprising. But Trump was able to put on a defense. His attorneys had a say. I was there in the room. It was 12 jurors, who made the decision here. So, that's just how the U.S. justice system works.


COLLINS: And to call it a fascist state because of that?

BURGUM: Yes, but it was--

COLLINS: It seems--

BURGUM: --it was also 12 jurors--

COLLINS: --too far.

BURGUM: --in the County of Manhattan, is 10 to one registered Democrats to Republicans. That's the jury pool. And I think that people just say, wow, how does a person get a fair trial, when you -- when this is really about politics, and not really about business filing.

Because if it was really about business filing, the courts in New York would be filled with CEOs, for six-week-long cases on 7-year-old business filing cases, because somebody in the accounting department called a legal expense, a legal expense. So, I think just the commonsense American people are like, this was

about politics. This isn't some horrific thing that happened. There's going to be an appeal. It likely is going to get overturned. OK. Let's go back. Inflation, the borders, wars overseas, China. I mean, during this trial, Iran launched 320 missiles at Israel, and it barely got covered. That was a--

COLLINS: No that got -- OK. That got a lot of coverage. Of course. And Donald Trump's not president. President Biden is president.

BURGUM: Right.

COLLINS: And I remember--

BURGUM: It was--

COLLINS: --CNN covered that extensively.

BURGUM: Well--

COLLINS: So, I don't think you could say it didn't get covered.

BURGUM: Well, it was -- came and gone, in a 24-, 48-hour news cycle. And now, this new cycle lasts for six weeks?

So I mean, relatively, which is more important to the future of the world? Us moving towards World War III? Or a business filing case, records case that's under appeal from seven years ago? I would argue that it's the global thing that a state that's funding terrorism, like Iran--


BURGUM: --is a bigger issue for our country.

COLLINS: Certainly both important and historic issues.

Governor Burgum, thank you for coming on tonight.

BURGUM: Great. Thank you.

COLLINS: Up next, my guest says for 20 years, he could not say what he saw Donald Trump do, on the set of "The Apprentice," but now he can, because he says his NDA has expired. His claims are explosive. He says there are tapes to prove it.

He'll join me, right after this.



COLLINS: It was Donald Trump's own words, on the infamous Access Hollywood tape that in part prompted the payments, the reimbursements, the cover-up that ultimately led to the conviction on felony charges, yesterday. And my next says -- next source says that there are more tapes. The day that that Access Hollywood story broke, the former "Apprentice" Producer, Bill Pruitt, tweeted, quote, "I assure you, when it comes to the" Trump tapes, "there are far worse."

Hope Hicks, the former White House aide, even testified, during this hearing, during this trial, that the fear of more tapes actually sent the Trump campaign into full-panic mode, after the Access Hollywood tape came out.

But at the time, Pruitt says he was prevented from saying more because of a non-disclosure agreement that he had signed. It's a practice that Trump talked about, just today, as the defense for the actions that led to those 34 guilty counts.


TRUMP: It's called a non-disclosure agreement. And most of the people in this room have a non-disclosure agreement with their company. It's a disgrace. So, it's not hush money. It's a non-disclosure agreement. Totally legal. Totally common. Everyone has it.


COLLINS: It is totally legal. But it's safe to say that most people do not have one. Bill Pruitt did. He says that that 20-year NDA has now expired.

And in a piece, for Slate, he describes the former President's behavior, while filming seasons one and two of "The Apprentice."

He also described the challenge of trying to make Trump look like a New York tycoon, a confident one, writing, "Without a doubt, the hardest decisions we faced in postproduction were how to edit together sequences involving Trump. We needed him to sound sharp, dignified, and clear on what he was looking for and not as if he was yelling at people."

To millions of future voters, that ended up looking like this.


TRUMP: My name is Donald Trump. And I'm the largest developer in New York. I even have a television show.

I thrive on energy.

This isn't a game. I'm not playing games.

Who will succeed? Who will fail? And who will be the Apprentice?


COLLINS: But when it came to a discussion of who would be declared the winner of season one, Pruitt says that Donald Trump was recorded using the N-word, a word that Trump himself once insisted is not even in his vocabulary.

CNN has not verified the tape's existence.

And I should note that Trump's campaign flatly denied these claims, made by Pruitt, telling CNN, quote, "This is a completely fabricated and" BS "story that was already peddled in 2016. Nobody took it seriously then, and they won't now, because it's fake news."

Bill Pruitt joins me now, for his first television interview, since making these accusations, in that Slate piece.

And Bill, it's great to have you here.

I want to talk about the NDA and the limits of it in a moment.

But first, on that explosive allegation, in this, can you just describe for viewers, what you say you saw happened and what you heard from Donald Trump?


First of all, "The Apprentice," which is 20-years-old now, when it debuted, is a FCC-regulated game show. That means that the Federal Communications Commission regulated whether or not we could tell Trump who to fire and who to -- who to hire, OK?


And in that, we had to strategically find a way, to consult with this guy. He's very busy at the time. He's a quote-unquote "Billionaire." On how we would go about telling the story in the boardroom.

So, our show-runner wisely decided that we would record all of our conversations with Trump, about what happened in the field, whether it was with the two finalists, or all the other contestants appearing before him in the boardroom.

We went about telling him the pluses and minuses of each character, in very balanced sort of way. We recorded all of these things. Kwame Jackson was known to do this. Bill Rancic would do that.

And we share that with him in equitable terms, because we want it to feel like a horse race. We want these two people to seem like they're going to outmatch one another, all the way through to the finish line. And it'll be basically eeny, meeny, miny, moe.


PRUITT: And then Trump will make his decision on who he hires.

COLLINS: And so then, you say it was in that discussion, between those two contestants, that you heard Trump say the N-word.

PRUITT: So basically, we're there, the producers, and Carolyn Kepcher, and George Ross, who are the two advisers, who worked for Trump at the Trump Organization. And they're allowed a little bit more leeway because they worked for Trump. So, they get to say things that we can't say necessarily, directly.

And at one point, Carolyn Kepcher, who was the head of his hospitality unit, and ran one of his golf clubs, sort of came outside herself, and said, Kwame Jackson oversaw Omarosa, who was brought back on to the task, and created all kinds of problems for herself, and other people, all along the season, but was great TV, and was kept around for whatever reason.

And for that, Carolyn Kepcher thought, well, Kwame deserves to be considered for how graceful he was, in handling this. And we all sort of agreed. But it was tilting things in a direction that we didn't necessarily need it to go, because we wanted to share an equitable story.

And Trump seemed to have an issue with this idea all along. You could see him reacting and shaking his head, wobbling his head, grimacing, wincing, before he said, you have it -- would America buy, and then he said the N-word, winning?

And I remember, I was looking right at Carolyn, when this was spoken. And she is a very pretty blonde woman, whose skin went bright-scarlet.

And then I looked at Trump to see the reaction that he was giving, like, it was some sort of joke, and he was still wincing, and bobbing his head. And he was serious. And--


PRUITT: --it was then and there that I.

COLLINS: And you -- you write that you couldn't talk about this--


COLLINS: --because of the NDA that you were under. And it was a 20- year NDA?

PRUITT: Well let's talk about the NDA for a second.

In my business, it can be 20 minutes, and it's still religious, because you're held to this agreement for very strict principles, in reality TV. We're like magicians. We don't reveal our secrets to anyone. So, for me to come out and say what I'm saying to you is tantamount to career suicide, OK? I'm going to get blacklisted because of this. But I don't care.

I tried, when in 2016, I tweeted to people to go and look for these tapes. I know that they existed, because we recorded those meetings. We recorded that moment there. It's somewhere on a tape, on a file.

And I'm here to tell you that doesn't matter. I have five Emmy Awards, four Producers Guild nominations. None of that matters. I will lose my career, if I break an NDA or come forward with how this stuff gets done.

COLLINS: Right. But-- PRUITT: And I've done so in this article, just so I can share to people, how we managed to con them each time.

COLLINS: Well and the article is, everyone should read it. It's incredibly interesting.

But on the tape itself, I mean, do you know if this tape still exist?

PRUITT: I don't know.

So here's what happens is we in production, record. And at that time, we were recording on videotape, taking the cassettes, putting them into a big digitizing center, digitizing the material onto hard drives, and sending it back to Los Angeles.

Once L.A. received the material, and said it all looks good, we can edit this together, we erased all of the original videotapes. And that's for the production content.

But these recordings, I'll call them, not really actually technically tapes, were recorded on to discs, or on to hard drives themselves specifically, and for the FCC regulation, and put aside.


PRUITT: I don't know what happened to them. I don't -- wouldn't be surprised if in the event of all of this hearing that they were quickly dispatched elsewhere.


COLLINS: I mean, Bill Pruitt, it's a remarkable story. And thank you for writing it, and for joining us to talk about it. I appreciate you.

PRUITT: My pleasure.

COLLINS: And then, in the next hour, that former "Apprentice" contestant that Bill just mentioned there, Kwame Jackson, he's going to join Abby Phillip, here on CNN.

We'll be back in a moment.


COLLINS: Before we go tonight, a remembrance of the Obama family matriarch, because Michelle Obama announced that her mother, Marian Robinson, has died this morning at the age of 86.


The former first lady described her mom as the family's rock, talked about her time inside the White House, living with them, while he was president. And tonight, the Obamas say that they are comforted by the understanding that she has returned to the embrace of her loving husband, Fraser.

Our thoughts are with all of them, tonight.

Thank you so much, for joining us, to cap off this busy week.