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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Fauci: "Level Of Vitriol" At Today's Hearing Unfortunate; Biden Slams "Convicted Felon" Trump At Fundraiser; Trump Asks Justices To Intervene In Hush Money Conviction. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 03, 2024 - 21:00   ET



HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: He is one of the best performers, I have ever seen, live. I gave him a few instructions for this video.


ENTEN: I thought of it, last Friday. I just thought what is the thing that can make Anderson Cooper smile the smile that he loves to smile, giggle the giggle that he loves to giggle.

COOPER: Yes. I love it. Thank you.

ENTEN: I think that we did pretty gosh darn good.

COOPER: You did.

ENTEN: So, I just want to thank you Uncle Neil. What a wonderful?

COOPER: Neil Sedaka.

ENTEN: Honestly.


COOPER: Thank you. Neil Sedaka. Amazing.

ENTEN: Happy birthday, my friend.

COOPER: Thank you very much, Harry. Thank you, everyone. Appreciate it.

The news continues, thankfully. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now. I'll see you, tomorrow.


Dr. Anthony Fauci is here, fresh off a contentious hearing before Congress, an off-the-rails circus, really, where one Republican told him, he belongs in prison for crimes against humanity. He'll respond live, in moments.

Also, the sitting President's son is now on trial. And we now have a jury that will decide Hunter Biden's fate. A gun purchase and an addiction to drugs is at the center of this case. But it could very well turn into a soap opera. Wait till you hear who's on the potential witness list.

And Donald Trump's latest plea, as he is facing the potential of prison, in just a few weeks from now, when that sentencing hearing happens, he's now calling on the Supreme Court to step in. While President Biden, for the first time, is calling Trump, a convicted felon.

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

He's either a hero, or a villain, depending on who you ask, in an era of extreme division and hyper partisanship.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who became the face of America's response to the COVID pandemic, went before Congress, today, for the first time since retiring from government service, two years ago, for perhaps his final showdown with Republicans over mask mandates, vaccine guidelines, and the origins of COVID-19.

Things quickly went from tense to emotional to chaotic.

Exhibit A, Georgia congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Do you represent science, Mr. Fauci?

Yes or no?


TAYLOR GREENE: Yes, it's a yes or no.

But this is science.

FAUCI: What does dogs have to do with anything that we're talking about today?

TAYLOR GREENE: These are -- these are scientific experiments.

You're not a doctor. You're Mr. Fauci in my few minutes.

He belongs in prison.

REP. BRAD WENSTRUP (R-OH): Gentlelady suspend.

I've instructed her to address him as Doctor. Gentlelady, I'm talking to you (ph).

TAYLOR GREENE: I'm not addressing him as doctor.

REP. KWEISI MFUME (D-MD): Is this what we have become? Is this what we have devolved into?

TAYLOR GREENE: We should be writing a criminal referral, because you should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. You belong in prison, Dr. Fauci.


COLLINS: "Prosecuted for crimes against humanity."

Of course, whether you agree with Dr. Fauci or not, he has served his country for more than half a century in public service. He was the nation's top infectious disease expert. He's advised seven U.S. presidents, from both parties. And of course, he famously worked on the federal response to AIDS, but also Ebola, the Zika virus, anthrax scares, and also, as we all know, COVID.

There should be questions about what happened, given more than a million Americans died during the Pandemic. And there are. What could have been done differently? How could we as a country have saved more lives? Public officials should be held to account. We can all agree to that. But fact-finding can and should be done with some level of decency.

Dr. Fauci and his family are still receiving death threats, meaning they still require a security, even to this day.


FAUCI: There have been credible death threats leading to the arrests of two individuals. And credible death threats means someone who clearly was on their way to kill me.

It is much more troublesome because they've involved my wife and my three daughters.

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): At these moments, how do you feel?

FAUCI: Terrible.

DINGELL: Keep your mic on.

FAUCI: Terrible.


COLLINS: And my source tonight is Dr. Anthony Fauci himself.

And Dr. Fauci, it's great to have you on tonight.

I mean, it was a remarkable day, on Capitol Hill. And obviously, you're not a stranger to testifying before Congress, or even pretty contentious hearings. But I just wonder how today compares to the other times that you've been up on Capitol Hill, testifying before lawmakers?

FAUCI: Well, I as you know, Kaitlan -- thank you for having me. I have testified literally hundreds of times, over the last 40 years over Congress. And there's always been differences of opinion, differences of ideology, criticisms and things like that.

But the level of vitriol that we see now, just in the country in general, but actually played out during this hearing, was really quite unfortunate.


Because the purpose of hearings, are to try and figure out how we can do better, so that next time, if and when we are faced with a pandemic, we'd be better-prepared and we could benefit. If mistakes were made, we identify them, and we try to correct them for the future.

That's not what we saw today, as shown by the clip you showed, with Marjorie Taylor Greene. I mean, that was nothing about trying to do better, unfortunately.

COLLINS: Well, and you testified there at the end about the threats that you and your family are still getting, even to this day. And for those, who don't know, that was -- that was your wife, Christine, who is esteemed in her own right, sitting behind you there.

And I just wonder if you ever thought that that you would still be getting threats like that, credible threats against your life, even now, two years out of government service?

FAUCI: It's very interesting. It's a patent -- pattern, Kaitlan, that whenever somebody gets up, whether it's a news media, you know, Fox News does it a lot, or it's somebody in the Congress, who gets up and makes a public statement, that I'm responsible for the deaths of X number of people, because of policies, or some crazy idea that I created the virus? Immediately, you could see like clockwork, the death threats go way up.

So, that's the reason why I'm still getting death threats, when you have performances, like that unusual performance by Marjorie Taylor Greene, in today's hearing. Those are the kind of things that drive up the death threats, because there are a segment of the population out there that believe that kind of nonsense.

COLLINS: Were you aware that sitting behind you today -- you -- we have him highlighted, right now, on the screen.

But that person, that's Brandon Fellows. He's actually January 6th defendant, who was removed from the hearing later on. And as he was leaving, I don't know if you could hear him, but we heard him on camera shouting, that he believed also that you belong in prison.

Did you hear that?

FAUCI: I didn't hear it. But it was brought to my attention before. And there was also someone behind me. I don't know if it was the same person, who was identified, as someone who just got out of jail for being arrested for the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Now, what's somebody like that doing at a hearing about COVID?

COLLINS: Yes, I mean, it was -- it was remarkable, just to see who was in that room today, and to hear what they were, how they were responding to it.

And obviously, that hearing room was not the haven for what it was supposed to be, about, the genuine dialog about how the government handled COVID-19, how to be better-prepared for the next inevitable pandemic. And so, I do want to ask you about that tonight.

And I do wonder do you still believe that the evidence that you've seen, does point to COVID originating from animals, as opposed to by humans in a lab?

FAUCI: Kaitlan, as I said, at the hearing, and then the transcribed interview, you have to keep an open mind, since there is no definitive proof one way or the other. It's one or the other.

When I look at the scientific evidence, I don't see any evidence that's concrete at all, that it's a lab leak, even though a lot of people talk about it. I still think it's a possibility. But I haven't seen any evidence, where there is reasonably good evidence, not definitive, that is suggestive, strongly suggestive that it came from a natural reservoir of an animal, jumping into humans.

Having said that, I repeat, I still keep an open mind, because the definitive proof is not there. But in my mind, it weighs more heavily of one than the other.

COLLINS: Well, and obviously, a huge issue with this was a lack of accountability, in working with the Chinese government on this. I mean, they were evading attempts, to try to figure out what happened here.

And given that, you testified today, you said that neither you nor anyone can account for everything that happens inside of China.

But I wonder what that means for American research dollars that go there. And whether you think that means none of them should be sent there that they should try to limit them. How should that happen going forward?

FAUCI: Kaitlan, if you look at the history, going back decades, of collaborations with Chinese scientists. We're not talking about Chinese officials. We're talking about Chinese scientists, who have collaborated with the European Union, with the United States, with Canada, with Australia. A lot of very good important science that has contributed to global health has come from collaborations with the Chinese.


Now, obviously, because of the tension that's gone on right now, that's changed a bit. And I hope it gets back to normality, where there can be mutual benefit of interlap or international collaboration, among scientists, the way it's been for decades. This is just very recent, this degree of tension that we're seeing.


The other thing that came up today is -- was focused on the U.S., and how a deputy of yours out at the NIH bragged about evading federal records laws and deleting emails to where they couldn't be produced to reporters, and members of the public, who were requesting them.

And you talked about this. But what changes do you believe the NIH should make, to ensure that these Open Records Request, which we believe are fundamentally important, are not purposefully obstructed by officials?

FAUCI: Yes. Well, first of all, Kaitlan, let me say that the individual, who did that was wrong. That is un-excusable and inappropriate. And that is not the way things go with the NIH. That is an outlier, and not typical at all of the hundreds, if not thousands, of very hard-working committed people, at the National Institutes of Health.

So, I hope that the public and the audience doesn't rely -- or doesn't come to the conclusion, if I might say, that one single person, who did something that is totally unacceptable, and very inappropriate, that that is reflective of the thousands of people, who are doing their job, and are committed to the health of this country.

COLLINS: And so, what should be done differently? I mean, because there is a concern that people see that. And you say it was an outlier. But there's a concern that it does diminish trust, and really, in public health, overall, obviously, at a time when it's needed the most.

FAUCI: Well, I'm not sure what you can do, Kaitlan. It is not appropriate, and it's in fact illegal and a violation of regulations, to mess with public records that are official business records. And that was done. And that's unfortunate. But that happens, when one person does something that's inappropriate and wrong.

Like I said, I'm not sure what kind of correction we're talking about, except to say that that is by no means typical of the conduct of the large, large numbers of people, who work at the NIH.

COLLINS: Yes. And overall, I mean, the -- what I think people would like to walk away from a hearing, like today, is to see bipartisanship, given scientists do say it's inevitable that we'll see another pandemic, depending on when that is.

And from where you sit right now, as a country, are we prepared to deal with another pandemic, in your view?

FAUCI: I think we have a ways to go. I mean, I think we've made some missteps along the way. I think there's some systemic issues that need to be addressed.

I mentioned it at the hearing today, that our association and connectivity, between the local public health issues, and the central CDC and other public health issues, there isn't the kind of real-time connectivity. The CDC is aware of that. And they're trying to correct that.

And I think the kinds of things we saw was a weakness, at the Public Health implementation, we did extremely well, from the scientific standpoint. The investment of decades of research, led to a vaccine in 11 months, which is unprecedented in the history of vaccinology that has resulted in the saving of millions of lives.

So, when it comes to the science, we did well. We've got to do better at the public health level.

COLLINS: Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you for your time, tonight.

FAUCI: Good to be with you. Thank you for having me, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, another historic trial is underway right now. This time, it's for President Biden's son, Hunter. How this gun-related case could get very personal.

And also, tonight, how Donald Trump is now pleading with the Supreme Court, to intervene in his historic convention, and the likelihood of that happening.



COLLINS: Tonight, a jury has been seated, in the first ever criminal trial of a sitting President's child. What's to follow in the trial of Hunter Biden will be both mundane and, at the same time, deeply personal, and potentially deeply embarrassing for the defendant.

The legal question that the jury is going to decide is pretty simple. Did he lie about his drug use, when he bought a gun in 2018?

But if you want to know how messy this could get, look no further than the witness list. Prosecutors could call one, Hunter Biden's ex-wife, and his former romantic partner, Hallie Biden, who is also the widow of his late Brother, Beau Biden.

Even the question of where the gun, at the center of this case is, involves depression, drug addiction and dumpster-diving.

We know that Hunter Biden bought this gun in October 2018. 11 days later, it ended up in the trash. That's because Hallie Biden found this gun, in Hunter Biden's truck, put it in a shopping bag, drove it to a grocery store, and threw it away.

That's all according to police records, which then go on to describe a series of angry text messages, between Hallie and Hunter Biden. Then, a call to the police, and reports that the gun was stolen. It turned out that a man, who was rummaging through the trash cans actually found the gun, after Hallie Biden had thrown it away there.

Several years and one collapsed plea deal later, here we are tonight, on the brink of this historic trial.


My legal sources, tonight, are defense attorney and jury consultant, Renato Stabile; as well as CNN Legal Analyst, and former federal prosecutor, Jennifer Rodgers.

And Renato, today was all about settling on this jury. And we saw some people getting pushed out, because they either played squash with Beau Biden, or they had other kinds of connections. We're learning more about the jurors, right now.

And I wonder what you -- when you look at this group of 12 individuals, and four alternates, what stands out to you?

RENATO STABILE, JURY CONSULTANT & ATTORNEY: Yes, look, a lot of people that have familiarity with addiction, whether in their own family, or close loved ones, a number of gun owners. Those things, I think the defense, if the defense kept them honest, thinking, well, they might be able to relate to some of the issues that Hunter Biden was dealing with. And that's true.

But I think a lot of the gun owners, who have familiarity with that will say, well, I filled out the application. It's pretty simple. I didn't lie, I didn't make mistakes. So, that could backfire against them.

But keep in mind. The parties got the juror list, last week. So, it wasn't like this was all new information, today. They've had about four or five days, four days, probably, to research the jurors.

There's probably a little bit more going on behind-the-scenes, again, that once again, because it's this, high-profile case, we don't know the names of the jurors. But I think there's more than meets the eye here.

COLLINS: Yes. And, I mean, we look at juror number four, for example, to Renato's point, of a lot of these jurors were connected to the issues that are at the heart of this case.

And juror number four, it's a woman who, when she was asked about her views on drugs and gun ownership, she said that people who smoke weed should be allowed to own firearms, saying, it's not as bad as drugs like heroin. That was the quote from juror number four. She talked about how her father and brother own guns.

Then we have others, who talk about, you know, a guy, who said that he has a license to carry a concealed firearm. He has three pistols. He said he believes the Second Amendment is very important, and that every law-abiding citizen that follows the law should be able to have their Second Amendment.

I mean, this is a very interesting jury pool that's going to be considering these major questions.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, prosecutors tend to want law-abiding people, right, people who follow the law, because you want them to listen to the judge's instructions. You want them to be the sort who just would never break the law themselves.

But it's just it's very tough here, because these conservative people, who are all in for the Second Amendment, right, want -- anyone, for any reason can have a gun, there shouldn't be any restrictions whatsoever. Those are going to tend to be your more right-wing people, who might not like Hunter Biden.

So, it's kind of a little bit of cross purposes here. It's hard to predict what the jury will do with this case.

STABILE: Yes, this was a very, I think, a very, very tough jury selection, for that reason. Now, keep in mind, Delaware probably is, let's call it 80 percent -- or no -- probably 60 percent Democrat, 20 percent Republican. It gets more red as you go down the state.

Wilmington draws from the entire state. So, there are some people that have to drive a 100 miles, to get to the courthouse.


STABILE: And the court will typically, in those situations, put them up in a hotel, to keep them on. But it's a very mixed bag.

COLLINS: Yes. And obviously, this trial is expected to be much shorter than the one we just covered that was six weeks.

But I wonder, OK, so if you're the defense, if you're Hunter Biden's attorneys, and you're looking at juror number one. She says that she has a sister, who's a recovering drug addict, who served time in Delaware State Prison, for convictions on drug offenses and credit card fraud. She talked about her sister being clean.

That's a profile that they're looking at, because this is something they've emphasized here, which is what Hunter Biden himself has been pretty frank about, which is his own past addiction and issues.

STABILE: Yes, well, they want people that are going to understand that, understand his mindset, understand how he might have thought he was through his addiction.

But remember, the question wasn't just addiction. The question was, are you a user or an addict? I mean, I think the government's going to be focusing on the user portion.

But let me just say one other thing. It is jury de-selection. So, these are the jurors we have. But they really weren't picked. It's really that you got rid of people, who are probably much worse.

COLLINS: That's fascinating because -- I mean, it's, we all know so much as a broader public. Obviously, this is your job.

But to learn too much about how this jury selection works, it just kind of seems similar to me, actually, to the Trump jury selection, where there were some people coming in, who had strong opinions of President Biden that were dismissed from the jury.

And it reminded me of what Todd Blanche was saying, last week, talking about a lot of the jurors left, when they were asked if they had strong opinions, about former President Trump.

RODGERS: Yes, I mean, obviously, no one's as famous as Donald Trump. And everyone in the world knows who he is.

But in Delaware, the Bidens are famous, right? Everybody knows the family. Joe Biden has been an elected official there, since 1971, or something. So, it's not the same as the Trump situation. But in Delaware, pretty much everyone knows who they are, and is likely to have opinions, even if it's only based on just they're Democrats and I'm a Republican, or I'm a Democrat. So, I like them.

COLLINS: We've talked to Abbe Lowell, Biden -- Hunter Biden's attorney. I just want to play a quick sound bite of something he said to me, in his last interview, here on THE SOURCE.



ABBE LOWELL, HUNTER BIDEN'S ATTORNEY: You have the former President trying to use Hunter Biden as a way to excuse his own conduct. And at some point, that could pierce -- the noise could actually be so noisy that it gets in the way of the facts and the law. I am confident that a responsible prosecutor would not let that happen. And we'll just have to wait and see.


COLLINS: Will they have trouble defending this, given Hunter Biden nearly took a plea deal, and also has written about this in his book. That was where a lot of this came from. He acknowledged that he was taking drugs, at the time of this -- as he bought this gun.

STABILE: Well look, Abbe Lowell is the real deal. He is a great criminal defense attorney. He pulls off some miracles. I think he has a very tough road ahead of him with this case. But we'll see.

I think probably, if I were doing this jury selection, again, I would probably focus on the politics, coming right off the heels of Donald Trump. I'd be looking at the hardcore Republicans on the defense, trying to get rid of them.

COLLINS: Renato Stabile, Jennifer Rodgers, obviously, we have several weeks of this to go. And we will be watching it all and covering it all very closely.

Up next, speaking of the President, there are some searing words from him, tonight, about his predecessor, and also his upcoming challenger, two words in particular that we have not heard from President Biden. "Convicted felon."


COLLINS: Breaking tonight, President Biden is sharpening his attacks, against former President Donald Trump, calling him what he now is, a convicted felon.

This was behind closed doors, tonight, at a fundraiser, in Connecticut, where the President told donors, in the -- the 2024 campaign as entering, what he described as uncharted territory, saying, and I'm quoting President Biden now, "For the first time in American history, a former president that is a convicted felon is now seeking the office of the Presidency. But as disturbing as that is, more damaging is the all-out assault that Donald Trump is making on the American system of justice... This isn't the same Trump who got elected in 2016," Biden said. "He's worse."

My source on this tonight is the Principal Deputy Campaign Manager for the 2024 Biden campaign, Quentin Fulks.

And Quentin, it's great to have you on.

Obviously, quite strong statements for President Biden to make there. We had heard him weigh in on this, last week. But certainly stronger, tonight. I think one question is why make them in private? Why not say it, publicly, on camera, for all the voters to hear?

QUENTIN FULKS, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BIDEN-HARRIS 2024 CAMPAIGN: Look, I don't think the semantics are important here. I think what's important is that the American people know that somebody, who is the Republican nominee for President of the United States, is a convicted felon.

And I think we see the split-screen of President Biden, on the world stage, the global stage, the domestic stage, trying to deliver for Americans. And Donald Trump railing against democracy, railing against the judicial system, continuing to double down on calls for political violence and extremism.

And so, our campaign is going to continue to stay focused and make sure we're highlighting that contrast, in full display, for American voters.

COLLINS: Well, and one thing every campaign pays close attention to is the bottom line, obviously. And what we heard from the Trump campaign, tonight, is they say they're basically raising a lot of money off his new title.

FULKS: Right.

COLLINS: They say that they raised a combined $141 million, with the Republican National Committee, in May. That would match what President Biden and Democrats raised in March and April combined. I wonder if that worries you.

FULKS: Look, we'll see if they in fact, raise that money, when they have to file their financial disclosures, in mid-next-month or mid- this-month, I should say.

But what's important is not the money that you're raising. What's important is what you do with it, which is why our campaign, for months, has been spending the resources that Americans, across this country, are donating to our campaign, making sure that we're investing it on the ground, to make calls to voters, send texts, knock on doors, have a presence in the communities, where they are, and talk to them about the issues that matter most.

While Trump, on the other hand, is spending all of those resources, to the extent that he does have them, on his legal fees. And so, again, Donald Trump is not in this campaign for the American public. Donald Trump is in this campaign for himself, revenge and retribution, and to continue to double down on calls for political violence.

And so, we're going to continue to make sure that we're building out the apparatus, from a campaign standpoint, that we know we're going to need, to make sure we're talking to those voters in critical battleground states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, et cetera, to make sure that we are in a position to get to 270 electoral votes. And that's where our focus is.

COLLINS: Speaking of the campaign, obviously, a major issue, for voters, both parties, is immigration.

And President Biden, tomorrow, we are told by sources, is going to sign this new executive order that would basically shut down the southern U.S. border to asylum-seekers, once there's a threshold of crossings at 2,500, an average of that, and once that's exceeded.

And of course, some people tell you, well, remembering what President Biden said, as a candidate, about Donald Trump, for doing something quite similar. This is what he said in 2020.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is the first president in the history of the United States of America that anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country. That's never happened before in America.

You come to the United States and you make your case that, I seek asylum based on the following -- on the following premise, why I deserve it, under American law. They're sitting in squalor on the other side of the river.


COLLINS: What do you say to voters, who look at where President Biden was in 2020, and where he is now on the cusp of signing this executive order?

FULKS: Well, look, what I would say to voters is that there's no comparison, in the way that President Biden approaches immigration policy, and former President Trump.


When Trump was president, he was putting kids in cages. We are still working to honestly reunite families that Trump separated, because of his immigration policies. I don't think that there is any comparison at all, in what we're talking about.

And in fact, President Biden has spent every single day, while in the Oval Office, working on both sides of the aisles, to bring leaders together from the Republican and the Democratic Party, to get comprehensive immigration reform done. And when he had a deal, Donald Trump called Speaker Johnson, and told him to kill it, because he didn't want President Biden to, quote, get a political win.

We see Donald Trump continuing to stay in this race only for himself. He is not interested in solving problems like immigration in America. He is only interested in making sure that he scores political points, and doing whatever he can, to get his way. He thinks he's above the law. And that's who Donald Trump is.

So, I would say to those voters that there is simply no comparison, to Donald Trump's approach, to immigration policy, and that of President Biden's.

COLLINS: Well, and what you're referencing there, it'll be familiar to people at home, because this was that attempt at a bipartisan immigration bill that happened, on Capitol Hill, back in February, and what he's signing tomorrow, was initially a core part of that legislation. Obviously, it failed, after President Trump told people not to vote for it.

But when this was initially under consideration, we heard from Democrats including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said, in part, "Doing Trump impressions isn't how we beat Trump."

Are you prepared for pushback, from liberals, from progressive voters, if this executive order comes to fruition tomorrow?

FULKS: Well, I don't think that this is a Trump impression. I think President Biden is leading. And that is never something that Donald Trump even considered, during his time, in the White House.

But what I can say is that President Biden is approaching this from Commander-in-Chief, and one of those jobs is to secure the border. And that's exactly what President Biden is doing here.

COLLINS: I mean, do you but -- as a campaign manager, or a campaign official, how do you see it in the sense of, it is a different message, from what we heard in 2020. And I think a lot of people would sit at home and say, it's just a sign of how the politics, on this issue, have shifted, in a real way. I mean, is that how you see it?

FULKS: No. And I don't think it's important how I see it. I think it's important how President Biden sees it, as the President of the United States. And I think President Biden is doing what he needs to do, in order to secure the border. And that's what I think we'll -- you can expect to hear from him, tomorrow, perhaps. COLLINS: Yes, we know it's top of mind for a lot of voters.

Quentin Fulks, thanks for your time, tonight.

FULKS: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Up next, Trump says he is quote, OK with jail time, and is now turning to the Supreme Court, question mark, to step in. We'll tell you what he's asking for, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: Donald Trump is now wanting the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his sentencing, here in New York. He is hoping that the justices will do something, before a New York judge decides his fate, in just a matter of weeks from now, which we all know is happening days before he becomes his Party's official nominee.

Trump made his plea, to the justices, by falsely claiming that he'll be sentenced for, quote, "Not having done anything wrong." He claimed that the judge, in this case, is "HIGHLY CONFLICTED," in all caps, and that Judge Juan Merchan will "Determine the future of our Nation." He also wrote that means "The United States Supreme Court MUST DECIDE."

Well, decide what?

My legal sources join me now.

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, David Kelley.

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

Judge, is there any basis for the Supreme Court to get involved here?

JILL KONVISER, RETIRED JUDGE: None. Not at this moment. Absolutely none.

The Supreme Court cannot look at this case, until all of the state appeals processes have ended. We are not even there. He hasn't even filed his appeal.

It has to go to the intermediate appellate court, which is in the First Department, the First Department Appellate Division. From there, it's not automatically going to our high court, the Court of Appeals. They can take cases as they see them.

The Appellate division can look at questions of law. They can look at questions of fact. They can decide whether or not there was enough evidence for the case to have gone forward. The Court of Appeals cannot. They can only look at constitutional questions.

If they look at a constitutional question, and take the appeal? I don't even know that there is a constitutional question. But if there is, the only way the United States Supreme Court can get it after the Court of Appeals reviews it, is if it is a matter of federal constitutional law, which is rare in a state case. So, I don't see it.

COLLINS: So, what's the likelihood here?

KONVISER: I don't think there's a likelihood at all. There is--

COLLINS: Any chance?

KONVISER: There's always a chance, right? And we have an interesting Supreme Court. So, there's always a chance. There's powerful people involved.

But in terms of the mechanism that exists in state law, and federal law, right now, unless there is a clear violation of federal constitutional law, which no one seems to have been able to articulate, most notably, the defendant. Without that, it doesn't get to the Supreme Court.

COLLINS: I mean, what did you make of this? I guess, we should have all known, it was going to end up in this place. But what did you make of this?

DAVID KELLEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: What I made of it is this that all the arguments to be made, for getting to the Supreme Court are very cool Republican talking points.

But they have no basis in law. And they certainly have no basis in fact. As the Judge has pointed out, they have no -- there's no procedural mechanism, to get those arguments between -- before the Supreme Court, particularly now.


What they do tell you about, if I'm Judge Merchan, is to look at this and say, this is it, when it -- when he comes up for sentencing in July 11th, is that this is a defendant who doesn't get it, who is in contrite, who has ridiculed the system, who has made a mockery of the system, has been complicit, and others, in violating a gag order, has violated a gag order himself.

And in fact the only thing he has going for him, at the time of the sentencing, is that he served as President of the United States, which is very unique. But he also has so many other factors, on the other side of the equation that if I'm a defense lawyer, each one of those equations gives me tremendous heartburn.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, and you -- you've talked about Republicans. The Republican I believe this came from was House Speaker, Mike Johnson--


COLLINS: --when he suggested this.

KELLEY: Yes. COLLINS: And of course, he was also the one, who was leading the effort, to get so many other House Republicans, to try to get the Supreme Court to help, in their efforts--

KELLEY: Yes, but--

COLLINS: --to overturn the election.

KELLEY: But you know, in any criminal case, criminal cases are tragedies, really.


KELLEY: A crime has been committed. There's people, who have been victimized. People who have lost out here. There's not a tremendous financial loss, but there's a loss in the voters, in the system, and loss of confidence in the voting system. So, there are a lot of victims here.

But another tragedy here is the fact that there're very highly-placed political people, who have joined in on the mockery of the system, who have undermined confidence in the system, which in and of itself is a tremendous tragedy, that they also should be held accountable in some way.

COLLINS: Do you think it has undermined? I mean, what has it done for -- when people look at the justice system? Because it's such a political issue, when you -- when you ask anyone, if -- about this verdict, how they feel about it.

But for those of us, who went into the courtroom and sat and watched this jury do its -- do its job, and also watched the judge, who was incredibly fair, and bent over backwards, at points, to be so, to the defense, and to Donald Trump, the defendant.

I mean, I wonder, as a retired judge, how you view what it's done, to try to diminish the credibility of what you've done?

KONVISER: It has diminished the credibility of what we've all done. It's not just me, as a judge, who works in the criminal justice system. It's the prosecutors.

It's the defense lawyers, who often represent defendants, who are guilty and have done terrible things. But they understand that the system means that everyone is presumed innocent, unless and until a jury says otherwise. And every right, to which they are entitled, should be out on display in a courtroom.

It demeans court officers. It demeans all of us.

And to see these high-level people, from Washington, waltz into the courtroom the way they did, and to say, let's get the Supreme Court, without any clear guidance or any -- without any background whatsoever, to support what they're saying, is so disappointing, and should worry -- should worry, everyone. And it's really -- they have really denigrated everything that this country stands for, in terms of the judiciary.

COLLINS: Well, and that we always say -- we always say innocent until proven guilty. But it feels like, for Trump's allies, it has an asterisk on it, because he has been proven guilty, but they're still, you're seeing them say, well, the jury was misled, that they couldn't come to a fair decision. That was what I heard from some Republicans, over the weekend.

KELLEY: But Kaitlan, when you -- when you think about all that -- those things, they get back to the talking points. So, those are talking points. Let's see what happens on appeal, how they're able to articulate that, and how they're able to really support that by pointing to what happened, in the record.

COLLINS: What are their strongest points on appeal do you think, that Todd Blanche can go in there and make when they do try to appeal this?

KELLEY: I think there'll be lots of points they make that are meritless. For instance, change of venue. I think the only point that they maybe could make is with regard to how they, you know, one crime caused the other, the filing of the false records caused the election crime.

And I think what the story is with that is that it's not -- it's not with a lot of precedent. But that doesn't mean it's not without strong factual or legal foundation, that I think the government will prevail there. I think it's an interesting issue to discuss, just because it hasn't been one that's really been analyzed before. But I think the government is on very sound footing in that. And I think they'll prevail on appeal.


KONVISER: I just wanted to follow up on that. And I agree with you, in terms of them prevailing, and that might be an issue. And that might even be a constitutional issue, because jurors did not have to find beyond a reasonable doubt what that crime was.

But there is legal footing. And I think that's very important here. If you look at the burglary statute, in New York, the crime is you knowingly enter and remain unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime therein. What that crime is, doesn't matter. And the People do not need to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. The same is true for acting in concert.

COLLINS: That's interesting.

KONVISER: Acting in concert, whether you believe the defendant acted alone, or in concert, is something that needs not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

KELLEY: So, it hasn't been done in election cases before.

KONVISER: That's right.

KELLEY: But as the Judge points out, there's plenty of analogs there that gives it really adequate support. And I think the government has extremely strong arguments to be able to sustain the conviction--

COLLINS: So when we hear--

KELLEY: --on appeal.

COLLINS: You make a really good point, about the talking points versus what they're actually going to be able to argue in court. And we may even see some of those talking points come up in the court arguments. But that doesn't mean that the appellate court's going to buy that.

KELLEY: Right.


KONVISER: That's true. I will say that, you know, what are they going to say? They don't know what they're going to say. They're investigating right now.

So, they said in court they're going to file a 330.30 Motion, which is a post-judgment motion, to set aside the verdict, which many lawyers do. They're often unsuccessful. And the grounds for a law -- judge to grant a 330.30 Motion, which is post-conviction pre-sentence is one of three things.

One is that there's an issue in the record that would automatically be reversed on appeal, which we don't have here.

The second one would be newly discovered evidence that they didn't know and couldn't have known before, and I assume they're looking for that.

COLLINS: Seems unlikely.

KONVISER: Seems unlikely.

And the third is some type of juror misconduct in the jury room. They read something. They said something.

So, I suspect their investigators are out there. This was an anonymous jury. But that doesn't mean -- it means you can't publish their names. But it doesn't mean investigators can't be knocking on their doors. And hopefully, those jurors will not be dragged into harass--


KONVISER: --of a 330.30.

COLLINS: And as Todd Blanche told the attorney, David Markus, today, they had to destroy the jury information that they did have. So, he says they do not have it anymore. It's very interesting.

Judge Konviser, David Kelley, great to have you both here, for such an interesting segment.

Up ahead, a surprise move that was just made, giving new meaning to the website that we all look at X, now going X-rated. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COLLINS: X, the website formerly known as Twitter, is now embracing its new moniker in a way that we have not seen before, officially allowing X-rated content on the site.

As of today, users, and I'm quoting now from the new policy, "May share consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior, provided it's properly labeled and not prominently displayed." In other words, porn is now officially allowed on Twitter.

Here to talk about the change is Senior Media Reporter at Axios, Sara Fischer.

And Sara, why has this -- I mean, we've seen how Twitter has been, now X, has been dramatically transformed, since Elon Musk bought it. But why this now?

SARA FISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this is not a total departure from where they were. They're just clarifying the policy.

I think one of the reasons is they want to be the platform, where anyone can create whatever they want, right? They are free speech. They are open-minded. That's the message they want to send to creators.

And if you think about it, a lot of creators do post this type of content. Before Elon Musk took over Twitter, about 13 percent, according to one Reuters' estimate, of content that was uploaded to the site was adult sexual nudity material.

And so, I think they don't want to push those types of creators away. Instead, they're clarifying the policy. They're making sure everyone knows where the rules are.

And they're also making sure creators that post it know what they're required to do. In this case, they're asking if you post this type of stuff a lot, please turn on a button that automatically shields it with a warning sign, so that users, who don't want to see it, don't have to see it.

COLLINS: The first thing I thought about was what does this mean for advertisers? And how are they approaching this change?

FISCHER: It's tough. So in one end, advertisers are so brand- conscious, they don't love it, when there's a lot of nudity, with any kind of platform, right? Even in the cable bundle, there's porn channels, Kaitlan. So, it's something that it's they've been dealing with for a long time.

On the other hand, there are certain advertisers that this might make their life a little bit easier. If you think about advertisers, for things like bras, advertisers for things like sexual toys, and things like that, suddenly this is a more friendly platform for them. But overall, as long as Twitter continues to moderate this, and keep it shielded from people, who don't want to see it, I can't foresee advertisers having a huge uproar around this.

COLLINS: But my question about the -- how they moderate it, and the certain button that people have to switch to, to say that it is prominently displayed, is how they moderate it, and what that looks like.

Because, obviously, there are numbers that show that there are one in four teenagers who are on Twitter, and you think about younger siblings or people who are on it. And it kind of is this hub for discussion, and arguing, and ideas. And can they really moderate it, though?

FISCHER: Randomly, this is one of the easier things to moderate, specifically, because the amount of skin that's shown is very easy for AI and machines to identify as being a nude person. Same thing, by the way, goes for child-exploitative material.

We have databases that all the social media platforms refer to. When the FBI catches this type of material, they upload it to a database. The platforms have access to it. And so, when you try to upload something that matches what the FBI or law enforcement officials has, it's automatically blocked. So, this actually isn't a huge issue from that perspective.

COLLINS: Overall, I mean, you and I have talked so much about X, since Elon Musk took over, and changed the name, and so much else. I mean, what do you see as the future for the website, as people will say, is it going to be overtaken by Threads, another site? How do you see it?

FISCHER: Nobody's come close to dethroning X. And I don't think that they're going to come close for a long time, simply because it has this massive global user base. It has a reputation, for being the global town square. I think they stay put, and they continue to roll back rules, and make it even more of a free-speech platform.

COLLINS: Sara Fischer, thank you. We will continue to watch it closely.

And finally, tonight, before we go, I would like for you to meet Chiko. This is my new foster dog. Look how cute he is. He's in need of a loving home, tonight. He came straight to New York, from Kentucky, on Saturday. He loves to sleep in the sun, as you can see here. He really smells everything in sight. And he's also adjusting to the New York City lifestyle, quite well.


If you are interested in adopting him, he is going to be available, starting tomorrow, through Muddy Paws Rescue. It's a non-profit, here in New York City, a very special one. They save dogs, who may not have gotten a chance, a second chance. And they pair them with people, who can give them a forever home. And if you are interested in Chiko, or interested in just being part of this effort, I would love for you to do that. You can go to, on how to adopt, foster, or just donate.

Thank you so much, for joining us. We'll see you, tomorrow night.