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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

"I Will Not Be Intimidated": Garland Slams GOP Attacks On DOJ; Trump Asks NY Judge To Lift Gag Order, Citing Upcoming CNN Debate; Jury Hears Hunter Biden's Audiobook Detailing Rehab, Drug Binges. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 04, 2024 - 21:00   ET



WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This year, they arrested four people, two men, two women, ages 23 to 69. That's basically all that's left of any commemoration, of Tiananmen Square, in Hong Kong.

And yes, as you from the colored bars, China has essentially tried to erase this moment, this date, June 4th, 1989, from its history.

I have friends, who grew up in China, who are highly educated people, but they didn't even know about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, until they moved out of the country--


RIPLEY: --and learned about it on the free internet. Of course, China's internet heavily censored, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Will Ripley, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

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


He will not be intimidated. A fiery Attorney General slamming what he says are unprecedented attacks, fed up with Republican smears and lies, about the Department of Justice and Donald Trump.

Former FBI Director, James Comey, will join me live.

And a dramatic election year action on the border, President Biden imposing sweeping new restrictions that take effect at midnight, tonight. But some Democrats say he's taking a page out of Donald Trump's immigration playbook.

And believe it or not, it's actually primary night, here in America. We are awaiting calls at any time now, on critical races.

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

For someone, who doesn't really lose their cool that often, if at all, it was about as angry as we have seen Merrick Garland.

The Attorney General coming face-to-face with many of the same Republicans, who have spread conspiracy theories and, frankly, flat- out lies, about Donald Trump's conviction, and what they say is this grand conspiracy by President Biden and the Department of Justice to get him.

There is, of course, zero evidence that President Biden had anything to do with Donald Trump's New York case, which was brought by a local prosecutor, over whom Garland himself has no control.

And the Attorney General, today, forcefully pushed back on characterizations of the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago in 2022, saying it wasn't some green light to use lethal force, or some ridiculous plot by President Biden to assassinate his predecessor, as Donald Trump has claimed.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Extremely dangerous falsehoods are being spread, about the FBI's law enforcement operations.

Heinous threats of violence being directed at the Justice Department's career civil servants.

I will not be intimidated. And the Justice Department will not be intimidated.


COLLINS: Garland warning his Republican critics that the baseless attacks are putting law enforcement in harm's way.

Yet, here is Donald Trump, today, still pushing some of those claims.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Crooked Joe Biden's DOJ, in their illegal and unconstitutional raid of Mar-a-Lago, authorized the FBI to use deadly lethal force. Can you believe that?


COLLINS: No, you can't actually believe that because it's not true.

The Attorney General noted today, as we have reported here, that language in the search warrant was Standard Operating Procedure, focused actually on limiting the use of lethal force, and what to do in that scenario. It is the exact same language that was also in the search warrant, for President Biden's home.

But Trump's allies seem to have turned a deaf ear on all of those facts, digging in even more.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Justice is no longer blind in America. Today, it's driven by politics. Example number one is President Trump.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): You had no problem dispatching Matthew Colangelo. Who's Matthew Colangelo?

GARLAND: That is false. I did not dispatch Matthew Colangelo.

GAETZ: Matthew Colangelo--

GARLAND: That's false.

GAETZ: Matthew Colangelo--


GAETZ: --pops up in Alvin Bragg's office to go get Trump.

REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R-CA): For the first time in American history, we do have a presidential administration that's working to put its opponent in jail.

This is entirely your work, including approving an unprecedented search of a former President's home.


COLLINS: It went on like that for roughly five hours, on Capitol Hill, today.

But here tonight, straight to THE SOURCE with us, is one of the few people, who knows, what it's like to be in that seat, that Garland was in today. The former FBI Director, and the Author of the new crime thriller, "Westport," James Comey.

And Director Comey, it's great to have you.

It's interesting to watch Garland's hearing today, and how he was pushing back.

You've been critical, in the past, of kind of his ability to communicate quickly, with the American people, about what exactly it is that the Department of Justice is doing, in light of these Republican attacks.

I wonder how you think he did today.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I think it was great. It was great to see the Attorney General stand up for the integrity of the institution that he leads.

I thought it was great that the FBI put out a very quick statement, after Trump issued that outrageous lie, about the use of deadly force, so-called, in the search warrant, in Mar-a-Lago.

COLLINS: Which was remarkable, because we don't often see the FBI put statements out like that.


COMEY: Yes. And it's -- it has to be out there, because the lie soaks into the national bloodstream. People believe when a former President says things, as crazy as they may be. It's really important for those, who know better, to speak up quickly, before that becomes sort of baked into our national conversation.

COLLINS: What do you think's behind that change in how kind of the FBI operated? I mean, you obviously were intimately familiar with it. You lead the department. What do you make of what's different from how it was then, to issuing statements like this, pushing back on Donald Trump's claims?

COMEY: I think they've seen the damage that these lies can do. I would guess, I don't know for sure, but I would guess their reaction to some of the lies, over the last few years, was who would believe that? But millions of people will believe that.

And so, it's important, given that your institution depends upon public trust and confidence, that you counter that lie. You don't want to be in a rapid reaction, political spin type room, but you need to supply facts to the American people.

COLLINS: What do you -- Garland's demeanor today is not often how we see him. That's -- it was quite forceful, for him at least.

Does it tell us something, in your view, about the level of alarm, that these kinds of attacks are having, not just on the FBI, or the Justice Department, main Justice, but kind of on the justice system overall, in the United States?

COMEY: The thing we have in common, despite our diverse disagreements, about important policy issues, in this country, is the rule of law.

If the American people don't believe that there is justice, that the institutions are caring about facts and the law? We're lost.

If a president can incite a mob, to sack the Capitol, and millions of people just say, yes, no big deal? We're lost.

And so, I think the Attorney General feels a sense of urgency, to speak to that, to make sure people understand the rule of law is real, and it is essential to this country.

COLLINS: Given today's hearing was supposed to focus, I mean, it's hard to -- it feels like a replay of last night. We were talking with Dr. Fauci, about a hearing that was ostensibly supposed to be on what we don't know, and what we've learned about COVID-19. It turned into a lot of partisan attacks, on Dr. Fauci. Obviously, it seemed like that's what we saw today.

What this was supposed to be about was Garland requesting President Biden, to assert executive privilege, over audiotapes of his interview with his Special Counsel, Robert Hur. Given Garland was the one, who pushed for that, do you believe that the Attorney General made the right call? COMEY: I don't know enough to have an informed thought on that. I mean, they have the transcript, for heaven's sakes. And so, if you want to know what Joe Biden said, at any moment, during that interview, you can read it.

I guess the concern, at the FBI, in particular, is if we start turning over tapes of interviews, that'll chill future interviews. That doesn't strike me as an unreasonable argument. But I'm not an expert in it.

COLLINS: Well, when the Hur report came out, in February, we had your former deputy on this show, Andrew McCabe. And he told me, he believed that there were nauseating similarities, as he described it, between how that report characterized President Biden, while not charging him, and with your actions in 2016, with respect to Hillary Clinton, and her email investigation.

Do you see those similarities?

COMEY: Hard for me to see. But maybe I'm too close to it.

What we tried to do, in 2016, was explain why Secretary Clinton's conduct didn't rise to the level of a crime. We had to characterize it, in order to have our words make sense.

I saw Hur's report taking a little bit of a swing beyond that characterization. That seemed to go much farther than anything we did.

COLLINS: You think it went further than you describing her actions as careless, right before the election?

COMEY: Sure, I do. And again, maybe people see it differently than I. But in early July of 2016, in order to explain why this didn't rise to the level of intentional misconduct, we had to say what it was. And so, what we said, which it was, is that it was extremely careless.

But we didn't go out of our way to describe the demeanor of the subject of the investigation, to characterize the person, in the way that the Special Counsel did in that report. So, I see it as very different.

COLLINS: And you think Robert Hur went too far, it sounds like.

COMEY: Yes, it's felt to me like he took some swings that he really didn't need to take, in order to characterize the evidence, and explain why there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring a case.

COLLINS: Donald Trump, since I've last seen you on CNN, has now become the first former President to become a convicted felon. You predicted, before the verdict came down, as the jury was still deliberating, as the case was still being presented, that he could potentially be convicted.

Do you believe it's likely that the judge will sentence him to jail in this situation?

COMEY: I don't know. I would ordinarily say it's unlikely, in a white- collar offense of this sort.


But this is a defendant, who's begging for a jail term, by taking a flame-thrower, not just to the judge, but to the entire process and the jury. A judge will take that very seriously into consideration, in deciding whether or to deter this person, and to send a message, more broadly, he needs to spend some time behind bars.

COLLINS: You think Judge Merchan should take everything he's said, where, I mean, he has called Judge Merchan, a tyrant. He likened him to the devil. Every day before he walked into that courtroom, he said he was corrupt, baselessly.

Do you think that the judge will take that into consideration, when he does sentence him, in a few weeks?

COMEY: I do, as well as him having to find that the defendant had acted in contempt of the court's orders, on multiple occasions. All of that will be part of the picture that the judge looks at, to decide whether a message needs to be sent that involves jail.

COLLINS: As a former FBI Director, what's it like to see one of the major nominees of one of our parties, the presumptive nominee, at this point, be a convicted felon?

COMEY: If you put it in a novel, and I'm here, because I just wrote a novel, your editor would strike it out, and say that's just crazy, that would never happen.

We're living in a really strange time. It must be a weird time to be a conspiracy theorist and flip on Fox News, and you hear these people screaming at the Attorney General about weaponizing. And the next story is about the department prosecuting the President's son, for heaven's sakes.

So, we live in a strange time. But it's one where people have to understand what's at stake. Donald Trump cannot return to that Oval Office.

COLLINS: Yes, you write fiction now. The latest book that you've written that we mentioned at the top is "Westport."

I wonder, given what, I mean, what you lived through that was maybe stranger than fiction. I remember the day that you were fired. How does that compare, writing fiction to the actual reality that you -- that you lived in?

COMEY: Well, it's easier in a lot of ways, because I can do it in my sweatpants, on a laptop, on my back porch. And I don't have to be in D.C., dealing with some of the characters that the Attorney General had to deal with, or Director Wray has to deal with. So, it's freeing in a way.

And I haven't written any D.C.-based plots yet. It feels too icky to me. But maybe I'll get to it at some point. COLLINS: Let me ask you about something else, another investigation involving Trump.

This is the case with the classified documents. And right now, the Special Counsel in that case, Jack Smith, is again asking for a gag order, when it comes to the law enforcement officials, who carried out that search at Mar-a-Lago, when he refused to turn over classified documents. And the concern primarily is for their safety.

The judge, Cannon, here denied the first one. They are now trying again. Do you believe that she should approve that gag order?

COMEY: I think she should. I haven't read the terms of the proposed order. But if it's narrowly tailored, to try and mitigate the threat that's created by Donald Trump, lying about an effort by the FBI to allegedly assassinate him? That's crazy and dangerous stuff that will resonate in disturbed minds. And there are a lot of disturbed minds out there.

So, I get why the Justice Department, through its Special Counsel, and the FBI, would want to try and protect the people, who are doing the case.

COLLINS: But as a registered Republican, for most of your life, what is it like? I mean, Donald Trump obviously says a lot of things that aren't true. There's a dedicated fact-checker because of that. But as a registered Republican, for most of your life, what is it like to see Republicans, on Capitol Hill, echo that and repeat that, and as we've seen on this show, defend it?

COMEY: Well, they're the -- they're caught in the last days of a cult, which I gather, the unwinding of a cult is always very, very messy and angry, because these people are dealing with cognitive dissonance that's off the charts, right?

They know that they're speaking on behalf of someone, who's a really bad guy. They know they're echoing his lies. That must cause them a lot of pain. But they were acting to it by amping up their anger, in their lives. It will pass away.

But we are faced with a very difficult time, where the institutions are threatened. We must remember that's what's on the ballot in November.

COLLINS: What will you do if Donald Trump is reelected?

COMEY: I'll get ready to publish my next book, next spring. I was -- I was kind of hoping you'd never want to have me on, next spring, because Donald Trump will be in his bathrobe, down in Mar-a-Lago, and Joe Biden will be in his second term.

But if Donald Trump is still president, you'll probably want me on again. And we'll be talking again, next May.

COLLINS: What are you going to write about?

COMEY: Domestic terrorism, white-identity extremism. And it will not be old-fashioned, come next May, unfortunately.

COLLINS: And what's your concern about what that would look like, in the United States, in a second Trump term?

COMEY: Well, what Donald Trump has done is lifted the control rods that we as a country have pressed down, into the misogynist racist stew that's always been in our basement. We controlled it, culturally. We controlled it with law.

He has slowly, over the last seven, eight years, lifted the control rods that were cultural, so that it was OK for people to say all kinds of really bad things that is damaging to a culture.


But it also gives license to people, to engage in horrific acts, both threatening and carrying out acts of violence. So, there's a real cost to that. We've become numb to it a little bit, all of us. We can't remember the damage that those control rods, coming out of the stew, do to our country.

COLLINS: Do you believe that Donald Trump will come after you personally, if he's reelected?

COMEY: Maybe. I mean, he spent four years coming after me. I think all I ended up with was a $400 tax refund, which is great. I guess I overpaid my taxes. I don't worry about me. I have the resources, and the friends. And I know how things work. I can defend myself.

I really worry about the people, who have less of that than I do, the people making the cases, the career civil servants, who are prosecutors and judges, who are the bedrock of our rule of law. They are the people who will be most at threat.

COLLINS: Former FBI Director, James Comey. The new book is "Westport." And apparently, we have another one to potentially look forward to. Thank you for your time, tonight.

COMEY: Thanks for having me, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Up next, Wisconsin is now joining four other states, charging Trump allies and former campaign employees, in the fake electors scheme. Who has now been indicted and why now?

Plus, there are new developments in Trump's fight to end his gag order, here in New York, now that his trial has ended.



COLLINS: Tonight, somehow even more Trump allies are now facing charges, for trying to overturn the 2020 election. This time, in Wisconsin. And total, if you look at this, across five battleground states, 52 people are now facing charges.

Two of those, who were charged in Wisconsin, have shown up in past fake elector indictments.

Kenneth Chesebro, who has already pleaded guilty, I should note, in the Georgia case, the same case where Donald Trump himself is charged. Chesebro was also an unindicted co-conspirator in Arizona.

Also charged in Wisconsin now, Mike Roman, who was also charged both in Georgia and Arizona.

Then, there is also a former Trump attorney, Jim Troupis.

Who is -- here with me now, to talk about all of this, CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Elie Honig; as well as CNN Political Commentator, and Trump's former White House Communications Director, Alyssa Farah Griffin.

Elie, I just want everyone to listen to what the Attorney General in Wisconsin had to say about why they're bringing these charges now.


JOSH KAUL, (D) WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: But I will say that our focus in any investigation, in any prosecution, is not on the speed with which something is done. It's on doing high-quality investigations, conducting high-quality prosecutions, and getting things right. That's the approach we have taken.


COLLINS: Defending the timeline here.

But what do you make of how long it took to bring these charges?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: That's boilerplate. I expect that of any prosecutor. But it's also completely unconvincing.

It took three and a half years to bring these charges? I mean, it's three and a half years ago that this all happened. He's been the A.G. throughout the time. He's been A.G. since 2019. I understand investigations take time. I've done plenty of investigations. There is no way an investigation yielding these three charges should have taken three and a half years.

And by the way, if you look at the indictment, most of that material is already contained in the other indictments that we've seen. He didn't uncover that much new. There's some new stuff, relating to Wisconsin.

But I do need to say, the indictment looks fairly strong to me. I mean, it does seem like this was a forgery and a fraudulent scheme. So, they seem to have the evidence.

But the timing, that explanation does not suffice.

COLLINS: I wonder, Alyssa, just what it's like for you, to see this, given obviously, you were inside the Trump White House, in those final few weeks, and while all this was going on, in the campaign, and in these battleground states, what it's like to continue to see?

I mean, the headline's not even -- it's not even the first story that we talk about, which is really remarkable, because now we've just seen so many of these fake electors schemes, and the indictments that have followed.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, it's crazy. It's historic, it's unprecedented, how many advisers of the former President are either in jail now, likely going to face jail time in the future.

And yet, so many people are lining up, wanting to work for him again, wanting him to win the election. I mean, I think of the fact that Peter Navarro, who was in my office, on the West Wing, very regularly, is literally sitting in jail, right now.

There's a point, where it's like you cannot -- you have to take -- realize that the associates around Donald Trump are not themselves just stepping in it. They're following the lead of Donald Trump. He himself obviously has been indicted on 88 felony counts, and charged in these 34, in New York. I mean, this is the company he keeps, and it's the person he is.

COLLINS: The other thing that's happening in New York. We were just talking about gag orders, with the former FBI Director.

There's another gag order, the one here in New York that we're all intimately familiar with, at this point. It has not been dropped. It's still in effect, even though the case is over. Trump was found guilty last week. His attorneys are now asking the judge to lift it.

What's the likelihood of that?

HONIG: I think it's unlikely the judge lifts it. He may modify it a bit.

But I saw, what Donald Trump's lawyers argument is well, now the trial is over. He's on the campaign trail. He needs to respond. Joe Biden's talking about it.

But the gag order has no restriction on what Donald Trump can say about Joe Biden. He can say anything he wants.

Just, to review, the gag order protects jurors. They need to still be protected, moving forward. I mean, even though they're done their service, they're still vulnerable. You have to protect them. Witnesses. I think witnesses still need to be protected for the same reason.

The judge has allowed Trump to respond to Michael Cohen in the past. Maybe the judge will clarify, you can respond, because the judge has held that even though it's not quite in the gag order. And then family members and court stuff, I mean, leave them alone.

Like, I don't see any reason why this gag order needs to be dropped.

COLLINS: But here's what I'm wondering, because they do cite the CNN debate, at the end of this month--

HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: --in this reasoning for their appeal to the judge to--


COLLINS: --to lift parts of the gag order, or lift the whole gag order.


One person he can attack is Matthew Colangelo, who Republicans, on Capitol Hill, were attacking today, a prosecutor on Bragg's team. Also, obviously Michael Cohen. And they're citing the debate, it seems to say, this is going to be something he wants to be able to talk about, at that debate.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, I have to imagine that his campaign team and Susie Wiles would not want this to be part of the debate prep. The last thing that they would want him to be focusing on is rage, retribution and re-litigating the fact that he's a convicted felon.

That signals to me that he's not going to be talking and focusing as much on immigration, border security, the economy. He -- when he is consumed by something that is what he wants to focus on.

And by the way, I assume it could affect his sentencing too, if they lift the gag order, and he just goes on tirades against them.

HONIG: All of this is fair play for sentencing. I mean, we're six weeks out from sentencing. To me, it's going to be a really, really close call, tough call for Judge Merchan. Prisoner or no, I think it's 50-50, whether he does it.

Every time Donald Trump violates the gag order, every time Donald Trump flagrantly disrespects the judge, that's all fair game. I mean, if I was his lawyer, and I've said this a million times, I'd just beg him. He can't be quiet, in campaign. But be quiet about this case, please, for your own good.

FARAH GRIFFIN: The gag order is your friend.

COLLINS: We know how he loves to take legal advice.


COLLINS: Elie Honig, Alyssa Farah Griffin, thank you both.

Coming up here tonight. It is a big election year move that we just saw today, by President Biden. And in just hours, it is going to go into effect, where most of the U.S. southern border will be shut down, to asylum-seekers crossing illegally. It is dividing Democrats.

We have two different views, coming up, after a quick break.



COLLINS: At midnight, tonight, migrants, who unlawfully crossed the southern border, will be barred from seeking asylum, here in the United States, after President Biden signed an executive action today, marking a significant shift in his position on the border, after he previously criticized former President Donald Trump, for doing the same thing.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm moving past Republican obstruction and using the executive authorities available to me as president to do what I can on my own to address the border.

Frankly, I would have preferred to address this issue through bipartisan legislation.

But Republicans have left me no choice.


COLLINS: I should note this move that President Biden took today, is dividing members of his own party. So, we want to talk, tonight, about this, with two Democrats, who have two different views on this.

Here with us, Congressman Tom Suozzi of New York, who supports the move, and was there with President Biden at that White House event today.

And also, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, of Washington State, who has criticized the order.

And so, Congresswoman Jayapal, let me start with you. Because it's clear that you believe President Biden is making a mistake by signing this order. Tell me, if you feel differently. But why do you feel that way?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Yes. Kaitlan, thanks for having me on.

Look, I think that this is a mistake, for several reasons. One, this is severely limiting the right to seek asylum.

Now, this is a right that we, in Congress, gave to people, to come and seek asylum anywhere along the border, including between ports of entry, because it is extremely difficult for people, who are fleeing violent circumstances, in their home countries, to make sure that they get to a port of entry.

So, that was why we put that right into law, also into our international treaty obligations. This is actually, the right to seek asylum is a right that we need to adhere to, according to our international treaty obligations.

Now, what we are doing is, you know, I think what the President is trying to do, is address the fact that we all want order at the border. We all want to see an immigration system that is orderly, that allows people to be processed quickly, that allows people to come in with different legal pathways. And Republicans have continued to block us in doing that.

But enforcement-only actions, like what the President is doing today, which mirrors something that Donald Trump did, it was stopped by the courts. But using 212(f) of the INA, of the Immigration and Nationality Act, is a harsh enforcement-only measure that is not going to work, because people are not going to stop coming, when they are fleeing terrible circumstances.

Now, in addition, I would say that there are real implementation issues around this. I just got a notice, literally just before I came on your show, that is an implementation notice that says that the Biden administration is also cutting the amount of time that people will have to get an attorney from 24 hours to four hours.

Now, if you're going to meaningfully argue that you have credible fear of being persecuted, in your home country, you need more than four hours to find an attorney, because we don't provide attorneys to people. That is a very difficult process, as it is.


JAYAPAL: So, there are real implementation problems.

COLLINS: --it is--

JAYAPAL: But at the end of the day--

COLLINS: But on that implementation--

JAYAPAL: Kaitlan, I just want to say, at the end of the--

COLLINS: Go ahead, Congresswoman.

JAYAPAL: At the -- yes, at the end of the day, the biggest thing is the border doesn't exist on its own. It is a part of a broken immigration system, a legal immigration system that has not been updated in over 30 years. And if we don't update that system--


JAYAPAL: --and provide legal--


JAYAPAL: --pathways for people to come in--

COLLINS: --obviously--

JAYAPAL: --then we are not going to solve this issue.

COLLINS: And obviously, it's legislation that needs to be done, something that both parties have not been able to do. We saw what happened in February.

But quickly, on the implementation of this, is that for this order that President Biden signed today, if the border is effectively shut down to people who are seeking asylum and crossing illegally.

JAYAPAL: Yes. I mean, the way that this works is that it's very -- honestly, I don't know practically how it's going to work. We are still trying to figure that out ourselves.


But the way it's written is that when you get to 2,500 people, it shuts down the border. This is in between ports of entry. It shuts down the border, except that people are still going to get screened for Convention against Torture.

They would have to say preemptively, I fear being tortured at home, which is not the way it works today. The way it works today is you are supposed to be asked, if you have a fear of torture. And then, if you say yes, then you go through another process.


JAYAPAL: Now, that is--


JAYAPAL: --at this point, if you get before a judge, if you have an opportunity to present your case--

COLLINS: But Congresswoman, can I -- can I--

JAYAPAL: --you have four hours.

COLLINS: Congresswoman, sorry, I just want to ask you, though, about this. Because obviously, the implementation of this, and the legal authority, this is likely to be challenged in courts. We know that.

But also, politically speaking, this has been a weak issue, for President Biden. He has been consistently underwater with voters on this. And so, I know that there are concerns about alienating the people, who elected him to get into office.

But are you also worried that that it could cause Democrats the election, if he doesn't do something, like what he did today, with this executive order?

JAYAPAL: Well, I really think this is a mistake Democrats have made over and over again, Kaitlan. I've worked on this issue for 20 years. I'm the Ranking Member of the Immigration subcommittee. We make the mistake of trying to out-Republican Republicans. They're not going to come over to us, if they're fighting us on immigration.

And for Independents, our polling suggests that if you talk about humane ways, to actually institute a system that works, and we have some other ideas of policy things that President could do, that is actually what Independents want. They don't want harsh enforcement policies that turn away very vulnerable asylum-seekers.

And I think the President could have handled this differently. I've told him that directly.

And I think that we have to lean in, as Democrats, to an inclusive vision of immigration. And we really have to make, continue to point out all the differences that we have with Donald Trump, who is xenophobic, racist, has said terrible things about immigrants.

I know that is not who President Biden is. But using the same tools that Donald Trump used is actually a big problem for Democrats, to be able to continue to show those differences, and keep our base with us.

COLLINS: Yes, and we'll see how that base responds to this action.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, it's always great to have you on. Thank you very much for that.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And now, I want to bring in Democratic congressman, Tom Suozzi, who was at that White House event today, with President Biden as he signed this.

Well, Congressman, let me just start with what do you make of what the Congresswoman said there, and the Progressive Caucus Chair also, about what it means, for your voters, for Democratic voters, and how they view this action today?

REP. TOM SUOZZI (D-NY): Well, let me first say, what I agree with Pramila about. We all want order at the border. We all believe that the current immigration system is not working. We all believe that the system has not been updated since 1996.

In fact, the asylum law was first passed in 1980. When we passed the asylum law, originally, 1980, I'm 61-years-old, we were trying to encourage the Soviets to defect at the time, or get the Cuban to defect.

We celebrated it. Everybody -- every time somebody has defected or sought asylum, it was like, yay, that's great. They're coming here to America, we're the better country. Those are the bad guys. And so, the asylum is a very important part of America's history.

But now, the system is being abused. Instead of 400,000 or 500,000 people a year, it's 2.4 million people a year. And they're not coming for political persecution or torture. They're coming for economic reasons. Now, we would love to help everybody, who wants to come here. But we can't.

We have 8 million people that are eligible to come here, because of family reunion. But we only bring in 700,000 a year. But that's all we're allowed to under the existing law that hasn't been upgraded for 30 years.


COLLINS: And obviously, this was a key pillar of the bipartisan deal that President Biden was willing to sign, the White House said, that fell apart after Donald Trump tanked it, back in February.

But on this itself, we see where the numbers are today, just shy of 4,000. They were much higher, even in February, when all of this was falling apart. Do you think President Biden waited too long to sign this executive order that you support?

SUOZZI: No, I think it was the right thing to do. What we would have liked to have happen, what the President would have liked to see happen, is for us to all support the bipartisan Senate deal that was negotiated with the White House.

We had one of the most conservative, ethical, honest, hardworking, Republicans, James Lankford, a fantastic Democrat, Chris Murphy, a fantastic Independent, Kyrsten Sinema, who negotiated a bipartisan deal, with the White House.

Everybody said, hey, this is great. Mitch McConnell liked it. Everybody liked it, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Wall Street Journal. The President of the Customs Border Patrol union liked it, even though he's a Trump supporter.

And what happened? Donald Trump swooped in and said, let's not do this, because I don't want to give Biden a victory. I want to run on the chaos. And he sabotaged the deal.

So, the American people want us to deal with immigration. The bipartisan Senate deal, or something bipartisan, would be the best way to do that.



SUOZZI: But absent that, the President had no choice but to act, and to take this executive order.

COLLINS: Well, you have a particularly interesting view on this, given the race that you just won, and how. In part, you were calling for stricter immigration measures, and saying that you needed the Democrats, your party needed to be more upfront with voters, about the reality on the ground.

And so, I wonder what do you say, to fellow Democrats, who are arguing that the President is misreading the politics on immigration?

SUOZZI: Listen. Listen to the voters. Listen to the people. Everybody's talking about this issue. This is one of the number one or number two polling issues, depending on the district you're in. People are concerned about the border. It's not just Republicans. It's Independents. It's Democrats. I'm a very progressive person on immigration. I want to see a pathway

to citizenship for DREAMers and for TPS recipients. But we have to have order at the border. And Pramila Jayapal agrees with me, as do all the Democrats. The question is how do we get there?

I think the President took the right step, by taking this bold step forward, to show we're willing to take action. Now, we need to get our Republican colleagues to sit down and negotiate with us, and actually negotiate a bill that will provide for more security at the border--

COLLINS: Yes. But your party disagrees.

SUOZZI: --will legislatively--

COLLINS: You say you agree on the end game. But on how to get there, we just watched it play out on TV, the two of you disagree on how to get there.

SUOZZI: Well, that's part of politics. And that's part of the debate. And right now, the President has taken this action. I'm supporting the action. And I believe most Democrats support what he's doing.

We could -- should still continue to try and negotiate a bipartisan deal, to legislate more security at the border, to legislatively fix asylum, and to fix legal immigration, so that we can bring more DREAMers.

So, you know what I'd love to see the President do? I'd like to see him do an executive order that gave work permits to the spouses of U.S. citizens that currently are undocumented.

Everybody in America thinks if you're married to a U.S. citizen, you should become a U.S. citizen. But there are a million people in the United States of America that are married to U.S. citizens that don't have official work permits. We should get that for them.

COLLINS: Congressman Tom Suozzi, maybe the President will hear your request here. Thank you for your time, tonight.

And also, to Congresswoman Jayapal.

Great to have you both back-to-back, with two very different views on this issue.

SUOZZI: Thank you.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, today, during the first day of testimony, in the trial of President Biden's son, the jury actually heard from Hunter Biden, but not exactly. We'll explain after a quick break.



COLLINS: Pictures of drugs, the infamous laptop, and President Biden's son in his own words. That is just some of the evidence that the jury, in Hunter Biden's federal gun trial, heard, in that courtroom today.

Prosecutors introduced the form that they say Hunter Biden lied on, when he was trying to buy a gun. You can see it here.

At one point, the jury also even heard from Hunter Biden himself, though not on the witness stand. You can see here. He was seated behind the defense table. But prosecutors did play nearly an hour of Hunter Biden, narrating his own memoir, including the sections that he wrote about his drug addiction.


HUNTER BIDEN, AMERICAN ATTORNEY AND BUSINESSMAN, PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN'S SON: I possessed a new superpower, the ability to find crack in any town, at any time, no matter how unfamiliar the terrain, it was easy.


COLLINS: My legal source, tonight, is the defense attorney and jury consultant, Renato Stabile.

I mean, the defendant narrating his own audiobook, would seem to be quite compelling, potentially. How do you think the jury sees that?

RENATO STABILE, ATTORNEY & JURY CONSULTANT: Very, very tough day in court. I mean, not just the audiobook. The photographs, the massive amounts of cash, I mean, everything is pointing to the fact that during that time period, October 2018, he was certainly not addicted to drugs. He was a user of drugs. And so, the question is, what is really the defense here?

And I've given it some thought. And I think maybe they're going for jury nullification. I think they're going to try and play the sympathy card. It's a pretty sad story.

We heard that one juror was tearing up, during the defense's opening statement. The family is there. They're going to hear from other family members, who are going to acknowledge the depths of his addiction. There are a number of jurors, who have experience with addiction.

So maybe it is, when you don't really have a defense. I mean, it's a form. The box was checked. It seems pretty obvious he was a user of drugs at the time. Maybe they're just going for the sympathy card, and hoping people feel that.

And what really happened here? I mean, yes, he obtained a firearm. But he didn't obtain it to go rob a bank, right? He said he was going to use it, I guess, therapeutically, target practice. He never took it out of the box, other than once. Now, it ends up in a dumpster, which is not good. But he didn't do that.

COLLINS: How often does a case like this get prosecuted, for someone, who's a first-time offender in this situation?

STABILE: Well, that's what I mean. Not too often, because there's no real harm here. I mean, yes, the form was not accurately filled out.

Whether or not he had intent to deceive or not, will be up to the jury. But even if they find he did, I think they have to be thinking about what ultimately is this all about? That he -- that he checked a box he shouldn't have? He shouldn't have been in possession of that gun?

Now look, crack and firearms don't mix for sure.

COLLINS: But I think a lot of people--



COLLINS: --agree with that.


STABILE: --and a lot of people are going to be of the view that he shouldn't have been in possession of a gun. But it could be that the defense is looking to play the sympathy card, and feel that the jury just feels sorry.

COLLINS: And how would that work? A jury nullification, how would that work, in this case?

STABILE: Well, jury nullification just means that the jurors are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he technically did violate the law. But they feel that because there's no harm, because he was an addict, because the story is so sad, and because ultimately nothing happened, they're going to acquit him. That's jury nullification.


COLLINS: So, they go into the room, and they would just all agree what -- and as we saw, last night, we talked about what this jury looks like. They have a lot of experience with drugs and addiction, in their own lives, and family members or friends. I mean this isn't a jury that's unfamiliar with this.

STABILE: Right. And so, that's why they might identify. And I think that's why we might have seen one of the jurors tearing up today.

And they might say, hey, when somebody is going through this, if they don't really have bad intent, and it doesn't seem that he had bad intent, to obtain this firearm, are we really going to convict him of this? And that would be jury nullification.

COLLINS: Well, the other question I had was, was the first witness was the FBI agent, Erika Jensen. And she was nodding and conceding, during the cross-examination, that Hunter Biden may not have been continuously using drugs.

So essentially, because he did not take a drug test, when he was physically purchasing this gun, is it hard for them to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was using drugs that day, during this time period?

STABILE: Well, that is a very strained, in my opinion, reading of the form, when it says are you a user? Let's forget about the addict language. Are you a user of drugs? It means you had to take drugs that day? I don't think anybody seriously believes that that's what the form means.

Now, I know Abbe Lowell is going to argue that it's vague, it's unclear what it's -- what it's supposed to mean. But I think that's a very tortured reading of it. I think if you're taking drugs, around that time period, which it seems pretty clear that he was, that that's what that form is meant to cover.

COLLINS: What about the ATF Form? Because that was also what prosecutors introduced today. And it has that exact question there. It's at the heart of this case.

When the jury sees that this is something that he himself checked no on, in this? As the defense was trying to argue that the owner of the store led him to this gun, picked it up for him, kind of like picked it out for him, essentially. How does a jury see that and saying, well, he was an adult, he did sign this form, he did check, no?

STABILE: Well, not only is he an adult. I mean, I think the jurors assume that he's a fairly sophisticated person.

He is the son of the President of the United States, They're going to assume he's educated enough that he would have read the form, been able to understand. Especially, being the son of a politician. And, I guess, he wasn't President, at the time. But he certainly understands the implications of falsely signing a form like that.

So, I don't know how much that's going to play that he was, I don't want to say, tricked, or just misled into signing it. That doesn't seem like it's going to play that well.

COLLINS: Renato Stabile, we'll be watching it very closely to see what does happen with the jury. Thank you.

STABILE: Thank you.

COLLINS: And a jury is also going to be delivering a verdict, in the trial of another prominent Democrat, Senator Bob Menendez. But tonight, voters have just spoken. They've delivered their judgment on his family's political dynasty. We'll tell you what we mean, with a projection, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: And CNN can now project that Congressman Rob Menendez Jr. will survive his primary challenge, in New Jersey's 8th Congressional District, fending off fellow Democrat Ravi Bhalla. Also, fending off backlash against his own father, Senator Bob Menendez, who is on trial, right now, for federal bribery charges. CNN's Senior Political Data Reporter, Harry Enten, joins us now.

And Harry, I mean, obviously, this is -- was kind of seen as a test, of this dynasty, and of the Menendez family that we're seeing play out what happened tonight.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL DATA REPORTER: I think what happened was you're dealing with a majority Hispanic district, in which the Menendez name, although perhaps tarnished because of the father. Look, Bob Menendez was mayor in Union City before either you or I were born. It's a name that goes back generations.

And the fact is, this was a very highly-fought contest, with a lot of money being spent. But at the end of the day, Rob Menendez was not tainted by his father, or at least not nearly enough to cause a defeat. I mean, that's quite a margin right there. It's much, much wider margin than I actually expected.

COLLINS: Well, and we're both obviously incredibly young. So, thank you for--


COLLINS: --for highlighting that. Tonight is the first Republican primary, since Donald Trump became a convicted felon, last Thursday.

One thing that I have been fascinated by, is when Nikki Haley, who's obviously not in this race anymore, hasn't been for months, is still getting sizable portions of the vote, in certain states. She's on the ballot, in New Mexico, tonight.

What are we seeing there? What are we expecting?

ENTEN: Yes, you look, if you look right now, in returns, Nikki Haley is getting a little bit less than 10 percent of the vote, right? In some states, like Maryland, along the Acela Corridor, she's been doing significantly better. Outside of the Acela Corridor, those places that don't have those major cities, she hasn't been doing nearly as well.

But I'm so interested in the Nikki Haley vote, because if you look, generally speaking, those voters, who are casting their ballots for Nikki Haley, they have less than a 20 percent favorable rating of Donald Trump, less than 20 percent favorable rating of Joe Biden. Those are the voters, who ultimately may decide this election, going forward.

COLLINS: Yes. And Trump has said he's confident they'll come his direction, though he hasn't really made any appeals to them.

But before we go, I like your skeptical face there, of Montana. The Senate primary there is really fascinating. I mean, as we're watching, who is going to control the Senate, which party, at the end of this election.

Obviously, the incumbent senator there, we're seeing Jon Tester, go up against his primary challenger. But what do we make of how it's looking in the state, as we've seen how Tester's kind of carefully navigated the caucus?


ENTEN: Let me make a declaration here. If Democrats, if Jon Tester does not win reelection, Democrats will not control the United States Senate. So, this is a very key race, because we already know that Democrats are very, very likely losing West Virginia. They lose in Montana too? Bye-bye to that majority.

COLLINS: Harry Enten, always with the wise advice of the numbers.

ENTEN: I try.

COLLINS: I know you'll continue watching them, tonight. Thank you so much, for that.

Obviously, we will be tracking all of these primary races very closely, including what's happening in Montana. And whether or not Nikki Haley, her vote increase does go up, and what that means for Republicans.

Thank you for joining us.