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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Judge Cannon Sets Unusual Hearing On Trump's Effort To Remove Jack Smith In Documents Case; Former Israeli Prime Minister: War With Hezbollah Not Inevitable; Trump: Putin Won't Release Gershkovich "For Anyone Else" But Me. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 05, 2024 - 21:00   ET



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: What's the correct way, for the country, to proceed, in its battle against Hamas?

No one's sympathizing with Hamas, amongst this group of people. But it's just the idea that Israel has certain standards that many people in Israel, a growing number, believe are being not met by the military, by the authorities, in its pursuit of Hamas, in Gaza. And that's what this court case and that protest is all about.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Matthew Chance, thanks for your reporting.

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


A plot twist with major new developments, in not one but two of the biggest cases against Donald Trump. The Georgia conspiracy case now on ice indefinitely. And in Florida, Judge Cannon's unusual decision about Trump's push to get Jack Smith fired.

Plus, post-conviction payback as Trump's most serious threat, so far, is sounding more like a promise, to investigate his enemies, and potentially have them thrown in prison.

And also, we're tracking significant new concerns, tonight, about a potential new front, in Israel's war with its enemies. An influential former Prime Minister of Israel will join me here, live.

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

Fresh off a felony conviction, and awaiting sentencing that could include prison time, potentially, Donald Trump is scoring some pretty big legal wins, tonight, in his push to delay any other case, from going to trial, before Election Day.

In Georgia, an appeals court has just halted the conspiracy case against Donald Trump, and his co-defendants, indefinitely, as it considers whether the District Attorney, Fani Willis, should be removed from the case, which they are obviously trying to do. All of this stems from that romantic relationship that she had with

the lead prosecutor that she put on this case. Nathan Wade is now gone from the case. But this trouble is still here, for Fani Willis at least.

The accusation is that she benefited from -- financially, from his appointment, by spending his salary, on things like vacations together, an allegation that I should note Willis, in a very dramatic courtroom moment, flatly denied.


FANI WILLIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: You're confused. You think I'm on trial. These people are on trial, for trying to steal an election in 2020. I'm not on trial.

The only man who's ever foot my bills completely is my daddy.

You've lied in this -- this -- let me tell you which one you lied in. Right here. I think you lied right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor. I'm going to object.

WILLIS: No, no, no, no. This is the truth.


WILLIS: And this--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object to this (ph).

WILLIS: It is a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to--

WILLIS: It is a lie.


COLLINS: That is one saga.

Meantime, as we are waiting on the Supreme Court to rule on presidential immunity, which they are expected to do later this month. The judge, in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case has now kicked the can so far down the road, it's hard to even see it, at this point. There's just about zero chance that this trial sees the light of day, before the election.

Judge Aileen Cannon has also now agreed to hold a hearing, on Trump's push, to get Jack Smith removed from the case. Of course, Trump and his team are claiming that Smith was illegally appointed, as the Special Counsel who's overseeing that and the case in Washington, D.C.

But not only is this a further delay in Florida, as Trump motions are stacking up like planes on a runway, motions that I should note Cannon has yet to rule on. The most immediate issue now becomes, is Judge Cannon considering giving Jack Smith the boot? Well, what we have learned is that she at least wants to hear the two sides out.

My top legal sources are here, tonight, joining me at the table.

CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Elie Honig.

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

And retired federal judge, Shira Scheindlin.

It's great to have you all here.

Judge, I want to get your take on this in a moment.

But, Elie, I mean, if we thought the Georgia case was doomed, from the start, this is essentially cementing that.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's over. Let's be realistic. It's not happening before the 2024 election. It's not happening in 2024. It's maybe not happening at all.

Now, look, the appeals court, we can never predict what they're going to do. But there's some things we know for sure. Number one, they didn't have to take this case, the appeal, and they chose to. The other thing is they didn't have to pause the district court.

In fact, the trial court judge, when he issued his ruling, allowing Donald Trump, and the others, to ask the appeals court to take the case, the trial court judge specified, while you all are doing that, I am going to continue holding proceedings, in this trial court. And now, today, just a couple hours ago, the appeals court said no, no, no, pause that too.

So, that tells me that they are taking this appeal very seriously. And if Trump and the defendants prevail in this appeal, this case is essentially a toast.

COLLINS: And that you're talking about Judge McAfee.


COLLINS: He was still ruling on some pre-trial motions, going ahead with things. All of that is now frozen.

And I mean, we're not even going to get a decision, on the appeals court, until next spring.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, we won't. But I think it's the right call. And let me tell you why.


I'm a firm believer that you have to have confidence in our institutions. And appeals are part of that process. I think there are many people, who took issue with McAfee's decision, however, well- reasoned the 23 pages were or not. I think there are people, who felt that there was an actual conflict of interest, not just a perceived conflict, and maybe took issue with his remedy as well. What remedy? Get the Special Counsel off the case. And you're fine. Proceed. Nathan Wade, I'm speaking of.

And so, to the extent that there's an appeal, why not freeze the case? Because if you move forward, and the appeal is otherwise granted, and the case is undone, what are we doing?

And so, my view, because of the institutions and the respect for them, and people have to have trust in them, let an appellate panel, of three judges, make the decision. And what they decide will have to live.

COLLINS: And what they're deciding judge is whether or not Judge McAfee here made the right decision, on not disqualifying Fani Willis, the District Attorney. He said Nathan Wade could not be on the team anymore, but he did not disqualify her.

Do you think he made the right choice?

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, RETIRED FEDERAL JUDGE: I think he probably made the right choice. The real question is, are we surprised by the stay? And I think we're not. I think I agree with what you said, Joey, that this required a stay. And the truth is, I don't think this case was going before the election, anyway.

HONIG: True.

SCHEINDLIN: It was never ready to go. There were still discovery issues, still pre-motion issues. It's a sprawling case with many defendants. I don't think it causes any difference, frankly, in timing. It wasn't going to go before the election, in my opinion.

COLLINS: What does it mean for the people, who've already pleaded guilty? I mean, there are a number of them, in this case.


COLLINS: Jenna Ellis, everyone remembers her tearful moment--

HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: --on camera, inside that courtroom, in Atlanta, Georgia. What happens to them?

HONIG: Powell and Chesebro. Boy, if this thing gets dismissed, and then they're standing there with their guilty pleas? They're going to try to take them back for sure, right? They're going to make a motion, right away, saying we want to -- we want to withdraw our guilty pleas, and then that'll be up to the judge.

I do want to flag another issue, though that's going to be in front of the Court of Appeals. There's the disqualification, the affair, the intermingling of finances. I'm actually -- I agree with Judge Scheindlin. I'm not so moved by that. I don't think the proof was clear enough.

There is a separate issue that Trump and the other defendants are going to raise that I think is a bigger deal, which is Fani Willis' inappropriate comments, about the case, outside of court.

Judge McAfee found those comments to be, quote, legally improper, and then he did nothing about it. And so, the defense is going to argue to the Court of Appeals, if the prosecutor makes, quote, legally improper statements that impair the constitutional rights of the defendant, there needs to be a remedy for that.

JACKSON: But here's my only issue. I think that you can make -- well, you shouldn't, of course, as a prosecutor, be making comments, extrajudicial outside the court that are inappropriate and that impair anyone's rights. The issue is, what's the remedy?

HONIG: Right.

JACKSON: And should the appropriate remedy be the dismissal of the indictment? I think that's a bridge too far.

So, you could say, perhaps at the church, you remember, she gave the speech, and somewhat inflammatory, some would argue, with respect to the comments, about, you know, that she made at that time. But I just think not dismissing the indictment, was the right call.


COLLINS: Yes, that's a good point.

SCHEINDLIN: I think the remedy that they're talking about is taking her out of the case.

COLLINS: Right. And that's a big question--

SCHEINDLIN: Should she be removed?

COLLINS: --then, if the case would even move forward.

SCHEINDLIN: Right, exactly.

COLLINS: But Judge, I have to get your take on the, what's happening in Florida. Because Judge Aileen Cannon has basically ripped up the entire court schedule.


COLLINS: She's pushed some hearings now without -- they don't even have a date. Some of these were things that were filed a year -- almost a year ago, this week. And still, no decision has been made.

As a judge, what was -- what's your take of how she's conducting this?

SCHEINDLIN: She's not conducting it well. She's not organized. She's not efficient. She's not getting the work done. But once again, this seems clear to me that this case was never going

to go to trial, before this election. Now, whether that's an intentional effort, on her part, or because there are issues that are somewhat complicated, like what you do with these highly confidential documents. So, it takes some time. But that said, she's about the slowest judge I've seen. Period.

COLLINS: Do you have confidence in her as she's handling this, though, from what you've seen?

SCHEINDLIN: I don't. I look at her as a rookie judge, who wasn't really up to this case, and is not rising well to the occasion.

COLLINS: What options does Jack Smith, the Special Counsel, have? I mean, once, she just agreed (ph) to hear--


COLLINS: --have a hearing on whether or not he should even -- is allowed to be the Special Counsel.

HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: But what options does he have if -- can they get a new judge? Or is that not even a chance?

HONIG: Yes, that's the nuclear option. I don't think it's likely that he even asked for that.

It's incredibly rare that prosecutors go to an appeals court, and say you need to remove the judge. I know that's a popular theory that's out there. But Jack Smith knows what he's doing. He's nine, 10 months into this case. He's not done that. He can appeal certain of her individual rulings.

But I also, I agree with Judge Scheindlin. I mean, there is an art -- it's not as easy as it looks, to run your courtroom. I mean, some judges do struggle to stay on top of their cases. Now, you would think this case would be the top priority--


HONIG: --for this judge, given all the circumstances. And I've seen you run your courtroom, Your Honor, quite efficiently. And this judge is, I mean, it's hard to even keep track of what's where right now.

COLLINS: OK. But say that you agree with Trump's allies that Jack Smith shouldn't be the Special Counsel--


COLLINS: --that there are questions, because he wasn't in any kind of confirmed position before, about why he's there.

[21:10:00] But in the arguments, on that, she agreed to allow third parties, who have nothing to do with this case, come in and make the arguments about it.


COLLINS: Is that typical?

JACKSON: So, that's a little troubling, right? You hear that, in terms of appellate courts, where you have amicus briefs that are briefs, friends-of-the-court briefs, where other people weigh in. These are parties before the court. And the arguments should be limited to those parties. Like who? Like the prosecutor and like the defense.

And I think, again, because of my confidence-in-the-institution arguments, you want to make the argument that the Special Counsel is unconstitutional? Make the argument. But don't allow, everybody come in. What do you say? What do you say? Everybody else say. I think they'll make it.

And some of the arguments, maybe they'll carry muster. Should there have been a special office created? Should it have gone through Congress? Should there have been Senate confirmation? Right? Those are things that perhaps we should hear. I don't know that they carry the day. I think Merrick Garland certainly has the authority to appoint the Special Counsel. But that's my view. Her view may be different.

COLLINS: And he said, this week, he has no regrets about appointing him as the Special Counsel. Would you allow third parties to come in?

SCHEINDLIN: Absolutely not. These third parties have filed an amicus brief, on this issue, in the U.S. Supreme Court. I read the brief today. So, they've already written this out. They know their arguments.

And it's if that issue takes off, it's going to get to the Supreme Court. They raised it in the immunity argument, when they asked for a stay. And they said this is so serious, it's a ground for granting the stay. And it stayed Judge Chutkan's case.

So, it's nothing surprising that this argument's coming up. But why she's hearing from them? She can read the same brief I read. There's no reason to let them argue it, in front of her.

COLLINS: I mean, Trump attorneys have a lot of time on their hands, apparently now.


COLLINS: Judge, Elie Honig, Joey Jackson, great to have you all here, tonight, to break all of that down.


COLLINS: Up next, what Trump's now saying in private, about possibly going to prison because, of course remember, there is that sentencing hearing, in just a few weeks, as he is also threatening to jail his political opponents.

Also, we'll check in with Delaware. Emotional testimony at the trial of Hunter Biden, today, with his ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend both taking the witness stand, exposing the depths of his drug addiction.



COLLINS: Take Donald Trump seriously, but don't take him literally. That is what skeptics were told, about Donald Trump's more alarming comments, shall we say, during his first run for president. The question, though, is what about this third attempt at the White House?

Here is Trump, on the prospect of using the justice system, to target his opponents, and maybe even send them to prison.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a very terrible thing. It's a terrible precedent for our country. Does that mean the next president does it to them? That's really the question.

It's a terrible, terrible path that they're leading us to. And it's very possible that it's going to have to happen to them.


COLLINS: If history is any guide, we have seen Donald Trump follow through, on some of his more inflammatory promises. And you can bet that some of his perceived -- his enemies, whether real or perceived, I should note, are taking note of this.

So are his supporters in Congress. And some of them are falling all over themselves to jump in on his revenge tour.


MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If Trump wins, should you guys retaliate against these prosecutors and people who have been going after him?

REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): What they've done is weaponize the process, absolutely.

They're going to have consequences as they should.

RAJU: Are you calling for retaliation?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I'm calling for a strong response, at every level.

REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TX): President Biden should just be ready because on January 20, of next year, when he's former President Joe Biden, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: My next guest knows firsthand what it's like to be at the center of Trump's attacks. Andrew McCabe was the acting FBI Director, after Trump fired James Comey, and drew Trump's wrath, after he opened two investigations into the former President.

It's great to have you here.

Because just few people know the inner workings of the FBI better than you do. And you've also personally experienced the pressure from Donald Trump. And when you see him promising, this wholesale takeover of the Justice Department, I wonder how you worry about what that will look like.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, Kaitlan, I mean, I worry a lot about it.

And I think it's, when you think about these things, and you try to predict how Donald Trump is going to react, or the steps he's going to take, you really don't have to go any further than listening to the things he says and does.

I mean, his comments recently are offensive and horrendous. But they're not surprising in any way. He's been saying this for quite some time. I will be your retribution, as it's refrain to his supporters.

So, you know him. You know what motivates him. He is not a person, who is driven by principle or ideology. He is someone, who's entirely transactional, that if he feels like he's been wronged, in some way, then he focuses on revenge, and vengeance. And so, he's made it perfectly clear that that's what he's going to do.

And in the process of seeking that, he is going to really -- he runs the risk of really dismantling and greatly incapacitating, the Department of Justice and the FBI. And that is something that Americans, on both sides of the political aisle, should be worried about.


MCCABE: We depend on those institutions to protect us.

COLLINS: What do you think it's--

MCCABE: And he is--

COLLINS: What do people inside--

MCCABE: --proposing to tear them down.

COLLINS: What do people, inside the FBI, think, when they hear a comment like that?

MCCABE: It's terrifying. It's frightening. I have a lot of conversations with former colleagues, people who are -- or were in the intelligence and law enforcement community, and may have worked in the Obama administration, other places. And people are really trying to assess like, what is life going to be like if Donald Trump wins a second term?

And on a very personal level, I mean, these are torturous discussions with their family members about whether or not they have to leave the country, to avoid being--



MCCABE: --unconstitutionally and illegally detained. I mean, people were actually worried about being thrown in jail, or grabbed in some sort of extra-judicial detention. And I think as crazy as this sounds, in the United States of America, I think people should really consider that these are possibilities.

Listen to what the man says. He typically does what he says, as crazy as it seems. And that's really all the indicators you need.

COLLINS: Well and the one person he keeps referencing -- I mean, obviously, we've heard names like yours come up, like James Comey, who I spoke with here, last night.

He, just moments ago, tonight, in a brand-new interview, again, referenced Hillary Clinton, not by name. But he said, wouldn't it be terrible if someone did this to the Secretary of State, making a clear reference to her.

And you take that -- do you take that seriously that he would -- he would actually try to do something like that?

MCCABE: You'd be crazy not to take it seriously, right? This is come to D.C., and it's going to be wild. He says what he's going to do. And his followers listen very closely to the words that he uses, the way he makes these oblique and indirect threats to people or institutions.

And some of his most ardent followers, most extreme followers, we know are willing to take action, on the things they think he's telling them. And some of them, it's violent action. Now, there's a million examples already, Cedar -- Richie -- Ricky Shetland (ph), the list goes on and on, the infamous Comet Ping Pong pizza-shooter.

So yes, we have to take these things seriously. And he continues to push the envelope and get closer and closer to the edge, and is actually creating the risk of political violence. Because it's -- he believes it's beneficial to him, doesn't really care how it's going to affect Hillary Clinton, Jim Comey, me or anyone else, or the country, for that matter.

COLLINS: Do you personally worry about it?

MCCABE: Yes, absolutely. I'd be, you know, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to hide it. I mean, it is something that anyone, who has been in his crosshairs, on his perceived enemies list. I think most of those people are considering the -- considering this stuff. People have different ways about thinking about how they're going to react to it--


MCCABE: --and what they'll do in the moment. But those are personal decisions. But it is a very real concern, for a lot of people.

COLLINS: Andrew McCabe, thank you for joining us, on such a serious topic.

MCCABE: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Coming up. The question, tonight, is about Israel, and whether or not they are preparing to launch another large-scale attack on another front, and potentially expand its war into Lebanon.

We're going to speak with a former Israeli Prime Minister, here on set, next.



COLLINS: Tonight, Israel is warning it is prepared to launch a large- scale attack in the north, after intensifying cross-border attacks, coming from the Iran-backed group, Hezbollah.

The Israeli army reported two drone strikes, in northern Israel, this evening. At least 10 people were hurt. And Hezbollah militants, in Lebanon, have now claimed responsibility. U.S. officials say, and I'm quoting them now that they are incredibly concerned that this would turn into an all-out war, meaning that Israel would be fighting wars, on two different fronts.

I'm joined here, tonight, by the former Prime Minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett.

And Prime Minister, it's great to have you here.


COLLINS: When you look at the likelihood of this, do you believe that it is inevitable that there will be a war with Hezbollah?

BENNETT: It's not inevitable. We can still prevent the war. It's up to the other side. Hezbollah has to stop its mischief.

Look, players in the region have been seeing Israel taking a lot of hits, all around, for the past few months, sometimes not responding very strongly. And they might misinterpret this as weakness, and that it's OK to hit Israel.

So, I want to be very clear. We will hit back. There will be a decisive blow, one that they cannot recover from, if they continue down this route.

COLLINS: Do you think it would be decisive? I mean, Hezbollah is not the same as it was in 2006 to 2008? I mean, they have quite an arsenal to them. What would that look like, if Israel is fighting wars, on two different borders?

BENNETT: First of all, we can handle two wars. Again, we don't want it. I've spent decades, fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Nasrallah, after the Second Lebanon War, he publicly stated that had he known what our reaction would have been, he would not have started the war. He said that. He should be smart enough to not make that mistake again.

COLLINS: Can I ask about something President Biden said, in recent days? Two different comments that seem to contradict one another.

First, he told Time Magazine that -- and the quote was, "There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion," when he was asked if Prime Minister Netanyahu is prolonging this war in Gaza, for his own political gain.

But then, when he was asked yesterday, at the White House, by a reporter, if he thought Netanyahu was playing politics, with the war, he said he did not think so.

What do you think? Is Netanyahu extending this war to protect himself, politically?

BENNETT: I hope not. I very much hope not. I don't think so. I will say that the war is being conducted very slowly, half-hearted. This is not how you conduct a war.

If you want to win a war, you have to continuously hit the enemy and not to turn it on and off like a light switch, which is what's happening right now. And that's why I think both the American administration and Israel should encourage a rapid wrapping up of this war, by going in, getting Hamas leadership.

We're getting close. We've sealed the border with Egypt, so there's no more smuggling of arms. We can win this. But we need to get the job done.

COLLINS: You said you hope he's not. But do you think he is?

BENNETT: I -- you know, I don't know what goes in a mind of someone. I do not believe that Prime Minister of the Jewish state would play political games.

COLLINS: You don't think Netanyahu--

BENNETT: On -- on--

COLLINS: --would play political games?

BENNETT: On something of life and death, of this magnitude? I would hope not.


COLLINS: And he's agreed to come and address the U.S. Congress. There's some back-and-forth on when that date is actually going to happen.

But I was reading today, in an Israeli publication that there are some families that that are upset that he would come to the United States, and address the U.S. Congress, while not addressing his own people at home, and going and visiting with those, who were attacked that day, and witnessed this.

Do you think it would be inappropriate for him to come visit the U.S. Congress, and leave Israel to do that?

BENNETT: I think what matters are actions, actions on the ground, OK? And if we're vacillating for months and months, and unclear whether we're fighting a war, or stopping a war, or what's going on?

Speeches matter less. What matters is what we do in Gaza, not what we say in Washington. I'm here to fight the media war. There's enough people that can do it. We need to win the war, get it done with.

COLLINS: So, you think he should be more focused on what's happening on the ground in Gaza, than addressing U.S. lawmakers?

BENNETT: I think it won't harm to speak to the lawmakers. But that's not what's going to change the reality on ground. What will change the reality on ground is uniting Israel, and executing this war in a decisive way.

COLLINS: I have to ask you about what's happening with this U.S. Military-built pier in Gaza.

There was a lot of frustration and concerns about people in Gaza not being able to get food, and basic necessities of -- concerns about famine. So, the U.S. Military was going to construct this pier, to the tunes of hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars with U.S. soldiers constructing this. It's essentially not gotten very much aid in. There was a storm that kind of has made the pier deteriorate, to where it couldn't be used for several periods of time.

Why is it having to get to the point, where they're building a pier, that barely works, to get aid to people, that's not getting to them, in a wholesome way, when there's all these border crossings, all these land crossings that Israel could open and let aid get into Gaza that way?

BENNETT: All those openings that you mentioned are open. Right now--

COLLINS: Every single one?

BENNETT: They are open. Right now, the amount of food that's entering Gaza, over 400,000 tons, that's 3,000 calories a day, per Gazan, right? You gain weight if you eat that amount of food. There is a problem--

COLLINS: But you are not saying Gazans are all getting--

BENNETT: No, I'm not.

COLLINS: Gazans are not getting 3,000 calories a day.

BENNETT: Well, Hamas is siphoning lots of that food. And that's the problem. The problem isn't the entrance into Gaza. The problem is that Hamas is stealing the food of its own people, and then selling it in black market, and some people can't afford that. That's the problem.

COLLINS: But they're stealing food from the pier too. I mean--

BENNETT: Yes, they are.

COLLINS: I mean, the problem still exists.

BENNETT: Look the--

COLLINS: People are still starving.

BENNETT: Well, I think it's much less than what you suggest. I don't think there's mass starvation.

COLLINS: Even if there are thousands of people starving, I mean, there's a million, over a million people.

BENNETT: I know but -- and that's why you need to defeat those, who are starving them, which is Hamas.

COLLINS: But what if they starve in the process?

BENNETT: It's Hamas'--

COLLINS: I think that would be the counter argument for that.

BENNETT: So, what should we do? If Hamas--

COLLINS: That's my question to you.

BENNETT: All right. So, we need to defeat these thugs, this mafia that's killing not only Israelis, but its own people, and starving its own people, because they've developed this new methodology of war, where they do everything to increase deaths of Gazans, starve Gazans. So, you'll be asking me these very questions.

And the focus, then the pressure needs to be on Hamas, not on Israel. They are the ones stealing the food. There's unlimited amount of food entering Gaza. We're not putting any brakes on that.


BENNETT: That's not the problem.

COLLINS: And of course, everyone understands that Hamas is using civilians. They don't make themselves available for interviews to ask them.

BENNETT: No, they don't.

COLLINS: The big question is obviously for Israel and its responsibility.

BENNETT: That's why -- that's why we need to defeat them.

COLLINS: Because that has been immense amount of pressure from the U.S., from other U.S. allies, who are worried about what's happening to the Palestinians, and the fact that they're not getting enough food and health care.

BENNETT: That's why America should help us defeat Hamas, because they are the ones stopping all of this. This whole problem will go away, once they're defeated.

COLLINS: Prime Minister, it's great to have you here. Great to have you on set.

BENNETT: Thank you.

COLLINS: We spoke right after the attack happened. It's remarkable where we are, this far. And thank you for being here, and for taking our questions.

BENNETT: Thank you.

COLLINS: Great to have you.

Still ahead, there are darkening details that are coming to light at that trial of Hunter Biden that's underway. Today, his ex-wife and former girlfriend, both taking the witness stand. We'll tell you what they said, next.



COLLINS: In a Delaware courtroom, today, Hunter Biden's ex-wife of 20 years, and his former girlfriend, both took the witness stand, telling jurors about the depths of his drug addiction.

His ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, says that she found drugs in his car, in 2018. But she couldn't say exactly when that happened.

His former girlfriend, meanwhile, described drug-fueled partying.

And for the first time sworn testimony came from the employee, the clerk, who sold Hunter Biden the gun that is at the center of this entire case. He said that he saw Hunter Biden fill out the ATF gun purchase form, himself.

Defense attorney and jury consultant, Renato Stabile, joins me now.

I mean, this was incredibly personal testimony, to see his ex-wife of two decades, the mother of his children, his ex-girlfriend up there, testifying about this. What did you make of what they -- what they said, and what the jury heard from them?

RENATO STABILE, ATTORNEY & JURY CONSULTANT: Well, look, as we -- as we've been talking about, it is a very emotional case. And that may be why Abbe Lowell wanted to have, defense wanted to have some people that had experience with addiction, because now they're seeing what it was really like, for these people, how crazy the life was, and all of those things.

So, I think, the evidence is starting to mount that he did in fact have a drug problem, around this time. The key question is going to be when you check off that box, whether or not you're a user, how far prior to that do you need to have used?

It can't be that you have to have a crack pipe hanging out of your mouth, as you're filling out the form, right? It can't be that day. That's not -- that's not a reasonable interpretation. But the day before? Most people would say you're still a user. A week before? Some people might differ. A month before? I don't know.


So, that's what the -- what I think the defense is going to have to argue that people can interpret user differently. And if that's the case, then you can't find him guilty, because it's open to interpretation.

COLLINS: Well, and what about how the jury heard from the clerk himself, who said he watched Hunter Biden, who came in, and said he wanted the gun, which had been a dispute. And he also testified that he watched Hunter Biden fill out the form.

STABILE: Look, sometimes witnesses try to offer too much to the prosecution. It seemed -- look, I wasn't there. I didn't see him testify.

But to be watching somebody with that level of detail, and say, yes, I specifically watched him fill out the form, and I specifically watched him check that box? I suppose, it's the son of somebody who was the former Vice President, became the President. In 2018, he knew who Hunter Biden was probably, no doubt, and paid extra attention to him.

But I thought his testimony was a little bit like trying too hard.

COLLINS: You're skeptical of that.

Well, the prosecution said they may rest as soon as tomorrow.


COLLINS: One, what does that mean for them? Do you think we're going to see a lot of witnesses from the defense? What does that look like do you think?

STABILE: I think the defense wants to end this case as quickly as they can.

I just want to point out one jury issue, is that the next alternate up is very dangerous for the defense. The next alternate -- because we already had alternate one seated.

Alternate two is a woman, who said that she believes gun laws in the U.S. should be more strict, and she cited school shootings, and in her view, there was a greater need for mental health evaluations of gun owners. That to me is a nightmare juror, for the defense.

COLLINS: Because they've already gone through juror number -- the alternate juror number one.

STABILE: Exactly.

COLLINS: And so, this would be the next step.

STABILE: So, if they lose another juror, and this person ends up on the jury, I would be -- I would -- if I'm the defense, I want to end this. I want to move on. Maybe they truncate or even jettison their entire defense case.

COLLINS: Oh, well we'll watch that closely, and see how they're watching it.

Renato Stabile, great to have you.

We are tracking all this very closely.

Also, something else we're tracking, tonight, the veepstakes for Donald Trump, because clearly, they are heating up. We have new reporting, tonight, on who has been told that they are under serious consideration. We've got the names, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: Sources tell CNN, tonight, that former President Donald Trump's campaign has now given vetting materials, several people, who are on the vice presidential shortlist.

That includes North Dakota -- North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum; Senators Marco Rubio, J.D. Vance and Tim Scott. Also, Representatives Byron Donalds and Elise Stefanik. And also Trump's former Cabinet Secretary, Ben Carson. All at least seven of the names that we are told are undergoing really what is the political version of a background check.

We've assembled our own vetting committee, here on THE SOURCE.

Former Senior White House Communications aide, Jamal Simmons, is here; along with former Trump campaign adviser, Jason Osborne.

And obviously, for people who aren't, Jason, familiar with how this process works, they kind of asked for, you know, it's kind of like getting a security clearance, where they want to know--


COLLINS: --what have you said about this in the past? What have you said about this? Provide us with these materials.

What do you make of the fact that they're undertaking this process?

OSBORNE: Well, they have to, I mean, quite frankly, because there's a number of pitfalls that could come across, in the vetting -- in the vetting process that, if discovered, after the fact, cause a lot of problems, both for the candidate himself, and also the campaign and how they operate.

So what, in this process, I think, what Trump is trying to do is make sure that, first and foremost, it's not somebody that overshadows him. And secondly, somebody that actually can help bolster, from a professional standpoint, if you're talking professional politics, how government is run. And that's where I think like Mike Pence came in, and it was really helpful, because he had that government experience.

In this field that you talked about, I think there's one person in particular that I think would be a great pick for Trump. And that's Doug Burgum.

And the reason why is because Doug Burgum is, from a respectability standpoint, in Trump's eyes, he's a business guy, who's sold his business, and made a ton of money. So, he's a peer.

Secondly, he's run a state, he's run a government, and he's actually done some very good things. And there's not a lot of negative things you can say about Doug Burgum.


OSBORNE: And first and foremost, I think probably in a lot of people's eyes, is he's not going to overshadow Trump ever.

COLLINS: Yes, which obviously, is something that Mike Pence actually navigated pretty well, until January 6 happened, and we saw what happened there.

What do you make of the faces that you saw there, the names that are under consideration, that are providing these vetting materials to the campaign?

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right? It just seems like there's a lot of MAGA going on in the list.

And what time is it? 9:48? So, I want to make sure the kids are in bed. Listen?

COLLINS: Unless the bad ones.

SIMMONS: Right, exactly.

Today, they had a vote on contraception, in the House, birth control, right? Marco Rubio voted against it. Tim Scott voted against it.

88 percent of Americans believe that women ought to be able to have birth control. That's more people than the people who believe the Earth is round, or that it revolves around the Sun.

These people are willing to do anything, to stand in the way of the rights of women in America.

So, the first thing I noticed, when I see this list, there are no women on it. Maybe Elise Stefanik is going to get a secret package at some point. But there are no women on it, and there's nobody who's willing to stand up on the number one issue that has been driving Democratic voter turnout, over the last three years.

COLLINS: Yes. And they claimed that they voted against it because it was a Democratic messaging bill. I mean, that's what we heard from some of them.


COLLINS: And we talked to Ted Cruz, on this.

SIMMONS: Yes, Lisa Murkowski said if it's a message bill, the message is women ought to be able to have birth control.

COLLINS: Yes, obviously. And we do expect to see that coming up.

But on this specifically, I mean, the Mike Pence 2.0, obviously Donald Trump doesn't want Mike Pence. They have completely deteriorated in this relationship.


But when you look at that, and you have seen all of those people, doing a lot of television, going out there, showing up in court with Donald Trump. Obviously, Doug Burgum was here the day that the verdict actually came down. And so, you are seeing that they are taking these steps, to be by his side, to be conferring with him, as they know he's getting ready to make this decision.


COLLINS: But he plays people off of each other.


COLLINS: Remember Chris Christie?


COLLINS: He was playing Chris Christie and Mike Pence off each other, until it was announced that Pence was the pick in 2016.

OSBORNE: Well, I guarantee you that at some point in this process, either after he's -- before he's named, whoever is going to be his pick, or before the election, he's going to say, I have the right to change my mind, you know?

COLLINS: You think--

OSBORNE: I guarantee you that.


OSBORNE: Because it's that's how Donald Trump operates. He's like, in a joking way, he's going to say, well, who knows? Maybe I pick somebody else after the fact.

Now, the reality is, at the convention, he has to pick who the nominee is. I mean, I've heard talk that he may not pick it at the convention. But he has to. I mean, it's just--

COLLINS: He'll pick before the convention.


COLLINS: It's what the--


COLLINS: --all of his advisers have said.

SIMMONS: Sure, he'll pick. But then he'll, I mean -- and it may very well be a long ball. And we see how well that worked out for John McCain, right, where he came out of the box with Sarah Palin, which nobody had ever thought about, no reporters had done any vetting on, and then--

COLLINS: Including?

SIMMONS: --including my friend here to my left--


SIMMONS: --which is not as often the case.

But he picked Sarah Palin, and it was a disaster, because it is hard to go from playing high school football to the pros, and never having done any work along the way.

COLLINS: But not for Alabama players.

Jamal Simmons, Jason Osborne--

OSBORNE: Roll Tide.

COLLINS: --great to have you both here.

I have to pick a Roll Tide joke, when you're here.


COLLINS: All right. Also, tonight, Trump is now claiming again that he can get Russian President Putin to free the detained American Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich, but only if he wins the election in November.

We're going to have reaction from someone, who helped bring several Americans home, including Brittney Griner, next.



COLLINS: Tonight, between 30 and 40 Americans are wrongfully detained, overseas. And that includes the former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, and also American journalist, Evan Gershkovich, who are both being held, in Russia, tonight.

And while the Biden administration is working to bring them home, Donald Trump says he's the only one with the solution for Gershkovich.


TRUMP: Evan Gershkovich, the reporter for The Wall Street Journal, who is being held by Russia, will be released almost immediately after the election.

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me. And I don't believe he will do it for anyone else. And we will be paying nothing.


COLLINS: Well, tonight, we heard from President Putin, and he said that any possible release of Evan Gershkovich can happen only on the basis of reciprocity.

My source, tonight, has helped free several Americans, who were detained overseas, including Brittney Griner. Mickey Bergman is the co-author of "In the Shadows: True Stories of High-Stakes Negotiations to Free Americans Captured Abroad."

And I mean, you have a window into this that very few people do. We cover this a lot here. But when you hear what Putin said, tonight, that it has to be done on the basis of reciprocity. What does that signal to you? And is it also as easy as Trump is making it seem like?

MICKEY BERGMAN, HELPED FREE BRITTNEY GRINER, CEO, GLOBAL REACH: Well, I wish it was as easy as Trump make it seems like.

And I, look, I believe Donald Trump that he wants to bring Americans. He did bring American, as a president. Why wait for the elections, if you can do it for free? Let's do it now. It actually probably will help him, in the elections.

But President Putin is sharing his sentiment that I've learned, from my experience, in working on the release of Trevor Reed, and Brittney Griner, and trying to get Paul Whelan, which we failed up to now, the Russians believe in symmetry. They believe in reciprocity. And the deals that we have -- and not always we have to make deals. But when we do have to make deals, they're never good. They're never fair. But they're sometimes, the only way to bring innocent Americans home.

COLLINS: And you're working for a non-government organization.


COLLINS: Obviously, that would naturally cause tension, I would guess, potentially with the actual government and their operations. How does that work with the Biden administration? What's your experience been working with them, in different channels, to the same goal--


COLLINS: --but maybe different methods?

BERGMAN: Yes, as you mentioned, we are a not-for-profit organization. So, we work on behalf of families, at their request, at no cost to them. We raise our funds elsewhere.

And it's true that there is friction, by default, between us and the government, between the families and the government. And that is mainly because this is not a simple issue.

The government itself, when they're dealing with Russia, let's say, there's a whole slew of interests, complex interests between the two countries, which makes the conversations, even to try and to insulate the issue of the prisoners it's very difficult.

When we step in on behalf of the families, we have no authority, when it comes to policy, we have no authority when it comes to Ukraine. We can talk about it. But we're able to insulate the issue, and therefore have a pathway or a theory of return, to get somebody home. And then, we need to try and push our own government to accept it.

COLLINS: As a non-government official, I mean, what is it like? You are sitting across from some of America's worst enemies.


COLLINS: What is it like when you're actually in the room, with the Russians, with the North Koreans, with others?

BERGMAN: So, I find it very interesting. In my job, I do have a clear differentiation between sympathy and empathy.

Empathy, for me is a must. It's a necessity. I need to genuinely be able to step into their shoes, to understand the way they understand the world, and their role in it, so I can actually get tangible things from them.

But sympathy is when you start to align your -- aligning your objectives with theirs, or when you agree with them. And I don't. I don't legitimize them. It's not -- it's not that part. But I need to genuinely understand them, in order to do this.


And that is really, really tough. Because even though I'm sitting there, if I were a diplomat, and I would hear all this criticism, I would have to protest, I would have to step outside, and storm away. But because I'm not, I actually take it in. I actually get a first narrative of how they see the world. And that helps me.

COLLINS: That's so fascinating.

I mean, the whole book is fascinating. Everyone should read it. It's "In the Shadows."

Mickey Bergman, I think we'll probably be having more conversations, on this, in the future.

BERGMAN: I would love that.

COLLINS: Hopefully, about good news.

Thank you, for coming on, tonight.

BERGMAN: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Great to have you.

And thank you all so much, for joining us.