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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Sen. Bennet: Dems Could "Lose The Whole Thing" With Biden Running; Trump Challenges Biden To Another Debate This Week; Zelenskyy: World Awaits U.S. Election, "Putin Awaits November Too". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 09, 2024 - 21:00   ET



JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: In November, where carjackers attempted to break into an unmarked Secret Service car, for agents who were assigned to President Biden's granddaughter, Naomi. In that case, the Secret Service agents also opened fire, to stop the attempted carjacking, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And what's the condition of the man, who was shot?

SCHNEIDER: So, this was an 18-year-old Kentrell Flowers. He was actually placed under arrest at the hospital. And we know that at the hospital he was alert, because he identified himself to law enforcement. We don't know his exact condition. But they do say that he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and charged with a number of crimes.

But definitely, an alarming and brazen carjacking, or attempted carjacking.


SCHNEIDER: Anderson.

COOPER: Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.

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


President Biden delivering a forceful speech, as the world, and his party, really, are watching closely, from here in Washington. The President is working to show he's still fit for the job, amid major concerns behind closed doors.

My source tonight is a key Senate Democrat.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump's search for his next VP pick is now entering the homestretch, as his former rival turned ally, Senator Marco Rubio was center stage at his Florida rally, tonight, a decision potentially just days away. Also, Ukraine's president, tonight, saying that the whole world is waiting for November's U.S. presidential election, and that includes, he says, Vladimir Putin, as NATO allies in Washington, are on edge.

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

We're live here in Washington, tonight, where there has been mass despair inside the Democratic Party, but so far no mass defections.

With the eyes of the world on him, President Biden addressed world leaders, gathered here for the high-stakes NATO summit, earlier today, starting with a forceful speech, highlighting the military alliance, as he sought to downplay concerns about his performance.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Before this war, Putin thought NATO would break. Today, NATO is stronger than it's ever been in its history.

Russia will not prevail.


BIDEN: Ukraine will prevail.


COLLINS: Now, many were watching that speech, not just for what President Biden said, but also for how he said it. The President is trying to use moments like these, even when he's on a teleprompter, to reset his campaign, following that debate that pushed it to the brink.

But his allies, on Capitol Hill, are still watching the unscripted moments just as closely. So far, one more House Democrat has come forward, in the last 24 hours, to call on President Biden to drop out of the 2024 race. That's Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey. You've seen her here on this show, making her the seventh House Democrat to do so.

A lot of Democrats in the House and in the Senate still have major concerns about Biden's viability as a candidate. And lawmakers are coming out of meetings, with little consensus about what to do next.

Or as Steve Cohen of Tennessee put it today, when he was asked if his party is all on the same page, quote, "We're not even in the same book."

But most of the differences that are being discussed, behind closed doors, Biden has made clear that he is not getting out of this race, which means this is what you're hearing in front of the cameras.


REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Right now, President Biden is the nominee. And we support the Democratic nominee that will beat Donald Trump.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): He shouldn't leave a legacy that endangers us, that we surrender to a tyrant.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Trump would be an absolute disaster for democracy. So, I'm enthusiastically supporting Biden.

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): He just has to step down, because he can't win.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): We are riding with Biden. We're riding with Biden.


COLLINS: Now, those are all House Democrats that we heard from today.

But the Senate also met today. And one of them also told CNN, after, their colleagues had deep concerns during that lunch today, about the way that the 2024 race is shaping up.

As for their leader, in the Senate, the leader of the Democrats there, Chuck Schumer has kept to an uncharacteristically short three-word answer anytime he is asked about Biden's election prospects.


RACHEL SCOTT, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Are you confident that President Biden has what it takes to win in November and serve the next four years?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): As I've said before, I'm with Joe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there the ability to throw out the virtual nomination?

SCHUMER: As I've said before, I'm with Joe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with our sentiment?

SCHUMER: As I've said before, I'm with Joe.


COLLINS: My lead source, tonight, is the Senior Senator from Colorado, and the former presidential candidate, Democrat Michael Bennet.

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

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): Thank you for having me, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: You heard from Senator Schumer there.

There was this long, lengthy lunch that Senate Democrats had today. And after, my colleague, Dana Bash, reported that you, Senator Jon Tester, and Senator Sherrod Brown, all said during that lunch that you don't think President Biden can win in 2024. Is that true?

[21:05:00] BENNET: Well, it's true that I said that. And I did say that behind closed doors. And you guys and others asked whether I had said it. And that is what I said. So, I figured I should come here and say it publicly.

COLLINS: Why do you think he can't win in November?

BENNET: I just think the -- this race is on a trajectory that is very worrisome, if you care about the future of this country.

Joe Biden was nine points up at this time -- the last time he was running. Hillary Clinton was five points up. This is the first time in more than 20 years that a Republican president has been up in this part of the campaign.

Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election, and maybe win it by a landslide, and take with him the Senate and the House.

And so, for me, this isn't a question about polling. It's not a question about politics. It's a moral question about the future of our country. And I think it's critically important, for us, to come to grips with what we face, if together, we put this country on the path of electing Donald Trump again.

COLLINS: So, you're worried that your party is not just going to lose the White House, if Joe Biden is at the top of the ticket, but that you're also going to lose both chambers of Congress?

BENNET: I think that we could lose the whole thing. And it's staggering to me.

I mean, Donald Trump's already been President. I thought he was the worst president that we've ever had. He already took away the right for women to be able to make their own decisions around health care. He's already put three extreme Supreme Court justices on the court, that wouldn't even survived a vet (ph) in the old days, but now are on the court, because Donald Trump did it. These are all the things he's already done.

And today, as we're sitting here, he's three and a half points ahead in the polls. He was ahead before President Biden had that very unfortunate debate. And the lead has been growing. And we have four months, to figure out how we're going to save the country, from Donald Trump.

And when I think about the kids that I used to work for in the Denver Public Schools, when I was their superintendent, most of whom are kids of color, most of whom are kids that have been living in poverty, in a country, with incredibly low economic mobility and where the poverty rates are growing, and where the economic unfairness, I think, is producing Donald Trump in many ways.

COLLINS: So, you're saying the stakes are really high here?

BENNET: The stakes could not be higher. I believe that if we elect Donald Trump, president again, my generation of Americans will be the first generation, to leave less opportunity, not more, to the kids coming after us.

That's not Joe Biden, I'm blaming for that. That's not the senators, I'm blaming for that. That is our generation of Americans.

And we cannot let that happen. And we don't have to let it happen. We have to defeat the malignant figure that is Donald Trump, though, for us to be able to address the issues that we need to address. Kaitlan--

COLLINS: But you don't think that Joe Biden can do that. So, how can you not call on him to drop out of the race, if you think he'll lose to Donald Trump?

BENNET: Well, look, we're all here this week, to have this discussion, to have this debate. I'm sure President Biden has a different view of his prospects, in this election than I do. But we should be having a discussion about that.

And the White House in the time since that disastrous debate, I think, has done nothing to really demonstrate that they have a plan, to win this election, that they have a convincing plan to win in the battleground states, where we have to win, in order to win this election.

COLLINS: So are you--

BENNET: And they need to do that. They have to demonstrate that to the American people.

And by the way, this is not about ignoring the American people's concerns. It's not about brushing off the American people's concerns. They have to address the American people's concerns. The people that I represent, from Colorado, have deep concerns about whether or not the President can win this race.

COLLINS: So, it's not just donors or the media. You're saying it's your voters that have concerns?

BENNET: These are my voters, who said to me, I have been through this with my mom, I've been through this with my dad, I'm terrified about what it will mean, if Donald Trump is elected president again, in this country.

COLLINS: Do you think it's -- it could put Colorado in play?

BENNET: I don't think it will put Colorado in play.

And I also think Donald -- Joe Biden has been a really good president. You saw him addressing NATO. He was in his wheelhouse today. I'm glad he gave a good speech, today. I'm really proud of what he did to fund Ukraine, which is something that I've been fighting for, as well.

But I have not seen anything remotely approaching the kind of plan, we need, to see out of the White House, that can demonstrate that he can actually beat Donald Trump, which is not going to be about the accomplishments that we all had, three and four years ago. It's going to be about what the future of this direction of this country is going to be.

COLLINS: So, could you see yourself calling for President Biden? No Senate Democrat yet has called for him to get out of the race. Could you get to that place where you call for that?


BENNET: Look, I don't have -- I have no pleasure being here at all tonight, just saying what I said in the caucus. And I was glad to be here, to be able to do it, to have this conversation with you.

This is something for the President, really, to consider.

And I believe those of us that are in these elected office, have a moral obligation to the people that we represent, and the future of our country, to the kids that I used to work for, in the Denver Public Schools. We have a moral obligation to them, to do everything we can to make sure their future is as bright as it could be.

And if we just sit on our hands, if we say, we're going to disregard what is plainly in front of us, and plainly in front of the American people, and we end up electing Donald Trump again, as President of the United States? That's going to be a huge tragedy beyond epic proportion. And it's something I can't imagine (ph).

COLLINS: Can I ask you? In that lunch today. You don't even have to say names. Did anyone come out and say that they did believe Biden should drop out of the race?

BENNET: I did not hear a person say that today in the -- in that meeting.

COLLINS: But he has made clear, he's not getting out. And so, you're just saying, are you -- you're resigned to the fact that if he stays in, Democrats -- I mean, if you lose the Senate, that's power for the next -- the end of the decade, that Democrats would not be in control of the Senate, potentially.

BENNET: Right. That would be -- that would be an American tragedy.

COLLINS: The Supreme Court--

BENNET: If we lose the Senate?

COLLINS: --justices being--


BENNET: If we lose the House? If the Supreme Court, if they're -- if Donald Trump, instead of having three appointments to the Supreme Court, has five?

And let me tell you something. People who think that this is just going to take care of itself, because somehow, when it's just a contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, that somehow the American people are just going to come around in the end, and save the country, from Donald Trump?

I think we need to ask ourselves, how we're in the position we're in today, when he's already done all those horrible things, with respect to a woman's right to choose, with respect to the Supreme Court, as it is, with respect to the rule of law, with respect to his convictions, with respect to what the President was talking about today, he's abandoning NATO, who's abandoning--

COLLINS: Does the White House realize that?

BENNET: --abandoning Ukraine?

COLLINS: Does President Biden realize what you're saying is at stake here?

BENNET: I think they do.

But I think if I were -- I can understand how hard it would be, if I were Joe Biden, to sit there, and to say to myself, after all I've worked for, after all I've accomplished, after all the extraordinary public service I've given to the American people? Which we should honor, because it has been extraordinary.

One of the greatest leaders, to be in that office, certainly in recent times, and who has accomplished so much, it would be so hard, to acknowledge that after all of that, you're in the race of your lifetime with somebody you can't beat. I think that's probably really hard for him to acknowledge.

I think it's really hard for the people that are working for him to acknowledge. I think they have a moral obligation to look themselves in the mirror, and to be able to say, we know we can win this race, or we're sure that we're going to be able to win this race, because there's just too much at stake, otherwise.

And everything that we're looking at today, in terms of the election itself, is a fire-war about the situation, this country faces, the situation that our kids face, and America's role in the world, which is something President Biden cares so deeply about.

COLLINS: It sounds like you could get there to where you see yourself calling for him to get out of the race.

BENNET: I believe there -- the entire future of our country is at stake. People say, I hear them all the time. This is the most existential election. This is the most important election.

This is the most important election. We are really behind. The President did not do a good job, during the debate. And the week since, has been a really tough week, for the White House. And I think it's critically important that they address the concerns of the American people, not ignore them.

And those of us that have kids, I have three daughters of my own, who know how critical, important this election is, we should keep them in mind. We should keep the kids that I used to work for, in Denver Public Schools of mine.

I'm not happy to be here. Most people are not happy, with the situation that we have. It's no one's first choice. But I think it's really important that Democrats have an open, honest debate, about what the future is going to hold for our party.

COLLINS: It's remarkable to hear you say that, that you don't think, Senator, that President Biden can beat former President Trump, and that he'll lose, the Democrats will lose everything.

Senator Michael Bennet, thank you for being candid, and for telling us what's actually happening, behind closed doors, in front of the cameras. I appreciate your candor.


BENNET: Thanks for having me, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Thank you, Senator.

I want to turn now to David Axelrod, CNN's Senior Political Commentator, and a former adviser to -- Senior Adviser to President Obama, who's here with us now.

David, I had a lot of questions for you about some polls.

But I want to get your reactions to Senator Bennet just now, first off.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think he's saying what a lot of people -- what a lot of members of Congress and elected officials are saying behind closed doors.

I mean, I've heard from many of them, and you probably have too, Kaitlan. I think there's a great deal of worry.

There's a great deal of respect and affection for the President. They -- people feel good about what the President has done. But that's not what's on the ballot.

What's on the ballot is, is he fit to serve for four more years? And that took a big hit. It was -- you know, people had doubts, because of his age before the debate. It took a big hit in that debate. And numbers are reflecting that. And I think people are worried about the very thing that Michael Bennet just said. They're just afraid to say it.

And I will say, from a strategic standpoint, that President did a smart thing, by sending that letter, on Monday morning. Because basically, the attitude I've heard from a lot of members is why should we stick our necks out, because he's not going to go anyway.


AXELROD: And that's sort of the--

COLLINS: And you hear that.

AXELROD: And that -- go ahead.

COLLINS: You hear that, David. But I do think it's important that it is -- there are numbers here, too. It's not just what pundits are saying or donors.

But the Cook Political Report today moved five states closer to Donald Trump, Arizona, Georgia, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Nevada, all since -- since the debate.

And when you've been in the White House, how would you look at those numbers, if you were sitting in the West Wing, right now?

AXELROD: I would hope that I would be honest with the President, about where he is in this race.

We all heard him tell George Stephanopoulos that he didn't believe -- that he thought he was in a tied race. He didn't believe the polls, although he generally is willing to quote polls, if they're positive, and dismiss them if they're negative. But he said he didn't believe in the polls.

There is a ton of data out there that are red flashing lights. And he needs to know that. And he needs to consider that.

Listen, I know Joe Biden well. I served with Joe Biden. I admire Joe Biden. One of his great qualities is that he is relentless in the face of adversity. He does pick himself up. But the opponent here ultimately isn't Donald Trump. It's Father Time. And that -- and that opponent is undefeated.

COLLINS: David Axelrod, thank you, for joining us, on that breaking news tonight.

Speaking of Donald Trump, he's issuing a new challenge, tonight, to President Biden, following that debate. We'll tell you what he said, his first time on the campaign trail, in quite a few days. VP contender was also instilled (ph) on that stage tonight.

Plus, the Vice President, right now, Kamala Harris, brought the fire on President Biden's behalf, as some Democrats were asking if maybe she could replace him.



COLLINS: Moments ago, at his Florida rally, former President Donald Trump challenged President Biden, to another debate, this week.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So tonight, I'm officially offering Joe the chance, to redeem himself, in front of the entire world. Let's do another debate this week, so that sleepy Joe Biden can prove to everyone, all over the world, that he has what it takes to be president. But this time, it will be man-to-man, no moderators, no holds barred. Just name the place anytime, anywhere.


COLLINS: One of Donald Trump's first returns to the campaign trail, I should note, in quite some time.

Joining me now to discuss, a team of political experts.

Former adviser to Hillary Clinton, Philippe Reines.

Democratic pollster, Margie Omero.

And former Democratic Ohio congressman, Tim Ryan.

Great to have you all here.

I mean, let me just start with you, Congressman.

Obviously, I don't think the White House is going to be taking Donald Trump up on his offer. Their next scheduled debate, if it happens, is supposed to be in September.

But what do you make of what he is -- how carefully Trump has been parsing his language, about how Biden did, and whether or not he should stay in the race?

TIM RYAN, (D) FORMER OHIO CONGRESSMAN: I think you're going to see that for the next four months. I mean, it's going to be just bludgeoning the President over the debate. The theme has been set. The storyline has been set. Every little thing that the President does plays into that broader theme.

And what scares me the most about this is that this is in Trump's wheelhouse, like aggressive, being very forthright, just pounding his opponent. And I -- that's what I worry about.

And that's what I worried about during the debate, more than anything else, was that Trump was able to play offense the whole time, reshape his economic situation, when he was president, reshape COVID, reshape climate, without any pushback.

And so, he's going to start following the polls, and he's going to start following the themes that are going to play well, with the Independent voters. And he's just going to pound it.

COLLINS: Well, and you see in there, he was mocking Chris Christie's weight at the debates, and I do -- or at the rally, tonight. Doing things that 50 million people didn't see when he was on stage, at that debate.

RYAN: Yes. COLLINS: Philippe, I mean, just where, from a Democrats' perspective, looking at this, as a strategy -- an adviser, how you see, and how you think they should respond to that?


PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I think we need to remember that Donald Trump lost in 2020. And he lost in part because of those antics.

That's not talking to people, saying here is where the country is, and this is where I want to take it. He just says the country is horrible, everything is horrible, that guy is the worst. Let's go play golf, and let's go throw it down anywhere, anytime.

I would like to think that there are people out there that are going to remember that, that bluster, four years ago, is why they didn't want him in office, four more years.

And look, let's just cut to the chase. Democrats are nervous that Joe Biden is going to have another moment. That he's going to have another debate. He's going to have press conference. The whole world is watching this press conference.

COLLINS: On Thursday.

REINES: On Thursday. If the guy stumbles, if the guy, like, yawns, the world is going to come to an end.

Meanwhile, we're about a mile away from every leader of NATO, being in Washington. And the President gave his speech today. And the people I know in the room, said, he just knocked it out of the park, knocked out of the park. If you were there, anyone there would say, that's the guy I want to be.

And it's appropriate because Donald Trump, when he was president, pretty much said we should be out of NATO. And if we go back, if he wins again, he'll probably -- God knows what he'll do.


REINES: So it's, if you could tell every Democrat if you had a crystal ball saying, you know what? Whatever happened at the debate, it wasn't good. It was really unnerving. But you know what? I have a crystal ball. It's not going to happen again. So let's just all buckle down, put that out of our mind, and work as hard as we can.

It's a slog. We were in a bad position beforehand. We're not in a great position now. But you know what? It's salvageable. This guy beat Donald Trump. And the guy over the last two days, who went from, oh, this week is going to be lit--

COLLINS: But you just heard--

REINES: --and Congress going to throw him out? COLLINS: --you just heard from Senator Bennet, saying what he's heard from the White House is not enough. This is a Democratic senator, who's praising President Biden--


COLLINS: --and talking about his record. But he's worried about what it's going to mean, not just for the White House, but control of the Senate, and control of the House.

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think there are two ways to -- well, first, just to stay on Donald Trump for a little bit here. I mean, people have not grown. He has not improved. He's not reaching out to the other side. He doesn't -- he's not reaching out to Democrats. He's not saying -- taking this opportunity to say, I'm trying to unify and bring the country together.

He's doing the same shtick. He's playing the old hits. He's like a novelty act, at an amusement park, playing those songs he played 20, 30 years ago. And people want something new.

The double haters that we spend a lot of time talking about, they think he committed a crime, and should be in jail. The Wall Street Journal poll that was released a couple days ago, show that half of the electorate wants both candidates replaced.

So, he is not kind of winning people back. That's the front -- and he's been quiet. Once he's back on doing his regular shtick, is he's going to be back to alienating people.

I think the -- when you look at the public polling that's happening, right now, there are two ways to look at it. One is that we've had relentless coverage, about the debate performance, and what's happening with the Biden campaign. After relentless coverage, the drop has been one or two points, like?

COLLINS: It's remarkable to see that hasn't really shifted that much.

OMERO: So, the argument is, how people viewed President Biden has been baked into the cake. The voters don't respond in this kind of violent, chaotic way that people assumed. And we're talking, people are having a lot of meetings and discussions, about a very serious response to a point or two drop.

And the other way to look at it is this was an -- the debate was an opportunity to improve the Biden campaign's fortunes, that they were a couple points behind. And now, they're a couple points more behind. But then that's what's causing people to be concerned.


OMERO: So, those were the -- that's the way that people are looking at the two different--

COLLINS: Biden really needed that campaign, to help boost him. That's why they wanted to agree to it, so early. They wanted voters to see that.

I mean, I just, as an elected official, and have -- you've been in the role that Senator Bennet is in, being on, in the Hill and the pressure that they face? That was a really remarkable--

RYAN: It was awesome.

COLLINS: --interview, where he was -- that is what we're hearing from a lot of people. Not everyone.

And of course, there is Democratic leadership, and President Biden has staved off the result that on Sunday, the White House feared was coming.

But he is voicing concerns that you hear from a lot of Democrats.

RYAN: Yes. And I think you're going to -- you're going to hear more and more of that, as the poll numbers set in.

You heard the talk today, about Tester and Brown and Michael, like guys who are on the front-lines of these races. You're going to start hearing more, I think, from the swing districts in the House.

And just to kind of respond to that. Trump hasn't spent any money in the swing states, like nothing, like he's winning in blue states. Wisconsin, Michigan -- Minnesota is in play, up a little bit in Michigan, Pennsylvania. He hasn't spent a nickel yet.

He's going to take these debate clips. He's going to take the Stephanopoulos clip, of I what -- I'm not in control, like Axelrod said, and sear that into the minds of those double haters.


And what guys like me are saying is that we have a great candidate, as a vice president. We can have a generational change for all those double haters, who hate them all. Why -- like, I think the President has to do the responsible thing here.

There is no recovering from this. I'm sorry. I know people don't like for me to say that. But in the countryside? I left Columbus, Ohio today. I got stopped in the airport five times. I landed in D.C. I got stopped in the airport three or four times, from people saying, we have to make a change. They're worried. They saw what they saw. You can't ask people to un-see it. And it's in their minds.

And the former President's going to spend a lot of money searing that into the minds of voters, and it's going to be: I'm energetic, I'm a little wild, read maybe with some of his policies, versus this guy can't even do the job.

REINES: But the -- I understand the sentiment. But the President doesn't have to do anything. And I think that kind of approach to him.

RYAN: No, he doesn't, right. REINES: And the reason why -- the three of us were watching your conversation, with Senator Bennet. We were blown away. And I don't think it's because it's a matter of the three of us, 100 percent, agree or disagree.

But his argument was genuine. It was laying it out constructively, and humanely, like it's the first time I've actually seen someone, not approach this, like Nixon. Everything is in the context of like, who's going to be Barry Goldwater, and walk up to the White House, and tell Joe Biden it's time to go? Like, he actually put it in, in human terms.

And I don't know what Joe Biden would say, if Michael Bennet had that conversation with him, in his living room. But no one's doing that. There's a lot of you got to, you got to, you got to.

And by the way, they all choked in the last 24 hours. There was a lot of, you know?

COLLINS: A lot of backpedaling.

REINES: A lot of this.

COLLINS: So unusual. You never see that on Capitol Hill, right?

RYAN: No, that never happens--

COLLINS: Thank you, all.

RYAN: --in D.C. right?

COLLINS: For being here.

Of course, we have only days left to announce, before Donald Trump says he's going to say who he's picked as his running mate. Tonight, a former challenger turned top contender was at his rally.

What are the deciding factors in Trump's decision? We're going to speak to his former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, about that, next.



COLLINS: Moments ago, former President Donald Trump wrapped up his first campaign rally that has happened in 11 days, there in Miami, where he of course built up the drama, surrounding the final days of his veepstakes.

He gave a shout-out to Florida senator, Marco Rubio, who was on stage, and is under consideration at that rally, who hyped up the former President before he took the stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I laugh, because I hear these guys on TV saying, if Trump becomes the president, he's going to become a dictator. And he's going to go after his opponents.

This is from the people, who are going after their opponents, and putting their political opponents in jail, every single day.


RUBIO: These are the people that have used our courts, to try to silence Donald Trump, bankrupt Donald Trump, jail Donald Trump, keep him off the ballot. But it won't work. And that's why he's going to win, because people see it for what it is.


COLLINS: Of course, Donald Trump has not been jailed or silenced. His companies have filed for bankruptcy in the past, but that was before he was actually president.

My source, tonight, worked with Donald Trump, and his last Vice President, when he served as Trump's National Security Adviser. Former Ambassador, John Bolton, joins me now.

And Ambassador, it's great to have you.

Marco Rubio did not mention the prospect of the VP race. He's kind of pushed aside some of the speculation that he may be Trump's pick. But it seems like it's down to him, North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum, and Ohio senator, J.D. Vance.

What qualifications do you think Trump is picking, between them with, in mind? What do you think is his priority?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think the highest priority is absolute personal loyalty to him.

And I'm afraid that the vice presidential interview questionnaire has only two questions on it. Number one, do you think the 2020 election was stolen? And number two, if I told you to do what I told Mike Pence to do, on January the 6th, would you do it?

If the answers to those two questions are yes? Then, you make it into the finals. And if they're no? You're out of it. It'd be a great loss of integrity for any of those people, any of the three you've named, if they said yes, to both those questions.

I don't think Trump has made a decision yet. And I think we have to remember, with Trump, it's never final until it's final. And then, sometimes, it's still not final.

I wouldn't put it past him to do something like have the Republican National Convention, put off the vice presidential nomination for two weeks or three weeks, hold a virtual meeting, later. Their convention has full control of its own rules. It could do it. To see what the Democrats are up to with Joe Biden, by that point. COLLINS: You think he'd hold off because he's worried.

And I do think it is complicating the plans a little bit. Because one, they delayed his sentencing, which they were kind of waiting for that, the one we thought was going to happen, this Thursday.

But two, you think that he's waiting to make a pick, based on--


COLLINS: --what Dems do?

BOLTON: Look, there's no news that's going to come out of the Republican National Convention other than the vice presidential nomination. Why waste it in a week, when the Democrats may still be talking about whether Joe Biden is competent to be president.

I'm not saying he's going to do it. But Trump will look for every opportunity to delay this. He doesn't have to announce it on Monday. Whatever day of the week it is, the vice presidential nomination we voted on, he could announce it then.

COLLINS: It's remarkable to hear you bring up Pence.

Because we've asked some of the contenders, J.D. Vance, for example, when the Senator was on the show, about if how Trump treated Pence gave them any pause, about taking this role.

I mean, you worked alongside Pence, when you were inside the West Wing. You later wrote in your book that you believed that some of Trump's actions that Pence was stunned -- stunned by some of Trump's actions, when he was in office.

Beyond just January 6th, I mean, there are a lot of moments before then, where Pence was carefully navigating that role.


BOLTON: Well, I think he was clearly loyal to Trump. But he also gave Trump his opinion, as the last person in the room.

And there were any number of circumstances, during my time there. When we'd have a discussion in the Oval Office, I'd be convinced the thing was going to go in the wrong direction. I'd go back to my office, and close the door, and put my head in my hands.

And a few minutes later, the Vice President would come in and say, I think it's going to be OK.

Pence did a lot to get Trump to do the right thing, even when the rest of us had failed. I don't know whether these three are capable of doing that, honestly.

COLLINS: I have to ask you about something, which it feels almost insane to even be asking about.

But obviously, Donald Trump is a very visuals-focused kind of person. And he often talks about picking someone out of Central Casting.

And Marc Caputo, of "The Bulwark," was reporting today that one issue that -- and obviously, the knives have been out for everyone, in these last few weeks, as Trump is getting ready to make his pick. One issue that could go J.D. Vance's way is his facial hair.

And obviously, you have a famous mustache. And it was something that the Washington Post reported, 2016, was part of why Trump passed you over for being Secretary of State.

I mean, is that actually something that you think would go into his consideration?

BOLTON: Well, Trump denied it to me later, pointing out that his father had a mustache. So, I don't know if that was deeply Freudian or what. But Vance does have a beard. Maybe Trump's experience with me will be enough to knock Vance out of contention.

COLLINS: Because things ended so well between the two.

BOLTON: It would. Guilt by association.

COLLINS: Ambassador John Bolton, thank you for joining us, tonight. We'll see what the -- who the pick is.

BOLTON: Glad to be with you.

COLLINS: Great to have you.

The prospect of another Trump presidency, speaking of something that the Ambassador knows well about -- well about, has rattled some of our allies in NATO.

Also, Ukrainian president Zelenskyy just made new comments about his view of the U.S. election, and also the views happening in Moscow. That's next.



COLLINS: Tonight, Ukrainian president Zelenskyy issuing a grave warning, as he spoke to Republican leaders, on the sidelines of the NATO summit, here in Washington.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Now, everyone is waiting for November.

And, truly speaking, Putin awaits November too.

We must be strong and uncompromising. All together.

And the President of the United States, as the leader of the free world, to be uncompromising, in defending democracy, uncompromising against Putin.


COLLINS: How Republican leaders will take that, of course, an open question.

Given, we've seen the presumptive nominee of their party, Donald Trump, has said he would allow Russia to do whatever the hell they want, and has also threatened to exit NATO before, as Ambassador John Bolton has written in about, in his book. That is, of course, America's oldest and strongest military alliance.

I want to talk about all of this with Beth Sanner, who is CNN's National Security Analyst, and also the former Deputy Director of National Intelligence.

And also, Evelyn Farkas, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Obama.

So, perfectly qualified to talk about this.

I mean, Beth, to hear President Zelenskyy talk about that. This has been his concern. It's remarkable to hear him, here in Washington, tonight, as all these world leaders are here, saying, here's what's at stake, I believe, in this election, potentially.

BETH SANNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely. And it's interesting, because he's been saying, for a few weeks now or months, that don't worry, we can work with everyone, anyone. And now, he's being much more pointed, I think.

And Evelyn and I were talking about this earlier. It's about this kind of growing anxiety, not just in Ukraine, but among the Alliance, about kind of what's next. And whether this birthday party will actually--

COLLINS: NATO turning 75?

SANNER: Yes. Will actually be more like a wake, or a last supper?

And so, I think people have kind of this, they're on this high anxiety now. And they're asking the United States to step up.

But I will say that President Biden's speech today was exactly that tone-setting step-up.

And, also Speaker Johnson has been saying the right things, to a lot of the delegations coming through and meeting with him.

COLLINS: Yes. And he actually brought Ukraine aid, of course, to the floor. The question is whether or not that happens again.


COLLINS: And so, I think, that speaks to a lot of the concern, Evelyn, of what we're seeing over, looming over this summit, and the question of, if there's a sense, where you do see these world leaders, kind of try to Trump-proof NATO.

EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I mean, they are trying, Kaitlan.

Obviously, they decided to bring the whole -- the whole military assistance operation, in under NATO. It's going to be in Germany. It's going to be led and managed by Europeans. And the idea is that all of the countries are pledging to provide. I think they gave a dollar amount. But we'll see what comes out in the communique--


FARKAS: --which they're finalizing tonight.

And the other thing is that all -- almost all the NATO countries, I believe, have bilateral agreements, right now, with Ukraine. And they'll be putting some stronger language into the communique, again, that we'll see, hopefully, tomorrow.

So, they are trying to do what they can to tell the world, not just Zelenskyy, but also President Putin, President Xi, that the Alliance is not going anywhere, that they are firmly behind Ukraine.

COLLINS: When obviously that's why Ukraine is here. And they're not yet in NATO. But part of that language, using the word, irreversible--

SANNER: Right.

COLLINS: --is what we've been hearing, talking about Ukraine's eventual path to that.

I mean, there was strong debate, over making that language, essentially, as forceful as they could and that -- it's a joint agreement, but all the leaders have to sign on to it.

SANNER: Right. And we have a number of leaders.

So, when we talk about Trump-proofing the Alliance? Some of the other countries, or some of the Nordic countries, are talking more about future-proofing the Alliance, because there are other internal divisions.

So, you talk about, which countries have to sign on?


Well, Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary just made a trip. Yes, he did a cursory trip, to meet Zelenskyy, for the first time. But then, he went to Russia. Then he went to China. And then, he came directly here.

And we also have Erdogan, the Turkish president, talking about joining this Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which Putin and Xi set up, in order to challenge and counter NATO.

So, there are other problems. And so, cohesion, NATO cohesion is a big part of what this is about.

COLLINS: Yes. And then, we see Prime Minister Modi bear-hugging Putin as well.

I mean, a lot of this is, we talk about this one summit, in the aspect of Trump, and what this looks like. I mean, NATO has so many challenges, facing it, right now, and what that looks like.

And I do think, to what President Biden was saying, in his speech, earlier, what he has done, to bring NATO together, in his presidency, is one of his biggest accomplishments that he touts--


COLLINS: --a lot of the time. The question is what that looks like. And these world leaders are all looking to what that looks like if he's no longer in office.

FARKAS: The other thing is, of course, that the Asian allies are here.

And that's a new development, under President Biden, as well, that these allies, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, that they joined the NATO Summit. That's a signal to Putin, to Xi, to the Iranians, North Koreans, et cetera, that we are united. So, I actually think that on balance, this was really positive.

I was in the auditorium. Secretary General Stoltenberg was really strong. He said, when you are backing an ally like -- or a partner, like Ukraine, you know that there are risks, and there are costs. But on the other side of it, there are huge risks and costs, if Russia wins--


FARKAS: --and we can't let Russia win.

COLLINS: And he's been leading it for 10 years, now to see that change. We'll see what that -- what that means for NATO.

Great to have you both here, talking about an area you know so well. Thank you for that.

It is not only NATO's birthday, I should note, in a less serious fashion, and less dealing with the world. "Anchorman" has also just turned 20.

Ron Burgundy himself revealed something that none of us knew, about that classic comedy, what it was supposed to originally end as, and why it got scrapped. Will Ferrell is spilling the beans.






COLLINS: The perils of the teleprompter. It was on this day, 20 years ago, that we were first introduced to the legendary San Diego broadcaster, Ron Burgundy.

And today, the man who played Burgundy, in that film, Will Ferrell, is revealing new details, about how the hit comedy's original ending actually got scrapped.


WILL FERRELL, AMERICAN ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: The original movie, Christina's character is abducted by a vigilante group.

And that just, they just didn't like that storyline at all.

When it was the news team and all of us interacting, we would get them back.


COLLINS: Here to reminisce with us, on the beloved film, and all things 2004 coded, is CNN's Harry Enten who has never had a glass case of emotion.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL DATA REPORTER: Let me just say, it's -- it's so darn hot right now.

Ah. Milk. Milk was a mistake.

COLLINS: Is that actually milk in there?

ENTEN: It's actually milk. It's oat milk. But it's not--

COLLINS: Did you get that out of the fridge?

ENTEN: Yes, I got it out of the fridge.

COLLINS: People are going to be looking for that in the morning.

ENTEN: Yes, don't be funny.

COLLINS: OK. But can we talk about the movie? Because truly, I called my dad, this morning.


COLLINS: This is one of my dad's favorite movies. And I reminded him that it was the 20th anniversary.

I mean, thinking, or thinking back to 2004, this movie comes out. It's when Facebook got started. I was just thinking back of, everything that has happened since this, and what the world was like, when it came out.

ENTEN: I -- it was just a completely different world. I mean, for one thing, I had not yet graduated high school. I wasn't yet -- couldn't yet vote. It was 20 years ago. It was a long time ago.

And you mentioned Facebook. And now Facebook is this phenomenon, right? The vast majority of Americans are on Facebook. But of course, Facebook started back in 2004. It was less than 1 percent of Americans, who were even using. And of course, they were all college students.

We've seen "The Social Network," another great film. And it sort of delineates sort of the climb of Facebook, where back in 2004, this thing that has become universal to everybody, was basically not well- known outside of college campuses.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, I mean, and you mentioned that. I mean, I also think back to, when people were on Facebook, they were also like using regular big computers, not laptops, like what we're using now.

Landlines were still more, and used than the cell phones back in 2004, I imagine?

ENTEN: I brought props, this evening. All right, folks? I've brought props.

COLLINS: You know I love a prop.

ENTEN: You love a prop. Here, take a look here. This is -- this is a landline. I don't know if our audience necessarily knows what a landline is. But you could pick it up. It had wires. You could pick it up and call folks. And kids today might not know what a landline is. But I certainly do.

And back in 2004, about like 95 percent of Americans had a landline. You know what that percentage is now? It's less than a quarter. It's less than a quarter.

COLLINS: It's pretty amazing.

ENTEN: That is one of the great -- you know, Facebook, not really surprising, technology moves forward.

But sometimes, I forget -- people tend to forget that technologies that used to be just everywhere, it's kind of fall back, you know? It used to be my grandmother would rent a landline, from the phone company. Now, of course renting a landline from the phone company? What is that?

Pollsters, you know, that is what I do in my day job. You can't call landlines anymore. You have to call cell phones. You have to do your polls online.

It's just a completely different universe. The idea of using this to actually place a call. The only thing that comes in on this is spam calls, at least to the old folks' houses that I know that still actually happens--


COLLINS: Also, you'd get on the phone, and other people could pick up the phone, and hear your conversations.

And you'd have to be like, Mom, get off the phone, I'm on the phone.

ENTEN: Oh, remember that? Yes, we -- you'd have your own landline, perhaps within the house, if you were lucky enough.

COLLINS: If you were lucky enough.

ENTEN: If you were lucky enough.


COLLINS: Harry Enten, lucky enough to have you join us, and trying oat milk.

Can you please put back -- back--

ENTEN: And hold on. Hold on.

COLLINS: Someone's going to want that in the morning.


COLLINS: Oh, Harry Enten, thank you for joining us.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you for staying with us, during that segment, for this busy hour, here tonight, on THE SOURCE.