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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Russian Prison Service: Alexey Navalny Dies In Prison At Age 47; U.S. VP Harris: If Navalny's Death Is Confirmed, "This Would Be A Further Sign Of Putin's Brutality"; Biden Warned Putin In 2021 Of "Devastating" Consequences If Navalny Died In Prison. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired February 16, 2024 - 11:00   ET




JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Good day, everyone. I'm Jessica Dean to our viewers watching all around the world. Welcome to a special

edition of State of the Race. We are following two major stories this hour. Up first, the world is absorbing the shock of the apparent death of Russian

opposition leader Alexey Navalny. He was the most high-profile Kremlin critic, and had long been a thorn in the side of President Vladimir Putin.

Russia's Prison Service says he died after going for a walk and an Arctic penal colony where he was serving multiple sentences totaling more than

three decades on trumped up charges.

At this hour, we're also awaiting a ruling in New York that could cripple Donald Trump's business empire. A judge could order hundreds of millions of

dollars in fines in a civil fraud case there.

But, let's go back to the reported death of Alexey Navalny.

Our Chief International Security Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is now joining us from Munich, Germany, which is hosting its annual security

conference. Nick, so many leaders and national security leaders gathered in one place. What are you hearing this morning?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTL. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, ultimately, a conference which was supposed to be dominated by the concerns over

whether NATO would stick together in the event potentially of a Trump presidency, now utterly focused on the barbarity, it seems, of the Putin

administration in Russia.

And again, I think, focusing minds on what that means for the war in Ukraine, the backdrop here, the real threat, you're struggling by now,

Alexey Navalny, according to Russian state media and the Russian Prison Service, dying when he lost consciousness on a walk in the third

correctional colony in the Yamalo-Nenets, an autonomous region, that's up near the Arctic Circle where he was being held, you said, for a number of

years more. State media reporting that there were attempts to try and resuscitate him. That failed.

We haven't had separate independent confirmation of that death. And indeed, when U.S. officials speak of it, they are cautious to point out that

they're still trying to make their own assessment. I think it's fair to say, though, the broad feeling globally is that you would not get an

announcement like this from Russia's authorities and its state media unless indeed Alexey Navalny had in fact died. Important to point out this mass

position in Russia, the most charismatic, the most outspoken opposition figure that Russia has seen in the time of the Putin rule, and a man whose

voice has been quietened by this extensive prison sentence he'd been given far away from where he could do damage to Russia's political system up

there near the Arctic Circle, occasionally, sending out broadcasts in limited court appearances through trusted intermediaries, but really

limited in what he could do.

Yet, still, it appears that the most generous assessment we can make of this, the Russian administration felt they didn't really need to try and

keep him alive, and so allowed a man in poor frail health to go to these Arctic conditions, hazardous, frankly, for a man of his age even in the

best of health, and that appears to have led to his death today. A tearful, I would say, an emotional speech from his likely widow here Yulia

Navalnaya, speaking of his courage. I think many were reminded of a statement he had given himself in which he said that, if I do indeed die,

that's a sign that we are winning.

And U.S. officials here, the most senior Vice President Kamala Harris, reminding people that whatever story Russia sells the world, it is

ultimately Putin that is responsible for this, some European politicians going further, the President of Latvia saying that he was indeed murdered

by the Putin government. So, a stark moment here for Russia's politics, a reminder of the threat to internal dissidents, but also Europe that Putin

presents. But also a question, frankly, being asked, that if indeed the Russian government was somehow responsible for this death, what is it a

sign of? Is it a sign of their weakness, their paranoia? Why did they feel that a month ahead of an election that everybody thinks Putin is going to

win hands down because he has no real opponents in it, that they needed to silence this already muted opposition voice?

A startling moment, certainly, one of great loss for those who knew Navalny, and keen reminder, I think, for those who wish to speak about the

war in Ukraine and how NATO and U.S. allies should do more to try and reverse Ukraine's lack of success on the battlefield. Remember, they're

waiting for $60 billion to be approved by a Republican-held Congress at this stage. But, Russia remains a very acute threat. Everyone here knew it

before the death of Navalny. But, I think that awful piece of news is going to focus minds much more clearly, much more loudly, on exactly what Putin

means in 2024.

DEAN: As foreign aid languishes in the House here to Ukraine here in the U.S.


Nick, before you go, I just want to ask you, do you get any sense of what the consequences might be from the allies in the West, from the U.S.? We

know that President Biden said back in 2021, there would be major consequences if Navalny were to die in Russian custody. Are you getting any

sense yet of what people are thinking in that direction?

WALSH: Yeah. Look, I mean, Biden's comments in 2021 were before the U.S. had to roll out pretty much everything it could in terms of sanctions

against Russia. So, their armory, I think, is diminished, and what they can potentially do, there may be other moves to make. There are notions of

forfeiture potentially of Russian assets. But, that is legally complex. There may be other things they could have to do in the financial sphere as


But, remember, the U.S. and its NATO allies are already arming Ukraine quite substantially. And we have a pretty much intense conflict now

continuing in Ukraine. So, things have changed since those Biden comments. But, I think it's very hard for the White House to allow this death to pass

without some sort of Western response. Well, quite a confession is unclear. I think the key impact of this death, though, is as we heard from Ukraine's

Foreign Minister really here to put greater accent on exactly the threat Russia faces in Ukraine, and as the Foreign Minister said of Ukraine,

perhaps remind people that Putin is not someone you can start negotiating with.

Remember, there have been talks in the past about the possibility of talks. So, maybe we could find a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine war. I think

many here will be reminded from this -- the news of the awful death of Navalny that Moscow can't be taken at face value. Jessica.

WALSH: All right. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Munich, thank you so much for that reporting.

And let's delve into this further. CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen joining me now along with CNN Military Analyst Col. Cedric Leighton,

and Tyler Pager, White House Reporter for The Washington Post. So, we've got all our angles covered here.

I want to play a couple of clips that he just mentioned, one from Alexey Navalny's wife, who is in Munich at that security conference, and then also

from Vice President Kamala Harris. And then let's talk this.


YULIA NAVALNAYA, WIFE OF ALEXEY NAVALNY (TRANSLATED): I want them to know that they will be punished for what they have done with our country, with

my family, and with my husband. They will be brought to justice, and his day will come soon.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: If confirmed, this would be a further sign of Putin's brutality. Whatever story they tell, let us be

clear, Russia is responsible.


DEAN: Peter, I want to start with you. If we zoom out and look at all of the pieces, you have the war in Ukraine that has been going on. I was

talking to Cedric about this. You have the aid that is languishing in the House. You have the fact that Tucker Carlson was just in Russia, trying to

talk about how great it is there. And now, we have the death of Alexey Navalny. When you look at the broad picture, what does today mean?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah. The biggest event in Putin's life was the fall of the Berlin Wall. And basically, he learned two

things from that, don't liberalize if you want to stay in power. The other event was the pull out of Afghanistan in 1989, a war that Soviets were

losing. Russian history suggests if you lose the war, you're going to be on the wrong end of a firing squad. That happened with the Romanovs in 1917,

Gorbachev, the Soviet Union sort of imploded as a result of the Afghan withdrawal. And Putin just wants to restore the KGB state. He wants to

restore the Russian Empire. And he wants to play from the Stalin playbook, not from the Gorbachev playbook.

And he has an election coming up in mid-March. There was an anti-war candidate running, who pulled out last week. Putin has fixed the

Constitution so he can run till 2036, and he plans to rule more like Stalin than Gorbachev. So, I think that's the main message here.

DEAN: I want to -- so many people say, why did he go back? Why did he go back to Russia knowing this could happen? Our Clarissa Ward asked him that

question. Here is what he said to her.




WARD: You're aware of the risks of going back.

NAVALNY: Yes. But, but I'm Russian politician. And even when I was not just in hospital, I was in intense therapy, and I said publicly, I will go back

and I will go back because I'm Russian politician. I belong to this country, and definitely, which I -- especially now when this actually crime

is cracked open, revealed, I understand the whole operation. I would never give Putin such a gift.


DEAN: And Cedric, I saw you kind of nodding your head in agreement when Nick Paton Walsh was saying so many people at that conference were talking

about Putin is not a person you can negotiate with.


DEAN: The situation that is going on in Ukraine is concerning and has been concerning, obviously, for the U.S. and for Europe, but even it only

increases that concern.

LEIGHTON: It really does, Jessica. And from a security and military standpoint, you have to understand that the Russians are -- yes, things are

kind of stalled on the frontlines right now on the land war, but that's exactly where Putin wants to be.


Failing taking Kyiv, like he failed in 2022 and 2023, I -- you have to look and see, OK, I will take the next best thing if you're Putin, and that

means keeping Ukraine engaged as long as possible, bleeding them dry. And that's what he is doing.

So, in essence, by stalling, he is winning, and by you sending this kind of a message by, in essence, probably either facilitating or outright killing

Navalny, we have a situation where he is doing this coincident with the Munich Security Conference. And the fact that this is happening exactly

when, and he must have known that Navalny's wife was going to be there, speaking there, and he did this in a way to send messages domestically,

don't mess with me, in essence, and internationally. I am somebody who is going to advance Russian interests as much as I possibly can, and you are

not going to stop me. That's his message. That's his desire.

Now, it's up to the rest of us to stand up to that. But, that is exactly what he wants to do.

DEAN: Well, it really seems like he is just pushing it as far as he possibly can. How far can I go? It's almost like the -- in Jurassic Park,

the dinosaurs at the gate just going to push and push and push and see how far that they can go.

And to that end, Tyler, we've heard from President Biden, and we can play this clip in one second, about what he would do if this happened. So, let's

listen to that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say what happened if opposition leader Alexey Navalny dies?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.


DEAN: And yet, what can President Biden and the White House do?

TYLER PAGER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. It's a great question. And those comments that we saw the President make was before

Russia invaded Ukraine, and the U.S. and the West put a whole slew of sanctions on Russia, and has had quite a robust response to Russia's

invasion. So, it is a great question of what other tools does the U.S. have at this moment to punish Russia for this?

And I think, to your point, Jessica, there is a broader conversation here that the President and Democrats and some Senate Republicans are trying to

have, to your point, that Putin is willing to push the ball even further. And I think that is what Democrats and Senate Republicans who passed this

military aid package are trying to say is that it's not just about Ukraine. Yes. They want to support Ukraine in this moment. But, they're also warning

that if Putin is successful in Ukraine, that spells trouble for allies across Western Europe.

DEAN: And so, is it up to the West now and America to stop this fear?

BERGEN: I mean, look, there've been sanctions since Putin invaded Crimea. Forget about the 2022 sanctions they got much bigger, more than 1,000

companies pulled out of Russia. By the way, the Russian economy is doing well now. Not just OK, because there is kind of a Keynesian military

spending effect that is actually helping the economy. And as Colonel Leighton indicated, he is certainly not losing the Ukraine war. It's in a

stalemate, which kind of helps him and obviously he knows Trump could win the election. He is doing the math.

So, as a practical matter, there is nothing -- he has been charged with war crimes in The Hague. Right? He is not going to go on vacation in the south

of France and have an Interpol Red Notice be served on him. He is not going anywhere. So, as a practical matter, we can say whatever we want about what

we're going to do, but there is very little we can do. One thing we can do is we can make a big. I would recommend him for the Nobel Peace Prize. It's

-- you can't -- it can't be awarded posthumously, but you can change the rules. You think about Solzhenitsyn getting the Nobel Prize for Literature

in 1970. That sent a big signal.

So, there are things we can do, I think, in a sort of moral sense, but not in a practical sense.

DEAN: Yeah. Yeah.

All right. We will continue to discuss this. I'm going to -- we got to get into a quick break, but we will come back to this.

First, we're going to talk about also a ruling that could come at any time in that civil fraud case involving Donald Trump and his business empire.

We'll have an update on that, and Trump's other legal troubles. That's just ahead.




DEAN: For the first time in history, a former U.S. President will face a criminal trial. But, that news about Donald Trump being overshadowed today

by a different court battle, this one in Georgia involving a district attorney's romantic relationship that could end up in an election

subversion case against him. Fani Willis will not return to the stand today after her fiery testimony on Thursday. Trump's attorneys accusing her of a

conflict of interest. They want the case thrown out. That's in Georgia.

In New York, a ruling is expected anytime in yet another case that could shatter Trump's business empire. Trump could be fined hundreds of millions

of dollars for civil fraud. And of course, we're going to bring you that ruling as soon as it's announced.

Let's discuss this now with today's political panel. CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney, who was a Senior Advisor on Hillary Clinton's

2016 presidential campaign, Republican Strategist Shermichael Singleton. Washington Post's Tyler Pager is back. he never left. Plus, CNN Legal

Analyst and former Federal Prosecutor Elliot Williams. All of you guys here, thanks so much for being with us today. There is -- I think it's --

we can kind of parcel it out, because if you start to mix them all together, it can get confusing.

So, let's start first with this case in Georgia. Elliot, the -- our reporting indicates that the Fulton County prosecutors believe that her

testimony yesterday is enough to get it all situated, not have her thrown out. Do you agree with that?



WILLIAMS: And it's important to focus on what's actually at issue in the case. And it's two things. Number one, did someone make a false affidavit

or a representation to the court about when the relationship started? And number two, was, she as the prosecutor, enriched in some way in violation

of ethics rules? Right? A lot of this reminds me for -- I'm going to date myself a little bit back to the day the Starr report that came out in the

1990s, because everybody focused on cigars and red dresses and blue dresses and so on, and not the fundamental question, did he lie under oath?

DEAN: Like the legal question.

WILLIAMS: The legal question. And the evidence is actually quite thin in the record as to, number one, at the point of which their relationship

started. And number two, what the transfer of funds might have been that might have been unethical? It's actually not clear, because think about it.

You have conflicting testimony from witnesses. You had one witness, the one woman that said that she thought it started in 2019. But, even that was

shaky. But, you have both people who were claiming to be a part of the relationship, saying, no, it actually started in 2022.

Now, to us, it might make as a matter of common sense what we think whatever might have been going on in 2019. But, what matters is what's on

the record, and it's sort of muddy. And I'm not convinced that even if there is an appearance of badness and appearance of impropriety, I'm not

convinced they hit the standard for saying that something actually happened in violation of law or ethics rules.

DEAN: Wait. And yet, a couple of things. One, so much of this is the campaign trail --



DEAN: -- this cycle. Right? It is -- going into these courtrooms and these legal proceedings is the campaign trail for Donald Trump and for Joe Biden

as well, in the sense that he is reacting to it or having to kind of scoot around it.

Do you think, Karen, that -- kind of viewing it through that lens --


DEAN: -- how are independent voters who maybe -- are going to be the ones that swing this election one way or the other?


DEAN: Well, how --


DEAN: -- are they taking this all in?

FINNEY: I will tell you, having been there when the Starr report came out, and in the room, Starr working out, there were a couple of phrases from

yesterday that were all too familiar that I thought, wow, if you're an independent voter, you're don't want to hear that. That's -- you're just --

and that's actually what we saw around the Starr report, was that a lot of the salaciousness, and this -- did you have -- set all of this? People,

they are not -- they're turned off by that. So, again, I think this underlying fundamental question, which even Fani Willis wireless herself

did a good job of bringing it back to, wait a second, this isn't about me. This is about what happened in 2020.

So, I think for those voters, it'll be more about what comes out if she is indeed still on the case, what comes out in that trial is going to have

more bearing on how they vote, how they judge, what is actually going on, then all of this. I think for most Americans, if you already believe Donald

Trump, you didn't change your mind.

DEAN: Right.

FINNEY: If you already believe that there was impropriety around the Georgia election, you probably weren't swayed. It was messy. It wasn't

pretty. There were a lot of fun memes going back and forth yesterday. But, I think, again, the fundamental underlying case itself, and those details

which we don't even know what's going to come out of that, I think that's going to have a lot more bearing for voters.

DEAN: And Shermichael, does it kind of achieve what Donald Trump and his team are hoping, which is just like, it's all a mess, and it's all chaos --


DEAN: -- and it's all corrupt.

SINGLETON: Yeah. I mean, I think that's what this was all about. I agree with Elliot. The legalities of this won't change if -- regardless of --

even if the relationship we're going on today, whatever the evidence is against a former President and those other individuals, Elliot, it won't

change. The facts will not change here. I think this was an effort by the former President and Republicans, generally speaking, to sort of muddy up

the waters. Donald Trump lost the state of Georgia about 12,000 13,000 votes, and part because of areas like Cobb County, North Atlanta. These are

very suburban, wealthier, educated Republican areas. I know I went to college. I know the state very well.

If he can move the needle on some of those numbers, if he can get the very popular Governor Kemp to all of a sudden at some point come out and endorse

him, this could potentially be a state that the former President could see back in his corner come November. So, I think it was more about trying to

move the political needle than it was about the legalities of the case.

WILLIAMS: And I don't want to live on a lawyer cloud and suggest that none of this matters. Look, they're going to have to pick a jury at some point.

SINGLETON: Yeah. Yeah.

DEAN: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: And they're hearing and seeing all this, and getting as turned off as people can be by a lot of this nonsense. But, the fact that it may

not change the legality, it doesn't change the appeal if there is a public perception about it. And it's bad, and it looks bad for the office. And

frankly, it looks bad for her and professional (inaudible).

DEAN: Yeah. I mean, we talk about this over and over again. There is the legal piece of this, and then there is public opinion and the politics of


FINNEY: But, I think that's where Trump has done an excellent job. Clearly, his fundraising shows this. And actually, as you said, muddying the waters.

This is all just a fraud. This is all an attack on me. This is all an attempt to tinker with the election because I'm ahead, all of that

rhetoric. If you believe that, this absolutely plays into that, which is why, again, I think the fact pattern that we learn once the case actually

is underway, again, if you're in the middle, that's probably going to have more bearing because, again, if you believe that it's all kind of just one

big mess, this just sounded like more of that.

DEAN: It's this noise. Yeah.

WILLIAMS: And the brilliance, to some extent, not -- whatever you want to call it, of Trump's press conference right after this, look, the Joe Biden

administration is coming after me because it's an election year. The Justice Department is pulling the string. Never mentioned, this is a state

case in Georgia, nothing to do.

DEAN: Right. Because it doesn't matter if you're just watching a clip and watching it nicely.


DEAN: So -- OK. That's a good tee up for Tyler. No -- because I am curious. The Biden campaign is going to have to deal with all of this. And so, what

is their thinking around all of these trials?

PAGER: Yeah. It's a difficult place for them to be in, right, for the exactly the point that you raised, is that some of these cases, not all of

them, as Trump likes to conflate them, but some of these cases are being prosecuted by Biden's Department of Justice. And yes, there is a Special

Counsel in Merrick Garland. He is not involved. And there is all these caveats to ensure that it's not politically motivated.

DEAN: But, look at how long it took to explain that. Right?

FINNEY: Exactly.

PAGER: Right. Exactly. And for most voters, that doesn't mean something to them.

FINNEY: Exactly. Yeah.

PAGER: And so, for the President who has been very clear about wanting to de-politicize the Department of Justice, he is not commenting on these

cases by and large. And so, as we're getting into the heat of a general election matchup in which the sitting President, his Justice Department is

prosecuting the former President and his political opponent, it's an unprecedented situation.


And all the dynamics of these cases are unprecedented that a former President is sitting trial and facing all of these criminal charges. But,

it does make it really difficult for the President to use what is potentially one of Trump's biggest weaknesses against him in an election

year, when the goal of the election is to defeat one other person. Now, there is a lot of other messages that the President is focused on, his

campaign is trying to talk about, and these can all be part of the larger story. But, it is really quite a difficult situation, as the President has

made clear, he doesn't want to politicize these cases. And yet, his opponent is subject to 91 indictments.

DEAN: Right.

FINNEY: But, I think he doesn't even have to. I mean, again, think about during the January 6 hearings, the explosive testimony, the facts that we

learned, that's what swayed people. And again, that's why I go back to, when we get to the Jack Smith trial, when we get to the actual facts and

evidence, when people are hearing that, part of the Biden strategists, they don't need to say anything or do anything because it's so damning when we

have the things that we've learned about the way the former President behaved.

DEAN: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. We're going to get in a quick break.

But, some news just into CNN before we go to that break. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin will not be mounting a campaign for President this year. A

spokesperson saying he will make that official announcement in his speech today in his home state of West Virginia. You'll remember, he considered

jumping in as a third-party candidate, criticizing Joe Biden for being too liberal, but he said he did not want to split the vote and help Donald

Trump take back the presidency.

Still ahead, more on our breaking news today, the apparent death of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. We are going to have the insight from

longtime Russia watcher Jill Dougherty.


DEAN: We are going to take you now live to Fulton County, Georgia, where this hearing continues. We're going to let you listen in.

JOHN FLOYD, FANI WILLIS' FATHER: -- we have to look for bombs. I knew that that was a house that my daughter had worked for --


It was a brand new house. She is the only one who had ever lived there. It's a four bedroom, brand new house. And I wanted to -- somebody needed to

protect the house. And I stayed there to basically take care of the house, to take care of the yard, to take care of that. Also, somebody sprayed, -

again, B-word and N-word on the house. And I don't think my daughter even knew that. I cleaned it off and called the police, Fulton Police. They

have, I'm sure, all the records of all the things that happened. And all of the neighbors, I notified all the neighbors to look out and to watch out.

And it was just -- it was so crazy. I mean, it was just so crazy. We'd have people who would show up in parked car. There was a guy parked for probably

eight hours out in front of the house. It's just -- and we would call the police. And --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, at the time that you lived there with Ms. Willis and I guess even when you remained, so, during the time period of 2019 to

the end of 2020, are you aware if Ms. Willis was dating someone?

FLOYD: Yeah. She did. She had a boyfriend when I first got there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you meet her boyfriend?

FLOYD: Yeah. Many -- often.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And can -- did you know him by any specific nickname? Yeah,

FLOYD: Yeah. Deus (ph).



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- could you tell the court why you were living there? How often would you see him?

FLOYD: Sometimes every day, sometimes every other day. He was a disc jockey or something. And he had all this paraphernalia that I'd have to move out.

It was a thing with the keyboard covering up, things that play music and so --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, when you moved in in 2019 and then throughout the years, and 2020, 2021, had you ever met someone named Nathan Wade?

FLOYD: I did not meet Nathan Wade until 2023, about a year ago when I reporter by the name Isikoff interviewed me. I met -- that was the first

time I had met him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that was in 2023?

FLOYD: 2023. Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I know you said you hadn't met him until 2023. But, when you were living at Ms. Willis' house in Fulton County, did you ever

meet Mr. Wade in the year 2019?

FLOYD: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about in the year 2020?

FLOYD: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever seen Mr. Wade at Ms. Willis' Fulton County house in the year 2021?

FLOYD: Never.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are testifying that the only time or the first time that you met Mr. Wade was in 2023.

FLOYD: Let me say something. Mr. Wade said that he remembers seeing me, and I do remember some banter. I'm a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. And

there is kind of this thing that goes on between fraternities. And Mr. Wade is a member of Alpha Psi Alpha. And they -- so, they -- I do remember there

was some kind of banter when my daughter was sworn in to be District Attorney between me and a couple of guys. And he said he remembers me. I

don't remember him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And prior to that experience that you're talking about, as well as I guess your official meeting in 2023, had you ever even heard

his name?

FLOYD: No. Never.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think I have any further questions, your honor.



MCAFEE: Fine. How are you, counsel?

MERCHANT: Good. Thank you. Just got a couple of questions. On Monday, we heard you were in California. Do you have a place in California?

LLOYD: People always ask me about, where do I live? I guess I'm -- I live right here. It's sitting in his seat right now. But, yes, the answer is I

have place in Los Angeles.

MERCHANT: OK. You do. All right. Do you share time -- split time between Los Angeles and Georgia?

LLOYD: Actually, I'm working on a documentary film, and I'm supposed to be being filmed, not for this trial, but I'm being filmed right now. It was

planned and we had to stop it because they asked me to come here. But, the answer is, I'm working on a documentary, and I'll be in California until I

finish the documentary if we don't have another actor strike and we don't have another writer strike.

MERCHANT: So, do you -- you own property in California?

LLOYD: No. I don't. I live with a friend of mine.

MERCHANT: You live with a friend of yours. OK.

LLOYD: Yeah.


MERCHANT: And when did you first move on -- let me qualify with the dates. Did you spend any time in 2019 in California?

LLOYD: No. And the reason I didn't is that, when I first came here -- the answer is, no, I did not. What happened was, COVID, once COVID hit, that --

I mean, I was just paralyzed. I couldn't go anyplace. I couldn't go anything. I mean, I'm a theater buff. I used to go to theater at least once

a week. But, when COVID hit, I just couldn't -- I couldn't go to the dentist, which I need to do. Well, you know, I just -- it was just a thing.

So, I was just stuck. I was just stuck there.

MERCHANT: I may be wrong, but I believe COVID hit in 2020. So, I was asking about 2019. In 2019, did you spend any time in California?

LLOYD: Before COVID was even here in the United States, remember, I'd lived in South Africa, and I've traveled the world. I knew COVID was coming

before. I knew COVID was around before. They may have announced it in 2020. But, in fact, I knew about it. And I knew what was happening in 2019.

MERCHANT: OK. So, let's walk through 2019 then. You said you moved here in September? So --

LLOYD: No. I didn't say that. I moved here probably prior to September. In September is when I got the driver's license. I probably moved in the


MERCHANT: I'm sorry. You didn't. You said spring-summer. I see that in my notes. So, spring-summer of 2019 is when you moved here. So, up until

spring-summer of 2019, where did you live?

LLOYD: I lived in Johannesburg. Well, I lived in Washington, D.C., 2018. I had planned to retire for the rest of my life in South Africa. I had worked

for Nelson Mandela and the Free Mandela and did met. And someone I'd gone to law school, he had relocated there after Mandela was freed from prison

and became President. I was going to live there for the rest of my life. But, unfortunately, because of political reasons, I could not stay in South

Africa. And I was forced in a sense to come back to the United States.

MERCHANT: OK. So, let's just focus in on the period from, let's see -- let's just start with October of 2019. OK. We'll call that the relevant

period. October 2019 until the end of 2019, were you in Georgia every single day of that year?

LLOYD: Absolutely.

MERCHANT: OK. So now, let's move to 2020. OK? And every single day -- before I move on -- every single day in 2019, you slept at your daughter's

house. Correct?

LLOYD: That's correct.

MERCHANT: OK. So, let's start in 2020. All right? So, 2020, the entire year, did you travel anywhere?


MERCHANT: OK. You didn't travel at all that year.



LLOYD: And I didn't go to the movies which upset me also.

MERCHANT: So, that entire year, 2020, you remained here in Georgia.

LLOYD: Right.

MERCHANT: OK. In 2021, did you do any traveling?


MERCHANT: OK. So, when did you move back -- or when did you start this documentary film in Los Angeles?

LLOYD: What I had been doing to occupy my time was I was writing my own memoir. As I delved into my family background, I discovered something and

that's what got me to working on the documentary. So, I want you to understand what was going on in my life. I pitched my -- I have a movie

script called Bad Blood. I have a movie script that I was trying to sell. So, I tried to sell that. And I just happened to mention something that

happened during the Civil Rights Movement. Snick -- it's called the Snick Five (ph). The legendary Peter FitzSimons was interested. And so, with

Peter FitzSimons and in (inaudible) Smith, we're now doing the documentary. So --

MERCHANT: I don't want to interrupt you. But, what I was asking was when you moved to Los Angeles, not what you moved there for.

LLOYD: You keep saying moved. I haven't moved to Los Angeles. I spent more time in California, in Oakland, if you really want to just be, because

Peter is basically San Francisco-based. So, we're working on the documentary.


LLOYD: I was in Los Angeles because I was going to the Pan African Film Festival, and that's why we were there. And the way Hollywood works is,

when you make connections and film festivals are the place to try to sell ideas and meet people and organize things.

MERCHANT: You still own property in Washington D.C. Correct?

LLOYD: No. I don't.

MERCHANT: You don't own property at 1467 Roxanna Rd NW?

LLOYD: That's where I used to live.

MERCHANT: That's where you used to live.

LLOYD: Right.

MERCHANT: Did you own that property?




And you owned that property when you moved here in 2019?


MERCHANT: And you owned it in 2020. Correct?

LLOYD: Well, that -- well, you -- now you talk about very complicated issue. I left the property. There was a dispute between me and -- I had

gotten a reverse mortgage company. And there was a dispute between me and - - and I just -- I walked away from it.

MERCHANT: OK. You walked away from it with almost $300,000?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. What is the relevance of that?

MERCHANT: Where he lived and registered to vote. That's what they brought in. So, that's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is the money he got, it doesn't seem relevant at all.

MERCHANT: It's the only proof I have of that he owned that address. So, I can move on now.


MERCHANT: OK. When did you sell that property?

LLOYD: I didn't. The reverse mortgage company took it.

MERCHANT: Oh, OK. Yeah. So, in 2019, when you -- when you got your driver's license here --


MERCHANT: -- the next day you registered to vote. Correct.

LLOYD: I think it may have been the same day, but maybe it was the next day. I don't remember.

MERCHANT: But, you didn't own property here in Georgia that day?

LLOYD: No. I was living with my daughter.

MERCHANT: OK. You said that you met Mr. Wade, that you remember you met in 2023. Right? That was the first time --

LLOYD: Correct.

MERCHANT: OK. And I wasn't really clear. You said something about meeting him. Was it with Mr. Isikoff, or did Mr. Isikoff tell you?

LLOYD: No. I was being interviewed by Mr. Isikoff.


LLOYD: And he walked in and I met him. That was the first time. He walked into the office.

MERCHANT: Where were you being interviewed?

LLOYD: At the district attorney's office.

MERCHANT: And Mr. Wade walked into that interview?


MERCHANT: And -- so, you're -- so, Ms. Willis had not told you about Mr. Wade prior to that.

LLOYD: Absolutely not.

MERCHANT: OK. So, she didn't tell you anything about their relationship before you met him that day.


MERCHANT: But, Mr. Wade remembers meeting you in 2020?

LLOYD: He said that at my daughter's swearing in. I do remember that we were having some banter about fraternities. But, other than that --

MERCHANT: At your daughter's swearing in. OK.

LLOYD: Right.

MERCHANT: That's all I have. Just one moment. (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, sir.

LLOYD: Good morning. How are you, counsel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm fine. I will try to ask you some specific questions, if we could. OK?

LLOYD: And I'll give specific answers, if I can.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver's license address, I'm not going to publish. That is state's exhibit number two. But, is the address on that driver's

license the home that you're referring to as your daughter's in South Fulton?

LLOYD: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. It was unclear to me, maybe no one else, but it's unclear to me, when did you stop living at what I would call your

daughter's home in South Fulton?

LLOYD: Things got so bad, and threats got so many, even against me that the house became basically uninhabitable. I got tired of sleeping in one room

one day and no one there. I would say December of 2022, something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: December of 2022.

LLOYD: Right. That's about right. Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not really changing. Go back for another date. You had indicated and I didn't hear it, when was your daughter, Ms. Willis, when

was she sworn in as district attorney?

LLOYD: On January 1, 2021.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And did you indicate that there was an incident, and I know you've described it, was that incident on February 3, 2021?

LLOYD: That's my best recollection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So, my question then is, after February 3 of 2021, how much longer did Ms. Willis stay at the house before she moved somewhere


LLOYD: Very short period of time. And I cannot be precise, but I would bet all the money I ever made. It wasn't more than a month and a half. It's

that long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So, we're talking about, best of your recollection, end of February into the beginning of March, give or take, of 2021 when Ms.

Willis would have moved to a different location.

LLOYD: Exactly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And did Ms. Willis return to the house, i.e., the house that you were in, at any point in time that you can remember?

LLOYD: From time to time, she and her security might show up for her to pick something up or take something or something. But, she always would be

come with her security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. My question was poorly worded. I apologize. Did she come back permanently to her house?

LLOYD: Oh, absolutely not.


LLOYD: Absolutely not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as far as you're aware that once this Willis left the house, her house, South Fulton house, so the record is clear, in either

late February or in March of 2021, best of your recollection, she has not returned to that home to live.

LLOYD: No. No. It became uninhabitable. I mean, it just -- I mean --


LLOYD: -- I would have to walk around that house, looking out of every window. I made a habit of having to walk around the whole house. I got

lights so that if somebody would come at night in the back, so that those kinds of reflecting lights, I had those put up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I was interested in is whether she had ever returned.

LLOYD: No. The answer is, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Now, when Ms. Willis, when your daughter left the home time, time period, end of February, beginning of March, give or take,

2021, do you know where she moved to?

LLOYD: No. And I didn't want to know. I intentionally did not want to know because I was not -- if somebody stuck a gun to my head, and I could tell

him. I wouldn't go and tell him anyway. Anyway I would have made up something, but I didn't want to know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So, would it be fair to say that if you didn't want to know, you never visited her at the place that she moved to?

LLOYD: Oh, I never did.


LLOYD: Never did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know how long she stayed at the first place that she went to after she left her house before she moved to a second place?

LLOYD: What I know, and this is hearsay, counsel, is that my daughter has - - had to move something like four times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But, do you know any potential (inaudible)?

LLOYD: No. I don't know any place. I was taken one time for Christmas day. I've only seen my daughter, and this is very hard for me to say, but during

the period my daughter left, I've only seen my daughter 13 times because I can't -- and we've never seen each other more than maybe three hours

because of the nightmare threats against her and me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I understand that, and from the perspective of being a father myself, I understand what that means. So, I'm going to move away

from that. I was just trying to get an idea date-wise. OK? So, let me try to get one more date. In 2023, when you were being interviewed by one of

the gentlemen that wrote the book, at the DA's office, and Mr. Wade came in, can you give us other than 2023 what the date would be?

DEAN: You're listening to testimony from Fani Willis' father there in Fulton County. We will continue to monitor that.

But, let's discuss first with CNN Legal Analyst Michael Moore, who is standing by in New York. And Michael, you've been listening to this. What

are you drawing from what we're hearing today? Fani Willis did not take the stand. At one point, we thought she would. Now, she is not. And now, we're

hearing from her father. What are you gathering from all of this?

MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, & FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yeah. Well, I'm glad to be with you. This is just sort of more of the train wreck I think

that we saw yesterday and that is there is some unfocused questioning. There is an effort to say, well, you may be met Mr. Wade, but you didn't.

He wasn't at the house and you really know when you met him, in what year. And I think that that's the effort that the state is trying to make here

that in fact that he had no knowledge of Mr. Wade. The problem is Mr. Wade yesterday said, well, he was going over and visiting Ms. Willis in 2021 at

the townhouse she was living at. So, the fact that that her father, he seems like a very pleasant man, but the fact that he didn't meet her really

means nothing here.

And so, they're just scrambling to try to, I think, put up some evidence that the judge can use to substantiate the testimony that she and Mr. Wade

gave. I wasn't surprised that the state did not put her back on the stand this morning. I think that was a smart move. I think tactically, that was

the right thing to do. And the reason is, they essentially sort of took the apple back from the defense lawyers so that they didn't get another bite at

the apple or another crack at Ms. Willis to see if they could break her to change our testimony in some way. I'm sure, last night, there were a lot of

late hours burned as they thought through the questions they would present today. But, they didn't get that opportunity.

So, I think tactically that was the right move. I'm not sure that is how I would have wanted to end with my star witness and client, if I was the

state's lawyers, but that's what they had. And they dealt -- they played the cards that were dealt. So, we'll see. I expect that we'll have a great

deal of information coming from Mr. Bradley, who was the lawyer and friend of Mr. Wade. And apparently, there are some text messages somewhere on a

telephone that may refute and rebut the allegations, and the statements made by Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis about when their relationship again.


Again, the defense has not connected the dots on the financial aspect --

DEAN: Right.

MOORE: -- and that's really where the conflict is. But, what they are doing is trying to show that there is a credibility issue. And if they can show

that the DA and her assistant has made false court filings, that's going to be a problem for him.

DEAN: All right. Michael Moore, as always, we appreciate your analysis. Thanks so much for making time for us today.

MOORE: Great to be with you.

DEAN: Good to see you.

Well, this could derail that Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump and his co-defendants. We're going to continue to discuss this

with our panel when we come back.


DEAN: A quick note for you, we are expecting to hear from President Joe Biden on the death of Alexey Navalny in just minutes. So, we will continue

to monitor that and bring it to you as it happens.

In the meantime, our panel is back with some final thoughts before we go this afternoon.

Elliot, I'll just start with you since you're here on my left. What do we make of all of that?

WILLIAMS: What we make of it is that I think the public still doesn't understand the difference between state cases, federal cases, civil cases -


DEAN: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: -- criminal cases, and it's all a big mess. It's hard to keep straight. And that's really -- this is a minor hearing in a state case, and

I just think it's confusing for everyone.

DEAN: Yeah.


DEAN: Tyler.

PAGER: It continues to show that the courtroom is the center of the political universe this year. We're not seeing the sort of big campaign

rallies that we're used to. It's all happening in courtrooms around the country. And it's just indicative of the political moment we're headed.

DEAN: Where are headed. Yeah.

SINGLETON: I mean, in the state that's going to be pivotal in terms of Donald Trump trying to get back into the White House, every Republican that

I've spoken to Fayetteville, Cobb County, counties that Brian Kemp superseded compared to Trump in 2020, many of the Republicans that I've

spoken with that supported Biden are saying, I don't understand this. I don't like this. Her judgment wasn't great. Maybe this is an attack against

Trump. I may vote for him again.

DEAN: Interesting. Karen.

FINNEY: Yeah. I think Trump is still going to have trouble in the suburbs of Georgia. But, look,


I think the other thing this reminds us is, when you go up against Donald Trump, this is what you can expect.


FINNEY: They're going to look into every corner of your private life. And if there is anything, you can expect to be talking about it on cable news.

DEAN: On national television.

All right. Thank you all for being here. We really appreciate it. Thanks to all of you. I'm Jessica Dean. We appreciate you watching today. A reminder,

we are expecting to hear President Biden to speak soon about Alexey Navalny. We'll bring that to you. Stay with CNN.