Former President Donald Trump called CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins a “nasty person” as she pressed him to answer questions on the classified documents investigation that he’s facing during his New Hampshire Town Hall on CNN on Wednesday, May 10. Collins corrected Trump on both claims about The Presidential Records Act and that President Joe Biden had boxes of classified documents in a Chinatown office.
"You're a nasty person" — Trump to Kaitlan Collins (the audience cheers) pic.twitter.com/Sa7XMTBPI9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 11, 2023
Before the comment, Trump tried to cite the Presidential Records Act, claiming it allows the president to negotiate taking documents, Collins fact-checked what the law allows. “The Presidential Records Act, which is not well-known to a lot of people, I read it, and it does not say that you can take documents with you. It says they’re the property of the federal government,” she said. “It does not say you negotiate.”
Trump cited other former Presidents Barack Obama, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan claiming that they took classified documents from the White House. He also pointed to classified documents that Biden took after his vice presidency. “You know who took them more than anybody is Joe Biden,” he said.
As he continued, Collins pointed out the difference between his investigation and Mar-A-Lago being raided and the past presidents who have taken documents. “They took documents. When they realized they had documents, they turned them back over. The difference is that you waited to turn yours over, and it was a year and a half [long] effort that included a subpoena with those documents,” she said. “That’s the question that investigators have I think is: why you held onto those documents when you knew the federal government was seeking them and then had given you a subpoena to return them?”
After the CNN anchor asked her question, Trump and her had a tense back-and-forth, before he addressed the issue. “Are you ready? Can I talk? Do you mind?” he said. Collins fired back by saying, “I would like for you to answer the question that’s why I asked it.”
As Collins pushed him to answer the question, he quickly resorted to name-calling. “It’s very simple that you’re a nasty person,” he said, and much of the audience applauded. He then pivoted to speaking about Biden having taken classified documents after his vice presidency. “Why is it that Biden had nine boxes in Chinatown? And he gets a lot of money from China,” he said. “Why aren’t people bringing that up?”
Collins once again presented the facts to show just how wrong Trump was about his claims regarding Biden’s classified documents. “I need to stop you right there, because there’s no evidence of what you just said there. What you’re referring to right there is an office that he had after leaving the vice presidency. He had a temporary office,” she said.
Trump is one of five Republicans who have declared candidacy in the primary so far. He’s currently facing off against former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Trump was the first to declare that he would run in November 2022, after he lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden, which the former president has falsely claimed was “stolen.”
Collins has been poised as an excellent reporter to interview Trump. Earlier in her career, she covered his 2016 campaign for president for the conservative outlet The Daily Caller. She later served as the White House correspondent for the news site and was later hired as CNN. After her coverage of the 2020 election, Collins was appointed as the Chief White House Correspondent for the news network, the youngest person to hold the position for the network. She was later brought on to be an anchor on CNN This Morning.
Amid the run-up to election, Trump is also facing a slew of legal battles. He was arrested in New York City and charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, including for the alleged hush money payment to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels. He is the first former president to ever be criminally indicted. Trump plead “Not Guilty” to the charges. The former president is also in the middle of a civil trial against writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of raping her in the 90s. Trump has denied the allegations.
Trump is also facing a grand jury investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced that she would decide whether to pursue charges or not between July 11 and September 1, according to The Associated Press.