Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Cuttings from the elderberry should only be taken from young branches that have not gone woody yet. You do not want all of the leaves removed. You should leave the top two or three or the cutting is likely to fail.
This should also be done much earlier in the year.
This article will help you to take cuttings properly: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/elderberry/rooting-elderberry-cuttings.htm
Yes, the leaves from your soft cuttings should be removed.
This article will help you.