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Erin Burnett Outfront
Expert: New Satellite Images Show More Russian Build-Up; Russia Claims It Isn't Planning To Attack Ukraine, But Is Contradicted By Ground Movements, Build-Up On Border; Natl Archives: Jan 6 CMTE Has "All" Requested Docs From Trump WH; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) Discusses About Seizing Of Donald Trump's Documents From National Archives; Texas Man Charged With Threatening To Kill GA Election Officials; DOJ Has Dozens Of Ongoing Probes Into Election Worker Threats; COVID, Staff Shortages Force Hospitals To Delay Surgeries; New Mexico Dealing With Fallout From Cyberattacks That Closed Schools. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 21, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Louie Anderson survivors include his two sisters Lisa and Shana Anderson, Meat Loaf is survived by his wife Deborah and his two daughters; Pearl and Amanda. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: May they both rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. Thanks for watching.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a high stakes faceoff between the United States and Russia. And new evidence tonight that Putin is putting together an even more massive military force along the Ukraine border. What does the Russian President want? Is it war or something else?
Plus, Trump's secret documents tonight we are learning what is in those hundreds of pages of documents that Trump wanted to keep from the January 6 Select Committee.
And an inside look tonight on how a series of cyber attacks shut down schools in one state forcing 10s of thousands of students to stay home. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, Putin's troops on the move. Alarming new evidence reveals Putin positioning more troops for war. In a moment I'll talk with someone who has seen new satellite images and we'll share exclusively what they show, including Ukraine, surrounded by Russian forces now on three sides, the Crimean peninsula, Russia and Belarus.
The images revealing more Russian ships now coming into the Black Sea. Russian forces also shown to be moving more of them toward the Ukrainian border by both truck and train. This comes on top of Russia moving more military equipment into Belarus to the north of Kiev for military exercises. Putin saber rattling the focus of what was a high stakes face-to-face meeting between American and Russian top diplomats today.
But after 90 minutes, there was no breakthrough. That was the shared view between the two countries, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warning Russia to count on a punishing response from the U.S. if it invades Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: If any Russian military forces move across Ukraine's border, that's a renewed invasion, it will be met with swift, severe and a united response from the United States and our partners and allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Russia meantime trying to gaslight Washington insisting nothing to see here, no plans to invade Ukraine, remind those 130 - 40 climbing thousand troops on your border. But a senior Ukrainian official warns that ongoing discussions to find a diplomatic solution may actually part of Putin's plan, Ukraine saying that this is all part of a ploy to use the time to get more time to further prepare for military offense.
Back in Washington, officials right now are moving ahead the Pentagon working on a series of military options for Biden. We are learning tonight here at CNN which could involve repositioning or bringing in troops to beef up America's presence in Eastern Europe. This means the stakes are rising, they're rising and they're rising because if Russia tries to seize Ukraine, it would be the biggest land grab in Europe since World War II.
Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT live in Kiev, Ukraine. And, Matthew, I know you have been speaking to your sources there, to officials there, what more are you learning tonight?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Erin, there's a great sense of relief in Kiev tonight that this diplomacy is continuing between the United States and Russia, because it means that the immediate imminent threat of a sort of mass Russian invasion with the 10s of thousands of troops who got positioned across the border has been lifted temporarily.
But I've been speaking tonight to senior Ukrainian officials and they say they're concerned that this continuing U.S.-Russian diplomacy may just be a delay tactic by Moscow to allow it to further prepare its forces for a military offensive. And so that's a real concern that's being expressed here, that the diplomacy will go nowhere and it will still end in some kind of confrontation or an invasion or an incursion by those Russian forces across the border.
In terms of that coordination between the Ukrainians and the United States, that's a lot closer, according to Ukraine officials that I've spoken to. Apparently after these talks in Geneva earlier today between Secretary State Blinken and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, which went on for 90 minutes.
There was a consultation call between Secretary of State and the Ukrainian leadership and so they were very comfortable with that level of coordination. In that call, the United States according to the Ukrainians stress to the Ukrainian leadership, there would be no concessions given to Russia, on Ukraine and that Ukraine would not be coerced in any way to make any concessions as part of a deal with Russia.
And all that's led to - all these assurances have led to the Ukrainians telling me that their fear have been eased somewhat.
The fears that came to the fore when President Biden suggested that a minor incursion may elicit lesser sanctions, those fears have now been somewhat eased for Ukrainian officials. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Matthew, thank you very much.
Seth Jones is Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Steve Hall is the former CIA Chief of Russia operations.
So Seth, let me talk to you about what you're seeing, these new satellite images that you've obtained that you've looked at that show more ships heading into Sebastopol that show more troops that show them moving by train and truck. And what are you seeing, what are the numbers, tell us.
SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, INTL. SECURITY PROGRAM AT CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, Erin, we're seeing two kinds of things. One is what I call the conventional side and that is an increasing buildup and movement of forces. And I think what's important for people to understand is Ukraine is now surrounded in part on three sides to its north now by Russian forces operating in Belarus to its east along the Ukrainian-Russian border, and then now to itself in the Black Sea, including Crimea,
And Crimea turns out to have been an important seizure for the Russians because they can now base amphibious ships there. It can also have subs in the Black Sea to shoot caliber cruise missile. So what we're seeing is that continuing buildup and movement, and if indeed, the Russians are using diplomacy as a delaying tactic, they're making good use of it now with the buildup.
Just briefly, the other quick thing we're seeing is what you call hybrid activity, offensive cyber operations in Ukraine right now, as well as the movement of mercenaries inside of the country for irregular activity.
BURNETT: Mercenaries, being sort of the false flag operation concept, you're seeing more of that? JONES: More of that and also the Russians have provided assistance to Ukrainian rebels in the Donbas and Luhansk. And we're seeing growing numbers of them moving from Russia now across the border into Ukraine.
BURNETT: All right. Well, that's very significant and I want to ask you about that. First though, Steve, you hear this and you hear the Ukrainians, all right, they breathe a sigh of relief today, but then they say diplomacy is a delaying tactic by Russia. Seth's talking about if that is the case, Russia's using the time very well. Are the Ukrainians right that that's what Putin is trying to do just basically delay the date but not change the outcome?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Erin, that's certainly a possibility. There's certainly more than enough troops and material on the ground to go ahead and invade. So in that sense, the Ukrainians are probably just concerned about the same thing that the Georgians and any other country that Russia has attacked militarily and then stolen land from.
I mean, he's been preparing this battlefield, not just the military Battlefield, but the geopolitical battlefield ever since 2008, when he invaded Georgia. And the question really is who is going to step up and who's going to stop Putin, because he's not just going to sit back and say, okay, I've got everything I need. He's going to keep pushing until somebody pushes back.
I think he's judged right now that nobody's going to push back, that there is not the political will in the United States or in the west, to do that. So that's what I think the Ukrainians are quite correctly concerned about.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, Seth, as we know, the one thing President Biden has said openly is that the United States isn't going to put troops in Ukraine, that that's the one thing we won't do. So we'll do other things but we're not actually going to go to war over this. That's what he said.
The other day, Seth, you pointed out that the Russian military is making every single soldier read an open letter from Putin, that he wrote in the summer titled, on the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians. That's the title of it and here are a couple of the operative lines that you point out.
"Our kinship has been transmitted from generation to generation. It is in the hearts and memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will always be many times stronger and more successful. For we are one people."
Seth, I mean, this is what every soldier is getting. I mean, when you read something like this, it seems that invasion is sort of definitional, but it's a matter of when.
JONES: Well, look, an important part of the propaganda campaign is not just the West and Ukraine, it's to his own population and to his own soldiers. And if Vladimir Putin is going to risk the lives of his Russian soldiers in Ukraine to fight, he's going to send main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers, he has to give them a very good reason why they should fight and possibly die.
And so part of what he's doing is preparing his own forces for combat and arguing that Ukraine is really essentially a part of historic Russia, the Russian Empire. And one other comment, by the way, on Putin, I think it's very clear that he does not care about sanction.
So Steve is absolutely right on what Moscow was reading right now.
So all this talk in the West about sanctioning, I think that's the last thing Putin is going to care about. He'll care a lot more as Russian leaders have in the past about dead Russian soldiers. That's a very different situation.
BURNETT: So when Seth's talking about mercenaries, more sort of already coming over the border, streaming over into these areas of Ukraine that have sort of already tried to break away towards Russia, there are Russian links separatists regions in Ukraine, of course, Steve, as well as in other countries. Let me just show a map here, so everyone gets a sense.
When you look at the former Soviet empire, right now you've got different countries. But each of those little parts of those countries are - you've got a lot of sort of Russian breakaway zones, 14,000 people have died in ongoing armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine just since 2014 when Putin annexed Crimea. He didn't just take it and it stopped. I think, maybe we don't always realize this, 14,000 people have died in the interim years.
So Steve, what does Putin want? He's already got, on that map, a couple blocks of Ukraine that there's a lot of - I don't want to use the word control fully, but you've got these mercenaries and these breakaways.
HALL: So here's what really keeps Putin up at night, he doesn't think that the Ukrainians are all of a sudden going to well up and attack Mother Russia. He's not concerned that the Georgians or the Moldovans or the Abkhaz or any of these other - no. What he really is concerned about is when a country wakes up one morning and says, I want to be a democratic country, I want to be more like the West, I want rule of law, I want open markets. That is a direct threat to Vladimir Putin's Russia.
And the more that they do that, the more that he will try to tamp them down, I was referring to preparing the battlefield. He's been weakening Western democracies, so that we have a more difficult time supporting Georgia and supporting Ukraine and supporting countries that we want that want to do this.
And again, I think he's judged correctly and saying, I'm not sure that the Americans or that NATO have the strength to support these new democracies that really want to break away from Russia. That's his nightmare scenario was them breaking away.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you both very much. I really appreciate the analysis and, of course, all those unfortunate developments but new satellite images you're able to describe to us, Seth. Thanks so much, both.
And next, we're getting our first glimpse of hundreds of White House documents that Trump tried to keep from the January 6 Select Committee.
And also the Justice Department now tonight charging a man with threatening to kill election workers in Georgia. This new indictment is at the tip of the iceberg.
And Brian Laundrie's confession, FBI revealing what he wrote in a notebook about the death of his fiance, Gabby Petito.
BURNETT: Tonight, the National Archives says it has turned over all the records that former President Trump tried but failed to keep away from the January 6 Select Committee, losing in the Supreme Court and those documents have come within days. One of the likely documents which Politico says it obtained is a never issued Executive Order. It was written it just wasn't issued. It was dated on December 16th and it would have seized voting machines, seized voting machines as part of an executive order from the President of the United States who had lost the election and as part of his effort to overturn it.
The draft order saying in part, "Effective immediately, the Secretary of Defense shall seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information and material records required for retention." And also called for a "appointment of a special counsel to oversee this operation and institute criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate".
OUTFRONT now Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin who is on the Select Committee. So Congressman, this document dated December 16th, an executive order that wasn't issued but Secretary of Defense would seize voting machines, are you able to confirm that that document is indeed in your possession?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, I've not seen that yet, but I've certainly seen the reports about it. It indicates that there was one more line of possible attack, which was something like a military coup that was being planned before January 6th, the military seizure of ballot boxes and essentially a military takeover of the election process.
What we ended up with on January 6th was the attempt to - what the political scientists call a self-coup where the president launched an attack on the vice president in order to coerce him to deny Joe Biden's majority in Electoral College and tried to kick the election into the House of Representatives for a contingent election. And there, of course, he might have invoked the insurrection act as Gen. Michael Flynn, his disgraced former national security adviser had been urging him to do, so the military could have been brought back into it at this point. But for whatever reason, they decided not to go with the direct seizure of ballot boxes around the country.
BURNETT: And so, I mean, yes, because it is a direct seizure voting machines around the country by the Secretary of Defense, I mean, it is quite sort of stops you in tracks, to be honest. It's very sobering to read this. But you don't have any sense as to what played out into why that order was drafted but not actually issued.
RASKIN: No, we don't know that. And again, if it's in there, this is the first indication we have that this was yet another potential offensive that was being hatched. I mean, it seems to me that President Trump was trying to let a thousand flowers bloom in terms of paramilitary and extra constitutional attacks on the election result. And all of it, of course, culminated on January 6th.
But we saw them go after Republican controlled state legislatures to try to get them to void out popular election results and replace them with Trump electoral slates. We saw Trump contact more than 30 different election officials, most prominently, of course, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in Georgia, where the phone call was recorded in order to get them just to find votes.
So there were a lot of different efforts undertaken and we may indeed find that there were others even beyond this attempted direct seizure of the ballot boxes in the polling places.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about another action your Committee's taken which was ask Ivanka Trump to cooperate with your investigation voluntarily at this point.
And the letter had so much in it, one part of it that stood out to me, Congressman, was when it talked about the video that the former president recorded as the instruction was taking place, the one that didn't happen until hours into it. And because I read your letter a few times to make sure I understood what you were saying, you were saying that the Select Committee understands that multiple takes of the video were filmed. Only one, obviously, went out, multiple takes were filmed. And that you have information in your Committee that suggests that the President in the initial takes did not ask rioters to leave the Capitol.
So he did initial takes and did not ask them to leave, this is after they had destructed it, we'd seen them on TV breaking windows, attacking police. And I know you've sought copies of those unused clips from the National Archives. From your understanding, Congressman, is that in your possession now? Is that what you got from the National Archives today?
RASKIN: No, to my understanding that's not yet within our possession, but it is my understanding that those outtakes do exist, that that physical evidence is still there. And so there are multiple tranches of material left to come to us. So we're just getting the first few waves here.
Obviously, all of that is illuminating as to the former president's state of mind.
RASKIN: And it does seem like he was extremely reluctant to do what so many people were pushing him to do, which was essentially to try to call off the dogs that had been set on the Vice President and on U.S. Congress and on the election process.
BURNETT: So can I just ask you, if you know there are multiple takes and you know what was the crucial thing that was not in those earlier takes, obviously, you've learned that from your interviews and stuff that you have done, do you have any idea where that information was? I mean, was it literally done in someone's cell phone and you know whose phone it's on or - I mean, do you know where it is? Are you going to be able to get it or not, basically?
RASKIN: I don't know exactly what form of technology it exists on. But I have reason to believe that it still exists, that those outtakes are within the possession of the archives and that they will be turned over to our Committee. I've not seen them yet and all of the evidence we've seen now is pointing to several pretty firm conclusions about what took place.
I mean, there was an effort to form this mass demonstration that turned into a riot. There was coordination among the domestic violent extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, and the Three Percenters, and the Proud Boys and the militia groups. And there was clearly an inside coup being orchestrated by the entourage right around Donald Trump to overthrow Joe Biden's majority in the Electoral College to falsely deny him his presidential victory and to seize the presidency for Donald Trump for another four years.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Congressman Raskin, I appreciate your time. I always do and thank you.
RASKIN: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: And next, a man accused of calling for the assassination of election officials is now the first to be charged by the Justice Department task force. Will he the last?
Plus, the spike in COVID hospitalization forcing the cancellation of countless life saving surgeries. And coming up, I'm going to speak to a woman battling stage 4 cancer in limbo. Her surgery has been cancelled earlier this month.
BURNETT: New tonight, the Justice Department charging a man in Texas with threatening to kill election workers in Georgia. The man writing a message online that said in part, "If we want our country back, we have to exterminate these people." It comes as the Justice Department is revealing there are dozens of ongoing criminal investigations into threats against election workers. Attorney General Merrick Garland today condemning those threats and vowing to crack down on them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Justice Department will continue to do all it can to hold accountable those who target public servants with violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The case against the Texas man is actually the first, following the creation of a DOJ Task Force focused on threats against election officials. Evan Perez is OUTFRONT. And Evan, the Justice Department making clear that this indictment while the first and while more than a year after the election itself is likely just the beginning.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It really does seem like it's just the beginning, Erin. We heard from Justice Department officials today that they've gotten about 850 referrals of threats just like this one. And in this case, this man's name is Chad Stark. He was arrested today in Texas.
Prosecutors in Atlanta are bringing this case. And what they say he did was on January 5th 2021, a day before the Capitol attack, he posted a message on Craigslist offering to pay $10,000 to anyone who would go and kill a number of election officials in the state of Georgia.
And the message is chilling. It talks about putting a bullet behind the ear of a specific worker there in Georgia. Three different workers he specifically identified as being his targets. And what the Justice Department said is that these are the types of things that we're seeing around the country, a lot of it driven by the false claim that there was a vote fraud in 2020 that would have made a difference in the final result.
Of course, we know where that's coming from, the former president and his supporters. And so what we know is that this taskforce is just off the ground, six months in and they've been doing this work. And we expect that we're going to see many more cases like this because it is a very serious problem that is just increasing around the country, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much. And I want to now go to Al Schmidt, regular viewers of this program know Al is a former Republican elections official in Philadelphia.
And Laura Coates, of course, former federal prosecutor and author of Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor's Fight for Fairness. So, Commissioner Schmidt, you have been on the receiving end of death
threats. You have talked about that with us. One threat included a picture of your house and said of you and your family, quote, cops can't help you, heads on spike, treasonous Schmidts, which appeared in "Reuters".
So, when you hear this as I point out, yes, it's more than a year. Yes, it's the first one. But it appears to be the first of more. What's your reaction to the indictment?
AL SCHMIDT (R), FORMER PHILADELPHIA ELECTION OFFICIAL: It's a very encouraging development but it's really newsworthy because it is the first one more than a year after most of this occurred. This has happened to many dozens of election administrators across the country, many of whom had it worse than I did involving many hundreds of threats of violence against them and against their family. So this is hopefully just the beginning of what's to come.
BURNETT: Laura, we've been hearing for months from election officials across the country, right? Like Mr. Schmidt, have been threatened for doing their job. For standing up to the big lie and saying I counted, this is what it is, this is the results. We talked to many of them.
And the Justice Department now says they have got dozens of open- criminal investigations into these threats. Dozens is a lot. But it's -- it's not a lot, compared to how many threats came in. Where -- how do you feel about it, Laura, that how many they are looking at and that the first indictment is only coming now?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's a good thing they're investigating. Obviously, these threats cannot go, you know, held accountable for and threats are absolutely armful to our democracy. But keep in mind, in order to prove these sort of cases, you have all the different authorities who were involved from the DOJ and the civil rights division to homeland security and national security, just to name a few.
This is the coordination that's going on, interstate threats, as well, being looked at and what tells me is that, look, in most instances, you are going to have to balance that First Amendment aspect, the political nature of the commentary. Albeit, very criminal and problematic. They are going to balance whether or not they actually are able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This was not someone just making a statement. They actually intended to commit harm or were threatening it.
That -- that transformation from first amendment protected speech to one that is threatening and not protected is probably why the time lapse actually lives here and that is an important distinction to make and this is a very straightforward threat. I mean, it's unbelievable what was said on Craigslist and it was so brazen, it tells you what other cases might actually lead as well.
BURNETT: And, Commissioner Schmidt, you know, these threats as you point out, they are not just coming out of the blue. It is not just a few crazies, right? They are coming out because people have been led to believe something deeply, which is untrue.
And it's also because the former president has repeatedly attacked elections officials, right? Directly. Putting it and blaming it on individuals. Philadelphia and elsewhere suggesting that you, as individuals, stole the election.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: In Philadelphia and various areas around Philadelphia, they cheat and they cheat like crazy.
Poll workers in Michigan were duplicating ballots.
The RINOs on the Maricopa County board -- they are horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: That's what is coming from the top, direct comments about poll workers.
SCHMIDT: Yeah. And I hope people appreciate that their rhetoric has consequences. And those consequences involve threats to civil servants, to the people who are responsible for running elections in America. Those consequences result in what we saw on January 6th, where, by the way, many hundreds of people are being held accountable. And those -- and that rhetoric, also, results in a lack of faith in our democracy.
BURNETT: So, L, when you consider the graphic death threats this man in Texas made against election workers in Georgia, what are we talking about in terms of punishment? Will he face a punishment that sends a message to others that this is a thing you cannot do? A redline you cannot cross?
COATES: Well, if they are able to prove their case we are talking up to five years in prison and we're not talking about a state or local charge. We're talking about a federal charge here and that sends a very strong message about how we view the integrity of our elections and those who try to not only undermine it but also have bounties on the heads of people who are elected to be in this position or people who volunteer.
Remember, the range of poll workers and election officials ranges from those who are actually elected to those who volunteer. And it has a chilling effect on those who are going to participate, which we need their participation in this. And so -- but remember, this indictment includes one charge.
Now, I have seen charges before that have been added. I, myself, as a prosecutor, have added charges down the line once I had the initial charge and maybe I have more information coming in. That could be a possibility. But this is the first of many it is a pretty strong message.
BURNETT: So, Commissioner, it -- what are we seeing -- what are you seeing now? I know that, you know, your reason for -- for stepping down you said was not because of the threats. But no doubt, others have stepped down for that reason.
What are you hearing? Is this really having an impact that fewer people are wanting to do these jobs?
SCHMIDT: Well, I think what election administrators want to see is what you both just referred to, which is accountability. Someone has to be held accountable for doing these things because they do great harm and the impact not just individual lives but the actual organization and actual implementation of elections across the country and impacts our ability to have our voters have their votes counted.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, both, very much. I appreciate it.
And next, I'm going to speak to a woman battling stage four cancer. She needs surgery. It's been delayed. She cannot get it. Why?
The reason is because of the crushing number of COVID hospitalizations.
And an inside look at how a series of cyberattacks wreaked havoc in one state, forcing tens of thousands of students -- tens of thousands of students to miss out on school.
BURNETT: Tonight, what does it mean when you can't get surgery because of COVID? Well, my next guest is going to tell you.
Megan Beauchesne was diagnosed with stage three triple negative breast cancer, right when the pandemic began. It's an extremely aggressive cancer that grows quickly. Chemotherapy doesn't always work. Surgery is often the only way to fight it. After having a double mastectomy during COVID, Megan hoped she would get better, but her cancer came back.
Here she is tonight with stage-four cancer now in her lungs and other organs and she was scheduled for a surgery on January 10th, lung surgery. Due to surging COVID numbers and a lack of hospital beds, her surgery was cancelled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGAN BEAUCHESNE, CANCER PATIENT: I want you to know I am not giving up. I'm -- you know, I -- trust me. If you know me, you know how much I care for my kids and, giving up just is not an option. It's not even a thought. It's not an option. It's not a choice. I need to be here for my kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And, Megan is with me now.
Megan, I know this surgery is crucial for you and for your life. Can you tell us exactly what it is and how important it is for you to get the surgery?
BEAUCHESNE: Hi, Erin. Thank you so much for having me.
Yeah, the surgery for me is really, really important because I am chemo resistant. So usually, our first line of defense is chemo, however, all the previous chemos I have had, have not worked for me. So, every time that we do find something, we go in and try to take it out as soon as possible because it grows so rapidly.
BURNETT: And -- and you have been able to see that, right? I mean, right around November when -- when they saw this in your lungs, just in the few weeks when you were getting this surgery additionally scheduled, you saw how fast it grew, didn't you?
BEAUCHESNE: Yeah. Within three weeks of having a pet scan to a follow-up CT just before surgery, it had already doubled in size, so it definitely grows rapidly and quickly. And any amount of time that we let it sit without any kind of treatment, it's just growing.
BURNETT: And just so I want everyone to understand, Megan, I believe your situation is that because you had surgery scheduled, they, to the extent chemo or anything would work, they stopped all other treatment because they wanted to make sure you were as strong as you could be for surgery so you literally aren't getting treatment right now, when you have a tumor that doubled?
BEAUCHESNE: I wasn't. I wasn't getting any treatment. This last time they postponed me because they postponed me a couple times now because of COVID, and being that there's not enough beds. They did go ahead and start a new chemo, just to see so when he have something working in my system.
However, we won't know any results to know if that is actually doing anything or not until the second round, which would be middle of February, if I were to not get surgery.
BURNETT: So, you still don't have any new date and as you sounds like you are saying, it keeps getting moved but right now, you don't know the date?
BEAUCHESNE: Right. We are hoping that possibly next week. It just depends strictly on the numbers they are telling me via COVID.
BURNETT: So, Megan, I know you had all of your surgeries at this hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center, and you love your medical team, right? This isn't about frustration with your doctors or your oncologist. I know they are such a crucial part of your life and the doctors there are heartbroken about this. They say their hands are tied.
And the hospital issued a statement when we called them about you, they said we have postponed and rescheduled many non-urgent procedures over the past several weeks to preserve our capacity for emergency needs. We also are complying with the governor's recent statewide order, right? And I know this is an order coming from the governor but when you hear non-urgent, how does that make you feel?
BEAUCHESNE: It gets my blood boiling. It gets -- it gets me so riled up because this isn't an optional surgery for me. This isn't just a shoulder surgery or something like that. This is something that is actually growing inside of me.
We have proof that the chemos have not worked for me and that it does continue to grow. So it is -- it's lifesaving for me. And I talked to my team about that. They said that they understand that it's lifesaving but because it's not this moment, it's not considered lifesaving, I don't know how they can make that judgment.
BURNETT: It's impossible to understand, it -- it -- it's aggravating and awful.
I mean, I also look at you, Megan, as a mom. You know, you came into COVID with extremely young children. You know, sort of in that -- you know, your second child was a baby, 4-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son.
And I know you are doing all of this for them. How do you even talk about this with them?
BEAUCHESNE: It's been really, really difficult. We only tell them as much as we can without being scary. They obviously know that mom is sick, especially my son when we were doing at-home schooling during COVID.
There were times I had to walk away because I would get sick and trying to explain to them that it's hopefully making mom better and getting mom better but, yeah, it's been really, really, really difficult.
BURNETT: I know that you were diagnosed, right, coming into COVID. And, you know, one of the things learning about you, Megan, I was just amazed at you and your strength that you have had to go to all your doctor's appointments and surgeries on your own. Your husband hasn't even met your oncologist two years into this because of -- of COVID.
How does that make you feel? I mean, you have to go to chemo alone, you have had to go to surgeries alone.
BEAUCHESNE: Yeah. It's been really, really difficult. You know, usually when you are battling cancer, you connect with people close by you that all have cancer, that you can kind of get that camaraderie or whatnot or support group.
And it was really difficult at the very beginning. I didn't have anybody. I didn't have that support. I did find some people online, which has been helpful. But, it is -- my husband's never met my oncologist, he has never met
anybody on my team so when they are making these choices about delaying surgeries and stuff I am telling him, they're still great. They still have my back.
He doesn't know. He has never met them before so it's definitely challenging in many different levels and going to chemo by yourself, being fearful of what that even entails was just a whole another beast.
BURNETT: Well, Megan, I have such great admiration for you. And your -- your fortitude and your strength and sharing this. Thank you.
BEAUCHESNE: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, New Mexico's largest school district forced to shut down. Not because of COVID, not because of weather but a cyberattack. Tonight, a warning that it could happen anywhere.
As the FBI says any doubts about who took Gabby Petito's life such that this were any, have been put to rest by her killer.
BURNETT: Tonight, the secretary of homeland security with a warning to cities across the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Sometimes, it doesn't take a great deal of sophistication to successfully launch a cybersecurity attack. It could be one of your city employees actually just clicking on a link that they think they recognize but is not exactly what it should be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: His warning coming just days after a series of cyberattacks in the state of New Mexico forced more than 70,000 students to miss school.
Lucy Kafanov is OUTFRONT with tonight's "Inside Look."
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Students in New Mexico's largest school district are finally heading back to class after Albuquerque's public schools were forced to abruptly shut down last Thursday through the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Not because of COVID or crippling weather. Instead, it was a cyberattack.
SCOTT ELDER, SUPERINTENDENT, ALBUQUERQUE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: APS has suffered a serious incident that forced us, for the first time ever, to cancel school for two days for what experts refer to as cybersecurity snow days.
It's disruptive and -- and it honestly it makes me angry. Um, because these kids deserve better.
KAFANOV: Nearly one in five New Mexico school children were impacted by the closures after staff discovered they were locked out of the system that tracks attendance, records, and emergency contacts.
ELDER: It's just been a traumatic experience.
KAFANOV: Superintendent Scott Elder says it was a ransomware attack used for extortion. He worries about the toll on students and staff.
ELDER: Gosh, can't we catch break? I mean, it's just been such a long two years with the pandemic and then to have this on top of it. We've got a lot of other things, and just the nature of school, but this one was really a punch in the gut.
KAFANOV: Days earlier, a ransomware attack brought services in Bernalillo County, home to Albuquerque, to a halt.
TIA BLAND, BERNALILLO COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It is a criminal investigation. A crime did occur. We had cybercriminals basically break into the country's computer system and it impacted the juvenile and adult detention centers. We had people coming looking for a marriage license and we had to refer them to another county. We look -- we had vendors hoping they would still get paid.
KAFANOV: Those trying to buy or sell homes were hit especially hard. Filing mortgages or recording deeds, suddenly impossible.
BRIDGET GILBERT, GREATER ALBUQUERQUE ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: I have been in real estate for 25 years. And it's never happened. We have been hacked. It's -- you know, it's -- I don't know -- it's -- it's kind of violating.
KAFANOV: Services are slowly coming back online. But Albuquerque residents are still in shock.
GILBERT: I think that we are all familiar with ransomware but we're not familiar with how close to home it could hit.
KAFANOV: The FBI tells CNN it does not appear the Albuquerque public school system and Bernalillo County cyber incidents are related. But the threat is nationwide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, year on year, 2021 was by far the worst we've ever seen. It's not going away anytime soon. It's actually probably going to get worse, first.
KAFANOV: Cybersecurity experts say attacks surged during the pandemic as more people started working remotely. Life may be slowly returning back to normal here in Albuquerque but the cybersecurity threat remains.
GILBERT: Do I have confidence it won't happen again? I wish I did but I don't.
KAFANOV (on camera): Now, it's not clear who might be behind the separate incidents but the threat isn't over. Both county and school officials tell CNN they are still fielding attacks. The FBI is assisting with both investigations -- Erin.
BURNETT: Lucy, thank you very much.
Really scary when you think about that, right? Shut down a school district, 70,000 kids.
Think about what could happen.
OUTFRONT next, the FBI tonight revealing Brian Laundrie did confess to killing Gabby Petito.
BURNETT: New tonight: we now know Brian Laundrie admitted to killing his fiancee Gabby Petito in a Wyoming national park. The FBI says that the notebook they found near his body contained written statements where he claimed responsibility for her death. A revolver was also found nearby, and his death ruled a suicide.
The engaged couple saga gripped the country last fall after Petito went missing a during a cross country trip that I they had documented on social media. Laundrie returned Florida without her, generating searches and FBI scrutiny and then disappeared. More than a month went by before his body was found in that reserve. The FBI says all logical investigative steps have been concluded and add they did not identify anyone other than Brian Laundrie who was directly involved in Gabby Petito's death.
Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you on Monday.
"AC360" with Anderson begins right now.