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Erin Burnett Outfront

Biden: Will Move U.S. Troops to Eastern Europe in "Near Term"; Pentagon Warns of 'Horrific' Outcome if Russia Invades Ukraine; Jan 6 Panel Subpoenas 14 Republicans from 7 States Trump Lost Who Served as Fake Electors, China Ambassador to U.S.: U.S. Could Face "Military Conflict" Over Taiwan; 75M People May Face Heavy Snow, Near-Hurricane Intensity Winds; Germany's Loyalties Questioned Over Russia-Ukraine Response. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 28, 2022 - 19:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We send our deepest, deepest condolences to the families of Officer Rivera and fellow Officer Wilbert Mora. May they rest in peace, may their memories be a blessing.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, President Biden saying he has decided to send U.S. troops into Eastern Europe as a top military official warns Russian invasion of Ukraine would be 'horrific'.

Plus, 14 Republicans who signed up to serve as fake electors hit with subpoenas by the January 6 Committee. They were allegedly on board a plot to overturn the election.

And China in no uncertain terms warns that the U.S. could face 'military conflict' over Taiwan. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, U.S. troops heading to Eastern Europe. President Joe Biden saying he is readying to send them speaking to reporters just moments ago.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be moving U.S. troops to Eastern Europe and NATO countries in the near term.


BURNETT: And there you have it. This comes as the top U.S. General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, issues a grim warning about what could happen if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to launch a war against Ukraine.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The civilian population will suffer immensely. It would be horrific. It will be terrible.


BURNETT: Milley also, as blunt, when he said the Putin's military buildup in the region is extraordinarily significant.


MILLEY: This is larger in scale and scope and amassing of forces than anything we've seen in recent memory and I think you'd have to go back quite a while into the Cold War days to see something of this magnitude.


BURNETT: "Back to the Cold War to see something of this magnitude." And this comes as these images you hear - see today, they are new for the U.S. military loading pallets of ammunition, weapons, other equipment all bound for Ukraine, as America's top defense leaders detail what Putin is putting in place. And they are making it very clear that he has the capability for invasion now.


LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It has progressed at a consistent and steady pace involving 10s of thousands of Russian troops. And it is being supported by increased Russian naval activity in the northern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. While we believe that President Putin has made a final decision to use these forces against Ukraine, he clearly now has that capability.

MILLEY: The Russian Federation has amassed upwards, at this time, of over a hundred thousand ground forces, air forces, naval forces, Special Forces, cyber electronic warfare, command and control, logistics, engineers and other capabilities along the Ukraine border.


BURNETT: That's what the capability to invade means, having all those things in place and in place you hear they are. Here's some of what Sec. Austin and Gen. Milley are talking out specifically when they list those. These are the exclusive satellite images that I showed you last night if you are watching.

Let me show you what's in them again, eight new Russian army compounds. That's a town less than 200 miles from the Ukraine border where they've been building up, just there alone, a 45 percent increase in the number of vehicles, trailers and structures at the compound.

And the compound on the left side of your screen at 24 percent increase in the number of tanks, self-propelled howitzers and other weapon system. And the compound on the right at 25 percent increase.

And as for those cyber threats that Gen. Milley mentioned, one possible target, garnering major concern tonight, is 240 kilometers off the coast of Southwest Ireland where Russian ships are planning to conduct military exercises. That is also where the fiber optic cables that connect the U.S. and Europe are.


SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, INTL. SECURITY PROGRAM AT CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: They could cut those fiber optic cables, about 97 percent of the digital information between North America and Europe comes under the Atlantic Ocean through those fiber optic networks and they do pose a grave strategic level of risk.


BURNETT: Yet, still tonight, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, downplaying the Russian buildup at his border pushing back against the U.S. saying he knows the situation about Ukraine better than anyone else.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through interpreter): I'm the president of Ukraine. I'm based here and I think I know the details much deeper than any other president. It's important the President should know what the situation is from me, not from intermediaries.


BURNETT: Clearly a bit defiant there. The reality is though whatever Zelensky may say, he does need the U.S. and he needs NATO right now.


He obviously can't fight Putin alone. And you heard Sec. Austin and Gen. Milley, they're very blunt. They say Putin has the capability to attack right now.

And Putin has helped from Ukraine's neighbor as well, Belarus. He already has ground forces and air bases established in Belarus. As you can see on this map from Seth Jones and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and there is no daylight between Putin and his allies visible right now publicly. He has the full support of the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, who's let Putin basically just take over with all these military forces.

Lukashenko nominally controls Ukraine's northern border and he said today he would engage in war, if 'our ally, the Russian Federation, will be directly attacked'. No daylight between Putin and his allies.

Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT in Kiev, Ukraine tonight. And Matthew, you spoke today with the Ukrainian president Zelensky. Obviously, he, in the sound bite we played there, seem to have some real frustration, the United States kind of visible there. What more did he tell you?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There is a lot of frustration and he also, as you mentioned, doubled down on this idea that the threat that Russia poses is not as imminent, is not as severe and is more ambiguous than the United States is putting across. He addressed a whole range of issues in that press conference for the international media that was held today in Kiev.

He urged the United States and others in the West not to create panic amid that buildup, of course, of Russian forces that we've been reporting on near the border of Ukraine. And he said those warnings that are coming from the White House, particularly about an imminent incursion or an imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces were 'putting his economy at risk'.

He also set out some of the things that he wanted to see the United States do ahead of any Russian invasion. Now, they've been putting out these things both publicly and privately for some time now. We're talking about front footing sanctions, imposing sanctions on Russia before any invasion, not after it, security guarantees was another point that Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president hits on.

And by that, he means, I think, more sophisticated weaponry that would enable Ukraine to more effectively defend itself against any Russian attack. And also, a path towards NATO membership, which is what the long standing strategic desire of Ukraine is, all of those things have been pushed back on by the United States, Erin.

BURNETT: Yes, absolutely. No front footing sanctions and they're drawing a red light on NATO, but certainly not at all moving ahead with it. Matthew Chance, thank you very much reporting as he has been from Kiev, Ukraine.

I want to go now to retired Colonel Cedric Leighton, former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Deputy Director for training at the NSA along with the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor. So I appreciate both of you and your perspective tonight.

Colonel, let me start with you. You hear Gen. Milley very clearly warning of a 'horrific outcome' if Russian forces 'unleashed' on Ukraine. Based on the build up that Milley and Sec. Austin described today, and they laid it out, would Putin do all of this, everything that he has done and continues to do just to completely back down?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I don't think so, Erin. And it's one of those areas where military operations develop their own momentum. After a certain point, when you bring all these forces to bear and you put them in a place like this, where they're basically surrounding Ukraine, not just on three sides, but almost on four sides of the country, you're getting into a situation where now you have all the forces in place, you in essence have a stranglehold over the country and you will be able to use those forces to unleash those forces, basically, at a time of your own choosing and that's what we're looking at here.

BURNETT: And Ambassador Taylor, whatever President Zelensky may say and I know obviously he's very concerned about the economic impact of all of this talk that the U.S. has been very clear that Putin currently has the capability to invade if he chooses to do so, that all he would have to do is essentially say the word. What is Russia really hoping to get out of this, Ambassador, as he

continues - Putin continues to put in command and control, hospital support, all of the things that one would need for an actual war?

WILLIAM TAYLOR, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: He is, Erin. And he's got that capability. He's built up that capability. You asked what he's after. I think he's after control of Ukraine and we need to deter him. The deterrence is what needs to happen and I believe deterrence has been successful. All of the equipment, all of the military weapons, all of the work that's been gone, so far, into making the Ukrainian military stronger than it was.


The leadership is better. The weapons are better. That has deterred so far President Putin from making a decision. I agree with Gen. Milley and Sec. Austin, he's not yet made a decision. He needs to be deterred from that and there is some indication, I think, that he is looking more towards negotiation rather than invasion.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about that, Colonel, because however it goes, you heard the ambassador saying, what does Putin want. He wants control of Ukraine. Well, there's a lot of ways to get control of a country that don't involve running it over with tanks and shooting it up with missiles, I mentioned Belarus.

Belarus is nominally an independent country, the President Lukashenko there has allowed the entire border with Ukraine to be filled with Russian troops. He says he will do whatever he needs to do to fight alongside Putin if this becomes a war. So how important is that to Putin and also, Colonel, is that basically what Putin eventually wants here?

LEIGHTON: I think that's exactly right, Erin. What he's looking at and Ambassador Taylor has as a valid point here, what he's looking at is control of the entire country. And the cheaper way in which he can do that, the better.

So if he doesn't have to roll the tanks in, if he can only move certain pieces forward at a certain amount of time, he can still leverage those elements that he moves forward and combine them with other types of warfare. We're talking asymmetric warfare, things like cyber warfare, electronic combat, influence operations, targeted assassinations, those kinds of things can happen, and he won't have to move everybody that he's got a raid around the country of Ukraine right now.

BURNETT: So Ambassador, you heard President Zelensky standing up to Biden, saying about Ukraine, I know the details deeper than any other president. It was very clear. He's frustrated with this situation. It is an about face from Zelensky who flattered Biden back in December of 2020 telling The New York Times and I quote, "Joe Biden, it seems to me, knows Ukraine better than the previous president. Before his presidency, he had close ties to Ukraine and he understands the Russians well, he understands the difference between Ukraine and Russia, and, it seems to me he understands the Ukrainian mentality." He was laying it on pretty thick there, Ambassador, at the time,

trying to curry favor with Biden after the Trump fiasco. And I just want to remind everybody that favor phone call, do me a favor, that led to Trump's impeachment was with Trump and President Zelensky. You were the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine at the time. You, of course, testified at Trump's impeachment trial, but you know Zelensky very well. What do you notice when you hear him giving these press conferences and so clearly being frustrated and essentially kind of saying the United States is wrong?

TAYLOR: Erin, President Zelensky is walking the tightrope. He could fall in either direction. On the one hand, he wants to appear and give his people confidence that He's strong. He's going to stand up to President Putin. That's who he's standing up to. He's standing up to President Putin. He is indicating that he will lead this country and he's giving them confidence.

On the other hand, he needs to have the United States, and NATO and Europe supporting him with weapons, with sanctions for deterrence. So the two presidents are united in their need to, in their determination to deter Mr. Putin, no matter what they're saying about the statement about the threat, we understand why President Zelensky has to demonstrate calm, determination.

President Biden is doing the same thing. Again, I believe that they have - they're staring him down that Biden and Zelensky are staring down Putin and President Putin just exactly, as Col. Leighton said, he would like to have President Biden and President Zelensky fold, cave, compromise and they haven't done that. They have stood together and they are staring down President Putin.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you both very much. I appreciate your time. And next, the January 6 Committee zeroing in on those phony electors as part of Trump's push to overturn the results and there's a whole slew of new subpoenas out tonight to tell you about.

Plus, a warning from a high ranking Chinese official over Taiwan.


QIN GANG, CHINA'S AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: ... it most likely involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in a military conflict.


BURNETT: Those are stunning words.

Meanwhile tonight, 75 million people on the East Coast of the United States should brace for storm impact. Potential bomb cyclone about to strike, slamming some areas with whiteout blizzard conditions, hurricane force winds, we have a live update.



BURNETT: New tonight, the January 6 Select Committee issuing 14 new subpoenas tonight, all aimed at Republicans connected to team Trump's fake electoral scheme. It was a scheme that was led by Rudy Giuliani where bogus election certification in states Trump actually lost to Joe Biden were sent to the National Archives in an attempt to overturn the election.

Now, this is coming just days after the Deputy Attorney General told our Evan Perez that the Justice Department was also looking into this issue of fake electors. So now you're seeing this sort of pick up steam on every front.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT. And Paula, this scheme, this elector scheme is now - 14 subpoenas just on one topic in one day. How big of a focus is this for the Committee?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It's a huge focus, Erin. Investigators are digging deeper into this effort to install a bogus slate of electors for Trump as part of their efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And as you noted, the Committee today demanding information from 14 people who are involved in this plot.

Now these 14 individuals from seven states falsely claimed to be electors for Trump in the 2020 election in states that were actually won by Biden. Today, the Committee Chairman said he believes these people have information about how these so called alternate electors met and who was behind the scheme.

Now, CNN has, of course, reported that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani coordinated this effort among Republicans in the seven states to create bogus certifications that were ultimately sent to the National Archives.


Now, of course, the scheme did not work. Then-Vice President Mike Pence certified the election results on January 6th after that process was interrupted by the violent attack on the Capitol. But the slate of electors has become not only a big focus for the House Select Committee, but for other investigators as well.

As you noted, the Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told our colleague, Evan Perez, the Justice Department is looking into this effort to see if there was any criminal wrongdoing.

Now, Erin, today, the Committee also subpoenaed former White House Press Secretary Judd Deere, the Committee saying that he has firsthand knowledge of Trump's behavior before and during the January 6 attack on the Capitol. And specifically, they want to speak with him about a January 5th meeting in the Oval Office where Trump allegedly asked, "What are your ideas for getting the rhinos," of course Republicans in name only, "to do the right thing tomorrow? How do we convince Congress?" Now, Erin, as you know, Deere was a top communications adviser to

Trump, a frequent presence in the West Wing. And investigators want to know more about Trump's public response to the attack, including that video message that he recorded hours after violence was first reported at the Capitol. Deere is just the latest in a wide net of individuals in Trump's orbit, subpoenaed by the Committee. Erin?

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Paula, with all of that new information.

Let's go to Elie Honig, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and David Becker, who was a prosecutor in the voting section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

So Elie, let me start with the fake electoral plot that Paula was laying out, 14 people tied to that subpoenaed. They're obviously not going to get all 14 to cooperate and it's a long process. But do you think they'll get a few and is a few are handful enough?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Erin, there's so much here. And one thing we've seen this week is that the Committee has really focused laser like on these fake electoral certificates and rightly so because on one level, those certificates are evidence of a broader plot to overthrow this election. But also more narrowly, in my view, those certificates are the cleanest example yet we've seen of a potential federal crime.

Now, it's one thing to have talks, conversations, at some point, they cross the line into a criminal conspiracy, where that line is perhaps is debatable.

However, it is a federal crime to submit a false document to the federal government if your intent is corrupt. And I think there's a good argument that that's the case here. Now, this strategy of subpoenaing these 14 individuals is very smart, because if even just three, four or five of them cooperate, they're going to all presumably be pointing to the same person who was the coordinator of this.

We have reporting that it's Rudy Giuliani. If that's how it turns out, so be it. But that's crucial information for the Committee to know.

BURNETT: Right. And so, David, our reporting is that Rudy Giuliani was essentially the leader of these efforts of the fake electors and that he coordinated on a state by state level for Donald Trump. Now, here's Giuliani and longtime Trump aide Stephen Miller talking about their attempts to replace elector, they didn't try to hide it.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: The power is given to you. In the McPherson case in 1892, United States Supreme Court made clear that you can take that power back any time you want to. Anytime, you can take it back tonight. You can take it back the day before the electors go down to Washington. You can take it back anytime you want. STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: As we speak

today, an ultimate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we're going to send those results up to Congress.


BURNETT: So David, let me just ask you to take a step back here, a person walking into this for the first time, if it's a conspiracy and it's something you don't want anyone to know, because you're trying to have like a coup, you wouldn't have done it out in the open the way they did. I wouldn't think that but they did, so explain.

DAVID BECKER, EXECUTIVE DIR. NONPARTISAN CTR. FOR ELECTION INNOVATION & RESEARCH: I mean, it's hard to explain what they were thinking. The power that Rudy Giuliani is talking about taking back there is the power of the voters of the United States of America to elect their own leaders. You wouldn't think anyone would ever dream of publicly stating they were seeking to undermine the will of the voters, but certainly that's what happened here.

And you can see there appears to be some coordination here, the Committee is doing a good job of trying to get to the bottom of this. A lot of these certificates look very, very similar. There were also some bad facts that need to be investigated more fully.

A couple of the states seem to acknowledge that they were just doing this as a failsafe just in case and they weren't really asserting that the electors they were supplying to the National Archives were legitimate like Pennsylvania and Georgia. And also there were some replacement electors.

It appears that there might have been electors in a lot of these states that said I support President Trump, but this is a bridge too far. I will not go down this path to usurp the will of voters. And so you're going to have to find someone else to sign this certificate for me.

BURNETT: So Elie, how does this work though from a legal perspective?


Stephen Miller, "Ultimate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we're going to send those results to Congress." So he's saying it in the open, so his defense is going to be, well, I thought he won. I thought it was rigged. I thought - whatever. Well, of course, every court case had shown that it wasn't, audit after audit had shown that it wasn't.

I mean, all of the facts were in place showing that any kind of cover that he would have there doesn't add up at all. But it sounds like the best defense is him saying, well, that's what I thought. I thought that he really won. Is that it? That his best defense?

HONIG: One of the hallmarks of Donald Trump and his administration, his acolytes, is that they do a lot of this right out in the open, as you said. BURNETT: Yes.

HONIG: But that doesn't mean it's not criminal. I mean, some people are just that audacious, that arrogant that they think they can get away with it. There's a lot of people trying to be mini Trumps out there. But you're right, the key issue in any criminal case is going to be intent.

And I think as a prosecutor, you have to prove they didn't legitimately think they won. And so you have to look at all the circumstantial evidence. But it's important to say this, juries are allowed to use common sense, prosecutors are allowed to use common sense and at a certain point, you can say every person with any knowledge of this said Trump didn't win. We know for a fact Trump didn't win. It's a conspiracy. It's not enough to base a defense on but that's why these are difficult calls for prosecutors to make.

BURNETT: So David, let me ask you, the Committee also had the subpoena, as we said, 14 subpoenas related to this, but also on the list was Judd Deere. He was Trump's Deputy Press Secretary.

Now, we know that the Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany did cooperate and did answer all the questions. But they're now specifically wanting to talk to Judd Deere about that specific meeting that Paula mentioned on January 5th, staff meeting with the former president.

So what does that tell you? I mean, they've done an incredible amount of work, so they don't generally, at this point, go pushing with the subpoena if they don't know something's already really important from a whole host of other people, right? So they think they believe they have reason to believe this meeting mattered?

BECKER: Well, there's very good evidence that there was coordination of this effort and this coordination went all the way up to the top levels of the campaign. And they're trying to connect those dots right now and that makes a lot of sense. Whether it's the efforts to harass election officials, which we see at the top level of the campaign, whether it's efforts to confuse and bring chaos to the January 6th proceedings, that seems to be coordinated at the top levels of the campaign.

And when we're talking about imputing intent here, as Elie mentioned, I mean, there's some evidence they're going to have that's very, very strong. I mean, Donald Trump had an absolute right to full recount, statewide recounts of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. And he chose not to recount those states, which tells you a lot about his and his campaign state of mind about what actually occurred in those states, two of which were decided by more than 80,000 votes.

It's pretty incredible. They didn't even use all the tools that they had because they know that, I guess, that that's where you're going. It makes complete sense. That went the other route. Thank you both very much, I appreciate it.

And next, a top Chinese official with a clear and blatant threat to the United States. This was a pretty incredible thing saying that there could be military conflict over Taiwan.

And states of emergency already declared as a dangerous winter storm is going to bring massive amounts of snow blizzard conditions, hurricane winds to much of the Eastern United States.



BURNETT: Tonight, a dire warning and direct one from China. The country's ambassador to the United States with a very clear and unbelievable threat, blatantly saying stop meddling in Taiwan, or there could be war between the U.S. and China.

Ambassador Qin Gang in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep calling Taiwan, quote, the biggest tinderbox between the U.S. and China, and then saying this.


QIN GANG, CHINA'S AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: If, you know, the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, you know, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely involve China and the United States, the two big countries in a military conflict.


BURNETT: I mean, saying what -- well, just doesn't get said at that level. It -- it comes just days after 39 Chinese warplanes, mostly fighter jets, flew into Taiwan's air defense zone. It was the largest incursion in months. It caused Taiwan to start up their anti-defense systems.

All of it, happening as we are one week away from the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics which the U.S. is boycotting diplomatically.

OUTFRONT now, Fareed Zakaria, host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS".

And, Fareed, you know, I just have to say, you know, we all -- we all know that -- that -- that Taiwan is at the core of all of this between the U.S. and China. And yet, the unsaid was said today in a remarkably tough and direct warning by the Chinese ambassador who did not just go on NPR with Steve Inskeep and randomly stumble into that comment.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Oh, no, the Chinese diplomats are very, very disciplined. You are exactly right, that this was a carefully chosen moment. This was the first interview the ambassador has given. He is Xi Jinping's chosen ambassador, unlike the previous one who was a holdover from the old regime.

So, what he says matters a great deal. He is a rising star in the foreign policy bureaucracy in China. It is, you know, in a sense, a slightly more explicit version of what China has said many times. President Xi told President Biden when they spoke that if -- if anyone encourages Taiwanese independence, they are playing with fire. So it -- there with stand to be a little more metaphoric than explicit

here but the danger is very real. The Chinese I think are trying to deal with their biggest fear, which is that Taiwan is becoming more and more independence-minded.

You see, the Chinese have always thought time was on their side with Taiwan.


That, over time, as China became this mammoth, gigantic economy, second-largest economy in the world, perhaps the largest economy in the world in a few years, that Taiwan would, in a sense, come back into the orbit of the mother ship.

But what has been happening over the last few years is that Taiwan is becoming more dependence independence minded and there is a distinct Taiwanese identity that has been created -- a democratic identity.


ZAKARIA: And so, they are watching and thinking to themselves maybe time is not on our side.

BURNETT: You know, it's interesting. Senator Michael McFaul said the other day that, you know, you would expect actually an invasion of China into Taiwan after the Olympics, which was a pretty stunning thing to say. It's one person but obviously, you know, somebody who is getting briefed.

And, you know, it comes in the context here of the timing is not random. I don't just mention the Olympics, right, and the recent incursions into Taiwanese airspace by Chinese jets. It's -- it's what's going on in Ukraine, right? Putin and Xi are -- are allies. There is that high-stakes game of chicken going on, um, that Xi is watching more closely than perhaps anyone.

If Putin invades Ukraine in any way, how does Xi see that?

ZAKARIA: Oh, I think it -- it's -- you are exactly right. It is a very similar situation in both cases. It is actually, in both cases, very similar, which is that Putin's great fear is that Ukraine is developing its own identity, is becoming its own country with a very distinct, often anti-Russian identity. Taiwan similarly has increasingly defined itself as a democracy, as opposed to the dictatorship on the mainland.

So you have these cases where, you know, what their greatest nightmare is that these, as they see it separatists, then band together or ally themselves and get supported by the United States.

So, ironically, of course, the Chinese have always been very strong on the idea of sovereignty. No violation of a country's sovereignty. But in the case of Ukraine, they seem comfortable with Russia violating its sovereignty because their greater fear is that a United States that is meddling in parts of the world. BURNETT: Right. Right. Sovereignty, I guess, becoming a subjective


Fareed, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

And I want everyone to know Fareed has a special on this topic this Sunday. Don't miss his special report, "China's Iron Fist: Xi Jinping and the Stakes for America" at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Just a crucial thing to see.

And OUTFRONT next: Boston could be on the verge of being hit with the biggest snow storm in its history. And 75 million people all in now in the path of this massive storm. We are going to give you the latest information at this hour.

And Germany, mostly missing in action as other NATO countries are pitching in to help Ukraine in some way, shape, or form, not Germany.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The German government has said very clearly that we will not send any lethal weapons or arms deliveries to conflict areas.




BURNETT: Tonight, a dramatic scene in Pittsburgh after a bridge collapsed sending a bus and other vehicles into a ravine. Rescuers fighting icy conditions had to repel nearly 150 feet to reach victims. Ten people were injured, three hospitalized. Miraculous this was not so much worse.

The fact that a bridge could just collapse like this is shocking and terrifying, frankly. It's now under investigation.

It comes as we have a bomb cyclone tonight threatening 75 million people from the Southeast all the way to New England. More icy conditions challenging infrastructure. Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, all declaring states of emergency. Amtrak cancelling train service between Washington and Boston. There is going to be heavy snow. There is going to be hurricane-force winds. There is going to come massive flooding. All of it coming over the next 24 hours.

I want to bring in meteorologist Tom Sater.

Tom, you know, obviously, bomb cyclone refers to the speed with which this forms, and then the speed with which it moves and the power. I mean, what are you seeing? How bad could this get?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah. It's -- it's really about the pressure dropping just like in tropical systems like hurricanes when that low pressure drops, and such a fashion in 24 hours, it bombs out. This is going to be historic, Erin. This is going to go down in the

record books. Now, you probably have been wondering if you have been listening on the East Coast, the last several days we didn't know was it 0 inches, was it 20 inches? Because the storm didn't develop yet. It just developed today.

So now, we know it is not going to be this track to the left with that inland snow on I-95. It is not going to be the track to the right keeping everything offshore. It is the sweet spot, right in the middle. And with this pressure dropping, and it is going to drop to a level category 2 hurricane.

Notice these snow totals. Philadelphia, 4 to 8. You are not going to get much in Washington and Baltimore but it is east of there. It's Ocean City. It's east of areas really New York, you are going to get some good totals but it's eastern Long Island.

The heart of the storm is going to be Boston. South of Boston, Rhode Island. Wouldn't be surprised to see, you know, 3 feet. The cold front's moving in. This is going to play a role. Light snow.

This is the one that developed that snow in Pittsburgh with the bridge collapse. Snow squall warnings in Kentucky. But now that the storm is formed, overnight tonight, Erin, it lifts to the north and this is when the engine starts to roll. This is the acorn that will become the great oak tree and we are looking at what will be historic numbers on areas from around Atlantic City all the way up into coastal Maine.

Warnings are in effect. Ten states have blizzard warnings. That means zero visibility. It is a light, fluffy snow. We could have several drifts that are up to second stories of buildings so those winds are going to play a role -- gusts, hurricane strength.

But you're wondering how bad it could be. Notice the blizzard of '78. It was on the record books forever. This is two-day totals for Boston but a one-day total. This is a one-day snow event.

The record, 23.6 inches, their forecast 18 to 24. There will be spots in these heavy bands that will drop three feet.


This storm is going to knock one of these off the list of both lists, that is.

So, again, just stay home. Do not get out on those roads tomorrow.

BURNETT: That is unbelievable. Talk about two story drifts. I mean, three feet. Wow.

SATER: It is.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Tom.

And next, Germany's loyalties under scrutiny tonight after it sends helmets -- just helmets -- to Ukraine as Ukraine gears for possible battle with a highly armed Russia that provides Germany with all its gas.

And black drivers are searched by police in this country four times as often as white drivers. CNN investigates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working man with a college degree. Didn't do anything wrong. I mean, what it does to your pride and your self- esteem in the moment, you just can't get that back.



BURNETT: Tonight, growing questions about where Germany's loyalties lie in the Russia-Ukraine conflict as country's support for Ukraine only helmets at the moment, pales in comparison to its NATO allies, as Germany keeps buying Russian gas, leading boxing champion-turned-Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko calls that response a joke and asks what kind of support will Germany send next? Pillows? And he's not alone.

Frederik Pleitgen is OUTFRONT with tonight's "Inside Look".


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): as Russia continues amassing troops at Ukraine's borders, the U.S. and its allies have stepped up deliveries of defensive weapons to Kyiv, including armor-piercing, anti-tank missiles. Notably missing, though, NATO partner Germany. The Germans only offering 5,000 helmets for the Ukrainians facing Russian tanks.

CHRISTINE LAMBRECHT, GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The German government has said clearly we will not send any lethal weapons or arms deliveries to conflict areas because we don't want to fuel these conflicts further.

PLEITGEN: But Germany is coming off a record year for arms export, top client, Egypt, despite its difficult human rights track record.

Ukraine's ambassador to Berlin says his country is not happy.

ANDRIY MELNYK, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY: I think that they have to reconsider and they have to start helping us with the weapons of defensive type, which we need right now.

PLEITGEN: Some NATO countries are questioning just how reliable an ally Berlin is when it comes to confronting Russian aggression, especially after the head of the German navy recently had to resign after saying Vladimir Putin deserves respect.

When dealing with Russia, Germany is still haunted by its past says Sudha David-Wilp, of the German Marshall Fund.

SUDHA DAVID-WILP, GERMAN MARSHALL FUND: They're afraid of sending weapons to Ukraine and those weapons being used given the number of Russians that were killed during World War II. But let's be honest there, huge amounts of Ukrainians that were victims as well during World War II.

PLEITGEN: Millions of Ukrainians were killed as Hitler's army overran what was then the Ukrainian part of the soviet union, nearly the entire Jewish population there wiped out.

But Germany also has hard economic reasons for going soft on Russia. Its dependence on Russian gas and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the $11 billion undersea link between the two countries.

While Berlin recently claimed the pipeline was purely an economic project, at least now the government says a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have an impact.

ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): If there is renewed congress, we have the full bandwidth of measures, including Nord Stream 2.

PLEITGEN: The U.S. has long urged Berlin to use Nord Stream 2, which is not yet certified for gas transit, as leverage to deter Moscow. Now, the State Department says if Russia invades, the project is dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.


PLEITGEN (on camera): But, Erin, the Germans are still very much moving forward with the pipeline project. In fact, a German subsidiary was found trying to speed up the certification process here in Europe as Germans continue to say that they are very much in the U.S.'s corner and would support tough sanctions against Moscow if there's a further invasion of Ukraine, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Fred, thank you very much. Reporting live from Berlin tonight.

And next, driving while black. When a police traffic stop threatens to become deadly serious.



BURNETT: Tonight, Sara Sidner reporting in a new documentary on the great danger of traffic stops in America and the psychological, social, and financial trauma they cause black drivers.


ISAIAH THOMAS, COUNCILMAN, PHILADELPHIA: We are in the northwest section of Philadelphia.

I remember an officer saying, you look guilty, get off the car. And he never talked about a traffic violation. So, they searched me. And I think that's the part that kind of get

dismissed is when they search us, that's a very aggressive search. They're checking between your butt cheeks, underneath your testicles to see if you have drugs there. They put me in handcuffs and put me in the back of the car. But then they search the entire car, looking for a gun in gloves.

Somebody called in for another crime and they ended up letting me out of the car, and just speeding off. Mind you, I'm a working man with a college degree, didn't do anything wrong. I mean, what it does to your pride and your self esteem in the moment, you just can't get that back.


BURNETT: And Sara joins me now.

Look, Sara, the disturbing and graphic and important to hear it that this happens. Tell me what you learned and how you felt when you were hearing stories like this.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That was Councilman Isaiah Thomas who proposed new legislation that has been accepted. And it is a reforming of the way that traffic enforcement happened. It basically takes away seven or eight different things for police to be able to stop you on a first offense.

In other words, if they see something like you have something hanging on your rearview mirror, that is not an excuse for them to stop you. It has to be something more than that.

But we did also talk to the commissioner of police. She, by the way, is the first female black police commissioner of the city of Philadelphia. She says while she was able to talk through this bill before it was passed and tried to get some of the police input, she's extremely concerned about it.

She says her officers will follow the law once it goes into effect. But she's concerned that a tool is being potentially taken away from officers in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is experiencing its worst ever homicide rate ever in its history with more than 500 people who've been killed last year alone.

And so with that spike in crime, that's happening in some of the other cities that we visited. There is concern on the part of some police departments that some of these reforms when it comes to traffic enforcement may impact their ability, for example, to stop more violent crimes. That being said, there are other cities that have put in place some of these reforms and have had them for a couple years.

We visited, for example, Oakland, California. They have a different take on some of this because they've been doing it and seeing some really good results and we get into all of that as well as talk to a lot of different drives who have had a lot of issues when it comes to being pulled over and the majority of them are black -- Erin.

BURNETT: I am really looking forward to seeing this. And, Sara, thank you very much.

And all of you, please don't miss Sara's special report, "Traffic Stop: Dangerous Encounters". It's Sunday night at 9:00.

And it's time now for Anderson.