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Erin Burnett Outfront

Ukraine Gains Momentum, Retakes Key Village Near Russian Border; U.S.: Russians Attempting To Hit "Critical Infrastructure Targets"; Audio: McCarthy Said 25th Amendment "Takes Too Long" After Jan 6; Biden: MAGA Crowd "The Most Extreme Political Organization"; Fed Raises Rates By Half Point, Largest Increase In 22 Years; CNN Has Learned Identity Of 23-Year-Old Man Charged With Attacking Dave Chappelle. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 04, 2022 - 19:00   ET


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: ... after somebody was hanging around and shouting at him from the street. A spokesperson for Chappelle tells CNN that he refuses to let this 'over shadow the magic' of his shows here at the Hollywood Bowl. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Nick Watt reporting for us. Thanks very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Ukraine gaining momentum tonight reclaiming crucial ground near Putin supply lines, while in Mariupol the clock is ticking to save the hundreds holed up in a steel plant now under full assault.

Plus, new audio of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy talking about using the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office just after January 6th.

And the manhunt for a corrections officer and a murder suspect expanding tonight, authorities now tracking leads in several states, a massive manhunt as we're learning new details about how the pair got away. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Ukraine pushing back hard. They are retaking a crucial village near vital Russian supply lines in the northern Kharkiv region. Troops were seen placing a flag on a building just 13 miles southeast of the Ukraine Russia border.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is how we liberate, step-by-step, village-by- village, our land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glory to Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glory to our heroes.


BURNETT: The Russian supply lines that run through that area are crucial for the Russian advance in Ukraine. The yellow on the map showing where Ukraine now says it has mounted counter offensives and pushed Russia back. Look at all those areas in yellow. Still, Russia does continue its campaign of terror and destruction across Ukraine.

We have new video tonight of the destruction and fight for Ukrainian town in the east. The video appears to have been taken by a Russian military drone and posted on a pro-Russian site. You see Russian soldiers hunting down the Ukrainians. They're throwing grenades. They're shooting guns, all this visible in the footage.

The Ukrainians were then captured lying on the ground and surrounded by Russians. Now it is unclear when this video was taken, but it's very clear what's happening in it. And today in Ukraine's Donetsk oblast, which is essentially that region's part of Donbas, a Russian striker killed and wounded a number of civilians waiting for a bus. It happened today and more civilians lost their lives.

And in Mariupol, the heart of the battle, hundreds of civilians remain trapped in that steel plant and there's heavy fighting there tonight, massive plumes of smoke coming from the plant. This is video from officials in a Russian-controlled area. This is what they're putting out. And the Mayor of Mariupol essentially concur and says that plant is now being assaulted from all directions with tanks, by planes and by ship.

We're going to have much more on this in just a moment. It is a crucial part of the Russian attack. First, I want to go to the capital of Kyiv, where Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT. And Sara, what is the latest on the ground right now and what more are you learning about what's happening inside that plant, which I think it is safe to say these next hours and days, we are going to see the fate of the people there.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's truly terrifying for them. They have been cowering in fear for months. There are, according to the Mayor of Mariupol about a hundred people, including 30 children who are still inside the cavernous part of that plant underneath the ground hearing strikes over and over again wondering if they are going to die. And now, news from a commander, a Ukrainian commander who is there says that there are now battles inside that plant that the Russian soldiers have breached it. As he said, "The enemy is inside the plant and there are battles being waged as we speak."



VADYM BOYCHENKO, MAYOR OF MARIUPOL (through interpreter): Our brave boys are defending this fortress, but it's really hard.


SIDNER (voice over): A grueling, bloody battle as Russian forces try to distinguish the last pocket of Ukrainian fighters holed up in Mariupol's sprawling steel plant. Video from Russian separatists shows tanks moving in, a barrage of explosions from the air.

According to a senior U.S. defense official, a couple of thousand Russian forces are still in the devastated city. Russia's defense minister claims Putin's forces have reliably blocked the Ukrainian fighters cornered in the plant. The Ukrainian foreign minister says the plants still hold despite the relentless Russian attacks.

OUTFRONT spoke to one of the Ukrainian commanders inside the plant on Monday. At the time, he spoke about their fight.


CAPTAIN SVIATOSLAV PALAMAR, STATIONED INSIDE MARIUPOL'S AZOVSTAL STEEL PLANT (through interpreter): We will be fighting as long as it is needed, despite extremely difficult conditions.


SIDNER (voice over): According to the Mayor of Mariupol, there are still hundreds of some billions inside that plant including 30 children.



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through interpreter): (Foreign language).


SIDNER (voice over): And tonight, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a private phone call was urging the UN Secretary General to help save the lives of the people who remain in danger. And for those who have managed to escape, you can see it in their faces, just how difficult it has been; little food, no water, none of life's essentials. A far cry from the way things used to be.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one girl said you can start your life on a new page, but I don't want to. My previous pages were so clean and light, I want to go back to my pages and I know that it's impossible.


SIDNER (voice over): And while the grinding assault continues, a different story is being told in Russia. A state TV host returning to the air after visiting Mariupol, the man known to many as the voice of Putin claims those remaining in Mariupol don't want Russia to leave. Propaganda, plain and simple.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIDNER (on camera): And we know that people did want to leave because

we have now seen about a hundred or more people who have been evacuated from there in the past 24 hours. We have heard some devastating stories, mothers with babies who are trying to figure out how to get a little bit of warm water for their babies using candles to do that and others who have been in complete darkness for months. Not a lot of food, no water. It has been a horrible time for those who are there and the commander who is there. The Ukrainian commander says, "These people need help. Do whatever you can do to get them out." Erin?

BURNETT: Sara, thank you very much.

I want to go now to Amanda Sloat, the Senior Director for Europe on the White House National Security Council. And Amanda, I appreciate your time. So what is the assessment right now from the United States on how much longer Ukraine can hold that crucial Azovstal steel plant?

AMANDA SLOAT, SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: It's a deeply tragic situation there as we have been seeing in the images now. Our thoughts and prayers certainly with everyone there and the United States very focused on continuing to do everything we can to support Ukraine, continuing to surge security assistance to the Ukrainian forces, who as you pointed out, are bravely fighting in Mariupol and around the world, continuing to surge humanitarian assistance as well both inside Ukraine as well as to neighboring countries to do what we can to get much needed aid to the people and continuing to work with our allies and partners to urge Russia to allow access to those civilians who have humanitarian needs who are seeking to flee the conflict and who desperately need help.

BURNETT: So I want to ask you about some of that aid in a moment. But first, today, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin said there is no chance, he was categorical, no chance that Putin will declare war against Ukraine on May 9th, which is a crucial day, of course, in Russia, the so called Victory Day in honor of World War II.

U.S. and other Western officials have told CNN earlier this week that Putin was very likely to do just that, to formally declare war, which would enable him to have a draft in mass conscription. Has the U.S. changed its assessment on Putin's plans?

SLOAT: I - well, it's very difficult to take the Russians at their word and in some ways whether or not they declare war is somewhat irrelevant. Russia has been launching a very unprovoked and aggressive campaign of violence against Ukraine for the last two and a half months. It's impossible not to look at the images that you just showed on the screen and conclude that this is anything other than a war that Russia is launching against Ukraine.

The broader point that I would make on victory in Europe Day is this is not just a holiday that is significant to Russia. This holiday, it's important to remember, is celebrated across Europe as a time when the United States came together with Europeans, including the former Soviet Union with Russia and Ukraine part of that to liberate Europe from the scourge of fascism and the Nazis during World War II.

BURNETT: So at this point, what is the U.S. assessment? What do you expect from Putin on Russia's Victory Day holiday on May 9th?

SLOAT: I'm not going to speculate on what Putin's motives are. As you've said, the Russian messaging on this has been very contradictory. The United States position is going to remain the same as it has been for the last two and a half months, which is to continue to support Ukraine, including through the provision of security assistance, economic assistance and humanitarian assistance to enable them to continue defending themselves against Russia's unprovoked aggression.

BURNETT: So now I want to talk to you about the aid and in this case, I'd actually like to ask you about the situation on the military side. A senior U.S. official said today that 90 percent of the howitzers that the U.S. pledged to Ukraine are now in Ukrainian hands, and about 65 percent of the ammunition to go with those howitzers are also in Ukraine.


Have you seen a measurable change in Ukraine's capabilities as a result of U.S. weapons?

SLOAT: I think that Ukraine has had a tremendous amount of success on the battlefield over the last two and a half months. The United States has been giving Ukraine security assistance before the war started to strengthen their defensive posture and we have been surging assistance to them literally every single day since the war began as the war has evolved on the ground, as Ukraine's security assistance needs have evolved on the ground.

We have adjusted the types of equipment and ammunition and support that we are giving to them.


SLOAT: And I think you're seeing the results of this given the success that the Ukrainians have been able to have in terms of defending their country against Russia's assault. This was seen, of course, most notably in Kyiv, where we saw the Russians pull back from their approach quite significantly and they have prevented the Russians from achieving their primary objective of dominating the entire country.

BURNETT: So obviously it's important that the weapons, as the U.S. sees it, have been significant, but the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, today said that Moscow now considers equipment coming in from NATO, anybody else, the U.S. as a legitimate target. So if it comes into Ukraine anyway, they say it's legitimate to strike it.

Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said today, Russian forces are attempting to hit critical infrastructure targets out towards the west where all that aid is coming in. That is how they come in and we've seen these strikes on rail lines as well. Now they're saying vehicles and convoys are legitimate targets. Do you have any idea how many American weapons have been lost already in the strikes?

SLOAT: I don't have an assessment of that. We have continued to provide Ukraine with the security assistance that they've requested. We have continued to work with our allies and partners. And as this conflict continues to evolve in the weeks ahead, we're going to continue ensuring that we are getting the Ukraine, the equipment and the ammunition that they need to be able to continue fighting on the battlefield.

BURNETT: All right. Amanda Sloat, thank you very much. I very much appreciate your time, as I said Senior Director for Europe on the White House National Security Council.

And next, we're going to return to a small village just outside Kyiv to hear from the Ukrainian soldiers who pushed back Putin's forces and saved the Capitol.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in these woods in this town, it was infantry versus infantry, close proximity fighting.


BURNETT: Plus, new audio tonight of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussing the removal of Trump from office in the days after the insurrection.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): What the president did is atrocious and totally wrong.


BURNETT: And images just released of the weapon a man used to attack comedian Dave Chappelle while he was on stage.



BURNETT: Tonight, the Pentagon says that U.S. weapons are still getting to Ukraine as Russian forces ramp up strikes on crucial infrastructure and railways. It comes as CNN speaks to some of the Ukrainian fighters who helped to win the battle of Kyiv and kept the Russians from claiming the capital. Matt Rivers is OUTFRONT.


RIVERS (voice over): Outgoing fire from a frozen foxhole, not far from the flaming pieces of an exploding armored vehicle. As the quiet still of a nighttime bunker be shattered by what the soldier says was a direct hit right nearby.

This is what happened in the tiny town of Moschun, just northwest of Ukraine's capital city. It was here as much as anywhere else that the battle of Kyiv was won.

By early March, Russian forces had flooded south, Ukraine's seat of power in its sights. They've arrived just west of Moschun occupying that entire area. The Irpin River, the only thing between them and the town where Ukraine would make it stand.


RIVERS (on camera): Is it strange to just walk through this area now when it's safe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


RIVERS (voice over): He says, "What's strange was being here when all hell broke loose."

Three Ukrainian soldiers who fought here took us around Moschun before the ground assault. They said relentless artillery rain down. There was little they could do but waited out, just listen to this video taken by a soldier.


RIVERS (on camera): So they dug this trench here just across the river from Russian positions, of course, to take cover from things like this. So this would be spent ordinance, a rocket fired from a Russian attack helicopter here on the Ukrainian position.


RIVERS (voice over): Thinking they'd soften the town the Russians decided it was time to strike. With this bridge destroyed, they built a pontoon bridge here and started sending special forces troops across the river. Across the river, the Ukrainians waited some scene here ready to fight back.

Street battles raged, homes were shredded, houses now with so many bullet holes like freckles on a face, the Russian some scene here actually took part of the town, but that success would be short lived. Because the woods were up next.

Moschun is surrounded by dense pine forest, the perfect area for Ukraine to stop and advance. Video shows Ukrainian troops lined up in neatly dug positions, and Russian troops would quickly come under heavy fire. Video shows the results multiple dead Russian soldiers in the snow.


RIVERS (on camera): That body was found right there and there were several other Russian soldiers that were killed right in this area including this soldier whose body armor is still left behind. This was not artillery unit versus artillery unit here in these woods in this town, it was infantry versus infantry, close proximity fighting. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS (voice over): As sounds of explosions ripple around them Ukrainian soldiers race toward an unseen enemy carrying between them what is likely the kind of weapon that could do something like this, Ukrainian drones capture the destruction of Russian armor sitting ducks on the lone road through the trees.



RIVERS (on camera): And here on the ground, you can still see the remnants of two destroyed armored personnel carriers. The body parts of the soldiers that were inside still litter this area. Ukrainian forces say some 500 Russian soldiers and 40 armored vehicles made their way into this part of the forest. And if they were able to continue and get through, it could have changed the tide of the entire war.


RIVERS (voice over): Moschun sits only about three miles from Kyiv city limits and roughly 15 from the city center. Ukrainian troops tell us had the Russians broke through the thousands of Russian troops just across the river would have made an all out push into Kyiv.

But a fierce Ukrainian counterattack turned the battle around quickly. Soldiers going house to house retaking the town even destroying the pontoon bridge Russia had used to bring soldiers across. Ukrainian forces also stripping what they could from the better supplied Russian soldiers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


RIVERS (voice over): He says, "They suffered heavy losses, even though they dominated us in aircraft and drones in 10 to one in artillery." For these three soldiers, the victory in the Battle of Kyiv is something the world should have seen coming.


RIVERS (on camera): Should the rest of the world have been surprised?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


RIVERS (voice over): "Our army turned out to be one of the best in the world and nobody was more surprised than the Russians," he said. Adding one more thing in English.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surprise mother (inaudible) ...

RIVERS (on camera): And the biggest surprise ...



RIVERS (on camera): And you know, Erin, just one day after we spoke to those soldiers, we got word that all three of them had shipped out to join the fighting in the east. A very clear reminder that this war goes on, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And next, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in new audio from days after the insurrection heard discussing the 25th Amendment as a possible way to remove Trump.

Plus, new leads in the manhunt for a corrections officer and a murder suspect as we're learning tonight that the officer sold her home for half its value just days before disappearing with the fugitive.



BURNETT: Tonight, new leaked audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy revealing the two days after January 6th, he discussed the possible use of the 25th amendment to remove then-President Trump from office for Trump's role in the insurrection.


JOHN LEGANSKI, HOUSE GOP FLOOR DIRECTOR: I think the options that have been cited by the Democrats so far are the 25th Amendment, which is not exactly an elegant solution here.

MCCARTHY: That takes too long too. It could go back to the House, right.

LEGANSKI: Yes, correct. If the President were to submit a letter overruling the cabinet and the vice president, two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to overrule the president. So it's kind of an armful. Obviously, impeachment has been discussed. And then I think they want him to resign, which I don't see happening either.


BURNETT: Audio of that call obtained by The New York Times is revealing a lot more about what McCarthy said. Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.

So Ryan, I mean, amazing because obviously he had no idea that these were being recorded. That is very clear. What else are we hearing in McCarthy's own words? RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what is so

fascinating about this audio, Erin, is just how blunt, the House Minority Leader was about the former president's conduct in the time after January 6th. And he seemed to agree that there needed to be some sort of mechanism to remove him from office, but he just wasn't sure that there would be enough time to do it or if there was a path that would do it in an artful enough way to make it easy for the country to move past this.

Listen to this other piece of audio where he discusses other options on the table.


MCCARTHY: What the president did is atrocious and totally wrong. I do think the impeachment divides the nation further and continues to fight even greater. That's why I want to reach out to Biden. I wanted the president to meet the Biden, but that's not going to happen. I want to see about as meeting with Biden, sitting down, make a smooth transition to show that and continue to keep those statements going. So hopefully I know he's going to talk to Pelosi then he's going to - hopefully he calls me today.


NOBLES: So what's remarkable about these comments is it's pretty different than what we saw from Kevin McCarthy in the days leading after January 6. Of course, he didn't go to the House floor and condemn the former president, but that was brief. After that, he was a forceful defender of the former president throughout the entire impeachment trial and, of course, in the days after.

What this shows is that behind closed doors, he recognized just how serious the situation was, that he was upset with the way the President conducted himself and he believed that he needed to be held accountable. Obviously, his public actions after the fact were dramatically different, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Ryan, thank you.

So I want to go to Scott Jennings, who is a senior adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a special assistant to President George W. Bush and Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Democratic mayor of Atlanta and now DNC Vice Chair, so thanks to both.

So Scott, the New York Times says McCarthy met with Trump for three hours Monday at Mar-A-Lago. Monday being, what day is it today, two days ago, and that Trump kept referring to him, the Minority Leader, as the speaker, right, which is the job he aspires to have. And yet, these tapes keep coming out with McCarthy saying all these horrible things about Trump. It seems okay so far. I mean, can the relationship withstand this continued assault?


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, not only can it, it already is. Obviously, these tapes have come out and Kevin McCarthy moved quickly to solidify his relationship with Donald Trump. And whatever you think of his comments and the tapes and the aftermath of January 6th, Kevin McCarthy has done what he needs to do to keep perhaps his most important person happy, and that's Donald Trump. Donald Trump is issuing a number of endorsements to key House Republicans who are winning their primaries.

He had a good record in Ohio just this week as well. Kevin McCarthy has been instrumental in getting those endorsements done.


JENNINGS: I think one thing that's driving the unity between McCarthy and Trump is the idea that Republicans are on the cusp of retaking the House and perhaps retaking the Senate and maybe even retaking the White House, and there's broad recognition in all corners of the party that unity is the most important thing here, and everybody is doing what they can do to maintain it.

BURNETT: Now, of course, who knows what role this abortion ruling will play in that, that's given Democrats some hope. We'll see if it's justified.

But, Mayor Bottoms, Kevin McCarthy, you know, every time these tapes come out, does this do anything for Democrats or not? Does it help them?

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it reminds us of the courage that we were looking for from Republican leaders after January 6th. If only he had been that courageous to speak up and speak out about what we saw, what we witnessed on January 6th.

And you asked Scott this question, will this last? I will be very surprised if this lasts. We know that Donald Trump will take a public position and change his mind often in the same sentence. So I will be stunned if his support continues, especially in light of the fact that each day we hear more and more.

I just wish that Kevin McCarthy had been that courageous to speak publicly after January 6th. It would have sent a tremendous signal to the country that our democracy is more important than the theatrics of one man. And it's unfortunate that it's coming out this way.

BURNETT: So, Scott, all of this context is President Biden said today in the wake of the leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Here's what he said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What are the next things to be attacked? Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in American history, in recent American history.


BURNETT: Okay, so he said it. And by the way, a few minutes before he had said this.


BIDEN: Senator Rick Scott of Florida, United States senator, who is leading the Republican National Senatorial Campaign Committee, released what he calls the ultra MAGA agenda. It's a MAGA agenda all right.

Let me tell you about this ultra MAGA agenda. It's extreme, as most MAGA things are.


BURNETT: So, Scott, does that have any sort of impact? I mean, obviously, it's not going to get anybody in MAGA to look in the mirror and feel differently about themselves. I mean, does it motivate them and inspire them still more?

JENNINGS: Look, Republicans are chomping at the bit to vote. If you look at Republican turnout in the Ohio primary this week, it was up massively over the last several primaries. You can't keep Republicans out of the ballot box right now because they're so excited to send a message to Joe Biden.

I mean, if I were in Joe Biden's position, I would be throwing this against the wall too, because you want anything other than what we're going to get, which is a referendum on his job approval. Look at the CNN poll tonight, his job approval is low, his approval on the economy is low.


JENNINGS: People don't think he's doing enough on inflation. The table top issues that are killing American families and his responsibility for it, that's what we're going to have a referendum on in November, and he's trying to distract from that. But I think it's a futile effort.

BURNETT: Scott, I want to ask you a quick follow there, to this point about MAGA. What happens in a place like Ohio where you have a, you know, a moderate, very blue collar appealing Democrat now in Tim Ryan, Ryan against as MAGA as it gets, right? So, you're saying Republicans there, the Mitt Romney type Republicans are going to pull the lever for JD Vance?

JENNINGS: Yeah, I do. I think Republicans are going to walk in and pull the lever for Vance and a lot of other Republican candidates because they are desperate to send a message to Joe Biden.

I mean, Mr. Ryan is going to try to run away from Joe Biden. I heard him in interview already trying. You're going to see Democrats all over the country trying to pretend they never met Joe Biden, never heard of Joe Biden. But it's just not going to work, because ultimately, these midterms for presidents are referendums on their job approval. And as we can all read from the polling tonight, Joe Biden is in rough shape and I don't see how it gets better. [19:35:02]

BURNETT: Mayor Bottoms, do you -- obviously, Scott saying this, you know, as a Republican, in a more celebratory fashion. But do you think that when you have these choices of MAGA versus a moderate Democrat, that those Republicans, that they're going to come in and all pick the MAGA, do you have that fear?

BOTTOMS: No, absolutely not, and what we know is that when there is a poll done, it's a snapshot. It is about that moment in time. There's a lot of space between now and November.

And what we do know, with this opinion that will come down from the Supreme Court, you are going to bring people out to the polls who otherwise don't normally vote in a midterm election. You are going to have independent voters who will turn out in places like Georgia and express their opinion about this decision from the Supreme Court at the ballot box. And I think this will bode well for Democrats.

BURNETT: Scott, do you have that fear? Obviously, we're in the heat of the moment on that abortion decision, but the decision itself is going to come out, right? And it's going to motivate a lot of people on the left, right? You know, people who are passionate single issue voters. I mean, they're going to vote now.

JENNINGS: Yeah. I don't really fear this. I look at the empirical evidence that we have on the abortion issue. Democrats in Virginia in the fall tried to make the entire gubernatorial about MAGA, Donald Trump, and abortion. That was Terry McAuliffe's entire campaign, in a state that Joe Biden won by 10 points, was won by Glenn Youngkin won by 2 percent.

So a blue state went Republican after Democrats attempted to do what Joe Biden is saying is their campaign strategy today. So, I don't fear this. I do think it roils the waters, but I think turnout was already going to be high, and I think if you're a single issue abortion voter, you're already voting Democrat and you're probably already voting.

So Republicans, I'm telling you, are as energized as I've ever seen them. And I don't think something like -- and, by the way, this ruling energizes our party, too. I mean, Republicans I know are pretty excited about what Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell's court may produce here. So this thing cuts both ways.

BURNETT: Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.

BOTTOMS: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the Fed hiking interest rates for the first time, are you ready for this? They haven't hiked interest rates in more than two decades. Well, they're doing it to tame inflation. Will it work?


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Inflation, getting that in order the most important thing we can do for this economy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And authorities on a hunt for a corrections officer and murder suspect, now chasing down leads in several states as the manhunt expands, and we're learning new evidence that indicates the escape was planned well in advance.



BURNETT: New tonight, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates by half a percentage point, the biggest hike in more than two decades. And Fed Chairman Jerome Powell saying the aggressive move, which is intended to try to curve inflation, the worst inflation in the United States in 40 years, they're saying it can be done without risking a recession. That, of course, is counter to what many major economists say. But we'll see.

It comes as President Biden is touting his administration's effort to cut more than a trillion dollars from the deficit, they say, to combat inflation.

OUTFRONT now, Jim Bianco, economic analyst and the president of Bianco Research.

So, Jim, the market surged after Powell said further rate hikes weren't being actively considered. Okay, so I know a lot of people thought it would just keep going up and up and up.

But do you think that was the right thing to say okay, we're just going to do this half a percentage and indicate we're all done here, everything is good, inflation is going to be under control?

JIM BIANCO, PRESIDENT, BIANCO RESEARCH, ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, yeah, he did -- Chairman Powell gave an inconsistent message. He's worried about inflation. He talked about the importance of inflation. And then he talked about how the Fed was going to continue to raise rates through the rest of the year, but not at an aggressive point of three quarters of a percent as some in the market like to think.

So he kind of said, on the one hand, we're very concerned about inflation, but on the other hand, we're not going to take aggressive, aggressive action to combat it. And the market shared that idea that he wasn't going to take that very aggressive action in a rally.

BURNETT: Look, there has been concerns about a deep recession. We're hearing about stagflation from the '70s. I mean, it's just -- just because it's everywhere doesn't mean it's going to happen, but there's a real fear.

And today, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said in his view, it is not going to be abortion that drives the polls, the midterms. Here's what he said would be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MANCHIN: Inflation is the number one driving factor, I believe in my state right now. It's hurting everybody. At the pump, at the grocery store, at the drugstore.


BURNETT: So, when you look at it, economically, do you think inflation will be the number one issue come the midterms? Is this problem going to remain as bad as it is right now?

BIANCO: Yeah, there's evidence that the inflation would very well peak in the next few months. So it won't get worse. But the real question is not does it peak, but how fast does it come back down?

And more and more the evidence is looking like not very fast. It's going to stick around at elevated levels. Senator Manchin is right, that inflation affects 100 percent of us. Every single one of us is affected by inflation. Other issues, it might only impact a small percentage of the population.

But inflation is something which we found in the '70s really does get under everybody's skin, because it goes to everybody. So if it doesn't come down fast, and the evidence is that used car prices and airline tickets and a lot of the things that have been driving it higher, are still staying up. Then yeah, the good news is, it might not get worse than 8.5 percent, but if we're expecting it to go back down to 2 percent, 3 percent, that might take a while.


BURNETT: Yeah, and as you say, you know, 8.5 percent is where we stay. I mean, that is a devastating number.

Jim Bianco, thank you very much.

And next, the manhunt heating up for an Alabama corrections officer and the inmate with whom she has a, quote, "special relationship."

Plus, we're just learning the name of the man who attacked comedian Dave Chappelle on stage.


BURNETT: Tonight, CNN learning officers are following leads in several states, as they search for inmate Casey White and Alabama corrections officer, Vicki White. They are not related. The pair have been on the run for six days now together, and the sheriff is releasing new details about their romantic relationship and how they got away.

Amara Walker is OUTFRONT.


AMARA WALKER, C NN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Correction officer Vicki White's patrol car, seen here on surveillance Friday morning. Less than ten minutes after she escorted Casey White shackled and handcuffed into the backseat of her patrol car at the Lauderdale County Detention Center and then drove off.


Authorities say they were headed here, to the Florence Square Shopping Center nearby, where her get away car was parked, a 2007 copper colored Ford Edge authorities say she purchased and parked here the night before amidst the line of used cars for sale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a witness that saw it there because he was looking for the car for sale, noticed it wasn't for sale and didn't have a for sale sign on it, which he thought was unusual. And when the news broke that the patrol car was found here, and he called in and I said, hey, I saw this car out there.

WALKER: More evidence is emerging that indicates the plan was planned in advance.

Court documents show the assistant director of corrections for this northwest Alabama County sold her home two weeks prior for just over $95,000, well below the current market value of nearly $205,000. She moved in next door to live with her mother who told CNN off camera that she had no idea what was about to happen and that she just wants her daughter to come home alive.

The sheriff says the special relationship between 56-year-old Vicki White and 38-year-old Casey White, who was awaiting trial on capital murder charges, may have started in 2020, while he was serving a 75 year prison sentence for a series of crimes including a 2015 home invasion. The two are not related.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do know that there was no communication between the two other than when she was at work. We think there was a connection there.

WALKER: A romantic connection?


WALKER: And Sheriff Singleton had these words of advice for the veteran connections officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vicki, you've been in this for 17 years. You've seen this scenario play out more than once, and you know how it always ends.

WALKER: Vicki White was set to retire after 17 years of service. Her last day was supposed to be the same day as the escape.


WALKER: Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly says he worked with Vicki nearly every day for those 17 years and described her as the most reliable person at the jail.

CHRIS CONNOLLY, LAUDERDALE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I would trust her with my life. I really would. I thought that much of her.

WALKER: While the U.S. marshal service says the two are dangerous and could be armed with an AR-15 and a shotgun, a warning from a woman who's in hiding after she says she was targeted by Casey White in that home invasion.

2015 VICTIM OF CASEY WHITE: If she is still alive, get the hell out. Run, run, run as far as you can.


BURNETT: This is just incredible, Amara. I can't believe it. Just that she would throw it all away on that last day. This is like a movie script. I know you're learning that investigators are facing a major setback in the massive manhunt. What happened?

WALKER: Well, Erin, it's been quite a frustrating situation for them. So, the sheriff tells me they spent basically all weekend trying to pinpoint this getaway car. They got help from a witness who helped confirm that it was indeed that 2007 Ford Edge SUV being that getaway car. So, they sent out an alert, and be on the lookout to police agencies across the nation.

It was one unnamed police agency that inadvertently posted on social media the sensitive information about this getaway car. So, now the assumption is that the car has been abandoned by the two. They're probably in another getaway car. And as the sheriff put it, this puts the investigation back to square one.

BURNETT: Yeah, it's unbelievable, the entire story. Amara, thank you very much.

And next, new details just coming in about the man who attacked comedian Dave Chappelle during a standup set.



BURNETT: Breaking news. CNN can now report the identity of the man charged with attacking comedian Dave Chappelle on stage in Los Angeles. Police say he is 23-year-old Isaiah Lee. You see him in the video rushing the stage with a knife.

Stephanie Elam is OUTFRONT.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Comedian Dave Chappelle attacked on stage while performing at the Hollywood bowl during the Netflix is a Joke Festival. Video taken just moments after the assault shows the alleged attacker being subdued, as a shocked audience looks on.

CNN's Rachel Crane was sitting near the front row.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Out of nowhere, a gentleman jumps up from the audience and tackles Dave Chappelle.

The thing that caught my eye immediately was that the gentleman was wearing a backpack. That's what got me scared. My mind immediately went to, this man is wearing a bomb, but it felt very deliberate, and it was quite scary.

ELAM: The LAPD says the suspect, a 23-year-old man, was armed with a knife made to look like a replica hand gun. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Any motive for the attack remains unknown. CNN has reached out to the Hollywood Bowl for comment.

Netflix said: We strongly defend the right of standup comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence. And in a statement to CNN, a representative for Chappelle said in part that the comedian refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment.

A celebratory Chappelle returned to the stage, alongside Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock, who used the moment to make light of his own recent on-stage assault at the Academy Awards.

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Was that Will Smith?

ELAM: Police say Chappelle was not hurt, but the on-stage attack of a superstar comedian, the second in just over a month, raises questions about security concerns and safety for performers.

CRANE: It felt like an eternity before the security got there and intervened. In actuality I'm sure it was just a few seconds, but it was a very charged moment and everybody -- there were gasps, screams -- not crazy screams but -- everyone was very alarmed by what had just happened.


ELAM: And, Erin, the representative for Chappelle called this incident unsettling and unfortunate and also said that the comedian is cooperating with the police investigation -- Erin.

BURNETT: Stephanie, thank you so much.

"AC360" starts now.