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Erin Burnett Outfront
Ukraine Recaptures Villages Near Kharkiv In Counter-Offensive; Interview With Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby; American Rescued From Russian Forces Speaks Out In First Interview; Belarus Deploying Special Forces To Ukraine Border; Polls Close In Key GOP Race In WV; Authorities Release Dashcam Video Of Inmate Casey White's Arrest. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 10, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next live from Kyiv:
Missile strikes on the port city of Odesa as American's top spy warns Putin is becoming increasingly unpredictable and likely to take more drastic action.
Plus, an American free tonight after being held by Russian forces in Ukraine for months. Just hours after his release, he's my exclusive guest, along with the man who recused him.
And it's election night. The polls are about to close in another race that tests Donald Trump's grip on the GOP. Our John King is standing by at the magic wall.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening and welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. We are live from Kyiv tonight. I'm Erin Burnett.
And OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with a win for Ukraine. President Zelenskyy in an address tonight saying his forces managed to push Putin's troops back from the northern city of Kharkiv.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The armed forces of our state provided us all with good news from the Kharkiv region. The occupiers are gradually being pushed away from Kharkiv.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And today, we saw video of Ukrainian flags once again flying in a town just outside the city after the Russian forces were forced out.
But the question now is how lodge can Ukraine keep the Russians at bay? Because we understand Putin is now flooding the Kharkiv region with more troops. That, doubling down, tripling down in the face of so much failure is partly why the U.S. is ratcheting up serious concern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia's current conventional military capabilities likely means the next few months could see us the moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Unpredictable and escalatory. In the context of what we've seen, that is a scary thought, given the brazen atrocities the world has witnessed take place here over the past 76 days. In a moment, we're going to have much more on the serious warnings coming out of the administration in Washington, including the news that Russia has used as many as 12 hypersonic missiles here in Ukraine, 12.
And while Putin appears to be focused on the south and east, here in Kyiv, officials are still concerned, their guard still high.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(AIR RAID SIREN)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Again, the sound of air raid sirens going often, now just part of the daily background for so many in Ukraine.
Sara Sidner is here with me in Kyiv tonight.
And, Sara, one of the big focuses tonight as we hear about the hypersonic missile concern out of Ukraine, and strikes is Odesa. What is happening?
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, you talked about those 12 hypersonic missiles -- well, three of them hit Odesa in the last day and basically what they hit were civilian targets. It was two hotels and a mall. The devastation is widespread from the exact points where they hit and you look at these pictures and you can see that those missiles do the absolute -- most of destruction.
What we are seeing in Odesa is important because it's clear it is a strategic move, Russia trying to take that strategic port town. Why is the port so important? Because that is how Ukraine gets goods and gives goods to Europe.
SIDNER: So taking that out and trying to keep them from being able to use the Black Sea is a huge deal, not just --
BURNETT: Economic hurt.
SIDNER: That's right. It's economically, but it's also militarily strategic. So that city knows it is going to be a target and has been a target. We now know one person has died, five people injured there, but it keeps getting hit. Just a few days ago, there were more missile strikes on Odesa. And so, a lot of people are really afraid that this is the new target for Putin as he tries to move further and further in to the country.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much.
And Sarah's words so crucial, she says further and further in because that still appears to be very much the focus. Putin wants more and more of Ukraine, not scaling back, scaling up.
And this comes as Ukrainian forces are pushing back Russian forces in a crucial village in southern Ukraine, a place, frankly under Russian control for weeks.
Nick Paton Walsh is OUTFRONT on the ground with more.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Racing under the tree line, changing their path every time, with Russian troops often just meters away, this is the fight for Ukraine's most important riverbank and this is the place where Moscow's brutal advance is been stopped.
(INAUDIBLE) was held by Russian troops for weeks, but now, the Russians shell where they once hid and probe the outskirts daily.
Vladimir and his men have been alert since 4:00 a.m., fearing a Russian attack and more of the cluster bombs they say tore down this tree.
Two kilometers away in that direction he says and --
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WALSH: So occasionally Russia gets scouting groups to sort of probe the defenses but so far they've been successful in fighting them.
Fresh flowers laid the monument to the last war's dead, but broken glass here where this war's living shelter, faces that seem beyond caring who was in control. And dust that makes you wonder who would come back if it ever gets normal again.
In these endless idyllic villages, it bends belief to see the quiet life forced underground like this.
They're saying that the rocket landed during lunchtime and there was nobody in there. Forty, 50 people have been at one point. You see that room they're living in.
But it is not an easy job, taking back these villages.
Loyalties have evaporated in some cases. Troops say they found traitors here but lack evidence to prosecute, citing one case. And now, a local on the phone is reason for suspicion. Russian troops
came to one man's home, says an offer to make him a local leader is not at all simple. He was a local mayor for them. That's why they never touched him and also a former Russian colonel living here.
They say they have reason to know they're being watched.
I'll only say that when we first came here, he says, it was in the morning when there was a fog and it was impossible to see us, but the Russians shot at us which means someone gave us up.
As we emerge, a puff of smoke in the sky, explosive or a flare. Two blasts, leading them to think that cluster bombs may follow again.
Vladimir stays in place, the back and forth persists, for places that cease to exist in the fight for them.
BURNETT: And Nick joins me now from Kharkiv, another city where Ukrainian forces appear to be making gains. I mean, Nick, it's incredible to watch that footage and, you know, just to see what you're watching from now, Russian forces seem to be moving back in some places.
What do we know about the reasons why?
WALSH: Yeah, it's unclear exactly why Ukrainian forces are having, it seems, such success around where I'm standing here in Kharkiv. You can hear a doesn't rumble of artillery over there and that's also where they say evidence points to how they reclaimed a number of villages literally 10, sometimes five miles away from where I'm standing and this appears to have been minimal Russian resistance to that. There have been reports we can't confirm they've rushed 500 troops from separatist areas up to here to boost their defenses.
So a lot moving here around Kharkiv, which had originally, they thought, potentially being one of the easiest targets when the war first began. But you see there in the south how little progress they're making and this had all been originally part of their reset for the new offensive. Those strikes in Odesa, possibly an expression of frustration because on the ground, Russia has been making very little progress at all if not moving backwards -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Nick, thank you so much.
And OUTFRONT now, the Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
And, Admiral, it seems like there's increasing concern for U.S. officials about Putin's next steps. So, today, we hear from the DNI. The chief there, she said Putin is possibly going to escalate, said Putin could turn to more drastic means. We heard the CIA Director Bill Burns say Putin is in a frame of mind where he doesn't believe he can afford to lose.
Admiral, is something specific guiding these comments? JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Well, what's helping us guide
these comments is that we don't exactly know what Mr. Putin will do.
So, obviously, we know that they're concentrating their forces and firepower in the Donbas, specifically, the eastern part of the country. But what's not clear is, should he gain that territory, where does he go from there? Does he declare a victory? Does he say that's the end? Or does he try to advance forces further west and actually maybe even threaten Kyiv again?
And that's what's concerning intelligence analysts as well as folks here at the Pentagon is we don't have a clear picture, but he hasn't left himself a whole lot of options just from his own rhetoric. He talked yesterday at the Victory Day parade of ridding Ukraine of Nazis. Now, we know that's a ridiculous claim in terms of who the Ukrainians are, but if that's going to be your goal, if that's your aim, that's a pretty maximalist goal.
So, it's not exactly clear what he has in mind, but I think that's what's giving us the concern.
BURNETT: So -- okay, so today, Russia fired three hypersonic missiles at Odesa, their Kinzhal class hypersonic missile. President Biden has called this a consequential weapon and said it's almost impossible to stop it because of its speed. It can obviously evade a lot of detection methods.
He says there's a reason they're using it. What is that reason? Do you see something behind this increase that we've seen, to be witnessing, in the use of these hypersonic missiles?
KIRBY: We can't actually confirm that hypersonics were used against Odesa. We've seen those reports, and we're still analyzing that.
That said, we know that the Russians have fired hypersonics in Ukraine before and it's -- you know, it's a combination of things. It could be that he's concerned about the very nimble and effective Ukrainian air defenses and trying to avoid those air defenses.
But it can also very well likely be two other things. One, to test these systems operationally. They've tested them outside of combat but now they're testing them in a warzone to see how effective they actually are.
And number two, to send a strong message potentially to the West, to the United States, that I have this capability, this is a very difficult to defeat capability. And so, you know, making it clear that he doesn't want the West more involved with Ukraine than it already is.
BURNETT: OK. But as he's testing something like this, to see how it works on the battle field, just makes me wonder, Admiral, how to put in the context what the director of national intelligence said today when she said Putin could turn to more drastic means. You know, we're talking about hypersonic missiles here, you know, possibly being used.
BURNETT: Officials, you know, we're still hearing say no eminent threat of nuclear weapons.
BURNETT: But when you talk about more drastic means or Bill Burns says he can't afford to lose, how confident can you be that some sort of nuclear weapon is truly off the table?
KIRBY: Well, look, I think we're watching this very closely, everyday, Erin, and we're monitoring as best we can the nuclear posture of Russia.
Now, we haven't seen anything, including today, that would lead us to believe that we need to change our strategic deterrent posture. But the escalatory rhetoric coming out of Mr. Putin and Mr. Lavrov, and Mr. Peskov, other Russian officials certainly doesn't give us cause for comfort.
He does have nuclear weapons at his disposal, tactical nuclear weapons to be sure. And so, obviously, nobody wants to see those being used, and that's why we're watching this as closely as we can.
It's also, I think we can all agree that escalating this beyond the degree to which it's already been escalated -- you've seen what's going on over there in Kyiv -- is not good not only for the people of Ukraine, it's not good for Russia. It's not good for United States. It's not good for Europe.
BURNETT: One final question for you, Admiral, if I may. The secretary of the Army said today she's unsure whether the American stock of Javelin missiles is, could be replaced quickly, in a one-year period, right? That there's been so many given to Ukraine, that it's unclear whether they could replace them even within a full year. And that replacing stock of Stingers that have been given here to the Ukrainians would take even more time because there isn't even a production line for Stinger missiles right now.
Senator Blumenthal who's on the Armed Services Committee said recently, he put it very bluntly, the closet is bare.
Do you have any worry about exhausting the U.S. stockpile in case the U.S. should need the weapons for itself?
KIRBY: Obviously, we're concerned about making sure we're ready to defend the nation across a range of capability and systems. I won't get into what the inventories actually are but I can tell you that with every single drawdown package that the president approves and that we source, every single one has to be accompanied by an assessment by the Pentagon, by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and certainly by Secretary Austin to make sure that it's not going to impact our combat readiness and our ability to defend the nation. And the Stinger line, you're right, was closed because we weren't buying anymore, and it's not exactly clear how much more we would need in future fights. We now are using different kinds of systems and more advanced capabilities. So it doesn't mean we have to replace every Javelin or Stinger one for one with what we've given Ukraine.
We want to make sure it's about the capabilities and we have very advanced capabilities as it is.
So, again, we're watching this very, very closely. We're not going to do anything that's going to impinge or impair our ability to defend this country.
BURNETT: All right. Admiral Kirby, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
KIRBY: My pleasure, thank you.
BURNETT: And next, an American from Michigan free tonight from Russian forces, and he's speaking out in his first interview just hours after his release. I'm going to speak to him and the man who helped free him right after this.
And if it's election night, then it is John King night, and it is John King at the magic wall as polls closed in just a few moments. John tells us what he's looking for tonight.
Plus, I'll meet up with a Ukrainian soldier who has been giving out front regular updates from the front lines. Tonight, we're going to go to a village that he liberated from the Russians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Here in the midst of freshly tilled fields, you call it countryside, is an enormous Russian intelligence vehicle. And amidst all the destruction, the burnt out wires and knobs, the things that stands out most about it one soldier just described to me is the smell of war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, an American rescue from Russian forces in Ukraine. He's free tonight after American volunteers with the group Project Dynamo freed him and his family.
This is video of their release.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kirillo Alexandrov was living with his wife, who is Ukrainian, and his mother in law near Kherson, when Russian forces seized control. But Russian forces then captured them as they tried to evacuate in late March. That was more than a month ago, right, more than a month of being held captive, of negotiations they are finally out.
And OUTFRONT now, Kirillo Alexandrov, the American just rescued in that operation and Bryan Stern. He's the co-founder of project dynamo.
And I appreciate both of you taking the time and I know you're just in your first hours, Kirillo, after weeks, more than a month in captivity. How does it feel to be free?
KIRILLO ALEXANDROV, AMERICAN DETAINED BY RUSSIAN FORCES, RESCUED BY EXTRACTION TEAM TODAY: I feel relieved. Nothing more, nothing less, just relief.
BURNETT: And, Kirillo, I know you were born in the U.S., in Michigan. Of course, your wife is Ukrainian. On what grounds do the Russian forces say they were holding you and your family?
ALEXANDROV: They claim I was spying -- yes, the claim I was spying on them.
BURNETT: How did they treat you?
ALEXANDROV: Some individuals were very cordial with me, but some were violent. I was cuffed and beaten a few times. And my wife was assaulted. Not high end professionalism as far as military personnel goes, but we're victims of war crimes here.
BURNETT: That you were victims of war crimes. That's what it sounds like from what you're describing.
BURNETT: Bryan, how did this rescue happen?
BRYAN STERN, U.S. ARMY & NAVY VETERAN; RUNS PROJECT DYNAMO, A NONPROFIT EXTRACTION TEAM: We'd been working on it for almost a month. It's really hard to explain and there's a lot we don't really want to get into, but to say it was a hard fought win for everybody, that we're happy to do for this family, is truly an under statement. It was a definite team effort. A lot of people came together and in all kinds of ways to make this happen.
And it, it was definitely complicated. It was definitely hard. It's the first alleged spy that Project Dynamo has ever rescued so that definitely raises the odds. Kirillo was looking at 25 to life, if he was extradited, and obviously on these fake charges. We obviously didn't want that to happen.
BURNETT: Kirillo, how did it feel when you were -- when you were there, were you aware these negotiations were happening or that the U.S. even knew? ALEXANDROV: No.
BURNETT: I mean, you're there being accused of being a spy. Your wife is being assaulted and I don't want to push you on what that means but it sounds horrible.
ALEXANDROV: No, I was ignorant to basically everything. I was just held in a room for however many days. It either felt like one long day or a lifetime.
BURNETT: How are your -- how is your wife doing now, Kirillo?
ALEXANDROV: She's great. She's held me up very well. She's got a strong grip. She's a strong person. And she's doing a lot better.
BURNETT: Brian, did you ever think you wouldn't succeed at this mission? And I guess as part of this, what did the U.S. government play any role at all in this?
STERN: We notified U.S. government right away. We notified State and other folks as soon as we became aware of the case. We've been in pretty good communication with U.S. government up until about 5 minutes ago.
So government's been aware. They've been helping when they can and as far as, did we ever think we were going to not succeed? It's a tough question because it's been a very frustrating process where we've hit roadblock after roadblock and it was very, very complicated.
So, we knew that we weren't going to leave -- we weren't going to leave Kirillo and his family behind.
That was never really -- that was never a real concern.
But at the same time, it was very difficult. We weren't sure of our success. I knew we would get there eventually, but we were close to getting them out pretty much everyday for the last three and a half weeks.
BURNETT: Wow, and you just didn't know, until now, until these past hours?
STERN: We, you know, kept chipping away at the ice --
BURNETT: Sorry, go ahead --
STERN: Yeah, we just kept chipping away at the iceberg and kept on trucking. And I knew, you know, it's like undoing a ball of yarn like a big knot, just a matter of being patient and having a lot of perseverance and resolve to keep on going and don't take no for an answer and just keep on going and keep on going even when everyone says don't, we still did. So a lot of people told us, this is a loser. A lot of people told us
it's a lost case. It's not going to work. It's just too hard. He's an alleged spy in captivity, there's just no way.
The U.S. government just negotiated the release of an American prisoner that was also illegally held in Moscow and that took years to do. So a lot of people told us it was impossible but we give a lot at dynamo and it always seems to work out.
BURNETT: Yeah. I know, I talked to you and some of your rescues, but, Kirillo, did you have any sense, you know, that this was going on for months, you didn't know this was happening, so until basically, hours ago when you were freed, you had no idea that was possible?
ALEXANDROV: I had a sense that something was being done. I didn't have confidence in it but --
STERN: Thanks. Thanks.
ALEXANDROV: But nonetheless, nonetheless, here we are.
BURNETT: Kirillo, what do you -- what do you think about Bryan now that -- I mean, now, that you've met him for the first time, that this is the guy who rescued you and your wife and your mother in law?
ALEXANDROV: Incredibly brave. Honorable. He's a very good man, and I'm not going to forget any of this, ever.
And I don't know how I can ever repay him and his team for all of this. Because I would be, I'd be dead if it wasn't for him.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you both so very much. I know you're still in the midst of exhaustion and the trauma of this, but I appreciate your speaking with me.
ALEXANDROV: Thank you.
STERN: Thanks so much, Erin. Appreciate it.
BURNETT: As I said, Carillo and his wife were just freed hours ago, so impossible to imagine the trauma of what he went through. He talks about being in that room for weeks. His wife was assaulted, he was beaten, says they were the victims of war crimes and just starting the long and arduous and painful process to recovery, just an incredible story. Thoughts go to them.
And next, I'll travel to a village with a Ukrainian defender. He has been giving all of us, you included, updates from the frontlines and he showed me how the Russians were living there. What happened in the battles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So they were keeping like munitions and stuff like that here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, and it was a huge explosion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, murder suspect Casey White who was on the run with corrections officer on his way back to Alabama tonight as we're learning chilling details about the weapons recovered inside their getaway car.
BURNETT: A show of force tonight from one of Putin's major allies. Belarus is deploying special forces to its border with Ukraine, this as Ukrainian defenders continue to hold the line in key regions of the country.
I caught up today with Volodymyr Demchenko. You may recognize him. He's a Ukrainian documentary filmmaker, now a soldier, a drone operator. He's been giving us regular updates from the front lines.
So, today we met, we returned together to a village he liberated.
BURNETT (voice-over): A group of boys playing a new game -- check point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're checking documents. They're checking trucks and cars and he tells you that people is happy and tell these guys are really good.
BURNETT: That's life today in the small town of Novibikuv (ph) where we didn't see a single structure untouched by the Russian invasion. We came here to meet Ukrainian soldier, Vlad Demchenko.
VOLODYMYR DEMCHENKO, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: This place where we're standing now was a special place.
BURNETT: Vlad is on the drone team that liberated the village.
DEMCHENKO: This is where they're living, where they're keeping armor, this is where they go to the toilet. After that, we keep this map to artillery guy. We use big gradation (ph), we went with them and we wasn't just correct in gradation (ph) and watching how it was destroyed.
This is one of our most successful operation. It was like a lot of vehicles here, right here.
BURNETT: So they were keeping like munitions and stuff like that here. DEMCHENKO: Yeah, yeah, and it was a huge explosion. And, you know,
it's funny to see like when -- it's not funny to see -- actually, very strange, when you see people being killed and you're like yeah, very weird feeling to be honest. But it's like it's a war now. They didn't come to us with flowers.
BURNETT: We find a patch in the dirt from a soldier who lived in Russia's Kavkazsky (ph) region.
DEMCHENKO: From the Russian soldiers.
BURNETT: So, he'd be dead.
DEMCHENKO: I give it 95 percent, that this happened.
BURNETT: Death is still everywhere here even amidst the life of spring. Many Russians died.
DEMCHENKO: There is a boot here. There is another one and it was with leg. This is what I can say, but there was not dead bodies, it was just the pieces of dead bodies.
It was right here.
BURNETT: Ukrainian soldiers died too. Vlad says villagers buried four right here. His unit dug up the bodies and sent home, but the graves of locals dug up today with love and care are now permanently soiled by shrapnel and gunshots, and civilians died, six killed, others now still missing and many more lives destroyed.
Volodomyr's house was hit by Russian strikes. He says his life was saved because he was outside with a cow. He hasn't rebuilt. There's no money, but he and his wife replanted their fields, plowing around a Russian mobile mission guidance radar.
We walked out there carefully, this town was covered in mines. Many still could be in these fields. This massive machine is a military intelligence unit.
Inside, you can see the seats where its men sat, twisted and burned, were struck by the smell. It's strong. Burnt metal and fuel.
We found the Russian Buk missile that is go with the missile radar half a mile away, behind a destroyed flower store and hair salon. Russians lived in one of these sheds. Their garbage is still everywhere, a severed pig head, ration kits.
DEMCHENKO: Yeah, I don't even try -- actually, kind of disgust by touching everything that is here.
BURNETT: Nearby, Russian soldiers scrolled their battalion numbers on a wall, but even amidst this scene, the town is moving on. The word Russia now crossed out of "glory to Russia" although here the words are still visible, perhaps because they're already covering the Russian words "death to Ukrainian Jews".
The boys take Vlad and I to their school, another place Russians lived, that is now even with blown out windows, shrapnel marked walls and still vial smell, open. The boys go several days a week. They tell me they're happy, but -- what does it feel like coming back to your school now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're still scared because maybe it will be shelling again.
BURNETT: You're still scared?
The boys are like boys everywhere, they scamper in every direction, wanting to show us things, especially this hole from Russian shelling. It's all changed their dreams.
This is Nazar.
What do you want to be when you grow up, Nazar?
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I want to be --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the military.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Military. I want to defend the country.
BURNETT: His English was excellent and that was what Vlad noticed.
All you can do for Ukraine now is study well, he says.
DEMCHENKO: Yeah, yeah, there's so many reason we are fighting, we can talk about freedom and everything, but in general, like these kids just need to go to school. That's all. That's all.
BURNETT: It was amazing to see that because, you know, Vlad was saying this is -- this is what they fight for so people can go back to their regular life. He told a story about how the morning after the Russians were forced to flee, the ones who were still alive because many were killed in that village, the villagers were siphoning off fuel and saying, I need it for my tractor because I need to plant.
And that there was an immediate return to life, but one can only imagine what those children are going through. They said all four of them stayed in the village for the many weeks of Russian occupation, hiding in cellars with their families, all of their toys, computers, everything were stolen by the Russians.
OUTFRONT next, polls just closing in another key primary that will test Trump's influence. If it's election night, you'll see John King here, with the magic wall.
Plus, new details about the car chase involving Alabama inmate and corrections officer, including what Vicky White was saving or saying to a 911 operator.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: We could hear her on the line saying she had her finger on the trigger.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news, polls closing just moments ago in West Virginia, that's where two Republican congressmen are facing off in a primary election that will test the power of Donald Trump's endorsement.
I want to go straight to John King. He's at the magic wall.
So John, Trump going against the West Virginian political establishment as he tries to play kingmaker there.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We hear that theme a lot, Trump against the establishment, Erin. So, let's go. The first votes just came in as you're introducing me right now. So, let take a look.
Look, this is very, very, very early on. But you have Alex Mooney opening up an early lead, 726 votes to 283 votes for David McKinley. And you see, it just changed as I spoke. That's going to happen as we go through this. The first votes just coming in.
So, let's set the stage. You don't see this a lot, incumbent, incumbent. This is the first primary this year, Erin, we have two incumbents running against each other. There will be a few others because of reapportionment. After the census, states redraw the lines. West Virginia lost a congressional seat.
So, you have these two Republican candidates running against each other, two Republican incumbents running against each other. You can see, it has closed up. It's gotten very close, 46 to 45 right there.
So, why the difference here? Donald Trump endorsed Alex Mooney. He's a member of the Freedom Caucus. He's more Trumpian, more conservative.
David McKinley, Trump has grievances with, and they are predictable. David McKinley voted for the Biden bipartisan infrastructure bill. Remember, Trump wanted that big bill, he didn't get it. So, he was mad at any Republican who voted for Biden's, and David McKinley, more importantly, in Trump's view Erin, voted to create an independent January 6 commission before they came up with the actual committee. There was that idea of the independent commission, David McKinley voted for it, Donald Trump didn't like that.
So, that why you have this Trump grievance match if you will in Virginia's second district. And we're going to be counting votes for a while, as you can see is very close from the beginning. BURNETT: Yeah, extremely, and as you've emphasized, of course, you
get the first votes coming in. So, we shall see. But other racist tonight, because you've got several you are watching. In Nebraska, Trump also being felt, this is a race, as I understand it, John, who replaces the states term limited governor.
KING: Right. Tom Ricketts is term limited, two term limits in Nebraska. And he has sparred with Donald Trump repeatedly.
Pete Ricketts from a wealthy family, more of an establishment Republican. Not a fan of Donald Trump, and the way he conducts himself. That is soured the relationship.
So, what happened here? Pete Ricketts asked Donald Trump, please stay out of this race. Please -- let's just have an open governor's race in Nebraska. Donald Trump disagreed and he endorsed businessman Charles Herbster.
Nine women, Erin, have come forward. Herbster denies this, but nine women, including a Republican state senator, have come forward to say that they were touched inappropriately in recent years by Mr. Herbster. Again, he denies that, but he has Trump's endorsement there.
Jim Pillen is a farmer, University of Nebraska regent. He has the incumbent governor's endorsement there.
Brett Lindstrom is the more moderate member of the state senate. They are the three leading candidates in the polls. You see, the polls don't close until 9:00 out of Nebraska. But, again, Herbster has been with Trump from the beginning, even when he is not involved in politics, Trump returning the loyalty here, saying he doesn't believe the allegations against Mr. Hipster.
The Republican governor for Mr. Pillen, again, we'll watch this one play out tonight as well. You see this repeatedly, not always, but most of these cases, when Trump is for somebody, it's because of some fight or some grievance with the other guy.
BURNETT: Looking at this to say, what they can read into it. And one big part of that is Trump. But also, in terms of what is resonating. And I know the whole Roe versus Wade news broke very late in this cycle. But you have culture wars, you have economic duress, there are a lot of issues.
Are there any that are rising above the rest, the top concern for voters?
KING: It's early in the primary season, so I wouldn't say we can pick that on a national perspective.
In this race, in Nebraska, for example, already a very conservative state. Look, whoever wins the Republican nomination is almost guaranteed victory in November. The state is so red.
Jim Pillen has said, with the Roe v. Wade debate up in the air, that he favors the trigger law, that would ban all abortions in Nebraska once Roe v. Wade, if Roe v. Wade were wiped off the books. Herbster has focused more on critical race theory, something you heard in the West Virginia race last year. So, culture wars ample in the Republican races.
If you come over to West Virginia, it's more the economy in this congressional race here. One of the traditional things we have had in West Virginia is David McKinley says vote for me because I did vote for that infrastructure bill. I'm bringing a lot of work, a lot of bacon home to create jobs in West Virginia. Moody says that's the bad idea.
So, that's an economic issue, Erin. You might call it old style pork politic as well.
As we get deeper into the primary season, you will see more of Roe v. Wade, more on the Democratic primaries. And the Republican race, so far, it's mostly Trump.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, John King, as those results are going to be coming in through the evening tonight.
And next, we are just getting new dash cam video in the arrest of Casey White, the murder suspect who has escaped from jail with corrections officer, Vicky White.
Plus, why Elon Musk says he would reverse Twitter's ban on Trump if he gets control of the social media giant.
BURNETT: Breaking news, we are getting in dashcam video of the moment Casey White was arrested by law enforcement in Indiana, ending the 11- day manhunt for the inmate and corrections officer, Vicky White. So, you can see him in this video being escorted by two officers, his hands behind his back. It comes as we learn White is heading back tonight to Alabama for arraignment.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, new details on how and 11 day nationwide manhunt came to a violent end.
SHERIFF DAVE WEDDING, VANDERBUGH COUNTY, INDIANA: I want to bring my people home and I don't care about the fugitives' lives. If it protects my people's lives, and here, I commend them for a job well done.
MARQUEZ: Law enforcement's aggressive investigating in pursuit, says the sheriff, saved lives.
WEDDING: Members of the U.S. task force basically rammed the vehicle, and pushed it into a ditch and we later found out, had they not done that, the fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement.
MARQUEZ: Found in the car, guns, four handguns, and an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, along with wig, and nearly $30,000 in cash.
WEDDING: It was hard to believe that they were here. I would not think that somebody on the run with state in a community like Evansville for six days.
MARQUEZ: Investigators caught a break when Casey and Vicky White abandoned an F-150 pick up truck at a local car wash. Their getaway car, a gray Cadillac was spotted leaving the carwash.
That Cadillac led police to this nearby hotel, where officials say the pair planned to stay for 14 days. Authorities are investigating whether the couple paid someone to rent the room for them because they did not have identification.
WEDDING: We are fortunate that during our investigation yesterday, it was a police officer just doing due diligence of patrolling and being smart, noticed the vehicle in the parking lot at the hotel and notified us immediately.
MARQUEZ: Police surveilling the motel spotted a couple leaving, leading to the chase.
Officers removed the escape inmate Casey White from the wrecked car at the scene. Former corrections officer Vicky White was pinned inside the vehicle with a gunshot wound to her head.
WEDDING: Once the vehicle crashed, the female suspect shot herself, we don't believe he shot her.
MARQUEZ: Officials believe a 911 dispatcher was on the phone with Vicky White before the crash.
911 OPERATOR: They're calling into 911. We could hear her on the line saying she had a finger on the trigger.
MARQUEZ: She later died from her injuries at a nearby hospital.
WEDDING: Their plan was pretty faulty. They're criminals, their plan was faulty and it failed.
MARQUEZ: Casey White appeared before a judge virtually before being sent back to Alabama after waiving his right to an extradition hearing. The autopsy for Vicky White scheduled for today. Her former colleagues in Alabama are left wondering what happened to a friend they thought they knew.
[19:55:02] SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: You know, them finding out that she was basically the mastermind behind a whole plan, you know? Just -- and then find out she lost her life, was just a rollercoaster.
MARQUEZ (on camera): So, next up for Casey White is arraignment back in Alabama and that may happen as soon as tonight in the next few hours. He's expected to leave here and head back to Alabama after he waved his right to extradition hearing. He will be kept in a different facility. He will be arraigned on the charges related to escape and then he will also face his trial for the murder, the alleged murder that he committed, that had him in jail to begin with -- Erin.
BURNETT: Miguel, thank you very much, on the ground in Indiana.
And next, Elon Musk says he would welcome Trump back to Twitter. But does the former president want to go back?
BURNETT: Thanks but no thanks? Well, former President Trump says he does not plan to return to Twitter, even if his account is restored. Now, that could happen because today, Elon Musk said he would welcome Trump back to Twitter, which he is expected to buy for $44 billion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELON MUSK, TELSA CEO: I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake, because it alienated a large part of the country, and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice. I would reverse the former ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, Trump was banned from Twitter after the Capitol riot. Now, a person close to the former president says that as of right now, Trump remains committed to his own app, which is Truth Social. We will see about that.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" begins right now.