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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Snubs Daughter Ivanka For Siding With Barr On Election Fraud; Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Is Interviewed On January 6th Investigation; Uvalde Schools Police Chief Defends Delay In Confronting Gunman; Putin Signals Endgame Is Full Restoration Of Russian Empire; Russian Investigative Journalist Now On Putin's "Wanted List;" U.S. Seeks "Reset" With Saudi Arabia Despite Khashoggi Murder; Details Emerge On How A Convicted Murderer Escaped, Killed Family. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 10, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump fights back as the January 6th committee presents a devastating case to the former president. What more will the committee reveal? I'm going to ask the chairman, Bennie Thompson.

And Putin hints at expanding his war, as an OUTFRONT regular becomes a wanted man in Russia, and we're going to talk to him about what landed him on Putin's enemy list.

Plus, another big game name joins the Saudi golf tournament game, with nine-figure paychecks and the royal treatment. Is the future of pro- golf really in Saudi Arabia?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, checked out. Former President Trump lashing out and insulting his daughter Ivanka in the process, after the January 6 committee laid the blame for January 6 squarely on him. The committee repeatedly playing video of Trump's closest advisers acknowledging that Trump lost the election fair and square. In fact, one of them, they played with his own daughter, Ivanka Trump who said she agreed with former Attorney General Bill Barr, that the election was not stolen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did that affect your perspective about the election when Attorney General Barr made that statement?

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Trump, tonight, throwing Ivanka under the bus after he heard that. As he tries to save himself, writes in part, Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at or studying election results. She had long since checked out. Nice thing to say, slamming his own daughter.

And it comes as another Trump ally who tried to overturn the election behind the scenes is also lashing out tonight, trying to fight back against damning proof from the January 6th Committee. This is Congressman Scott Perry. He's tweeting: The notion that I ever sought a presidential pardon for myself or other members of Congress is an absolute shameless and soulless lie.

Well, he can say that, the committee, though, says it has the receipts and claims, in fact, Perry is not the only one who sought a pardon for his role in trying to overturn the election.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6th to seek a presidential pardon. Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.


BURNETT: Well, there are many questions for the committee when it comes to what the members plan to reveal next. Obviously, it's going to be a series of hearings over the next couple of weeks. Who in Trump's orbit was communicating with extremist groups prior to January 6th, how high up did that communication go? How did they prove, as they say, that Trump knew he lost the election, point blank knew it, even as he continued to spread and propagate lies about fraud? And to what extent did Trump himself pressure then Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election?

In a moment, I'm going to speak to the chairman of the January 6th Select Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson.

First though, I want to begin with Jessica Schneider who is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.

And, Jessica, what more are you learning about what we're going to expect next from the committee?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we know the committee will continue to make its case, on a Monday, at a 10:00 a.m. hearing, it will be the second of seven hearings in total and we note that we're expecting at least one witness. It will be the former Fox News political editor who is actually fired in the weeks after the election after he called the state of Arizona for Biden, pushing Biden over that 270 electoral vote limit.

So he says he'll be a witness on Monday. There will be three hearings next week. We're expecting the committee to focus on Trump's month- long effort to overturn the election despite the fact that he and his fellow aides knew and were told repeatedly that Trump had lost.

We're also expecting that we'll hear from some former Justice Department affiliations who were repeatedly pressured to call the election rigged and who stopped those false claims from going any further.

And then, Erin, the committee will continue to build on their narrative of those far-right extremist groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and the questions about how preplanned this was and whether Trump and his aides were linked, because remember, Erin, 17 members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers already have been charged by the Justice Department with seditious conspiracy. That's the charge that they try to violently overthrow the government. It carries up to 20 years in prison.

So we know the thoughts that this was a preplanned event are already out there. The evidence is out there and the committee is only expected to build on that, Erin.


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

And I want to go now OUTFRONT, as promised, to the chairman of the House January 6th Committee, Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson.

And, Chairman, I very much appreciate your time.

Obviously, so many things to ask. I do want to start with former President Trump's response today to the video. You showed a video last night, a clip of his daughter Ivanka and clearly, she accepted the election results. And the former president today said that Ivanka, quote, was not involved and had long since checked out.

Does his response and what he is saying change anything for you?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): No, it doesn't. And by the way, thank you for having me.

We have proof about Ivanka's participation with her daddy on a regular basis about what was going on. On January 6th, she was there in the White House. And so what, or who better could have access to what was going on than one's own daughter?

And for him to somehow insinuate that his daughter has checked out is disingenuous on his part as a father. Daughters normally know what their fathers are doing, especially when there's a close relationship.

BURNETT: So, as you say, you've got the proof that she was involved in briefing him on those election results.

I want to, also, ask you something Jessica mentioned. Of course, these far-right extremist groups, the extent to which this is preplanned, which I know, Chairman Thompson, is core to the entire story that you are telling this country. Last night, you told my colleague Jake Tapper that you have witnesses

that will describe conversations between members of the extremist groups -- I'm talking about the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers -- conversations of those groups and people in the former President Trump's orbit.

What were those conversations about? Were they specific on the planning?

THOMPSON: Well, the planning centered primarily around coming to Washington, showing their support for the president and based on that engagement, they came. They came in large numbers.

As you saw in the video presentation, not only did they set up outside of Washington, but for the most part, some of them brought weapons, some brought tear gas, bear spray -- a lot of things that is not the normal things you bring to a rally or demonstration. But they brought Kevlar vests and other things as if they were prepared for war.

But more importantly, they did not even go to the rally. They went to the Capitol and the video demonstrated all of that.

But our hearing will share the other names of the other individuals who were talking to the Proud Boys, some of the video you saw them meeting as a group with other -- Oath Keepers and others on the (INAUDIBLE).

So there's a lot of sharing of information that we will provide the public with during our next six hearings that will even crystallize more in the minds of the public as to what the Trump administration did to create the narrative for January 6th.

BURNETT: So, I know you're going to be revealing a lot of these names but to understand where you're going with this, we know a top member of the Oath Keepers said in court that the leader of the Oath Keepers had tried to get in touch with Trump on January 6th.

And the Oath Keeper's leader, according to his testimony, spoke on the phone to an unidentified person who was close to Trump. Now this person did not connect the leader of the Oath Keepers to the president in this conversation as we understand it.

My question for you, Chairman Thompson, is how close was this person to Trump? And, you know, was this a core inner circle person, having a conversation with a leader of the Oath Keepers.

THOMPSON: Well, just let me say that in our investigation, we found close relationship with those extremist elements in the country, especially the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. I don't want to give up all of what we have.


You just have to follow up during the hearing.

BURNETT: Yes. THOMPSON: But everything we present, we will be able to verify. If there's anyone who disagrees with what we present, all they have to do is come before the committee, take -- we'll swear them, put them under oath, and they can talk. That's from the president on down.

So we welcome anyone who disagrees with any evidence we present in our findings to just come to the committee and we will gladly entertain them.

BURNETT: So, Chairman, I guess at the core of this and there are so many levels obviously if the president not questioned the election, said it was rigged and fraudulent, none of those people would be here to begin with, right? So if you look at responsibility in a very simple way, you've long ago established, one did not need a committee to establish that level of responsibility.

But when it comes to these specific conversations, do -- are you going to be presenting the president of the United States himself, President Trump at that time, having any -- any specific conversations with any of these -- any of these individuals?

THOMPSON: Well, not the president, as far as we've been able to find. But there are people, as I said, in his orbit that have engaged these groups all along. So we will be able to present certain information around that.

But as to whether or not he was briefed on what they were doing, we won't go that far, but it's inconceivable that you would invite people to Washington on January 6th and tell them it would be wild. As you heard in a video presentation, that was kind of a call to arms for a lot of the radical right wing element in this country.

And so, the president is notorious for sending certain messages, and it was clear in that "going to be wild" tweet exactly what he shared with the entire public.

So our job over the next six hearings is to tell this story. We will draw the picture of him being told by responsible individuals that the election was not stolen, they had not found any impropriety at all in terms of the conduct -- in most of the areas, most of the officials were Republican. And still, he refused to accept his data person, his campaign manager, his chief law enforcement official because he kept pushing this false narrative on the public.

He spent money pushing this false narrative. He raised money to push this false narrative, and what we'll show in one of our hearings as to how much money he really raised, but how little he really spent.

BURNETT: So, he didn't, he didn't -- he did not put his money where his mouth is as you're saying.

I almost hesitate to ask this question to you, Chairman, because obviously, the facts show that what he said happened with the election didn't happen and he was told that repeatedly by everyone around him.

So any stable, sane individual, you know, should be able to look at the sky and say, okay, I know I've been saying it's green, but I get the joke, I know it's not green.

But I have to ask you, do you have the proof that he did know that this was all a lie? That he knew it was all B.S. even as he spread it?

THOMPSON: Well, the only thing we have is the firsthand testimony of different witnesses from, as I said, his own attorney general, the election officials who he hired to run his campaign. Those are his trusted advisers.

And if these are the people you hire to advise you and they give you their professional advice that you've lost the election, why would you go to that runt group of Giuliani, Powell, and others, who really are just along for the ride? And start following them, rather than the people you've been working with all along?

And so, even when you started going to court, he went to court 60 times and he lost. And so, at some point in America, when you lose an election, and I tried to show that in the time of the Civil War, President Lincoln was faced with a similar situation and he rallied the country, rather than divide the country and said if I lose, we will cooperate with the winner. Donald Trump is the only president in the history of the United States not to cooperate in a peaceful transition of power.

BURNETT: Chairman Thompson, I very much appreciate your time. Thank you. I know we will all be watching again for the second hearing which is, of course, on Monday morning. Thank you, Chairman.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the Dow, plunging nearly 900 points. Inflation in the United States hits a 40year high and, you know, in many crucial categories, it's just never been this high. Tonight, President Biden is pointing fingers.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Putin's price hike is hitting America hard.


BURNETT: How much, though, is Putin responsible for the price surge Americans are experiencing?

Plus, outrage growing as Pete Arredondo, that Uvalde school police chief who authorities say was in command, now claims -- well, he never considered himself in charge. The reporter who interviewed Arredondo is OUTFRONT.

And Putin's alarming new claim shows his endgame does go well beyond Ukraine.


[19:20:08] BURNETT: New tonight, the Dow plunging 880 points on the news inflation hit a 40-year high in the U.S., 8 percent increase in May. That is even worse than economists expected. And, by the way, they didn't think it was going to be good.

According to Moody's Analytics, the average household is paying $460 per month more for the same goods and services compared to a year ago. Okay. That's just -- that's just not money that exists for so many people.

Groceries are up 12 percent, I'm sorry, that's the highest increase since 1979. Airfare, 38 percent, biggest hike since 1980, body work for cars up nearly 14 percent, a 41-year high, rent, biggest increase since 1987. Fuel oil, more than doubling as the biggest increase ever.

President Biden telling Americans that Putin's invasion of Ukraine is to blame and that he is committed to bringing prices down.


BIDEN: Make no mistake about it: I understand inflation is a real challenge to American families. Today's inflation report confirmed what Americans already know -- Putin's price hike is hitting America hard.


BURNETT: OUTRONT now, economic analyst Jim Bianco.

Now, Jim, look, we're talking about price increases that have not been seen in a generation, right, and if anyone has recollection of a lot of those dates I was mentioning, you know, that was some of the worst inflation this country has ever seen, right? In the end of the 1970s, beginning 1980s, had more surging double digits, well above because of the horrific inflation that was seen and a lot of these prices we're seeing now at a higher increase than they were even then.

So just how bad is it right now?

JIM BIANCO, ECONOMIC ANALYST, BIANCO RESEARCH PRESIDENT: Oh, it's bad, because let's remember what inflation is. It's a loss of purchasing power that affects every single person in the country. It affects Elon Musk. It affects SpaceX. It affects Tesla.

It affects people that are on public assistance. It affects everybody in between. That's the thing about inflation.

Unemployment affects a couple percent of the population and it's very unfortunate that when they lose their job, but it doesn't affect everybody. So when you think about it in those terms, this is why the inflation rate is such a big deal. And I might add, while you saw another statistic also out today, University of Michigan has been doing a consumer confidence survey since 1952.


BIANCO: And its worst reading ever was June, this year, this month.

It wasn't 1980, it wasn't the stock market crash, it wasn't the tech bubble, wasn't the financial crisis or 911 or the COVID shutdowns. The worst reading in 70 years with consumer confidence is right now because of this fear of inflation.

BURNETT: Now, look, what we've seen in terms of energy prices, that, obviously, is related to Ukraine and that has hurt. Okay? But this didn't start with Ukraine. Okay?

It started well before Ukraine, there's a lot of other reasons for this. President Biden has been calling this the Putin price hike.

He did it today. He's done it other times. Here he is.


BIDEN: Let me start with the Putin price hike.

This is the Putin price hike.

I'm doing everything in my power to blunt Putin's price hike.


BURNETT: Politically, I get why he says that. Obviously, it's a lot more complicated than that.

How much does Putin's invasion of Ukraine have to do with the inflation crisis we're seeing in the U.S., Jim?

BIANCO: It has a small impact. It's not zero. The price of crude oil is a big component of why gas prices are going up, but gasoline prices at all time high are not consistent with high in crude oil prices, part of that is refining capacity is down in the country over the last couple of years, first because of COVID and then because of a lot of green rules as well.

Also, if we're talking about inflation, there's a lot more going on than just oil prices when it comes to inflation. You mentioned some of the statistics earlier about getting your car repaired or airline tickets. Those are not direct oil inputs like crude oil prices would be.

So when you add it up, the Putin price hike is a factor but it's not a dominant factor in what's going on with inflation.

BURNETT: Something really significant, when you say, not only it is a factor but not even the dominant factor. It's important for people to understand.

Thank you so much, Jim.

BIANCO: Thank you. BURNETT: And next, the Uvalde school police chief defending his

actions even as he waited more than an hour to enter the classrooms where 19 students and two teachers were killed. The reporter spoke to him in his first official interview is OUTFRONT.

And wanted by Putin, a journalist now the target of the Russian government, all because of his excellent reporting on Putin's secret services. That journalist is a regular on this program and he'll be OUTFRONT tonight.



BURNETT: Tonight, new details about the Uvalde school massacre leading to even more questions and outrage about why police waited more than an hour to engage the shooter who killed 19 students and two teachers. Pete Arredondo, Uvalde's school police chief, that Texas officials say was in command, now claims in his first official interview that he didn't know that. He didn't even consider himself to be incident commander.

He tells "The Texas Tribune", quote, I didn't issue any orders. I called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door.

OUTFRONT now, Zach Despart. He's a reporter for "The Texas Tribune", who interviewed Chief Arredondo.

And, Zach, it's obviously such an important interview that you got because he is at the center of finding out what happened and frankly, what didn't happen in this horrific incident. Two weeks have passed since Texas officials first identified Chief Arredondo as incident commander and he is only speaking to you publicly for the first time that he's disputing he was in charge.

How does he explain that?


DESPART: Good evening, Erin.

That was one of the major reasons Chief Arredondo wanted to speak with me and my colleague James Barragan was to dispute the fact that state officials have labeled him the incident commander, the man in charge of the shooting response, he said that simply was the not true. He said he was one of the first officers to respond to Robb Elementary when the report of the shooting came in, he entered the building with another officer, first ones to reach where the shooter was. By that time, he had barricaded himself inside those two adjoining classrooms.

At that point, Chief Arredondo realized that they didn't have a key to enter the classroom so he was going to stay right there at the frontline, so to speak, ready to use his pistol if necessary to keep that shooter contained but was not going to retreat and form a command role. He was going to stay right there and said he never considered himself in charge of the scene and he never gave orders to anyone throughout it.

BURNETT: So there are been questions for weeks about whether he knew there were children still alive in that classroom calling 911. There were children alive. They were calling 911 and police nonetheless still waited outside the door for more than an hour.

Now, he's telling you he didn't have his radios that he intentionally left them behind as he left the school. So let's just start with that issue.

How does he explain why he would intentionally leave his radios behind when he went in the school?

DESPART: Chief Arredondo told us he wanted to be able to confront the shooter as quickly as possible and he left his radios behind because he wanted to have both of his hands free to use his pistol to shoot that gunman if that's what it came to.

Police experts we talked said they couldn't comprehend why an officer would leave his radio behind. That is the primary tool police use to communicate during an emergency. Chief Arradondo had said to us, most mass shootings end very quickly and he didn't want to waste any time and while it is true that this incident as your viewers know lasted more than an hour. So the consequence of him bringing his radio means during that whole event he was unable to communicate with the other officers on scene.

BURNETT: Of course, what you're saying in terms of his answer raises the other glaring point here, which is that if he did that, even though it didn't make sense, to get him as quickly as possible to apprehend the shooter, he didn't do that, he stood outside for an hour. There were people alive at the beginning of that hour who weren't alive at the end of the hour.

What is his answer to that most crucial question of all, which is why he and the other officers didn't go in?

DESPART: I agree, that is the crucial question, Erin. He had said that once he and the other officers realized the shooter was inside those adjoining classrooms and that doors -- those doors were locked and they also had no quick access to any keys to open them, he decided the safest and most responsible thing to do was to wait until they had secured a key to open that door. And this is one of the things that police experts we talked to were most critical of because this campus police, the idea that they would not have a key to open any door of the schools within their primary jurisdiction really struck them as incredibly poor planning.

And, of course, Chief Arredondo wanted to push back on the narrative that during that hour-long or so period during which they could not enter the classroom through the doors, that officers outside simply did nothing, he said no, that was not true. Yes, it was a long delay but we did the best we could with that time. He said he helped coordinate the evacuation of other classrooms where officers could get in and he credited that decision with protecting the lives of about 500 people. BURNETT: All right. Zach, thank you very much. I really appreciate

it. I appreciate you giving us all the details.

Obviously, it is very important to hear what he is saying. So that we understand as we try to construct, you know, how this happened. Thank you so much.

DESPART: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, an ominous new warning from Putin, that this war will not end with Ukraine. And another big name joins the Saudi golf tournament as the PGA tour retaliates tonight.



BURNETT: Tonight, Vladimir Putin giving the clearest signal yet that his end game is a full restoration of the Russian Empire. In a speech to Russians, Putin justifying his invasion of Ukraine by comparing himself to a time of the Russian Empire -- he used that word specifically -- comparing himself to the 7th century Russian ruler Peter the Great.

Putin saying he is only taking back territory that rightfully belongs to Russia, much like Peter the Great did after a brutal and horrifying 21-year war with Sweden. Read Peter Massie's book.

Putin also said, quote, it's impossible to build a fence around a country like Russia and we ourselves aren't planning to build such a fence around us.

Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT on the ground in Kyiv.

And, Matthew, as the devastation and carnage in Ukraine continues to grow, Putin's words suggests that he has no end in sight.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean it was, you know, very symbolic, potentially, and telling that Vladimir Putin chose this moment to compare himself to Peter the Great. He was actually, in fairness, at an exhibition about Peter the Great, which is the context of these remarks. And so, he's drawing parallels with the situation back in the 17th century to the situation now.

He said, look back then when Peter the Great invaded Western countries or Western territory, it was said then it was not really Russian, but in fact, in the past, it was, and Russia was just taking back. In some ways saying that's what we're doing now with Crimea and with Ukraine as well.

So it's led to all sorts of concerns that what Vladimir Putin is really engaged in now isn't the denazification of Ukraine.

[19:40:02] He's not concerned about Western military expansion. What he's really embarked on is an imperial adventure to regain and re-gather Russian lands that, in the past, were dominated by Moscow, whether in the Soviet period or imperial period. So it's fueled concerns that the -- that that adventure may not stop in Ukraine, but it could expand elsewhere as well, Erin.

BURNETT: Yeah. All right. Matthew Chance, thank you very much.

And that brings me to a man now wanted for telling the truth. Russian investigative journalist and intelligence expert, Andrei Soldatov, is now the target of a criminal probe by the Kremlin for his reporting on the inner workings of Russian intelligence and Putin's war in Ukraine.

Russia calling his reporting, much of which you have seen here if you watch the show, he's been on the program sharing it, they call it deliberately false. His bank accounts now frozen and could face years in prison if convicted.

So, Andrei Soldatov is back with me.

And, Andrei, obviously deeply unfortunate circumstances to have this conversation with you. How did you find out that you're on Russia's wanted list?

ANDREI SOLDATOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, hello. I got several strange messages from my bank in Moscow telling me that all of a sudden, I owe something like $80,000 and 75,000 euros and I couldn't understand that until I got another message from another bank with the information that now I face a criminal investigation with a number of the case and then, I took some hours to work out and to understand that actually, while investigating the Russian investigative committee, appears to spread fake news about the war.

BURNETT: And you share with us the documents that Russia's investigative committee presented to the court so you shared with us, they lay out their charges against you. They're punishable, Andrei, up to, going to prison, and when Putin has wanted to silence his dissenters, he has found a way to do so, right?

I understand you're not in Moscow right now, but are you worried that your freedom or, frankly, Andrei, your life, is now in danger?

SOLDATOV: Well, I understand that I cannot travel to certain countries which are, with Vladimir Putin that is absolutely clear. I also understand my family back in Moscow is a potential target and we already see some moves in this direction. And obviously, his idea of the FSB, because it is the FSB which is behind this investigation, is to stop me from reporting, try to understand.

But because I've been doing this for 23 years and the very first time I was investigated by the FSB was exactly 20 years ago. So I sort of, I understand what is going on.

BURNETT: Andrei, you know, the reason that they are targeting you and going after you right now is because of your reporting. You've done some incredible reporting on the FSB, on what's been going on in this war specifically, right? On Putin, on his strategy, on what's going on in his inner circle, on the, you know, FSB members and, you know, whether they have been detained, house arrests, all of this.

And now I know you're learning more about tactics, new tactics the FSB is using. What more can you tell us about that?

SOLDATOV: Yeah, what we see now is that the Kremlin as FSB is moving against people who already left the country. I'm not the only journalist targeted now by the Russian authorities and all of us are now abroad. So the obvious, well, objective of the Russian authorities is to find a way how to get us back or to silence us.

And we already know that at least several families of people who left visited by the FSB and kind of asked to contact with people who left and ask them to get back.


All right. Well, Andrei, I appreciate your taking the time to talk to us. We'll talk to you again soon and again, thank you.

SOLDATOV: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, money talks. Another top U.S. golfer leaving the PGA tour, to join the controversial Saudi-funded league where some golfers have reportedly offered nine figures to work less.

And Texas authorities still reeling from their response to Uvalde, now facing questions about why some people weren't notified that a convicted murderer was on the loose.



BURNETT: Tonight, senior U.S. officials told Saudi Arabia the U.S. is ready to move forward with a, quote, reset of the relationship, effectively moving on from the Saudi government's murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with a bone saw. The decision is a dramatic reversal from the tough talk of candidate Joe Biden promised to isolate the Saudis if he became president.


JOE BIDEN, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe the order of the crown prince. I would make it very clear that we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them. We were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them in fact the pariah that they are. There's very little social redeeming value of -- in the present government in Saudi Arabia. They have to be held accountable.


BURNETT: Well, that's not happening. In fact, they are now burnishing their reputation. The Saudi regime is trying to bolster its global reputation by funding the new LIV Golf Series that's shaking the foundation of the sport.


Major champion Bryson DeChambeau depicting from the PGA tour, joining other top golfers. They are going to play the Saudi funded league. They are getting paid a lot of money to do so, a lot of money. Some of them reportedly getting nine figures to jump ship. And, you know, money talks.

OUTFRONT now, Bob Harig, golf writer for "Sports Illustrated". If you've been watching this week, you saw him earlier. He's covering the inaugural LIV golf series tournament. So, he is in London again for us tonight.

Bob, I appreciate your time.


BURNETT: So, the PGA tour comes out today, indefinitely suspending every player who has joined the Saudi league, essentially slamming them for selling out. Now, LIV is fighting back saying maybe that -- well, they are not saying this but there is expectation that they can help players with their legal fees if they sue the PGA tour.

How nasty can this get?

HARIG: Yeah, I don't think it's going to come down anytime soon. Bryson DeChambeau is a big name in golf. I mean, some of the other players including Mickelson, you know, they had long careers and moving on is something that makes more sense for them. But DeChambeau just won the U.S. open in 2020, very popular and polarizing player. And for him to make this leap is pretty significant.

And, you know, as you noted, the LIV people like Greg Norman who's the CEO and commissioner has pledged to support the players if they -- if they felt the need to push back legally. You know, there is some question as to whether or not independent contractors can be prohibited from doing things in this case, golf outside the PGA Tour.


HARIG: And, you know, the tour -- the tour would be good doing this no matter who is a finding it. This is a threat to them. The Saudi involvement just tightens the entire scenario.

BURNETT: So, all that money -- that Saudi money being thrown around here. It's being on display at the golf course and you've been there. You tweeted a photo of London black cabs that were lined up to take the players to the course, using the traditional black cabs that were all lined up to take the players to course because they're using the traditional formal black cabs. Planes flying overhead as the players are getting to tee off. People dressed as Buckingham Palace guards on the tee box.

I mean, the Saudis went all out to turn this into, you know, big pomp and circumstance event.

So, what is the mood like on the ground there?

HARIG: Yeah, they've got a lot of bells and whistles. And, obviously, they have the funds to be able to do such things, to make it -- try to make it more special. I mean, PGA Tour events do a lot of nice things, too, you know? But this is a little bit beyond.

I mean, to have you 18 or so of the London taxes shoveling players out to their holes. Of course, most golf tournaments at the professional levels do not have shotgun stars, most of us who would play in a shot event will take a golf cart out there but not a cab.

It's all just matter of being different, trying to show that their different. And then once they got started, though, it was golf. You know, it looked like a golf tournament, felt like a golf tournament.

BURNETT: Do you get the feeling that this will get accepted that once you know that people are going to -- more and more are going to join, once the first guys take the heat for, you know, supporting a regime like this, that this will just take off?

HARIG: Yeah, I think it's quite possible that you're going to see more guys go. I mean, this has been out there for a while, more than a year actually. And, when it started to take shape last fall, the LIV Golf people thought they had a lot of people on board. And yet, there was some hiccups along the way and they had to reset.

And Dustin Johnson took the leap, and so did Mickelson, and I think that's made it easier for some other guys.

BURNETT: And when you use the word "reset", of course, the U.S. government saying the same thing. So, it's just proof that politics can really matter I guess on some level, right? When the government sort of seems to look the other way, then a lot of others can too.

Thanks so much. I really appreciate your time.

HARIG: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a Texas man and his four grandchildren traveling to their weekend ranch. Then they are killed by a convicted murderer. Now, Texas authorities are facing questions about their response.



BURNETT: Tonight, Texas Department of Public Safety officials still reeling from question surrounding their response to the Uvalde shooting, now under fire again after a Houston area family was killed by an escaped convict.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gonzalo Lopez had a prison made knife and either real or replica handcuff keys when he pulled off a stunning escape from a Texas prison bus on May 12th. That's according to Texas State Senator John Whitmire who also says 15 other inmates helped Lopez by singing and jumping up and down to distract the two officers on the bus.

SEN. JOHN WHITMIRE (D), TEXAS STATE SENATE: The officer in the back was distracted. The driver was watching the road. In the meantime, Lopez is releasing his cuffs and his leggings, breaking out of the cage they had and the shootout occurred. He took off.

LAVANDERA: Texas prison officials say after Lopez got himself free, he stabbed a prison officer and managed to drive away on the bus before crashing it on the side of a country highway between Houston and Dallas.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: You know, we saw the inmate.


UNIDENTIFIED KID: What the heck.

LAVANDERA: A family driven by captured the aftermath.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is in the woods!

LAVANDERA: When the inmate crashed here, Lopez took off running into the wooded area outside of Centerville, Texas. State and local law enforcement spent two weeks searching the area for him.

And then, Mark Collins and his four grandchildren were found murdered in their home less than a mile from this very spot.

The Collins family arrived at their serene ranch last Thursday. They lived in the Houston area. Collins, a 66-year-old grandfather and his grandchildren, ages 11 to 18, planned to spend the weekend fishing and hanging out on the property.

At some point, in the two days before, Texas prison officials say Lopez entered the house on the property next to the Collins' family ranch. An alert was never sent to residents in the area, and Collins' family and friends wonder if a warning might have saved their lives.

DAVID CRANE, COLLINS FAMILY FRIEND: I do feel had Mark been made aware that he was within a day or two of being on his property, he would never have never exposed those kids to that danger.

LAVANDERA: Texas prison officials say DNA confirmation that Lopez was inside that home came about the same time that investigators were making the horrific discovery, that the Collins family had been killed. A Texas person official said that dealer was not shared because DNA testing at the scene had not been confirmed. Prison officials say that they never had reason to believe that Lopez had ever managed to escape the area. Andy Kahan is the victims service advocate for Houston Crime Stoppers

and has met with the Collins family. He says Lopez was a convicted murderer serving a life sentence, a member of a Mexican drug cartel and should never have been allowed on the bus.

ANDY KAHAN, HOUSTON CRIME STOPPERS: This was well thought out, methodical and planned in a cartel like fashion. This was almost like watching an El Chapo escape scenario in real life that resulted in a massacre of five people.

LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Centerville, Texas.


BURNETTT: Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.