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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump-Backed Election Deniers On Ballot In Key Primaries Tonight; S&P Down For 5th Day, Sinks Deeper Into Bear Market Territory; Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) Is Interviewed About The January 6 Investigations; Officials: Ukraine War At Pivotal Stage, Could Determine Outcome; First Results In Key Races That Test Trump's Power; Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) Is Interviewed About Biden's Visit To Saudi Arabia. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 14, 2022 - 19:00   ET




It's election night in America, and in South Carolina, polls just closing. Will Trump-backed election denier take down Republican incumbent who stood up to Trump on the election?

Plus, he's a part of Biden's party, but he's not onboard with Biden doing business with the crowned prince of Saudi Arabia. He's my guest tonight.

And the worse flooding in parts of Yellowstone National Park in more than 100 years. Families stuck their videotape this building being completely swept away by flood waters as they watched.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, it is election night in America and front and center tonight are Trump's lies about the 2020 election. As the January 6th committee lays out its case for how Trump tried to overturn the election and knowingly lie to his supporters about it. Trump's conspiracy theories are not just a thing about the historical record, you know, that we need to put in there. They're not a thing of the past, they're actually still metastasizing.

Just listen to two of the Trump-backed candidate on the ballot tonight.


ADAM LAXALT (R), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: In the middle of the night, they transformed our election, and you know that they did to the election in this city. We fought right through to the end, but they took the election.

KATE ARRINGTON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: We the people know the election was stolen and we are not taking it anymore. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, one of those was Adam Laxalt running for Nevada, in Nevada for Senate. The other is Katie Arrington running for House seat in South Carolina, where polls just closed at the top of the hour. So, as we get information for you, we'll bring it to you. Obviously, they're counting right now.

Arrington trying to unseat incumbent Nancy Mace who was critical of Trump and his allies after the deadly insurrection.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): His entire legacy was wiped out yesterday. They should be taking 100 percent responsibility for this. They've enabled this. I was shocked as anybody that the words turned to action yesterday.


BURNETT: Also hoping to hold on to a seat in South Carolina is Republican Congressman Tom Rice. Now, Rice shocked many of his own party. He was one of those GOP votes to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th riot, a vote that Rice knew could cost him his seat.


INTERVIEWER: If you lose, is it going to be worth it?

REP. TOM RICE (R-SC): Sure, it will be worth it. Absolutely.

INTERVIEWER: Your obituary, the first sentence is going to be Tom Rice, who was a Republican member of Congress and voted to impeach Donald Trump.

RICE: So be it. I'll wear it like a badge. So be it.


BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT. He is live in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. John King is standing by at the magic wall.

So, let's go first to the ground as polls closed with you, Jeff. Polls literally closed, what, two or three minutes ago, counting now commenced, what is the latest you're hearing from voters in the state and from the campaigns.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the polls were open 12 hours from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Republican officials are telling us they believe it was a low turn out race, perhaps not surprisingly on a very warm, summer June day, but there is a very passionate following here. And that is what could actually turn this race.

Nancy Mace, of course, in her first term as a Republican member of Congress, she flipped this district back in 2020. A Democrat won it the last time. That is her entire message. Elect her to be the party nominee, and she will keep the seat in Republican hands.

Her opponent, of course, Katie Arrington, is -- she's, you know, backed by the former president, full throated. But the voters we talked to seem perfectly capable as we saw in other states before to support the former president but not follow his lead necessarily and who he is endorsing.

So, certainly, a lot of optimism on the Mace side of the campaign, perhaps a slightly different dynamic north of us here along the coast from Myrtle Beach down about halfway through the state. Tom Rice, one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach President Trump, he's first one to face a primary challenge like this. Republicans do believe this is likely to go into a runoff contest. That would be an election a couple of weeks from now. The leading contender, Russell Fry, is a state representative, firmly backed by President Trump as well.

So even though many Republican voters we talked to said yes they're willing to make up their own minds, they can still be sort of agitated. It's the impeachment vote here that makes a difference in this race. Nancy Mace did not vote to impeach President Trump. She voted to certify the election, and she's rarely criticized President Trump. Since then, Tom Rice has kept right on. He told us -- he told me yesterday that Donald Trump is the past the party. The party should move on.

Erin, tonight, we'll see if Republicans agree with him but no doubt this is the latest stop in President Trump's revenge tour.


We'll see if Republicans are listening to him or following their own lead -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

And as we start to get results, obviously, we're going to go back to Jeff.

I want to go to John King at the magic wall, now, though, as these polls close in South Carolina.

John, what are you seeing?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we have no votes yet. Let me just walk through. This is the state of South Carolina, remember how Republican this state is, Donald Trump won it by a dozen points in 2020, which is a Democratic year.

So, this is a good year for Republicans. They think whoever wins these primaries in these House district will easily coast to election. But this is the Tom Rice district. It has Myrtle Beach. A lot of times, you talk about a House district, people around the country say, I don't know where that is.

These are very familiar areas. Myrtle Beach, the result along the coast of South Carolina, then stretches along to more rural areas. Russell Fry is the Trump-backed candidate, he supports the big lie. What's interesting and these race as well as others, Erin, first time Republican voters are going at the hearing, Bill Barr, Trump's campaign manager, people inside the White House, they know, the big lie is a lie, is a lie. And we told Trump that.

So will that affect Republican voters? Russell Fry believes in the big lie, Tom Rice you just heard. He's proud of his vote. He says he will stand by if he loses his job and loses his career in politics, so be it.

This is the Myrtle Beach area. Then you just move south along the coast, Charleston, a city many Americans know. And then again, stretches down along the coast here, a lot of military communities here. Stretches into rural areas here.

Katie Arrington, she supports the big lie. You played her at the top of the program again despite the fact everyone around Trump says the big lie is a lie, the big lie is the fraud and then Nancy Mace who used -- you play. She worked for Trump back in 2016, then she was harshly critical of him, now she's trying to navigate back, essentially saying I'd rather talk about other things than Trump. She's trying to find the sweet spot in the middle.

But as Jeff noted, this is another race, just like in Georgia. She has a lot of the Republican establishment around her. She believes that will help her tonight including Nikki Haley, who is Trump's ambassador to the United Nations. So, we're waiting on a poll, to make sure we don't get the early votes. So, nothing yet.

When they come in South Carolina, though, Erin, when they do come, they tend to come in pretty quick.

BURNETT: All right. Well, you know, hopefully, they do here as we continue this hour and you can show us what to get.

But speaking of polls closing, they are not closing in Nevada. In fact, they're open three more hours I understand, John. So what are you watching for there tonight? It's another important one.

KING: Nevada is a huge state not just tonight but in November. This is a state where Republicans think they can flip the governor's office, they think they can flip a Senate seat, which could mean control of the Senate, flipping to Republicans. They also think they can flip two or three House seats.

So, let's go out to Nevada. This is the House map here. I'm going to turn to the Republican primary, because this is the race you highlight at the top.

Adam Laxalt, that's a famous name in politics in Nevada, in the Republican Party, used to be considered more mainstream, straightforward, establishment Republican. You played the clip at the top of the show, has completely bought into the big lie. Joe Biden won Nevada. It was close.

Donald Trump -- let's just go back and take a look. We can show our viewers, 50 to 47. It was 2 1/2 point, three point race there, it was close, but Joe Biden won in Nevada without a doubt back in 2020. But again, this cancer is spreading in the Republican Party and we're going to see it here tonight in other races as well, Erin, even though we now have on the record from the January 6th Committee everybody around Donald Trump saying Joe Biden won fair and square, and yet the cancer is in the body and Republican candidates keep saying no, no to facts, no to the truth, no to math.

BURNETT: Yeah, as I said, this is spreading. It's metastasizing and we're now seeing it, right? People who want to say put it in the past, it's clearly not.

All right. John, thank you. But as I said, we're going to go back to John as, he said, those results in South Carolina when they come in could come in quickly and those polls closed eight minutes ago.

In the meantime, Van Jones with me now, former special adviser to President Obama, and David Urban, who was an adviser to President Trump's 2020 campaign and has since advised candidates running against Trump-backed candidates.

So let's be clear here, David, when we look at South Carolina where we're awaiting those results, Nancy Mace and Tom Rice are both on Trump's hit list. He slams them both constantly. Mace has been trying, though, to say let's talk about other things, you heard John King, right? I'm not going to back down on the fact I took on Trump, but I won't talk about it.

Tom Rice on the other hand, not backing down, not stepping away from his criticism of Trump at all.

Whose strategy is better?

DAVID URBAN, ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 2020 CAMPAIGN: I guess we'll find out tomorrow morning, right, Erin? Listen, Nancy Mace and Tom Rice have two completely different districts as well, right?


URBAN: Nancy Mace's district is a lot more purple and I think that she's trying to run through the raindrops not getting wet, so to speak, and the woman she ran against is running against her tonight, was the congresswoman who lost that seat to Democrat. So she's a different claim to make.

Tom Rice, I think is happy with his fate, whatever it's going to be and I think he's headed for a runoff. But I suspect he looked at his number and see feels a little differently about his race than Nancy Mace does about her race tonight.

BURNETT: Well, as you point out, it's not just the message, it's also the audience and where she is, a lot more purple for sure.

URBAN: In his district, if you looked at John's drawing on the map there, Rice's district goes way into Deep South, South Carolina.


There's a lot more conservatives. So --

BURNETT: So, Van, Nevada, three hours away here. Kyung Lah was out there and she spoke with the members of one of the powerful unions in Nevada, the Culinary Workers Union, right, who wields a lot of power obviously in that state with Las Vegas.

So they're working on getting out the vote and I want to play part of that conversation for you.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you talk to people, how are they feeling?

ARIANA TOVAR, CULINARY UNION 226: They're mad. They're mad at Democrats.

LAH: Are you worried about Senator Cortez-Masto this year?

TOVAR: Yes. Yes. It's going to be tough, this election.


BURNETT: Why this feeling right now?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's an honest reflection of the Democratic Party grassroots this summer. There's just a sense of disappointment and frustration. I think people are going to get back in the fight in the fall when we realize if you just stay mad and don't participate you're going to get a worse outcome.

But I think people have had such high hopes when Trump left that things are going to be great, get all this stuff done. Democrats got a lot done but promised to do even more and when you come up short and you got, you know, gas prices through the roof, it's hurting the morale of the grassroots. I don't think that will be true in the fall, just through this summer.

BURNETT: So, David, Trump still carries weight among Republicans, we talk about the metastasizing, you know, lie about the election, his former Attorney General Bill Barr now on tape calling Trump's election fraud claims bullshit, crazy, amateurish, total nonsense, and say that he had lost sense with reality, OK? So, he says all those things.

URBAN: No, I watched it, yeah.

BURNETT: OK. Well, he still says he's going to vote for Trump if he's the nominee. Are we going to see more of that?

URBAN: Yeah, I think you will, Erin. I think that people -- you know, it's the state of politics, it's the crazy state of our politics, you talk about, reflected by that poll that, you know, the person out there knocking doors and trying to work for the Democrats. It's the reality we face that people are just so frustrated, so frustrated with their lives, they're frustrated when they go to the gas pump and they were hoping for something different but they see run away inflation and they don't have jobs, their shelves are empty, you know, and it's impacting their daily lives.

And they think listen, you know, Trump was bad but my life was better, my 401k existed. If you look at down and your brackets on your 401k now -- you're fortunate to have anything in your 401k, people look back and things were different.

They may not be -- they might be happy with Donald Trump, I don't think a lot of people will take the rhetoric. I think they like the policies without the rhetoric and I think that's what they're divided about.

BURNETT: So, van, there are concerns among some Democrats and we're now seeing them out there, right? So, they're now putting names behind it, and we're hearing it publicly. It had been private, and now, it's percolated about whether Biden should run in 2024.

So I want to play an exchange from last night. This is Don Lemon speaking to the Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Does the president have the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think, to continue on even after 2024?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Don, you're asking me this question. Oh my gosh. He's the president of the United States.

You know, he -- I can't even keep up with him. We just got back from New Mexico. We just got back from California. That is -- that is not a question that we should be even asking.


BURNETT: Okay. As David Axelrod said and he put his name on it said if this is a person who wins will be closer to 90 during the second term than 80, so these are fair questions. Joe Biden said these are fair questions the last time he was running.

So do you have these questions?

JONES: Well, I think everybody is looking very closely now. I, when he does -- when Biden does well, he does really well. That gun speech he gave, he was perfect. It was powerful.

When he does badly, when he stumbles, you get nervous and you wonder, is it just a stutter, is he tired or something else there. So I think people just looking, honestly, I think Democrats are like, if this guy is ready to go we're behind him but if he's not ready to go should let us know. I think that's what's going on.

URBAN: Look, guys, you saw him on Jimmy Kimmel. Jimmy Kimmel had to bail him out. It was a softball interview. He was wandering through the desert and Kimmel's throwing him a lifeline to get to commercial. JONES: Look, I mean, I -- the way I see it is he's uneven. When he

does well he does really well and when he doesn't, he doesn't so the question is which one you focus on, the right wing love to see focus when he does not as well but we also got to recognize. He's under more pressure than probably any president has been in for fifth, six (ph) or seven generations and he's holding up under it and doing reasonably well.

So, I -- listen, if anyone says Democrats aren't beginning to have these questions behind closed doors, that's not true. People are, but if he's ready to go, people in his party are ready to back him up.

BURNETT: Right. I guess the question is what happens at the midterms, what decision is made and how it's put out there.

All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

URBAN: Thanks.


BURNETT: We're waiting these results from South Carolina, as John King had said, they usually come in quickly when they start to come in. Polls are closed. So we're keeping every eye on that every second.

Next, the stock market in bear territory, tonight, which is a big part of the reason for the malaise you heard in Kyung's interview there. The Fed is ready to take major action, but that action is going to hurt everybody even more in some ways. Our economic analyst Jim Bianco is on deck.

Plus, new video from the January 6 committee showing a Trump campaign lawyer warning another Trump ally that he could be breaking a law. Ukraine's president tonight beginning for more weapons. Will they be even enough to stop Putin in time?


BURNETT: Tonight, S&P down for the fifth day in a row, sinking deeper into bear market territory. This, as President Biden was touting the economic progress made on his watch, while acknowledging the inflation prices is taking a toll on American families.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under my plan, the economy made extraordinary progress, and put America in a position to tackle a world -- a worldwide problem worse everywhere but here, inflation. It's sapping the strength of a lot of families.


BURNETT: So this is coming as the Fed meets tomorrow and is expected to take aggressive action on interest rates, likely raising them 3/4 of a percentage point, OK?


When you have rates basically hovering around zero for years, that's a lot. And it is, in fact, by any measure, a lot. It is the biggest hike, a 3/4 hike in one meeting would be the biggest hike in nearly three decades, 30 years.

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

So, Jim, how big a deal would it be at this point for the Fed to do this, to come out and raise interest rates by 3/4 of a percentage point?

JIM BIANCO, ECONOMIC ANALYST: BIANCO RESEARCH PRESIDENT: It will be a big deal, because they're signaling that they're going to get aggressive on interest rates. Tomorrow's expected rate hike of 3/4 of a percent is percent is not alone going to be the difference maker but if it's the start of more such hikes and the market does expect the next meeting in July, that they're going to do it again, that the cumulative of all of that should have some very powerful action on the economy.

BURNETT: I mean, you know, if you think about it, right, within a month, a 1 1/2 percent increase in the base rate, is a pretty stunning thing and in the context, Jim, as I said, of recent years, where interest rates haven't been things that people had to think about, right? These numbers are enormous in history.

But even these kinds of increases, given what we're seeing on inflation, it might take even more, right, to stop the inflation genie now that it's out of the bottle?

BIANCO: Yeah, it might, but let's remember what the Fed is trying to do. The fancy word they use is tightening financial conditions. You and I might know that as lower the stock market. And if you lower the stock market, hopefully, it will get people to pause or at least roll back some of their spending. That will take the demand for goods and services down a lit bit and remove inflation.

So what they're trying to accomplish is to, you know, make us all look at the stock market a little bit more skeptically and hopefully that will translate into our everyday purchases in order to bring inflation down. That's not exactly what we want them to do, but that's the only tool that they have right now.

BURNETT: Right, well it's a blunt one, but when you get to this point, and again, you know, you had money coming out during the COVID money, right, you had the Fed flooding the economy with money. This has been many, many years of this, getting to this point.

But in terms of pointing the blame, Biden today railed against record corporate profits. He demanded that companies pay more in taxes. Now, he's focused specifically on oil companies as gas prices hit record highs.

So, when you look at the math here because, by the way, there is math to be done, right? You look at corporate profits, are they playing a role in inflation crisis or is there more of a political punching bag?

BIANCO: No, they're -- it's more political. They're not playing as big a role. The reason that gas prices are in new all time high, $5.02 nationwide, is largely because of the supply and demand imbalance. We're demanding more gasoline that we can currently produce, making it up through imports.

And if you were to subtract from it whatever the corporate profits are, maybe take a few pennies off that number, maybe a nickel or dime at most, but then does anyone feel better because we're at 4.92 on gas? So, it's not really the major problem.

Major problem now is we can't refine enough crude oil into gasoline for what we're demanding.

BURNETT: And that's obviously the bottom line, what has to be addressed.

Jim Bianco, thank you very much, ahead of this crucial Fed decision tomorrow.

And next, January 6th committee releasing postponing tomorrow's hearing. We're going to speak a member of the committee next.

And jailed Putin nemesis, the lead opposition leader Alexei Navalny on the move, tonight reportedly being housed in a facility that could put his life at risk.



BURNETT: Are you out of your F-ing mind? That's a quote, what Trump campaign attorney Eric Herschmann said he asked conservative lawyer John Eastman, after the deadly insurrection on January 6th, he did that because Eastman who tried to pressure Pence to overturn the election was allegedly still trying to challenge the results.

Here's Herschmann.


ERIC HERSCHMANN, TRUMP LAWYER: He started to ask me about something dealing with Georgia preserving something, potentially for appeal. And I just said to him, are you out of your F-ing mind, right? Because I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on, orderly transition. And eventually, he said orderly transition.

I said, good John. Now, I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you're ever getting in your life. Get a great F-ing criminal defense lawyer. You're going to need it.


BURNETT: All right, that testimony is significant, and powerful. And it was just released by the January 6th select committee after it postponed tomorrow's hearing at the last minute.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, who is a member of the committee.

And, Congresswoman, I appreciate your time.

So, let's -- I know Thursday, the hearing then is going to focus on team Trump's campaign to pressure Mike Pence to overturn the election. John Eastman, obviously, a key player in that effort.

Can your committee prove not just that Donald Trump was aware of this pressure campaign but that he was actually behind it and orchestrating it as well?

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): Well, I think you have seen in the last two hearings that we do have evidence for the assertions that we make during the hearings, and I will let folks tune in to the third hearing to see the evidence and often, that evidence is presented in the words of Republican advisers to the president.


And they are recounting their perspective on this effort to apply pressure to the vice president, the Department of Justice or otherwise or they're providing information about how they provided guidance to the president that he had lost the election, that there was nothing "there" there when it came to the fraud allegations. That the court cases that were being pressed had basically hadn't been ruled in his favor.

So we will be laying out that evidence in the third hearing.

BURNETT: So U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger today said there was no evidence that the Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk led constituents on a surveillance tour, or reconnaissance tour on January 5th, the day before the insurrection. Now, this comes after your committee had raised question about Loudermilk's interactions that day and after some Democrats alleged Republicans did give tours to members of the pro-Trump mob ahead of the insurrection.

So, Congresswoman Murphy, I know you have had a chance to look at these results as part of the U.S. Capitol, you know, findings. Do you accept the findings of the Capitol police chief?

MURPHY: The committee is still continuing its investigation into this specific area of interest and we haven't come up with any of our conclusions yet. I think that there will be some information forthcoming as we do wrap up that part of our investigation. Of course, we will take into consideration what the Capitol police have said and how they reached their conclusion but we haven't yet completed our investigation, and I think it's very important that we do that because we have access to a broader range of information than, maybe, necessarily, what the U.S. Capitol police is looking at.

BURNETT: So, you're -- which is, you know, important, and important, you know, I hear you loud and clear. You've got more information than they have. So, you know, I think all eyes will be on what you do conclude.

Your committee's hearing for tomorrow was postponed this morning, Congresswoman, at the last minute, and committee member, Congressman Aguilar, said the change gives the public and I quote him, the time and space to digest the hearing so far. Congresswoman Lofgren though blamed technical issues.

So what is the real issue -- the reason?

MURPHY: You know, it was a combination of scheduling issues. As you saw in the second hearing, one of our witnesses had a life event, the -- his wife went into labor and he's going to have a baby.

BURNETT: The former Trump campaign manager. Yes.

MURPHY: Yes, that's right.

So we had to make adjustments at the very last minute. And the reality is that we're putting these hearings together very meticulously and it takes a lot of effort and the effort is performed by people who are human beings with lives and schedules, and we are working around witnesses' schedules and otherwise. I think an upside benefit of pacing this out a bit which Mr. Aguilar pointed to was to allow folks to absorb it.

But I think a think a lot is just simply driven by logistics which I know is boring and not something the media wants to talk about. It's easier to kind of speculate about, you know, what scandal is driving this. But the reality is it's just about working with a lot of hardworking people who also have lives and are dealing with, you know, the things that come up and scheduling and whatnot.

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Murphy, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

MURPHY: It's good to be with you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, incredible access to Ukrainian troops. You'll see how they're using the weapons supplied by the United States and its allies.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This exercise is designed to test Ukrainian forces to the use of Western weapons.


BURNETT: And catastrophic flooding in Yellowstone National Park. I'm going to talk to one family who was trapped inside the park and witnessed this building, this home being completely swept away.


[19:38:03] BURNETT: Tonight, the war in Ukraine in a crucial moment that according to U.S. intelligence officials who are telling CNN that the days ahead could determine the outcome of this war.

Russian forces right now are closing in on two crucial cities in eastern Ukraine as President Zelenskyy begs for more weapons, warning, quote, if Ukraine is not strong enough, they will go further.

Ben Wedeman is OUTFRONT.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): American symbol, American weapon. Ukrainian troops try out new equipment. U.S.-supplied M4 rifles, fresh out of the box. Away from the front lines, these soldiers are preparing to join the battle raging in the east.

This exercise is designed to test Ukrainian forces to the use of Western weapons. This is an American 50 caliber machine gun firing Italian bullets.

There's a problem, though, we're told there's not enough Western ammunition.

And not enough weapons, either. Even in this drill, much of the firepower dates back to the Soviet era. Ukrainian forces are slowly losing ground in the battle for the eastern Donbas region. Morale here is high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Vietnam!

WEDEMAN: Yet no one believes these rifles will halt the Russian advance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This, this is not enough.

WEDEMAN: Ukrainian officials say Russian artillery outnumbers their artillery at a ratio perhaps more than 10 to 1, used to deadly effect in the city of Severodonetsk, now almost completely under Russian control. Big guns, not small arms, could help Ukraine turn the tide.


VITALI, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: If I can protect myself as a soldier with this weapon, I can protect my comrades. But unfortunately, I can't clear my country from invaders using only this rifle so we need more artillery. We need to have a rocket system, and serious weapon, because it's a modern war.

WEDEMAN: U.S. and its allies delivered advanced weapon systems to Ukraine, and more are on the way. But the army here is losing men at an alarming rate, more than 100 killed in action every day according to Ukrainian officials.

We need a basic minimum to avoid more casualties. Artilleries, smart weapons, radar, drones, and people to train us says the commander, Lieutenant Oleksandr, a veteran of the French Foreign Legion.

We've shown we will fight. We will train to use these weapons.

And that will take time, and time is a luxury that this nation and war cannot afford.


WEDEMAN (on camera): And it may be too late for the Ukrainian defenders in the city of Severodonetsk. I was back there in April, and it was clear that Ukrainians were outgunned back then. And now, it's probably too late -- Erin.

BURNETT: Ben, thank you very much, reporting live from Ukraine tonight.

And next, some results coming in now from this crucial primary in South Carolina. Polls close at the top of the hour and we got some of the results are coming in. We're going to go to John King at the magic wall and, of course, we will be talking about President Biden's upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia.



BURNETT: I want to go back now into John King at the magic wall. We have more results coming in from South Carolina.

So, John, what are you seeing right now?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some early results, Erin, and a split verdict so far in the very early results in these two congressional districts where Donald Trump is airing his grievances if you will. Let's look up here at the seventh South Carolina congressional district. Russell Fry is the Trump-backed candidate, Tom Rice, is the incumbent who voted to impeach Donald Trump.

Tom Rice at the moment, 4 percent of the vote in, Tom Rice is losing quite significantly to Russell Fry. I just want to note, though, we could take a different look at the district. See where the votes are coming in so far, the rural areas more in north western part of the district, if Mr. Rice has a chance it will be with voters in the Myrtle Beach area, Erin.

But this is a very Republican district again, the Trump-backed candidate with the early lead there.

Now, let's take a look at district number one, where Nancy Mace is the incumbent, Donald Trump would like her defeated by the candidate. He endorsed Katie Arrington, but Nancy Mace, look at that, more than two to one lead.

Again, though, only 3 percent of the vote in so far, but Nancy Mace, the only votes so far from Charleston County. That is Nancy Mace's base, but early results, you're happy, you got a lot of math to do.

BURNETT: Right, right, right, good to start, but you see where it goes.

All right. John King, thank you very much and we are going to keep an eye on those as that map starts to fill in here through the evening, see if Mace maintains that lead or not.

Also tonight, President Biden coming under fire from his own party as the White House announces he will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman next month. The White House saying Biden, quote, looks forward to this visit to Saudi Arabia, been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades. Now, that is true, but this is a clear reversal from Biden's tough talk on the campaign trial when he vowed to isolate the Saudis and MBS specifically, after the 2018 murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


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


BURNETT: They appear to be genuine and they appeared to be certainly what he believed. Of course, now's president, there are other considerations. And so, he is planning this visit.

By the way, the Biden administration already sold more than $600 million in weapon systems to Saudi Arabia since Biden took office.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia. Khashoggi lived in his district, and they took this photo together before Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in an operation ordered by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, according to U.S. intelligence.

So, Congressman, you have been a huge advocate for Khashoggi's family? This obviously is the regime in Saudi Arabia, know for human rights abuses but the bone saw dismemberment and murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a level that shocked the world.

Do you think President Biden should be traveling to Saudi Arabia and meeting with the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman?

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): Erin, obviously, the relationship, as you point out, with the Saudi Arabia goes back 80 years to FDR. It's complicated. It's layered with lots of concerns and issues.

But at the end of the day, I believe President Biden was right when he was candidate Biden about this relationship and holding to account the individual who was complicit in and ordered the brutal murder and dismemberment of my constituent Jamal Khashoggi and that is the crown prince.

BURNETT: And the crown prince -- you know, as you said, President Biden, then candidate Biden was very clear. He said that Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered and I believe at the murder of the crown prince, that's what he said.

He said we're not going to sell more weapons to them. He has in fact done that. We're going to make them pay the price and make them the pariah -- it seemed to me, at the time, and that seemed to me, that that's what he believes.


That is what he believes. He has, of course, as president had calls with MBS's father, the current king.

But why do you think Biden is doing this now? Why has the pressure exceeded what he seems to believe personally?

CONNOLLY: I believe that he's had counsel from some in the State Department, some on the National Security Council that the need to bring MBS, the crown prince, to account for justice for his involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has to be weighed against other concerns.

We're experiencing a huge inflationary spiral in the price of oil. We need Saudi Arabia to produce more of it, if we're going to bring down the cost of gasoline here in the United States. The Saudis have reluctant to support sanctions against Russia in the Ukrainian war, and we need their help there.

So I think he's getting advice that if you want their cooperation, they made it very clear, you got to stand down in the original position.

BURNETT: Right, and I understand that. I will say just for a point of consistency, if he thinks it's worth it to bring down oil prices to -- or gas prices to do business with Saudi Arabia, wouldn't it be consistent, then, to be open to pulling back some of the restrictions on refining in the U.S. or drilling in the U.S. as well?

CONNOLLY: Presumably. But, you know, I think we have to all ask ourselves, all of that is interesting and fine and important, but at what price? I mean, a man was murdered by the number two official in foreign government. That can't be acceptable in terms of U.S. interest or U.S. foreign policy and it ought not to be acceptable to the president of the United States.

BURNETT: Right. Obviously, they're going ahead with this trip.

Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

CONNOLLY: My pleasure. Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, a family trapped in Yellowstone captures these images of the devastating impact of the worst flash flooding there on record. A member of that family is OUTFRONT next.



BURNETT: Tonight extreme weather. Yellowstone National Park closed to visitors after there is worse flooding than seen in over 100 years. And more than 125 million people are under heat alert as areas in the South and Midwest topped 100 degrees. In Columbus, Ohio, the temperature reached 108 degrees. Outside Chicago, planes flipped overdue to major wind gusts.

And these unsettling conditions extend beyond the U.S. In North America, a massive and bizarre hailstorm in Mexico City turning the streets into chaotic scenes like this one. Amazing. Mexico City.

Parker Manning is OUTFRONT. He just evacuated Yellowstone with his family after flooding left them stranded there for days.

Parker, I appreciate your time. It's fantastic you were able to get out of Yellowstone. I understand you were able to get out of highway 89 which has also seen severe flooding. We've seen some of the dramatic pictures of that. I mean, we're showing it here from the air. I mean, that is stunning.

And terrifying I know you took a video of a building being swept up by flooding before you even left Yellowstone which is surreal to watch it. Now, I can only imagine what it was like in real life.

Tell me more about how bad the conditions have been.

PARKER MANNING, EVACUATED YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (via telephone): Yeah, it was pretty crazy. Water was rising pretty quick. We were standing on a deck on our cabin that we had rented from VRBO and watched as the embankment started to slough away and move down into the water, watching the water rise, the debris going through. It was really moving and flowing an enormous amount of water.

BURNETT: So, you and your family, I know, were in Yellowstone on vacation. Obviously you didn't expect to get stuck. I mean, what was your reaction, Parker, when you found out there is nowhere for you to go and water levels are going up?

MANNING: You know, we were very surprised when we got up Monday morning. We were planning on checking out and heading into Yellowstone and abruptly found out that we were stuck, everything was closed, really had no indication of when we might get out.

So it was a little bit worrisome, but we just had to kind of go with the flow and make things work, you know? So we were concerned but not terribly worried, I guess. It seemed like emergency management people in the area were doing a great job trying to organize everything and trying to keep people informed of what was going on.

We were actually on a phone call about noon today where they explained that they were able to clear off some debris on the roads, do some minor repairs just to let some traffic out today, and we had a one- time opportunity to evacuate, so we took advantage of it.

BURNETT: Absolutely. The flooding is unprecedented in the area. Bridges have been completely blown out, roads under water. I know you're familiar with the area. You've spent plenty of time there.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

MANNING: No. Not in that area. I mean, we have experienced some flooding ourselves in Indiana, but not there in Montana.

It was very widespread. The amount of water flowing through there was truly amazing, and to watch that building come off the embankment and float downstream was just -- it was crazy.

BURNETT: That's amazing to see it, and disturbing. Parker, thank you very much. I appreciate it. I'm glad you and your family are out. Thanks.

MANNING: Thank you very much. Have a great evening.

BURNETT: And finally tonight, a story we've been following. Top Putin opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been moved to a security prison in Russia. That's according to Russian state media.

The facility is reportedly known for the, quote, systematic abuse of inmates. Navalny's team saying it still hasn't received confirmation of his whereabouts and his family wasn't informed that he would be moved. Navalny was sentenced in March to an additional nine years in prison. He was arrested when he was returned to Russia -- when he returned to Russia of his own choice in 2021 after being poisoned with Novichok and nearly dying.

Thanks for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.