Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

D.A. Tells Georgia GOP Chair He Could Be Indicted In Election Probe; Report: Georgia D.A. Could Call On Trump To Testify In Election Probe; Attorney For Doctor Who Provided Abortion For 10-Year-Old Speaks Out; Biden Fist Bumps Saudi Crown Prince He Once Called A "Pariah"; Bannon's "Precinct Strategy" A Takeover Of GOP Party; China's Economy Takes A Hit, Fueled By Zero COVID Policy. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 15, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, indictment warnings. A Georgia official warned he could be indicted as part of an investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election. Trump's former attorney Ty Cobb telling OUTFRONT tonight this investigation could pose a serious threat of indictment to Trump himself.

Plus, the Indiana doctor who performed a legal abortion on a 10-year- old rape victim fighting back tonight after her state's attorney general lobbed baseless accusations saying she broke the law. The doctor's attorney who just filed a cease-and-desist is up next.

And a surge of migrants coming from 100 different countries. This is something border officials have never seen before.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, indictment warning. A Georgia district attorney leading the investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election, warning a top Georgia Republican official that he may be indicted.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sending a target letter, a target letter is a specific word here, to Georgia GOP Party Chairman David Shafer. Shafer has told the January 6th committee that the fake elector's plot in Georgia came at the direction of the Trump campaign.

And Yahoo! News first reported this target letter and is also reporting tonight that several other Georgia Republicans received similar letters warning of possible indictments. Now, of course, as we all know, Georgia is ground zero for investigators when it comes to Trump election schemes. The Fulton County investigation was prompted because of that infamous phone call, right, the whole phone call on tape and transcribed when Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger with this infamous request.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: All I want to do is this, I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.


BURNETT: One more than we have. Well, that now finally could be what it is that puts Trump himself into legal jeopardy. In fact, his former White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, spoke to us tonight. And I want to quote what he said. He said the Georgia case, under the control of the Fulton County district attorney, appears to pose a serious threat of indictment to the former president.

I mean, it is incredible you to stop and think all of this talk and you could be looking at indictment of a former president. It is a major development. It comes as the January 6th Committee itself is asking for answers from the Secret Service about those missing text messages, saying where are they? Where are those text messages that the Secret Service sent and received from January 5th and 6th? The day before and the day of the insurrection, obviously.

The Department of Homeland Security inspector general says those messages were deleted, and they were deleted after the agency watchdog requested them. So the request comes in, then all of a sudden, they get deleted. Today, we are learning the DHS inspector general told the January 6 committee that he went to Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas more than once about the lack of Secret Service cooperation with the investigation. That raises significant and serious questions in and of itself.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live in Washington to begin our coverage tonight.

So, Evan, let's start where I just finished, which is this back-and- forth between the Secret Service, the inspector general, what more are you learning about this?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, one of the interesting things that Joseph Cuffari, the inspector general, told the committee today, who briefed nine members today, this afternoon, on Capitol Hill. One of the things he told them is that the Secret Service, it appears, did not do an after-action report after January 6th. That appears to have been a surprise to him. Instead, what Secret Service was doing was relying on the inspector general to look into how the Secret Service conducted itself in the days before January 6th and of course on that day.

And so, that's one of the interesting things he told the committee. He said that, you know, obviously, because he believed they were foot- dragging, that he went to Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary, to force them to turn over all of these documents and all these emails that he was requesting. And he said that, you know, obviously, that's one of the things that they're still working to go through, all the documents that they have now been turned over.

Now, we heard later from members of the committee, Erin, and it's clear they're not sure exactly where -- what this means.


They want to hear more from the Secret Service because they don't know which version of events to believe.

We heard from the Homeland Security Department tonight that they say that they're urging and they're working to make sure that the Secret Service is cooperating with this investigation. And, of course, these members of this committee say they're hoping that the Secret Service can find a way to resurrect some of the messages they believe were deleted as part of this migration of devices, Erin.

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

Now let's go to the reporter who broke the story about the Georgia D.A. sending the target letters, Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for "Yahoo News". Also with me, Dana Bash, our chief political correspondent, co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION". And Elie Honig, former assistant attorney for the southern district of New York.

Michael, your reporting is obviously extremely significant here. You spoke with the Fulton County D.A. What more are you learning about these target letters? What was in them and what were they about, and the fallout?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Well, yeah, first of all, this is an extremely important development in this investigation. I mean, Fani Willis has been the most aggressive prosecutor investigating Donald Trump and the conduct of his allies after the 2020 election. She's been far ahead of the Department of Justice in pursuing potential witnesses.

And with this latest development, target letters to those who participated in that fake elector scheme on December 14th at the State Capitol in Georgia, as well as in other states, Trump electors met in secret, behind closed doors, kicked the press out, and anointed themselves the bona fide electors from the state of Georgia to send to the National Archives and to the U.S. Congress, providing material -- grounds for vice president pence to reject the real electors who were voted in by the voters and substitute these Trump electors.

As we reported today, Fani Willis has now sent target letters to at least some of those fake electors, and they're pretty significant players. Among them, David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. He presided over the fake elector meeting that day in the state capitol on December 14th.

And Burt Jones, who is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.


ISIKOFF: Running mate of Brian Kemp running against Stacey Abrams. So, this is an extremely high-profile race. Aside from the legal

complications, it is clear this has major political implications as well.

BURNETT: All right. So, let's, Elie, focus for a second on the legalism indications, right? These target letters going out, how significant are they? Talk to me about where this, you know, where this goes down a track from here.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Erin, it's a big step and one that prosecutors never take lightly to issue a target letter. In any investigation from the prosecutors' perspective, there are basically three categories of people involved.

The lowest level, your witnesses, which is exactly what it sounds like, somebody who witnessed something but had nothing to do with the criminality. The middle level is subjects. That's somebody who could be within the purview of the grand jury's work, might have been involved. And then the highest level is a target, somebody prosecutors believe they have significant evidence linking that person to a crime and may well end up as a defendant.

So, short of an actual indictment itself, getting a target letter is the worst thing that one can receive.

BURNETT: And, obviously, Elie is making it clear that there is a lot of evidence to back it up. You have a prosecutor making this decision, Dana. And yet, the district attorney in Fulton County is a Democrat. The people she is sending target letters to obviously to this fake elector scheme are definitionally Republicans. The one Michael just mentioned on the ticket is Republican nominee for lieutenant governor Burt Jones. She recently helped through a fundraiser for his opponent, okay, who has been running on Jones' role in the fake elector scheme.

So, obviously, I point out, a lot of facts go into this and yet, that political layer cannot be ignored, Michael is reporting Jones is trying to get Willis disqualified now. Ty Cobb said to us and I should note here, obviously, he's a Trump's former lawyer. Willis is a determined and experienced prosecutor.

So, what are the implications here politically? Does all of that political layering hurt her?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly makes it easier for Republicans from their perspective to fund raise off of this, to try to attack here and try to undermine the case by just saying it is purely political.


I mean, it's kind of the oldest trick in the book when somebody is up against the wall legally in a case like this. The reality is that a D.A. is, for the most part especially in this case, is somebody who is a partisan. That's why you have different layers and different levels of investigations. And what I mean by that is this is a state investigation, which

Michael said absolutely right, it seems to be way ahead of what is going on here in Washington.


BASH: And is extremely significant, nonetheless.

But there are -- there is another track, actually multiple tracks going on here in Washington. The most important of which is the Department of Justice. And there, just this week, we know that the committee, the January 6th Committee turned over documents about this very topic --


BASH: -- to the Justice Department, about this fake elector scheme. I guess it's a long way of saying is, yes, they can call it political on the state level because of the players involved. But first of all, to get to this point, as Elie said, you do need it to go beyond politics. You need a pool of people who see this and see potential facts and potential crime to get to this point.

BURNETT: Right. Obviously, it is significant. The context you put in is important, right. What we understand, Bennie Thompson said specifically, the fake elector scheme is what the DOJ is pursuing first and foremost. So it fits with that.

Elie, the thing about this Fulton County case is that I have heard again and again, you know, from lawyers who have been involved at this or looking at it, this is the crucial situation that they are looking at for a potential indictment of a former president. And Ty Cobb says, quote, the Georgia case appears to pose serious indictment to the former president.

Do you agree, Elie?

HONIG: Well, first of all, I agree with Michael Isikoff, this is the investigation that seems to be moving the most quickly of the various ones out there. I do agree that of those investigations, we don't know where any of them are going to land. But the one that is most likely to result in an indictment of Donald Trump himself is this Fulton County investigation.

But, Erin, it's so important that people understand, if there is some day an indictment, it is a long and difficult road from indictment to conviction, not least of which because of the factors that we just talked about, which is we're talking about a county level prosecutor trying to indict and prosecute and convict and imprison a former president. There will be challenges to that constitutionally in federal court.

And if you ever do get to a jury, this isn't an election. It's not majority rules. You need unanimity. And that gets more difficult if and when Donald Trump announces his candidacy. BURNETT: OK. That is the context in which this is all going to play

out. And the former president indicating he's going to run again and when he is going to announce that and that whole kind of, you know, cat and mouse game he's playing. Willis told you she is requesting that he testify under oath to the special grand jury. She has spoken to his lawyer as recently as yesterday.

Can you give more context to that conversation with her?

ISIKOFF: Yeah, his was an interview that my colleague Dan Klaidman and I had just yesterday. I asked a question, almost a throw-away question. Will Donald Trump be asked to testify? Are you considering asking Donald Trump to testify?

She was pretty blunt. She said, yes, we are weighing that. Then they pointed out she had spoken with the lawyer that Donald Trump has retained in Georgia to represent him in this matter as recently as yesterday.

So, it does -- one way of processing that is that Trump may actually want to go before that Fulton County grand jury. Somehow, he thinks maybe he can woo them or persuade them that he had legitimate grounds for questioning the results of the election. We don't know that for sure. All we know is that Willis said she is contemplating doing it. And so that's definitely a space worth watching.


BASH: It's definitely space worth watching. And if you talk to people who are in and around the former president still, I talked to somebody who talks quite frequently to him this week. And it's -- what we are seeing in Georgia, what we are seeing at the DOJ, most importantly, what we are seeing in the United States House of Representatives with these hearings, is Trump is fixated on it.

And he's thinking about his 2024 run through the prism of that.


Not whether he will run. All indicators is that he does plan to do it, but when he wants to make that announcement.


BASH: He's thinking about it when it comes to the timing of these, about the narrative changing. And even the political peril that he is in about trying to get out ahead of things potentially getting even worse by putting his candidacy out there.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. And to everyone, don't miss Dana and "STATE OF THE UNION" this Sunday. She is going to be joined by the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Congresswoman Elaine Luria. That is Sunday morning at 9:00.

And next tonight, the doctor who fighting back after completely baseless accusations that were completely easy to check, but they accused her anyway of breaking the law. Her attorney is next.

Plus, Biden said on the campaign trail that he would make the Saudis pay after the death of Jamal Khashoggi, his exact words. And today, he was fist-bumping the man who he said ordered the murder.

And a medical examiner just releasing details about the death of Donald Trump's first wife Ivana.


BURNETT: Tonight cease and desist. An Indiana doctor who performed a legal abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim is fighting back against accusations that she broke the law, accusations that appeared to be completely fabricated like this one from Todd Rokita who is the Republican attorney general for the entire state of Indiana.



TODD ROKITA (R), INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report. So we're gathering the information. We're gathering the evidence as we speak. And we're going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure, if she failed to report in Indiana, it's a crime to not report -- intentionally not report.


BURNETT: Okay. Well, we have the document. CNN has the documents. The documents that show Dr. Bernard reported the abortion procedure to the Indiana Department of Health and she did it on July 2nd, 2022. That is three days after the procedure was performed. And that is consistent with the law in the state of Indiana.

So here in New York, we were able to look at the documents and read them and see she was fully compliant with the law.

How does the Republican attorney general in Indiana not have the ability to do that? Obviously, I'm asking the question hypothetically. It's obviously absurd.

This case overall has made international headlines. A 10-year-old child in Ohio who was raped and forced to cross state lines for an abortion did so because of the strict six-week abortion ban. No exceptions there for rape or incest. And the response from the very beginning of several prominent Republicans, right, when they heard 10- year-old rape victim they said -- they questioned whether she even existed. Now a suspect police say has admitted to raping her is actually behind bars.

OUTFRONT now, Kathleen Delaney, who is the attorney for Dr. Bernard.

And, Kathleen, I really appreciate your time.

So I want to start with the cease-and-desist letter tonight that you sent to Mr. Rokita. We have literally seen the documents. We have them here in New York. They show that your client reported the procedure. She did so exactly as she is required to by law.

What does your new legal filing hope to accomplish?

KATHLEEN DELANEY, ATTORNEY FOR DR. CAITLIN BERNARD, OBSTETRICIAN WHO TREATED 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL Well, first of all, Erin, thank you for having me and for paying attention to this very important case. We're hoping to accomplish a couple of things with our letter. First, we want Mr. Rokita to stop lying about Dr. Bernard and stop smearing her reputation and making ridiculously unsupported accusations when, even the barest minimum homework on his part would have found the work had been timely done.

So, we want him to stop the smear and then we want him to stop this dangerous rhetoric that he's using where he is whipping people up into a frenzy at a very unsettled time in our nation's history. And we want to make sure our client stays safe

BURNETT: Aare you prepared to take stronger action against the attorney general? I mean, is your -- has your client been receiving all sorts of threats because of what the Attorney General Rokita has said?

DELANEY: Well, we have -- she has security at her home. And we are doing what we can to make sure that she's protected. And in terms of what we're going to do next, we're going to do the opposite of what the Attorney General Rokita did. We're going to take our time and gather the facts and research the law and put together our case thoughtfully and deliberately. We're not going to shoot from the hip and start throwing accusations around when they have no basis in fact.

BURNETT: So your client is a doctor who is in her office with a 10- year-old girl in this horrific situation comes in. And she helps her and performs this abortion and reports it as she is supposed to. She sees this innocent child.

And yet some Republicans and right-wing media questioned whether this little child even existed. Here some of them are.


JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: So, Dave, have you had anybody come to you in your state to say we're looking into this, a police report was filed?

DAVE YOST (R), OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Not a whisper. I know our prosecutors and cops in our state. There is not one of them that wouldn't be turning over every rock in their jurisdiction if they had the slightest hint that this had occurred. .

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You tweeted that it was a lie that this 10-year-old --

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The news story, yeah. The real story is this is a heinous crime by an illegal immigrant. And I hope he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

RAJU: Do you regret saying it's a lie, though?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Why did the Biden administration, speaking of lying, just repeat a story about a 10-year-old child who got pregnant and they got an abortion or was not allowed to get an abortion when it turns out the story is not true?


BURNETT: It's amazing. I mean, it's just absolutely amazing. You look at things like that and how are we living in a world where people can say those things and just with impunity not even say, I made a mistake, or whatever they could possibly have said. I mean, obviously, all those things were false, every one of them.

What was Dr. Bernard's reaction to all of this, all of this going on out there when she is the one sitting in that room with that little girl?


DELANEY: Well, the part here that is so remarkable from our point of view is that Republicans want to pretend there is no 10-year-old rape victim. They want to pretend that Dr. Bernard made the whole story up because this case shows in full color the harm that is caused by abortion bans. The outright abortion ban in Ohio is why the child had to travel to the state to get necessary medical care.

It's outrageous, and it's one of the most poignant examples we've seen recently of how bad these bans are.

BURNETT: Yeah. And we should say the suspect --

DELANEY: They don't want to talk about it. .

BURNETT: The person who admitted to aping her is behind bars, you know, put there by one of the people we saw on of the sound bites, who said not a whisper of a police report.


BURNETT: Well, here we are.

Thank you very much. I appreciate your time. Thank you, Kathleen.

DELANEY: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: And next, President Biden's meeting with the Saudi crown prince started with a fist bump. But Biden says he confronted him about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Plus, CNN's Drew Griffin with a special report tonight on how Steve Bannon is trying to take over everything in the Republican Party, from really crucial things, from school boards all the way up to Washington. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden facing questions about this photo, the fist bump, which was quickly released by the Saudi government. They're thrilled about it. It shows the president fist-bumping the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the very person that Biden said he would make a pariah when Biden was campaigning for the White House.

Biden telling reporters after the meeting with MBS today that he brought up the murder of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the crown prince.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought at the time and what I think of it now. I said very straightforwardly, for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who I am.


BURNETT: And, of course, then it's the definition of, you know, what is silence, what is taking action?

Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT live from Jeddah tonight.

And, Phil, there were a lot of questions whether he would confront the crown prince who ordered Khashoggi's murder, according to U.S. intelligence. What more can you tell us about that conversation and what went on behind the scenes to even get to that point?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erin, what's most interesting, the reason there were questions is because officials, including the president, declined to say explicitly he was going to do so. However, officials I have spoken to made it clear they long viewed it a necessity, not because of the message delivered to the crown prince, to his top advisers, but because the president was going to need to describe what he did inside that meeting afterwards, which we saw with a late night unscheduled press conference that the president ended up holding.

Look, U.S. officials know that this is going to be a closely watched moment and one that they are criticized for but they also viewed as integral in their efforts to move forward in this region. Certainly, on the issues of oil, the gas prices soaring in the United States, but also more broadly in a region that is both dynamic and shifting dramatically.

That's worth noting they weren't the only ones trying to get a message out. You hit on a critical point. It was minutes after that fist bump occurred that the Saudi press agency was tweeting photos, tweeting out videos, everybody with Saudi account was doing the exact same thing. They also did something the U.S. president also didn't have access to.

They had videos from inside the bilateral meeting with the crowns prince and his advisers. Inside that meeting, they also had the crown prince giving fist bumps to President Biden's entire national security team -- secretary of state, national security adviser, secretary of state, down the line, making clear to get that image out, an image the U.S. press wasn't allowed to do.

BURNETT: It is pretty amazing how they would do that and give those fist bumps. There's just something about it, right, the chummery it implies, right, the sort of friendliness, the bro culture, it's all of it.

Phil, it comes as President Biden is facing major challenges at home. Senator Joe Manchin, again, the extremely powerful Democratic senator from West Virginia essentially the nail in the coffin for Biden's domestic agenda. He is not going to support the climate provisions in the economic package. He's not going to support the tax provisions, including taxes on the wealthy.

What's Biden's response?

MATTINGLY: You know, it's worth first taking a step back. This president came in office with the most bold and sweeping climate proposals to put on the table than any president in history.


MATTINGLY: None of them are going to move in the United States Congress based on what Senator Manchin did. Now, the president decided to frame thing as taking the win. Manchin kept the door open on some health care provisions, on lowering drug -- prescription drug costs.

The president said, take that deal, move forward, but he also said he was going to take executive action, in a statement saying: If the Senate will not move to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment.

Meetings are already under way at the White House, I'm told, to try and figure out what that would actually look like. The reality, though, is to make real substantive change, they need legislation, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Phil Mattingly.

And also tonight, when you talk about the domestic issues here, the border is crucial. And President Biden is now facing pressure to slow the surge of migrants at the U.S./Mexico border, because there is something happening there that could be hugely significant.

CNN is learning that the migrants coming to the southern border of the United States are no longer coming just from Central America and Mexico. In fact, they're now coming from more than 100 different countries. This is hugely significant, and it has not been seen before. Priscilla Alvarez is OUTFRONT.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mass migration is landing at the U.S. doorstep.


With conditions getting worse in their countries of origin, migrants are arriving in droves, relieved as they cross the border.

Sometimes the situation at home eliminates any possibilities, she says. In this part of the border, U.S. authorities arrest up to 1,000 migrants daily. The influx is an alarming trend made even more difficult by the nationalities of the people crossing the border.

Here past midnight in Yuma, hundreds of migrants have crossed into the U.S. and turned themselves over to Border Patrol. They come from a range of countries, including as far as Russia. They all, after speaking with them, said the same thing. They are looking for a better life here in the United States.

Yuma Border Patrol chief Chris Clem described the situation as dynamic.

CHRIS CLEM, YUMA SECTOR CHIEF PATROL OFFICER, U.S. BORDER PATROL: We are having countries from Mexico, Central America, things we could process and take biometric data and put them in proceedings and/or return them back to Mexico. The countries we are receiving now, those nationalities, are flying in, arriving to the border. And, you know, they're having to be processed. There are just so many of them it is posing a challenge to the workforce.

ALVAREZ: Authorities can turn back migrants at the southwest border, back to Mexico or their home countries under a Trump era pandemic rule, known as Title 42. But it doesn't apply to everyone. That couple with frosty relations with countries like Venezuela and Cuba, keeps the U.S. from removing certain people, meaning they might be released while going through immigration proceedings.

CLEM: With technology and resources not only for our agents but the overall mission, former surveillance systems, and then we continue to add to the processing and the humane care of the migrants in custody. Wrap-around medical services, food contracts to make sure we've got plenty of food to be able to take care of those in custody.

ALVAREZ: The pace of people journeying north presents a steep challenge for President Biden and one he raised with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador this week.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of those is migration, at historic levels throughout our hemisphere. Like us, Mexico has become a top destination of migrants. And here's what we're going to do to address it together. ALVAREZ: The U.S. has looked to countries further south for help,

including Costa Rica, where many migrants travel through. An agreement between the two obtained by CNN outlines commitments to strengthen enforcement, exchange information on migrant flows, and stabilize host communities.

Biden continues to face political pressure from Republicans who say he is not doing enough. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation to shore up funds for border security, and following the example set by Texas, he has sent 25 buses with migrants to Washington, D.C.

Even so, people continue to come with hope of a new life on the horizon.


ALVAREZ (on camera): Erin, it is 111 degrees here in Yuma, Arizona, and a group of migrants just crossed the border. The Yuma sector border chief tells me that he expects to reach 250,000 arrests for this part of the sector so far this fiscal year, surpassing all of last fiscal year -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you so much for that important reporting Priscilla.

And next, Trump's top ally spearheading a movement to install election deniers in key positions for the upcoming election. See, it's not in the rear-view mirror. It's still ahead. Our Drew Griffin is next with more on his special report.

And we're going to take you to China, where the communist party is under pressure tonight as people in the country are growing more desperate with no work and many now with no access to their money.



BURNETT: Top Trump ally Steve Bannon's trial for criminal contempt charges begins Monday. Bannon was indicted on two counts last year after refusing to answer questions from the January 6th committee. If guilty, he faces up to a year in prison. It comes as Bannon has been leading a movement to install 2020 election deniers in crucial positions for the next election.

Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT with a preview of his special report.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: These three women, and millions like them, are what Bannon hopes is the future of the Republican Party and the United States. Bannon calls it the precinct strategy.

STEVE BANNON, FORME TRUMP ADVISER: We're going to take over everything from school boards all the way up to the House and the Senate. SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He is really talking about

from the ground up, remaking a party that is Trump loyal, MAGA loyal kind of party.

BANNON: OK, I want to start with Dan Schultz, precinct strategy.

GRIFFIN: The precinct strategy's author is a Bannon regular, Dan Schultz, a local Arizona attorney.

DAN SCHULTTZ, ARIZONA ATTORNEY: If we conservatives don't take over the Republican Party, we're going to lose our republic.

BANNON: President Trump goes out and endorses the precinct strategy.

GRIFFIN: It's step-by-step tutorial for taking over Republican politics is now considered almost gospel, inspiring thousands of believers of the election lie to get involved.

GOP leaders in more than 20 counties in mostly battle ground states told CNN they've seen a spike in participation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The precinct committee strategy. Dan Schultz. Oh, my gosh. Did you know we had a precinct in my neighborhood? I'm the committee person now. Just feeling library, hey, I'm actually doing something.

GRIFFIN: They are all doing something because of Bannon.

Jodi Diodati is a long shot running for Stacey Abrams' old seat in the Georgia House of representatives.

Wendy Ahrenkiel is running for Georgia's House District 52 and may actually win.

Stacy Altiery now a Republican precinct chair, registering voters and recruiting poll watchers.

STACY ALTIERY, DEKALB GOP PRECINCT CHAIR: I'm a precinct committee person. My friends and I decided we don't want to sit around anymore. It is time to take it back. That's what we're doing.

GRIFFIN: Without exemption, they believe Joe Biden lost in November 2020. And the election was stolen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Biden get more than Obama? No way.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said he got the most votes of any president ever. And I just remember the energy around Obama. And there was --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's still energy around Obama, more than Biden.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just didn't see that lining up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, my thing with it is I just would like to know what happened. And I do think that the evidence is there and it's not being seen.


BURNETT: This is the belief is still there. It's just so powerful to see it as you have those interviews. This ultra MAGA takeover of the Republican Party, right, people like Bannon are orchestrating and selling to people who believe it is happening and yet, on a broad basis, a lot of people don't realize it's going down.

Do you get a feel for how far the plan is on taking this?

GRIFFIN: I think it's well-advanced, I've got to tell you. When we go across the country to these county kind of Republican conventions, they are filled with people who are detached from reality, detached from truth and do believe an election was stolen from them.

And Bannon, who knows better, Erin, who knows better. He knows how to read these lawsuits that Trump has failed. He has been able to capitalize on that sense, that grievance that an election was stolen, and build this entire sub-party of the Republican Party, which is just taking over these key positions, election positions, election oversight positions in advance of the 2022 midterm elections, and certainly believe that they'll be in power after those elections.

BURNETT: Realizing that the real threat, the true threat out there.

Thank you so much, Drew.

And be sure to watch drew's special report. It is so important. "Steve Bannon: Divided We Fall", Sunday night at 8:00.

And next, hundreds of thousands in China no longer have access to their money and many cannot find work. It's an amazing story. Now, they are taking matters into their own hands. They are taking on the communist government.

And just in, the medical examiner with a report on Ivana Trump's death.



BURNETT: Tonight, China, economic engine of the world, recording its worst economic numbers in over two years after months of widespread COVID lockdowns and mass quarantines.

Selina Wang is there OUTFRONT.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're all struggling to find work. These are migrant workers in Beijing. They congregate in labor markets like this waiting day and night for a job.

This man tells me he lost his job because his factory shut down during the pandemic.

He is saying that it's part of like work. The pay isn't good.

He's been here for four days waiting 16 hours every day in the heat for a job, and still hasn't found one.

It's probably because of the pandemic, he says.

China's zero COVID policy has inflicted devastating economic pain, shutting down communities over a single COVID case. And this is the result. This was one of Beijing's most popular bar and restaurant areas packed with people. Now, so many businesses are empty or have permanently closed down. They're unable to survive these on and off lockdowns with no end in sight.

People aren't earning as much so they aren't saving as much. But even saving has been a risky bet. Since April, Brian hasn't been able to access several million RMB that he deposited in a small bank in China. We are referring to him only as Brian due to fears for his safety.

Was that your life savings?

BRIAN, HAD BANK ACCOUNT FROZEN: Yeah, for sure. I worked almost 10 years. That's all I have with my family. I am losing my weight. I am losing my mind.

WANG: He's one of hundreds of thousands of depositors, according to state media, across China currently fighting to recover their savings from several banks in rural central China.

Many of them, including Brian, traveled to Hunan for answers. In June, he says they protested outside the local government building for five days straight. Brian traveled back to Hunan in July during a large- scale peaceful protest.

But police violently quashed the protesters. Videos show security officers dragging protesters down the stairs, beating anyone who resisted, including women and the elderly, according to witnesses, leaving some of them injured, bloodied and bruised.

A day after the violent protests, local authorities promised to start giving small payments to some depositors. But it's unclear how many people are eligible and how much they'll pay back.

Are you worried that without this money, you can't afford a comfortable life for your family?

BRIAN: Definitely. All my savings is gone. And I just -- I just have my little baby. I have nothing for the family now.

WANG: They cry and wail, exhausted. There's nothing these depositors can do.

MICHAEL PETTIS, PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, PEKING UNIVERSITY: I would be really surprised if you didn't see this spread in a lot of different provinces. The country has enormous debt problems and very slow growth. This is the worst shape the economy has been in probably since about 30, 40 years ago.

WANG: For Brian, his vision of China is already shattered. .

BRIAN: Suddenly, one day, all you earned is gone. Then you feel that, why do you still fight for it, fight for the future?


BURNETT: So, Selina, you know, amazing when you talk to that man and he's in shadow and he's afraid for his safety. You have spoken to others whose bank accounts have been frozen. What are they telling you?


WANG: Yeah, Erin, they really come from all different walks of life. For instance, I spoke to a businessman who said he's got $6 million worth of RMB frozen in these accounts. A factory worker who said now, he is struggling to provide food for his children, medicine for his sick parents. And that man I interviewed there, he said this has fundamentally shaken his view of China and now, he wants to move abroad, raise his child in a different country.

And, of course, all of this social instability, it is the last thing that authorities want. Many of these depositors told me they've received multiple visits and calls from the police telling them not to make any trouble -- Erin.

BURNETT: Really incredible, right? All of this and this instability and all self-inflicted.

Selina, thank you so much for your reporting in Beijing tonight.

And next, a New York City medical examiner with new details on the death of Ivana Trump.


BURNETT: And finally tonight, a New York medical examiner ruling Ivana Trump's death an accident. According to the report, the former president's first wife died of, quote, blunt impact injuries to the torso. "The New York Times" said police were investigating whether Ms. Trump fell down the stairs of her home in New York City yesterday.

Ivan and Donald Trump met in the late 1970s, married in 1977, and, of course, had three children, Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric. Ivana Trump was 73 years old.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" begins now.