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Erin Burnett Outfront
Judge To Deny GOP Rep's Objection To Testify In Georgia Probe; Pence's Former Chief Of Staff Testifies Before Federal Grand Jury As DOJ Ramps Up January 6 Criminal Investigation; Biden: Trump Lacked "Courage" Amid "Medieval Hell" On January 6; Indiana Lawmakers Begin Special Session On Abortion Ban; State Department: Two Americans Killed In Eastern Ukraine; U.S. Trying To Catch China, Russia In Hypersonic Weapons Race. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 25, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Pence's former chief of staff testifies. Marc Short now believed the highest ranking official from Trump's White House to cooperate with the federal investigation into January 6th. He will be OUTFRONT.
Plus, quote, medieval hell, dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage. Those are the words of President Biden, words we have never heard him say in this context before. He's talking about President Trump's refusal to act during the insurrection.
And air raid sirens tonight in Taiwan. Chilling sound as China threatens the U.S. if Speaker Nancy Pelosi goes to Taiwan. Will China really act or is it all bluster?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, a Trump White House insider testifies. Tonight, CNN has learned that former vice president Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, testified before a federal grand jury investigating January 6th. He is believed to be the highest ranking official in Trump's White House to cooperate with the federal investigation.
Now, in just a moment I'm going to speak with Marc Short live. He is a valuable witness. The day before the January 6th rally, he grew concerned about President Trump's attack on Pence and warned the Secret Service.
Here's a portion of his testimony to the January 6th select committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC SHORT, PENCE'S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF: Concern was for the vice president's security, and so I wanted to make sure the head of the vice president's Secret Service was aware that likely as these disagreements became more public that the president would lash out in some way. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And on January 6th, Short was with the vice president who had to be rushed to safety when an angry mob of Trump supporters was trying to hunt him down for refusing to overturn the election.
(BIDEN VIDEO CLIP)
(CROWD CHANTING "HANG MIKE PENCE")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence will not stick up for Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence, traitor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traitor!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence screwed us, in case you haven't heard yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened? What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I keep hearing that Mike Pence has screwed us. That's the word. I keep hearing reports that Mike Pence has screwed us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This all comes as we're learning on January 7th, the day after the mob of extremists was calling for Pence's head, Trump didn't want to condemn the violence. Not only did he wait hours in the face of pleas from everyone around him to condemn it, but the January 6th committee is now sharing this new image. This is a draft of the speech that Trump would eventually give on January 7th. You can see Trump crossing out a number of lines in his trademark black sharpie, including the third graph where he refused to call for his supporters who stormed the Capitol to be prosecuted.
The line that he crossed out was, I am directing the Department of Justice to insure all law breakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We must send a clear message. Not with mercy but with justice. Legal consequences must be swift and firm. He crossed it out.
And in case there's anyone questioning who actually make these damning edits with the black sharpie, here's the former president's daughter, Ivanka.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you can see throughout the document, there are lines crossed out. There are some words added in. Do you recognize the handwriting?
IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: It looks like my father's handwriting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, there you have it. It looks like her father's handwriting right there in black and white. So, Trump refused for hours to condemn the rioters for ransacking the Capitol, threatening his vice president's life on January 6. The next day, crossing out those crucial lines.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live in Washington tonight.
And, Evan, what more are you learning about Marc Short's testimony before the federal grand jury, which of course, is related to the Department of Justice investigation?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTIJCE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. We know that Marc Short appeared on Friday for several hours before the federal grand jury that has been investigating the efforts to block certification of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election and of seating these group of fake electors. This was a scheme that was thought up by the former president's campaign, and some of his lawyers.
Now, what we don't know is exactly what he was asked during this grand jury testimony. But we know that Marc Short was there for a lot of things. You mentioned not only the fact that he was by the vice president's side on January 6th, but perhaps even more importantly, on January 4th, he was in a meeting in the White House where the former President Trump and John Eastman, one of his lawyers, were trying to persuade the vice president, the then vice president, that he had the power to not certify the election results.
That he had the power to bypass the Constitution, essentially, and try to keep Donald Trump in the White House. So those are some very, very important observations that Marc Short would have been a part of, and that would be very valuable for the prosecutors who are looking into not only the violence that happened on January 6th but also the efforts that went into trying to keep Donald Trump in power and, of course, inspired the violence on January 6th, Erin.
BURNETT: Evan, thank you very much.
And now, as promised, I want to go to Marc Short, the former chief of staff to former Vice President Pence.
So, Marc, thank you so much for coming on and speaking to the extent that you are able to.
I know -- you know, I was talking about you testified last week on Friday under subpoena in front of that federal grand jury investigating January 6th. What were you asked to testify about as broadly speaking as you can tell me?
SHORT: Well, Erin, I can confirm that I did receive a subpoena for the federal grand jury and I complied with that subpoena. But under advice of counsel, I really can't say much more than that. BURNETT: All right. I understand. Now, are you able to tell me, was
that your first and only time appearing before the grand jury or had there been others?
SHORT: That was my only appearance before the grand jury.
BURNETT: And one other question on this, "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that other Pence aides including counsel Greg Jacob also testified. Do you know if he did or any other aides also?
SHORT: I'm not going to comment on what others on the team have had to testify or not regarding subpoenas and what they've testified to.
BURNETT: So, it is obviously significant that you were there, and I understand your advice of counsel.
But there is news from the committee today that is relevant to all this. It's what I just laid out a little bit, that shows not just on January 6th, the president's refusal for hours to condemn the violence, but on January 7th, his refusal to condemn the violence at the Capitol.
Crossing out key lines in a draft speech including "legal consequences must be swift and firm". He crossed that out. "I want it to be very clear, you do not represent me," he crossed that out. He crossed out "the rioters belong in jail".
Now, Marc, you were there. You were there with the vice president when people were chanting to hang him and talking about killing him. You worked with Trump for years.
Why do you think he took these words out?
SHORT: Well, Erin, I think that on that day, certainly, there were probably some people who foolishly got caught up in the events of -- that were happening on the 6th, but I think it's unfair to describe the rioters as patriots or merely expressing their First Amendment rights.
And I think, you know, as conservatives, I think just a couple months before, we were very clearly calling for the prosecution of those in Black Lives Matter protests who had destroyed businesses and taken lives.
And I think if we're consistent, then I think it applies in both cases. I think if you heard Vice President Pence's remarks when the Senate reconvened that night, he very clearly called that all involved should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
BURNETT: He did, yes. He did.
And, you know, again, you were there. And one of the moments that really stood out to me that we just heard for the first time was from an anonymous security official. Who testified before the January 6th Committee about what was actually happening with some of the most highly trained security professionals in the world, right? The Secret Service, who are with the vice president of the United States that day.
Let me play it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WHITE HOUSE SECURITY OFFICIAL: The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. There were a lot of -- there was a lot of yelling, a lot of -- a lot of very personal calls over the radio. So it was disturbing. I don't like talking about it, but there were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth. It was getting -- for whatever the reason was on the ground, the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Marc, when you heard that testimony about the Secret Service agents who were with you and the vice president that day, that some of them were calling their family members to say goodbye because they thought it could end that way, what went through your mind as the person who was there with the vice president?
SHORT: Well, to be honest, Erin, I was greatly skeptical. Our Secret Service did a phenomenal job that day, and their job was made more complicated candidly by the fact the Capitol had been breached and truthfully, they wanted the evacuate the vice president, but it's been covered, the vice president didn't want the image of a 15-car motorcade fleeing the hallmark of democracy --
SHORT: -- for the world to see.
And so, they had a lot of challenges but I never witnessed that from any of the Secret Service agents who were there. And, in fact, I think really, Tim, who was our lead agent, Max, the deputy, really should be commended for the amazing job they did in securing the vice president and his family, and all of us without anybody getting injured in the incident.
But I candidly think, you know, if the rioters had gotten any closer, likely there would have been a massacre in the Capitol. It wouldn't have been Secret Service agents though who would have been the ones harmed.
And I think that that --
BURNETT: It would have been you. It would have been the vice president.
SHORT: No, no, I think it would have been the rioters who the Secret Service would have opened fire upon. I think that was the really -- that was the really -- that was the biggest risk in that moment. It was not Secret Service agents feeling scared for their lives. I
didn't witness any of that. They handled the situation with remarkable skill.
SHORT: I think the concern would have been actually if they had gotten closer then those who were in the Capitol would have been --
BURNETT: The massacre would have been the rioters.
SHORT: Yeah, that's right.
Do you understand the sentiment -- I understand obviously, you know, they're brave and courageous actions. I totally understand what you're saying with that, but we're all human beings.
BURNETT: That there was that fear in that moment of thinking that they may not go home.
SHORT: I didn't -- I didn't witness -- I didn't witness fear --
BURNETT: Did you feel that yourself at all?
SHORT: No, no, I didn't witness that fear in any of the Secret Service agents who are there. I really didn't.
BURNETT: So, Vice President Pence had a speech scheduled for tonight in which he was going to say, and now, he's obviously, this was delayed because of weather, but one of the things we know he was going to say was: Some people may choose to focus on the past, but I believe conservatives must focus on the future.
You know, this is a pretty clear, although perhaps oblique, but appear -- a clear reference to President Trump.
Why does he think that message is the one to send now?
SHORT: Well, I think actually that's always been consistent with him. Going back to 2010 when we won 63 seats in the House and took back the House, he was the one arguing with House leadership, we need to have a positive vision for the American people. He did the same in 2014 when we took back the Senate.
And in 2016, candidly, he was often arguing on it campaign trail, we need to lay out our vision for what we will do. And I think that he often cites a biblical verse, where there's no vision, the people perish.
And that's who Mike Pence is. And he believes we should offer an optimistic vision for the American people.
I know there's some in Washington who feel like, look, this is about them, it's not about us, and we're going to win anyhow. And that could be true, Erin, but I think that he's always advocated that we owe it to the American people to say what we are for and we need to be looking forward and not -- not only maximize our political gains, but it's also what we owe the American people is to lay it out for them what we will do if put back in charge.
BURNETT: To take it back to Washington where you just referred, Matt Gaetz, obviously, a very loyal Trump ally at this point, fired at the vice president, the former vice president today, and the comments that Vice President Pence was making.
Here's what Matt Gaetz said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Our America is proudly ultra MAGA, not some low energy roadside RINO safari. On that note, let me just say what everybody here knows. Mike Pence will never be president. Nice guy, not a leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHORT: Well, I don't know if Mike Pence will run for president in 2024, but I don't think Matt Gaetz will have an impact on that. In fact, I'd be surprised if he's still voting. It's more likely he'll be in prison for child trafficking by 2024.
And I'm actually surprised the Florida law enforcement still allows him to speak to teenage conferences like that. So, I'm not too worried what Matt Gaetz thinks.
BURNETT: All right. Marc Short, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
SHORT: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Now, I want to bring in Ryan Goodman, co-editor in chief of "Just Security", an online legal site closely covering January 6th and the investigation, and Alyssa Farah Griffin, former Trump White House communications director.
OK. Thanks to both of you.
Ryan, let's start with Marc Short, highest ranking White House official we know of to testify before the federal grand jury, so this is the Department of Justice. We know he also testified before the January 6th committee. Doing so Friday. He said it's the only time he's done so.
How significant is the development? RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: It's
hugely significant. This is the first time that we know of any White House official actually testifying before the grand jury for the Justice Department's investigation. And it's Marc Short.
So it goes right into the inner circle and "The Wall Street Journal" is also reporting that Greg Jacob, the chief counsel to Vice President Pence and that the prosecutors had a line of questioning which was about the January 4th meeting in the Oval Office, that's going right to the heart of it. That's very legally significant because it's the moment, as Evan said, where Eastman is confronted and says in front of Trump, I admit, it's not legal what I'm advocating.
BURNETT: And, Alyssa, you know, what's amazing, this meeting -- you know, obviously, Marc Short was there. He was there every step of the way, right? I mean, you know how important he was.
How important could his testimony be just in terms of his proximity and presence in every meeting?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, and I have emphasized this when there's this push that Vice President Pence himself should testify whether it's January 6th or the grand jury. Marc Short is his eyes and ears. And him being green lit by the former vice president is them cooperating. It's Pence world cooperating.
He would have been there. This to me indicates they're looking into the DOJ pressure campaign, the Eastman efforts.
And it was reported by "The Wall Street Journal" that they were asking about Rudy Giuliani and some of the theories that he was pushing.
GRIFFIN: But I do remember in those final weeks, I left the White House but I still talked to a lot of the Pence world, the overwhelming pressure that was put on the former vice president to take up one of these terrible, you know, wrong legal theories.
GRIFFIN: And thank God, I have to say, because Marc Short was just on, thank God it was Marc Short that was there, that it was Vice President Pence and it was Greg Jacobs, because Donald Trump is likely going to be a candidate -- candidate again. He may very well be a president again, and it will not be men of that caliber and integrity and patriotism who will be with him, for sure.
BURNETT: He's not going to be the VP, obviously. I mean, I only specifically -- I mean, generally, Ryan, either, right, it's not going to be that character -- caricature of a person.
So, you know, to this context, the January 6th -- the January 7th speech that the president, the then-president gave, that he crossed out the crucial lines. That -- you know, what does that say to you? And it's obvious it was him, but his own daughter saying, well, yeah, that looks like his handwriting.
RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Yeah, it's significant and it's legally significant. I think this would be important evidence in the hands of prosecutors. They would be able to say look, this is further evidence that Trump at that time was supportive of what the rioters did. He did not want them to face legal accountability and therefore, it's consistent with a lot of the testimony that we have heard saying the exact same thing.
BURNETT: So, Alyssa, here's the thing, you -- you know, this is something you would have seen so many times and experienced so many times yourself in your role. One of the lines he crossed out that addressed the rioters specifically is I want to be very clear. You do not represent me. You do not represent our movement.
He crossed that out. You have been there when -- and those discussions about tweets or statements. Take us inside that.
GRIFFIN: Yeah. So Trump is someone who speaks off the cuff when he is speaking, but written statements, whether it's a tweet or something you put out at a pres release, he puts quite a bit of time and thought into.
I was in the Oval with him when he would dictate a tweet and say capitalize this, use this word, don't use this. He's actually quite deliberate --
BURNETT: Very specific.
GRIFFIN: -- in the language. I remember a terrible time during the social justice protests of the summer of 2020 when he did the "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" tweets, and I went hours and hours trying to get him to walk it back. And he's very deliberate. He says what he means to.
And taking that out was because he believes those are very special people. He had said that the day prior. He believes they're his people and he wants them to stay with him. He knew what he was doing by eliminating it.
BURNETT: Yeah, absolutely.
All right. Thank you very much. Alyssa, Ryan, thank you.
And next, it may be the biggest legal threat to Trump himself. I'm talking about the Georgia D.A. investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election in Georgia. There are major developments in that probe tonight.
Plus, President Biden tearing into Trump for refusing to act on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald Trump lacked the courage to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And protesters swarming Indiana's state capitol where conservative lawmakers pushing one of the strictest abortion bans in the United States.
BURNETT: Tonight, big development in the Georgia grand jury's criminal investigation into former President Trump's efforts to overturn that state's election. A federal judge earlier shutting down Republican Congressman Jody Hice's request to quash a subpoena to appear before that grand jury.
So, Hice is a vocal election denier. He's been pushing lies about his state's election ever since Joe Biden won.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): Not for one second am I convinced that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia.
I don't believe not for one moment that Georgia is blue, but for election irregularities and fraudulent activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It comes as that same grand jury heard recorded testimony today from Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
Kemp, you know, refused to go along with Trump's lies about Georgia's election despite Trump directly pressuring him to do so and instead certified the election two times, two separate times, right, because they audited, they rechecked, both times for Biden.
OUTFRONT now, Norm Eisen, former counsel to House Democrats during Trump's first impeachment trial.
Norm, a few crucial questions here. First, you have praised the deliberateness and speed of the investigation in Fulton County, Georgia, saying that all signs point to District Attorney Fani Willis seriously considering a criminal charge for Trump. Ty Cobb, former attorney for the former president, agrees that this is the place where you may get a criminal charge for the president if you get one.
How crucial could Kemp and Tice -- I'm sorry, Kemp and Hice's testimony be?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Kemp is the more crucial of the two, Erin, although Hice is important. The reason Kemp is so important, December 5th, direct Trump outreach. We have since learned from the January 6th committee how important this phony electors scheme is. Well, guess what? According to the reporting of that December 5th,
2020, call, Donald Trump asked Kemp to work with the Georgia legislature to throw out the Trump electors -- to throw out the Biden electors, rather, and put in the Trump ones. So, that goes right to the heart of the scheme that I believe the D.A. is investigating.
Hice is an election denier. He also had contacts with Donald Trump. And he may have important information as well about that plan, including conversations in the White House or outside conversations. So both important, Kemp more so.
BURNETT: Okay, and those are obviously significant victories for the D.A. and the investigation, right, to get that subpoena to go forward for Hice. Kemp's testifying, right, it's moving ahead. And yet, Willis' investigation did hit a snag today. A Georgia judge blocked her from investigating State Senator Burt Jones. He's one of the alleged fake electors involved in a scheme to subvert Georgia's election.
So not going to be able to continue with the investigation into him specifically because he is the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor and Willis, a district attorney here, hosted a campaign fund- raiser last month for the Democrat who is going to face Jones in the general election. How much has she hurt her credibility and possibly the case itself by doing that?
EISEN: Erin, I wrote with the Bush White House ethics czar, I was the Obama one, and a top Georgia expert saying that these types of political activities just are not a basis to disqualify in the normal case.
And we've seen this over and over again. Equal issues were not a base to disqualify member of Bob Mueller's staff, for example.
Now that being said, the judge saw it differently. He's bending over backwards, and you know, one thing you can't say after today is that this judge is biased. He's enhanced his own credibility. And this motion was also brought by 11 others, all defeated. The judge has wiped out everybody else's efforts.
So the case will continue. Another prosecutor will pursue Mr. Jones or not. I think it's obviously not a great development for her, but for the most part, the case goes on, so does she.
BURNETT: Norm, thank you. I appreciate it.
EISEN: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, President Biden not holding back, reacting to the violence the nation witnessed on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Brave law enforcement officers are subject to the medieval hell for three hours, dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Why now?
And a massive protest today, thousands surrounding the Indiana state house, filling its hallways as lawmakers consider a ban on nearly all abortions.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden coming out with his sharpest rebuke ever, and he's doing it now, of former President Trump's failure to act on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: You saw what happened. The Capitol police, the D.C. metropolitan police, other law enforcement agencies were attacked and assaulted before our very eyes, speared, sprayed, stomped on, brutalized. And lives were lost.
And for three hours, the defeated former president of the United States watched it all happen as he sat in the comfort of the private dining room next to the oval office. While he was doing that, brave law enforcement officers were subject to the medieval hell for three hours, dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage.
Police were heroes that day. Donald Trump lacked the courage to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Medieval hell, dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage.
Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT from the White House.
Kaitlan, the president has condemned the January 6th attack, but never in language like we heard there.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And certainly not that forceful since these hearings have started on Capitol Hill. Of course, these hearings going through what led up to that day, but the most recent one, Erin, last week where it really detailed what the former president did and really did not do during those three hours, as this attack was ongoing.
And that's when Biden went after him directly for in these remarks, which we should note, were two black law enforcement executives he recorded today, speaking to them, you know, often talking about how the former president and his allies often talk about his great support for the law enforcement, for law enforcement, and the president today was kind of making that contrast, saying if he's someone who supports law enforcement, it was law enforcement that day that went in to try to stop that attack while Trump, of course, was sitting in the office right outside the Oval Office and as President Biden put it today, sitting idly as the attack happened.
And so, he went after him and that line right there saying that he lacked the courage to act, was probably the most -- the strongest one that you saw in the president's remarks today. And I should note, it did come after last Thursday when the hearing happened at night, that was the day that President Biden tested positive for COVID-19.
So, previously, the White House has said he was paying attention, keeping an eye on the hearings, but really getting briefed by staff on what was going on. He was able to watch some of that, we're told, on Thursday night. And clearly, it had an impression on him based on his remarks today.
I will note the White House was asked today if he's asked for any update from the justice department on where their thinking is, all eyes have turned to Attorney General Merrick Garland in this. They said, no, of course, that is up to the Justice Department to make that decision, not President Biden. But certainly a strong condemnation from President Biden for what President Trump did on that day.
BURNETT: Yeah, absolutely, Kaitlan. It was amazing to see all the adjectives, medieval hell, dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage. Obviously, powerful words and he chose to use them now.
Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much, as always, our chief White House correspondent.
BURNETT: And I want to go to Leon Panetta. He was the secretary of defense and director of the CIA under President Obama.
So, Secretary Panetta, I just went through some of those lines again. I mean, a lot of time was put into the word choice here. And it is sort of unforgettable, right, medieval hell, dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage.
Were you surprised by President Biden's choice of tone and timing that he is doing this now?
LEON PANETTA, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Not, Erin, really. I think -- I think President Biden is basically reflecting the attitude of a lot of people who saw what happened, saw what was presented by the January 6th committee, and basically identified what I think is something that Joe Biden and Democrats have to do, which is to undermine any kind of attack on him with regards to law and order.
When you see that President Trump did absolutely nothing for four hours while a criminal act was being conducted against the Capitol and people were dying and property was being destroyed but did nothing, I don't think they have any grounds to talk about law and order with that kind of record.
BURNETT: Secretary, I want to ask you about another important story tonight, and that is China, tonight, threatening, quote, resolute and forceful measures -- that's a direct quote -- if Speaker Pelosi goes through with her proposed trip to Taiwan.
If she does it, Secretary, as you know, this would make her the highest ranking American lawmaker to go to Taiwan in 25 years.
Chinese state media threatening and taking these threats further. The former editor of the state-run "Global Times" tweeting in part that China's response to a visit from Pelosi would entail, quote, shocking military response, and that China will restrain her and punish her.
These are incredible words to use. Do you think they're bluffing, or is it possible that China responds with military action, Secretary?
PANETTA: Well, I happen to believe it is a very important principle for democracies to be able to have their people and their representatives visit whoever they want to visit, and that no dictatorship ought to determine what democracies can do.
Having said that, obviously, China has decided to make this a sensitive situation that shouldn't intimidate the United States or Speaker Pelosi -- I don't think it will.
PANETTA: But one thing I think that is important right now is that the United States should speak with one voice. So I think it is important for Speaker Pelosi, the White House, the military ought to come together and decide what approach is going to be taken.
BURNETT: And to your point there, obviously, they haven't, at least to this point, right? That's sort of what this has exposed. I was pretty surprised, I'll say, Secretary, to hear this.
President Biden, after Pelosi's going ahead with this trip, comes out and speaks, implies the U.S. military has misgivings about Pelosi making the trip. He actually comes out and says this publicly. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, do you think it's a good idea for Speaker Pelosi to travel to Taiwan this summer?
BIDEN: Well, I think that the military thinks it's not a good idea right now. But I don't know what the status of it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Okay, so that was an honest answer. The military thinks it's not a good idea right now.
Again, pretty incredible -- I don't want to use the word schism, but they weren't on the same page. Pelosi was then asked about what Biden said and she responded in this way, Secretary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think what the president was saying is maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shot down or something like that by the Chinese. I don't know exactly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, wow. Secretary, what do you make of this?
PANETTA: Well, frankly, as a former chief of staff, I think it's really important that everybody get on the same talking points when it comes to something as important as the issue of whether the speaker ought to be allowed to visit Taiwan. That's a very important issue.
And I think before everybody starts talking and trying to undermine each other in this process, I think the best course, frankly, is for them to sit down together and decide what the best approach is.
I mean, if Speaker Pelosi decides she wants to go, then the White House ought to back her up and provide whatever safety precautions are necessary. If on the other hand they decide that somehow there's another approach that can be taken here, then so be it. But right now, the most important thing is not to look weak but to look strong and speak with one voice.
BURNETT: Secretary Panetta, thank you very much, as always.
PANETTA: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, outrage growing as Indiana lawmakers consider one of the strictest abortion laws in America.
And I'm going to speak to the fiance of an American captured in Ukraine. She just received a video of him. Her reaction tonight. .
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY TAI NGOC HUYNH, CAPTURED AMERICA: I'm Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh. I'm a United States citizen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, protesters lined up outside the Indiana state capitol where lawmakers were debating one of the strictest abortion bans in the country.
Alexandra Field is OUTFRONT in Indianapolis.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of demonstrators swarming Indiana's state capitol for the heated debate over a bill to ban abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with exceptions for some cases of rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judgment.
FIELD: Fierce opposition to the bill coming now on both sides of the issue.
JODI SMITH, INDIANA RIGIHT TO LIFE: Indiana Right to Life's mission is to protect the right to life. Our opposition to this bill is because in its current state, it doesn't stack up to that mission.
FIELD: Some arguing that the restrictions with Indiana's bill don't go far enough.
NATHANIEL MERCER, TESTIFIED INDIANA BILL DOESN'T GO FAR ENOUGH IN BANNING ABORTIONS: I'm asking SB-1 language be stripped and a bill be replaced with the language similar to HB-1282, which was a complete ban on abortion with no exceptions, no compromise, no regulation.
FIELD: Others fighting to stop another state from denying care to women.
DR. MARY TODD, PEDIATRICIAN OPPOSED TO INDIANA BILL: The proposed legislation politicizes what should be a private decision.
FIELD: Indiana is the first state to call a special session to attempt to pass new laws restricting abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision. It leads the way for dozens of states with plans to pass similar bills. At least 12 states have already attempted to or enacted bans or severely restricted abortion procedures since Roe was overturned.
Indiana has become a safe haven of sorts for women seeking care they can't otherwise get.
DR. TRACEY WILKINSON, ASST. PROF. OF PEDIATRICS, INDIANA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: We're already seeing people traveling from other states coming into Indiana for abortion care. As far away as Texas, but including states like Ohio and Kentucky. So Indiana is already trying to provide care that should be legal and accessible by these people in their own states.
FIELD: Last month, a 10-year-old rape victim traveled from Ohio to Indianapolis for an abortion after her home state enacted a ban around the sixth week of pregnancy, the Indiana university physician who helped the child, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, drawing the ire of conservative media, some lawmakers, and the state's attorney general.
Protesting Indiana's bill in an op-ed for "The Washington Post," she writes: People in Indiana and across the nation have called me brave.
But I'm not any braver than any other physician who would do the right thing when faced with a patient in need. I don't feel brave. I feel anguished, desperate, and angry.
Nearly 1,400 health care workers from across Indiana signing two letters to lawmakers voicing their objections.
DR. GABRIEL BOSSLET, PULMONARY AND CRITICAL CARE PHYSICIAN: Legislating someone else's moral decisions and religious decisions onto everyone else, that comes directly into the clinics, is hugely problematic for us who are trying to practice medicine.
DR. CAROLINE ROUSE, MATERNAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN AND ABORTION CARE PROVIDER: We are concerned this is just a harbinger of what is to come and we are really worried about a national abortion ban.
FIELD: So, this for you goes well beyond Indiana.
ROUSE: Absolutely. Indiana is first, but we're not going to be last.
FIELD (on camera): And given the Republicans' supermajority in the state legislature, opponents of an abortion ban are fully preparing for a bill to pass, but they hope to see the language evolve to add as many exemptions as possible. They also point out they're preparing for the possibility when the legislature returns for its regular session, they could look to implement even further restrictions -- Erin.
BURNETT: Alexandra, thank you very much.
And next, the fiancee of the American captured in Ukraine is my guest. The last time we spoke, she was expecting a call from him, with an update next.
And a stark warning about a new arms race that the United States is not winning.
BURNETT: Tonight, one of two Americans found dead in Ukraine identified as Luke Lucyszyn. The volunteer soldiers were killed in the Donetsk region on July 18th while fighting with Ukrainian forces. They were reportedly ambushed by Russian tanks.
Luke Lucyszyn's mother saying her son just wanted to help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHY LUCYSZYN, SON DIED IN UKRAIN: We know that he was hit by artillery and he was knocked out and that three men tried to save him. And that is even more heartbreaking. My heart is so heavy. It's hard to breathe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Men belong to the same unit as other missing Americans, Alex Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh who have been held by Russian linked forces for 48 days now.
OUTFRONT now, Joy Black, Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh's fiancee.
And, Joy, I'm glad to have you back. I wish it was under different circumstances. But I'm glad that we're still talking and making sure people know about Andy. I know the State Department called to tell you that two Americans who had been fighting with Andy were dead.
And, you know, they wanted you to know before you heard two Americans that it wasn't -- that it wasn't Andy. You must have felt an incredible sense of relief to get that call but also a fear. What went through your mind when you heard that news, Joy?
JOY BLACK, FIANCEE OF ANDY TAI NGOC HUYNH, AMERICAN MISSING IN UKRAINE: Well, it's always a relief to know, you know, Andy and Alex are okay. It was still very heavy to me to that, you know, more people just trying to, you know, fight for a good cause and defend the innocent people. My heart goes out to their family.
BURNETT: The last time I spoke to you, Joy, you were expecting a call from Andy. Have you spoken with him yet?
BLACK: Unfortunately, no. They haven't let him call. Alex hasn't called in a few weeks now, but I just choose to look at the bright side that, you know, maybe they just got their message out.
BURNETT: I know that you have a video of Andy. I use the word "new" because you received it a few days ago, but we don't know exactly when it was filmed, right? But you just received it a few days ago. I'll play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUYNH: My name is Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh. I am a United States citizen from California. I was born in Fountain Valley, California, and I currently reside in Hartselle, Alabama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Joy, do you believe this was recent?
BLACK: As far as I know. I don't think it's that old. But regardless of when it was shot, it was probably quite recent. Regardless of that, it was just nice to hear his voice. I don't -- it's always very hard to see them using him in, you know, ways that they really shouldn't.
But I choose not to really pay attention to what he's saying and more so just get to see him and hear his voice and know that he's okay.
BURNETT: I know that, you know, also his personal items were delivered to Bunny Drueke, Alex's mother, passports, other documents like that. Have you received those items? And what does it mean to hold those tangible items for you?
BLACK: Yeah, I did receive -- bunny and her sister came up on Sunday to bring us the package. And it was very emotional. I was very, very happy to get his things. I have his engagement ring now. So, I really don't let go of them. (AUDIO GAP) and I got his bible and his passport and his wallet.
So, just things to keep safe. And he also was keeping a small journal and some notes for me in it. So, it was very emotional.
BURNETT: That must be such a -- for whatever -- whatever it's worth, just some peace to have that. I can only imagine what reading those words must mean to you, Joy. You're in my thoughts and I know the thoughts of everybody watching. I hope that this story ends with a wonderful reuniting with you and Andy soon. Thank you.
And next, world super powers engaged in a new arms race. Why is the United States lagging behind Russia and China?
BURNETT: There is a new and deadly arms race underway between world superpowers. Right now, the United States is running behind.
Oren Liebermann is OUTFRONT.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the White Sands Range, New Mexico, the first test of the U.S. hypersonic missile was a success. The operational fire system or OpFires for short is a ground-based boost glide missile, hypersonic glide weapon, launched atop a booster rocket.
The launch was designed to test the launch platform, not the full weapon. Defense official says there are more tests planned for later this year.
But the countdown is on to develop an operational hypersonic weapon, especially as adversaries like Russia and China have pushed ahead of the U.S. in this field.
MICHAEL LEAHY, DIRECTOR, DARPA TACTICAL TECHNOLOGY OFC., DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Each country approaches their national defense in different ways and means, and they have different approaches to how they're doing it. So, they are overall ahead of us in terms of being able to field a class of hypersonic weapon.
LIEBERMANN: The U.S. is racing to catch up. The air force recently ran a successful test on another hypersonic system, the air-launched rapid response weapon, or ARRW. But for each successful hypersonic weapons test, the U.S. has had its share of failures. The ARRW program suffered three consecutive testing failures before the latest successes.
The common hypersonic glide bottom joined Army, Navy program, suffered two recent testing failures for different reasons.
LEAHY: You learn by making mistakes, recovering from those mistakes, and moving on to the next thing. OLBERMANN: Compare that to America's adversaries. Russia has used its
own hypersonic missiles with devastating effect in Ukraine. Little more than air-launched ballistic missiles, the weapons have still flattened buildings with their force and killed civilians.
And last year, China tested its own hypersonic weapon, a glide vehicle that flew around the world before impact. The weapon is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It is a stark reminder of just how quickly the technology gap has closed with China as Beijing races to modernize its military.
GEN. ANTHONY COTTON, COMMANDER, AIR FORCE GLOBAL STRIKE COMMAND: Make no mistake. We are locked in an age of long-term strategic competition, informed now by two new clear capable peers and advent of non-nuclear strategic weapons systems.
OLBERMANN: But the U.S. has emphasized making sure superpower competition does not turn into open conflict. Even so, Washington is focused on modernizing its own deterrence forces.
But just recently, test rocket carrying a part for the U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile blew up 11 seconds after takeoff. The failure is a setback for the Sentinel ICBM program designed to replace the aging Minuteman 3 missiles as part of the U.S. nuclear triad.
OLBERMANN: The hypersonic air-breathing weapons concept or HAWC for short is another hypersonic weapon that had a successful test earlier this month, so these programs are not advancing, but not at the pace that you're seeing Russia and China invest in them.
Crucially, also, Erin, the U.S. doesn't have plans to buy these yet in big numbers, as these programs are going through research and development. According to the Defense Department, only the Army has made the commitment to buying the long-range hypersonic weapons concept, a separate program, in the coming fiscal year.
BURNETT: Oren, thank you very much, from the Pentagon tonight.
Earlier in our program, our guest Marc Short referred to some allegations against Congressman Matt Gaetz. We should note, Matt Gaetz has not been charged, let alone convicted.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.