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Erin Burnett Outfront
Sources: DOJ Preparing For Fight To Get Testimony About Trump; Source: Georgia GOP Chairman Has Testified In Criminal Probe; Biden Appears Poised For Major Legislative Victories, But Faces Growing Recession Fears As GDP Shrinks; Kremlin: "So Far, There Is No Agreement" On Griner, Whelan Swap; Trump Claims "Nobody's Gotten To The Bottom Of 9/11; Kentucky Gov: At Least Eight Dead, "Hundreds Will Lose Their Homes" In Devastating Floods; CNN Returns To City Left In Ruins By Russian Forces Near Kyiv. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 28, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, exclusive CNN reporting, federal prosecutors preparing for battle trying to force the former White House officials to testify about conversations with Trump himself. The clearest sign yet that the investigators are zeroing in on the former president.
Plus, President Biden with a major win today and on the cusp of two others. Are the Republicans suddenly playing defense?
And massive flooding in Kentucky Entire towns now underwater, wild fires near Yosemite burning out of control, extreme weather fueled by climate change.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening to you. I'm Jim Sciutto, in tonight for Erin Burnett.
And OUTFRONT tonight: preparing for battle. CNN has learned exclusively tonight at the federal investigators want to force former White House officials to testify and are ready to wage a battle in court to do so. Prosecutors are looking for any information regarding former President Trump's conversations and actions around January 6. This is the clear sign yet that the DOJ is zeroing in on Trump's actions as he tried to cling to power.
This development comes as the January Select Committee speaks the former acting chief a staff Mick Mulvaney, also making a appearance before the committee, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a key witness.
According to ABC's Jonathan Karl, Mnuchin had a number of conversations with members of Trump's cabinet hours after the insurrection. Quote, Mnuchin talked to other members of the cabinet about attempting to remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment. Among cabinet officials that he spoke to tonight was Secretary of State Pompeo. Tonight, Pompeo also appears closer to sitting down with the committee. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We have had discussions with them about potentially appearing before them, trying to understand what it is that they are asking for. I want to make sure that the American people get the full story of the things that happened in the Trump administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Evan Perez is up front live in Washington tonight.
And, Evan, there is a lot to get to. I want to get to your reporting about what more are you learning about that the DOJ preparing to go to court to force some of these former senior White House officials to testify. What do we know?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, this is a major step for the just the permit to take. What they want to do is take on the former president's claims of executive privilege. Now, this is something that has not been legally tested and so, we will see how long it takes to work this up. But what the Justice Department wants is to be able to talk to people who were in direct conversation, there are communications with the former president and get what was going on in those key days around January 6.
And, you know, even before that, as the former president was trying to essentially impede the transfer of power. This issue came up recently in the grand jury testimony of Greg Jacob and Marc Short. These are the aides of the former Vice President Pence, who appear before the grand jury, and they sat for hours, answering questions about the pressure campaign that the former vice president was under.
What they did not answer, what they could not answer was questions about their direct interaction with the former president, former President Trump because of this claim of executive privilege. Now, as I pointed out, this is something that, you know, the Justice Department has not really tested before. This is not even, by the way, tested in the Mueller investigation, which you and I covered.
If you remember, this was -- this is a big deal for the Justice Department to even broach this. As he pointed out, what this tells us is that there are zeroing in, they're homing in on trying to get to those conversations that expose what Trump was doing, as he tried to cling to power in those days, in late December 2020, early 2021.
SCIUTTO: As you know, Trump and other officials in his administration often attempted to have a broad interpretation of executive privilege. We'll see where this goes.
Evan, standby because we get a new details tonight about Georgia's criminal investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn that states election.
A source tells CNN that the chairman of the state's Republican Party, David Shafer, has now appeared for a special grand jury there. Shafer was one of 16 fake electors in Trump's plot to subvert the will of the people, their votes.
Nick Valencia is at the front a lab in Atlanta, outside the chorus.
Nick, what do we know about Schaffer's appearance in court?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, good evening, Jim.
We are expecting this to be a significant week. Following Willis's criminal investigation, knowing that 11 of the 16 so-called fake electors were expected to appear before the special grand jury. And we can now confirm that the chairman of the Republican Party here in the state of Georgia, David Shafer, was one of them that they appear earlier this week before that special grand jury.
Schaffer is perhaps one of the most recognizable names of those 16 so called fake electors that participated in a scheme to support the Electoral College and tried to falsely certify the then President Donald Trump, as the rightful winner of the state of Georgia in the 2020 election.
We know that Shafer was expected to appear this week. We cannot confirm that. We don't know exactly what he said before the special grand jury, but we do know that earlier this month, he received a letter from Fani Willis, who is the Fulton County district attorney, who is leading this investigation, indicating that he may be indicted in her criminal probe.
Shafer has been the target of multiple inquiries for federal investigators, including the U.S. House Select Committee that is investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. And it was earlier this year that Shafer told that Select Committee that this fake elector scheme came at the direction of the Trump campaign, after the then-president lost the state's vote.
CNN has reached out to Shafer's attorney. We did not hear back immediately. But, look, this is a major development in Fani Willis's investigation, and investigation that has been wide reaching, has broad in scope, as she continues to methodically try to gather evidence on conspiracy, racketeering and other charges -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: It bears repeating. The state, they had results, they were certified, they had electors, there was an attempt to replace those electors because Trump did not like the result.
Nick Valencia, thanks so much.
OUTFRONT now, Evan back with me, along with CNN's legal analyst Carrie Cordero and John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel.
John, if we could begin with you, Evan's exclusive reporting tonight on the Justice Department investigation. What does it tell you that federal investigators are going to such lengths to prepare for battle over these executive privilege claims for former Trump White House officials? Is that about those former officials, those around Trump or could be about Trump himself?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it is a legal issue, and is being used as a device to suppress testimony. Trump is calling on a very thin and un-litigated area of executive privilege.
Big picture: there is no privilege. Biden has said that he is not invoking executive privilege. The Presidential Records Act, which was adopted in 1978 says it is the president's call, he is the incumbent, he is the one who has authority over executive privilege, but there is an opinion from the year before 1977 that says, prior presidents can invoke executive privilege.
But there are no documents involved in this. And this is their exchanges between themselves and Trump. And he is claiming executive privilege over that. That's not litigated.
They don't want to have to litigate that. That would go to the district court, the court of appeals, to the Supreme Court. And with a 6-3, with the 6 being unpredictable, since they don't always follow the law, this is kind of a troublesome area. This is what they are gearing up for. It appears to me that they are getting ready to mount a fight if necessary.
SCIUTTO: Carrie, you've often wisely injected some caution as to what we know and what we don't know about how far this investigation might go. Based on these latest moves, who do you see is the target of these DOJ steps here? I mean, is it folks in Trump's circle, as I was asking John? Or is a Trump himself potentially?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's definitely folks in his circle, including potentially his former chief of staff, people who were very close to him in the White House. I think this most recent information really demonstrates as a practical matter that some of the witnesses including the former Pence advisers, have more to say.
So, there clearly is some information that they could have provided to the grand jury, and did not and potentially are relying on executive privilege even though the current president is not invoking it. And so, then, the Justice Department is working through how they can get more of that evidence.
And so, the testimony before the grand jury, the ability to get information from witnesses pursuant to a lawful subpoena is how the Justice Department determines whether or not they have potential charges against individuals, whether those are folks close to the president or potentially the former president himself. But it's an investigative step and indicates that the Justice Department is really thinking through ahead of time how they can do this, because, traditionally, the Justice Department would be arguing to protect presidential prerogatives.
SCIUTTO: Evan, you can learn a lot based on the questions that the prosecutors asked the witnesses and you're learning more about those questions.
What do you know? What does it tell us?
PEREZ: Well, Jim, we know that these two witnesses, in particular, Jacob and Short, were asked directly about the pressure campaign. And they answered those questions, they spent hours talking to the grand jury about those meetings, especially the one on January 4th, where we know the former president and John Eastman were pressuring Pence to say that he had the power to set aside the election results.
What I'm told is that they were able to answer a lot of those questions around the edges, provide a lot of information. So, even -- even though they could not reach the exact discussions between the former president and Vice President Pence, for instance, or between Marc Short and Greg Jacob and the former president, there is a lot of information that they're able to provide to the grocery.
And so, what we can expect, as Carrie is pointing out is that this is the beginning, and we expect that they're going to come back. They're going to be able to come back to them and try to get through the presidential privilege issue to try to get additional information from those witnesses.
SCIUTTO: John, we did learn today that the January 6th committee spoke with former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, separate from the DOJ investigation here. And among the things they asked about were about this effort, as reported by Jon Karl, to invoke the 25th Amendment, but Trump's own cabinet officials in the wake of January 6.
Why do you believe the January 6th committee were focusing on that? I mean, does it get to state of mind as to what they thought the president was up to and was capable of then?
DEAN: I think it certainly shows the feeling of those around the president about his state of mind. It was -- it's not a good process to invoke the Constitution to place him on a disabled list. It's really very awkward.
I happened to work on that amendment when I was with the House Judiciary Committee. And the vice president has to send a letter to the speaker and the president pro tem of the Senate, telling him that the president isn't capable of carrying out his responsibilities under the Constitution. The president, all he has to do to neuter that is sent a letter saying "I'm perfectly capable. These are people just trying to get me out of the way. They don't like decisions."
And to put that into play, then the vice president has sent another letter back to Congress and say, no, no, he really is in bad shape. Then Congress has 4 days to resolve it.
I think, you know, it's pretty likely that they would have resulted in favor of Trump, in this instance, even if they did not like his policy, because this amendment to the Constitution wasn't designed from this kind of activity.
SCIUTTO: It's a good point, because it is not exactly a swift or easy process.
Carrie, you think the committee could actually hurt its case by going down the path of investigating the 25th, tell us why?
CORDERO: So, I think the committee, if they were to argue with their interest is doing it, it's to create a historical record of what actually transpired surrounding the events around January 6. So, from the historic perspective, I understand why they might be interested in it. I don't think it's a really great use of their time and what they are really trying to do, which they have communicated both in their hearings and in many of their other statements, as these hearings have taken place, is that they are trying to demonstrate that there is a potential criminal case to be made against the former president, which is something that they are trying to produce evidence that that is relevant to a Justice Department investigation.
And in that perspective, I think arguing or exploring in more detail the arguments the former president was lacking in mental capacity actually is counter to a potential effort to demonstrate that he had intent and that he was actually of sound mind and was purposefully trying to overturn the election. So, I think they potentially need to think through how they might be working at cross purposes there.
SCIUTTO: It's a good point, because we have often talked about intent and how central that is it to the criminal side investigation.
Evan, Carrie, John, thanks to all of you.
OUTFRONT next, President Biden with a major legislative win on Capitol Hill, and he's actually on the cusp of two more. Should Republicans be getting nervous?
Plus, Putin keeps Biden guessing, not responding to the U.S. offer to exchange Russia's so-called merchant of death for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
And Donald Trump hosting a Saudi-backed a golf course in New Jersey. He says no one has gotten to the bottom of who is behind 9/11. A woman whose husband had died in 9/11 has something to say about that. And she'll be OUTFRONT.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, on the cusp of a major political win, President Biden celebrating a hard fought deal struck by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and moderate Senator Joe Manchin on a spending bill. The $369 billion legislation would, among other things -- it's a list here -- make the biggest climate investment in the U.S. history, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices to bring them down, for the first time, extend Obamacare subsidies for three years and also establishes a 15 percent corporate minimum tax to help pay for all this.
Biden earlier urged Congress to seize the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the strongest bill that you can pass to lower inflation, cut the deficit, reduce health care costs, tackle the climate crisis and promote energy security. So, pass it. Pass it for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: This as a bill to boost U.S. manufacturing of semiconductor chips, which power smartphones, cars, home gadgets, also essential to American consumers, national security, in a lot of weapon systems and the economy, that bill headed to Biden's desk after the Senate and House passed it in bipartisan votes.
But it comes with more terrible economic news, that the U.S. economy contracting for a second straight quarter after the GDP dropped by nearly a point in the second quarter.
OUTFRONT now, Van Jones, former adviser to President Obama and our political commentator.
Also Jonah Goldberg, he's editor in chief of "The Dispatch" and also CNN commentator.
Good to have you both on.
Let's begin, Van, with this budget bill. There are more hurdles, but the biggest hurdle was Joe Manchin. Until yesterday, no one was talking about this deal being resurrected. It is there. It's got a lot of pieces of the original Biden economic agenda. How important a move, how important a victory for the Biden administration?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That big sound you hear in the background is a sigh of relief for the Democratic Party, that we will actually be able to deliver on some of the stuff. We would have been better if it happened earlier.
But the reality is, you know, to lead means to go first. Biden has been there, pushing, trying to get something done on climate, it is going to get done. He will be pushed to get something done on the chips and semiconductors.
So, listen, if you erase the past 6 months of 90 stuff, looks like you have a president that can get an infrastructure bill done, COVID stuff done, get something done for the American people on climate, get something done on chips. That's a successful presidency, you just -- you know, had to pass 6 months of nonsense takes away from it.
SCIUTTO: Jonah, your view, credit where credit is due?
JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree with a lot of what Van says there. This is a win for the Biden administration, to a certain extent. When you break up a logjam, you don't have to remove the biggest log, you just got to remove something to get things going. And so, it's -- you know, for people who want to see Congress get some things done, I think this is -- and see Biden gets something accomplished, it's a win.
It's not the win that, you know, like the key phrase in Joe Biden's comments that we just played where, this is the best bill you can pass. Some of us can't remember that Bernie Sanders wanted $6 trillion for Build Back Better. Then he said he was compromising for $3 trillion.
Well, now, they got 10 percent of that. There is some good stuff, there is bad stuff, there is a lot of green pork in it. If you told Republicans six months to a year ago that the compromise is to cut the thing by 90 percent and pass the stuff, you might have gotten it done a long time ago. But a lot of people did not want to see that happen.
SCIUTTO: Good point.
Van Jones, it comes amidst troubling economic news, the second quarter of economic contraction. And while I know the economists look at a lot of indicators, including job growth, it's still cranking. I spoke to White House economic adviser this morning who said that the economy is slowing. "It's the economy, stupid" when elections happen. How big a headwind is that for Democrats in the midterms and for the Biden administration as a whole?
JONES: It's a headwind. I mean, you can't spin that. People can see what is happening, whether the economists say it's a recession or not, it feels like you're in one, or on the edge of one, that's true. At the same time, you have a global challenge here, no government on earth seems to be able to solve this. So -- but you got to do what you can do.
By the way, what was just referred to as green pork, I think is going to help a lot of people get energy efficient stuff in their house, get solar panels up for people to work. So, listen, you can't -- this is a big global mess because of Ukraine and COVID. Biden didn't cause Ukraine or COVID and he's now finally got a working a majority in Congress to get something -- some of the things done. I think it is a good thing. You can't spend away these gas prices.
SCIUTTO: Jonan, I do want to ask you. Senate Republicans are not happy with this. Before, they have been threatening to torpedo the chips bill if the Democrats moved ahead with a spending bill. As it happens, the chip bill passed the Senate and then this deal is announced. Now, you are hearing some Republican saying, hey, we got played here.
Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): This betrayal is an absolute declaration of political warfare. They'll look you in the eye and tell you one thing and to do another is absolutely unforgivable.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: Ted Cruz, he directed his fire at Leader McConnell's handling of all this. Have a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I think that was a mistake. If you make a threat, you should follow through. Bluffing doesn't work when you don't follow through.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: The threat he is talking about there was to hold the chips bill up if Democrats were to proceed. I mean, how do you see it? Did McConnell get outplayed by the Democrats?
GOLDBERG: I think he got outplayed in the sense that he got what he wanted. I think a lot of Republicans feel like Schumer dealt dishonestly by doing the sequence the way that he did. But, you know, again, this is -- the people want to invest this as if it is an enormous win for Democrats or enormous loss for Republicans. I think you're missing the point that this is a scaled down thing.
And Ted Cruz has been railing against Mitch McConnell since the Pleistocene era. That's just what he does. And, you know, Mitch McConnell got the job that he's got. I think Schumer got one past him.
But in terms of legislative mastery over the last couple of years, McConnell has more points on the board than Chuck Schumer does.
SCIUTTO: I hear you, by the way, 10 percent of the second offer, for what Build Back Better was going to look like.
Jonah, Van, always good have you on.
GOLDBERG: Thanks for having me.
SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, Putin not in any rush to answer Biden's prisoner swap offer that would bring Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home. Does the U.S. still have leverage here?
And Trump's revisionist history. The former president says it is not clear who was behind 9/11, as he hosts a tournament back by who? Saudi Arabia.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, leaving Biden hanging. Russia stays quiet so far on the administration's proposed prisoner swap, causing some frustration inside the White House. The proposal to exchange Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, the two held in Russia, for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
[19:30:07] Bout has been named the merchant of death. He's suspected to supply weapons to groups such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda. One former DEA chief told CNN his operations were on a scale beyond comprehension, capable of slaughtering thousands of people. It's quite a trade.
OUTFONT now, James Clapper, former national director of national intelligence under President Obama. He's also instrumental in negotiating the return of two Americans imprisoned in North Korea back in 2014.
Good to have you on, sir.
The State Department says this offer has been repeatedly conveyed to Russia over the course of several weeks. It's now been 24 hours since CNN reported exclusively, that it's out -- it's out there.
What do you see in Russia's delays here? Is this to drag things out or might they refuse this?
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, Jim, I think it's -- first, not that we need it, but a reminder of the cynicism and duplicity of the Russians. And I believe they're going to stretch it out for perhaps quite some time simply because this is the one of the few areas these days where the Russians have some leverage over us. And we've been leveraging them a lot with the sanctions and support to Ukrainians, et cetera.
So they know they've got a prize or prizes in a form of American hostages for pawns. So, they're going to stretch -- I believe stretch this out for a long time. And I also think they may demand more than just Viktor Bout who I don't believe they care too much about in the first place.
SCIUTTO: We don't normally hear about the swaps deliberately until after the place, and your trip to Pyongyang until after the swap took place, and why do you believe this is?
CLAPPER: Well, a couple of factors, one, you know, public pressure for what it is worth on the Russian, but I also think it's in response to the mounting pressure for the government to do something to get these Americans freed up. So, I think it is a combination of factors, and you are quite right, that the typical practice is not to publicize these things until they are over.
In fact, the government does not like to engage in them, because the rational is that doing so simply encourages more hostage-take, and more pawns.
SCIUTTO: That was going to be my question there, does this incentivize, I mean, by the way, you look at the comparison that Viktor Bout sold arms to everyone plotting to kill Americans, and supplying them to the FARC separatists in South America, Brittney Griner, she's WNBA player, right?
Paul Whelan, accuses Russia of spying. He's a former American -- not clear what the evidence of that. So, they don't match up, and so does pit incentivize a country like China or Iran to take more Americans?
CLAPPER: Well, yes, it does. I mean, that's the risk/gain calculus here that the administration had to make, and I think that in the end, they made the right judgment. But that's always a concern. That by negotiating and publicizing the negotiation, what you are doing is encouraging more of the same. And so, that's a dilemma, part of the endless dilemma that people who meet in the White House Situation Room face day in and day out.
SCIUTTO: Other topic, China. Key phone call, first in months, between President Biden and the Chinese President Xi Jinping. They were on the phone for more than two hours. And the Chinese readout of this call is notable, because it went further than the American one, saying that Xi warned the U.S. it is, quote, playing with fire over Taiwan and those who play with fire get burned. I mean, it's not the first time we've heard that phrase before.
Do you consider their saber-rattling over Nancy Pelosi's visit, what this seems to be their fire that they're talking about here, is just saber rattling or this could lead to some sort of escalation?
CLAPPER: Well, you know, anything can happen. But, you know, to me, Jim, it says something about the maturity or the lack thereof of Chinese foreign policy. They are making threats like this over a visit by Speaker Pelosi -- really? We have had many other senior officials, now admittedly all probably formers visit Taiwan with, you know, the nary a beep.
So, I think as much as we did with Putin's rhetoric about threatening the potential use of nuclear weapon when the Russians invaded Ukraine, I think we should take a breath here and not roll over and take, to me, that seriously a threat like this over a visit.
SCIUTTO: Thanks so much, Director Clapper. I appreciate having you on tonight.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Jim.
SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump tries to defend this weekend's Saudi-backed golf tournament in his New Jersey golf course saying that nobody has gotten to the bottom of 9/11, and who is responsible. I'm going to speak to a woman who lost her husband on 9/11.
And one of the worst flooding events in Kentucky's history that has left a trail of destruction and death, sadly, there. At the same time, fires raging out of control in California. What's happening?
SCIUTTO: Tonight, revisionist history.
Former President Trump, who is hosting a Saudi-backed LIV Golf tournament at his Bedminster, New Jersey, Golf Course, just 50 miles from Ground Zero, in fact, says it's not clear who was behind 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, nobody's gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately, and they should have, as to the maniacs that did that horrible thing to our city, to our country, to the world.
So, nobody's really been there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Well, in fact, 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
And an FBI report declassified just last year found previously unreported connections between the hijackers and Saudi nationals living here in the U.S.
The Saudi government denies involvement in the attacks, but President Trump himself seemed to point the finger at Saudi -- finger at Saudi Arabia back in 2016.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn't the Iraqis. It was Saudi.
I mean, take a look at Saudi Arabia. Open the documents.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT now, Kimberly Trimingham-Aiken. She lost her husband, Terrance, in the 9/11 attacks.
And it's good to have you on, Kimberly. I know these bring up, for you, horrible memories.
I just wondered, what does it feel to hear these years later comments like that from a former U.S. president?
KIMBERLY TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN, WIDOW OF 9/11 VICTIM: Well, I would have to say I feel disappointed, because, when he was our president, he swore, he took an oath to protect all Americans against foreign and domestic threats.
And so it's very, very unfortunate to hear that after all these years.
Trump is not the only U.S. official, only U.S. president who has made contact, right, with Saudi Arabians, recently, President Biden fist- bumping the Saudi crown prince during his visit to the kingdom, the Saudis quick to circulate this very photo we're showing now. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, he reportedly secured a 2 billion -- billion B -- dollar investment by a Saudi fund for his own private equity firm.
Do you feel, as you look at that, that U.S. officials are letting you down, letting Terrance down, by letting the Saudis off, in effect?
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: In some -- in some way, I do feel that way. I do feel that way.
But I'm also realistic. I'm also realistic, in the fact that politics is a very, very tricky game.
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: So I always -- all these years later, I still hope and pray that the right thing will be done.
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: The right thing will be done.
And here's the thing. It's a game of patience and time. And it took all this time for the FBI documents to be declassified...
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: ... so we could find out who actually really was responsible.
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: So, I just -- like I said, I'm very faithful and hopeful that the right thing -- because, in time, everything is revealed.
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: The truth is revealed.
SCIUTTO: Well, the world's already demanded a lot of patience from you, we should acknowledge.
When you look at these international golfers, and some of them Americans, go to this golf tournaments for a whole lot of money, they have been asked about where that money comes from, not just related to 9/11, but the murder of U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.
Phil Mickelson, I mean, he acknowledged Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses, but said the tournament will do a lot of good for the game.
And I just wonder, do those words ring hollow to you, when you see folks like this, fellow Americans, take big checks?
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: Yes, it does ring hollow, because if it is going to do good, then what do you -- what do they, the golfers, what do they plan on doing with the money?
Do they plan on donating to certain charities that are much needed, and a lot of charities in this country need help with, poverty, homelessness? Are they planning on taking that blood money and doing something good with it? It really -- it definitely rings hollow to me. It definitely means hollow.
And I would have to say, hearing about Charles Barkley was very disheartening, because my husband was a basketball player, and he was one of his favorite players. So that was very disheartening to see that, see how he was involved, yes.
SCIUTTO: Well, listen, I hear you. My thoughts continue to go out to you and your family.
Kimberly Trimingham-Aiken, thanks so much for coming on tonight.
TRIMINGHAM-AIKEN: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, Kentucky flooding from massive rains could be a billion dollar disaster and one that has altered a lot of lives and lost lives as well.
And six months into the war, and the most significant and ambitious military action is under way by Ukrainian forces and some experts believe that Ukraine is gaining momentum against Russia. We'll have an update.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, you are looking at catastrophic flash flooding in Kentucky. Entire towns now underwater, at least eight people are dead, more casualties are expected. Kentucky's governor called it one of the most significant floods in the state's history.
It comes as the climate crisis continues to worsen, the extreme events across the U.S., with wildfires becoming more frequent and deadly.
Bill Weir is OUTFRONT.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It started right around here?
JOE AMADOR, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, OAK FIRE INCIDENT: It started right over this ridge here.
AMADOR: And then in the first 24 hours, this fire grew 10,000 acres.
WEIR: Now, put that in perspective. That's crazy fast?
AMADOR: That's crazy fast.
WEIR: The Oak Fire is the biggest fire in California and because the fire winds have not started to blow yet, there are almost 4,000 firefighters here from all corners of the state. They have managed to keep the flames out of Yosemite National Park, but not the smoke. They say they won't be able to fully contain this blaze for weeks.
So what makes this Oak Fire especially scary is that it devastated a lot of land devastated really fast, and the winds are howling like they would be like the Santa Anas and the Diablos, right?
AMADOR: Correct. That's correct. And we're in extreme conditions but things can always get worse.
WEIR: And any college will tell you that a forest needs an occasional fire to rejuvenate itself, but ever since World War II, Smoky the Bear has been teaching fire suppression.
And across much of California, all this fuel has been loading up over the decades, a fire drought really just in time for the old-fashioned drought, and the 22-year mega drought, and this combination is making Californians rethink everything they know about property values and insurance markets and defensible spaces.
BRIAN VITORELO, CALIFORNIA FIRE MENDOCINO UNIT: In the course of my career, I've seen the biggest fire happen year after year after year. It's impressive.
WEIR: Now, no offense, you don't look like a grizzled veteran. It's not the years. It's the fires these days, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fires, yes.
JOE AMADOR, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, OAK FIRE INCIDENT: To that, these fires have been happening within the last 10, 15 years. You can back to, you know, 2003 and then all of a sudden, something happened.
WEIR: I wonder about folks who live in amazing spots like this, a great find in the '70s, when a fire like this was once in a lifetime. Now it's once every couple years. Do you see a change of psychology of folks in these wild places?
AMADOR: It takes a special person to come live out here. With e hope if you decide to live out here, you learn how to prepare yourself, prepare your property, prepare an emergency plan and create defensible space like you see here. This person did a great job of clearing out combustible vegetation and brush from this fire.
SCIUTTO: You told me some time ago that the patterns we're seeing now wouldn't have been in the worst predictions forecast maybe ten years ago. So, when you look at something like fires, is there any end in sight for this? What's the outlook for the rest of this season? WEIR: You know, it's the kind of thing, Jim, where they can only
predict up to a point because you don't know what's going to evolve in terms of plant life when it's 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, right? This is what we're seeing at 1.1. What's it going to look like at 2?
So, it's really hard to know. It's not going to get any wetter. It's not going to get any cooler out west any time soon.
So, adaptation is the only choice. Dealing with that is fortifying places. The mindset used to be let's fight fires way out in the wilderness to save our towns.
You can't do that anymore. There are too many fires. So, now it's about fortifying. It's about protecting places like paradise, like around these communities here, and protecting what you can and hoping to educate those who live out here.
It's time to learn how to live with fire.
SCIUTTO: Protecting paradise. That says a lot. Bill Weir, thanks so much.
And OUTFRONT next, residents of one city in Ukraine just cannot take much more of war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to live here anymore.
REPORTER: You don't?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hmm-mm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Tonight, Ukraine's counteroffensive to retake Kherson from Russia, the most ambitious and significant military action by Ukraine of the war so far is now gathering momentum. That's according to Britain's defense ministry.
Officials tonight say the city is now virtually cut off from other occupied territories after a key bridge was destroyed. This comes as Russia continues its brutal offensive on neighborhoods just outside the capital Kyiv.
Our Jason Carroll takes us inside the unimaginable destruction after nearly six months of war now.
NADIA KUBRAK, FORMER IRPIN RESIDENT: We lived here, yes, in this apartment. This is our neighbors' flat. JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nadia Kubrak
says there are times it is hard to recognize that this is the place where she and her husband and their son called home for ten years.
KUBRAK: This is the place where our son slept usually. So, we were very lucky not to be at home when it happened.
CARROLL: "It" is when the Russians fired missiles on the town of Irpin during the early days of the war, destroying pockets of the city located about 45 minutes northwest of Kyiv.
The Russians occupied Irpin for about a month, until the Ukrainians forced them out and stopped the Russians' march toward the Ukrainian capital.
Kubrak's town became a symbol of strength and resistance. Leaders stood outside her apartment complex and praised the heroic actions of the Ukrainians.
But now the attention is gone. What is left is wondering if they will ever be able to go home again.
Do you have any help at all, any assistance?
KUBRAK: Not really. But, you know, the government is -- is busy currently with the war. So, they don't have time for people like us. So, I think they told us, try to -- try not to die. And after the war is over, we will rebuild everything. But still --
CARROLL: Do you believe that?
KUBRAK: No. I think we have to do it by ourselves.
CARROLL: According to the Ukrainian government, the war has displaced million of Ukrainians, all with uncertain futures. People such as Iryna Ovcharenko now forced to live with friends. She used to live in the same complex as Kubrak.
Do you still want to come home?
Of course, of course we want to come back home. We've lived here for seven years. We really like it here, she says.
As for Kubrak, the family now lives in the country further away from the missile strikes. She still has home videos and pictures to remind her of what it used to feel like to be at home. As for their future --
KUBRAK: I don't want to live here anymore.
CARROLL: You don't?
CARROLL: Too many -- too sad or just --
KUBRAK: Yes, it's too difficult because we have built our apartment by ourself, by our own hands. And we have food and a lot of power, love, and our efforts. And now it's all gone. And I don't want to do it anymore.
CARROLL (on camera): So, Jim, as this war continues to drag on, the question becomes what happens to those displaced people who don't have friends or family to rely on. I mean, at one point when we were out there today, we saw some folks who were forced to live on a train simply because they had no place else to go.
SCIUTTO: So many families suffering. Jason Carroll in Kyiv, thanks so much.
And thanks so much to all of you for joining us.
"AC360" starts right now.