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Erin Burnett Outfront

Source: Mar-a-Lago Search Came After Feds Believed Trump Or His Team Failed To Return All Docs, Had National Security Implications; Report: FBI Removed About A Dozen Boxes From Trump's Mar-a-Lago; Trump Ally Scott Perry; FBI Seized My Phone After Mar-a-Lago Search; Law Enforcement Tracking Violent Threats After FBI's Mar-A-Lago Search; Voters Hit Polls As Trump-Pence Face Off In Wisconsin Proxy War; Griner Lawyers: Will Appeal WNBA Star's Sentenced By End Of Week. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 09, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news on the FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. Why officials became suspicious of Trump and his associates months ago and why Trump's aides thought the FBI's investigation into his handling of classified information had stalled, until FBI agents literally showed up at the door.

Plus, he was Trump's attorney during the Mueller investigation. Ty Cobb is back with us and why he thinks a Trump indictment is coming.

And civil war, assassinations, and a reprise of January 6th. Officials tonight tracking a surge in disturbing and violent rhetoric since news of the FBI search broke.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. New details just in about why the FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. CNN learning tonight that investigators grew increasingly concerned that Trump or his lawyers had not turned over all of the documents and other materials that were government property. Officials also came to believe that Trump's representatives were not being completely truthful when it came to the documents Trump may have had in his possession.

According to "The Washington Post," the FBI also removed about a dozen boxes in Monday's search. And it comes as new details are emerging about the lengths the FBI went to, to keep the search under wraps.

I mean, a source tells our Whitney Wild that the Secret Service only had a one-hour heads up before the FBI showed up to execute the search warrant. Only one hour.

Now, a source tells CNN that Secret Service agents validated the warrant, they met the FBI agents. They did not, though, help with the actual search. And tonight, as the Department of Justice remains silent about why it

took the unprecedented step of searching a former president's home, Trump is filling the void, posting late today on his truth social platform, quote: A horrible thing that took place yesterday at Mar-a- Lago. We're no better than a third world country, a banana republic.

And his party is getting in line and echoing it behind him.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): This is Gestapo crap, and it will not stand. The department of injustice needs to be cleaned out if they're going to start pretending we're some sort of banana republic.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): This should scare the living daylights out of American citizens and say we have got to change our federal government. The way our federal government has gone, it's like what we thought about the Gestapo and people like that. They just go after people. What we thought about Soviet Union, what we look at Latin America, we have got to say to ourselves, this cannot be our country.


BURNETT: And tonight, about a dozen Republicans, House members, are at Trump's Bedminster golf course, suddenly going up to meet with the former president after news of the FBI search broke, Trump getting a boost of support from his party, some even coming around to the idea of Trump announcing another presidential campaign before the midterms.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The one thing I can tell you is that I believe he was going to run before. I'm stronger in my belief now.


BURNETT: And the support doesn't stop there and has taken a dark turn. 24 hours since news of the FBI search broke, Trump supporters are fanning the flames.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: I do not think it's beyond this administrative state and their deep state apparatus to try to work on the assassination of President Trump.

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think they really want another January 6th. They are begging for it.


BURNETT: Katelyn Polantz is OUTFRONT live in Washington.

And, Katelyn, I know you have been breaking news on this, you know, over these hours. It's been such a frenzied news cycle. You have new information on what happened here. What are your sources telling you? KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR REPORTER, CRIME AND JUSTICE: Erin, this

is this investigation into classified documents that has been going on for some time. And what we're learning now is a little more about the timeline.

So, we knew that after this issue arose where the national archives realized that the Trump folks in Florida had documents that they shouldn't have after the presidency ended, the National Archives took those 15 boxes of documents back, and now we are learning from sources, Pamela Brown, Kaitlan Collins and I are all learning authorities had believed that the Trump people had not returned all of the documents that they should have at that time.

There's also another thing that we were learning from sources just today. And that is that there is suspicion among some of the authorities that Trump representatives are not being entirely truthful with them as they were investigating this and this criminal investigation was ongoing.


So that's a little window into what may be going on on the investigation side. We also have learned from our sources a little bit about what has been going on on the Trump world side of things. Until this week, advisers to the former president did not really seem to believe this investigation was very active at this time. They seemed to believe that there was quite a bit of silence there and that meant it could be stalled.

Obviously, they are learning this week that that is not the case. Throughout this entire thing, Erin, there has been silence from the Justice Department, from the FBI. There's still silence today after performing this raid that is how these things work. And I should say part of the reason it's working that way is because the Justice Department is talking to a court to get a search warrant like this, telling them what they need, why they need it, explaining it very much in court, those would be required to do a search like this.

But those documents, for us at least on the public side, and for the Trump side, those documents are under seal, so we may not be able to gain more information right now.

BURNETT: All right. Katelyn, thank you very much.

I want to go now to Andrew McCabe, former FBI deputy director to understand this more.

You know, as Katelyn sharing this latest reporting.

Andrew, what do you make of what you're hearing so far about what happened and why it happened yesterday at Mar-a-Lago?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Erin, it's really interesting. To be quite frank, a lot of what we have heard over the last 24 hours really doesn't make sense when we line it up with what we know took place over the last year around this issue. So we know that as early as 2021, the National Archives were negotiating with folks at Mar-a-Lago to recover things that had been taken there.

We know in January, they got the 15 boxes. We know that in February, they asked the Department of Justice to review what they had received to see if there was classified information in there. DOJ started a grand jury investigation. They submitted a subpoena to the National Archives to be able to review that material.

And, then of course, you had this meeting in June. So that's not that long ago, where the DOJ and FBI agents are at Mar-a-Lago. They see this room full of documents. They later tell the folks at Mar-a-Lago to better secure that room.

It doesn't make sense that from that year-long negotiation you would all of a sudden have a search warrant that was a complete surprise to the folks at Mar-a-Lago. So that's what I'm trying to kind of really get my head around here.

BURNETT: So does it seem to you that they know what they were looking for? That it's a needle in the haystack, but they know what the needle is? They asked for the documents and they got some percentage but they say what we're looking for isn't there. So, they're very specific, they know what they need, and it may be related to some other investigation, or do you think they don't know what they want, but they know they didn't get everything?

MCCABE: It's hard to think they didn't know what was still at Mar-a- Lago after that meeting in June. In fact, it's strange to believe that they saw allegedly classified documents among those boxes in the room in the basement and didn't actually just take them with them at that moment. So, obviously --


MCCABE: -- they continued negotiating, and at some point, made the decision they need today go forward with a search warrant. It just surprises me that the Trump folks didn't know that this was coming. And really, the only evidence we have of that is what Trump said yesterday in his comments, and we all know how typically inaccurate Trump's comments can be. So it's hard for us, we don't know enough really to be able to say what led to the search warrant yesterday.

BURNETT: Director, here's the issue, though. It's an unprecedented situation. And ordinarily, the DOJ wouldn't share any of the information that -- the probable crime they would give enough evidence to a judge to get a search warrant, right? None of that would come out. But this is an unprecedented situation, searching the home of a former president. In the silence from the DOJ, the former president and his allies are filling that void, right, with narratives.

Do you think that the DOJ in this extraordinary situation needs to come out and give more information?

MCCABE: I think it would be very helpful, particularly if the situation is that they basically negotiated their way to this search warrant and everybody was aware of it. And maybe that's not what happened. But it would be helpful to us and to the public to be able to tamp down the interest that's clearly focused on this thing.

But let's remember, Erin, this is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation. In a normal DOJ policy, they're not going to talk about that. Merrick Garland is an attorney general who is even more reticent than most, so I think the odds of them talking are very slim.


In my own experience, I can tell you in a pretty similar situation in March of 2017, when President Trump told the world that the FBI had been listening to his phone calls in Trump Tower, which was not true, a complete falsehood, we went to the Justice Department and asked them, hey, you need to make a public statement to make it clear we didn't do this, and DOJ said, sorry, we don't comment on confirming or denying these sorts of facts.

So it would not surprise me at all if DOJ maintains their silence on this issue.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Director McCabe. I appreciate your time.

And I want to go to our panel. Kaitlan Collins, our chief White House correspondent who covered the Trump presidency. Elie Honig, our senior legal analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. And David Urban, Republican strategist and former Trump campaign senior adviser.

So, you know, David, when you hear Director McCabe lay this out, he thinks it would be helpful if the DOJ were to come out and give more information but unlikely they'll do so, but very clear that he does not think given the year long of negotiations and requests from the DOJ to Trump, that this should have been a surprise to Team Trump as it's being portrayed. What's your reaction to that?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I mean, I believe it was a surprise. It was a surprise to everybody, I'll tell you. I can promise you everyone on this panel sitting around remembers what they were doing last night when they heard about this and kind of was taken aback.

FBI at Mar-a-Lago? I find it hard to believe that, you know, that they didn't -- I mean, I find it hard to believe they're telling they choreographed it, they gave the information to the Trump campaign. As you know, Erin, nothing stays secret. Once you tell one person, it's going to get out.

And so, I believe they were tight lipped about this. As you heard the Secret Service said they had a brief period of time to get ready for this, so I don't think they were informed. I don't think the Trump campaign, the Trump team knew this was coming in any way, shape, or form.

And as former Director McCabe said, I think the Department of Justice and the FBI look really bad now and they need to get out in front and help regain some credibility with the American people. BURNETT: So, Elie, on this front, I have seen people demanding, hey,

look, Trump, if you have nothing to hide, show us the warrant you received. Why don't you just show it? But I want to give you a chance to explain that it isn't that simple. Even the warrant that the former president may have received may actually not give us any of the information that Director McCabe is suggesting would be helpful for the DOJ to provide.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right, Erin. So, there's three important types of documents here. First, there's the affidavit. That's the long narrative document that the prosecutors wrote up laying out the evidence and laying out what they believe the crimes are. That could be 50, 100 pages. Donald Trump does not have that. We don't have that in the public.

Donald Trump will not get that unless and until he's charged. Now, then there's the search warrant itself. Donald Trump does have this. This is the one piece of paper, it's basically a form that the agents had to show him or his team when they did the warrant.

Mostly that's logistical information. Here's the premises to be searched, here's the type of evidence we're looking for, here's the judge who signed, here's the deadline. But sometimes, that document has an attachment. It varies by jurisdiction. It even varies by individual prosecutor. That could lay out the names of the crimes that are alleged.

So, we don't know whether that's on there, but Donald Trump does have that document. And finally, there's a document called a return, which is basically a receipt. It's, hey, here are the documents, the items we took out of your home, but it's fairly general. It's not going to list every piece of paper. It's going to say x number of boxes, however many laptops, phones.

Donald Trump does have that as well. So, he can release those two documents. They give us some information, but probably not much.

BURNETT: Probably not much. But again, important to note that he has something he could put out that he categorically has, even as he says all the information should be out there.

So, Kaitlan, you know, in response to this, Trump doesn't just post those on truth social. He has a highly styled campaign ad. Lindsey Graham says after speaking to Trump, the one thing I can tell you is I believed he was going to run before. I'm stronger in my belief now.

Now, Kaitlan, you have been talking to your sources in Trump world. Does Trump see this right now as a pure win politically? Does it accelerate his timeframe here to announce a possible bid for the White House?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm not sure that based on our reporting, Erin, we would frame it as he views it as a pure political win. I think he's certainly taking the situation and using it to his political advantage. He has been talking about the fact that so many Republicans have come out and supported him and criticized the Justice Department, criticized Attorney General Merrick Garland, as you heard people like Senator Rick Scott earlier on Fox News, many of these Republican governors that are rumored to be 2024 presidential candidates, all criticizing this.


And so, he is certainly boosted by that factor. But I also think this is a very real concern. And going back to what David said, this caught a lot of people in Trump's orbit off guard, and Katelyn was noting earlier, our reporting is that people in his orbit had thought this investigation had largely stalled.

It's not clear why they thought it stalled given it was just a few months ago that investigators had paid a visit to Mar-a-Lago, had seen the room where the documents were being stored, but they had kind of been under the impression this investigation wasn't really going anywhere. Clearly, it did yesterday with the search warrant. I think there are two sides to this where there are very real concerns but also Trump is using it as a political boost.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. All of you, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

And next, more breaking news. Republican Congressman Scott Perry who pushed Trump's election lies, now says the FBI seized his cell phone. The details next.

Plus, a surge of violent threats coming to light in response to the FBI search. A candidate for Maryland governor threatening to use the state police against President Biden.

And it is election night in America tonight. A proxy war playing out right now in Wisconsin between Trump and Pence. This is in the crucial race there for governor.


BURNETT: Tonight, we're learning new details about the FBI search on Mar-a-Lago. I'm about to speak to Trump's former lawyer about all of this.

But first, some other breaking news on another major step by the FBI.


We have just learned that agents seized the cell phone of Congressman Scott Perry. Now, he's a little known Republican from Pennsylvania. But he was instrumental in Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election and literally we're just finding out this now.

Sara Murray is breaking this new reporting.

Sara, what more do you know?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we got a statement just a little while ago from Scott Perry where he says this morning while traveling with my family, three FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone.

Now, we don't know what investigation this would be related to, why they seized the cell phone, but we do know that Scott Perry had close ties with Jeffrey Clark, who is that DOJ official who was essentially open to pushing election fraud claims, open to trying to help Donald Trump stage a coup at the Justice Department. Perry actually introduced Jeffrey Clark to Donald Trump and, of course, we know that Clark has come under scrutiny from investigators. His home was searched earlier this summer.

The other question is what investigators are going to find on Scott Perry's phone. We also learned from previous reporting that Scott Perry had a lot of communications with Mark Meadows, the former Trump chief of staff. But a lot of those were on encrypted applications.

So, certainly, there's a lot more to learn than what we know right now, but it is a stunning move by the FBI to be seizing a cell phone from a sitting Republican congressman, Erin.

BURNETT: Yeah, absolutely. And of course, now everyone on such high alert for it to happen today, who knows exactly if there's any relation, but significant.

Sara Murray, thank you so much.

Sara's breaking that news. I want to go to the former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb.

So, Ty, there is so much going on right now as we speak related to multiple cases that appear to at this point target the former president. A lot of Trump supporters are questioning whether the major step by the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago, the home of a former president, an unprecedented move, fits the crime. The potential crime, that is put out there of mishandling classified documents.

Now, you think there is more here. What do you think this is about, Ty?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Well, I think it's about the underlying big lie and the January 6th. I don't believe -- I'm highly confident that it's not about the Public Records Act. But it could easily be about the classified documents, quite likely classified documents that are of great interest to the bureau and the Justice Department, which they have apparently pressed for, and it also appears there's a bit of a communication breakdown between Trump's attorneys and the Justice Department.

I think, you know, as I understand the process, there have been repetitive productions and access to documents allowed to DOJ and FBI officials, but something broke down. And that's a problem for the president.

BURNETT: Well, something, and obviously something really serious broke down. Back to the question I raised to Former Director McCabe, they were handing over information. Did they possibly know the needle in the haystack they were looking for and then it kept not being in the documents that were produced? I mean, it sounds like what you're saying, Ty, is you think somehow, what they're looking for here may have been classified, may have not been classified, but leads to January 6th, is related to that investigation?

COBB: I believe so. I think that's the big enchilada. You know, I think it would be truly bizarre to bring a Public Records Act charge against a former president as the first time in history of indicting a former president. Because that is just -- that's the type of thing that just doesn't rise to the level of stress for the constitution and the democracy.

But the January 6th investigation and the big lie and its perpetuation, there's clearly evidence, consequential evidence of criminal activity, and yesterday I believe Judge Reinhardt put his hand to that and agreed.

BURNETT: So you have been talking, Ty, with me about Georgia, other places. You do believe that Trump is facing significant legal exposure on several fronts. But I understand that now in light of where we are and this is a different world than it was 25 hours ago, do you think this is leading closer to an indictment of Trump himself now?

COBB: Everything that's been done in the last few days, does that mean he'll actually be indicted? You don't know. Will there be negotiations? If the Justice Department decides to indict him, I would assume so, but it's possible that too many bridges have been broke.


On the other hand, you mentioned Georgia, and one of the biggest problems in Georgia is the fake electors and the whole process of how the state voting was to be reported to Pence. You know, I think Scott Perry's seizure today is equally interesting because it's an incredible intrusion between two of the pillars of our democracy, the executive branch and Congress, for the executive branch to use its authority to get a search warrant for a congressman's property.

BURNETT: Ty, before we go, one question because you worked with the president, the former president. You know him, you have seen him with documents. Stephanie Grisham was saying last night as this broke, she had been with him where he would throw things away. Put classified documents in his pocket.

Do you believe that if there were any document that was some sort of a smoking gun or something related to January 6th that he was aware of, he would have it at Mar-a-Lago at this point?

COBB: Yeah, it doesn't make him much of a calculating criminal, does it, if he still had possession of it? On the other hand, you know, you just -- you can't be sure. He was at least reckless in terms of not following instructions from White House personnel about tearing up documents and stuff. But at the same time, people would clean out the trash cans every night and tape stuff back together. And I never saw any ketchup on the wall.

So, you know, I'm not familiar with the stuff that Stephanie talked about, but yes, I know he's sort of dismissive of many protocols, but I didn't ever know him to hide or destroy any documents.

BURNETT: All right. Ty, thank you very much. I appreciate your perspective, as always.

COBB: You bet, Erin. Thank you.

BURNETT: Next, the Mar-a-Lago search, all right, unleashing a wave of alarming online posts. At one point, there was one tweet every second mentioning the words civil war. That's not all.

Plus, another round of dueling endorsements as Trump and Pence's candidates go head to head in Wisconsin, another crucial state where polls will be closing soon tonight.



BURNETT: New tonight, lock and load. That's just one of the many comments that are part of a disturbing rise in violent chatter online after the FBI executed that search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. The anger so strong that it points there was more than one tweet every second talking about civil war.

Whitney Wild is OUTFRONT and she has been tracking all this, watching it so closely.

Whitney, tell me more about the specific rhetoric that we are seeing online. And how closely it is echoing what we saw before January 6th.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, when you look at what people are saying and they're using words like civil war, it's a lot like what we saw prior to January 6th. And, you know, Erin, multiple law enforcement sources are telling CNN they're closely monitoring this violent rhetoric, which as you point out has really spiked in the 24 hours since this news broke.

For example, a congressional security source told CNN that shortly after the search warrant news became public, the Capitol police began discussions about planning for any potential issues that might arise. The big concern for that source is that there might be violence directed at members of Congress or members of federal law enforcement.

And when you look at the language, it's really easy to see why this person was so concerned. So, for example, here just some of the posts my colleague Donie O'Sullivan has found.

Here's one directed toward Attorney General Merrick Garland. This person saying, I'll just say it, Garland needs to be assassinated. Simple as that.

Another user wrote: Kill all feds.

Users also encouraged other people to post the address of the judge they believe signed off on the search warrant, writing, I see a rope around his neck. And that was posted, Erin, underneath a photo of that judge.

This is all coming up on the very same forum where researchers had previously found talk of violence and discussion on how to attack police officers, other members of law enforcement, and this was the rhetoric that was going on on January 6th, Erin.

The point here being that the very same place that violent rhetoric originated before January 6th is the very same place it is originating from now.

Back to you.

BURNETT: All right. Whitney, thank you very much. Really sobering.

I want to go now to Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson. He was also a U.S. attorney in the Justice Department under President Reagan, so understands this from that side very well as well.

So, Governor, you just heard Whitney's reporting. And in that context, Dan Cox, who is the Republican nominee for governor in the state of Maryland has just posted a statement on Facebook. He says in part, and I'll read it to you, Governor: This FBI raid of Trump's home is nothing short of communist Stasi police state tactics.

As governor, I will use the 9th and 10th Amendments, the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights, the Maryland State Police and Maryland Guard to stand against all rogue actions of this out of control, tyrannical Biden administration with fierce tenacity.

Governor, how dangerous is this type of rhetoric?

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Well, it is dangerous. And everybody should just take a breath back and say, let's wait and get facts. That's important. There's a lot of facts we do not know.

But it's critically important that the attorney general of the United States that presumably signed off on this search warrant, that he address the American people, that he provide some information, that he does not leave the vacuum that is there that allows this kind of hysterical rhetoric to consume our nation.

And without some kind of communication from the Department of Justice, and it should be at his level, then you're going to see this potentially increase.


And so, it's very problematic.

I believe in the institution of the Department of Justice, but their credibility is on the line, and the attorney general has to step up. There's ways you can communicate without divulging too much information, still being confidential about matters that are under seal, but he has to communicate to the American people as to what is going on or this is going to accelerate. BURNETT: So explain that a bit, because obviously, the policy, the

tradition, the precedent of the Department of Justice would not be to do any of those things. We are in an unusual situation, and everybody knows that, certainly Attorney General Garland knows that.

When you look from your perspective, right, as a former federal prosecutor, what can they do that in your view would not divulge too much information but that would assuage some of this absurdity, frankly, that's filling the void?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I think you can come out and you can explain exactly what you're doing in the search warrant, the reason for it. Now, obviously, there's a due process rights that are involved here, and that's why it's under seal, but here you have former President Trump disclosing it, announcing it, and that changes the obligations of the Department of Justice in terms of absolutely they can respond. They can get truth out.

Secondly, this search warrant is under seal, but anything under seal can be unsealed. We unseal documents all the time. You ask the judge to do it.

There's extraordinary circumstances here. If there's confidential sources to be protected, then that can be redacted.

The key thing is, provide information and you can narrowly tailor it. We don't know what the next shoe is going to be that drops. There might be more to this story, but you can still address the nation.

BURNETT: Right, and, Governor, obviously, Ty Cobb, former defense attorney for President Trump in the Mueller investigation believes that actually this is not about -- ultimately be about classified documents, that it will ultimately be about January 6th. But nonetheless, we know from our reporting the search warrant itself as it was written was related to Trump's handling of classified documents. And one source says the authorities suspected he withheld documents with national security implications.

So, on that front, Governor, when we were searching, we found something that you had said back in 2016, and I wanted to play it now.


HUTCHINSON: When it comes to being commander in chief, we don't want a president who in the words of the FBI is extremely careless in the handling of classified material.


BURNETT: Governor, of course, that was about then Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The FBI was investigating her for private email server as secretary of state.

But obviously, your words then, I have to explain that because they would apply now.

Do you hold former President Trump to the same standard?

HUTCHINSON: Well, certainly, anybody who is commander in chief, anybody who has that level of responsibility ought to handle classified information with great care and consistent with the law. Absolutely. Those are classified for a reason.

But you also, as it points out, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, was not held accountable. That was dismissed. And so, that's why a lot of the Republican base sees an inconsistency, sees a different handling of the same issues by the Department of Justice.

Another reason that the quicker you can get information out, you got to build confidence in where they're going.

BURNETT: Governor, from your perspective, though, just in the narrow sense, and as you know, we don't know what other shoes to drop are, we don't know how much bigger this could be, but if it truly is about mishandling classified documents and that's what he did, is that disqualifying for him to run for office again in your view?

HUTCHINSON: I wouldn't want to comment on that. You know, I know classified documents. I have handled cases in court in reference to that. There's different levels of it. You can have information that's classified that should never have been classified.

And so, if you're going to go after a former president, it needs to be the highest level of seriousness. And so that's what remains to be seen as to what exactly are the documents that you're speaking of and whether there's going to be more that's going to come later on that we don't know about.

BURNETT: All right. Governor Hutchinson, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

HUTCHINSON: Thank you. Good to be with you.

BURNETT: Next, it is election night in America. People voting tonight, Trump's election lie is on the ballot. But are voters buying what election deniers are selling? There's an important race tonight.


Plus, he says he's been talking to the Russians. Ambassador Bill Richardson has been working to bring WNBA star Brittney Griner home and he will be OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Tonight, former Vice President Mike Pence expressing concern about the FBI search of former President Donald Trump's resort home Mar-a-Lago and pressing the department of justice to explain the move, tweeting I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump.

But that comes as the two men are locked in a proxy war, this time in the Wisconsin governor's race. Kristen Holmes is OUTFRONT in Wisconsin where polls are closing in

just about an hour.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Trump/Pence battle moving to the Badger State.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I want to say a very big hello to a place called Wisconsin.

HOLMES: The two former allies squaring off once again, this time in Wisconsin's Republican gubernatorial primary.


HOLMES: Former Vice President Pence is backing Rebecca Kleefisch, the former lieutenant governor and local news anchor who has the support of the Republican establishment.

KLEEFISCH: I'm Rebecca Kleefisch.

HOLMES: While she entered the race as the front-runner, the contest turned competitive after Trump endorsed her opponent, businessman Tim Michels.

TRUMP: You're going to send Tim Michels, an incredible success story, Tim Michels, to the governor's mansion.

HOLMES: Both candidates have sown doubts about Wisconsin's election results.


KLEEFISCH: I'm going to create an office of election integrity underneath the umbrella of the Department of Justice with real law enforcement authority that can use our forensic auditors to audit elections moving both forward and backward to stop fraud before it starts.

TIM MICHELS (R), WISCONSIN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to have election integrity here in Wisconsin.

HOLMES: As Trump has remained obsessed with overturning the state's results after losing the 2020 presidential election by more than 20,000 votes.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: The election was rigged and stolen, and now our country is being systematically destroyed.

HOLMES: But while Trump has called for the election to be decertified or overturned, Kleefisch says it's not possible.

KLEEFISCH: No, it's not constitutionally possible. There is no path to decertifying an election that has already happened. HOLMES: The GOP is aiming to flip the governor's mansion in this critical swing state. The winner will face Democratic Governor Tony Evers in November.

This is the third time Trump and pence have endorsed different gubernatorial primary candidates. Trump's pick in Arizona, Kari Lake, secured a win, while Pence-backed Brian Kemp defeated Trump's choice in Georgia, as both men eye potential presidential run in 2024.


HOLMES (on camera): And Erin, Trump endorsed in another Republican primary here in Wisconsin what appears to be an attempt to punish a Wisconsin legislator for not helping him decertify the 2020 election. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has been pressured by Trump on numerous occasions including in a phone call just a few weeks ago to decertify -- to over turn the 2020 election results here in Wisconsin.

According to Vos, he once again told Trump he was unable to legally do so, that he could not do so under the Constitution. Trump then endorsing his little known opponent, Adam Steen, so we'll be watching that very closely to see how that last-minute endorsement plays out here in Wisconsin -- Erin.

HOLMES: All right. Kristen, thank you very much. An important night there.

And next, Brittney Griner's lawyers say they will appeal the WNBA star's nine-year penal colony sentence in the coming days, but you see how that would go. The only solution may be a prisoner swap, and Ambassador Bill Richardson who has been talking to the Russians is my guest.

Plus, a scary moment at a Little League game. The pitcher accidentally hitting the batter. What happened next is touching the sports world and way beyond.



BURNETT: Tonight, the lawyers for detained WNBA star Brittney Griner saying they will appeal Russia's nine-year penal colony sentence against her by the end of the week. Griner's lawyers telling our Fred Pleitgen who is there on the ground reporting that she's still shocked by the verdict against her.

OUTFRONT now, Bill Richardson, the former governor and U.N. ambassador who has been talking to the Russians about Griner as well as her family. He's been involved in high-stakes negotiations involving Americans, many of them including the release of Laura Ling, which anyone watching will remember, of course, from North Korea.

Ambassador, I really appreciate your taking the time. And I know, obviously, you've got to be careful about what you can share here. But let me boil it down to this -- I understand you're optimistic that

Griner, as well as Paul Whelan, another American citizen who's been detained by Russia, will be freed in a prisoner swap with Russia.

Why are you optimistic? When do you think this could happen?

BILL RICHARDSON, TALKING TO RUSSIANS ABOUT RELEASE OF GRINER, WHELAN: Well, Erin, I'm optimistic for the following reasons.

One, the Russian court process is basically over even though there's an appeal for this nine-year sentence. But when you negotiate with many of these regimes, they want their court process to end. So now, the real negotiating starts.

Number two, the foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who I served with at the United Nations when I was ambassador, is very involved in the negotiations. He's a pragmatic person. That's a good sign.

Third, I think the fact that we had a prisoner exchange with Russia a couple of months ago with Trevor Reed, an American marine, shows that despite the huge toxic bad relationship with Russia, we are still able to do some humanitarian efforts like a prisoner exchange.

Now, a prisoner exchange, it's unseemly. But I think the administration is handling it correctly. I don't know if I would have gone public with the two-for-one, Viktor Bout, an arms dealer, for Griner -- and I think it was a good tactic -- and Paul Whelan, the marine.

We can't forget the marine. Brittney Griner is a major start, but we can't forget the less glamorous Paul Whelan, who's been there four years. So those are the reasons.

Then lastly, I think that the legal team of Griner has been very, very smart in showing contrition, on talking about soft-pedaling the crime itself. I think that's positive.


RICHARDSON: They've handled it well.

So with those reasons, I think that -- you know, I'm optimistic. I've done a lot of these negotiations despite the fact that the prisoner exchange is unseemly. Viktor Bout, an arms dealer, a bad guy.

But I think the president is right. We've got to take these steps to bring American hostages home no matter where they are, and there are about 70 around the world -- in Iran, in Venezuela, and many other places.

BURNETT: And as you say that, Governor, of course -- and you know this. You've been involved in so many of them in so many different countries. But, you know, some of those 70 are in Russia and are not named Paul Whelan or Brittney Griner.

And last week, I spoke with Anne Fogel, the sister of Marc Fogel. He's the 61-year-old detained in Russia. He recently was sentenced to 14 years in a hard labor camp.

He was in possession of half an ounce of medical marijuana, that story such that we know is very similar to Griner's.


His name, of course, isn't mentioned in any of these possible prisoner swaps. He could be left behind.

Here's what his sister told me.


ANNE FOGEL, SISTER OF MARC FOGEL, WHO IS SERVING 14 YEARS IN RUSSIA: We're just trying to bring his story to light. He can't be there. He cannot stay there, and they have to bring him home with the other two.

This is -- this is the package deal for someone like Viktor Bout. There should be -- there should be more gusto given by the government. We need more gusto for this, better negotiating.


BURNETT: Governor, what do you say to her?

RICHARDSON: Well, we -- my foundation -- first of all, we don't work for the government. We work for the families, and we don't charge them anything. We do this on a humanitarian basis.

But we are -- there are three other detainees in Russia plus a POW in Ukraine, an American, that have been contact -- contacted us, and we're trying to help.

But I think the first stage, Erin, is going to be Whelan, and it's going to be Griner. And, you know, we're going to continue working on behalf of all these detainees. But I think you have to be practical that initially, it's going to be these two.

But we won't forget the rest. We won't forget the rest, and neither will the U.S. government.

I commend the administration. They're handling this well. They're putting out sound, strong policies to try to get them back. But now, the negotiating starts, and this is what we have to do.

BURNETT: Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a scary moment at a Little League game turns into a remarkable declay -- display, I'm sorry, of sportsmanship.


BURNETT: Finally tonight, a true act of sportsmanship, and it happened at a Little League championship game in Waco, Texas. It was the bottom of the first inning when Texas East pitcher Kaiden Shelton accidentally hit Oklahoma's Isaiah Jarvis in the helmet. It was scary scene and Jarvis was knocked to the ground.

And then moments later, there was this touching scene. Jarvis who've been on the head walks over to Shelton to console him. See that?

Texas went on to win the game 9-4. Perhaps we all can be heartened by the sportsmanship some of the young in this country are displaying.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.