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Erin Burnett Outfront

Unsealed Docs Sharpen Focus On Trump As Possible Subject Of DOJ Probe; Ex-Trump Officials Mock Claim He Had Standing Order To Declassify Docs; Interview With Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams; McConnell Admits Republicans May Not Retake Senate; Little Leaguer Who Cracked Skull In Bunk Bed Fall Out Of ICU; U.S. Officials Crack Down On Relentless Auto "Warranty" Robocalls. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 18, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, court filings just released with new details about the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago. What was the FBI looking for, and how much of the focus is on Trump himself?

Plus, Stacey Abrams weighing in on the Georgia criminal probe into Trump's efforts to overturn the election.

And the Little League World Series player critically injured after falling from a dormitory bunk bed. One of the doctors treating him is my guest.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, new details on the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago. A federal judge in Florida today releasing new documents related to that search.

And I'll just show you, because here they are, just a few pages. But pages, new pages we haven't seen this before -- specific information about the potential offenses that the Justice Department is investigating. In here is language that does sharpen the focus on the former president himself.

For example, if you just look at this part, it says under the search is related to a violation of, it continues to say willful retention of national defense information, concealment or removal of government records, and obstruction of federal investigation. So we got a little bit here. This, again, is new information as part of the whole search of Mar-a-Lago.

The federal judge today also ordering the Justice Department to possibly release the crucial affidavit used to get the search warrant, basically saying it could go that way. So prepare redactions to the affidavit in case the ruling is to release it. Now, the new things we learned tonight, they're important. They

matter. But the affidavit itself will tell us what specifically the Justice Department knew when it searched Trump's home, what specifically investigators were looking for and why, what was their cause, and who helped them figure it out.

Now, CNN is among the media organizations requesting the release of that affidavit. The DOJ is fighting it. A top lawyer in the Department of Justice's national security division arguing in court today that releasing the affidavit would, quote, provide a road map to the investigation and perhaps even indicate the DOJ's next steps. That lawyer also warning that releasing the affidavit could have a chilling effect on witnesses, again, plural, and on other high-profile investigations.

Now, Trump himself says he wants the affidavit himself. His spokesman tweeting today, no redactions should be necessary and the whole affidavit should be released. No redactions.

Well, the new information today and this fight over the affidavit is coming as we are learning something else really important. And that is that Trump's claim of having declassified the documents from the White House simply doesn't add up.

CNN can exclusively report that 18 former top Trump administration officials say that Trump's claim of having a standing order to declassify documents he took from the White House is utter nonsense.

Well, let me just use their words. One senior administration official called it bullshit, others used ludicrous, ridiculous, a complete fiction. And so it went 18 times.

Here's how Trump's former national security advisor John Bolton put it.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There was no standing order. I was not briefed on anything like that when I started as national security advisor. I never heard of it, never saw it in operation, never knew about it. The president never said anything to me during 17 months there. I just think it's a complete fiction.


BURNETT: Sara Murray is OUTFRONT in Washington to begin our coverage tonight.

And, Sara, I want to get to more of this exclusive reporting in just a moment. But first, take us inside that courtroom. What more can you tell us about what happened there today and why it matter?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, I think we've gotten a couple of new documents that are shedding more light around that search that happened at Mar-a-Lago. You know, we previously knew that the Justice Department was broadly investigating violations of the Espionage Act, but that language that you were just reading that they are investigating willful retention of national defense information, legal experts say it does sharpen the focus on Donald Trump as a possible subject of this criminal probe because a good point to the fact that obviously when he was president, he was authorized and had the ability to have these national defense documents.

But that was no longer the case when he was no longer in office, and when he moved on to Mar-a-Lago. Now, of course the affidavit underlying the search warrant could tell us a lot more. The judge suggested that he did not remain that should be completely sealed and he believed some portions should be made public but he's giving the Justice Department a week, until next Thursday, to propose their redactions.

BURNETT: So you were part of the team that broke that story that I just mentioned, right?


The 18 former top Trump officials telling CNN that the claim Trump had a standing order to declassify documents is utter nonsense. And I know you all made a lot of calls, you talked to a lot of people to get to the bottom of this.

What more are you learning?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. A lot of the credit for this goes to my colleague, Jamie Gangel. But CNN did talk to 18 former top Trump officials, and they basically had never heard of this so-called standing order to declassify documents once they moved from the Oval Office to the White House residence. Many of them doubted whether that was, in fact, true.

CNN talked to two former White House chief of staff's, including John Kelly, who said nothing approaching an order that foolish was ever given. Nick Mulvaney, another chief of staff at the White House, said he was not aware of a general standing order, Erin.

BURNETT: Pretty clear and important that they put their names on the record on this.

MURRAY: Uh-huh.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you so much, Sara Murray.

And I want to go down to Robert Litt, former principal associate deputy attorney general and the general counsel for the national intelligence director. Also with me, Stephanie Grisham, former press secretary for then-President Trump. And John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel.

Thanks to all.

John, so let me start with you and the documents, one of the documents that we got today, right? And this, you know, look, it's something. It's something we didn't have.

More specific information on the potential offenses being investigated by the Justice Department. And let me say again what Sarah just said, that the Mar-a-Lago search was related to a violation of willful retention of national defense information. Also, to concealment or removal of government records and obstruction of a federal investigation.

What do you think this means for Donald Trump, John?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, to me, what happens, and I agree with the others who reached this conclusion, that it looks like Trump has not necessarily the target, but clearly at this point a subject of the investigation. In other words, you wouldn't have taken these extraordinary steps of a search warrant of a former president, had he not been high on the list of needing to know.

He's not being looked at as a witness, he's being looked at as somebody who was involved in the misbehavior. And we can't take it very far, but we can certainly take that next step. I think that's pretty clear from these documents.

BURNETT: So, Bob, the big debate today was about the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit. We get that other document, right, but the affidavit, itself, interesting that the judge there says, he is inclined to release the affidavit, but a redacted version. He gives the DOJ a week to come back and says, look, you have to prepare for me for it to go this way. Come with your suggested redactions. Be ready.

Do you think this is the right call, Bob?

ROBERT LITT, FORMER PRINCIPAL ASSOCIATE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, DOJ: I think it probably is under these circumstances of this case. I mean, Attorney General Garland has already noted the important public interest in this matter. But I think the devil is going to be in quite the Department of Justice actually proposes to be redacted.

The most important thing to them is going to be to redact anything that could reveal the identity of a witness. Not just the name, but anything that could lead somebody to conclude that this person was a witness.

The second most important thing is going to be information that could indicate where their next witnesses might be, where they might be going.

So there's a real possibility that at the end of the day, what we end up with is a document that's full of holes and doesn't really tell you what's going on.

BURNETT: So, Stephanie, Trump and his allies have tried to downplay all of this, you know, by this claim, right? They said, okay, whatever excuses they've given, they have eventually come to, well, okay, they have he has the documents, but it's all fine because he has a standing order to declassify them. So whatever he took went home elsewhere in the White House, it was

automatically declassified. So, Jamie Gangel, Sara Murray, our team has made all of these calls and they report that 18 former Trump top Trump administration officials say this is total nonsense, complete fiction, bullshit -- those are the words, their words, not mine.

Your reaction, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I feel like a broken record, because I say this all the time, but, you know, I was not surprised. This is another instance where the former president told a lie, and many, many, many people with national security clearances with big titles, such as the two chiefs of staff, have come back and said it's not true.

But the problem is, Trump has no reason not to lie. He's backed up by Republican leadership, most of the Republican people in office, and a lot of people running for office. The RNC is backing him and he's fundraising like crazy after this.

So he's got no consequences to telling these lies, which is, sorry, it's just the same story over, and over, and over again.

BURNETT: Bob, we end up in the situation, though, and it is unprecedented, and it's not a precedent you want to change in terms of putting affidavits out, right? That's not how things are done.

LITT: No, that's correct.

BURNETT: One of the DOJ lawyers who's arguing against the affidavit coming out in any form, they say, look, if we put this out, it provides a roadmap for the investigation. It could reveal witnesses. It could compromise this investigation, and other high-profile investigations.


So, Bob, the question for you is, does that stand out to you or is this the go-to argument that the DOJ would use in any case, to keep something sealed? I mean, is this standard or this is this special?

LITT: No, I think it signifies something in this case. And I think that go back to an earlier point we made, it does sharpen a little bit the focus on the president, the former president. We all know of instances which have been reported where there have been called made for potential witnesses before the January 6th committee, we all know of instances where people who did testify were retaliated against.

And so, I think there's a realistic concern here, not just a boiler plate, but a realistic concern that witnesses could be affected. I mean, if you -- if you know that your name may be released publicly, you are going to be less likely to come forward and tell the truth, that you know, you're going to be protected.

BURNETT: John, then, where are we? Because if they're going to release the affidavit and they're going to suggest the redactions that they say would therefore protect those witnesses and protect other investigations, you know, the Justice Department has indicated that would be nothing. It would just be a sea of black. There would be nothing to read except perhaps some propositions or something like that.

What do you think it will look like if we get a redacted version?

DEAN: I think the judge wants to see what that would look like himself, and if it is totally a black sheep that the department feels is the only thing that can be released, he may push them, in private discussions. They'll be -- because we're talking about classified information and potentially high-profile witnesses, it would be done out of the site of the public and the media, obviously.

But I think he wants to see how far he can push this to get a better public understanding of what's going on. That's what his disposition appears to be.

I'm not sure there is much. I don't think, they are not going to release highly classified information, national security or defense information. And they're not going to release witnesses. So, it's never going to satisfy the media and their curiosity, but it may whet their whistle much more as a result of this drill.

BURNETT: Yeah, and, Stephanie, all the outcomes of this, and you mentioned fundraising, but that's -- that's what it has been, right?

The fundraising figures, as we understand it, CNN learning that Donald Trump's PAC got more than 1 million dollars in donations a day after the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. And that was at least for the first few days. Dozens of emails have gone out to supporters about it, texts, and every other Republican signed up for those packed distribution lists. Jim Jordan, everybody else, they've all been sending them out to fund-raise.

Are you surprised at all that this has been so successful?

GRISHAM: Sadly, no. Again, the broker record over here, not surprised.

But, you know, even having his attorney go and sit in the courtroom today, and not actually say anything officially to the court that they want the affidavit released, it is all about PR for them. It's all about fundraising for them.

It is about fact finding. I believe they want the affidavit released so that, again, they can try to figure out who near him is talking. But also that they can start crafting their messages about what, you know, how they're wrong, how this is corrupt, all of the things that he does every single day, and he's quite successful at it, unfortunately, as we're seeing with the fundraising.

And again, all of the people who are backing him up, not one person, it is astounding to me, has said, well, maybe we take -- we take a minute and look at this. The guy's under investigation, you know, six different ways.

BURNETT: Yeah, it is pretty incredible.

Thank you all very much for your time and for your perspective tonight, as we have this new information.

LITT: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Trump's former right-hand man at the Trump Org actually pleading guilty in his tax fraud case, 15 years of fraud. And now, he's preparing to testify. So, what does this mean for Trump?

Plus, Stacey Abrams running for the governor of Georgia, embracing Joe Biden while other Democratic officials in her say are, frankly, doing the opposite. Abrams is OUTFRONT.

And Mitch McConnell now hedging his bets on Republicans dominating the Senate races in November.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think there'd be probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate.




BURNETT: New tonight, Trump's former longtime right-hand man of the Trump Organization pleading guilty to a 15-year tax fraud scheme, including $1.7 million in income. Allen Weisselberg, who is set to, quote, know where all financial bodies are buried and Trump Org, admitting that he got plenty of perks he didn't pay for, like his apartment in Manhattan, his two Mercedes-Benz cars and private school tuitions.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Weisselberg will testify as a witness against the Trump Organization. And when I say this about the bodies being buried, he worked there for more than 40 years.

OUTFRONT now, David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who has covered Donald Trump for more than 30 years.

David, you know a lot about all the individuals at play here. What is at stake for Trump when Weisselberg takes the stand in October?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Well, Donald Trump and Allen Weisselberg are stuck together like two pieces of fused glass. You shutter one, you shattered the other. Since he knows about all the deceptive practices of the Trump Organization, when the Trump Organization goes on trial, now scheduled a few days before the fall elections, he can give a road map under examination.

Now, I don't expect him to go out of his way to cooperate. He may be treated as a hostile witness by the prosecution when they call him. BURNETT: And he's -- I should be clear here, right, the requirement is

that he's going to appear as a witness. You're pointing out it could be hostile. That is not the same as cooperating and flipping, not at all. In fact, he is not doing that.

And over and over, we heard from people in Trump's orbit of what you described as a fused glass, but just how close Weisselberg and Trump are -- listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been his life. He's always -- he's always been saved by Donald.

JAY GOLDBERG, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: He knows everything about Donald. Next to a family member and perhaps more than that, he knows everything about Donald.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER EVP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Everything went to Donald, you name it, right?


Allen Weisselberg's kids payments, rent, everything would have a Donald signature on it or his initial.


BURNETT: So, David, are you surprised Weisselberg has not formally flipped on Trump?

JOHNSTON: No, and certainly not psychologically, I don't think that's possible. But the fact that he pled after his lawyers and Trump lawyers pooh-poohed these charges when the indictments returned a year ago, it does suggest that they have something else on him. Now maybe threats to prosecute to his two sons who also receive these benefits that were not reported to the tax authorities.

And, by the way, we are not talking about a piddling sum here. If you're a worker at the median wage, half (INAUDIBLE), you'd have to work 34 years to make $1.8 million.

BURNETT: It's unbelievable.

JOHNSTON: Oh, 52 years, I'm sorry, 52 years, yeah.

BURNETT: And you're talking about that this went on for 15 years. I mean, now, look, he's going to testify, this is a trial about the Trump Organization and, yes, that inevitably leads to Trump. As Michael Cohen said, nothing happened here that he wasn't involved with, but it is the Trump Organization that's formally on trial.

What happens to the Trump Org, to the real estate company here when this is all said and done?

JOHNSTON: Well, it's possible in this case or the Letitia James civil case that the Trump Corporation at the top will be extinguished. If that happens, Donald can still own his properties but he will own them directly and the liability shield that you get from having a corporation goes away. So something horrible happens, his liability personally goes way up. This is very bad news for him.

In addition, now that Weisselberg has confessed that he's a thief, a felon, a serial felon, there may be difficulty with banks and certainly with trying to get any new financing.

BURNETT: Yeah, absolutely. So, the guy was in charge and he was going to the banks, he's doing with accounting (ph), and admitted he was involved in tax fraud for 15 years. You've got an important point there.

All right. David, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

JOHNSTON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Georgia's criminal investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election ramping up tonight. Stacey Abrams weighs in next.

And was all the talk of Republicans winning back the Senate just totally premature? Well, our data expert, Harry Enten, is OUTFRONT and he's got the numbers.



BURNETT: Tonight, a Georgia judge setting a date a week from today to consider Governor Brian Kemp's request to throw out a subpoena in a criminal investigation related to former President Trump. This is the investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and it's looking into Trump's -- attempts, I'm sorry, to overturn Georgia's election.

In a court filing, Kemp's lawyers detailing the multiple attempts by Kemp to voluntarily cooperate with the ongoing investigation and accusing Willis of playing politics. They call the timing of the subpoena, quote, an effort to politicize the investigation against the governor in the final sprint of the 2022 election cycle.

Now, Kemp refused Trump's efforts to overturn Georgia's election and he could be a key witness in this investigation.

I want to go OUTFRONT now to Stacey Abrams, Kemp's Democratic opponent in the Georgia governor race and the former minority leader of Georgia's House of Representatives.

So, Leader Abrams, Governor Kemp says the Fulton County D.A. is playing politics with this subpoena and is doing it to help your campaign.

What do you say to him? STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I think once

again, Brian Kemp to wants to take credit but doesn't want to take responsibility. He has coasted on this notion that he is an anti-Trump moderate, but we know that he has described himself as a Trump conservative, that he is seeking Donald Trump's endorsement for this race, that he welcomes it, and that this subpoena has been outstanding -- or this request for him to testify has been ongoing for months.

He has had time to do this. And if he doesn't have time to show up to testify, he must not have time to go and raise money or do anything else because if he is as concerned about the state of our democracy as he would hope for people to think he is, he would show up for this incredibly important subpoena and he would provide testimony in a timely manner.

BURNETT: So, his lawyers say that the Fulton County prosecutors had an agreement but they rescinded it. And that that agreement was to lay out in advance the topics Kemp would be asked about before the grand jury and that they then rescinded it and then they cancelled a voluntary interview and then they went ahead and subpoenaed him.

If that's really what happened, would you testify under those conditions if you were in his shoes?

ABRAMS: First, I do not actually believe the -- if you look at the emails that have been released about the back-and-forth and having dealt with the Kemp administration, I would actually put my faith more in the Fulton County D.A.'s office. I know that this has been a meticulous and very thoughtful investigation and that he is not the only Republican who's tried to skirt his responsibility to provide information.

Rudy Giuliani has tried it. Lindsey Graham has tried it. Brian Kemp is trying it.

But the reality is Brian Kemp wants to win this election under the pretext that he is not a Trump conservative and he is. And you can tell that from his hard right policies from banning abortion to opposing marriage equality, to the voter suppression laws that he signed after January 6th.

Brian Kemp up and down the board is a Trump conservative, but he is afraid that if he actually shows up to testify, the world will know it.

BURNETT: There is one thing here though in all of this, and that is that Governor Kemp refused to go along with Trump's lies about the Georgia election. Trump directly pressured him to do it and Kemp didn't do it, right? Right? He certified the election two separate times for Biden.


So, when push came to shove, he was in a position to do right and do wrong. Didn't he ultimately do the right thing? STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Let's be clear,

he refused to -- he agreed to certify the election and, yes, I am proud that he did not commit treason.

However, he also then pushed through one of the most aggressive voter suppressive laws that we've seen in recent years and it was entirely based on the big lie that there had been mismanagement and poor action in the election.

He used the Trump lie to justify a voter suppression law. And moreover, he said himself that he changed the laws in the state of Georgia regarding voting because he was frustrated by the results of 2020 and 2021.

Yes, Brian Kemp gets to cross the very low bar of not committing treason. But our bar for democracy should be higher. He should not only agree to certify the election as was his job but he should show up and tell the truth about what happened.

If he truly believes that Donald Trump did something wrong, then now is the time to say it. I'm not certain what he would be hiding from America, from Georgia, by waiting until after the election to tell the truth. If he could tell the truth before, he should be able to tell the truth now.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about the investigation itself. You've talked about it as being run meticulously and, obviously, you know it has come under some scrutiny. And that is because the district attorney, Fani Willis, has been rebuked once already from perceived political bias by a judge -- a judge who recently blocked her from investigating Republican State Senator Burt Jones.

Burt Jones was one of the alleged fake electors involved in the scheme to subvert Georgia's election. Jones is now the nominee for lieutenant governor, and Willis hosted a campaign fundraiser for the person who became his Democratic opponent.

You know, how much did that damage her credibility, to host a fundraiser -- a political fundraiser?

ABRAMS: I can't speak to why she chose to do that, but I can tell you that Brian Kemp has not only lauded Burt Jones, one of the fake electors, he has also appointed another fake elector, reappointed one, to a very important office -- appointed office in the state of Georgia. That he has suborned those who have used the big lie to justify their actions.

And so, while I understand the concerns that have been raised, we have to focus on who's actually responsible and who is in charge. Brian Kemp is a dangerous extremist who has tried to hide himself behind one good action, and he has distracted the rest of us or certainly distracted most of America from looking at his actual record.

He is trying to play both moderate and MAGA but he is just extreme. He wants credit standing up to Trump but he is refusing to testify to tell the truth. And I encourage people to go to the website, --


BURNETT: Do you believe though -- I understand your point. I understand your point. But, ultimately, look, there were plenty of people -- there were plenty of people running for office now, whether it'd be for governor, for secretaries of state who said they would not do what Brian Kemp did. They would not certify the election, and that they would have done what President Trump wanted, right?

What he did, and -- you know, it is no small thing in the world that we live in now, is it?

ABRAMS: It is an important thing to do your job. And I am not diminishing the fact that he did his job. But I would not lionize someone for not committing treason.

If we have lowered our standards so much that simply not doing wrong is the only metric, that is deeply problematic, especially when the person at -- in question, Brian Kemp, has a long and unfortunate history of voter suppression, of not only supporting Donald Trump, but seeking his endorsement and seeking his support even today.

He has not rebuked Trump. He has not rebuked his bad behavior. He's simply hoping that no one pays attention and that is not heroic. That is self-interested. That is hubristic and that is wrong for the future of Georgia.

BURNETT: All right. Leader Abrams, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

ABRAMS: Absolutely. Thank you.

BURNETT: And I want to be clear, we did invite Governor Kemp to come on the show tonight. His office said he was unavailable. I do hope he'll come on because he is welcome on this show any time.

And OUTFRONT next, Republican Senate candidates tonight struggling to get the upper hand against their Democratic opponents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and Arizona. The list goes on. And Harry Enten, the data expert, is next with the numbers.

And the Little League World Series player who fractured his skull after falling from a bunk bed is improving tonight. His doctor is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, Mitch McConnell downplaying chances of Republicans winning back the Senate, which looked almost like a foregone conclusion just a few months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think there's probably a greater likelihood the House flips that the Senate. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.


BURNETT: Several Republican Senate candidates are struggling right now to get an upper hand, including Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Herschel Walker in Georgia, and J.D. Vance in Ohio. Republicans just poured another $28 million to Vance's race today. Even Republican incumbent Ron Johnson in new polls is now seven points behind his Democratic challenger.

This is not what everybody said was going to happen 30 days ago, 60 days ago.

Harry Enten is CNN data reporter and he is with me now.

So, Harry, the landscape has changed pretty dramatically, at least people's perception of the landscape. Where do things stand?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah, I must admit, Erin, I am surprised at where things stand. You look at key races like in Arizona, in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in Wisconsin, what do you see in these races, in Georgia? You see the Democrats ahead in Arizona.

A new Fox News poll out last hour, plus 8 points. Georgia, again, Democrats up 3 points. Ohio. You do see that J.D. Vance is ahead but barely ahead. Pennsylvania, Fetterman up 10, Wisconsin up 4, Mandela Barnes in an average of recent polls.

This is not where I thought things were and it speaks to a shifting tide towards the Democrats that we've seen nationally. Biden's approval rating is a little bit up, the generic ballot, Democrats are doing a little bit better, and now we're also seeing in Senate races as well.

BURNETT: OK, which is very significant and McConnell says something.


And he's always careful with what he says and it's always very evenly delivered. But he said something important. He said candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome. And on those races you see there, those are the candidates people point to for exactly that issue.

ENTEN: That's exactly right. I mean, just go to Pennsylvania, for example. Mehmet Oz, who's 20 points underwater on his net favorability, that's just favorable, minus is unfavorable rating.

You look at a state like Georgia, you see Herschel Walker again minus 5 points on his net favorability. And you keep going all these different states, Arizona, Blake Masters, 4 points underwater. And you see that in all those races that we mentioned where the Democrats are ahead, the net favorability of the different Republicans is underwater. Their unfavorable ratings are higher than favorable ratings.

This is a long-standing problem with Republicans. We saw it in 2010 as well, a year in which we thought Republicans have a good chance of taking back the Senate, and they blew it then because they nominated bad candidates in the minds of the voters.

BURNETT: Right. And you've got Johnson, you've got an incumbent, but Oz, that was completely discretionary. That was their choice. Walker, completely discretionary, that's their choice.

ENTEN: That was their choice, and in a lot of those cases, who was the man who perhaps got those candidates over the finish line? It was the former President Donald Trump who went in and endorsed Mehmet Oz, for example. He didn't have to be the nominee, but because of Trump's endorsement, he barely got Oz over the finish line in Pennsylvania.

BURNETT: That's amazing. You wonder when Georgia will ever learn.

Well, President Biden's approval rating does remain low, you talk about it improving a little bit, but it's still bad, OK? The latest CNN poll has him at 38 percent. So, I understand direction matters. What is more important here for Democrats, the level or the direction?

ENTEN: I might argue that while they're both important, the thing that's most interesting to me if you go back over time and you say, okay, let's look at the Senate races or the Senate years in which the incumbent, the White House party did not in fact lose any seats or in fact gain seats and look at the president's approval rating in those years, we don't actually see that much of a relationship.

BURNETT: That's amazing.

ENTEN: You look at like 1982, for example, Ronald Reagan was not anywhere close to 50 percent. In fact, Republicans held their grounding. You look just four years ago, remember, Donald Trump was well underwater. What happened? Republicans actually gained two Senate seats.

There are years where the president's approval rating is high and the White House party holds or gains seats, but the relationship is not as straight as you might expect it to be. So, at this point, even though Biden's approval rating is low, it's not shocking to me that Democrats are not only holding their grounding, if the election were held today, they might actually gain some seats.

BURNETT: Yeah. Which is incredible, and McConnell sees it, sees it as well.

ENTEN: It's right there in the numbers, Erin.

BURNETT: Right. Harry, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: He knows the numbers better than anyone.

ENTEN: I try.

BURNETT: And next, a Little League World Series player who fell from a dormitory bunk bed and cracked his skull, what is his condition and are other children in danger? The doctor who's treating him will be OUTFRONT.

And have you ever gotten a call like this?


CALLER: Hi there, this is Shasta calling in regards to your Volkswagen warranty.


BURNETT: Well, did you know Americans have received more than 8 billion spam calls just like that one? And a new lawsuit points to two California men, two, who are allegedly behind them all.



BURNETT: We have an update on the 12-year-old boy we told you about last night who fractured his skull and was in critical condition. That was after falling from a bunk bed in the Little League World Series.

Easton Oliverson's family says he is moved out of the ICU. He's now being treated in a regular hospital again. It's a positive update.

It comes as his teammates are getting ready for their first game of the World Series tomorrow. Easton younger brother Rogan (ph) will be taking his place on the team.

OUTFRONT now is Dr. Frank Maffei, chair of the department of pediatrics at the hospital where Easton has been treated and he has been involved in his care.

Dr. Maffei, I really appreciate your time.

And, you know, the family -- Easton's family just posted some pictures on Easton -- on Instagram, I'm sorry, of Easton at the hospital. Look, these are hard to look at but I know that he is getting better. What is the latest on his recovery tonight?

DR. FRANK MAFFEI, PEDIATRIC CRITICAL CARE DOCTOR INVOLVED IN LITTLE LEAGUER'S CARE: Well, Easton continues his recovery and he actually continues it in a fairly remarkable manner. It's been far more accelerated than we would have predicted, considering the degree of his injury and his initial presentation.

So we're thrilled. And, you know, he still has some hurdles, but he's moving out of the ICU -- he moved out of the ICU today, which is a great moment of progress for the family to see him out of the ICU and in a regular ward bed.

So, it's been -- it's been tremendous. It's been really, really encouraging.

BURNETT: Are you surprised by how quickly he's progressed? I mean, it sounds pretty incredible.

MAFFEI: Yeah. I think there's not one of us who's not surprised. I think that it was fortunate to be part of the team that admitted him very early in the morning on Sunday -- Sunday into Monday.

And, you know, epidural hematomas can present in a variety of ways and spectrum. We're fortunate that a lot of the kids that we see with epidural hematomas actually present more on the mild side.

But I will tell you that Easton presented far more in extremis and really had some very concerning features that perhaps did not bode well for his prognosis and certainly would not have been consistent with this degree of recovery, which again we are all just very appreciative of the team's effort to get him here. But certainly, we are all somewhat surprised that he's done this well this quickly.

BURNETT: Surprised and I know it's miraculous. It's wonderful news such as it is now. I know there's still a road ahead, but big positive developments tonight.

The reality, Doctor, is a lot of parents look at this and they're really worried. A 12-year-old kid falls out of a bunk bed at camp and ends up in a medically induced coma with a fractured skull. And what you're talking about is deeply serious.

How common is this? I mean, kids everywhere have bunk beds. What should parents be thinking here?

MAFFEI: So I have five children of my own and my boys had bunk beds but we were very careful about the manner in which we put the bunk beds in.


And there are some important regulations that I think parents sort of make certain that the bunk bed they're using is in compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Guidelines. There's a commission that actually looked at bunk beds.

And so, there are a lot of injuries, even in bunk beds that have the appropriate safety issues addressed. But the vast majority of the injuries are minor, so I think the American Academy of Pediatrics had reported over 30,000 or so bunk bed injuries a year, the vast majority are minor contusions and lacerations, occasionally a fracture.

But there are the potential for serious injuries, especially in those bunk beds that don't have the safety mechanisms and are not compliant. Yeah, exactly.

So we're worried about those situations where we're not maximizing the safety of those bunk beds.

BURNETT: And a final question, Doctor. And you talk about the kind of miraculous recovery that it's been thus far. Obviously, you're also talking about an incredibly serious injury.

I understand that he is expected to make a near-complete recovery. That means that fully, you know, in terms of his brain and his head, he's going to -- he's going to come back basically the way he was. It's pretty incredible.

MAFFEI: Again, I would -- I would share your description, incredible, and fairly remarkable as far as the weight of recovery. You know, we did some follow-up imaging after the decompression by Dr. Odette Guren (ph), our neurosurgeon here, who did a fabulous job.

The MRI really is very, very encouraging. We don't see any residual injury. Again, that's an image, an important image, but what's really most important is Easton and to follow him closely to make absolutely certain that his recovery is optimized in every possible way.

BURNETT: Dr. Maffei, thank you so much. I appreciate your time and, of course, Easton's family for, I know, being willing to let you share this. So far, knock on wood, good news with everyone. Thank you.

MAFFEI: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, officials are cracking down on two California men who are allegedly behind billions, billions of robocalls.



BURNETT: Tonight, cracking down on illegal robocalls. CNN learning that two people in California are the alleged masterminds behind more than 8 billion spam calls about car warranties. Spam calls that I think it's safe to say we've all received?

And now, authorities are closer to shutting down the whole scheme.

Gabe Cohen is OUTFRONT.


ROBOCALL: Hi there, this is Jessica calling in regards to your Volkswagen warranty.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Odds are you've received a bogus auto warranty call similar to this.

ROBOCALL: The warranty is up for renewal.

COHEN: Now, authorities are cracking down on a scheme the FCC calls the most sophisticated robocall operation they have ever seen. More than 8 billion spam calls to Americans. A new lawsuit claims two California men are behind nearly all of it. Aaron Michael Jones and Roy Cox Jr. are accused of violating telemarketing laws by tricking Americans into buying vehicle service contracts and making millions of dollars off the scam. CNN tried to track them down. Dozens of calls, texts and emails, but no response. Both Cox and Jones have been sued by the Federal Trade Commission in

the past and ordered never to telemarket again. And yet like many robocall scammers, they're accused of just retooling their operation.

DAVE YOST, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: We're coming in to try to take them down.

COHEN: So now, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is suing Cox, Jones and their associates potentially for millions of dollars.

YOST: This is enough to take back everything they have made. If a slap on the wrist doesn't work, punch them in the face and knock them down.

COHEN: Did you consider criminal charges here?

YOST: Criminal charges are not off the table.

COHEN: Yost is part of a new anti-robocall task force. Attorneys general from nearly every state working with federal officials to ramp up a legal robocall enforcement. In 2021, Americans received an estimated 21 billion scam robocalls, costing them nearly $40 billion in a 12-month period.

MARGOT SAUNDERS, SENIOR COUNSEL, NATIONAL CONSUMER LAW CENTER: It's usually very hard to find the callers. All of these unwanted robocalls are undermining the value of our telephone system.

COHEN: Most of the calls come from overseas, and tracing them is a fairly new technology. So up to now, authorities have struggled to stop them and the callers that do get caught often go right back to scamming, according to an FCC official. So authorities are turning attention to the gateway providers, the telecom companies that let those robocalls onto the U.S. phone network.

JESSICA ROSENWORCEL, CHAIRWOMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION: Specifically those we believe that may be turning a blind eye to these kind of calling scams.

JAMES EVANS, GENERAL ATTORNEY, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: If there are not this tier of providers who are willing to take this bad traffic, then the robocallers will find themselves with no place to place their calls.

COHEN: That's the case with the auto warranty scam. In July, the FCC ordered all telecom companies to block all robocalls from Cox, Jones and eight voice service providers they say are linked to the scheme. Since then, those calls have nearly vanished, according to a robocall analysis company.

Do you think you can really stop these scammers?

YOST: I think we can significantly decrease it.

COHEN: How long will that take?

YOST: Years, not months. It's an arms race between the enforcers and the criminals. But we're getting smarter and we're on to their ways.


COHEN (on camera): So illegal robocalls are trending downward, although now text schemes are on the rise.

But, Erin, look, the Ohio case is a good example of the added attention that robocalls are now getting from authorities and in this case these auto warranty calls are down to nearly zero. So it does look like that enforcement strategy is working, even though consumer advocates say much more needs to be done, especially, Erin, with telemarketing laws.

BURNETT: Well, pretty amazing, though, because when you -- as I'm watching your report, I was realizing I haven't gotten that auto warranty call in a while. So, maybe we can all notice that it really is working what they're doing.

Thanks for that report, Gabe.

And thanks to all of you.

Time for Anderson.