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Erin Burnett Outfront

DOJ Silent On Possible Appeal To Trump's Win On Special Master; GOP Leaders Encouraged Poll Workers To Break The Rules A Day Before Michigan Primary; Bidens, Obamas Reunite At White House To Unveil Official Portraits; Investigation Into Killing Of Reporter In Las Vegas Intensifies; El Paso Mayor, A Democrat, Is Busing Migrants Out Of Texas; Chinese Drones Infiltrating Taiwan, Exposing Military Vulnerability. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 07, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next: The DOJ's huge decision. Will they fight the ruling in favor of a special master in the Trump Mar-a- Lago case? They said the need to move ahead was urgent, yet there is still silence at this hour.

Trump's former White House lawyer Ty Cobb is OUTFRONT.

Plus, poll workers urged to break the rules by Republican leader in Michigan. That official going so far as to compare those poll workers to undercover agents.

And new details in the murder of a Las Vegas newspaper reporter. Police searching the home of an elected official who've been the focus of a story by that very same reporter.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, what is the DOJ waiting for? The DOJ is silent right now on whether it will fight a ruling on a special master in the Trump Mar-a-Lago investigation. And this comes as we're learning that the documents seized from Trump included, by the way, hundreds of documents, right, but it included, one of them, a foreign government's nuclear capabilities. This is according to a report in "The Washington Post."

Now, keep in mind, that kind of information, a country's nuclear capabilities, is so closely guarded, many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about it. And yet, here's where some of the documents were last month.

Look at your screen there, in Trump's suite, which you can see in red is just down the hall from where the members go, the outdoor dining area, the members part of the club, the Mar-a-Lago members, and all their guests go through, all those wedding pictures that Trump takes with people every weekend, all that's going on right next to documents about a country's nuclear program and hundreds more. Now, it took more than a year for the government to get these highly sensitive documents back. That includes when they were promised they had received a sworn affidavit, a statement in June from a Trump attorney. Saying we've given you everything. They didn't, far from it. That was untrue.

And now the pressing question is, what is the DOJ's next move? Because eight days ago, the agency made a case against a special master, writing: the government has an urgent interest in continuing its review of these materials both for purposes of its criminal investigation and to access potential national security risks caused by improper storage of classified records. Those are their words from the DOJ eight days ago, an urgent interest.

Well, if it is so urgent, why are we still waiting eight days and can continue to go here, who knows if they're going to do this, for an appeal? What is the delay? Is the Justice Department going to let the judge's controversial decision on a special master stand or will they appeal?

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live in Washington. And, Evan, look, there's a lot at stake here. There's several crucial layers to peeling back this onion.

What is the DOJ considering tonight as it weighs an appeal?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're still considering whether and how to appeal this ruling, this very extraordinary ruling from Judge Cannon down in Palm Beach, Erin. And as you pointed out, eight days ago, they even said in court they wanted the judge to structure her ruling in a way that would allow for them to appeal.

And so you would think that they knew pretty much -- they had to be expected this is the direction she was going. After all, she had telegraphed it two weeks ago that this was thinking where she was going. And as you pointed out, I mean, the biggest thing for the Justice Department, I think they could live with the idea of a special master. It's not unusual for the department to have to deal with something like that.

What is unusual is this injunction, which stops them from having access to these documents, which is a core function of the Justice Department. This is exactly what they're supposed to do, which is to examine these documents, to find and to investigate a possible crime that happened at Mar-a-Lago. And so that's the big question of what they're going to do with regard to that. You have to think that's where the focus of their appeal will be.

And just a few minutes ago, for instance, you know, we just saw something pop up from another judge who has been overseeing some of this, the grand jury actions. This is Judge Beryl Howell here in Washington. She is the one that oversaw the two grand jury subpoenas that we learned about in these court documents, and what she just said is that the Justice Department is now allowed to unseal another portion of the affidavit. We may learn a little bit more, Erin, about that second subpoena, the

one in June, that went to the Trump organization for access to surveillance tapes. It appears that's at least some of the evidence that indicated those boxes were removed, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And, obviously, very crucial as we've been getting information from that affidavit.


All right. Thank you very much, Evan Perez.

I want to go now to former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb.

So, Ty, let me start with something that we learned here about what's in the documents, as we pointed out, you know, and Evan's extensive reporting on hundreds of pages, right, many boxes of documents. We now know one of the documents from "The Washington Post", one document describes a foreign government's nuclear capabilities.

Do you think the DOJ has enough evidence at this point -- putting aside all of this business with a special master and everything else -- just from the evidence you've seen, do they have enough to indict the former president at this point?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Thank you, Erin. Nice to be with you again.

I'm not sure that they do have enough to indict. And with regard to the document as described, you know, obviously if that's in fact true, it's a very serious manner.

On the other hand, there will be a lot of questions with regard to that document. You know, was it previously unclassified? Who had access to it? Et cetera, et cetera.

Obviously, if it is as described, Trump has no business having that document at Mar-a-Lago, and that does pose, you know, a distinct threat to -- to our country's safety. But I'll say that I expect, sadly, that the leak will play more favorably in the -- in the Trump world than it will in the Department of Justice world. I think one of the concerns is that, as stated by the judge was, to make sure that the public and others have no doubt about the fact that this was a fair process, and the leaks, I think, undermine that, sadly.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about the process itself. You know, just pointed out that the Department of Justice perhaps --

COBB: Sure.

BURNETT: -- could live with the concept of a special master, but not with the injunction against their continuing with the investigation and their access to documents.

Trump's former Attorney General Bill Barr has been very, very adamant in his view on the special master, tripling down on his criticism of Judge Cannon's decision to side with Trump on that issue of a special master. He's come out day after day. Here's just what he said today.


BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: She says that she's bringing in a special master to look at whether stuff is executive privilege or not. The classified stuff are government documents, and they go to the government. There is no scenario legally under which the president gets to keep the documents, whether it's classified or unclassified.


BURNETT: So, Ty, what do you say to that? I mean, what he's saying in this case, there would be no reason for a special master in any way, shape, or form. Is he right?

COBB: Well, I think he's a little bit narrower than that, but not much. I mean, what he's saying is there is no need for a special master as to the classified documents. And I concur whole-heartedly with that.


COBB: I think as to the attorney/client privilege and the executive privilege documents, where she pointed out the law is not what the government argued, that Trump has no executive privilege. The Supreme Court's made plain that, you know, he does have an interest, or may have an interest that hasn't been adjudicated yet and it will get adjudicated likely in this case.

I do think that the special master, the -- the thought that it somehow is a tragedy of justice along the lines of Dred Scott and Korematsu is quite distorted. Special masters are common. And in fact, in the Giuliani case where they seized 18 devices from Rudy Giuliani and another from a lawyer colleague of his in D.C., it was the Justice Department, less than two months ago, that asked the court to appoint a special master.

So I think the government --

BURNETT: But not in the case of the classified documents, which is what couldn't result --

COBB: Absolutely not. The classified documents all belong to the government and should be in the government's hands.

BURNETT: Right. I'm just saying even on that narrow looking at that, that would enable the Department of Justice to go ahead with everything they needed if it resulted in an indictment separate than anything that would be looked at by the special master under the executive privilege, if one even buys that argument.

Let me ask you one other thing --

COBB: That's very true. Sure, absolutely. Thank you.

BURNETT: So, sources telling CNN, Steve Bannon is getting ready to turn himself in to New York state authorities and that that's going to happen tomorrow, Ty. Obviously, you worked at the White House at the same time as Steve Bannon.

The charges in this case are new charges, not federal, state, related to his fund-raising scheme to build a border wall.


They're saying that he basically raised $25 million and then took $1 million of it for his personal use, and that's fraud. That's what they're alleging. How much trouble do you think Bannon is facing?

COBB: I think Bannon's in a great deal of trouble. Two of this -- two of the three colleagues with whom he was charged federally before Trump pardoned him have pled guilty in that case and will be sentenced.

The third went to trial, they had a mistrial. He'll be tried again. But I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the colleagues who pled guilty show up on the witness list for the government, assuming the government even needs them.

The facts seem straightforward. They raised $25 million, you know, assuring people that it would all go to the wall-building project. Bannon siphoned off a million, according to the allegations, and the allegations that the other individuals pled guilty to.

I don't think that Bannon has much of a chance in that case. And it will likely result in his conviction and incarceration.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ty Cobb.

COBB: Great to be with you.

BURNETT: And next, I'm going to speak to top Georgia election official Gabe Sterling, who testified before Georgia's grand jury investigating Trump efforts to overturn the election. So what happened there?

Plus, former President Obama returns to the White House today and had a lot to say about his former VP.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Joe, it is now America's good fortune to have you as president. You have guided us through some perilous times.


BURNETT: So what is the White House going to gain from today's visit ahead of the midterm season? And just in tonight, a major development in the manhunt for the suspect in the deadly stabbing spree across Canada in which ten people died.


BURNETT: New tonight, ignore the rules. CNN obtaining video of a Zoom training session that was held by GOP leaders in Wayne County, Michigan, and it was held one day before the primary there.

On this video, the Zoom, poll workers and observers were warned that bad stuff was happening and urged to break the rules by the county chairwoman who actually compared them to undercover agents.

Here's a clip.


CHERYL COSTANTINO: They were told by their trainers that they could not have their phones them. So I would say maybe just hide it, and maybe hide a small pad and a small pen. You need to take accurate notes.

LARRY LUDTKE: If we are observed with a pen and a piece of paper writing on anything, they, they just said they would, they would ask us that, that they would remove us.

COSTANTINO: That's why you got to do it secretly.


BURNETT: All on tape. The chairwoman later defended her actions to CNN, saying that comparing poll workers to spies was her way of making the training more fun and interesting. That she just believed it was constitutional to prohibit cellphones and pens. So, she just told them to break the law.

OUTFRONT now, Gabe Sterling, the chief operating officer for Georgia's secretary of state. He, of course, stood up to then-President Trump's efforts to overturn the election, defended the integrity of Georgia's results, and the state's poll workers.

So, Gabe, I just wanted to start with this new reporting that we have from Michigan, those poll workers being urged to ignore the rules, compared to undercover agents, you know, sneak in cellphones in violation of the law. That that is what they are being told to do by GOP leaders in Wayne County.

What's your reaction when you hear that?

GABRIEL STERLING (R), CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, GA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE: Anything that can be -- the laws and rules are there, and they're the same, and they are written down for both parties all the time so that each side can have confidence in the outcome of the elections. If you have people encouraging people to violate those laws, it will undermine the other side's, you know, view that this was a fair election.

And one of the things we need to get to again is when you have an election, it's basically the goodwill of the losing side saying we understand everything was fair, and if somebody violated the law and the rules, it gives the other side a baseball bat to beat them upside the head with, which is just ultimately counterproductive.

BURNETT: For everybody.

So, this video that we have just comes a day after CNN obtained surveillance video that shows a former GOP county chair in Georgia, Cathy Latham, who was also under criminal investigation for posing as a fake Trump elector. She is escorting two operatives working with Trump's -- the Trump connected lawyer, Sidney Powell, into the county election offices.

So, you have this video, and that video, Gabe, is on January 7th, 2021, which happens to be the same day the voting system at that location was breached.

Now, we know tonight that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating that breach.

Does that video where you have got this person who is involved in the Trump elector scheme escorting people in on the same day as the breach concern you?

STERLING: Well, obviously, anybody gaining an unauthorized access, that's criminal. It is a criminal activity. That's why the GBI is involved.

And our office worked with the GBI to make sure that any bad actor is held to account. And at the end of the day, that's what we're seeing in all the situations is that a bad actor is allowing people to do bad things and against the law.

And it doesn't matter what kind of system you have if you allow anybody with full access into those backrooms.

It doesn't really endanger the overall system because of the other security measures and stuff that's there. But we have people trying to conflate these kinds of things and to saying, now, it calls to question the next election. People need to be responsible and stop using hyperbole on these things.

This individual will be held to account. The woman who was the elections director there was removed in either January or February of '21. The item that was accessed there, election manual system, was replaced in the late spring, early summer of 2021.

So, all this happened now, you know, over a year, a year and a half ago, and we're just not seeing some of these times because one of the big things we had is we were flooded with, you know, claims and counterclaims and bogus claims and real claims, and we've only had 20 investigators that we're trying to keep up with this, we're awash (ph) of them. And, you know, they're from the Trump side and we have to deal with the Abrams side.

For Democrats and Republicans, Georgia is obviously ground zero and --

BURNETT: Well, it certainly is.

STERLING: Yeah, we just keep on dealing with this, and like I said, I've been seeing the same thing for 22 months. Most elections workers are hardworking, God-fearing Americans who want to follow the law. There are people who are lied to and misled who -- just some stupid stuff, and now, they're going to (INAUDIBLE) price for it.

BURNETT: Well, we were told that the incident that we're referring to, you know, where Cathy Latham, you know, escorting those two operatives into the county election offices is also of interest to the Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, who's investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the election in Georgia, Gabe.


So, I know you appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago. You're not able to give details. But is -- what is your sense based on that questioning? Do you think that Donald Trump or Rudy Giuliani, who we know has been formally informed that he is a target, should be worried about charges at this point?

STERLING: Interesting (ph) in Georgia, I can give all the details I like, because I was a witness. I can say whatever. I mean, I was there doing my normal thing and basically debunking and explaining videotapes, and we had a really engaged grand jury.

I think there were 17 members there when I was there. Ten of them asked me questions directly. A lot of them had to do with the false claims about the suit -- the magic suitcases of ballots underneath the table.

BURNETT: Yeah, yeah.

STERLING: I think we probably spent 45 minutes just on that alone. But it was all kinds of claims. And basically, they were trying to figure out who said what, and what did it mean, and what was the rational behind it all.

And, really, I think it was sort of chaos-driven tip drill. If they can keep all the hoopla alive that would at the time allow the lawsuits maybe gaining some traction or maybe they would find something.


STERLING: And they never found anything.

That's one of the things about Coffee County in Georgia. They were in there on January 7th. If they had found something, they would have on top of a mountain with a red flag going hey --

BURNETT: Yeah, for sure. But, Gabe, can I ask you something, because you are talking about the grand jury. You're saying there were 17 there -- 17 members there. But 10 of them were asking you questions directly. So they really -- they know their stuff? I mean, because, you know,

this is widely perceived right now, except for what is happening at the DOJ, as perhaps the biggest threat to the former president in terms of possible charges. But what you are saying is that this grand jury, they know what they're doing. They're not sitting there passively absorbing. They're asking.

STERLING: They're reactive. The forewoman was definitely active. She asked the most questions. And they were engaged, and they understood stuff.

And there are people in there who still has some lingering questions about, you know, what were some of these claims, and were these really debunk, and I had to walk through some of that with a couple of them.

I mean, there's honest disagreements in this country, but I think one thing we seem to agree on is that the 2020 election is over, Joe Biden won, and had some people upset.

I mean, this is the thing that election workers have to deal with. They want --


STERLING: -- a fair election, an accurate election, and they want their candidate to win.

Our team can handle two of those. You have to accept sometimes that your guy just doesn't win, or your woman just doesn't win, but we need both parties to always say at the end, unless there's a real crime, yes, we lost, we'll come back and fight again another day in two years.

BURNETT: So, Gabe, you said they -- 45 minutes in the magic suitcase alone. Were there other things they were -- they were focused on specifically? I mean, I feel like it's stomping out lantern flies right now for anyone who is in the Mid-Atlantic or when you go through these election lies.

But how many did they go through that they wanted the detail on from you about debunking?

STERLING: Well, there are fireflies here -- lightning bugs here in Georgia, pardon me. So, that's -- the reality is, it's probably been two months since I was there.

BURNETT: Uh-huh.

STERLING: I could not (AUDIO GAP) I was one of the very first one and I said, we are going to (AUDIO GAP) videotape of one of the Giuliani attorneys talking through what was happening on the screen from this tape from Marina (ph), and said, stop us once you hear something that is not true.

I think we were about 30 seconds and I told him to stop, because one of the specific claims was they illegally were counting votes without monitors present. That's not a law requirement in Georgia. That's just flat out wrong.

I mean, they are allowed to be there, but they're not required to be there because in some counties, there wouldn't be a Democrat or a Republican to show up so they couldn't count.


STERLING: I mean, it's just so much misinformation. And one of the interesting things about this is they're somebody -- one of the best defensive measures we have for all of the election systems is the diffuse nature of the election themselves.


STERLING: And having the different laws, and different rules, and different human beings accountable.

Now, one of the biggest flaws, I think it's a flaw (ph), that the biggest weakness in any of these election systems is the people.

The woman who was the director in Coffee County was a weak link. She went on YouTube and tried to say this is how we switched votes, we're just showing how we did our adjudication process on certain ballots, that there was a log on (ph). She was mischaracterizing it.

And she was a bad actor. And she was removed. And that's the way we have to punish bad actor.

BURNETT: Absolutely. So, one other thing just so everyone can understand, because I know, you know, any insight you can provide on this, and the Fulton County grand jury, you said some people that are on the jury still had questions. They still weren't sure if some of these lies were lies. Did you feel that they -- that they heard you, that they understood that it was a lie when you were done your testimony, that your testimony moved the needle?

STERLING: I think they walked in with an open mind on this because -- I mean, it's hard, I know it is sometimes hard for people to believe it. Well, how can they believe this?


STERLING: There are millions of Americans who still believe this because a person they respect and trust told them so. And somebody who doesn't share their values now they feel like is attacking them. So they go into a defensive posture.


I think that there's legitimate questions and we provide the answers as best we can. And I believe -- I think most people in the room understood that the claims made by the Trump attorneys, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and others, they were bogus, that they weren't real, they weren't based in reality. I think that's a vast majority of them.

But I -- the main thing they were trying to get to, I think, was to understand how the system worked, and how do we know that the outcome was the actual outcome?


All right. Well, Gabe, I appreciate your time, as always. Thank you so much.

STERLING: Thank you, and have a great night, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. You, too.

And next, former First Lady Michelle Obama back at the White House and taking a thinly, thinly, is it even veiled, swipe at Trump?


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Once our time is up, we move on.


BURNETT: Plus, the investigation into the death of a Las Vegas reporter raising questions about an elected official the journalist had been writing about. An investigative reporter who has been working this story will be OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Tonight, former President Barack Obama returning to the White House and Joe Biden's side during a ceremony to unveil the official White House portraits of Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.


Biden praising Obama's tenure in the Oval Office, and crediting him with preparing Biden for the job.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. President, nothing could've prepared me better, or more to be president of the United States, than to be at your side, and I mean that from the bottom of the heart.


BURNETT: Obama tomorrow headlines a midterm fund-raiser for Senate Democrats, and praised Biden's accomplishments since taking the top office.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: We have guided us through some perilous times, you've built on and gone beyond the work we all did together, to expand health care, to expand climate change, to advance social justice, and to promote economic fairness.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT from the White House, our chief White House correspondent.

And, Kaitlan, you were there in the room for that today. You know, you heard Obama and Biden praising each other, certainly an image that is one Biden wants as the midterm campaign season begins.

So, what is the White House hoping to gain politically from what we saw today?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, of course, having that image of these two presidents, next to one another. Of course, the ceremony today was much about a return to tradition, a return to this custom that was, basically, halted while Trump was an office of a president hosting immediate predecessor for the unveiling of this portrait, something that as you saw today, had not happened in a decade, since Bush, since the Obamas hosted the Bushes.

So, quite a notable moment there, but, yes, when it comes to the political lens of this, and how certainly, both party leaders are going, and both of these Democratic leaders are going to be needed to help boost the party ahead of the midterm elections that are coming up, something that they are increasingly concerned about, of course, just for that slim majority that they have in the house, of course. What it looks like inside the Senate.

That is why it's no surprise that for President Obama is going to be hoping with Senate Democrats and their campaign arm of this ahead of the next nine weeks before they actually get to the midterm elections. And I think part of that is they realize both of these leaders are needed to help bolster turnout in the midterm elections. Both of them have very different appeals and distinctive styles.

Obviously, Obama really appeals to the Democratic base. President Biden has much more appeal to the centrist that he's been going for and several of his speeches, lately, once that we expect to continue about two to three times over the next several weeks. So, certainly, there is that aspect to this, is Democrats are trying to make sure that they can try to hold on to their majority in the House, and also try to make sure Republicans don't take control of the Senate, which is going to be their primary focus over the next several weeks.

One thing that that did stand out today were the comments from First Lady Michelle Obama, and she did not say Trump by name. She did not reference him, but she did not really have to, Erin. She had this unmistakable message, talking about the importance of democracy, the importance of these traditions. And, of course, the importance of listening to the voters, and talking about the way you leave office, once voters have decided that they believe you should leave office.

BURNETT: Yeah, absolutely.

All right. Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much from the White House.

For more on that, I want to bring in Dana Bash, co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION", our chief political correspondent.

So, Dana, you know, as Kaitlan points out, midterms are coming here, less than nine weeks away. Obama is headlining that fund-raiser tomorrow for Senate Democrats that I mentioned. You've got new reporting on just how involved Obama will be. And what is, clearly, a crucial election for the Democrats, that they were expected to lose soundly, and now, possibly, could be gaining.

What more are you learning?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, I'm told tonight that the former president is planning to campaign beyond the fund- raisers you mentioned. New York, tomorrow night, he's going to head to the West Coast, and do some party fundraising there, next week.

But, as we get into the fall, I am told that he is going to -- as you can imagine, he's got request for candidates to come out and campaign with him. He is going to pick the ones that he believes he can be most effective in. And one of the most fascinating things that was told by a source familiar with at the former President's plans or at least what he's considering, is that it's not just governors races, or congressional races. It's secretaries of state.

I don't remember ever uncovering politics, somebody of the stature of a former president, thinking about, probably, campaigning for somebody as far down the ballot as its secretary of state. Why? Well, you were talking to Gabe Sterling about the reason why. We know, and it is because of 2024.

We all saw, and we continue to see the importance of positions like that in critical battleground states, with regards to how a president is chosen. So, I find it incredibly fascinating, and we'll see which ones he chooses, which could be telling, as to where the battlegrounds, really, continue to be heading into 2024.

BURNETT: And, also, you know, Michelle Obama, I said, thinly veiled, but it wasn't veiled at all.


She wasn't attempting to veil it, right, when she made her comments about the former president. You know, let me just play a little more of what she said at the White House today.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Traditions like this matter. Not just for those of us who hold those positions, but for everyone participating in and watching our democracy. You see, the people -- they make their voices heard with their vote. We hold an inauguration to ensure a peaceful transition of power. Those of us, lucky enough to serve, work -- as Barack said -- as hard as we can for as long as you can, as long as people choose to keep us here. And once our time is up, we move on.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Dana, what role is she going to play now?

BASH: Well, unclear what she's going to do in the future if anything for the midterms, but that particular statement, Erin, was quite telling. Yeah, it was -- right, it was barely veiled at all. She was quite blunt. And she's talking, not just about the fact that Donald Trump, completely, busted the idea of a peaceful transition of power, it didn't exist, because of January 6th, and the lies that we heard from him, and his supporters.

But, remember, she did engage in the tradition of the peaceful transition of power. It was not easy for her, or her husband, to just bite their tongue, and not only be at the Trump inauguration, but greet him and Melania Trump at the White House, and participate in all of the pomp and circumstance that is supposed to be classic America. And Donald Trump just didn't do that.

BURNETT: Right, right. There's that infamous Tiffany's box.

All right. Dana, thank you very much.

And next, the search for the person who killed the Las Vegas reporter is raising questions about an elected official in ties to that reporter. We have the latest on that investigation after this.

Plus, the city of El Paso, led by a Democrat, is now joining Texas Governor Greg Abbott in busing migrants to New York.


REPORTER: Are you worried about political backlash?





BURNETT: Tonight, the investigation into the killing of a longtime investigative reporter in Las Vegas is raising questions about a local elected official that he had written about. Police confirming to CNN that they have served search warrants in connection with the death of "Las Vegas Review Journal" reporter, Jeff German, who was found dead outside of his home, in broad daylight Saturday morning.

Officer seen today outside of the home of Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles. He didn't respond to reporters when he returned home later that day.

"The Review Journal" reporting the search of Telles' home maybe connected to German's killing, and German was pursuing new leads the week he died.

OUTFRONT now is Art Kane, an investigative reporter for "The Las Vegas Review Journal", who worked closely with the Jeff German.

So, Art, I really appreciate your time. I am sorry for the shocking, and horrible loss that you and your colleagues are experiencing, unimaginable.

So, we are trying to understand what happened here. Police have released an image of a vehicle, they say, is tied to the suspect. A red, maroon SUV. Our affiliate KSNV in the captured footage of a car that appears to line up with this description being towed from Telles' driveway.

Now, I know you're doing everything you can to find out what happened here. What more can you tell us about the investigation?

ARTHUR KANE, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL REPORTER: Well, definitely, it took a turn today. Initially, over the weekend, we had assumed it was a robbery gone bad, or something like that. Yesterday afternoon, police released a picture of this vehicle, and our reporters started to see Google images of this vehicle, that looks like the vehicle just like in Telles' driveway.

So, that was really concerning and surprising. And then this morning, the police came down, roped off the area, started searching his house and took that vehicle, registered to Telles' wife that looked like a vehicle they released earlier that day. So, that's about all we know right now. Police haven't done any kind of press conferences.

But, clearly, it's very concerning if there's some involvement from Telles on this.

BURNETT: I mean, it's shocking, right? At this point, we don't know what the relationship is, but it is pretty shocking what we know so far. Obviously, Telles hasn't been arrested, or charged, and police haven't, as you point out, have not publicly spoken, or connected him to the investigation.

But, we do know, after Jeff's reporting on Telles, there was a public clash says. They reported on his office oversight, and inappropriate relationship he had with a staffer. Telles denied that. He slammed back at Jeff in various tweets, calling him a bully, and, you know, slamming him on Twitter.

Jeff -- Telles lost his reelection bid in June, and he lost it shortly after Jeff's reporting came out, right, both about the oversight issues, as well as the inappropriate relationship.

What can you tell us about how Jeff's reporting was received?

KANE: Well, you know, it's not unusual for someone who is the focus, or target, of an investigative story that Jeff or I some of the members of the team do, to push back, and to claim that they are being treated unfairly.

Telles got quite a bit of time in this story to talk to Jeff. His points of view were represented, and there wasn't any correction or anything factually wrong with the story. He just didn't like we were holding him accountable as a public official, or Jeff was at the time.

So, yeah, there's a lot -- I wouldn't call it a clash, I would call it that Jeff didn't respond other than continued his reporting.


KANE: Telles just lashed out at him.

BURNETT: So, can you just tell me a little bit -- I mean, obviously, is a shocking story and it's a shocking story in the broader context of this country, you know, with a focus on journalism, with the focus on elections, and elected officials.

What can you tell us about Jeff, though, as a person that you worked with?


KANE: Well, Jeff is the ultimate Vegas reporter. He's here for 30 years. He's covered everything from a mob, to the fire at the MGM Grand, to the October -- we've covered the October 1 shooting together.

He and I have done several investigations, including of LVCVA, the government agency that came up with the -- what happens here, stays here" slogan for Vegas, and promotes the city. But we found a lot of waste, and corruption there. Some people got indicted after the series of stories we ran.

So, he, basically, was 100 percent hard-hitting reporter, and this was the kind of work he was going to do for, as long as he could.

BURNETT: And he did. Gosh.

All right. Well, thank you very much, Art. I appreciate -- everyone appreciates so much you coming on and telling us what you know as we following this. Thank you.

KANE: Sure

BURNETT: Next, first, on CNN, a homeland security official telling CNN, a record number of migrants have died in America's southern border this year. Now though, a Democratic-led city in Texas is joining with Greg Abbott in busing migrants to New York.

Plus, a sobering warning tonight from America's national security adviser about the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.


BURNETT: First on CNN, a record number of migrants, dying on the southern border so far this year. A Homeland Security officials saying, nearly 750 people have died, trying to enter the United States, which surpasses last year's full record, for the whole year, by 200.

It comes as Texas Governor Greg Abbott continues sending migrants from Texas, to blue states. And now, it isn't just Abbott.


Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You asked your children for forgiveness.

(voice-over): Annie Jimenez (ph) feels guilty for taking her children on the dangerous trek from Venezuela, to the U.S. southern border. She says, one of her sons almost drowned along the way.


FLORES: At that point, she says, she's had no other option but to keep going.

Migrants, like her, are caught in the middle of the latest immigration debate. Some Republican elected officials, like Texas Governor, Greg Abbott.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: This is an American problem caused by the president of the United States.

FLORES: Busing migrants from the U.S. southern border, to the Northeast. But now, El Paso, a Democratic -led city, is doing it too. The cities in a Border Patrol sector, that is encountered more than 228,000 migrants, since October. A 47 percent increase, since last year.

We met Jimenez at a homeless shelter there, were a growing number of migrants are arriving without money for bus tickets, after being processed by immigration authorities, and released.

Where are you going?


FLORES: The mayor of El Paso, Oscar Leeser, is a Democrat.

Are you worried about potential backlash?

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER (D), EL PASO, TEXAS: You know, when you're doing the right thing, there is no such thing.

FLORES: Leeser, like Abbott, points to the spike in migration for his decision to bus migrants to the Northeast. But, unlike Abbott --

ABBOTT: Until, suddenly, buses of migrants started to show up.

FLORES: -- who started busing migrants to D.C., earlier this year, to send a message to President Joe Biden, Leeser says --

LEESER: We are not doing it because we want to bus them, and get rid of them. We are doing it because we want to help them because they don't have funding. They can't get to their next destination. We're doing it because it's the right thing to do.

FLORES: The net effect? Leeser and Abbott are doing the same thing -- busing migrants, largely courtesy of taxpayers. In Abbott's case, more than 200 buses costing more than $12 million.

But their handling of the bus rides does differ. Abbott doesn't coordinate with destination cities, El Paso does. CNN was there when a New York City mayoral delegation was briefing migrants on what to expect upon arrival.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, DHS SECRETARY: Rosa, I've been on the border now --

FLORES: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says Abbott doesn't coordinate with the federal government either.

MAYORKAS: We have sought to communicate with the governor, but a partnership takes two.

FLORES: So, the governor has not been responsive?

MAYORKAS: The governor has not been responsive.

FLORES: Abbott's press secretary responded to Mayorkas saying, in part, the Biden administration has made little to no effort to communicate, or work with Texas, to address their almost two-year long border crisis. Only now, has Secretary Mayorkas, feigning attempts to reach out.

Back at the El Paso homeless shelter, Jimenez boards the city provided bus to New York, the last leg of a grueling journey.

Would you do it again?




FLORES: She says she wouldn't, because she has learned that having a humble life anywhere surrounded by family is more than enough.


BURNETT: So, Rosa, what are the migrants telling you about what they're going to do when they get off those buses in the Northeast, in New York, Washington? What are they going to do?

FLORES: You know, a lot of these migrants don't have family in the United States, Erin. And so, this is actually a pattern that we've been tracking on the border for a while now, migrants arriving to U.S. southern border with no family connections, no money to get out of the border region. That is why Abbott's buses are so popular in the migrant community, because they see it as a service -- Erin.

BURNETT: It's fascinating.

All right. Thank you very much, Rosa, reporting live from Houston tonight.

And next, video emerging of Taiwanese soldiers throwing rocks at a Chinese drone. But, it raises serious questions. Is Taiwan prepared if China invades?



BURNETT: Tonight, national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, warning a Chinese invasion of Taiwan remains a distinct threat, his exact words. This as there are signs Taiwan's military is not prepared perhaps to defend itself. One thing caught on camera was Chinese civilian drones flying directly over a restricted area, and the Taiwanese did take them down, but trying to do that with rocks.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The intruder hovers over a Taiwanese military outpost, brazenly capturing images of what is supposed to be a secure area. Apparently, taken by surprise, soldiers responded by throwing rocks.

Video of this bizarre encounter, with an unidentified drone last month, and other similar videos, are going viral on Chinese social media.

The comments mocked Taiwan's military for unreadiness and incompetency.

The videos seemed to expose a stunning vulnerability. Drones photographing restricted areas. Taiwanese soldiers have tried firing warning flares.

Earlier this month, they shot one down. Taiwan's military confirms these mysterious intrusions are civilian drones from mainland China.

PAUL HUANG, RESEARCH FELLOW, TAIWANESES PUBLIC OPINION FOUNDATION: So, we are only going to see more, and more of these attempts. They wanted to provoke Taiwan's defenses on the other side.

RIPLEY: The drones are targeting Taiwan's outlying Kinmen Islands, some 200 miles from the capital of Taipei, about six miles from mainland China. Kinmen is a crucial first line of defense from a Chinese attack.

These anti-landing strips have been lining the beaches here for more than 70 years, since the end of China's civil war. These days, it's not tank coming over from the Chinese city of Xiamen. It's drones. This video appears to show the possible pilots, hunched

over a few tablets on a picnic table, remote control is in hand.

I've got a tank, one man says. CNN cannot verify the identities of these people.

The Chinese government, apparently, unconcerned, brushing off the provocations as no big deal.

Taiwan's government vowing to take tough measures to take down intruding drones. The military, speeding up deployment of the air defense systems to outlying islands.

HUANG: It's not just civilian drones that we need to worry about.

RIPLEY: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen accuses China of gray zone tactics, using drones, and other methods to intimidate the self governing democracy. Taipei says it's all part of Beijing's ongoing pressure campaign, including unprecedented military drills and, circling Taiwan. Drone intrusions escalated last month after a controversial Taiwan visit, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

And now, a growing list of U.S. lawmakers, showing solidarity with a young democracy, facing off against an old foe and apparently unexpected ways.


RIPLEY (on camera): I just got back from southern Taiwan, Erin, where the army staged two days live fire military drills. They were really trying to show how they are prepared for combat -- their combat capabilities, all their weapons, and part of the reasons where they're trying to project strength, and show force right now is because of the embarrassment that resulted from these civilian drones breaching these restricted areas, these military outposts.

BURNETT: All right. Will, thank you very much. And for all of that reporting, and going to that crucial area in the south.

And thanks to all of you.

Anderson starts now.