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Erin Burnett Outfront

In Stunning Turnaround, Ukraine Recaptures Major Territory; DOJ Subpoenas 30+ Trump Allies In January 6 Probe; Scotland Bidding Farewell To Queen Ahead Of Next Week's Funeral; NY Mag Reporter On What He Learned From Hunter Biden's Laptop; Source: Queen's Corgis Will Live With Her Son, Andrew And His Ex-Wife Sarah, Who Bonded With Queen Over Dogs. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 12, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Russia on the run. There is a breathtaking turn of events in Putin's war. Ukraine regaining more territory in days that Russia gained in five months. And tonight, they're still moving.

Plus, breaking news. The Justice Department issuing more than 30 subpoenas to people close to Trump. Among them, Trump's campaign manager and his former deputy chief of staff.

And they were always by her side, the queen's beloved corgis. They had their own room in the palace, gourmet meals from silver bowls, where their daily existence. So where are they now?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Russia's epic meltdown in a stunning and rapid turn of events. Ukraine now has Putin on the run. If you look to the top right of the map I'm putting up here, you can see over on the top right, highlighted in solid yellow, you can see the land that Ukraine has recaptured in a week. That is more land than Russia captured in more than five months.

So in one week, more land taken from Putin than he was able to gain more than five months. Ukraine has now taken back more than 2,300 square miles total. That's according to President Zelenskyy.

The onslaught was so swift and so unexpected that Russian troops fled anyway they could, disguised as locals, literally taking bikes and stealing them and trying to bike away. It was far from an organized plan of retreat. It was chaotic.

These are some of the images we are now seeing of Ukrainian forces. This is just one village. Look at the utter destruction there. It is completely destroyed, and reports of atrocities and war crimes and there will be much more of that.

And along the border with Belgorod in the Northeast Ukraine, the Belgorod region of Russia, Ukrainian soldiers showed where they are right on the border. They went all the way to the border with Russia and there's no one there. They just marched in. That's the whole point, not a single Russian guarding up border. Ukraine just marched in. Now, they didn't, but the point is, that Russian border is undefended.

It is a stunning turn of events, and humiliating defeats of left Russia shaken. Deputies from 18 municipal districts in Russia have called on Putin to resign and a Russian state TV, something total new, some dissent and finger-pointing. Just listen to this former Russian politician.


BORIS NADEZHDIN, RUSSIAN POLITICIAN: Those people who convinced President Putin that the special operation would be effective assured that we would not hit the civilian population, just go in with the national guard and (INAUDIBLE) would put things in order. These people, well, they framed all of us.


BURNETT: They framed all of us. Now, still there, he is slamming people who advised Putin, but this is Russian state television, bought and paid for by Putin, a place where you even heard over the weekend the word "war" being used, which is a word the Putin banned under threat of a prison sentence.

And its Putin allies too, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov slamming Russia's military saying it's clear that mistakes were made, which is damning admission from a man who supplied Putin's with thousands of fighters for his invasion of Ukraine.

Melissa Bell is OUTFRONT front live in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

And, Melissa, I know you've had exclusive access to one of the towns recaptured by Ukraine. I want to emphasize this is a place that this Russians have occupied, controlled with any Ukrainians left from five or more months. What did you see?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and bear in mind, Erin, that these extraordinary advances that we are seeing a really only happening on the other side of a media blackout that has kept it finally tight lid on by Kyiv. Essentially what's happened there as they've launched this counter offensive, one in the south, one in the east, and the successes have been achieved but they haven't been allowing journalist to the front because this is also been about protecting the counter offensive, protecting their advancing forces, not giving anything away about their strategy.

So there are those villages as you say where the Russian soldiers and defenses have kind of melted away. But there are others, some of those crucial towns on their supply lines to the south, like the towns of compliance, were in fact behind that media blackout, there is a lot of fighting going on, and the Russians are trying to hold on.


BELL (voice-over): The tank spoke to a hasty Russian retreat, as Ukrainian forces fled eastwards over the weekend, triumphantly raising the flag over Kupiansk on Saturday. Local police forces providing CNN with exclusive access to a key town now meant to be under Ukrainian control.


We still feel uneasy because we've bombed for four days in a row says, Vasyl, and nothing certain yet.

Which only became clearer as we headed further in to Kupiansk.

A first artillery strike -- too close for comfort. Then a second, much closer.

That was the sound of artillery landing just next to our car, our armored car. We can't come into the village, to get to that flag to see where it had been planted only yesterday, but as you can see, this Sunday afternoon and it's still the scene of some pretty fierce fighting. We're hearing the sound of outgoing artillery fire. That was the sound of incoming.

The policeman tells us our car was deliberately targeted. Time for us to head back to those parts of Kharkiv region, now fully under Ukrainian control after a six long months.

PAVLO, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: Generally, people are happy. They're feeding soldiers, cheering, celebrating. They feel great, feel like redemption. Yeah, they're eager to advance.

But in villages like Zaliznychne, Ukrainian investigators know all too well what they'll find after Bucha and Borodyanka, that were under Russian control for only a month.

Yes, according to our information we are recording war crimes in almost every village, he says.

This, the body of one of two civilians killed in late February, an early victim of the invasion, and evidence now of what six months of Russian occupation have cost.


BURNETT: That is horrible to see.

Melissa when you spoke to people who've been there and endured this, seeing these war crimes, lived there for more than six months under occupation, what did they tell you?

BELL: Well, there is this tremendous sense of relief as to the people whose villages have been liberated that say -- first of all, they can't quite believe how quickly in those areas where it happened quickly, Russian forces just went and ran. And then, of course, you have to bear in mind, Erin, that you're

talking about parts of the country unlike Bucha and those other towns that we saw those horrors in a few months ago where the Russian forces have been in for six months and a try to put in place essentially a totalitarian regime to cleanse the areas of people who didn't agree where all those who human rights abuses went on, the tremendous relief, the sense of disbelief that at last their own forces are back in to save them. It's something quite extraordinary to see, Erin.

BURNETT: It must be absolutely extraordinary. Thank you so much for your reporting Melissa.

I want to go now to retired Army Lt. General Mark Hertling, former commanding general of Europe for the Seventh Army and, of course, spent a lot of time with Ukrainians in that capacity.

General, we have heard repeatedly, right, and the reality on the ground was very simple. Ukrainian was outgunned and outmanned. And when they won, they won because they were wily and they were creative and they were brave. But they were outmanned.

At the start of the war, Ukrainian had 196,000 active personnel in its armed forces, Russia had 900,000, OK? Nine hundred thousand to less than 200,000.

And yet a senior Russian official said that the Russians in this counteroffensive were outnumbered 8 to 1. What in the world happened here? How did Ukraine do this? How did they end up with the racial like that in such a crucial area?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This is the way you conduct operations in war. It's just a matter of finding the spots where you can attack, you have intelligence that shows you where the enemy is weak, and then you exploit that intelligence, Erin.

You know, Russia had to defend, if you look at the entire span of their front lines, it's about 1,400 to 1,600 kilometers long. You can't along every square inch of that space, Erin.

So Ukrainian has been very good in terms of -- and they've been coordinating, quite frankly, with their European allies and the U.S. to look for weak spots. They've been getting intelligence, where are the Russian forces weak? How can we exploit that? View reconnaissance, find where the holes are, and then push a force through.

They've done it masterfully. This is all part of the training that they've been going through for the last 15 years or so that forces in Europe have been exercising with them.

BURNETT: So then on the Russian side, it was not an orderly retreat, it doesn't seem, by any stretch of the imagination.


Soldiers fleeing by bike, dressed as civilians, and, in fact, you know, the Ukrainians are saying they're going to take ten days to find any Russians left behind, including collaborators in some of the key towns here. What does the way the Russian retreat happened tell you?

HERTLING: It tells me everything I already know about the Russians already, Erin. It was a rout.

And let me put it in this perspective. Russia has been fighting this war now for 202 days. Their forces have been in the dirt and the mud. They have not been re-supplied. They have not been well led either by their junior leaders or their senior leaders. They've not been under attack for three months with precision artillery that are striking key locations. They have been pushed by a Ukrainian force that is defending its motherland and is in fact defending its people and have good leaders at the political and at the civilian level.

So you compare that with put the yourself in the shoe of that Russian who's not getting paid, he's on the frontline, doesn't know what he's doing, he hasn't been re-supplied and he has been hounded for the last six months while living in a trench.

You know, I think those are the things that whenever you have a rout like that, you have to consider the morale of the forces that's being routed and what I would tell you, the morale of the Russian forces since about March has been in the toilet.

BURNETT: All right. General Hertling, thank you very much.

I want to go now to Ekaterina Kotrikadze, news director and anchor for TV Rain, which is a Russian language independent television channel, joining me from tonight.

I played, Ekaterina, some of the criticism that is been bubbling up in Russia against Putin and the war. And I know you spoke to one of the people involved with one of the officials who came out, 18 of them, who called for Putin's resignation today. What did that person tell you?

EKATERINA KOTRIKADZE, NEWS DIRECTOR & ANCHOR, TV RAIN: Well, he has said that someone needs to speak up. He has said that there is a need for someone who is still in Russia, because we understand, Erin, that so many people who were opposition leaders and human rights activists, political activist, journalists, all of them, all of us actually fled the country because of this military censorship and aggressive restrictive rules and laws that Putin has invented.

So we can see right now in the middle of this disaster of the Russian army that there are people, there are people who are brave enough to talk about the situation. And, well, unfortunately, I think that Russians and Russia would be more aggressive after this failure in the Kharkiv region. I think, unfortunately, Vladimir Putin would be obliged to take measures because of the situation. He will be obliged to call for mobilization of people, of men and to make this suppression even stronger.

BURNETT: And do you even think, and I know, when, you know, we hear those 18, and, you know, people want to read something into that, they want to think this is the beginning of something else. They want to hear Russian state TV using the word war and think that's a beginning of something, of something bigger. But what I hear you say, Ekaterina, that may become more oppressive for now, with the mobilization, with more?

KOTRIKADZE: Yeah. Well, we can see -- actually, we can see on Russian state TV two different narratives.

First, it is coming straight from Kremlin I suppose because this is what happens actually. They are saying that the Russian army and the Russian government have been -- have been very soft with Ukrainians, that they have pity for the Ukrainian civilians, that they were not using their force fully. So, right now, is the time where they have to become more aggressive, whatever that means. And this is frightening actually.

Another narrative which is absolutely astonishing, you could not see anything like that during recent years on Russian state television. There are people who are criticizing Vladimir Putin and his decisions with the Russian army. They are people who are asked to question and there are also people who are watching this propaganda channel who can see that in the comments of Russian propaganda station, people are calling for action and calling for answers, you know, because why is this all happening?

And the main thing I think, Erin, because this war is not victorious for Ukraine so far, there have just been small steps, important, but smalls steps in the terrible war, that the main thing in the state is that the myth of the huge Russian army that cannot be defeated ever is ruined (ph), but psychological victory for Ukraine is already there, which means a lot really.

BURNETT: Ekaterina, thank you so much. I'm glad to speak to you.

KOTRIKADZE: Good to be here.


BURNETT: All right. And next, breaking news. We now know that there are more than 30 people with connections to Trump have now been subpoenaed in the Justice Department in the January 6 investigations. These are 30 new subpoenas we are just learning about them. We're going to tell you who they are.

Plus, live pictures from Scotland where thousands upon thousands have been paying their respects to Queen Elizabeth as King Charles III addressed his parliament for the first time as monarch.


KING CHARLES III, UNITED KINGDOM: I cannot help but feel the weight of history which surrounds us.


BURNETT: And what was on Hunter Biden's laptop? An extensive investigation revealing now for the first time what was on that computer. I'm going to speak to one of the reporters behind the story. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news: the Justice Department issuing more than 30 subpoenas in recent days to people in Donald Trump's orbit as part of its January 6th probe. It's a major development in the investigation amid the midterm elections which, of course, are now only two months away.

And sources tell CNN that those who were served those subpoenas are among Trump's top advisers and allies. That includes Brian Jack, Trump's former White House political director, and his former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, as well as his campaign manager, Bill Stepien.


Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

And, Evan, you know, finding out about more than 30 subpoenas in just a few days, that's a lot. What do you know about them?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Erin. I think what this signifies is really an intensification of the Justice Department investigation. All of these subpoenas coming in just in the past week or so. It appears to be an effort by prosecutors to get ahead of the quiet period. It's a 60-day period during which the Justice Department generally tries to do any overt steps that could be interpreted as trying to influence the midterm elections.

So, that appears to be the genesis of some of the activity. The scope of these subpoenas we've seen, at least a couple of them, appear to be -- to have a range of issues that they are going after, including some of the fundraising for the former president's Save America PAC. Some of the efforts behind the fake elector scheme, as well as some of the efforts that they were making to try to find fraud and whether there was any indication that they had proof of any of that fraud.

Again, this is something that prosecutors seem to be trying to connect the dots behind some of the efforts to overturn the election results.

You mentioned some of the names. Bill Stepien who was a former campaign manager for the former president. Sean Dolman, who is the CFO of the 2020 campaign. And, of course, Dan Scavino, who was the deputy chief of staff. He was, of course, the guy who was writing a lot of the former president's tweets.

So a lot of very important figures very close to the former president getting these subpoenas.

BURNETT: And this is in the context of the probe into the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, Evan. So, today, Trump's legal team opposed both the DOJ's bid to resume its review of classified documents and its picks for a special master. That's what we had heard today as this day has gone on.

Why are they objecting? PEREZ: They say they're not really going to explain why they're

objecting, Erin, in this court filing. They just say that they have objections to them, and they want the judge essentially to force them to explain it. I'll read you just a part of what they said.

Plaintiff objects to the proposed nominees of the Department of Justice. Plaintiff believes that there are specific reasons why those nominees are not preferred for service as special master in this case. Plaintiff also submits that it is more respectful to the candidates from either party to withhold the basis for opposition from a public and likely would be circulated widely circulated pleading.

So, essentially, they're asking the judge for permission to explain to her behind the scenes why they don't want these two specific former judges that the Justice Department has recommended.

BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much, reporting from Washington.

I want to go now to David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department's counterintelligence section and who investigated Hillary Clinton's handling of classified documents.

So, David, you know about this from every angle. Let's start with the subpoenas. The Justice Department issues more than 30 subpoenas within a matter of days for its probe into January 6th. What do you make of the fact that there are more than 30 subpoenas happening in a matter of days at this specific time?

DAVID LAUFMAN, FORMER CHIEF, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S COUNTERINTELLIGENCE SECTION: I mean, it tells me the Justice Department and the FBI are all in, in pursuing that prosecutors and agents refer to as logical investigative steps. They are building what they've learned from other witnesses from other documents, from other subpoenas, from other search warrants.

This is the way classic investigations are conducted, moving up the chain so to speak. They're now encompassing individuals closer and closer to the president to learn more and more about what the president knew and when he knew it with respect potentially to efforts to engage in wire fraud, defrauding the -- donating public, if you will, with respect to the campaign organization, or efforts to defraud the United States with respect to fomenting a false slate of electors to suborn a free and fair election.

BURNETT: So, the context as we said is that Trump legal team today opposed the DOJ's bid to resume its review of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, right? The DOJ said, look, whatever you want to say about executive privilege, it wouldn't apply to classified documents, they want to go ahead therefore with their review because they say time is of the essence, that it's urgent for national security reasons.

The Trump team argument as to why they should not do that. They say, in part, in what at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control, the government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th president of his own presidential and personal records.

Now, I do want to be clear that this is not a document storage dispute. They had months to turn over documents that were requested. The Trump lawyer even signed a letter that all the requested documents had been returned when they had not been returned.

So, it's not a document storage dispute. But do you have any fear that the judge will buy this?

LAUFMAN: Yes, I have fear that the judge will buy it. It's my hope that the judge will take the off ramp that the Justice Department has offered her. Now, the Justice Department could've taken a sledge hammer to this judge's prior ruling and obliterated all the grounds she signed for imposing the restrictions she did on the government's investigation.


Instead, the Justice Department shrewdly took a scalpel to that order and focused on that narrow subset of materials 100 classified documents, classified as high as top secret code word, and asked the judge for a stay of that portion of the order.

The position the president -- the former president is taking is completely untethered to law or custom and practice. He has no right or possessory interest to classified documents. Nor should a private citizen who's now a special master be interfering in an ongoing criminal investigation, one that has natural security implications.

BURNETT: And there's also in the footnote, Trump legal team says, of course, classified or declassified the documents remain either presidential records or personal records under the PRA.

They keep making this argument. I haven't found any legal expert that would say that a classified document is part of the presidential records. Is there any way they could make such an argument?

LAUFMAN: No. First of all, they failed to sign a provision of the presidential records act that says that presidential records are the sole possessory interest of the executive branch, which did not include President Trump after he left office. And, secondly, classified documents are governed by executive order by long- established Supreme Court precedent that in any executive branch, the sole discretion for determining what is classified and how those documents should be handled.

So, they are trying to shift and deflect focus from what is, at its root, very problematic behavior that exposes this president to criminal jeopardy.

BURNETT: David Laufman, I really appreciate your time. Of course, the significant headline more than 30 subpoenas handed out in just the past few days by the Justice Department in the January 6th probe. Thank you, sir.

And next, live pictures of St. Giles' Cathedral in Scotland where hundreds are still lined up. It is now past midnight there. They want to pay their respect to Queen Elizabeth II. And today, a public message from her son King Charles III.

Plus, an extensive six-month investigation revealing new details about what was on Hunter Biden's laptop and how it ended up in that repair shop. One of the reporters behind all of this work is my guest.



BURNETT: Tonight, hundreds of mourners are still lined up at this hour to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth.

You're looking at a live picture of St. Giles' Cathedral in Scotland. It is after mid-might there, of course. But the cathedral will remain open to the public all night. The Queen's body lays at rest in site. Her coffin traveled from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to the St. Giles' Cathedral this afternoon. You can look at all the people lining the streets.

Her children joined the British public, surrounding their mother's body for a silent vigil.

The Queen will stay there until tomorrow when she'll be taken back to London. Her state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey a week from today.

All of this as King Charles addressed the United Kingdom today for the first time as new monarch, speaking in both London and Scotland.


KING CHARLES III, UNITED KINGDOM: I take up my new duties with thankfulness for all that Scotland has given me. With resolve to seek always the welfare of our country and its people, and with wholehearted trust in your good will and good counsel as we take forward that task together.


BURNETT: Bianca Nobilo is OUTFRONT.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): King Charles III's first full week as sovereign began with the full force of Britain's pomp and circumstance.

The new king addressed members of parliament and House of Lords in Westminster hall.

KING CHARLES III: I am deeply grateful for the addresses of condolence.

NOBILO: Built more than 900 years ago by his ancestor William II, the chain of history to which he now belongs keenly felt.

KING CHARLES III: As I stand before you today, I cannot help but feel the weight of history which surrounds us.

NOBILO: Yet, there was little chance to stand on ceremony following a rendition of the national anthem. The king swapped his four wheels for a pair of wings destined for Edinburgh and for the first time since Friday was with his mother at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

As the king arrived, he paused with members of the public offering their condolences before a short ceremony on the grounds where he was offered the keys to the city of Edinburgh. The distinct sound of Scotland announced the arrival of the coffin. Born on the shoulders of pall bearers, the Queen began her final hours in the beloved Scotland.

Down the royal mile, the Queen was followed by her children. Their measured footsteps echoed, the crowd deeply solemn. Over the skies, a 21-gun salute boomed from Edinburgh castle. As the Queen entered St. Giles' Cathedral, a somber thoughtful service unfolded.

After members of the public filed peacefully around the late Queen, her coffin topped with the crown of Scotland.

Following an hour-long meeting with Scottish lawmakers, the king let his three siblings back to St. Giles'. They stood resolutely still. Heads bowed in thought alongside their mother. Sadness on their faces.

For ten contemplative minutes, they shared their grief alongside members of the public as their mother said good-bye to Scotland.


NOBILO (on camera): Also heard a tribute from the late Queen's grandson Prince Harry who said that his grandmother had been a guiding compass in her service and devotion. He also quoted words that the Queen had spoken after the passing of her husband Prince Philip saying that life of course is full of final partings, but also first meetings.

Prince Harry writing: Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings, from my earliest childhood memories with you to meeting you for the first time as my commander in chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great grandchildren.

It was a poignant message. He also thanked his grandmother for her infectious smile and sound advice, finishing his statement by saying that he and his family were happy that she was now reunited with her husband and that they were both at peace -- Erin.

BURNETT: Bianca, thank you so much. Bianca live from London tonight.

And OUTFRONT now, Trisha Goddard, British journalist and former talk show host who has covered the royal family extensively.

So, Trish, I appreciate your time. Of course, this is the first time we've seen Charles speak, you know, as head of state right with this address that he gave. How did he do?

TRISHA GODDARD, FORMER BRITISH TALK SHOW HOST & JOURNALIST: I think he did amazingly well. I think it's also worth noting that the two times that he had spoken, he mentioned that he is very well aware that his life is changing, that he won't be able to follow his passions. In other words, he won't be speaking out as he has previously done on the environment. He's really made a point of pledging that.

The other thing that he's mentioned when he's spoken is about the Queen consort, Camilla. Twice he's mentioned that my darling wife of 17 years. And first of all, you think why do you actually have to mention 17 years? Well, of course, Camilla was princess of Wales, never used the title for obvious reasons. And now that's gone to Catherine his daughter-in-law.

But I think the whole point of that is to emphasize how important Camilla is to him, that she's not some fly-by-night woman, I mean, because she was staying for a long time labeled kind of the scarlet woman, even though it takes two to tango.

But he's really made a point of saying how important Camilla is, that she's already done a lot of charity work, which I can vouch for because I'm patron of her Royal Osteoporosis Society. I'm one of the patrons. So I know very well she's done a lot of work very quietly. And I really do believe that Camilla is his secret weapon.

BURNETT: It's so interesting to see. And as you point out, why would he have to say 17 years? Of course, we all know why.

But it points out her steadfast devotion, her commitment. It is, I find her absolutely fascinating. We did see today Prince Harry and Meghan -- I'm sorry, not today, but we saw them and William and Kate over the weekend, now the prince and princess of Wales.

It was a surprise show of unity. Obviously, there's a very public rift that we're in the midst of. But apparently it was the result of lengthy discussions which were initiated by William. How crucial are Prince William and Princess Kate right now?

GODDARD: Well, I think all four of them Harry and Meghan, I think, you know, arguments don't just happen out of nowhere. It takes two parties to argue. And I think it's interesting Oprah Winfrey, and that's basically where it all started, isn't it?


GODDARD: Just today said that she hopes that the brothers can get past, you know, all of their rift because often it does take the death of a loved one. And you sort of say, you know what, life's too short. But let me just say how difficult it is. I mean, for any family. And I defy any family out there who hasn't had some kind of falling out just because you happen to wear a crown doesn't make you any different.

But they have the eyes of the press, people analyzing every move. You know, what's the body language of this one, how did that one look. Did this person snub that person? What's the actual distance between them? That makes it incredibly different -- difficult for anybody to get

over the hurdle of the disagreement. Of course, they're going to come together during the actual funeral, again, and everybody's going to be scrutinizing everything they do.

But I do think it's the beginning of thawing, especially as Prince Charles mentioned Harry and Meghan in very warm, kind of familiar tones. And, you know, that speaks to him saying, hey, we're a family.

BURNETT: All right. Trisha, thanks so much. I appreciate your time.

GODDARD: You're welcome.

BURNETT: All right. And next, Queen Elizabeth's corgis. She has had a corgi by her side throughout all of her 70 years on the throne. And now the ones that were there at the end will be living with the duke and duchess of York.

Plus, Hunter Biden's laptop. An extensive investigation revealing what was on there and how it ended up in the hands of that laptop repair shop. One of the reporters behind the report is my guest.


BURNETT: Tonight, Hunter Biden's laptop, a six-month investigation by "New York Magazine" revealing the enormity of information on that laptop of who got their hands on it and how.

OUTFRONT now. Andrew Rice. He's a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," one of the contributing journalists behind the story.

Andrew, you've spent months on this, going through every aspect of it. So, you know, We've seen the salacious allegations and some of the pictures, sex, drugs on there, personal, business emails.


But you've gone through it all, and you learned that there was a lot more on that laptop.

ANDREW RICE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, yeah. I think what most surprised me about it is that, like -- like you said, I was aware and prepared to see when I sat down with some of the people who were disseminating the laptop material of a sexual nature, material that documented Hunter Biden's fully disclosed previously, you know, addiction to drugs.


RICE: Things that would -- that would be -- that would go to some of his business relationships. What I wasn't really prepared for was the kind of totality of the exposure, and also the real raw personal nature of it. One example that I cited in the story is that at one point, in order to demonstrate the authenticity of the drive, one of the people who has been distributing this showed me a photo of Beau Biden on his death bed about three days before he died. You can see in his photo, you can see the real expression. You can

see, you know, he's nearing death and it's not pretty. And it was a really awkward and difficult thing to look at.

And I think part of what my story is about is about not only the laptop itself but the motivations of the people who are distributing it and what it says about our current present-day political culture that this thing has become an object that's invested with such value.

BURNETT: With such value. And it had become so politicized because of the people who were in possession of it, Rudy Giuliani, others who were trying to take a look at it, then people didn't believe it. All of that you delve into.

And yet you when you can about something that expresses the totality of his life and his brother on his death bed, I was thinking about what Hunter Biden told CBS last year when he was asked about this laptop, which clearly had everything and his life on it. And here's what he said.


INTERVIEWER: Was that your laptop?


INTERVIEWER: I know, but you know --

BIDEN: But my point is, I really don't know the answer. That's the truthful answer.

INTERVIEWER: You don't know, yes or no, if the laptop was yours?

BIDEN: I don't -- I have no idea.

INTERVIEWER: So it could've been yours?

BIDEN: Of course, certainly. There could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was -- that it was Russian intelligence. It could be that it was stolen from me.

INTERVIEWER: And you didn't drop off a laptop to be repaired in Delaware?

BIDEN: No, no. Not that I remember at all -- at all. So, we'll see.


BURNETT: Okay. Six months investigating this, dozens of interviews. Was that your laptop for real? I don't know. Do you buy that?

RICE: I think that, you know -- I think that if you accept the fact that Hunter Biden was a person who was addicted to drugs, alcohol, other substances, who was going on a sort of journey of self- destruction during this time period, you know, it's fully plausible to think that he might've misplaced an object and not necessarily know what happened to it. In fact, his -- people close to him have propagated the idea that perhaps actually, there's a second laptop out there that it might actually trace back to, which really goes back to the general point that Hunter Biden was capable of losing more than one laptop that potentially contained devastating information about himself during time period in his life.

BURNETT: So, the owner of the repair shop, John Paul Mac Isaac, legally blind. He says Hunter Biden or someone else is legally Biden, came into his shop, so he's not saying for sure it is, and it's Hunter, and they never came back for it. Tell me more about, Isaac.

RICE: So, the thing about Mac Isaac is that while he is legally blind and is unable to drive, he is not so incapacitated that he is unable to identify people. He actually, of course, for his work needs to be able to look at computer screens. He has very, very poor vision. But his vision is not so impaired that it's preposterous to think that he could identify Hunter Biden.

Also, I mean, Mac Isaac has a signed receipt from April 12th, 2019, that someone whose signature looks an awful lot like Hunter Biden's dropped off a device there. And, most importantly, and most compellingly, I guess, from an evidentiary standpoint, he has a subpoena that the FBI served on him, and they came and took away this laptop, it passed into the hands of the FBI presumably because it had some kind of relevance to Hunter Biden's finances, the status of which we don't really know much about at the moment.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it. I hope people will read your article. It was a result of I know a lot of work, many, many months for you and your team.


And next, Queen Elizabeth and her corgis. The dogs that became synonymous with her reign and now her beloved pets, we'll tell you where they are.

Plus, a stunning image from the James Webb telescope. And it's amazing because when I show you what the last time we looked at this picture, it looked so very, very different. We'll show you.


BURNETT: Tonight, the White House announcing President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are attending the queen's funeral. Biden is not invited to bring a delegation with him which is a break from other state funerals for world leaders. This as we are learning more about the queen's, quote, best friends the two corgis who are always by her side.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As much as her royal guard, royal family, and royal crown, the queen's wobbling entourage of Welsh corgis were a symbol known around the world, with the run of the palace and a place in her heart.


FOREMAN: Sally Bedell Smith has written extensively about the royal family, dogs and all.

SMITH: They were extremely good company for her, in good times and bad.


And I think they made her laugh.

FOREMAN: From her youth, the queen loved animals, horses, hunting dogs, but the corgis were special. Her first, Susan, went along on the queen's honeymoon then became matriarch to a long line of pampered pooches fed from silver bowls, walked incessantly, and playing a peculiar diplomatic role when the queen met others.

SMITH: Diana said they were like a little moving carpet that preceded her into a room. And whenever the conversation lagged in any way, the corgis could always be counted on to supply some point of conversation.

FOREMAN: The dogs were not always so agreeable. The first minister of Scotland recalled a dinner with the queen when the lights began to fail.

NICOLA STURGEON, FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND: My husband suddenly lit up and darted across the room. Peter had spotted the cause of the flickering light.

FOREMAN: One of her majesty's corgis was chewing through the cord.

SMITH: They never bit the queen, but they did bite some of her staff.

FOREMAN: The queen was known to have as many as six at a time and when she cross bred them with dachshunds she was credited with creating the dorgi.

At the end, though, the dogs in her company dwindled to just a few and the last are destined to live with the duke and duchess of York, and perhaps as this comic suggests, like so many people, they will miss the lady at the other end of the leash.


FOREMAN (on camera): Some people closer to the royal family have said maybe the reason she liked her corgis so much is because she could go for walks with them, talk about her problems, and they didn't talk back. In fact, they didn't know or care that she was the queen -- Erin.

BURNETT: That's right. They couldn't leak.

All right.

FOREMAN: There you go.

BURNETT: All right. Next an incredible new image tonight from the James Webb telescope.


BURNETT: And finally tonight, breathtaking new images with a never before seen look in how we and how stars and planets are born. These stunning images of the Orion nebula are from the James Webb telescope. They were just released today. That nebula is over 1,300 light years away.

I mean, just look at that picture. It is glorious and seems like a painting because until now the only image we had of the Orion nebula was taken by Hubbell. I mean, beautiful too but like someone just put glasses on you.

It is amazing. The Hubbell was unable to see through the layers of star dust. Using infrared light, the Webb can see through those layers.

Webb also picking up what is being called a bonus image of the nebula and look at that one almost from the side.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.