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Erin Burnett Outfront

Florida Braces For Direct Hit As Category 3 Hurricane Grows Stronger; Russia Issues New Nuke Warning To Ukraine, West As Tensions Rise; Trump's Newest Lawyer In Mar-a-Lago Case Sidelined; More Women, Some Of Them Dems, Are Buying Guns: "Need To Feel Safe"; Anderson Cooper Opens Up About Living With Loss. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 27, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, life-threatening impact. That's how officials tonight are describing Hurricane Ian's power, on track to make a direct hit to Florida. Nearly 2 million people right now are under mandatory evacuation orders.

Plus, Russia with a new nuclear warning tonight as it reports the results from that staged referendum. Is Putin on the cusp of his most dangerous move?

And a story you'll see first OUTFRONT. We're going to introduce you to a group of women learning to fire a gun for the first time. They say they don't feel safe in their cities anymore, and they are not Republicans.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, bracing. The state of Florida, that's the right word for what's happening there tonight, bracing and preparing tonight for a direct hit as hurricane Ian picks up speed. The storm, called the storm of the lifetime, is now a dangerous category 3. Winds are 120 miles an hour.

These are live pictures out of the Florida Keys, where conditions are quickly deteriorating as you can see. I just can't even make sense of the horizon there. Tropical storm winds and a damaging storm surge are battering the island chain. That is tonight.

Now let me show you Sombrero Beach. That is in Marathon, Florida. There you see the winds already hitting those palm trees. Residents are being told to take cover. Tornado warnings there have already begun.

And this is all as Ian is not even there. Ian is still growing in strength feeding on those incredibly warm waters of the gulf, the warmest in the Atlantic. This is a satellite image of the storm's eye. It is an impressive eye, a huge eye, we understand, and hurricane- force winds now extend 40 miles from that eye. As the wind field expands, forecasters say the storm could make

landfall in the next 24 hours. But that's 24 hours where it can get stronger and stronger feeding on of that hot water.

Right now, Sarasota and Fort Myers are bracing for an historic storm subject surge at what could be 12 feet. They say it could be that or higher, and in Tampa, officials fear what they are calling the worst case scenario, which is damaging winds, life threatening foot storm surge across the city, that has not been hit by a major hurricane in more than 100 years.

So, right now, 2.5 million people across Florida have been told to evacuate. That's just Florida. Georgia is also declaring emergency in anticipation of the storm. And we are now seeing the power of this storm striking land. This is as we said, we're still, right, 24 hours away from the striking the U.S.

But in Cuba, the storm passing through with a path of destruction. Look at the flooding there. Havana in darkness tonight.

We have team coverage. I want to begin in Tampa, Florida, with Ryan Young and Tom Sater, at our weather center in CNN headquarters.

So, Tom, let's just start with the forecast here, what -- where are we as we're watching that swirl? Tell me where we are and about that strength here that you see in that eye.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, what's happening, Erin, and what has been happening is as the storm's pressure drops, the winds increase. Now it takes a while for the winds to respond to that pressure drop. But it means it's getting stronger. It's not only getting stronger, it's getting larger in size.

Hurricane-force winds now extend outward a good 40 miles on each side. So that's an 80-mile swath. And it's going to get wider as it approaches. Tropical storm force winds extend outward 150 miles in each direction. That's 300 miles. That also will get bigger.

Now, we just had our first tropical storm wind in Key West, 40 miles per hour sustained, 60-mile-an-hour gusts. However, if you want to know about timing of tropical storm forced winds, here you go, purple is your greatest possibility. This is 8:00 p.m., so Key West is in this. Now, you go from Sarasota over toward Lake Okeechobee, that's 2:00 in the morning.

So, you've got this entire region of southwest Florida that's going to see overnight, period, of tropical storm force winds. And it just continues in toward Wednesday. Now when it comes to the track, and this has been interesting because it's a big change from the last 24 hours that we've seen this movement from the west to the east, dropping that system down southward. In fact, tracks come from the National Weather Service every six hours.

In the last four runs, it has dropped each time for a total of 65 miles. Doesn't sound like much. But that 65 miles is saving Tampa Bay because yesterday we thought it was going to hang off the coast, slow down, and just kick that surge at them for 36 to 48 hours. Their surge forecast was 5 to 10. It's now 4 to 6.

In fact, as the storm hits south of them for a while as it spins counterclockwise, that wind or that surge in water in the bay will recede and go down.


But to the south, now we're seeing the increase here where it's dangerous from Sarasota southward to Bonita Springs. And that's where you're going to see a tremendous amount. We're starting to see tornado warnings, tornado watch for this area until 5:00 in the morning. That's an incredible amount of time. You never see that, watches in effects.

But this is the Peace River. Already they've had above-average rainfall the last two weeks. There are several gauges that are already above flood stage. And now, this area of Charlotte Harbor is going to see the highest surge. It goes miles back in toward the Peace River where it's going to back everything up.

We're not just talking about flooding in every inlet in the harbor but in all these rivers that have already seen excessive rainfall the last couple of days. And there is much more rain on the way. Here's a change, about 20 to 30 inches north of the system and that includes Tampa Bay. So, they're not out of this, inland flooding is going to be just as bad.

BURNETT: Twenty to 30 inches, I mean, it's staggering to even imagine that.

All right. Tom, thank you very much.

Amazing, it's interesting Tom saying, you know, 65 miles doesn't sound like a lot. But it is a lot to think that the storm track could change that dramatically in just a couple of hours. But this storm is unprecedented in many ways and intensifying. Florida residents are scrambling to make their final preparations as they prepare for landfall.

Ryan Young is OUTFRONT.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurricane Ian slamming western Cuba this morning. The winds over 120 miles per hour. The category 3 storm left a path of widespread destruction flooding and cutting power to more than a million people.

The storm flattening buildings and turning roads into rivers, now gaining significant strength as it makes its way over warm water in the gulf and heads directly for Florida. Nearly 3 million people are under evacuation orders along the western coast of the state.

POLICE OFFICER: We're coming and letting everybody know that you're in a mandatory evacuation situation. YOUNG: The Tampa Bay area in its final hours of hurricane

preparations. Tampa Bay police making last-ditch efforts to warn residents in flood risk zones to leave now.

POLICE OFFICER: It's a reinforcement to let them know that you're in an area where you need to evacuate.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: And so we know this thing is going to be hitting the state directly sometime tomorrow evening. You still have some time. But that time is rapidly running out.

YOUNG: Serious warnings to residents here, this vulnerable area expecting to be in the crosshairs of Hurricane Ian.

MAYOR JANE CASTOR, TAMPA, FLORIDA: We have over 120 miles of coast line just in the city of Tampa.

YOUNG: Schools and businesses are closing across the state as the storm is predicted to cause water damage like none before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talking about 10 or 15 inches of rain on top of the surge. That's unprecedented. No infrastructure is built for that.

YOUNG: With this hurricane, a direct hit isn't necessary to cause severe flooding. The slow-moving storm is predicted to stall just off the coast of Tampa Bay starting Wednesday evening.

CASTOR: It's going to be in our rivers, it's going to be in our streams and canals. It's going to be in our storm water drains and ditches.

YOUNG: Sandbag locations around Tampa closed today at 2:00. Residents doing what they can before heading out.

PEGGY DAVIS, TAMPA, FL RESIDENT: We're late, we're late, but we are -- we think that if it is a storm surge issue, we will try to seal the openings in the house.

YOUNG: Former Florida Congressman Jim Davis and his wife aren't taking chances. They're prepping their house and getting out.

JIM DAVIS, FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: I'm not a very good gambler. And it's a bit of a gamble if you don't take it seriously.


YOUNG (on camera): Yeah, you can understand why people are worried about the storm surge. Look behind me at the hospital here. They put up the barricades here to make sure they protect this hospital. Sometimes when it has a heavy rain, they are affected. This is a level one trauma center.

Now, look from above how close they are to the water. The residents here tell me they love being this close to the water. In fact, there's over 130 miles of coast line in the greater Tampa area. So you understand there is an affection with it. But right now, they are so concerned about storm surge.

When we were out with those police officers as they went door to door, we actually had someone in that community tell us they have nowhere to go. They do not want to go to a shelter because they don't want to go through that. But, at the same time, they understand and are fearful about the idea of staying in their home during this storm and whatever's coming next -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

I want to go to Shannon Weiner, emergency management director for Monroe County, that includes the Florida Keys.

So, Shannon, the storm passing west of the Keys tonight, what are you experiencing so far?

SHANNON WEINER, MONROE COUNTY, FL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR: So, currently we are experiencing tropical storm force conditions on the low end as far as sustained winds. In the Middle and Lower Keys, we are looking at storm conditions of winds of somewhere in the range of 40 to 50 miles per hour. And we've had a few heavy gusts in Key West in the 60 to 70-mile-per-hour range.

Lots of rain. It has been raining now off and on all day. Some areas we have officially recorded, you know, 6 inches of water plus.


So, we are definitely feeling the tropical storm effects here in Monroe County.

BURNETT: And how bad do you expect it to get here overnight?

WEINER: We do expect it to worsen overnight. We are beginning to see a few power outages throughout the Lower Keys. Some down trees in residential areas.

So, we are very closely monitoring the situation as we move through the evening and early morning hours.

BURNETT: So I know you've asked everyone to stay off the roads, to be in a safe structure by afternoon. Of course, we have video, people out in the water watching the waves crash. What do you say to them to anyone who is not heeding the warnings at this point? You can see them here right by the water's edge.

WEINER: Yes. So, you know, we -- this is -- we've experienced many tropical storms here in the Florida Keys. So we are well aware of the impacts. And there are those people that do like to enjoy the weather up to the very last minute, but we really do urge them to seek safe shelter with family or friends, particularly after nightfall and particularly this evening as we see the conditions continue to deteriorate.

BURNETT: All right. Shannon, thank you very much. I appreciate it, of course, as Florida prepares for the onslaught of this storm. Next, one of Putin's top allies with a new nuclear warning tonight as

Russia touts the results of its sham referendum. We're going to take you live to Ukraine for the latest.

Plus, Trump just sidelined his newest attorney, the lawyer who was hired to lead his defense in the classified documents case benched. How come?

And Anderson Cooper is OUTFRONT tonight on why he's sharing his most personal feelings about loss and grief as a deeply, deeply person choosing to share that with all of us.



BURNETT: Now tonight, a dangerous tipping point. The former Russian president and a still very close Putin ally coming out today with a stark prediction. And it's this, saying the U.S. and NATO won't do anything if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine because Medvedev says, quote, the demagogues across the ocean and Europe are not going to die in a nuclear apocalypse.

So, basically, Russia can use nukes with impunity in Ukraine and no one will do anything about it because they don't want to have a massive strategic intercontinental missiles nuke fest. The Russian state media meantime is claiming that the sham referendums that ended tonight in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine show that huge majorities support joining Russia. Shocker.

And Ukrainian officials are saying that this is all a cover for Russia to now draft Ukrainian men into the military to be used as cannon fodder.

Ben Wedeman is OUTFRONT. Now, he is in a town that has been partially liberated by Ukrainian soldiers. I do want to warn you that what you're going to see is disturbing, but, we feel, important.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The bodies of dead Russian soldiers are scattered around the town of Pisky-Radkivski, killed far from home in what the Kremlin chooses to call a special military operation. But it's a war by any other name, a war into which many more Russians will be thrown now that the so- called partial mobilization has begun. And who may well meet a similar end.

This is a bank document found on one of the soldiers. The soldier is from St. Petersburg, and he was born on the 30th of September, 2001. He died three days before his birthday.

The charred remnants of Russian armor scattered around town. Outgoing artillery once considered one of the most powerful on earth. An army that abandoned tanks aplenty, many in working order.

Dmitri and his crew are tinkering with one such tank fresh from the battlefield.

It has minimal breakage, he says. I can turn it on now without any problems.

Sure enough, its motor roars to life.

When they run away, they lose not only the tanks, says Olexander, but also the ammunition, and the next day, it's all used against them.

This tank almost ready to go back into action.

Pisky-Radkivski lies just north of the Donbas region, which after sham referendum president Vladimir Putin plans to annex to Russia. Yet, few here have fond memories of life under Russia's sway.

Stanislav is cutting sheet metal to put over the shattered windows of his sister's home.

There was looting in spring, he recalls. They were taking everything.

Down the road, Varvara and Raisa are back to what they did throughout the Russian occupation.

Just sitting here, says Varvara. They didn't bother us.

But Raisa found them annoying.

Nazis, Nazis, she says. They always ask, where are the Nazis?

The Russians have left or lie dead in the dirt. Lives wasted for nothing.


BURNETT: Ben, it's impossible to imagine what it was like to see that. You talk about that boy, I mean, 19 or 20 years old with the bank document. And, for you, what is it like as you have covered so much of this war to walk through a town like that and see dead bodies of Russian boys all over the place?

WEDEMAN: I mean, it was just shocking the number of dead Russians we saw. We counted at least 22 bodies. And we were really in that town only about 50 minutes to an hour. And we really didn't even get a complete look at the situation there.

But just to add some more news for you, this city Kharkiv where we are now just about five hours ago came under Russian, rather, missile fire about five missiles landed, one of them just about 600 yards from where we are now.

It took an electronic substation out. And the city, much of the city is completely without electricity. In fact, I can see just a couple lights in the background, perhaps those are from generators.

But this just gives you an idea that despite the fact that the Russians are losing ground in this part of Ukraine, they still have the ability with their long-range missiles to cause serious damage -- Erin.

BURNETT: Yeah, absolutely. They are trying to solidify whatever control they have over certain occupied areas that they are still trying to attack Kharkiv.

Ben Wedeman, thank you so much for that powerful report.

I want to go to now retired Army Major General James "Spider" Marks.

General, what's your reaction when you see that? Obviously that town that Ben spent less than an hour and is extremely close to the line that Putin is now going to define as the line of Russia. Even, of course, it isn't. It was a fake referendum.

It wasn't real, and it's not the real border, but that's what he's going to try to say, and they're going through now and there's literally just, as the Russians retreated, they certainly did not take their dead. It seems to be littered with Russian bodies. And Ben wasn't even counting, but at least 22 that he saw just lying there.

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yeah, what this really tells you is what we've seen the Russians doing for the past seven months. Look, there's no humanity in this fight. There's no sense of leadership, as we've described. There's an absence in terms of any type of a professional ethos.

And you can imagine the resistance. And we're seeing the pictures of the resistance to this mobilization that President Putin's put in place.


MARKS: Because it's obvious what can possibly happen. They're going to a fight where the Russian soldier is only fighting for a paycheck and essentially a bucket of lies, and the Ukrainians are fighting for their sovereignty.

BURNETT: And the images we've seen are stunning, right? You can see them from space, satellite images of ten-mile-long lines at the border. The expectation now that those borders could be forcibly closed, sort of a panic of men trying to leave the country.

And you've seen criticism from quarters that we've not ever seen criticism. That's the satellite line on the Russian/Georgian border that we have on the screen. One Russian television anchor, who has been one of the biggest proponents of everything Putin's done, including advocating for all sorts of nuclear conflagration actually criticized in a bizarre way. Let me play it.


VLADIMIR SOLOVYOV, RUSSIAN TELEVISION ANCHOR (through translator): The idiots out there who are calling up musicians or individuals with a million illnesses or students, despite the clearly defined exemptions laid out in the decree. Not only should they be punished, but they should be the first to be sent to the front lines. If anyone wishes to discredit our supreme commander in chief, I'd strongly advise against it.


BURNETT: OK. So he criticizes and of course ultimately the only blame for any of that would be on the ultimate commander in chief. But says, oh, I'm not doing that.

But it is rare nonetheless to hear that, and certainly from him, as I said, a person who has been a big proponent of all sorts of nuclear weapons. How significant is that, if at all?

MARKS: Well, I think it's significant in that what he is saying is the execution of this mobilization, how they're going about it is completely full of holes. It's not being done very well at all.

It's apparent that there isn't a sense of what the top-line policy is and how that cascades through the various regions and how it needs to be executed. But what he is doing is he's saying, look, everybody out there is a fool except for Putin. So don't forget that. Putin's in charge, he knows what he's doing. We're surrounded by a bunch of dummies. And this is going to be the result unless we get our act together.

BURNETT: Spider, what about Medvedev said today, which is NATO, Europe, the U.S. won't do anything if Russia uses nukes in Ukraine. And they won't do anything because they don't want to have a big international nuclear war because everybody would die. So basically we can use nukes in Ukraine. Do you think that's true?

MARKS: I don't think it's true at all. The fact is the benefit, the real strategic value of nukes is in their deterrent effect. When you use a nuke, you've lost its effective value. And I would tell you that if a nuke was used, and I can't get into descriptions of whether it's tactical or yield, short-range, or if it's a specific Ukrainian target or if they do it over the arctic pole someplace as a demonstration.

I would guarantee if that took place, there would be a U.S.-led coalition inserted into this fight led with a coalition of partners from NATO on the ground in Ukraine. They wouldn't cross over into Russia, and they would defeat this Russian military in Ukraine in short amount of time, probably 96 hours. Putin understands that. He has to understand that.

BURNETT: Ninety six hours, wow. Spider, thank you very much. I appreciate your time, General.

MARKS: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Trump just sidelined his big-time attorney. This was the person supposed to be leading his Mar-a-Lago defense. Why?

And a story you will see first out front. We're going to introduce you to a group of women, they are part a growing trend who are learning to do it for the first time. So, why?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Do you think it's going to make you feel safer?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. I think when you have knowledge of stuff, it makes you safer.




BURNETT: Tonight, sideline. So you're looking on your screen at the former Florida solicitor general. His name is Chris Kise. And he is no longer representing Donald Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents probe.

Now, this is according to two sources familiar with the manner. Now, the reason I'm mentioning this is it's actually really surprising because Chris Kise has joined team Trump less than a month ago, specifically to work on this issue, and he got a $3 million retainer fee. And he got that up front. So, that's pretty incredible.

Now, we're told Kise is expected to remain on Trump's legal team, could do other Trump investigations maybe, but not on this one.

I want to go to Ryan Goodman, the co-editor in chief of Just Security and former special counsel at the Defense Department.

So, Ryan, they spent weeks looking for the right lawyer in Florida to specifically work on the Mar-a-Lago documents case. Chris Kise is that guy. Now, a month later he's out.

I mean, maybe he'll do other things. Maybe this is just a gracious way to get him out. I don't know.

But what does it tell you?

RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR IN CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: It's remarkable because he was brought in as this kind of heavyweight. They needed someone with gravitas and stature in Florida. And so, for him to be sidelined at this point with only four weeks in and a whole lot of action ahead of time -- ahead of us is something remarkable.

And he's also, I would say, from what we know, the most competent lawyer, around Trump, so it leaves him from what we know, around Trump. These lawyers have made so many strategic and tactical errors.

BURNETT: And so, now, even if he is onboard, this is a guy who's sidelined in favor of people who are not experienced or may not. So who knows if he'd even be willing? I mean, who knows, right, to this whole point of whether he's going to focus on something else. OK. So that's significant.

And in this whole issue of special documents, you saw something today that stood out to you. And this was about the special master, Judge Dearie, appearing to call out Judge Cannon, who is the judge who had ruled in favor of Trump in Florida. Tell me what happened.

GOODMAN: Sure. So this is a bit of a surprise just out of nowhere Judge Dearie issued an order in which he said, look, there's something that just happened, which nobody's really noticed. Judge Cannon has clipped my wings. She has, in amending her initial order, actually taken out my authority to issue interim reports and make recommendations to her.

And there's no reason for her to have done that. She was overturned by the 11th Circuit on something completely unrelated, whether they could handle classified documents and he makes that point as well. So, she did reply today within a span of a couple hours and actually said, no, you have that authority still to issue recommendations and reports as you seem -- as you deem appropriate.

But it's a strange dust-up between a special master and the district judge.

BURNETT: And you said that is not a normal back and forth that you see. But certainly she appeared to back down and to acquiesce to him.

GOODMAN: Exactly.

BURNETT: All right. So, now, the other thing that happened today, start of jury selection in what could be a crucial piece. People wonder whether Trump will be held responsible and in what way.

Look at the images on your screen. This is the Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes. Four of his top lieutenants along with he are being tried over the deadly insurrection, and really, Ryan, for the first time in, what, more than a hundred years, you're seeing these charges for seditious conspiracy, and in over a decade the first time that the DOJ will argue that any group of Americans tried to overturn the government.

Now, Rhodes himself is a very interesting figure. He went to Yale Law School. He knows the law. And here he is.

How important is this particular case to Trump himself?

GOODMAN: So, it can turn out to be quite important because, in fact, Rhodes is trying his defense to argue that they engaged in this a scheme on the theory that Trump was going to invoke the Insurrection Act and then call them into action. And that's their defense.

The Justice Department actually tried to block them from making the defense. I think the justice department says let's make it a clean trial, it's about your personal responsibility, don't try to blame it on anyone else.

BURNETT: I supposed they're blaming on Trump.

GOODMAN: Yeah. But if they succeeded in their defense, or whatever evidence they produce at the trial, that could be pretty significant because they're pointing the finger at Trump himself. BURNETT: Well, they're saying the guy who was the leader, the person

we're doing this for, is Trump, which is what he's saying is not true. So that could be hugely consequential.


BURNETT: All right. Ryan Goodman, thank you very much. A lot here, you know, even though, obviously, the January 6th hearing's tomorrow. We've been postponed because of the hurricane. So much of this continuing, and that selection continues tomorrow. Thank you.

GOODMAN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a story you'll see only OUTFRONT. More women in the United States learning to fire guns for the first time, and some of them are Democrats.


REPORTER: Do you think you'll feel safer if you're carrying?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, definitely, yeah. With all the things that you see on the news, things are happening more.


BURNETT: Plus, Anderson Cooper opening up tonight about his own loss and grief. He's OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, soft on crime. Republicans in a number of tough races across the country are trying to tie Democrats to a surge in crime in major cities.

Democrat John Fetterman in one of the most closely watched Senate races releasing a new ad today fighting back against his opponent Dr. Oz, who's calling him dangerously liberal on crime.


SEAN KILKENNY, COUNTY SHERIFF: I'm a county sheriff, veteran, in Pennsylvania.

I'm sick of Oz talking about John Fetterman and crime. Here's the truth: John gave a second chance to those who deserved it. Nonviolent offenders, marijuana users.


BURNETT: So, people want to make this all about politics, are you Democrat or Republican, how do you feel about crime? Of course, the real is more nuanced.

And our David Culver went out to talk to women who are learning to fire a gun for the first time.

Now, they lean politically and see what he found. They say they don't feel safe.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Brandy Joseph readies her classroom and safety waivers get signed, we'll set the scene for you. These women, now in their early 50s, are childhood friends from Los Angeles.

BRANDY JOSEPH, FORTUNE FIREARMS: And your caliber is right here. It is a 0.22 caliber.

CULVER: Their Saturday social, firearms 101, perhaps surprising considering most of these women politically lean left.

Do you have some friends who will be totally turned off by this?


CULVER: They won't be happy?

WARD: Not at all.

CULVER: How do you deal with that?

WARD: Not my problem. That's their choice. I'm exercising my choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You push down and not in.


CULVER: After a thorough intro, they're off to the firing line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Phones, I don't want to see them out. I know you'll be paying attention to what we're about to do.

CULVER: We noticed Jamie Beverly paying attention but seemingly uneasy.

How are you feeling?

JAMIE BEVERLY, TAKING GUN TRAINING: Seeing all the guns on the table, I was like ah.

CULVER: Do you think it's going to make you feel safer?

BEVERLY: Yeah. I think when you have knowledge of stuff, it makes you safer.

CULVER: Would you ever want to carry?

BEVERLY: I don't think so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whack your side one time to get your cartridge back. Perfect.

Any questions? Nope, guns down.

CULVER: Laronia Day (ph) organized this friends outing with a personal purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our current society and our climate is changing, it's just better to be prepared for your own safety and protection. That's how we're feeling.

CULVER: They are not alone.

At Borough Canyon Shooting Park, just east of L.A., we met Yessica Mendez.

YESSICA MENDEZ, NEW GUN OWNER: I'm a Mexican woman in a same-sex relationship. I need to feel safe, I need to feel protected.

CULVER: Her wife, Crisia Regalado at first wanted nothing to do with guns.

Your first experience hearing what we're hearing right now, gunshots. You were not taking it very well.

CRISIA REGALADO, NEW GUN OWNER: Yeah, just the sound, the vibrations of each impact, it made me feel very scared.

TOM NGUYEN, LA PROGRESSIVE SHOOTERS: It's mechanical as the gun is.

CULVER: Tom Nguyen began training the couple last year with a focus on self-protection.

NGUYEN: The more I educate folks who were formerly anti-gun, the more they actually realize that there's more nuance to it.

CULVER: Do you see an opening that perhaps on a national level, that dialogue can happen?

NGUYEN: I hope so. And I think the tide's turning, because the past two years, it's been unprecedented the types of folks that are buying guns.

CULVER: While white men have the highest rates of gun ownership in the U.S., one survey showed that in the first half of 2021, roughly 90 percent of retailers saw a surge in gun sales to African-Americans. And about 80 percent of retailers reported an increase in firearm purchases by Hispanic and Asian-Americans.

Living in California, a state with some of the toughest gun laws, Yessica tells me she's more comfortable talking about her relationship than about her guns.

MENDEZ: I definitely am more closeted in being a gun owner for fear of retaliation.

CULVER: Do you worry that you're glamorizing or glorifying gun ownership?

MENDEZ: It's something that I really, really try not to do it, even just, like, wearing shirts that have, like, guns on them. I don't do that because I don't want people to think that it's just like an accessory.

CULVER: Back on the Fortune Firearms Ranch.


CULVER: Firearms instructor and dealer Brandy Joseph, noticing the changing clientele.

JOSEPH: There is a huge uptick in female owners. Women are getting trained. Women are carrying.

CULVER: Liberal and conservative?

JOSEPH: Liberal and conservative.

CULVER: Data from Harvard found that more than half of new gun owners are likely to be women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here to go up, pull your trigger, boom, back to your frame.

CULVER: Nearly two hours into their training, these women ready to pull the trigger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Slowly pull your trigger.



CULVER: After class, the group seemingly more comfortable. Is it strange to think for some of you that you know how to load and handle those weapons?


CULVER: Jamie Beverly --

BEVERLY: Yeah, I'm still leery. I don't think I would.

CULVER: The others ready to be armed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just feel liberated.

CULVER: Do you think you'll feel safer if you're carrying?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, definitely, yeah. With all the things that you see on the news, the things that are happening more in so many public areas, movie theaters, Walmarts, grocery stores. It's like there's no limit now.


BURNETT: It's really incredible. Obviously, they were doing that piece in California. But to the extent that there's a narrative out there that the people who have guns either get them in illegally, the criminal intent, or are some deep south gun-toting Republican. What you're showing is that that's now false.

CULVER: We have this image, right, and when I heard murmurs about this unassuming gun owner, it's not until you pull the curtain back and you realize it is so nuanced, it is far more than we could ever imagine.

And there is no typical gun owner. And this proves that. I was talking to some of the folks who were running this Harvard Study as well.


CULVER: And they did further analysis just for us that I got within the past 24 hours. And it showed that in the 2020 election, if you look at those new gun owners, how they voted, 39 percent voted for Trump. Roughly the same exact number voted for Biden. It shows you it's across political lines across the country.

BURNETT: It is across the political lines, which is a lesson politicians should take away from this. Obviously, this is very significant, not just something you can put people in a box based on their politics.

CULVER: That's right.

BURNETT: David, thank you so very much for that.


And next, Anderson, he's got a new podcast about his own loss and grief after the death of his mother. Many of you may have watched it. It's quite transformative. It's resonating with so many people, and he's next to talk about it.

And you saw NASA crash a spacecraft into an asteroid right here last night. Now, we have the actual images of the impact itself.


BURNETT: Tonight, all there is. My friend, Anderson Cooper, is OUTFRONT tonight to talk about his new profound podcast that's moved so many, because it's about dealing with the loss of those closest to you.

Anderson started recording what would become his first podcast while he was packing up the apartment of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, after she died. Here's a preview.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, AC360: I wasn't really surprised by my mom's death, but I was surprised by the loneliness I felt afterward and still feel.

She was the last person from the little family that I grew up in, the last person who knew the same stories as me, who had the same memories. Now I'm the only one. I feel like a lighthouse keeper out on an empty island, and I feel like I need to preserve all that happened, because if I don't, my mom and my dad, my brother, the life that we shared in all those moments and all their friends, they'll all just disappear.



BURNETT: And Anderson is with me now. So, you know, I watched you tape parts of this, because you've been doing it through your days. Why did you decide to do this now?

ANDERSON: My mom died three years ago, but I've been going through her stuff, even while she was alive, a lot of stuff that belonged to my dad who died when I was 10 and my brother who died when I was 21. And I just felt very isolated and alone in this process of just going through all these things for -- you know, it's -- and I realized how universal this experience is.

This is something all of us either have all done already, going through the things of the loved one we've lost or will have to do. And I wanted -- I started recording because I needed to kind of narrate what I was doing to just make sense of it to myself and decided that it would be nice to start a conversation with listeners about -- about this. An experience that I'm going through, they're going through, and hearing other people's experiences with loss and grief.

BURNETT: And you've had so much loss. I remember when your mom died. I was writing you a note and I -- because I lost my mother, and there's just that hole in your life. I thought, how do I write Anderson a note because he has experienced so much more loss and greater loss throughout your life.

COOPER: I'm really winning in the loss game.


BURNETT: But it has -- in what way has it sort of defined you? I guess in a spiritual way.

COOPER: No, without a doubt. I mean, loss -- I feel like my life has been shaped. I think anybody who loses a parent as a child. My dad was 50 when he died, I was 10 years old.

I interviewed Stephen Colbert in the episode two of the podcast, which is out now. He lost his father and two of his brothers in a plane crash when he was 10. You know, it changes the -- it changes who you are. I'm a different person. I mark time as the person I was before my dad's death and after, and that -- it was like reset the clocks. It was a new year zero. And I don't want to pass that on to my kids. I want my kids to not

have sort of the sense of loss and grief that I've had. But I want them to have this lightness and love and know who their grandparents were and who my brother was. But not to have the sadness associated with it.

BURNETT: How much are they a part of this? If you're doing this now, that you've got these two little boys?

COOPER: It's -- I mean, it's a big part of what motivated me to do it. I was trying to think, how do I explain to my kids when they're of an age they can understand, like my mom and my dad and their grandmother and grandfather and my brother? And I thought, you know, I think there's many different ways to do it. This was one way to start to document just this process and leave my thoughts, my -- I didn't have any recordings of my dad's voice.

And one of the things that's been remarkable is, I was sent by a man named Charles Rojas (ph) who done an interview with my dad in 1976 (ph), a recording of an interview that they did together and he sent it to me. And I would listen to it in my office and it was the first time I heard my dad's voice since I was 10 years old. And he sounded nothing like I remember, but he was talking about my brother and me.

That was such a profound impact on me. I thought, you know, God forbid, if I'm not there for my kids at a certain age, I love the fact that they will have this -- these recordings and this podcast to know what I was doing and sort of talking to them through it.

BURNETT: And you talk about how you knew. I was thinking we were in London at the queen's funeral. You knew your mother was ailing, right? You knew it was going to come. And yet when it came, it was still unexpected, the impact that it will have on you.


BURNETT: That loneliness you would feel. And, you know, you go through the podcast and you hear the sounds that for you are part of your life and your history and your upbringing.

COOPER: The sound of a lock opening up, things in your apartment, all these little sounds that were so part of my life, you know, I wanted to record because they disappear and you forget over time.

BURNETT: So, you mentioned Stephen Colbert. It's amazing both of you went through that at the same age, imagine that there's another human being who could have gone through such a profound loss, as you did when he lost his father and his brothers in that plane crash and your most recent podcast. So, I'll play just one part of that.


STEPHEN COLBERT, TV HOST: The day I was one day older than my father ever was, was the first day off a break off of the show. I had a week off. And so, I thought, what would my dad want to do? What could I do that my dad ever got to do. And I thought, well, he would want to see us, I think, if he's

anything like me. He'd want to see his children. So I just showed up. I had lunch with each of them. I just showed up. I went to one college, I went to another college. Like I flew around the country and one I did something with my son who is still at home and of them asked me why I was there.


BURNETT: That last sentence really brings it home. So, what -- you did this for you and for your heart and yet you have touched so many in so many people already.

How do you decide how you're going the chart your course through this podcast? What do you do next?

COOPER: Yeah, I'm still making them. I recorded a new one that comes out tomorrow. It's about my brother's death by suicide when he was 23. He killed himself in front of my mother.

And I talked to a palliative care doctor named Dr. BJ Miller (ph), who's just ordinary. His sister Lisa died by suicide, and he sat by the bed of hundreds of people who have died. And he -- you know, I wanted to talk to people like Stephen who are profound and have thought about loss and brief to kind of re -- help me re -- and listeners, rethink, you know, here is something that helps them rethink or reframe the loss.

You know, we all have these stories that we have narrated to ourselves over the years. I have over the 55 years of my life, you know, about, well, I'm profoundly impacted by grief. These are my losses and I carry them with me.

But you can change that narrative. You can change those stories, and I think that's something that is really powerful and the loss and grief is something we just -- we don't talk about it enough. It is -- all of us will experience it. It's one of the most universal of human experiences.

And yet we feel isolated, alone, and lonely in it, and there is another way. And I think it's great to hear people in public life talking about it and to hear some of the people on this podcast that I get to and talk about it.

BURNETT: Anderson, thank you so much.

COOPER: Thanks for doing it.

BURNETT: It was really nice to talk to you about it. And, of course, "All There Is" with Anderson Cooper, you can find it. Just scan the QR code right now, and you can see it in the bottom below me on the screen.

COOPER: I wonder how that work, that's crazy to me.

BURNETT: Yeah, hold your phone up -- COOPER: It's technology.

BURNETT: And the new episode that Anderson just mentioned will be out tomorrow morning.

And next, new images of the moment that you saw last night, that NASA spacecraft crashing into an asteroid. We actually have now the pictures, the images of the moment.


BURNETT: And finally tonight, that moment of impact. New images revealing what we witnessed live last night, right, which is that NASA aircraft -- spacecraft crashing into that asteroid, trying to knock it off-course.

So, here's what it looked like from satellite. You can actually see the asteroid and see the collision, there it is. More images, you see the blast in the background. The larger asteroid, didymos, is on the foreground, dimorphos s the one at the back that it hit. It was a $300 million project, and the whole goal was to see if NASA can hit something really tiny and knock it off course so that we wouldn't have a catastrophe for human civilization.

Thanks for joining us. And now let's hand it off to Anderson.