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Erin Burnett Outfront

Putin Signs Annexation Laws As Ukraine Advances In East And South; Biden Tours Florida Areas Obliterated By Hurricane As Death Toll Rises; Filing Reveals New Details About Items FBI Seized From Mar-A-Lago; GOP Senate Candidate Doubles Down, Denies He Paid For An Abortion; Record Number Of Women Running For Governor. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 05, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, panic inside Russia. Putin's forces failing on the battlefield, as the U.S. believes Ukraine was behind the assassination of a prominent Russian.

Plus, our Bill Weir with the first glimpses of the hurricane's devastation on Pine Island. A barrier island that has been completely isolated after its main bridge collapsed.

And breaking news this hour: we have some new details coming in about what the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago. That is just coming to light right now.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, targeting Kyiv.

Putin making a desperate move to strike near Kyiv as Russian forces are firing a dozen airstrikes at a town near the capital. It's hundreds of mile as way from the front lines, and it is an away by Putin to instill fear by an army that has been failing on the battlefield.

We have graphic new images from today which show the remains of what was a Russian caravan near the city of Lyman. Car after car destroyed. The body of a Russian soldier on the ground, Russian belongings strewn across the road. It just bears testimony to what we are seeing. Russia's retreat and Ukraine's advances are both fast and furious.

But today, Putin speaking out, saying that these regions of Ukraine where we're seeing all of this are now fully part of Russia. He told a conference of teachers that the vote in the sham referendums in those regions of Ukraine were -- well, here's his words: the results of the referendums, frankly speaking, not only pleased me but also surprised me. I think the election observers know this as well. There was no desire to correct something, clean something up, add something.

It is amazing. He says he was surprised. It's almost laughable if of course this weren't so horrific and serious. He talks about election observers. I mean, it's just unbelievable.

Again, you want to laugh, but the reality is election observers? These were heavily armed Russian soldiers stationed at polling stations and accompanying election workers who were going door to door to make sure that people voted. Voted on a ballot that had just one question, do you want to secede from Ukraine and create an independent state that will join the Russian federation? Yes or no, it was very simple.

The whole thing is a farce. And the reality of it is a lot of Russians know it, too. According to "Forbes" which cites a source within the Putin administration. As many as 700,000 people have left Russia since Putin announced that massive military mobilization. That's almost a million people flooding over the borders in just the past two weeks. That is an unprecedented exodus for Russia.

And on Russian state television, state-selected war correspondents are no longer spinning Putin's poor performance on the battlefield in the same way. And you can hear the desperation in the voices of the Russian state TV anchors.


RUSSIAN STATE TV ANCHOR (through translator): We are still learning, I know this is hard to hear in our eighth month of the special operation.

RUSSIAN STATE TV ANCHOR (through translator): Is Kherson in danger? How should we feel about what is happening? Why isn't anything protected there? When will reinforcements arrive?


BURNETT: Just the staccato of the questions, when will this? This is a sea change for Russian state television.

And, meanwhile, tonight, the Russian journalist that held up the live broadcast by holding up a sign that said "no war" now appearing on camera to confirm that she has escaped house arrest.

She's appeared OUTFRONT and she, today in these images, there she is with me not long ago. But now showing off her ankle monitoring bracelet because she can't actually get that off so she's fled house arrest but that's still on her body. Saying, maybe some judges, prosecutors or investigators' conscience will wake up and they'll stop calling the children who died in Ukraine fakes and they will stop prosecuting me for telling the truth.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT live to begin our coverage in Kyiv tonight.

And, Fred, the losses keep piling up for Putin and his military. Now they're doing those strikes near Kyiv again to try to instill fear. But it's not clear if Russia will regain an advantage.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you're absolutely right, Erin. One of the things that the Ukrainians have said, they believe those strikes that happened near Kyiv, which were done using kamikaze drones that the Ukrainians say were given to the Russians by the Iranians, that are those were really a sign of desperation because a couple months ago the Russians would've used cruise missiles or something else to hit those targets. But now they're using these cheaper kamikaze drones.

They cause damage to a certain extent, but it's certainly not going to derail what the Ukrainians are doing right now. And essentially, the really remarkable thing about the advances that the Ukrainians are making at the moment is that they're happening in a very widespread area.


You were saying, it's fast and furious, but it also is over a big area. It's happening in the south of the country where the Ukrainians themselves seem to be surprised at how fast they were able to take back some of these villages and really some key towns as well.

But also in the east where the Ukrainians have also gone well beyond Lyman, well beyond that really strategic town that they managed to get just a couple of days ago and move forward.

Now, one of the things that we are seeing on the battlefield, however, is that the fighting there continues to be very furious as well. Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Ukrainian forces on the move. Kyiv says, this video shows its soldiers advancing in the east of the country under heavy fire.


PLEITGEN: Since taking the strategically important town of Lyman, Ukraine's army says its forces have managed to enter the Luhansk region, one of the few areas that had been under Russian control almost completely. Residents greeting the troops as they sweep small towns and villages.

Ukraine's military says it's not only beating Russian troops back in the east, but in the south as well where Kyiv claims Russia's defensive front is collapsing in some areas.


PLEITGEN: The Ukrainian military released this video purporting to show its forces in a major fire fight in the Kherson region.

Dozens of settlements have already been liberated since the Russian's pseudo referendum this week alone, Ukraine's president said.

All this as Russia's president this morning moved quickly to sign off on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, even as his forces are increasingly losing ground there. Putin's spokesman brushing off concerns about the Russian military retreats. Certain territories will be taken back, he said. We will continue to

confer with the population there that wishes to live together with Russia. And Russia continues to unleash havoc in many regions of Ukraine.

This is the sound of kamikaze drones hitting buildings about 50 miles south of Ukraine's capital.

Ukraine says several Iranian-supplied drones like these shown in an Iranian military video hit a town in the early morning hours, causing massive damage to several buildings and wounding at least one person.

There was a roaring noise, a piercing sound, this man says. I heard the first strike, the second I saw and heard. There was a roar and then boom followed by an explosion.

Drone and missile strikes so far have shown no signs of halting Ukraine's recent advances, though. And Kyiv says it will continue to press forward in its quest to expel Russian troops from all of its territories.


PLEITGEN (on camera): And when the Ukrainians say "all the territories," of course, they have said that that indeed for them means Crimea as well. But I want to hit on one thing you were mentioning before, and that's the change that we're seeing in Kremlin- controlled Russian state media. And it is indeed something that is fundamental.

You know, I've been watching a lot of those programs for almost the entire time that this war has been going on. And they were talking about alleged Russian advances, but really that is changing. You do hear the change in tone.

And one of the things that we are hearing from that Kremlin-controlled media is they say those people that are being mobilized by the Russian defense ministry, those aren't going to hit the battlefield until a couple of weeks from now at best. So, certainly, it doesn't seem as though there's a quick way out for Vladimir Putin.

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

And also tonight, we are learning the U.S. intelligence officials believe that people within Ukraine's government were behind the assassination of a prominent Russian. You may remember this. The daughter of a Putin ally was killed in a car bombing in August deep inside Russia. There was the debate that it had been targeting her father, and she ended up being the one who was killed. They switched cars. You remember the story.

Natasha Bertrand is OUTFRONT. She's been reporting on this.

Natasha, this is extremely significant on a lot of levels but also because it seems to be creating a split between the U.S. and Ukraine. The U.S. is the one calling this out at a very crucial time. NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Ukraine, we should note, has

been denying it since the very beginning, right, because, of course, Russia immediately said that the Ukrainians were responsible for this, launching a two-day investigation that immediately found that Ukrainian nationals had gone into Russia and conducted this attack.


But what we are learning now from official that's the U.S. intelligence community does have intelligence suggesting that elements within the Ukrainian government authorized this covert operation to plant a car bomb and kill Alexander Dugin. That was the original target of this operation, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Instead, though, they ended up killing his daughter Darya. Now, she is a political figure in her own right. But she wasn't the intended target because it was not her car, apparently. The U.S. officials that we spoke to said that the original target was her father, and it was her car, or his car, I should say, that she was driving. Hence, the mix up there.

So, obviously this is a very significant development. It is also significant just because of how it expands the limit here of Ukraine's covert operations striking deep inside Russia right outside of Moscow is where this attack took place. Previously, the limit and the scope of the Ukrainian covert operations inside Russia had been the southwestern kind of border of Russia and Ukraine, attacks on fuel depots and military bases there.


BERTRAND: So this signifies kind of an expansion. And it's one that the U.S. is pretty weary about, to say the least, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Natasha, thank you very much for your reporting there on that.

I want to go now to Ekaterina Kotrikadze, news director and anchor for TV Rain, which is an independent Russian language television channel. It was shut down by the Russian government at the start of the war.

And also with me, retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton.

So, Ekaterina, let me start with you with Natasha's reporting. The U.S. intelligence community says that someone inside the Ukrainian government is responsible for Darya Dugina's assassination near Moscow.

What message should the Kremlin take from this?

EKATERINA KOTRIKADZE, NEWS DIRECTOR & ANCHOR, TV RAIN: Well, for Kremlin, it's a really serious and tough moment, I would say. Because, you know, they have just acknowledged that Ukrainian army is defeating Russian army, that Russian myth about, you know, the power of its soldiers and the power of Russian Federation as a military country is ruined right now. But another thing is that Ukraine is not just winning on the

battlefield, but it's also killing Putin's favorite philosopher's daughter deep inside of Russia. It's Moscow. And, you know, there is not a bad message for Ukraine in Ukrainians' way of thinking, because, to them, this is all about destroying the myths about Russian Federation.

So, yeah, it's going to be a lot of things to think about that they are defeated in so many ways right now.

BURNETT: So, Colonel Leighton, what does it say about Ukraine's capabilities? That they were able to pull off an operation like this, and obviously, they got the wrong car, there was that switch. But as Ekaterina is emphasizing, deep inside Russia, Moscow, an ally of Putin. What does it say to you that they could do it?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it says to me, Erin, that they're pretty darn good at what they do, if this is true. And when you look at how this happened, it kind of reminds me of what Churchill told his folks in World War II when he set up the special operations executive. It was to set Europe ablaze, was the charge he gave them. This is what you're doing. If somebody in the Ukrainian government gave an organization the charge to set Russia ablaze, well, they didn't quite do that. But they certainly made an impact, if they orchestrated this killing.

BURNETT: So, Ekaterina, you heard the television anchor on Russian state media. And I know you watch it as well as Fred was saying, he's seen this change in tone. You hear the desperation and anger in her voice as she's sort of staccato-ing those questions at the war correspondent. The correspondent she talks to is not really spinning the bad news.

What is going on now with state TV?

KOTRIKADZE: Yeah. They're asking questions. And this is something that has started a couple of weeks ago, maybe a month ago. But we can see that these are core faces of Russian propaganda and others on Russian state television, they always repeat what they are told to say.

They have this, you know, they have even notes from Kremlin, and it's a fact. We know that they get it from Kremlin, weekly, sometimes daily. They know what to say.

But right now, they're asking questions because they are feeling some kind of a, you know, big change in the situation. They are scared to death because if Russia fails in this war, then something changes in Russian Federation systematically. It means that their own lives, their own careers, their own futures, because these guys are also criminals. They are responsible partly for what is going on in Ukraine.

So they understand that something is really wrong with their own prospects.


And they are furious right now. It's not only this television channel. All of them are asking questions right now trying to find responsible people. Not Vladimir Putin, of course, they don't mention him personally, mainly.


KOTRIKADZE: But they are asking questions about the heads of army and and others responsible. They are trying to find who to blame right now.

BURNETT: And, Colonel, in this context that Russian journalist who had walked across the TV set with the "end Putin's war." And she obviously then had to flee the country.

She came back bravely. She's continued to speak out. She's under house arrest. She's fled. She's still got on the bracelet. And yet she's now defiant saying, I am going to speak out. What does it say to you?

Obviously, she's been incredibly brave. But she's willing to do that right now. Obviously we don't know how her story will go from here.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Right, we don't. But what we do know is not only is she brave, but she is symptomatic of so many other Russians who are questioning authority, who are questioning institutions that they haven't questioned before, at least not as openly as they are right now. And what you're seeing is the potential at least for some major unrest in Russia that could have some very interesting consequences. If the institutions of the state aren't respected, the state ceases to exist.

BURNETT: Thank you both very much.

KOTRIKADZE: Thank you.

LEIGHTON: You bet.

BURNETT: And, next, ground zero in Florida. Our Bill Weir traveling to Pine Island an area absolutely devastated by Hurricane Ian, a head on it. It was isolated. Homes washed out to sea.

Plus, Georgia Republican candidate Herschel Walker's new defense against allegations that he paid he's ex-girlfriend to get an abortion in 2009. Now he says he doesn't know her.


HERSCHEL WALKER (R-GA), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: They want you to confess about something they have no clue about.


BURNETT: And breaking news this hour, we are just learning new details about what the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago.



BURNETT: President Biden and the first lady in Florida today surveying the horrific damage. The president saying search and rescue efforts there following Hurricane Ian are the largest ever in the country.

The death toll in Florida is now known to be 110 as they're still not sure of a final number. Pine Island was cut off from the mainland completely. The storm washed away a section of the sole causeway. It opened for the first time today. The damage there even worse than what you have been seeing on your screens from Fort Myers Beach.

So I want to go straight to Bill Weir, who is in Matlacha, Florida. And he was able to get CNN's first look at Pine Island.

Bill, you went on a boat between Matlacha and Pine Island.

I know you're just back now. What did you see?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we saw a lot of the same, which is just utterly devastated communities and people picking up the pieces, the spirit of these folks, the residents and those trying to help them amazingly high these days after the storm, and a huge burst of good news to get this Pine Island road open, opening up this community of 9,000 people.

They got St. James Island, which is really devastated on the south end of Pine Island and Bokeelia on the north end, which was spread a little more.

Interesting that northern community devastated by Hurricane Charley so some locals told me they built back stronger. Now, as to the rest of the island, they tried to do the same. But, yeah, we rode out with a mission from the Global Empowerment Mission, this is an NGOA that takes donations from Bethenny Frankel's B Strong Foundation, Walmart and others and delivers those non-perishables out there.

We went out with a local captain, and here's what he saw.




PETROW: Our house got destroyed.

WEIR: I'm sorry.

PETROW: Every other house on my block is destroyed. We're going to bring in front-end loaders and just start dropping them for them.

WEIR: Do you have insurance on your house? PETROW: Yes. Yes, I did. But my neighbors didn't and they're an

emotional wreck. They haven't even got to see their house yet, like they don't want to.

WEIR: I was reading that, I think Irma and Maria in 2017 set the record for 66,000 boats sunk that year. Do you think this will top that?

PETROW: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. There are other marinas around here. Tarpon Point is messed up. There's -- all up the river. You know, docks, the Edison homes, their dock's done.

You know, it's crazy, absolute carnage. This one just collapsed. We seen search and rescue there yesterday, and it did not look pretty. This is where the washout was. Burt's here right around the left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world famous Burt's bar?

PETROW: But they'll rebuild it because there are still pylons.

WEIR: What do you say for folks who don't understand Florida who are saying why are you thinking of rebuilding in this spot?

PETROW: This is the most fished bridge in the United States of America.

WEIR: Is that right?

PETROW: This bridge. I'm surprised there's not somebody fishing right now. I tell you the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they won't let them.

PETROW: Yeah, they probably won't let them. Fishing's a little messed up for six to eight months. But when we do, they will still be out there.


WEIR: Fishing may seem trivial compared to losing your entire house, and that is the case. But, of course, this is a huge industry down here. We're heading into the height of the tourism season for the weather. They're coming after a couple COVID years. Huge blow to the economy, Erin, of course.

But other interesting bits of rescue color that we saw today. We heard from the Cajun Navy, they rescued about 250 parrots and a couple of lemurs off of Pine Island from a nature reserve here.

So it's a multispecies effort. But a huge sigh of relief that this road is open, the first sign that the rebuilding can begin.

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

Bill went to Pine Island, Sanibel Island obviously completely leveled as well. It was an emotional day there. Leyla Santiago was there as some residents were able to return for the

first time to see what's left.



TONI TABOR, SANIBEL ISLAND RESIDENT: We just thought -- we just thought everything would be lost.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An emotional return for the residents of Sanibel island allowed back on the island for the first time to check on their hopes and businesses a week after hurricane Ian ravaged the area.

Toni and Dan Tabor shed tears of relief after finding their home still standing.

TABOR: We thought we'd come home and we thought those windows were broken and we thought we'd find water and we thought we would come back and find everything gone.

SANTIAGO: But so many of their neighbors and friends didn't fare as well.

TABOR: I mean, the house over there, we know all these people. It's like family back here.

SANTIAGO: So this is West Gulf Drive, it's one of the main streets here on Sanibel Island. It's one of the parts that was the worst-hit area. And you can tell, look behind me, this is now a street that is lined with debris. You can see straight into homes and see personal belongings everywhere. Look over here. You also have part of a roof that is sitting on the side of the street.

But to make the point of exactly how powerful this storm was. Take a look at this home. Residents tell me that this was actually across the street. Now you can see straight in what was once a family room, a kitchen no longer here. The equipment and refrigerator now partially out the door and not much left to be salvaged.

ANDY GARCIA, OWNER, SANIBEL HOME CONCIERGE: There is already mildew growing.

SANTIAGO: Andy Garcia is a property manager on the island. He's had to deliver bad news to families who couldn't be here to check on their own homes.

GARCIA: It's totally devastating. To hear them on the other end of the phone and just gasping for air, you're telling them their home is destroyed. It's totally heart-wrenching for me.

SANTIAGO: And heart-wrenching for the owners who lost everything.

STEVE SCHULTZ, SANIBEL ISLAND RESIDENT: Everything's pretty much ruined inside. JOE SCHULZ, SANIBEL ISLAND RESIDENT: Everything including dressers,

beds, everything, ruined. It's all in our front yard.

SANTIAGO: Steve and Lori Schulz are leaving the island for the first time since Ian hit.

LORI SCHULZ, SANIBEL ISLAND RESIDENT: Hopefully, we're coming back to a house. Everybody works together. Everybody cares about each other. We'll be back.


SANTIAGO (on camera): Tonight, we are at a marina where boats have been coming and going all day to Sanibel, because for residents, that's the only way they can get over there. And why they stressed to me all day long, the importance, quite frankly, the dire need for some sort of temporary fix to the Sanibel causeway, the bridge that connects them to the rest of Florida.

Governor DeSantis has said that they are working on some sort of temporary fix. But right now as many say that they want to rebuild, as they show their resilience, there's still a lot of people are wondering how exactly they will move forward until they can get that bridge fixed.

BURNETT: All right. Leyla, thank you so much.

And, next, the breaking news. CNN learning new details about what the FBI took from Trump's Mar-a-Lago. We're going to bring you those next.

Plus, President Biden caught a hot mic.




BURNETT: So, what was he talking about?



BURNETT: Breaking news: we have new details about what the FBI seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago. Newly uncovered list showing that the DOJ review team filtered out most are than 500 pages, including documents that appear to be related to the 2020 election like an email from a Republican lawyer about a Georgia lawsuit and a post-it note which appears to reference a possible candidate for special counsel, a person who had been helping to sow doubt about Trump's loss.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

And, Evan, what more can you tell us about this new list, what we're just finding out now?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESONDENT: Erin, this list appears to have been made inadvertently public. The Justice Department may have posted it on the court docket inadvertently because it's no longer available. Bloomberg News uncovered it and published the documents.

So, this is how we know that in addition to the tax documents, in addition to the healthcare information that we previously knew that the Justice Department said they had filtered out. We now know that there were apparently, that there was a settlement agreement, a confidential settlement agreement between the PGA and Trump golf that was in these documents. There's as well as an email that was accepting the former president's resignation from the Screen Actors Guild.

These are all of course documents that the FBI filter team believed were personal and should not have been reviewed by the investigative team. And it really, what it sort of shows is that the FBI did have a process in place despite the criticism from the judge in palm beach Aileen Cannon that she believed that there could be errors in there. It does appear that it was a system that was working.

They set aside these 500 documents. It also explains perhaps why you saw the 11th Circuit today say they were going to speed up the appeal, which could make all of this moot, Erin?

BURNETT: Right, right. But it does show they were, you know, that they didn't need Kim Jong-un letters. They did, right?

PEREZ: Right.

BURNETT: They had a system just to kind of put the exclamation point on it.

All right. Evan, thank you very much.

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

And, Ty, we're getting details about the items seized from Mar-a-Lago, right, and about the fact that the FBI team seemed to be doing its job. They were filtering what they should have and what they should not. This comes as Trump's lawyers file that emergency request to the Supreme Court trying to give the special master access to the 103 classified documents that we know the FBI also found at Mar-a-Lago. But do you think this could backfire for Trump?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: So I think -- congratulations on the great reporting by Katelyn and Evan there and CNN.

I think the -- let's take the disclosure that was just made. I think these new documents give fodder to each side. As Evan pointed out, the Justice Department can say, see we were filtering stuff out. I think that's true.

On the other hand, I think what Trump will point out is how little any of this had to do with what the warrant allowed them to take, and how could they go so far afield.


Plus, the fact that it was inadvertently filed again goes to the government's competence in keeping secret what was supposed to be secret. So I think there's something for both sides on this.

I also say, I think the 11th Circuit accelerated appeal, I think the tactical mistake here was for the Trump team to oppose the acceleration. The reality is this is a very simple legal issue. And, frankly, there are some people like myself who think it could just as easily be that they are prepared to rule on this simple legal issue that doesn't really require much briefing as opposed to the fact that this really, you know, grants the government a great benefit. Because it really actually only moves up the briefing by a matter of ten days to two weeks.

So I think you can read too much into both of these things. But I do think that the tactic of going to the Supreme Court was indeed an error at this stage of the game because I don't think the Supreme Court will waste a nanosecond getting involved in this. And that will really be deflating for Trump. And I think it will affirm in the minds of undecided Americans on this issue, you know, how little Trump really does have to argue with.

BURNETT: Well, and obviously it seems that all of it was some sort of an attempt to delay this. I don't know exactly what their reason to be. But obviously if you are successful in delaying this at all, even if it doesn't necessarily go in your favor, you push it closer to the midterms, closer to Trump possibly declaring his re-election bid. And that would dramatically change the political dynamic and perhaps the entire way any kind of an indictment or anything would go.

So I spoke to Maggie Haberman about Trump's thinking on last night's show about whether he's going to run. And she said he thinks he's put himself in a corner, Ty, where he has no choice. I wanted to play it for you.


MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He ceases to have relevance the way he does now if he is not running, he can't fundraise the way he did. It has become part of his branding. He's under investigation and he considers this a way to call the investigation's a witch hunt and also as, you know, possible armor for the future if he wins the White House again.

Now that doesn't mean I think his heart isn't in it or that he isn't particularly eager about a campaign.


BURNETT: She said he doesn't think his heart is in it or that he's particularly eager. Based on your experience and what you see, Ty, what do you think? COBB: So I agree with you on that. I think you're seeing Trump at a

point in his life where the intensity with which he's always drawn to the flame and his wholesale inability to restrain himself from seeking attention and adulation is starting to conflict a little bit with his attention span and his physical strength.

I don't think his heart's in it either. I think he would be delighted if he could find a Republican candidate who would assist him in pretending that they're his legacy and that he made them. I see he's trying to knock down DeSantis on that theory today. And, you know, I think DeSantis, you know, is a strong character in his own right and won't capitulate just for Trump's favor. But I think Trump would like to find somebody who he says this is my candidate.

BURNETT: Well, it's going to be fascinating to see how it goes, because to your point he had that person with DeSantis. He has certainly not gone that way now.

All right, thank you very much.

COBB: Well, he can't stand competition while he's, you know, pursuing a goal. He can't let go of this goal yet.

BURNETT: Yeah. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Good to see you, as always.

COBB: Thank you, Erin. Good to see you.

And, next, Georgia Republican candidate Herschel Walker turning the tables, now accusing his opponent of running a nasty dishonest campaign after Walker was accused of paying for a woman's abortion.

Plus, a Trump-backed election denier, one of a record number of women running for governor this year. And she's got a real shot at winning.



BURNETT: Tonight, not backing down. Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker doubling down on his denial that he paid for a woman's abortion in 2009. He now claims that he has no knowledge of the woman in question.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Have you figured out who it is?

HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Not at all. And that's what I hope everyone can see. It's sort of like everyone is anonymous or everyone is leaking and they want you to confess to something you have no clue about.


BURNETT: Walker also now going on offense coming out with an ad attacking his Democratic opponent's campaign tactics.


WALKER: Reverend Warnock is running a nasty, dishonest campaign. Perfect for Washington. The reverend doesn't even tell my full story, my true story.


BURNETT: Of course, the ad makes no mention of the reported abortion payments.

OUTFRONT now, Bakari Sellers, political commentator for CNN and former South Carolina Democratic state representative and Erick Erickson, a leading conservative voice and expert on Georgia politics as well, the host of "The Erick Erickson Show".

Erick, what -- has this been a seismic shift in this campaign? Is the campaign over for Herschel Walker or not?

ERICK ERICKSON, HOST, "THE ERICK ERICKSON SHOW": You know, honestly, I don't know that it is. In normal times I think it would be. But there's so much angst in Georgia about the economy right now, and Brian Kemp has such a massive ground game. He may be able to get Herschel across the finish line.

But the campaign still go to pivot more. That commercial I understand was actually prepared a couple of weeks ago for the attacks about his ex-wife and his mental health issues, not for this. There should be another one forthcoming, I am led to believe, about this.


I don't know that it's enough, but Georgia voters tend to skip races they don't like, 27,900 didn't vote for president in 2020, even though they voted in other races. I just don't know what the economic angst and -- angst north of Atlanta about crime that that will not help Herschel Walker.

BURNETT: It's amazing. I mean, Bakari, I want to play you some of what the NRSC chairman Senator Rick Scott said today. He's on Hugh Hewitt's show. And he talked specifically about what Senate seats he thinks the Republicans will flip in November.

Here's what he said.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We're going to be able to defend our 50, right, and then we've got two plus pickup opportunities. We'll win in Georgia. We'll win in Nevada.


BURNETT: We'll win in Georgia. He knows about all this too and he's saying that. Now, is he just projecting there? A lot of Republicans so far, Bakari, have chosen to stand behind Walker. Do you think that Scott could be right?

BAKARI SELLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Scott is projecting. He is the leader of the Republican Senate committee. So he has to portray that type of leadership whether or not he believes it truly or not. I think the more disappointing thing, the fact that you have many Republicans who have come to Herschel Walker's defense and who are still standing beside him, national Republicans. And I think it's going to hurt the brand nationwide.

Look, the facts are simple. You have a party in the Republican Party who say they want to uplift women, but they have a candidate who held a gun to his wife's head. You're talking about abortion and you don't want abortion even with the exceptions of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. But abortion's okay if Herschel Walker does it.

You have individuals who talk about where are Black fathers, but you have someone who has four children by four baby mamas and didn't raise any of his children. And so these are not some vicious attack lines. These are just facts.

In contrast, when you have someone like Raphael Warnock who hasn't even commented on the most recent abortion story, to make an ad that he doesn't believe in redemption but he's the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

I mean, I'll leave the voting prognostication to Erick because he's brilliant and knows Georgia better than I do.


SELLER: I just think from the outside looking in, this is a contrast of two very different candidates.

BURNETT: Erick, you know, part of the reason, I guess we'll see how severe this damage is. But the reason that it burst out the way it did was because of Walker's own son, one of his acknowledged children who came out and blasted his father as a hypocrite and a liar.

ERICKSON: Yeah, listen, no Republican who was texting me -- and I got lots of texts from Republicans -- they were concerned about "The Daily Beast". They were concerned about the Christian Walker situation. That made "The Daily Beast" story real.

But at the end of the day, there's really nothing the Republicans can do here. They want to win the seat. They still think they can win the seat. They can't remove Herschel Walker from the ballot under Georgia law.

So, the only thing they can do is grit their teeth and try to go the next five weeks.

BURNETT: So, you're saying they got no other options , so they have to go all in.

ERICKSON: Yeah, no options at all. Yeah. BURNETT: Bakari, the other thing that happened today, and I think you might've just heard this, but we just found out that when President Biden was in Florida touring the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, he met with Governor Ron DeSantis, of course. There was a moment between President Biden and the mayor of Fort Myers Beach that was caught on a hot mic. I just want to play it for you. Listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for coming down, we really appreciate it.

BIDEN: No one (EXPLETIVE DELETED) with a Biden.


BIDEN: Can't argue with your brothers outside the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. All right, good to see you.


BURNETT: We've asked the White House for comment on this. No response yet. But just in case no one heard, no one Fs with a Biden.

Do you have any idea what he's talking about? You know, it could have been about something totally different. The context obviously was he's in Florida meeting with Ron DeSantis.

SELLER: Yeah, I mean, I think you're doing a lot of assumption there. I have no idea what he was talking about.

However, I do think that there are a lot of Democrats in the social media atmosphere and everywhere else who were just happy to hear Joe Biden take this fighter's tone. I don't think this is going to amount to much of anything because we don't have any context. But I do think you had an extremely good day today where you had Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden actually looking like leaders when it comes to hurricane preparedness and recovery. And that's what people want to see.

So, I think kudos to both men today. That's going to overshadow whatever he may have said on a hot mic.

BURNETT: That maybe true.

And, Erick Erickson, I can only imagine what Donald Trump was thinking watching those two together.


ERICKSON: Yeah, with Ron DeSantis behind the presidential seal, I agree with Bakari. Good for their bipartisan unity today. Real show of leadership after that disaster, without a lot of partisan bickering there.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. Glad to see you. ERICKSON: Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. And, next, a record number of women are running for governor this year. And on the list happens to be a Trump-backed election denier who was taking a page from Trump's playbook.



KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GOV. CANDIDATE: We're going to win. And if we don't win, there's some cheating going on. And we already know that. Every poll since I've been in this race has shown me ahead.


BURNETT: Plus, we've been following the extreme lengths China has been going to, to contain COVID. Wait until you see what just happened. Workers tonight resorting to guns in order to keep people locked inside an airport.



BURNETT: Tonight, Kari Lake, a Trump backed election denier, is now running neck and neck with a Democratic nominee and has a real shot at becoming the next governor the Arizona, even with comments like these:


LAKE: We're going to win. And if we don't win, there's some cheating going on. And we already know that. Every poll since I've been in this race has shown me ahead.

And they want to cheat so bad. They don't want Arizona to win. They don't want this country to survive.


BURNETT: She's among the record number of women running for governor seats this year.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT tracking the races.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arizona Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake pitches her conservative credentials.

KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR: I do not like this woke garbage.

LAH: And her own identity.

LAKE: You do not want to mess with a middle-aged mama who is pissed off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it. Women solve programs. We get things done.

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR: I am Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

LAH: Running for the Democrats, Katie Hobbs. Her platform, defending abortion rights and democracy.

HOBBS: One of the biggest threats to our elections is the campaign of misinformation and disinformation.

LAH: Two women vying to be Arizona's top state executive in what is a historic year for women running for governor.

Lake and Hobbs are among a record 25 women nominated by major parties, 16 Democrats and nine Republicans. And in five states, women are facing off for the governor's mansion, more than in all of U.S. history.

KELLY DITTMAR, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, CENTER FOR AMERICAN WOMEN AND POLITICS: We have seen more and more women do that successfully and more women running for these positions with less of that traditional pushback about whether or not they can do the job.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: I will do everything in my power as a woman, as a Michigander and as your governor to protect women's reproductive rights in Michigan.

LAH: In Michigan, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer leans on her identity as part of her defense of abortion rights.

While Republican challenger Tudor Dixon uses her gender into attacks against the incumbent.

TUDOR DIXON (R), MICHIGAN GOV. CANDIDATE: This is going to be an epic battle between a conservative businesswoman and mother, and a far left, birthing parent and career politician.


LAH: In Oregon, three different appeals from three women vying for the governor's mansion.


Democrat Tina Kotek.

KOTEK: And then there were some other words for tough that women get called.

LAH: Republican Christine Drazan.

CHRISTINE DRAZAN (R), OREGON GOV. CANDIDATE: And I'm running for governor. But more importantly, I'm a mom. LAH: And independent Betsy Johnson.

BETSY JOHNSON (I), OREGON GOV. CANDIDATE: This daughter of Oregon won't give up on the state I love.

DITTMAR: It's a particularly good year for women running for governor. That said, all will hinge on how many of these women ultimately win.

LAKE: You can call me Trump in a dress any day.

LAH: These nominees for governor are shifting the landscape on running to be the state's top political boss.

In Arizona, Lake has attacked her opponent using language that a man would be called sexist for.

LAKE: She came out last week with a mask over her face. Actually, that might be a good look for her.

HOBBS: Her rhetoric is continuing to ramp up violent threats and harassment against me. And I don't think that's really a gender thing.

LAH: Pointed attacks as women are poised to make history.

What does it say about the state of women leadership right now in politics?

LAKE: I think it's fantastic. I call it the mama bear movement, which is happening right now. You see the mama bear saying, wait a minute, we need to get involved at the school board level, because we don't like what's being taught to our children. We need to get involved in Congress because we need to impact change for America.


LAH (on camera): Now, the number of women nominees for the U.S. House and Senate is actually lower than it was in 2020. It's really the governor's races that women are seeing some progress. But, Erin, here's something else to note and why we're paying attention to this, because the governor's mansion has traditionally been the pipeline to the U.S. presidency, which has proven to be the glass -- the ultimate glass ceiling in politics -- Erin.

BURNETT: Absolutely. All right. Kyung, thank you very much.

And next, chaos. Armed Chinese works are locking down an airport, leaving passengers stranded. This is happening right now today to contain COVID.


BURNETT: And tonight an update to a story we've been following. Many people may not be aware is still happening. The Chinese government is still on zero COVID. And this is happening right now. I want to show be you an airport in

China's southwestern union province, workers dressed in head-to-toe PPE carrying guns and shields locking down that airport. Hundreds of tourists stranded because 72 COVID cases reported in the area.

I mean, this is amazing. This is happening now. This isn't footage from a year ago or two years ago. And in some neighborhoods right now, people are still no longer allowed to leave their homes.

These sorts of lockdowns are going on constantly in China. They have people there still panicking. This was the scene just last week in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where you can see people scrambling to get out of their homes just before the city went into lockdown.

Thanks so much for joining us. Anderson starts now.