Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Zelenskyy Warns Putin Is Preparing Russians For Possible Use Of Nukes; NYT: Herschel Walker Urged An Ex-Girlfriend To Have 2nd Abortion; Special Mater Tells Justice Department To Return Some Docs To Trump; 580,000+ Migrants Released Into U.S. Pending Hearings; Florida Mom Recounts Harrowing Story Of Survival During Hurricane. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 07, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, dire warning. The president of Ukraine now sounding the alarm that Putin is preparing Russia for possible nuclear war after President Biden warned of, quote, Armageddon. How desperate is Putin getting?

Plus, the breaking news this hour. "The New York Times" is now reporting that Herschel Walker urged his ex-girlfriend to have a second abortion. This "The Times" reports was after he allegedly paid for that first abortion that's been in the news. Can his campaign survive?

And first OUTFRONT, stunning new numbers about just how many migrants border patrol has released back into the United States. Now they are in a backlogged system, sometimes in the U.S. waiting to find out their fate for years.

Let's go OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, destruction and failure as President Zelenskyy warns that Putin is potentially preparing to go nuclear. It is because of video like this, Russian tanks and other fighting vehicles you can see all destroyed in Ukraine's lightning-fast advance in the east.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy saying today that Ukrainian forces have liberated nearly 1,000 square miles in this offensive. And you can see the destruction that happened in that wake. That destruction tonight is actually forcing Russian cities like St. Petersburg to cancel a New Year's celebration. Instead, they say they're going to send the money to new equipment for the soldiers in the field.

We are learning that those soldiers have literally been living in pigsties in occupied parts of Ukraine. I mean, take a look at this video. This video that you're looking at right here was a village pig shed that became home to those Russian soldiers. They were literally living in a pigsty. We're going to bring you much more on this in a moment because all of this destruction and failure that I'm showing you here could change the course of history.

Tonight, Zelenskyy says Putin is now preparing the Russian people for possible nuclear war.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: They begin to prepare their society. That is very dangerous. They are not ready to do it -- to use it. But they begin to communicate. They don't know if they will use or they will not use. I think that is dangerous even to speak about it.


BURNETT: These comments to the BBC coming just hours after President Biden warned of the high risk of, quote, Armageddon.

At a private political fundraiser, Biden saying, quote, first time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have a direct threat of a use of a nuclear weapon if, in fact, things continue down the path they are going. Putin's not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.

Well, today, the White House trying to backpedal, saying Biden's remarks weren't based in any new intelligence, but still refusing to actually disown them. Here's what happened when our reporter asked Biden's secretary of state today if he's concerned about nuclear Armageddon.


REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, are you concerned about nuclear Armageddon from Russia?


BURNETT: No response, just a wave.

And Putin himself is upping the ante tonight. Russia's ministry of foreign affairs just tweeted this quote from Putin. I saw it, I just want to share it with you.

The bottom line, highlighted: The collapse Western hegemony is irreversible. They took an old picture of him, too.

And on Russian state TV, Putin's allies are again pounding the drum.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We just need to finish what we started. Theoretically, all of Ukraine belongs to us.


BURNETT: All of Ukraine belongs to us. We've got all the angles covered tonight. Fred Pleitgen is in Kyiv.

Ivan Watson is in Kazakhstan where tens of thousands of Russian men have fled to avoid the draft.

I want to start first though in Kyiv with you, Fred. What are you hearing from people on the ground about all of this nuclear weapons talk that is certainly seeming to be amplified?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erin. Well, they certainly don't believe here in Kyiv that Vladimir Putin is bluffing at all. In fact, they do think that the risk of nuclear weapons being used is high and is continuing to rise. I spoke to several senior Ukrainian officials, and all of them said that they do believe that the possibility that nuclear weapons at some point could be used is certainly rising the more Russia loses ground.

Now, what the Ukrainians do as a result of this is not back down from their current counteroffensive that they are conducting. In fact they are trying to speed things up and win back as much territory as they can in the shortest possible amount of time.

Here's what we're learning.



PLEITGEN (voice-over): Ukrainian forces rolling out for yet another battle, looking to keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin's army.

I am very worried, the soldier says, but I think everything will be fine.

The Ukrainians say they've already taken back around 2,400 square kilometers in the south alone, leaving President Biden warning of the threat of a possible Armageddon if Vladimir Putin resorted to using nuclear weapons in case his troops keep losing, even though the U.S. has not seen a change in Russia's nuclear posture.

The Russians hitting back, seizing on remarks from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, calling for tougher action against Russia. Moscow claiming Zelenskyy is trying to drive NATO into a nuclear conflict with Russia, even though the Ukrainians have clarified that is not what Zelenskyy meant.

Yesterday, Zelenskyy called on his Western masters to launch a preventive nuclear strike against Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. By doing so, he has given the world yet more proof of the threats emanating from the Kyiv regime.

But Russia's problems on the battlefield persist. The Ukrainians saying in a village they captured from the Russian army, they found that the Russian troops seemed to have been living in a pig shed. Food rations, clothes and evening washing machines stored in the midst of manure inside pig stalls. You were deceived and betrayed, Ukraine's defense minister said,

addressing Russian troops in a video. You were promised an easy walk, but you were sent into a trap. You pay in blood for someone's fantasies and false goals.

And the Kremlin's goals appear increasingly out of reach, as Ukraine continues to make progress taking back territory from Vladimir Putin's army.


BURNETT: Fred, just seeing that reporting from the ground, I don't know who couldn't be struck by that. The footage of how the Russian soldiers were living, literally in a pig shed. But that's where they were living, and it would appear in the occupied regions for months in conditions like this.

PLEITGEN: Yeah. I think that's a really important point. And actually one of the things that Russian Kremlin controlled state media is also talking about is that not only are their soldiers on the defensive, but they're also living in the kind of conditions that you see on your screen right now, with -- you know, even when they're not living in pig sheds, a lot of them living in really squalid conditions.

Some of the other things we heard about this place is apparently the other places where the Russian soldiers had been housing had been hit during the fighting and at some point, they moved into this pig shed and just literally had their clothes and other things hanging there. We also have to keep in mind that these Russian troops have not been switched out, many of them, since the war again.

So they're tired, they're living in disastrous conditions, and they're also having a lot of problems with supplies as well, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred Pleitgen, from Kyiv.

And, you know, when you look at conditions like that, that's why it's no surprise perhaps that with this mobilization, we're seeing men of military age desperately try to flee in the face of Putin's mobilization and draft.

Ivan Watson is OUTFRONT in Kazakhstan. That's where hundreds of thousands of Russian men have fled.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russians abandoning their homeland. Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to conscript men to fight in his war in Ukraine has created an exodus of Russian draft dodgers. They line up daily here in neighboring Kazakhstan to register with the local authorities. The Kazakh government says more than 200,000 Russians fled to this country in less than two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we run away from Russia.

WATSON: Vadim and Alexei fled Moscow last week to escape the draft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want this war, and we not recognize the position our government.

WATSON: Many of Russia's land borders choked for weeks with long lines, as citizens run for the exits.

Draft dodgers traveling by land wait days in line or pay big money for scarce plane tickets to escape. And that's just the first step.

Every day, more Russians arrive at this train station in Almaty with their backpacks. And they all tell you the same thing, they were afraid they could be sent to fight in Ukraine, and they abandoned their country on very short notice.

In this city, hundreds of miles from the Russian border, I spoke with dozens of newly arrived Russians, ranging from doctors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we refuse to go to this war, we should go to the jail.

WATSON: To engineers, IT specialists, and university students.


You ran away from Russia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, from mobilization from --

WATSON: From military service.


WATSON: Most don't want to be identified to protect loved ones still in Russia.

GIORGI, RUSSIAN WHO FLED DRAFT: How can I take part in the war without a wish to win this war?

WATSON: This man says Putin's draft left him no other choice but to flee the country, leaving his wife and child behind.

GIORGI: We do not trust our government. We don't believe in what they say.

WATSON: He says a Russian government crackdown on dissent has made protesting futile, leaving hundreds of thousands of men now suddenly adrift trying to find work and accommodation in foreign countries.

GIORGI: I am the citizen of the country that started that war. I did not support this war, never did. But somehow I am still connected with the state because of my passport, and I am at the same time a refugee and an aggressor.

WATSON: Russians on the run, sharing a collective sense of hopelessness and guilt over the destruction caused by their government.


WATSON (on camera): Erin, these Russian draft dodgers aren't just running here to Kazakhstan. We've also seen a surge of Russians fleeing across borders to countries like Armenia, Georgia, Finland, and even two Russians who fled by boat across the Bering Strait to Alaska this week and requested asylum. It is a mass demonstration of lack of faith and hope in the future of their country and in their military as well.

And inside Russia, we have also seen protests against this conscription drive that raises the question, when some of the new draftees start to become casualties in the war in Ukraine, what kind of unrest, what kind of reaction could we then see inside Russia -- Erin.

BURNETT: Ivan, thank you very much, live from the capital of Kazakhstan.

It is incredible to think Ivan is in a country that has limited infrastructure of its own, to get 200,000 men in ten days, just flooding in. It is unprecedented and unbelievable.

I want to go now to the former defense secretary and the former director of the CIA under President Obama, Leon Panetta.

Secretary, I always appreciate speaking to you. I just want you to give us some perspective as you see it.

You hear President Biden at a private fundraiser say Putin is risking Armageddon. We hear on Russian state TV within hours of that someone saying, quote, we need to finish what we started, all of Ukraine belongs to us.

Is President Biden right?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE UNDER OBAMA: Well, I don't think there's any question if Russia resorts to using a nuclear weapon, even if it's a battlefield weapon, that there is a real danger that it will escalate this war. There's no question we would have to respond. If we responded, there's no question that it would escalate the war, and to the extent that it produces an Armageddon or a catastrophe, obviously the odds of that are increasing the more Putin threatens to use that kind of weapon.

So I just think we have to be aware of the fact that we are at a point where the odds of Putin using that kind of weapon are increasing.

BURNETT: And, you know, and, of course, Putin himself, the quote today talking about ending western hegemony. That's what they put out as a response, not direct response, but Biden says Armageddon, Putin puts out that quote.

Now the White House said today that Biden's Armageddon remark wasn't based on new intelligence. But in the context of what you just said where you think that the risk of this type of a thing catastrophe or Armageddon is indeed rising, do you think Biden went too far in his comments or not?

PANETTA: Well, you know, I don't think there is any question here that we are in a very dangerous war. It's also a pivotal war. I've been saying this for a long time.


PANETTA: It is dangerous because as this war has continued, particularly over these last few weeks, I think there's no question that Putin is increasingly cornered. They are not winning this war. The tide of war has changed in the Ukraine.

And Ukraine has put on a very effective offensive, and Russian troops are not holding the line, they're fleeing. And, so, the Ukraine is clearly taking the advantage here to the Russians.


That puts Putin in a tougher position. He's fighting a war on two fronts right now. He's fighting a war in the Ukraine, but he's also fighting a war in Russia. He's got his hawks criticizing him for the way this war is going.

He is -- his support in Russia clearly is undermined. The mobilization has not gone well. So he's facing trouble on a number of fronts. And that makes Putin more dangerous.

BURNETT: So, you know, in that context, Ivan Watson standing in Almaty where 200,000 Russian men have fled in 10 days. We understand that the number of Russians, almost all of them men, who have fled in the past two weeks, is now nearing 1 million. So, that, you know, you're referring to that, that other kind of front for Putin.

"The Washington Post" is reporting tonight, secretary, that a member of Putin's inner circle has actually voiced disagreement directly to Putin over his handling of the war just in recent weeks.

Now, we don't know how that happened. We don't know whether they were saying go nuclear or scale back. But it was voicing a disagreement directly, which we have not heard before from intelligence sources. I know you've met with Putin multiple times. What does this signal to you?

PANETTA: I think it signals that this is a very dangerous moment in the course of this war. The fact that Putin, who has taken credit for basically running this war, I don't think he's going to simply blame somebody else because Putin has basically taken credit for the decisions on the battlefield. And I think that's probably correct.

But the fact that there are hawks now in Russia, now hard-liners, who are openly criticizing Putin and saying that the conduct of this war is not going well. I think puts increasing pressure on Putin to decide whether or not he's going to try to change the situation with this war or whether he's going to try to get the hell out. We don't know the answer to that, obviously. Putin never shows his hand.

And the danger is that Putin will continue to double down. That's basically what intelligence has always concluded.

BURNETT: And that is frightening there. And, of course, you have seen so much of that intelligence that it has shown always historically that he has chosen to double down.

Thank you so much for that sobering assessment, Secretary. I appreciate it.

PANETTA: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the breaking news. The woman who claims that Herschel Walker paid to have an abortion tonight tells "The New York Times" that Walker urged her to end a second pregnancy. "The New York Times" says it has confirmed all of this.

Plus, the Justice Department is ordered to return some documents to Trump that were taken during that FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. We'll give you those details.

And a massive backlog of migrants now waiting for immigration hearings in the United States. The system is strain. The system is Ukraine. These cases, people waiting, may not be resolved for years.



BURNETT: Breaking news. The "New York Times" reporting Republican candidate Herschel Walker urged an ex-girlfriend not only to get one abortion, but he also asked her to get a second abortion two years later. She refused that time, and "The Times" reports that that child was born and is now 10 years old. It is important to note that CNN has not independently confirmed the woman's allegations. The first abortion was first reported by "The Daily Beast."

Eva McKend has been following this race in Georgia closely and she is OUTFRONT now.

Eva, this is an unbelievable story just how fast and furiously it's broken. And, of course, it is very complicated. Can you tell me more about what this woman is now saying about the second abortion that didn't actually end up happening?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Okay, Erin, here is what we're learning tonight. Walker and his former girlfriend started dating in 2008. According to a paternity suit obtained by "The Times," the next year she conceived a child, and they agreed to end the pregnancy. Two years later when she became pregnant again, she told walker she wanted to have the child. He did not and urged her to get another abortion, according to her account.

And then she says he was largely out of the picture. She suggests she's coming forward because she's troubled by what she characterizes as Walker's repeated lies when asked about this.

You know, all this week we've heard Walker forcefully deny the allegations. CNN learning from folks in his orbit that they want him to do so in Trumpian-like fashion. And this woman is frustratingly watching conservatives, some among the most powerful in this country, rally around him, dismiss her story, and, you know, do so now she's adding to the record as a result of this. Walker immediately said he was going to file a lawsuit against "The Daily Beast" who first reported the accusations. No such lawsuit has been filed in the five days since this broke. And he nor the campaign have offered any evidence to refute the substance of her increasingly detailed account.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, you know, we should note, "The New York Times" says that they have independently verified and confirmed. So, you now have two news institutions, one of which is "The New York Times" saying this.

Eva, what is this woman saying about Walker and his interactions, his behavior with and toward this 10-year-old child, who I understand is a boy.

MCKEND: You know, Erin, this is a key detail. So I'm going to read what she has to say in her own words. She says, as a father, he's done nothing. He does exactly what the courts say and that's it. He has to be held responsible just like the rest of us. And if you're going to run for office, you need to own your life.

You know, this is so significant because Walker has spent much of his public life railing against absent Black fathers. And, of course, the abortion component noteworthy because of his own hard-lined antiabortion position -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Eva, thank you very much, laying that all out very clearly because it is complicated.

I want to bring in the former Ohio governor John Kasich now, along with Van Jones, our political commentator and former special adviser to President Obama.

Welcome to both of you.

Governor Kasich, this all just changed really in the past half hour. "The New York Times" saying that they were able to verify and are able to confirm with "The Daily Beast" and saying that second -- that child Herschel Walker had also -- who is now 10, Herschel Walker also wanted to end in an abortion.


The story gets worse for Herschel Walker. He hasn't provided any evidence to rebut this woman's allegations. He hasn't sued "The Daily Beast" and followed through on his threat to do that, as you heard Eva say.

So do you think he gets through this or not, Governor? JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, he's

got his own family out against him. He's a terrible candidate. He's a flawed candidate.

I know -- I am a Republican, but I call them like I see them. The guy is -- I don't think has the capability to even switch the subject if he could, answer this then switch the subject to things like the price of gasoline or, you know, inflation or the stock market going down, or crime. Look, he just fumbles the ball all the time.

And he was one of the people that Donald Trump picked. I just don't -- I mean, frankly, Erin, if I were betting money, I would not bet on Herschel Walker. It's like he picked up the ball and he's running in the wrong direction. I just don't think he's got it. I don't think he has what it takes.

BURNETT: It's just amazing, Van, that it even got to this point. I mean, you know, maybe no one could've seen the specifics of this, but certainly the broad outlines, as the governor is pointing out, have been abundantly clear for quite some time. But here you are 30 days out, and how bad is it?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it's really bad. And you have to leave it to the voters in Georgia to figure out if they think someone like this should be representing them in the Senate. But there is a human element here that is just heartbreaking. We've talked a lot about the child that was aborted or the fetus that was aborted. Now we're talking about the one that was born that has been basically abandoned, that's been neglected, according to the mother.

To say that you've only seen your child maybe two or three times, you only do what the court orders you to do, this is a tragedy for that child. So you have the 22-year-old child who is on social media blasting the dad saying you're a liar, you're lying on media, you're lying on my mother. And then you have the other child, the 10-year- old, who has been completely abandoned.

At some point, this is beyond politics.


JONES: This is just, you know, despicable behavior on the part of someone who has been a hero, Herschel Walker had been a hero, it turns out that he's anything but that. And is up to the voters in Georgia to cast their votes. But this is a tragedy all the way around.

BURNETT: And it is.

And, Governor, what's interesting about this is that what -- there is the human aspect that Van is referring to, and whether that's who you want to be in office.


BURNETT: There's also the fact that what he said he stands for and who he is is exactly the opposite of what reality is now showing, right, criticizing absent Black fathers and there he is.

But yet, Republicans have been standing by Walker.

Now, I want to just make it clear that what I'm about to play and share is pre the "New York Times" report, but after "The Daily Beast." OK?

So, Senator Rick Scott came out, hears about the abortion, says Democrats know they're on the verge of losing the Senate. They know Herschel Walker is winning so they've cranked up the smear machine.

Conservative host Dana Loesch said this.


DANA LOESCH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: I don't care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate.


BURNETT: So now here we are, Governor. What does it tell you if the party stands by now?

KASICH: Look, Erin, here's the thing -- here's the thing that, in my view, you know, we almost are moving towards a parliamentary system. We don't really care what our candidate's about. We so much hate the candidate on the other side. And it works on both parties right now, and it's dangerous.

Fortunately, fortunately, in America there are many ticket splitters. In the state of Georgia, college-educated women have a good capability here to be able to separate partisanship from the character of a candidate. That's why I think he's in trouble. And he'd probably lose support in a lot of rural Georgia.

So, you know, at the end of the day, you can have some people that stand up and try to stick up for him and defend him. But, look, he's doing terrible. I just don't think he's going to win because I don't think he can recover because I don't think he's capable of it.

BURNETT: Van, final word to you.

JONES: Listen, he doesn't deserve to win, and when you have somebody who is willing to take away rights from women and say, listen, I'm going to get power to make sure you can't get an abortion, but whenever I want to, I'm going to order women to do so, there's someone really wrong with that person at a character level.

He doesn't deserve to be in the U.S. Senate and he certainly doesn't deserve to have the support of the Republican Party.

BURNETT: There's supposed to be a debate next week between him and Raphael Warnock. So, we'll see if that indeed happens.

Thank you both very much. And, next, the Justice Department just ordered to return some of

Trump's documents taken in the Mar-a-Lago search. So, we're going to tell you what we know about what he's getting back.


And $1 billion -- that's how much the mayor of New York City is warning it could cost to handle the migrants being sent to his city. He's declaring a state of emergency.


BURNETT: New tonight, the special master in the Trump Mar-a-Lago classified documents case is ordering the Justice Department to return some of the documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago, from the residents of the former president. The deadline is Monday. You've got to return them to Trump by then.

This as the Justice Department has also started to receive its first batch of unclassified documents that were taken from Mar-a-Lago.

CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

Evan, I know when this sounds complicated, they have to understand there's this special master thing that's been put in between. So, it's sort of like a slow sieve going on.


BURNETT: But let's start about the documents Donald Trump is going to be getting back and this deadline. What do you know about all that?

PEREZ: Well, there were a couple hundred pages that were flagged by this filter team. This is a separate team from the Justice Department, Erin, that was looking at the 11,000 pages of documents that were seized in the FBI search.


And both the FBI -- I'm sorry, both the Justice Department and the Trump team agree that these things should go back to Trump. They include things like accounting and tax documents, not related to the investigation. Apparently, there was a letter from 2016 from his physician. Another were some documents showing his resignation from the Screen Actors Guild. People forget, right, that he was a TV star before he became president.

So, these are things that are going back to Trump. And these are separate from the hundred or so classified documents that we now know from an appeals court are now being given access to the investigators of the Justice Department as part of this order from the special master, by the way, the Justice Department getting a batch of documents that its investigating team are now going to be able to get.

You remember this judge in Palm Beach had ruled that everything had to go through this special master. So that's the process that is now ongoing. As you and I talked about a couple of nights ago, it really shows that the filter team that the Justice Department put in place really did work. And I think despite the criticism from that judge.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, they're called a filter team, and they filtered. They did their job.

PEREZ: Yeah.

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

Elie Honig is with me now, of course, our senior legal analyst, former assistant U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York, here where we're sitting.

All right. So, Trump is going to get back some of the documents that were taken, as Evan's pointing out, that's because there was a filter team, right, candidate, go through it, sort it, what's your supposed to get, what you don't, you don't. It worked, that's what's happening.

They have until Monday to return them. What do you read into all this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, we have proof of life for the first time. We are seeing the special master do what the special master is supposed to do, which is filter these documents. And it's interesting to me because for all the disagreement between the parties and the arguments and the appeals, there's an awful lot they agree on.

Two big things -- first of all, both parties agree that some of these documents, many of them, in fact, should stay with the Justice Department that Trump doesn't have an objection to DOJ holding onto those documents. But there's another category of documents also important that both parties agree they should go back to Trump.

And Donald Trump is going to use that, watch, moving forward. He'll say they took my personal stuff. And this is why, by the way, we needed a special master in the first place.

BURNETT: Right, right.

OK. So here's the thing, though, It's been two months since the search.

HONIG: Yeah.

BURNETT: OK? And here we are now we're finally getting a letter from Trump's doctor to get returned to him, two months, Elie. So, Trump has tried to slow this down. The DOJ has consistently said in the interest of national security, they need this to move as quickly as possible.

HONIG: Right.

BURNETT: OK. Two months sounds like Team Trump is winning on a delay. Is that fair or not?

HONIG: They are -- it's a lose/lose situation really, if you look at it. A lot of times in litigation, it's like sports. It's one team wins, the other team loses. Somehow both sides are losing.

Trump for his part, he's been called out a couple times by the special master. He said I want to know if you claim you disqualify. I want to know the specifics if you claim documents were planted.

Now, the judge pulled the special master off of that position, but eventually he's going to have to back up those claims. But DOJ is getting nowhere. I mean, like you said, we are two months in, August 8th was the search. Tomorrow's October 8th. And the special master is just getting started.

This is going to drag through October, through November, maybe into December. And we know one of Donald Trump's mainstays strategically -- delay, delay, delay. He's winning on that score.

BURNETT: Yes. And I want to point out to the viewers of course that CNN has confirmed that the Justice Department believes that Donald Trump still has documents from the White House and after all of this and the search and everything that he still has documents that they've asked him for and he won't give them back, which is absolutely stunning to just stop and pause and consider that.

All right. OUTFRONT next, the state -- first, O0UTFRONT, new numbers of how many migrants are now waiting in the U.S. for immigration hearings. They are stunning, and they could be waiting for years. By then they're going to be fully living in the United States.

And take a look at this. A desperate woman and her son stranded in their home during Hurricane Ian as the water kept rising. They lived to tell their story. But they do have one major regret -- you'll hear it all, next.



BURNETT: Tonight, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declaring a state of emergency due to the surge of migrants arriving in the city. More than 17,000 have been bused to New York by Republican governors in states along the southern border. And it is more than the city's shelter system can handle. Adams says the city's response to the influx will cost a billion dollars in just this year.

Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT with a first-hand look at the migrant surge on America's southern border.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Family time without fear.

Your family was threatened.

That's why Felipe Manrique fled Colombia with his wife and three children. They're some of the more than 585,000 migrants processed by Border Control at the U.S. southern border and released by immigration authorities into the country this fiscal year with pending immigration proceedings.

Like the Manriques -- he says that they're hoping to seek asylum -- many are hoping to seek asylum or other forms of relief.

The newest migration wave is made up of Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Cubans fleeing failing communist regimes in their own countries, says U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which only means unlike migrants from other countries, they're mostly not subject to expulsion under Title 42, the pandemic public health order that allows immigration authorities to remove migrants swiftly to Mexico.

We've met dozens of them -- so you were a systems engineer in Venezuela -- in the past few months.

What they might not realize is that they're entering a backlogged and complicated American immigration system. In immigration court alone, there are nearly 2 million cases pending, including over 743,000 asylum claims.

Conchita Cruz leads an advocacy group with 400,000 asylum-seekers and says they sometimes wait years for a court date.

CONCHITA CRUZ, ASYLUM SEEKER ADVOCACY PROJECT: The government is currently failing to abide by the law.

FLORES: Cruz says asylum-seekers can apply for work permits 150 days after filing for asylum, and the federal government has 30 days to process them.

CRUZ: Unfortunately, the government is taking many months, three months or more even to process work permit applications.


FLORES: Without that permit, they can't work legally.

We first interviewed Ismael Martinez (ph), a professional artist, and Jessie Amaya (ph), a paramedic, both from Venezuela in April in San Antonio.

How many days have you been in San Antonio?

They had been processed by immigration authorities, had no money, and no one to take them in.

Martinez made it to New York but was homeless -- until he started making and selling jewelry on the street. He's now renting a room for a thousand dollars a month.

Amaya worked construction in San Antonio, purchased a vehicle and paid $800 a month for a two-bedroom house.

So he says that he's working in an irregular way.

Both Amaya and Martinez had no choice but to work while starting their immigration proceedings. Otherwise, they'd be homeless and hungry. As for Manrique --

Do you think you will get asylum?

He says he doesn't know. But like so many asylum hopefuls we've talked to, just being safe on U.S. soil is more than enough.


FLORES (on camera): In May, the Biden administration launched an effort to speed up the process for asylum claims. Now, that program is being rolled out in a phased manner. But when it's in full swing, it's expected to cut down processing time from several years to several months. So we're going to keep an eye on that.

As for the asylum work permit delays, USCIS says that it's trying its best to process these claims as fast as possible, Erin. But they also point out that they're getting a historic number of requests -- Erin.

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

And I want to bring in Chris Cillizza, our political reporter and editor-at-large.

Chris, this issue has become very crucial for Biden. And you have made the point that his instinct so far has been anti-Trump on this issue.


BURNETT: OK? So that puts you on a side here. How is that going for him?

CILLIZZA: Yeah, that's the problem, Erin. I think his natural instinct, particularly because Donald Trump got so much negative press for the separating of kids from their families, I think Biden's instinct was to say, we're not going to do that. We're going to go in a different direction.

But that's not easily done. The policy is -- it's a difficult thing to do. Decisions get to Biden's desk not because they're easy but because they're hard. And we just haven't seen a solution. If there was one, it would've already been done. I think that's the problem for Joe Biden.

It's a political issue, it's a policy issue, and just doing anti-Trump isn't enough. And we've seen that, 2 million arrests at the border already this year, fiscal year it's not even over yet.

BURNETT: Which is pretty amazing. And, of course, when you're perceived as the anti-Trump on this issue, we all know Rosa has talked to so many individuals. People are coming to the United States because they believe that meant the border's open.

So, Democrats have been on the defense on this issue. Mark Kelly, senator in Arizona, he is in a tough re-election fight. And he's come out and directly last night slammed President Biden during a debate last night. Listen to this.


SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): I've spent a lot of time on our southern border. And let me just say it's a mess. It's a chaos. It's crisis after crisis.

I've stood up to Democrats when they're wrong on this issue, including, by the way, including the president. When the president decided he was going to do something dumb on this and change the rules, you know, that would create a bigger crisis, you know, I told him he was wrong.


BURNETT: So he took that on. But I have to say I just looked at a recent CNN poll of Arizona voters and when you look at what they care about, the economy is number one. Abortion is a distant number two. Voting/elections even more distant number three, basically tied with immigration.

But immigration is only 10 percent. Is that actually good news for Democrats?

CILLIZZA: Yeah. Let me dig even deeper into that. I went into that poll and I said what do Democrats versus Republicans in Arizona think. Only 5 percent of Arizona Democrats rank that as the most important issue. It's way down the list, immigration.

Republicans, 18 percent, three times as many, 18 percent of Republicans say it's the second most important issue behind the economy to Republicans.

So what's Mark Kelly up to, is the question. He's trying to use it to say I'm not just another national Democrat, I'm someone who breaks from Joe Biden. But the reality as our poll numbers made clear, it's a voting issue for Republicans. It's not as much a voting issue for Democrats, at least not yet.

BURNETT: All right. It's going to be fascinating to see how it plays especially in a state like that with such a tight race where it is, if anywhere, a significant issue.

CILLIZZA: Absolutely, swing state and a border state.

BURNETT: Yeah. Right, all in one.

All right. Chris, thanks.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

BURNETT: And, next, up to their waists in water and then their necks.


A hurricane survivor's regret. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIMBERLY PAYANO, HURRICANE IAN SURVIVOR: I put my son's life in jeopardy. So I'll never not evacuate again.


BURNETT: And the death of an Iranian woman, the death that sparked protests that continue takes a very strange turn tonight.


BURNETT: Tonight, they lived to tell their story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crazy. Look at this. Crazy.


BURNETT: A Florida woman and her son trapped in their home during Hurricane Ian, nearly drowning as the water quickly rushed inside. Now, both did survive but they are sharing this piece of advice: don't do what they did.

Carlos Suarez is OUTFRONT.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here we go. Cat 5. Cat 5, 150 mile an hour winds.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As hurricane Ian came ashore, the water kept rising inside the home of Kimberly Payano.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see -- you can hear. Woo! Okay. No, get your foot out. Get your foot out.

SUAREZ: The water rising so fast that Payano and her 12-year-old son Gustavo were trapped in their north Ft. Myers house that sits on the edge of a river.

K. PAYANO: I just see all of this and we got to start over but that's fine. It will just take time.

SUAREZ: Payano said her decision not to evacuate her home was the biggest mistake of her life.

Do you regret the decision?

K. PAYANO: One hundred percent and I'll never not evacuate again. Never. I put my son's life in jeopardy, so never. I will never not evacuate again. So sorry.


Naturally, we're out of power. So, get up here. My son is taking the water.

SUAREZ: As the water continued to rise, Payano's son wondered if they were safer getting on to a barge floating in the backyard instead of waiting for help.

And this is before we see the video. So, you're inching your way closer in and in and in.

K. PAYANO: Right.

GUSTAVO PAYANO, HURRICANE IAN SURVIVOR: I was just trying to get us out of the house because I know it was dangerous because all the animals, we had two turtles and had to let them go. So, yeah. Just wanted to help my mom.

K. PAYANO: I hope we don't take on too much more water.

SUAREZ: Eventually, Gustavo's father made it to the home on a small boat. The water outside up to their necks.

K. PAYANO: We pulled the small boat we put my son in and went a mile, mile and a half to the bridge and that's where the rescue people were waiting. I'm watching this stuff float by me as we go through it trying to walk up to the bridge.

SUAREZ: How scared were you?

G. PAYANO: I started crying. I just wanted to leave. At the beginning, I told my mom we should have left.

SUAREZ: Payano who has lived in the area for 17 years is now trying to start over. She's staying at friend's house while Gustavo is with his father. She's determined to stay in Florida while her son finishes school, just not that close to the water.

K. PAYANO: I might go inland and buy a home off the water. I don't know that I'm going to stay here.


SUAREZ (on camera): Kimberly tells me she might buy an RV and park it at the house until she figures out where to go -- Erin.

All right. Carlos, thank you very much.

And next, weeks after an Iranian woman died in the custody of the morality police sparking nationwide protest. The government has put out her cause of death and wait until you hear it.


BURNETT: Finally tonight, an update on a story we've been following closely. As protests in Iran tonight continue over the death of a 22- year-old woman. She died on the custody of the morality police.

Take a look at this video. Protesters burning scarves in Tehran chanting death to Khamenei. That's happening tonight.

And it comes after state medical authorities announce that Masha Amini's death was caused by an underlying medical condition. She's 22. They say it wasn't because of a head wound or injuries to vital grounds. According to their report, she lost consciousness and fell due to a heart rhythm disorder and low blood pressure. Her death has sparked three weeks of widespread protests.

Thanks for joining us.

Time now for Anderson.