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Erin Burnett Outfront

Putin Fires Sniper Rifle During Visit With Troops As Morale Sinks; Exclusive: Ex-National Security Official Under Trump Appears Before Grand Jury In Mar-A-Lago Docs Probe; Arizona: Voter Reports Intimidation At Drop Box, Case Sent To DOJ; Biden Departs Pennsylvania After Fundraising For Senate Candidate Fetterman; Boris Johnson Weighing A Comeback After Truss Resigns, Allies Say. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 20, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, desperate calls. Just in to OUTFRONT, the words of a newly-drafted Russian soldier sharing incredible details to his sister, talking about firing rusty rifles and worse -- the harsh reality in stark contrast to what we saw from Putin today.

Plus, breaking news, a top Trump ally appearing before the grand jury investigating the Mar-a-Lago classified documents, as we learn tonight that Trump's former White House counsel testifies in another major investigation involving the former president.

And a couple trying to vote in Arizona allegedly filmed and photographed by a group accusing them of being a, quote, mule. Is this the beginning of a terrible and ugly election?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And, tonight, I wouldn't let any of us out there. Those are the brutally honest words from a newly drafted Russian soldier sent to the frontlines in Ukraine. In a phone call with his sister, a soldier revealing the pathetic state of Vladimir Putin's army. We feel it's important for you to hear his voice and to play this for you.


RUSSIAN SOLDIER (through translator): Whatever we wear here, we bought ourselves. They are forcing us to go on camera to encourage the mobilized not to be afraid to come out here and fight.

We are spending up to 60,000 to 70,000 rubles on our own gear, and what they are giving us, the ammunition, cartridges, et cetera, are all rusty. I repainted the rifle they gave me just so you couldn't see the rust. We are buying everything. Soon, they'll ask us to buy our own grenades.

No one is supporting us. To be honest, I wouldn't let any of us out there.

They give you blank ammo cartridges which, when shot, simply fall to the ground. They trained us how to handle weapons, artillery, but they took the whole group just once to demonstrate how to use them. Half the group didn't understand, some did. Whatever knowledge we have is thanks to what we've learned on our own.


BURNETT: Now, we can't independently verify the authenticity of that call, but you hear the damning details from the soldier himself. Rusty rifles, buying their own grenades. He says half his group didn't even understand, the next to nothing training they received.

I mean, it's incredible. I wouldn't put -- I wouldn't let any of us out there. And I want to note something else the soldiers that because it's important in this context, because we had the whole conversation. He said that he is not declining to fight. In fact, at some point he says, quote, I am happy to fight.

This is not some anti-war dissenter who tried to flee mobilization. This makes his words, how damning and specific they are perhaps even more damning because the harsh reality he details is the polar opposite of the propaganda image and the lies that Putin puts out.

Today, Putin making a rare visit to a military center in Russia, with his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, by his side. Putin met with soldiers, they visited a shooting range to do this.

Putin firing a sniper rifle for show, for a photo. As the young Russian men he sends into battle are painting their guns to cover the rust, there is, having a good time.

Putin putting on the show as he's on the verge of broadening his war in two major ways, one, another possible invasion. There's increasing fear tonight from Ukraine that Russian soldiers were soon reinvade from the north through Belarus. A senior Ukrainian military official warns that Russia made fighter jets capable of carrying cruise missiles have been spotted on airfields in Belarus, and 10,000 Russian troops are in the country for training exercise.

I want to note, the last time the country held joint exercises was in February and the days before the invasion. You're looking at an exclusive video that our Fred Pleitgen filmed at the time. Many of the Russian troops there went to invade Ukraine from the north to try to seize Kyiv.

Now, the second wave Putin is expanding his way tonight is bringing another country into it. Tonight, we learned that Putin isn't just buying drones from Iran but he may soon get Iranian missiles, say U.S. sources. And while Russia is denying using Iranian made drones in recent attacks, the U.S. says there's abundant evidence there from Iran, but the country putting military members, Iranians, on the ground in Crimea to train Russian pilots.


JOIHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: The fact is this, Tehran is now directly engaged on the ground, and through the provision of weapons that are impacting civilians, and civilian infrastructure, in Ukraine, in fact, that are killing civilians, and destroying civilian infrastructure.



BURNETT: Even as Putin makes moves to make this war bigger, Ukraine continues to move the frontline closer to Putin.

Just look at this new drone video tonight. What you're looking at here is a Ukrainian rocket strike. It takes out a Russian convoy which, as you say, is trying to hide in the forest. This was done your Luhansk. At least five Russian vehicles were obliterated in that strike.

Fred Pleitgen begins our coverage tonight. He is OUTFRONT in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine.

And, Fred, Putin is finding more ways to escalate this war, even as we hear the audio from that soldier. His military is woefully unprepared and faltering on the frontline.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Erin. And the Ukrainians believe that Vladimir Putin is trying to fight even more ways to try to escalate things further if his troops continue to be pushed back especially down there in the Kherson region.

In fact, tonight, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said the Ukrainians have information that the Russians mined a strategic dam on the Dnipro River, that if they burst that dam, it could flood an entire region, including 80 villages, and a town of Kherson, and possessor's threat to the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Again, the Ukrainians are saying they are not going to allow this to hold them back. In fact, they continue to push back the counteroffensive in the south. Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): As Ukrainian forces pressed their counter offensive in the country south, Russia is resorting to what appeared to be increasingly desperate measures in the areas they control in the Kherson region. Thousands of people waiting to be evacuated by boat. The puppet authorities installed by Moscow claiming they've already taken some 15,000 out of Kherson City.

Why did you decide to evacuate, the reporter asked. I've a small child to take care of, you see, the woman answers.

Russia says it's ferrying these people to safety. The Ukrainians say these are little more than deportations. Russia has imposed martial law in this and other areas of Ukraine, controlled by its forces.

The Russians say they are increasingly intensity of their mobilization effort. Russian president Vladimir Putin visiting soldiers outside of Moscow, and himself firing a sniper rifle. Putin's continued aerial assault on Ukraine's energy infrastructure is starting to take a toll. Ukraine's authorities announcing the need for a partial blackouts and most of the country, as intense strikes on power plants continue using cheap kamikaze drones which Kyiv says Iran has provided to the Russian army.

The spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry rejecting the allegations.

MARIA ZAKHAROVA, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN: This is nothing more than a collection of unsubstantiated inferences and farfetched assumptions that Britain and France are trying to build into a structure. And every time it all collapses in front of everyone.

PLEITGEN: But on Russian TV, this military expert and defense ministry adviser seemed to admit the origin of the drones, not realizing his mic was hot, he tells the host --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Let's not shake the boat too much. We all know that they are Iranian. But the authorities did not admit that.

PLEITGEN: But the Russians are now admitting that things are not going well on the battlefield. The top commander acknowledging his forces position in the south is, quote, tense.


PLEITGEN: And, Erin, that's also one of the reasons why it could actually be quite significant that Vladimir Putin was seen today at that based on that training place along with his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, because Shoigu has been under a lot of fire, especially with some of the people who are involved on Russian side. Notably, the strongman brands on con directly, but also -- where I am, the vaccine or private military company.

So there seems to have been a power struggle going on, whether or not today means that Vladimir Putin still trust Shoigu. It's certainly something that's up in the air, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Fred, thank you very much, reporting on the ground, from Kramatorsk.

And as Putin -- his defense chief met with those troops and, who knows, possibly plotting that possible attack from the Belarus, as the Ukrainians see it. We're covering both angles tonight.

Retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton is standing by at the magic wall to show exactly why the map of that could be so different and so important than last time.

First, I want to go to Douglas London, though, former CIA counterterrorism chief. He spent three decades in the CIA's clandestine service, pursuing and countering Russian intelligence officers, also fluent Russian speaker.

Thank you very much for being with me.

He's also the author of "The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence."

So, Doug, this image today, Putin with the sniper rifle inspecting troops with the defense minister Sergei Shoigu in a very rare joint public appearance.


What does this signal to you?

DOUGLAS LONDON, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM CHIEF FOR SOUTH & SOUTHWEST ASIA: I think Fred had it right. Putin needs to show continued control, continued strength, and reflections that there's been squabbling among his in inner circle which clearly appears to be the case. As Fred noted, it was, the media chief that the Russians recently arrested, and he was spearheading a lot of the online and media attacks against Shoigu.

So, by standing with the Shoigu, with the Russian draftees and conscripts, he's demonstrating there's no daylight between us, we got things under control. I'm in charge and my people are behind me.

BURNETT: So, obviously not the truth, but that's the image he's putting out there. But let me ask you on this front because there's something else I know that you pointed out. Putin recently named the commander of Russia's air force as the person in charge of the overall war in Ukraine, the ultimate commander.

Now, he replaces an army general. And, of course the air force, just to state the obvious, Doug, is really not doing that much in Ukraine. You think that this is significant, that this -- being the air force chief is significant. Why?

LONDON: I don't think he makes a decision on a senior position without considering what does this do for me, what is the threat and what is the advantage. I don't think merit is really primary in his deliberations. So the current chief, he started out of the ground forces. He spent time there and went to the air force later in his career. But he wouldn't have the same network among the ground forces folks, who have the tanks, who have the guns.

I mean, typically, in Russian history, it's about storming the castle, right, if they're going to launch a coup. So, an air force chief, he's going to probably be challenged to do that and probably would make Putin feel a little bit safer.

BURNETT: Which is interesting, though, when you point out, right? The army would be what would be involved in a coup. So, if he's putting in the air force, it's significant perhaps even to show his thinking.

And in that front, Doug, you spent decades dealing with the KGB then the FSB. And now you write in this must-read article in "Just Security", I hope everyone will read it, that you see multiple signs of what you say is, quote, infighting within Putin's core.

So, is Putin really at risk of a coup?

LONDON: I think we're far away from a coup. I think there's certainly fissures and fissures can grow worse depending on how things go on the battlefield, but more importantly, how things go internally. Folks -- I mean, his inner circle have invested their lives literally in supporting him and standing with him, and standing behind him. And there are those who needs to count on. He needs to count on his national security adviser, Nikolai Patrushev. He needs to count on Bortnikov, who's the head of the FSB, people who really do make the difference in terms of his inner security.

So, if things get worse, if he doesn't find some desperate means to seize control once again, there could be a problem for him down the road.

BURNETT: Yeah, amazing to watch. And when you, as you say, when there are fissures, you know, breaks there, they're there, and that's notable on its own.

All right. Doug, thank you very much.

And as Russia puts soldiers and weaponry inside Belarus, I want to talk to retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton.

So, Colonel Leighton, this comes from a senior Ukrainian military official who is saying publicly today that a Russian attack on Ukraine from Belarus, that they believe it can happen. They think it's likely and that this time it would originate in the West, which is obviously different from Russia's attack at the start of the war, which was on Kyiv. The West would be all the way by Poland. That senior Ukrainian official says this all could be targeted at NATO supplies coming over those two main border crossings with Poland, and that obviously risks great escalation in this war.

What is the significance of this?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: So, it's hugely significant, Erin, and here's why. When you look at this border crossing point here, at Medyka, it's right on the Polish/Ukrainian border. This is where the volume of all the materiel that the Ukrainians get from the NATO countries, from the United States, from other countries, that all goes through that crossing point and a couple other crossing points. But that is one of the main ones right there.

So when we dealt with the earlier invasion, we were talking about something that came down this way. But if we're dealing with something that would go into the west, which would basically be designed to cut things off, it would be coming in this way and it would potentially serve to isolate Medyka from the rest of Ukraine. It would also cut them off from Poland, potentially if it gets down far enough, Slovakia and Romania.

So, those are the kind of areas that they would interject, which means cut them off, and it would prevent possibly the effort to resupply the Ukrainian armed forces at the most critical juncture of their fight against the Russians.

BURNETT: Right. And obviously along the border, I mean, that's where so many Ukrainians fled, right, so you're going to have massive civilian impacts if such a thing were to occur, and the possibility of a direct conflict with NATO, Poland right. We've got an air base right near there as well on the Polish side.

So, I want to play again, Colonel, the sound from the newly drafted Russian soldier detailing a shockingly unprepared military.


This is a kid who says that he's happy to fight, but this is the problem what he was handed. Here's the audio.


RUSSIAN SOLDIER (through translator): Whatever we wear here, we bought ourselves. They are forcing us to go on camera to encourage the mobilized not to be afraid to come out here and fight.

We are spending up to 60,000 to 70,000 rubles on our own gear, and what they are giving us, the ammunition, cartridges, et cetera, are all rusty. I repainted the rifle they gave me just so you couldn't see the rust. We are buying everything. Soon, they'll ask us to buy our own grenades.

No one is supporting us. To be honest, I wouldn't let any of us out there.

They give you blank ammo cartridges which, when shot, simply fall to the ground. They trained us how to handle weapons, artillery, but they took the whole group just once to demonstrate how to use them. Half the group didn't understand, some did. Whatever knowledge we have is thanks to what we've learned on our own.


BURNETT: Colonel, of course, we can't independently verify the authenticity of that call, but what's your reaction to what you heard?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What a complete and utter disaster. What a disservice to those troops. As a former commander and a former leader of soldiers and airmen and marines and sailors, I looked at that particular tape and said this would never fly in anything that I was a part of.

So, what it shows us is the Russians are really not taking care of their troops. They're not resupplying them. They have a major problem with actually getting all of the things that they need to the front. If those kinds of soldiers are coming to the front, they are definitely not ready to conduct movements like this, either the one they did before which targeted Kyiv, or the one they're planning to do now, allegedly, which could potentially cut the west of Ukraine off from the rest of Europe.

BURNETT: All right, Colonel. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

LEIGHTON: You bet.

BURNETT: Sobering analysis.

Well, next, we have breaking news. We're learning a top Trump ally appears before a grand jury in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. He is the man who made this wild claim.


KASH PATEL, TRUMP ALLY: In way out, I witnessed him declassify whole sets of documents.


BURNETT: Plus, the home of never-ending conspiracy theories now has a new problem tonight, election intimidation in Arizona. Who is getting harassed and why?

And President Biden in Pennsylvania raising money for one of the Democrats who isn't keeping his distance from the president.


BURNETT: Breaking news, CNN learning that former Trump national security official Kash Patel appeared for several hours before the grand jury in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case. You got to keep this track, there's multiple grand juries. This one in the Mar-a- Lago case.

Patel is a Trump loyalist. He has publicly defended the former president every chance he gets, even making this claim about some of the documents that were found at Trump's Florida residence.


KASH PATEL, EX-NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIAL: In December and January on the way out, I witnessed him declassify whole sets of documents.


BURNETT: Katelyn Polantz broke the story and is OUTFRONT.

And, Katelyn, you're now learning also about how intense the grand jury's investigation is becoming and I guess I should take a step back and say a lot of people may not realize there's a Mar-a-Lago grand jury going on, right? You hear about other places, but that there is a grand jury here and it is becoming more intense.

What do you know?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR REPORTER, CRIME AND JUSTICE: Erin, there's lots of grand jury activity. So last week, a reporting team at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., we noticed Kash Patel there. He was there all morning at the courthouse and he was -- we can confirm now -- speaking to a grand jury under a subpoena demanding information to part of the Mar-a-Lago investigation.

So, now, the January 6 investigation where we've heard a lot of grand jury activity around that. This is Mar-a-Lago investigation, obstruction of justice, mishandling of federal records potentially. And what this shows is that the Justice Department is still looking at witnesses and potentially criminal charges in this probe.

Now, Kash Patel, he's not just anybody in this. He is a person who's very close to Donald Trump. He's an adviser. He's a former administration official with the Defense Department, with the national security community. Even this summer, he was appointed the liaison to the National Archives for Donald Trump, and he's been publicly out there saying that he wants documents declassified that Trump doesn't want to have keeping secrets.

So, he's a very significant individual. That is very significant step, and it confirms that the grand jury is active and pulling in people to this grand jury now -- Erin.

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

That's what boots on the ground reporting does, right? They see them there and they figured out why.

OUTFRONT now, Ryan Goodman, co-editor in chief of "Just Security" and former special counsel at the Defense Department.

So, Ryan, you know, obviously, they're there outside that courthouse. They're watching, they see Kash Patel go in. So, they figure this out. But this is going on. This is grand jury in the Mar-a-Lago case.

What does it mean to you when you hear Kash Patel is there for such an extended period of time?

RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: So, I think it is -- it does mean it's not just heating up, but they're going after somebody in Trump's inner, inner, inner circle when it comes to the Mar-a-Lago documents. Just as described, he really is the front player for Trump. And he's been out there making these statements about like Trump's motive was to publicly release some of these documents.

So, to get somebody like that under oath, under penalty of perjury of law and to say to them, was that the plan? When you made -- there were multiple statements over multiple times that Trump's idea was to release it, is that the plan? Were you acting as his agents? Were you acting alongside him with that? That would be very damaging.

BURNETT: Right. You know, of course, Trump said all I like to do is think about documents. He even claimed going -- gone so far as to claim what Kash Patel said about declassification. So, that is obviously the Mar-a-Lago grand jury. Let's talk about Fulton County, the grand jury there. There's big developments on that one. That's Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.

Federal appeals court rules Lindsey Graham can be subpoenaed. We know that can be significant because he made multiple calls to the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who had the 44-minute conversation with then-President Trump where he said just get me 11,870 votes, or 11,780 votes. And former Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone have both testified.

So, we're learning all those things. Sorry this is long, but yesterday we reported on that federal judge who said there's evidence, there's an email that shows Trump knew the Georgia data was a lie and he signed under oath a legal document attesting to it anyway. So, does this lead to Trump himself now?

GOODMAN: Absolutely. And I think two of the most significant ones are the Cipollone testimony and then also the federal judge, both of them going at the lawyers. Because we know from Cassidy Hutchinson that Cipollone apparently tells Mark Meadows and Giuliani that their plan of the false slate of electors is illegal. That's what they're criminally investigating.

And then the judge is actually handing another piece, which is a lawyer actually saying Trump should not be saying this or signing this document because he knows it's false. He's been made aware that it is false, and that's handing it off to the district attorney.

BURNETT: And just quickly before we go, Trump adding another lawyer Harmeet Dhillon who represents other January 6th witnesses. What does that say that he's adding to his team?

GOODMAN: I think it's about the subpoena from the January 6th committee, but it's unclear which way it plays. It might mean he's doing it because he's fighting the subpoena, but it also might mean he's saying he wants to actually go before the committee and use the platform and then he wants a lawyer that will assist him in doing that.

BURNETT: All right. And that, of course, and there are some who speculate that and that maybe the spectacle that he wants.

Ryan, thank you.

And next, the Democrat running for governor in Arizona will not debate her opponent. Republican Kari Lake has made it right now the absolute centerpiece of the entire campaign.

And Biden in Pennsylvania hoping to help Senate candidate John Fetterman defeat Dr. Oz. This is a very competitive race. Is the president's presence a liability or benefit?



BURNETT: Tonight, an Arizona voter and his wife allegedly filmed and photographed as they tried to use a ballot drop box this week. This is according to a voter intimidation complaint which is now in the hands of the Department of Justice. The complaint specifically says the group accused the couple of, quote, being a mule. This is important because it's a likely reference to a voter fraud

conspiracy film about so-called "mules" who were hired to stuff drop boxes with potentially fake absentee ballots in the 2020 election.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside the Maricopa County elections department, a small group of people is gathering, watching and recording as voters return early ballots at this drop box and election workers enter and exit.

BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: They're taking pictures of them and regardless of what the intent is of these people who are taking pictures of our elections workers, they're harassing people, they're not helping, you know, further the interests of democracy.

LAH: To be clear, there's nothing illegal about standing 75 feet away from a ballot drop box on a public street, but at another drop box in Maricopa County, a voter filed this complaint that alleges a group of people filmed and photographed the voter and his wife as they tried to vote, accusing them off being a mule, taking photographs of their license plate and following them to the parking lot.

The voter intimidation complaint filed with the Arizona secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, who is also running for governor, has been referred to the Department of Justice and Arizona attorney general's office for investigation. This complaint comes in a state that never stopped chasing conspiracies about the 2020 election, from the multimillion-dollar and problem-plagued partisan review of Maricopa County's ballots, to 2022, with the rise of the Trump-backed candidates like Republican nominee for governor, Kari Lake.

She's among a full slate of statewide candidates who have denied the truth about the 2020 election.

When asked about the complaint about voter intimidation, Lake said she had not heard about it, then added this.

KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: This is another reason we have to restore integrity. We can't have half of the population or more doubting our elections. It's not impossible to restore honesty and integrity to our elections, and I assure you when I'm governor, we will do that.

LAH: Lake says this even as there is no evidence of widespread election fraud.

Joining her in sowing doubt about the election, Blake Masters, Republican U.S. Senate nominee.

In the primary, Masters said this in the campaign ad.

BLAKE MASTERS (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I think Trump won in 2020. LAH: That helped him win Trump's endorsement. In the general

election, Masters has shifted his stance, saying he hadn't seen evidence that it was stolen.

But then just last week at a political event when asked about election integrity, Masters replied --

MASTERS: A lot of people saw things that they did not like in 2020, to put it mildly. So we're going to have an army, a lot more eyes and ears and boots on the ground this time.


LAH (on camera): You may have noticed standing next to Kari Lake is Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. He is someone who won the governorship in Virginia by keeping Trump at arm's length. Lake has fully embraced Trump.

So what do they have in common? They want to win, and Lake wants to stand next to a winner. It is what Tudor Dixon wants. It is why Youngkin is heading there in Michigan. But then he's heading to Georgia to campaign with Brian Kemp who also kept Trump at a distance and has famously battled with him, Erin.

What they all have in common is they all want to win -- Erin.

BURNETT: Kyung, thank you very much.

Interesting, the star power of Kari Lake and also Glenn Youngkin, certainly, in national Republican politics.

OUTFRONT now, Bakari Sellers, former Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and conservative radio host Eric Erickson, of course, the host of "The Erick Erickson Show".

OK. A lot to talk about here and I do want to ask about Glenn Youngkin.

But, first, Bakari, this issue with the mules accusation, this ballot drop box issue in Arizona. We're only two weeks away from Election Day, two and a half. How worried are you that this is just the beginning and things are going to get a lot nastier and uglier?


BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, things will get a lot nastier. Things will get a lot uglier, but I'm not worried. I mean, the fact is people oftentimes throughout history have had to overcome obstacles. Blake Masters and Kari Lake have absolutely no backbone. The reason they're popular in MAGA land and with the Republican Party right now is that they stand for absolutely nothing.

And for them to say they're patriots or for them to say that they're pro-democracy or for them to even say that they stand with the United States of America is -- it's just -- it's oxymoronic to say the least. The fact is these individuals who are running for office right now are unqualified to hold any seat. And yes, they're going to put a militia on the ground and, yes, they're going to use voter intimidation, but I really believe that voters in Arizona are willing to overcome all of those things to elect people who deserve to be in office.

And Kari Lake and Blake Masters simply are clowns who don't deserve nobody office because fundamentally they don't stand for anything. All they want to do is win.

BURNETT: Which may be true. I mean, there's many who would say that's what most politicians want.

I guess to that point, Erick, what Kari Lake seems to have is energy and star power. Is that enough?

ERICK ERICKSON, HOST, "THE ERICK ERICKSON SHOW": She's got energy and star power. She's also got 4 of the last 5 polls in Arizona showing her winning. She's definitely doing something right. Katie Hobbs' refusal to debate her reinforces that and there's something Hobbs is scared of.

I think -- you know, I wasn't a fan of either Republican candidates on the ground in the primary, but Kari Lake has shown herself to be a very adept politician with years of media training being in the media and it's certainly working to her advantage.

BURNETT: So, Bakari, I want to asking about what he just mentioned, though, Erick just mentioned the debate, the lack thereof, right? Katie Hobbs, right, the original part of -- when she started running was hailed as a hero by Democrats across the country because she stood up to Trump's efforts to overturn the election, right? She counted the ballots fairly in the state of Arizona.

But now, even many Democrats are criticizing her for refusing to debate Kari Lake. And Kari Lake has made this the centerpiece of her campaign. I mean, just look at her Twitter feed, right? She calls out Hobbs for this every chance she gets.

Here she is.


LAKE: Why is it that Katie Hobbs will not debate? What is she trying to keep you from? What is she hiding?

The people of Arizona will never support and vote for a coward like Katie Hobbs who won't show up on a debate stage.

I'm doing a debate on Sunday and I'm inviting Katie Hobbs to show up on Sunday. I hope she will. I hope you'll show up. Did somebody say chicken? I didn't say that. Somebody said it.


BURNETT: How does her refusal to debate hurt Hobbs, Bakari?

SELLERS: Very much so. I mean, it's a bad decision. I don't know who is advising her. I'm pretty sure the DGA, and if the DGA is advising her, then somebody needs to be fired. I mean, it's a terrible decision to make.

I mean, you should get on the stage with people who do not deserve to be elected to office. There's no reason why you cannot out-debate Kari Lake. She stands for nothing. She waffled. She's a (INAUDIBLE). She's a fence-sitter.

I mean, there's nothing she stands for. She doesn't deserve to represent the citizens of Arizona and Katie Hobbs needs to stand on stage for an hour or an hour and a half, take the questions, take whatever criticism there is, but blast her opponent and let people know what she stands for and why her opponent doesn't want to be there.

The decision not to debate, me and Erick don't agree on much, in fact, Erick still calls me Bacardi, which I'm going to have to deal with later. The fact is, we do know -- it's okay. I still love Erick. We do know that she needs to debate and that's something we both agree on.

BURNETT: All right. So, Erick, you heard what Kyung Lah said about Governor Youngkin. He has had glowing praise for Kari Lake. She shows up with her on the campaign trail yesterday. Here's what he said.


GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA: You need a fighter and you've got one. That's what you've got.

You need a leader who's going to understand that she works for you, and let me tell you, I think you should hire her.


BURNETT: Okay, Erick, here's the thing. The one thing that she really has stood for and been very vocal about, right, one of them nationally is she denies the integrity of the 2020 election, okay? That is something that Glenn Youngkin has vocally been on the other side of. So he said that about Kari Lake. You got to hire her, she's so amazing.

He's also said these things.


YOUNGKIN: Joe Biden was legitimately elected our president. I mean, he took -- he took the oath and was sworn in.

I said there wasn't -- there wasn't material fraud, and I believe the election was certifiably fair.


BURNETT: So, Erick, how can he back Kari Lake?

ERICKSON: Well, I mean, trying to make politicians consistent over time with what they stand for when they all just want to win is kind of a losing battle here.

I mean, to Bakari's point earlier that Lake isn't fit to serve or she's not qualified, the problem here is Democrats really do care about January 6th.


They care about the election denialism. I actually care about it. I think they're wrong, and that the "2,000 Mules" nonsense is garbage and left a lot of people in lurch, with some madness that needs to be overcome.

But at the same time, you got a really bad economy, you got all these other issues out there that Republicans are focused on and closing in. Voters care way more about the price of gas and groceries than they do about the 2020 election, more so than any of us do. And that's what's winning the elections and Glenn Youngkin wants to be tied to that because that's why he got elected.

BURNETT: Right. And Glenn Youngkin may have much bigger ambitions, so he wants to get everybody --

ERICKSON: Right, absolutely.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, in one of the biggest battleground states, voters say they are ready for a change.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the past I was independent, and I would vote on either side, but it's become clearer and clearer that I need to vote democratically.


BURNETT: And it was supposed to be a joke, but then it became reality. A head of lettuce actually outlast the British prime minister's time in office. We're live in London.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden departing Philadelphia just moments ago after raising money for Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman. The president going after Fetterman's opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz questioning if Oz stands for anything. Biden is hoping to boost Fetterman's chances.

This is one of the most competitive Senate races in the United States.

And Jessica Dean is OUTFRONT now. She's live in Philadelphia.

Jessica, Biden has kept a very light campaigning schedule so far. Some candidates, frankly, have kept their distance and not really wanted him to come.

This is not the case for Fetterman. He wanted Biden there. He came.

What kind of reaction did he get tonight?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, you will remember during the 2020 campaign, Biden was here all the time as the Democratic nominee, and that has continued throughout his presidency. So, it wasn't a surprise that he would come back here to Philadelphia, of course, a Democratic stronghold, to help John Fetterman as he tries to become next senator from Pennsylvania.

This was a private, closed-door fundraiser and receptionist. So, it wasn't a big rally. We didn't see him with the crowd or anything like that, but it was certainly an opportunity for Fetterman to be seen with the president. We typically see him in his signature hoodie and shorts. This time we saw him in a suit and he flew in Air Force One, so able to get that proximity to the president.

And this is as this race continues to tighten here in the commonwealth. It is very likely that it will determine who has control of the U.S. Senate, so there's a lot of eyes on this, a lot of pressure from both sides.

And there are some key counties that both of the candidates have zeroed in on, what's called the collar countries. They are the suburbs right outside of here in Philadelphia. They've got suburban women who are quite independent. Take a look.



DEAN (voice-over): As ads for the hotly contested Pennsylvania Senate race flood the airwaves in the final weeks of the campaign, it's Philadelphia suburbs where women may end up deciding the outcome.


DEAN: The four called collar counties, the suburbs that surround Philadelphia, are home to some of the state's most affluent and educated female voters. And they have a big independent streak.

BERWOOD YOST, CENTER FOR OPINION RESEARCH, FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL COLLEGE: We know that these voters have moved in recent years towards Democrats. But they had a long tradition of voting for Republican candidates.

DEAN: Most of the women we talked to have voted or considered voting for someone in both parties.

LINDSEY, BUCKS COUNTY RESIDENT: In the past, I was independent, I would vote on either side. But it's become clearer and clearer that I need to vote Democratically. SHARON JACKSON, BUCKS COUNTY RESIDENT: In 2016, I realized that there

needed to be a change. And so, at that point, I decided that I was going to become a Republican.

DEAN: Berwood Yost has studied Pennsylvania voter trends for years.

YOST: It's really going to be an interesting push/pull between the concerns that voters have about the economy and inflation, and then the concerns about abortion rights.

DEAN: In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, women we spoke to named three key issues swaying their decision: the economy, crime and abortion rights.

JACKSON: I'm voting based on our economy and based on the crime.

DEAN: Sharon Jackson said the country is moving in the wrong direction.

JACKSON: I go to the grocery store and I'm like, oh, my goodness, this cost me $250. Oz has more to offer to me. And so, I think he has a lot more to offer to our state.

DEAN: But for others, abortion rights remain top of mind. They plan to vote accordingly.

LINDSEY: John Fetterman, because I care about reproductive rights.

DEAN: Is that the biggest issue for you?

LINDSEY: It is. There's a lot of other issues, but right now, I've become a single issue voter.

BERYL HIRSH, BUCKS COUNTY RESIDENT: I'm afraid of the abortion issue, whether or not my own personal opinions of that, it's nobody's business.

DEAN: The candidates are targeting these suburban women in different ways.


DEAN: Fetterman is leaning into the issue of abortion rights.

FETTERMAN: Women are the reason we can win. Don't piss women off.

DEAN: While Oz released an ad this week emphasizing political moderation.

OZ: Extremism on both sides making thing worse. We need balance. Less extremism in Washington.

DEAN: Both campaigns signaling they understand the potential impact of these voters in a race where the result could determine the control of the Senate. (END VIDEOTAPE)

DEAN (on camera): And we learned just as tonight -- just tonight that Fetterman's really doubling down on these collar counties, Erin. He will be holding a smaller, more intimate gathering with Senator Amy Klobuchar and congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan. They're going to be talking about gun rights, and abortion rights, and gun safety, and economic issues, things like that as he really tries to zero in on those voters, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jessica.

And next, could Boris Johnson be prime minister again?

And a legal victory for Kevin Spacey, pretty shocking to me, but the actor's troubles are not over yet.



BURENTT: Tonight, the lettuce won. The shortest serving British prime minister in history, Liz Truss, is resigning after just 45 days in office, proving this British tabloid's . livestream which was, of course, started as a joke, questioning whether a head of lettuce would last longer than Truss in office actually ended up being reality, which of course is embarrassing. Truss resigned after she tried to push through a risky tax plan and was forced to retreat.

Now there is speculation that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a comeback.

Max Foster is OUTFRONT tonight in London.

And, Max, the mayor of London today said the UK is a laughingstock. This is humiliating, and this lack of leadership is obviously coming at a critical economic time as sources close to Boris Johnson tell CNN he may run again. How does all this play out?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sadiq Khan is with the opposition Labour Party, says it's a bit of you would expect him to say that. I think it is true. In recent years the quality of the leadership of the country, the quality of politics has really collapsed and it ended up in an utter shambles this week and utter disaster, really.

Liz Truss is now on the way out, though. And then we have to consider who might come in and try to sort out this mess. Not just an economic crisis, but a political crisis.

The two front-runners tonight, if you speak to politicians in parliament, Erin, are Rishi Sunak to the left of the party. He lost out to Liz Truss in this latest leadership round. He is also the man hated by the right of the party because he is seen as the man that brought down Boris Johnson's premiership. So what's going to happen? Well, the talk is it will be Rishi Sunak

versus the pinup still of the right of the party, who is Boris Johnson. It looks like they are going to go head to head. But is this the right solution? Everyone really is looking for a compromise candidate here.


And both these two figures are very divisive.

So perhaps a third figure could come through. But it really rushed this process up. They want it cleaned up in a week. And they're talking about potentially on Monday having a solution. If that's the case, the Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson camps need to come together and try to find some sort of a solution. I just can't see how they're going to work it out, Erin. We'll find out next week.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Max, thank you very much for that honest report. We have the same issues with politics here.

Next, Kevin Spacey's court victory.


BURNETT: A legal victory for actor Kevin Spacey. A New York jury found him not liable for battery in a trial. It was civil. Spacey was accused by fellow actor of briefly laying on top of him in a party more than 35 years ago.

Jurors deliberated for only an hour. They concluded that Anthony Rapp did not prove that Spacey touched him intimately when he was a teenager. Two other charges have already been dismissed.

Spacey's career has been on hold now for years because of all of this. The Massachusetts groping case against the two time Moscow winner was dropped to 2019 and now these victories. But Spacey faces four charges of sexual assault in England, and they are very serious, and there is a much higher bar there for victory. He has pleaded not guilty in those.

Thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime. You just have to go to CNN Go.

Meanwhile, now, it is time for "AC360".