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Erin Burnett Outfront

New Audio into OutFront: Russian Troops Angry About Paying for Gear; Ukrainian Officials Fear Deception at Play in Kherson As Russian Flag Disappears From Key Building, Military Checkpoints "Gone"; Exclusive: DOJ Weighs Need For Special Counsel In Trump Probes; Trump Holding Rally In Iowa To Energize Base 5 Days To Midterms; Arizona's Ballot Filled With GOP Nominees Who Deny 2020 Election; Outrage Grows In China As COVID Limits Take Precedence Over All Else. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 03, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, new audio into OUTFRONT of Russian commanders saying they are desperate for supplies, raising money on social media app. This as the mystery grows other whether Putin's forces are really deserting a major Ukrainian city.

A longtime Russian diplomat who resigned over Putin's war is OUTFRONT tonight.

Plus, we have breaking news. We are learning now that the Justice Department may appoint a special counsel to oversee the Trump investigations. This breaking news, as Trump appears close to announcing a presidential win -- run.

And a story you'll see first OUTFRONT on the run with election deniers in Arizona. We're going to refute their conspiracy theories one at a time.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, outrage. New audio into OUTFRONT of two senior Russian commanders, seemingly outraged over the fact that they have to raise money to buy their own supplies for the battlefield. The call was intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence and it is filled with anger and disbelief, labeling expletive, so many, in fact, that we can't or most of it.

But here is just a portion.


RUSSIAN COMMANDER 1 (translated): So tell me, did you definitely receive a Telegram for these shovels and all this other (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

RUSSIAN COMMANDER 2 (translated): Yes, yes, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I already had three or four of them.

RUSSIAN COMMANDER 1 (translated): Four? This (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is starting to annoy me, to be honest. I'm not sparing any money for this. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It's just, where do you get the money from?

RUSSIAN COMMANDER 2 (translated): I spoke with four ensigns and they're throwing in some money.


BURNETT: So, the commanders in that clip we're talking about raising money through the social media site, Telegram, in order to afford specifically and what we just aired for you, shovels. So that was for shovels. And in the commanders conversation continues, and in this case, they turn on their own, telling the stories that complaints they're getting about commanders.


RUSSIAN COMMANDER 1 (translated): Now the officers are starting to look off to the side, they are showing their dissatisfaction, like "is the war being paid for with our money, or what? Where is the government in all of this? This is the type of conversation going on.


BURNETTT: Where is the government in all of this? Putin's government.

Look, these frustrations for commanders in this case do echo what we have been hearing from Putin's forces, from the rank and file who are in Ukraine, and have been turned back by the counteroffensive. And we're also just getting more new video just into out front. This shows Ukrainian forces liberating salvage in the Kherson region, which is significant because that region was court to Putin's original offensive.

I want to show you another striking image. This is an administrative building in Kherson city. Now, you see the flag pull there. At first glance, you wouldn't even probably notice that. But this is what that flag pull looked like earlier this week. A Russian flag that has been flying there for months.

As I said, Kherson is central to Putin strategy in Ukraine. Now that's suddenly gone. By the way, you see the city. It's not like Mariupol, right? Not completely destroyed there in the center.

Kherson was the first major city Russia captured. It's geographically crucial for Putin. And the region of Kherson is what provides Putin his land bridge to Crimea.

So, now, it appears Russian forces have vanished the military checkpoints, removing their flags. Why? They really retreat? Or is there something much more sinister going on that Putin is trying to trick the Ukrainians? This is a huge question on the ground tonight.

And in a moment, I will speak to Boris Bondarev. He's a Russian diplomat for 20 years. He resigned in disgust because of Putin's invasion.

First, though, to Nic Robertson, who's OUTFRONT in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

And, Nic, what is the latest on the ground tonight?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, the Ukrainian authorities have got real reason to wonder if Russia is trying to soccer them into a trap in Kherson because psychological warfare here it's part of this war. The Ukrainians have been really good at it. Remember, up here, not far from where I am, just in the past month or so, the Ukrainians have made some lightning advances.

Why were they able to do that? Because they signaled to the Russians through social media and many other ways that they were going to attack in the South. The Russians moved forces south, Ukrainians move north and took the territory more easily. So, right now, when they look at the top of that government building and all the other -- they are worried.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): A top Kherson's main government building, a change. No Russian flag. On a bus nearby, residents cheer, realizing the Russian checkpoint is gone.


A city resident, whom CNN is not identifying for their own security, describes the changes.

There are no large armored vehicles in the city during the day, he says. And all the military checkpoints in the city are gone.

The region's Russian installed government told a Russian media propagandist, Russian troops are holding the city for now. But added, most likely our troops will leave for the east bank.

What Russia is planning, not clear. Ukrainian officials fear deception.

NATALIA HUMENIUK, SPOKESPERSON, UKRAINE DEFENSE FORCES SOUTH (through translator): We see it and realize that these may be certain tricks, military maneuvers, to build correct defenses as they see it. Nevertheless, we see that in Kherson, there are so regular units wearing civilian clothes.

ROBERTSON: But Ukraine still claiming gains. Thursday, destroying several boats in Kherson port. And Wednesday, destroying a Russian surface to air missile system. Often used to hit Ukrainian civilians in nearby Mykolaiv. In the Black Sea, too, Russia appears on the back foot, as grain shipments resumed following Putin's reversal, his refusal this past weekend to cooperate with the U.N. brokered deal, citing new guarantees from Ukraine.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Russia reserves the right to withdraw from these agreements if these guarantees are breached by Ukraine.

ROBERTSON: Another sign, according to Ukraine's president, that Putin is being forced to change.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Two hundred and fifty-two days ago, Russia demanded security guarantees from the United States of America. After eight months of the Russian so-called special operation, the Kremlin is demanding security guarantees from Ukraine.

ROBERTSON: In Kherson, Putin's intent, still far from clear. Residents report plenty of Russian heavy weapons on the edge of the city.


ROBERTSON (on camera): So, the Ukrainians pretty much figure they can take Kherson. So the family question in their minds is, what is Putin trying to get out of it when he loses it? Because as you are saying, Erin, this is vitally important.

It's part of, would be the first capital, one of the regions that he's illegally annexed and calls part of Russia now. That would be a big blow. So, is he going to try to score some sort of victory even in a loss? That's the big question.

And, of course, you have the mercenary groups like Wagner, with Yevgeny Prigozhin, looking over Putin's shoulder, getting ever more powerful, making more money out of this war. And that also is kind of a threat for Putin to people other than him with getting more power.

BURNETT: All right. Nic, thank you very much, live from Kramatorsk.

OUTFRONT now, Boris Bondarev. He was a Russian diplomat for 20 years and resigned in protest over Putin's war in Ukraine.

And, Boris, I appreciate your time tonight. One person we've spoken a lot about on this show, who appears to be close to Putin now, seems to want to run this we're in a much bigger way, is Yevgeny progression, the head of the Wagner group paramilitary organization.

Do you think Prigozhin could take over? What is his role with Putin?

BORIS BONDAREV, FORMER RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT: Well, it's very interesting moment in this campaign that Mr. Prigozhin has become so influential, and a really -- person, which can decide a lot of, you know, can make a lot of decisions. So, I think he's somehow a favorite of Vladimir Putin for now, and Vladimir Putin obviously entrust him with the most difficult and challenge missions on the frontline. Because Mr. Prigozhin controls these private military companies, like Wagner. And they are known, they are notorious for being the most effective and most cruel of all Russian armed structures, which are acting now in Ukraine.

But I believe that Mr. Prigozhin has no political future in Russia, because he has no social basis and he has no allies within the Russian status because all of Russian establishment, I mean, decision-makers, such as army generals or special service people, they hate and despise him as a former criminal and someone who has no connections, because, like, you know, jumped up man or something.


So, I would not overestimate his significance for now.

BURNETT: Do you read anything into this, though? You don't want to overestimate his significance, but does his rise and the fact that you say so many empowered despise him. What does this mean about Putin? That Putin seems to be letting him in more. Is it a sign of Putin's isolation? Is it a sign others are turning against Putin? How do you see it?

BONDAREV: Well, I would like to see it as the sign of further isolation of Putin, of course. He and his frustration, but Putin is obviously disappointed in his army, his generals, which cannot -- a victory over Ukraine, which they had promise, obviously, before the war started.

And of course, he now thinks that maybe Prigozhin with his, you know, unscrupulous methods of war, can have some victories. Who knows? But, of course, any of this will lead to further destabilization within the Russian elite. It is obvious. One way or another, either Putin will be more dependent on Prigozhin and his like, or he will say more dependent on army generals, FSB generals, for instance.

And those two groups will be constant fighting with each other. Maybe Mr. Putin is counting on this, though they are fighting each other and he can still be above this fight. But for how long? I don't know.

BURNETT: At one point in your career, you worked for the foreign ministry of department for nonproliferation and arms control, that was obviously related to weapons of mass destruction. The latest we have from U.S. intelligence is that senior Russian military officials have discussed specifics. How, under what conditions to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Do you think the possibility of this is increasing at all?

BONDAREV: I believe there is still a possibility of using nuclear weapons on the Russian side, of course, because, of course, every general wants to use whatever means he has in order to gain victory. And Russian generals are no exception. Of course, they see that they are, they have no prospects of winning this war, or even, you know, have unacceptable stalemate for Russia.

Of course, I think they -- naturally, they're discussing the scenarios of how to deploy nuclear weapons. But I don't think -- well, even to me as a non specialists, not an expert, military -- strictly military affairs, it's obvious that even when they use tactical nuclear weapons, it will not change the course of war. Because it will have very limited military gains and it will have a devastating political consequences for Russia.

BURNETT: All right. Boris, I appreciate your time, thank you so much.

BONDAREV: Thank you. Bye-bye.

BURNETT: And next, the breaking news. CNN learning the Justice Department may appoint a special counsel to oversee the investigation surrounding Trump. What does this mean for a possible indictment?

Plus, Biden and Obama in sync in the final days of the campaign. They're focused on the threat to democracy. But that is not what Democrats in tight races are talking about at all. Why the disconnect?

Plus, a story you'll see first OUTFRONT. We are going to take election deniers, conspiracy theories directly to a top Republican election official to find out the truth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got to get rid of those machines and go to paper ballots, counted by the precinct committee men.




BURNETT: Breaking news: CNN learning that the Justice Department could name a special counsel to oversee the special investigation surrounding former President Donald Trump. In reporting first on CNN, sources say DOJ officials are ramping up behind the scenes as Trump appears to be moving closer to a 2024 announcement.

The former White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, who remains close the Trump, said this today.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think you can expect him to announce soon. He's being urged by some people to still have a surprise, another surprise, but we're trying to mitigate November surprises for all the candidates.


BURNETT: Evan Perez is OUTFRONT. He is breaking this reporting for us tonight.

I mean, Evan, this is significant. So, you are learning the Justice Department is considering special counsel. What more do you know?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, these are conversations they're having behind the scenes because, obviously, the possibility that the former president announces his candidacy for office again is real, right, and it is coming after most likely the election. And so, one of the issues for the Justice Department is the prospect of having, you know, a department that answers to Trump's potential rival in 2024, doing an investigation of a sitting candidate, of an ongoing candidate.

So one of the ideas is, does a special counsel insulate the department from the political criticism? Of course, this being Trump, you know it will still be political, and he's not going to make a thing of it.

BURNETT: Right. And now, here's the other question, what does it tell you, you hear special counsel, well some people say, wait a minute, it will not slow all this down, because we're going to be putting this layer and putting this infrastructure around it. What does it mean when you are asking the question of whether the DOJ is seriously considering indicting him?

PEREZ: Well, the -- for the Justice Department, they've already done a lot of this investigation. You've got people who are already working for the U.S. attorney's office as well, as well as the security division in the Justice Department. You've got twin investigations ongoing, and they have been ramping up, beefing up to snuff, adding prosecutors. You've got new people coming into the national security division and criminal division, all in an effort to beef up to higher parts of this investigation. A lot of this could easily move under the umbrella of a special counsel without really missing a beat.


BURNETT: Okay, now, we all know the January 6 Committee obviously is separate although been parallel in many ways. But we know that they've been interviewing members of the Secret Service, you know? And a lot of this may go back to what Cassidy Hutchinson said, whether he grabbed the clavicle and tried to get them to go to where the riot was beginning.

So what is the committee looking at with the Secret Service and the fees? You know where it stands?

PEREZ: Well, one at the things that they're still trying to work out is what happened in those -- especially with the vice president's detail, Mike Pence's detail. So they brought in a couple of key witnesses, including the head of Mike Pence's detail to talk about exactly what was going on.

If you remember, one at the things that Cassidy Hutchinson and some other witnesses talked about is this fear that Pence at that if he left the Capitol, he may not be able to come back to complete the job, which was to certify the winner of the election.

And so, those are the answers that they are getting from these witnesses, including people around the vice president to understand a little bit better about what exactly those decisions were involved.

BURNETT: All right. Evan Perez, thank you very much, breaking that news about the possible special counsel. Thank you.

And next, Trump back on the campaign trail tonight. His PAC pouring millions into key races that could determine control of the Senate, so how are Trumps candidates doing? Plus, from election workers to mail-in ballots, we're taking on the

claim from election deniers and setting the record straight, it is a story you will see first OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, a live look at Sioux City, Ohio, where Donald Trump is about to make his return to the campaign trail. He's also pouring money from his PAC into tight races that literally could determine control of the U.S. Senate.

The super PAC Trump backs is pouring millions into Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He is also headed to campaign on the ground himself in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

OUTFRONT now, Harry Enten, our senior data reporter.

So, Harry, how are the candidates doing in the states where Trump's PAC has been putting in the money?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah, where Trump's PAC putting in the money, and where Trump got behind these candidates in the primaries. So, you know, you talk about Arizona, you talk about Georgia, you talk about Pennsylvania.

In Arizona, Mark Kelly, the Democrat, seems to be slightly ahead. He's forecast to slightly win the race.

Georgia is so tight at this particularly point. I think that's probably heading towards a runoff. We know the candidates reach 50 percent of the vote plus one, you have a runoff a December that will ultimately determine Senate control.

In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman up by the tiniest little bit, but that race is well within the margin of error, so any money that goes in there, I think will be welcomed news for Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate.

BURNETT: You know, it is amazing, though, you talk about Georgia again, can you imagine? It'll be like, take two, here we go. Let's do a winter runoff in Georgia.

ENTEN: So much coffee will be needed.

BURNETT: OK. So, you mentioned Mehmet Oz. He's Trump backed, right, but gets criticized by some Trumpers as not Trumpy enough. Pennsylvania obviously is a state that would not have exceeded there, who knows?

Herschel Walker, he's got all these allegations obviously out there.

So would Republicans be doing better with different candidates who don't have this baggage, or is that actually not part of it? ENTEN: I think it is a big part of it. "The New York Times" has a

very interesting question, these states, you know, who would you rather have control the United States Senate? Democrats or Republicans?

In all three states, what you see is that the generic Republican is out running where the actual Republican candidate is and in Arizona and Georgia, you can see an issue in the screen right there, you know --

BURNETT: Oh, wow.

ENTEN: -- you would say -- you'd expect the generic Republican would be way out ahead, but Blake Masters is actually trailing in that race.

Georgia, you'd expect Herschel Walker to be out ahead.

BURNETT: By the way, if that four points is right, you'd be going to a runoff, that be a Republican seat fair and square?

ENTEN: It probably would be. It probably would be. So, when you look at this, you had to make the argument, I think it's a successful argument to make, that Republican candidates are below par, that if Trump back someone else in the candidate, no one at all, maybe Republicans would be in better shape.

BURNETT: OK. That's fascinating. Now, we talk about Trump PAC, where that money is going. Let's talk about Trump himself.


BURNETT: OK. Tonight, he is in Iowa, and he is going to Florida. The Senate and governor races are not close there, so what is he doing?

ENTEN: Yeah, so, if you look at the forecast for the sources, that nowhere close. They're expected to be easy Republican wins, Iowa governor, Iowa senator, Florida governor, Florida senator.

So what is Trump doing? I don't know if you know this, but Iowa hosts something called the Iowa caucuses. Maybe he is thinking a little ahead to 2024 there, also thinking, hey, I might pull back a candidate there, get an easy Republican win, can say, hey, I back and --

BURNETT: I went. I was a part of it.

ENTEN: And Florida, Ron DeSantis, right, he wants to show off Ron DeSantis in his own state, which is also Trump's home state.

BURNETT: Right. And as you pointed out, it's not showing up for him it's about showing him up.

ENTEN: Him up. Exactly.

BURNETT: Jinx. All right.

ENTEN: Buy me a Coke, or I'll buy you a Coke. BURNETT: All right. OUTFRONT now, Van Jones, former special adviser

to then President Obama.

So, Van, you just heard Harry talking about Trump-backed candidates, within range in several key races and obviously, he gave the caveat, but general Republican ticket might be doing better, but still, these races are incredibly close in the context that Republicans need to pick up one Senate seat to regain control if they -hold what they have.

Now, the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer just said, and I quote him, Van, I believe Democrats will hold the Senate and maybe pick up seats.

Based on what you are hearing on the ground, how realistic is he?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's optimistic. I think, right now, you talk to most people on the ground, they are very, very concerned about this, you know, red riptide, if not a red wave, not a road tsunami, but what I will say is this, it's confusing out there --


JONES: Because what we are not talking about -- we're talking about the speeches, we're talking about the big folks, talking about the ads but what is going on is online, what's happening is you knock on somebody's door, you don't know what they just saw on the cell phone. There is a whole bunch of stuff going on underneath the surface that is bizarre.

And so, we don't know if there's a youth quake coming. We don't know if there's some conspiracies coming. And so, this is not a normal thing.

So, I don't think anyone can say for sure what is going to happen, but I do think Schumer is being his usual optimistic self.

BURNETT: All right. So, one of the top Democrats in the country is not being an optimistic -- is usual optimistic self. The California governor, rumored 2024 home for himself, Gavin Newsom, he just spoke out on what he thinks Democrat chances are and their messaging, and he was pretty direct.


INTERVIEWER: Does it feel like a red wave?

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Yeah, of course, it does. Again, I am not paid to say the. I'm paid to say, we -- you know?

We're getting crushed a narrative. We're going to have to do better in terms of getting on the offense and stop being on the damn defense.


BURNETT: Okay, it was not like he got overheard, okay? He wants everyone to hear it. We're getting crushed. How significant is it to hear this from Governor Newsom?

JONES: Well, I think it's significant but let me tell you, the one thing about Gavin Newsom is, he walks the talk. He's not saying someone else should go on offense. He's been going on offense himself. He's been buying -- he's been buying ads himself as a California governor in Florida.

So, he's somebody who -- I think he's showing that aggression, he's showing that passion, he's saying where is everyone else?

So, I understand where he is coming from. I admire his passion. I don't admire his timing. This may not be the best timing to make the argument, but I do admire his passion. Again, he walks that talk. He's the most aggressive Democrat in the country right now.

BURNETT: OK. And he's saying we're going to crush the narrative.

JONES: Yeah.

BURNETT: It is clear that the White House believes the closing message should be that this is about democracy, and this is not about the economy and abortion, that the vote somehow bigger than that in the moment.

President Biden said it last night. Former President Obama said it again just hours later. Here they both are.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's something else at stake, democracy itself.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Democracy is at stake in this election.

BIDEN: Democracy is on the ballot for all of us.

OBAMA: Our democracy is on the ballot.


BURNETT: Okay, they got the talking points consistent.

But for Democrats, Van, who are in some of these closest Senate races, we are not hearing about democracy being on the ballot, and democracy being at stake. Here are their final ads. Let me play a few.


AD ANNOUNCER: John will fight to make more stuff here. Cut taxes for working people and make sure no one forgets our home.

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Rubio missed almost every committee meetings for seniors, then voted against lowering prescription prices, but he will show up to gut Social Security and Medicare. REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Look, I ran against Nancy Pelosi for House

leadership. I wanted to take the country in a new direction. I still do.


BURNETT: I didn't hear democracy on the ballot, not once. What -- who's right? Look, I think both can be right.

Let me tell you, the candidates who are on the ground, they understand that it's the economic pain, people sitting on a white hot stove, and they want to hear that somebody will do about the cost of living, someone is going to do something to make it easier on them, that's true.

But, you know, when you're the head of state, when you're the former president, sometimes you tell voters what they want to hear, sometimes you got to tell them what they need to hear. And it is, in fact, the case that if a bunch of election deniers get a hold of election machinery, democracy could be undermined.

And so, I think it's important that the head of the party points this out and not be afraid of it. And, by the way, two things can be true at the same time, you can have real economic peril and real political peril at the same time. I'm frankly glad to see Obama out there doing what he's doing. I think it's been tough on the economy, but some of the needs to tell voters what they need to hear, which is that democracy is on the belt.

BURNETT: Van, thank you.

JONES: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, we're going to head to Arizona, where the GOP candidate for governor, Senate and secretary of state are all election deniers, and some voters are buying it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to trust anybody anymore.


BURNETT: Plus, some forced to sleep under urinals in China. The country grappling with 3,000 new COVID cases despite it's zero COVID policy. Wait until you see this.


BURNETT: Tonight, CNN obtaining an internal email from the Department of Homeland Security, warning staffers to prepare for possible violent civil disturbances around Election Day.

Ground zero for those growing tensions right now is Arizona, where some voters are latching onto election lies pushed by Republican candidates running for governor, Senate and secretary of state. Donie O'Sullivan is OUTFRONT.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the crucial swing state of Arizona, Republican nominees up and down the ballot alleged with no substantiated evidence that the 2020 election was stolen.

Take for example, Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor.

KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: Anybody who was involved in that corrupt, shady, shoddy election of 2020, lock them up.

O'SULLIVAN: CNN spoke to voters at her recent campaign events about their confidence in the upcoming election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to trust anybody anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have honest elections, there's no question that Kari Lake will win.

O'SULLIVAN: We asked Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, who happens to be a Republican, to address their concerns.

BLAKE MARNELL, KARI LAKE VOLUNTEER: I think everyone has some about the extent that they can verify that ballots that were mailed out were actually filled out by the people they were intended for and returned by them and not filled out by anybody else.

BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: On the envelope itself, they fill out an affidavit and they sign an affidavit that indicates that it was them, and if that signature does not match the signature that we have in our voter registration, we will call them up and tried to confirm, did they actually do this?

O'SULLIVAN: I think that there are some election officials who have gone through FBI-type training to look at signatures and to compare them, right?

GATES: Yes, absolutely. So many eyeballs are looking at this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have people who are trustworthy, who have gone through thorough background checks that we can put in securely, knowing that our elections, both sides, can have a fair chance at winning fairly.


GATES: You know, some of them, it may be the first election, but a lot of them, we have a track record, knowing that these people are trustworthy. We have representatives of the Democrat and Republican Party working together, so even if you do have some sort of rogue actor, there are so many people watching them. We even do have the live stream cameras. There's so many checks and balances in our system that people just

aren't aware of because we have never had to go out and articulate that to people, because people have accepted for the most part the results of elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to get rid of those machines and go to paper ballots, character by the precinct committee men.

GATES: People vote on paper, but we do use a tabulation machine and again, we have used those for decades. We know that those machines have been audited over and over again. We have shown time and time again by many experts that are machines are not connected to the internet in any way.

And here's the reality, the machines themselves are doing more accurate job of counting votes then humans do. When the count is over, when the machine count is over, we do a hand count on us to confirm that the machines are operating properly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be honest, do a job for the state and party, don't make it personal.

GATES: I agree with him and so I am a Republican. Having said that, this is a nonpartisan role that we have. The reference to me is personal. I think all of this has gotten horribly personal, and the personal insults that are hurled back and forth are not good for our democratic republic but further than that, it's not good for our civilization, for our culture, that's why this is so important.


O'SULLIVAN: And, Erin, you know, spending some time in Maricopa County in Arizona, which is where Bill Gates runs, election officials there are trying so hard to be so transparent and to put everything out there, but you also heard him make that point there about this dehumanization and demonization, not just the public, senior public officials but rank and file election workers. It's really sad situation.

BURNETT: It really is, it's really terrifying. And they're trying so hard to be transparent and answer questions, and sometimes, you get the answer to somebody, they don't hear it. Did not listen to it. It is the fear.

Donnie, thank you so much, incredible report.

I want to bring in the Republican speaker of Arizona's House of Representatives, Rusty Bowers.

In testimony before the January 6 committee, Rusty, I know you detailed your refusal to overturn Arizona's election results despite enormous pressure that you were under from then-President Trump and others and what he stood up for it was the reality of a fair ballot, and that you wanted the real answer to be what was out there, you stood up for that.

And, Speaker Bowers, I appreciate time.

So, you know, I thought what was so interesting about that these pieces that he talked about, and then bill gates gives detailed answers about -- each one in specific detail. Do you think, Speaker, that will make a difference to any of the people who questioned the integrity of the election?

RUSSELL "RUSTY" BOWERS (R), ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, at least the people offered a thought. They had some question some specific thing to ask, some desire to a specific point was covered and he covered them to us, I just swimsuit cover to them personally, that would be possible. There are a lot of folks who don't listen. They gave up on the listening thing a year plus ago and it is very frustrating.

BURNETT: I mean, it's frustrating and terrifying. You say to yourself, how do you break through? Where do you go to do that? How do you talk to every voter? Will they even listen to what they do?

And in your state right now, Republican nominees for governor, U.S. senate, secretary of state and attorney general, all for them, speaker our Trump backed election deniers. They have made questioning the election central to their campaigns.

Kari Lake first and foremost among them. She is, of course, your state's Republican nominee for governor, here is what she is telling voters about next week's election.


LAKE: I am afraid that it is probably not going to be completely fair. I wish I could sit here and say that I have complete faith in the system. I don't have faith in the system.


BURNETT: And she said that and similar again and again and again, Speaker. How worried are you about this?

BOWERS: Well, I'm only worried if the four of them were able to combine and bypass the legislature in the courts. So, my optimism is that there are checks and balances, even in these. There are people of authority, they will have great authority. I don't think their full- time job will be trying to undermine an election.

But there are some, Mr. Finchem, for example, I don't mind saying, that's a gentleman that I really would worry about.

But all in all, we will move ahead. The people, if they don't want to hear runway, experience is a hard teacher and some people don't learn by any other way.

And I -- having gone through this experience, having gone through and answer those questions that were asked, myself and effectively by Democrats, Republicans, independents, parties not determined, all working together at these county centers, there would be thousands of people involved in a conspiracy decides that has been propagated, and it just isn't there.

And so, I gave up trying to convince people, but I have not given up trying to say that there are checks, there is concern. We're going to watch it.

BURNETT: Well, I hope people know, it is just so important that you speak out, and it is courageous that you do so. I know that you have had protesters, some armed, they come to your home during all this, while your late daughter leg gravely ill, and you are going through profound personal duress.

And they're putting into that. You still speak out, and it is an act of courage that is important. I appreciate it. Speaker, thank you.

BOWERS: Thank you, very, very much.

BURNETT: And next, a 14-year-old dying in a quarantine facility in China, dying in a quarantine facility. The country doubling down and zero COVID, cases are raging on. We'll take you to Beijing.

And U.S. officials meeting with basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been held in Russia since February.



BURNETT: Tonight, China scrambling to control a sudden outbreak, 3,000 new COVID cases, and this is the face of a zero COVID policy. This is according to "Reuters".

Authorities tonight ramping up restrictions and mass testing to contain the virus, as outrage grows in China. COVID limits are taking precedence over everything else.

I want to warn you that what you are about to see in this report is disturbing.

Selina Wang is OUTFRONT.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A 14-year- old girl lies embed, convulsing at a COVID quarantine facility in China. Someone comes over saying, the kid has a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and no one is coming. She died soon after.

A man who says he is the girl's father posted this online, filming his daughter's body, he is demanding justice.

I beg the communist party to investigate, he says.

CNN hasn't been able to independently verify the videos, they have been censored in China.

Along with these videos of a father desperately trying to revive his three-year-old son, he can't get his child to the hospital office than enough, because of COVID restrictions in Lanzhou City. The boy later died.

Enraged residents turned to the streets, swarms of armed police holding them back. In Lanzhou City, some are forced to quarantine outside in the cold, in parking lots.

This viral video, which CNN could not verify, shows others forced to stay in male bathrooms, sleeping under urinals.

In year three of the pandemic, every positive case and close contact is still sent to government quarantine facilities like these, and this one, the video says it's a quarantine site for kids in Hunan province. A little boy jumping on bricks to avoid a puddle or dirty liquid. This is where they use the bathroom.

Distraught parents crowd outside the protests. Protesters rushed to the streets in Lhasa, Tibet, demanding the end of a lockdown that lasted more than 80 days.

And in Zhengzhou City, workers are fleeing Apple's biggest iPhone plant after a COVID outbreak. Masses of workers carrying their luggage, walk long distances across highways through villages, even form fields, those left behind at the factory claim living conditions are sub par. Videos appear to show workers literally fighting for boxes of supplies.

China's leader Xi Jinping claims zero COVID puts lives above all else. But for many, it's precisely the policy itself that's ruining the lives.

This woman sobs on the ground crying, that after she was caught with her mask pulled down, the government suspended her business for 30 days, losing a months income. Metal spikes, which the man is filming, says were installed on a compound to prevent residents from leaving or red plastic barriers.

This one separating a father from his daughter. The little girl worried, asked her dad how he's going to get home. But her father, like millions across China, likely has no idea when he can go home or when all of this will end.


BURNETT: That is an unbelievable report. Jaw on the floor watching it, Selina.

And, obviously, you're in Beijing in the morning there. You're under quarantine, which people are listening around the world, is this really real that we're seeing this in November 2022? What is your quarantine like right now?

WANG: Yeah, Erin, I'm in the middle of a ten-day government-mandated quarantine. It's because I came in to China from overseas, so there's various types of quarantine, a quarantine for close contacts, people who have gotten COVID, people coming from overseas. The last time I was in quarantine, I was actually on your show. That

time, it was a 21-day government-mandated. This time, it's just ten. But every time I reenter this country, it's this shocking, jarring dystopian experience.

So you get off the airplane, you sit on a bus for many hours, you get sent to a field quarantine facility, then the door shut. I get woken up every morning with a knock on my door from a COVID worker that takes my PCR test.


I took some photos of the food, you'll see, it gets left outside my door three times a day. Not choice in food, you've got to eat what they deliver.

And also, I stuck my arm outside briefly to film this, every few hours, you can smell and hear disinfectant, because there's a COVID worker in a hazmat suit with a giant machine spraying disinfectant in the hallway.

So, it's no surprise, Erin, that China has become increasingly isolated during the pandemic. We all got to go through this if you're coming into the country.

BURNETT: Just absolutely unbelievable. Selina, thank you so much for that report.

Selina is in quarantine again in Beijing.

And next, an update on American basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia now for months.


BURNETT: And, finally, tonight, an update on Brittney Griner, the WNBA star held in Russia. Officials from the U.S. embassy in Moscow met with China today. The White House is saying she is doing well under the circumstances. She was arrested in February, of course, at an airport in Moscow under charges and sentenced in nine years in a Russian penal colony. She has maintained that she accidentally put the vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her suitcase and that she has a prescription for medical marijuana.

Well, the White House continues to press for her immediate release along with that of Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia for three years on espionage charges, which he denies.

Thank you so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.