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Erin Burnett Outfront
Markets Plunge As Unrest Grows In China: "We Want Freedom"; Election Deniers Rip Into Officials For Certifying Election Results; Russian Spearheading Petition Against War In Ukraine Speaks Out; Trump Won't Appear In Georgia To Campaign For Walker In Runoff; University Of Idaho Students Return To Campus With Killer On The Loose. Aired 7- 8p ET
Aired November 28, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, markets plummet after protests spread in China. And tonight, the country going to new extremes to censor what the Chinese people are seeing. Is a brutal crackdown coming? We're live in Beijing tonight.
Plus, election deniers lining up one by one to rip in to Republican officials, calling them traitors and criminals, saying they should be punished by death for certifying a state's election.
And an OUTFRONT exclusive tonight, hear from a Russian woman standing up against Putin's war, and now leading the charge to demand Russia pull out of Ukraine.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, markets plunge worldwide. The reason, widespread protests in China against Xi Jinping's COVID lockdowns, sparking fear across the world, sending stocks lower in Europe, in Asia, and Wall Street, where the Dow sank 500 points this afternoon.
The uprisings in cities across China are on a scale not seen since the at the Tiananmen Square protests. Right on your screen, you are seeing just six of the nearly dozen cities across China we know are facing mass protests. This is what we know on this map, right? There could be even more because obviously it is difficult to get a lot of information. But this is what we know of.
These are mass protests coast to coast. Today, a reporter from "Reuters" asked a Chinese official about whether the protest would impact Xi Jinping's zero COVID policy. The answer coming off as a bizarre denial that a problem even exists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Is China considering ending it soon? And if so, when?
ZHAO LIJIAN, SPOKESMAN, CHINA'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (through translator): We believe that with the leadership of the Chinese communist party and the Chinese people, our fight against COVID-19 will be successful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So how does China define success? Right now, the country is seeing its highest level of COVID infections since the pandemic began.
And as for the Chinese people, they're showing leadership right now by hitting the streets. In Shanghai, one of China's biggest and richest cities, the financial capital of the country, thousands came out despite the risk of arrest. The crowds chanting, quote, no PCR tests, we want freedom.
Just look at those people on your screen. The response brutal force, dramatic images of police dragging away men and women. These are images that protesters have been able to get -- upload so we can actually see them.
And in the Chinese capital Beijing where Xi Jinping lives, the crowd is chanting, quote, we don't want lockdowns, we want freedom.
And something you may have noticed in these pictures is the people holding up just blank sheets of paper. That in and of itself is now a new way of protesting. They're doing that to make a point. You can't accuse us of writing or displaying a message that is deemed illegal. We're just holding a blank piece of paper.
In fact, the blank piece is now reportedly being censored by the Chinese government. The words blank sheet of paper and white paper are now being filtered from search results in China. Think about that.
And on Twitter, when people in China are searching for protests, what they get is spam and porn.
Officials are going into overdrive to censor what the Chinese are seeing. It is really incredible to think about this. Because, frankly, people in China are seeing a lot because they're actually living through what we have been showing you for months out front. A desperate mother under lockdown jumping to her death from her 12-floor balcony. They hear and see people starving. They hear the screams for food and medicine right from their windows.
Armed Chinese workers locking down airports, leaving passengers stranded.
Well, tonight, the White House is weighing in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, NSC COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: People should be allowed the right to assemble and to peacefully protest policies or laws that dictate that they take issue with.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: But as throngs of Chinese protests, the question tonight is how big do these protests get? Or will the protesters pay a terrible price?
Selina Wang begins our coverage OUTFRONT live in Beijing.
And, Selina, that you have been covering this now for a long time. You have seen this build up. You are there in Beijing in person. How are authorities responding tonight?
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, when I went to those protests in Beijing, those people there, they were determined to make their voices heard. But at the same time, as you showed there, Chinese giants censorship machines in overdrive, determined to make it as if those protests never happened.
Recent videos, comments of the protests across the country, on all Chinese social media platforms.
State media, meanwhile, completely ignoring it all, and publishing headlines reiterating that zero COVID is scientific and effective. But the protesters in China know that this is the system that they are up against.
WANG (voice-over): They chant, Xi Jinping stepped down, an extraordinary show of defiance in China. In Shanghai, they chant for freedom, democracy, and an end to COVID lockdowns, even targeting the communist party and the supreme leader himself. Unprecedented protests are erupting across China, the major metropolises to elite college campuses, even far flung cities.
Searing nationwide anger triggered by a deadly fire in China's far west region. Water unable to actually reach the fire blazing from the high floor of the apartment building. Videos indicate COVID restrictions prevented fire trucks from getting close enough. apparently blocked by fences, and metal barriers normally used during lockdowns.
In the building's chat group, a mother pleads, help us. My kids are dying. We don't have enough oxygen.
At least ten people died.
The nation, grieving the deaths of victims that likely spent the last months of their lives trapped in that building.
Most of Xinjiang has been lockdown for more than 100 days. The protests? Even spelling into the capital.
They're chanting that they don't want COVID tests. They want freedom. And many people are also holding white papers in their hands which is
a sign of solidarity against censorship.
They sing and cheer. Shout to be unsealed. And some even break down into tears.
A man with a loudspeaker shouts, we always supports the communist party but we want democracy and freedom.
I asked the protester how he was feeling, overwhelmed he said. All conscientious Chinese people should come here and stand together.
I said, you realize that there is a risk being here? Of course there is. He responded.
And if we just turn the camera around, you'll see that there is a row of police.
Hours later, masses of police filed in pushing the protesters back. Demonstrators shout towards the authorities, we are not your enemy. We are in this together.
These are unbelievable scenes in China, where public criticisms of the party can you lead to prison time or even worse.
In Shanghai, police arrested, roughed up protesters, violently dragging them into cars.
No protests of this scale, demanding political reforms, have been seen since the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests in 1989 that led to a massacre of unarmed protesters.
These demonstrators know what they are risking, but they are determined to make their voices heard.
WANG (on camera): And, Erin, there is now a heavy security presence in places where there been protests, including here in Beijing. Last night, I went back to that exact place where I was a day before, there at the protest. And we filmed video when we drove by, you can see that it's eerily quiet with a giant row of police parked with their lights flashing.
This is a stark reminder that this is a police state with far reaching security, surveillance capabilities. It's also a country where social media like Facebook and Twitter are banned, and the messaging platform that is monitored by authorities. It is not easy for protesters to communicate, mobilize, and continue to have their voices heard in China.
But while the authorities, they can snuff out evidence within China of what's happened here. That anger -- well, it's not going away.
BURNETT: Incredible. All right. Thank you so much, Selina Wang, as you can see in Beijing. That was at the protest there this weekend. It is stunning, Selina showing that image of a day after, just with all those lights on, and completely blocking off.
I want to go now to Yanzhong Huang, who is a senior fellow for Global Health at the Council of Foreign Relations and the author of "Toxic Politics: China's Environmental Health Crisis and its Challenge to the Chinese States", along with Ian Bremmer, the president and founder of the Eurasia Group, and the author of "The Power of Crisis".
So, Ian, you know, there is really amazing, seeing Selina there on the streets, right, amidst protesters.
One of them, you know, even willing to speak, right? Even willing to take that risk to speak out, and then seeing them, you know, so snuffed out the next day.
But this is now across China. Why Xi Jinping willing to risk all of this unrest and these protests and the economy all for zero COVID?
IAN BREMMER, EURASIA GROUP PRESIDENT & FOUNDER: Well, first of all, I think it comes as a surprise to him. I mean, a couple of weeks ago when he was in Bali, and doing bilateral meetings with other heads of state, he wasn't talking about zero COVID. He wasn't expressing a lot of concern about it. I think if he had been on, as he wouldn't have thought that he would get these sorts of demonstrations, spontaneously, from students, from workers, from the middle classes in cities across the country.
But also he is backed into it, right? Because you do not have vaccines that inadequate numbers as it were, for the population at large, and most of the oldest haven't had a vaccine in a couple of years now. The hospitals aren't capable of dealing with massive, and unmitigated spread. So they're a bit backed into a corner by a policy that worked really well, the first year that they implemented, it and abysmally poorly as we stand right now.
BURNETT: So, Yanzhong, Chinese official news agency Xinhua published an op-ed Monday that echoed something that Selina just said,, that she said was all over state media, and that is that the COVID measures are, quote, scientific and effective.
So, from a public health standpoint, is zero COVID right now necessary to control COVID in China? If you buy that you want to control, is zero COVID the way that they are doing it the right way that they're doing it?
YANZHONG HUANG, SR. FELLOW FOR GLOBAL HEALTH, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: No, it's for a public health perspective, it's no longer justified. I think even the Chinese leading public health experts agreed that the virus, it's now so in terms of virulence, has been much less severe than the original strain, and if you also look at real world data. From Shanghai, to Guangzhou, and now the nationwide data, more than 95 percent of the cases are asymptomatic. And very few actually, are very severe cases.
BURNETT: So, Ian, and yet they continue with these lockdowns, where we've now seen reports of 87,000 beds being ready for people that are about to be quarantined because cases are hitting record highs?
I want to show again some of the videos of these protests because it is so incredible to see this. In cities across China, the video is now there. We can see it, right? Selina even filmed some of it herself, we can see it even though it's being banned in China.
What will the Chinese government to? What will Xi Jinping do if the protests don't stop?
BREMMER: Yeah. Certainly, I mean, this is the exact opposite of the message that Xi Jinping wants domestically, as well as around the world. The last time you and I talked about China on the air, it was about Hu Jintao, and how Xi Jinping was displaying such extraordinary capacity to basically, stifle and emasculate the former president of the country. Now, he has suddenly these demonstrations, some of which are even calling for his ouster.
There's no chance he's going to allow that for persist for weeks on end. I think there'll be carrot and stick. There will be some local officials that will be removed for a poor implementation of zero COVID. They will probably be loosening in the way that zero COVID is actually laid out and policed, compared to what we have seen over the past weeks and months.
But there is also going to be a clear crackdown against further demonstrations, especially those that have an overt political message to them, I can't imagine that they would allow that to continue.
BURNETT: Yeah, right. Some of those chants, right, they included words of freedom and democracy. Some even with Xi Jinping himself, right? Others more specifically about COVID himself.
Yanzhong, one question that I have and I just can't get my head around is this -- if Xi Jinping is capable of locking down a country of more than 1 million people for three years essentially, which is what he has successfully done, why couldn't he just mandate the vaccine for everybody, especially the elderly population?
HUANG: Well, I think there's a couple of reasons. First of all, he's not sure that the Chinese vaccine actually that effective in terms of even severe cases, not to mention that the vaccines are much less effective in terms of preventing the infection. So, even though they have 90 percent of the population being vaccinated with two doses, much of that was done before March.
So, now, most people, their antibody level have dropped to a level that is very low or undetectable now. And zero COVID, we know the policy cannot tolerate any infections.
So, even the best of vaccines cannot guarantee 100 percent protection. So I think that is the reason he was not so sure, but it is a good idea to mandate the vaccine on the elderly, because it won't necessarily help achieve the zero COVID objective.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much, as the world continues to watch what's happening in China, unexpected, you know, and incredible to see what we have seen thus far. Thank you both.
And next, election deniers swarm a meeting to certify the state of Arizona's election results and their attacks, dangerous and concerning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Interference in an election in the United States of America, Mr. Gates, is a capital offense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is vote trafficking at its finest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, I'm going to speak exclusively to a Russian woman who is bravely speaking out against Putin's invasion. Why she says more Russians are turning against the war.
And remarkable images tonight of the world's largest active volcano erupting in Hawaii. Flights already being canceled, shelters now being set up for people living nearby.
BURNETT: Tonight, traders, traffickers, criminals. These are just some of the insults that were hurled at Arizona election officials today when they certified the results of November's election.
The Maricopa County board of supervisors voted today to certify the election that saw the defeat of prominent election deniers for both the governor and secretary of state roles. But at the hearing today, one conspiracy theorist after another confronted the board, which is chaired by a Republican named Bill Gates.
Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came here today to get an up close and personal look at the seven traitors to the United States Constitution are sitting at that desk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, again, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Interference in an election in the United States of America, Mr. Gates, is a capital offense. It's considered treason punishable by the death penalty. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that we can gaslight the American people
like we did with COVID, like we did with gender fluidity, like we did with all sorts of things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is vote trafficking at its finest. I've seen the criminal element. You are vote traffickers. You are vote traffickers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flagrant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Criminal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, OUTFRONT now, Van Jones, former special adviser to then President Obama, and Jonah Goldberg, the editor in chief of "The Dispatch" and an "L.A. Times" columnist.
So, Jonah, just jotting down some of the things said here. Capital offense punishable by the death penalty, traitors, gaslighting. Look, these people care so deeply about this and believe so deeply in what they're saying that they showed up at the certification to say these things, right, to the board of Maricopa County, chaired by a Republican. What's your reaction to these voters who's say they're Republicans just like you are?
JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't call myself a Republican anymore. I am a conservative. Look, I have sympathy for these people. I think they've been lied to, to a certain extent.
There's always been a paranoid style in American politics. I think it exists on both the left and the right. This is a classic example of the sort of populist paranoid style in American politics.
These people have been misled by people like Michael Lindell. They do their own research on the Internet. They follow people like Kari Lake, who encourages this garbage.
Things were not helped by the fact that the Maricopa County election office did screw up with these printers on these ballots that just fed this untrue narrative. But that was a small mistake, it was rectified, no one was disenfranchised.
And one of the things I take heart with -- take heart about is that this is only really happening now in Arizona. The 2022 midterms put a really bad odor on a lot of the election denial stuff. It's still running strong in Arizona, but it seems to be confined to basically three small areas in a state rather than the entire country. So, that's -- to me, it's like nature's healing.
BURNETT: All right. And, look, I think everyone can hope you're right about that. Obviously, you mentioned Mike Lindell, who is now running to be head of the RNC, you know, challenging Ronna McDaniel for that.
Van, Kari Lake, who is the GOP candidate who lost the governor's race, has been re-tweeting more videos of the people I just showed brief clips of at that hearing. She still has not conceded the race to Katie Hobbs. And she insisted she won and Donald Trump says she should be installed as the governor of Arizona. And, of course, you know, he is running for the White House again.
How big of a cancer does this remain in the Republican Party?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it looks like it's a shrinking tumor. But it's still a very deadly cancer. In other words, a few weeks ago, we were afraid that this was going to be the dominant strain throughout the Republican Party. We thought election deniers might win coast to coast. We would be in a very different position. But I think we should be very proud that sanity has won out in most places.
And even a number of Republicans who were election deniers did concede.
JONES: That shouldn't be news. But we were in such bad shape that that was actually a news story, that people who lost said, "I lost". So, that's good.
However, I don't think we should relax too much. I think after the midterms, everybody was like, whew, and let's move on with Thanksgiving. We still have a big problem here, which is that, you know, those people are serious and some of them seem to be quite threatening. And they are going to continue to spread the nonsense.
I do think that we should do some things to take the gas out of the balloon. We should have faster election returns. I think both sides could agree on that. There are things we could do -- we've got one of the best systems in the world, but we could make it better. Let's take some of the gas out of the balloon here, but this is still a big threat.
BURNETT: And, you know, fair point, I hope both sides can. Because sometimes in saying if something is fair and accurate, which it is, it's too often followed by, and therefore, there is nothing to see here. So, why are we bothering to say that there should be improvements? And obviously, both things can be true at the same time.
So, Jonah, we find out that President Trump, the former President Trump, who, of course, is now running for re-election, had Kanye West and a known white nationalist Nick Fuentes over for dinner at Mar-a- Lago last week. Fuentes is a Holocaust denier. He was at both the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and at the Capitol on January 6th.
Republican leaders have been slow to denounce the meeting. I do want to play, though, Jonah, what former Vice President Mike Pence just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, and a holocaust denier a seat at the table. I think he should apologize for it and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric, without qualification.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's -- you know, look, he doesn't always step up, okay, Jonah? So he did step up this time. Others who are stepping up are the usual suspects. Mitt Romney called it disgusting. That would be in line with the way Mitt Romney, you know, feels and speaks. John Thune, the senator, said it was a bad idea on every level.
But are we hearing enough of this?
GOLDBERG: You know, I am torn a little bit on this. On the one hand, I have been fighting with the sort of fever swamp anti-Semites on the right my entire career. And Trump and the election of Trump broke down a lot of the dams that were built up to keep those people in the swamps. And so I liked seeing them denounced.
At the same time, the GOP is going through this process that was delayed because of all the election denial stuff from 2020 of trying to figure out how to fix its problems. And you couldn't admit that you had problems if you were going to stick to this B.S. line that the election was stolen. And now they are starting to figure out that not fueling all of the attention on Donald Trump is one of the ways you can shrink Donald Trump's role in this.
And they're sort of caught in a catch-22. They don't want to talk about him, they want to move on and ignore him. At the same time, you really got to denounce neo-Nazis when the news requires it.
And so, they're sort of caught in a bind. There are no huge profiles encouraged here from the many surprising quarter. But I also think there is a certain amount of gotcha in this game of make everybody denounce on our timetable rather than sort of ignore the guy.
BURNETT: Right. I understand your point. Van, though, the thing is when we try to understand what's going to happen with the former president and his bid for re-election, and a lot of that's going to rest are the Department of Justice, OK? But, you know, when I'm looking at how people are responding, I shared Mike Pence and Mitt Romney.
But Marco Rubio also came out. He told our Manu Raju, quote, of Trump, I know he's not an anti-Semite, I can tell you that for a fact that Trump is not. But the guy -- this guy is evil, that guy is just a nasty, disgusting person.
So, you know, already it's sounding there like, all right, I'm going to call out the guy at the table but I'm going to say that the guy who invited him and gave him a seat at the table, that guy's still okay. It still seemed a bit apologetic.
JONES: Yeah, I think Rubio should do more, and obviously it's happening in his state. What you got to remember is if you can't denounce Nazis, if you can't denounce Nazis, who can you denounce? I mean, they have no problem denouncing transgender people, of all
these people who are 0.001 percent of the population, whatever it is. You have a growing neo-Nazi movement in the United States and the West, and you can't denounce that. That is a very, very dangerous place for the right to be in the United States.
There's always been a distinction between the clean right and the dirty right. The clean right, you disagree on policy but they don't traffic hatred and violence. The dirty right is growing, and the clean right is not being -- and the cleanup crew they're supposed to be.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.
And next, Trump is steering clear of Georgia. The former president will not be campaigning in the state with his pick for Senate, Herschel Walker, before next week's runoff election even as early voting is in full swing. Many Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief and we'll show you why.
Plus, I'll speak to a woman, who in an incredible act of bravery is speaking out against Putin's war. It's an OUTFRONT exclusive.
BURNETT: Tonight, an OUTFRONT exclusive. One Russian woman in a remarkable act of bravery speaking out about why she took such great risk to spear-head a public petition from mothers of Russian soldiers demanding an end to Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. She only wants to be identified by her first name Vika.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIKA, RUSSIAN WHO IS PETITIONING AGAINST WAR (through translator): The women complain about lack of equipment and the conditions are really bad. But what is really important that after the nine months that the war is going on, the attitude to the war is changing among the women whose sons and husbands and brothers are fighting. What we can work with is the anger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You're going to hear more from Vika in a moment. Her words come as Ukrainian civilians continue fleeing the recently liberated city of Kherson amid a brutal barrage of airstrikes.
Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT on the ground in Ukraine tonight.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The devastation Russia's retreating forces left behind. A village in southern Ukraine torn to shreds, and until now, abandoned to this war.
Valery (ph) told me he's lived here 51 years. And after evacuating for eight months, he's home to stay. Even amid this wreckage.
It's like a stone weighing on my soul. We built everything here with our own hands. It's hard to look at what those Russian scum did to us, he adds.
A short distance away in newly liberated Kherson, a pool of blood where Russia is attacking the city it just left behind.
Four were killed when this grocery store was hit. Now one desperate resident picks through the debris looting scraps of food and toilet paper. "Is everything so bad?" we asked. "It's not good," he responds.
All right. Well, getting basic supplies, though, in Kherson, has become a massive risk. We've come to the seaport, it's the river port right on the Dnipro River with this woman here Tatiana (ph) from Kherson to collect water so she can wash her clothes and go to the toilet and things like that.
The water supplies have been completely cut off by the Russians. This is the only way. You can hear the artillery shells go off in the background. This is the only way she can get water for her house.
And it's dangerous because this is basically the front line. The Russian forces have retreated to the other bank, right? So the Russian forces are just across the river.
But the risk is one that has to be taken.
"What can we do?" Tatiana asks. "We can't live without water."
There's no electricity either. And people are cramming into makeshift charging stations like this one just to stay connected.
We found defiance here, too, in the face of hardship.
There's no water or power, Hannah (ph) tells me, but also no Russians. So we will get through this.
What do you think?
I think our enemies will all die soon, says Nastia (ph), who only just turned 9. We'll show them what you get for occupying Ukraine, she says.
For many, the hardships are already too much. Roads out of Kherson crammed with residents trying to leave.
But for those who stay, it is a desperate struggle to survive.
CHANCE (on camera): Well, tonight, Erin, there's still very little water, very little electricity in Kherson, making it very difficult indeed for people to live there in any degree of comfort. That, of course, as Russian artillery continues to pound residential areas of the city as well.
Ukrainian officials saying 258 artillery shells falling in the city in the past week alone. It's not just cold and dark there in Kherson, but it's deadly as well -- Erin.
BURNETT: Matthew Chance, thank you very much.
And I want to share more of our exclusive conversation with Vika, who's helped organization that public petition in Russia demanding an end to the war. As of tonight, more than 24,000 Russian women have signed it. When we asked her about their anger and what they think about Putin's response to the grieving mothers and wives, saying that he, quote, shares their pain and offering them things like a new stove.
Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIKA (through translator): Of course it is terrible and terrifying when not only these women have lost their loved ones but even they are unable very often to bury them because their bodies have been abandoned. And in exchange for that, they are getting some ridiculous presents like a cake or a set of towels. I can see that their anger is accumulated.
And lots of these people, they did not have an idea what real war is about. Now they are coming to understand these problems. The war is about losses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
And, General Hertling, you know, you hear Vika and 24,000 women signing this. Do these Russian mothers, sisters have false hope that by speaking out, they are going to be able to sway Putin?
MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Two things I will say in response to that, Erin. First of all, it hasn't worked in the past. There have been petitions by wives and mothers in Russia in the past, in the war in Chechnya, in the war in Syria when they have petitioned Mr. Putin to stop these illegal conflicts that he is participating in.
Twenty-four thousand signatures sounds like a lot, but it's miniscule compared to attempting to sway the policy of the Russian Federation. The second thing I say is Vika seems very comfortable in Paris, in the dichotomy between Vika in Paris saying she would prefer not to have her husband, her sons go to war versus the mothers, the wives that are in Ukraine who are suffering under blackouts and constant shelling.
Is it that the Russians don't want their children to go to war? Or do they understand that this war is illegal and a blight on their republic? That's the thing that grips me, that tells me they truly don't understand what this war is attempting to do to the Ukrainian people.
BURNETT: Right. And you know what is interesting is what she said that for many of these women, they don't necessarily understand, didn't understand what war was, and now at this point, whether it's ideological or economic, right, that they're turning for whatever reason they're turning. It isn't necessarily because they don't believe in the cause, right? It is as she pointed out, in many cases, because of dissatisfaction with the economy in Russia.
And, you know, when you see what's happening on the front lines, I want to show you some video, General, that I found today. And this is apparently from Bakhmut, which is the fiercely contested city where Russia had been making some gains. It shows the unspeakable conditions, in this case, the Ukrainian soldiers are enduring in trenches.
They're in these trenches, these World War I-looking trenches, propped up on makeshift beds, deep pools of mud, crumpled tarps is what they have to block freezing rain and snow. Soldiers without boots are taping up their feet. This is 2022.
These are trenches that look like World War I. What are these soldiers going through?
HERTLING: Not only the physical demands. It has to do with taking war back an entire century. It is living in a trench that looks, like you said, 1917 as opposed to 2022. It is the Russian way to war.
This was part of frozen conflict starting in 2014. Those trenches have been in existence for over eight years. They have been fighting on the front lines of the Donbas, the area that you just showed in Bakhmut for over eight years. It shows the resilience of the Ukrainian forces.
And, you know, you not only have to fight the demands of artillery shells. But imagine the shells, the disease, the rats that are going through those trenches, the lice, the kinds of things that we only read about in the World War I period are now being exhibited, living in the mud like the picture that you're seeing there.
But the soldiers of Ukraine will do it because they're defending their sovereignty. And you compare that to the Russian soldiers who do not want to be mobilized, they don't understand the cause of why they're being sent to fight, they're not trained to fight. And compare that with the Ukrainian soldiers who have that will to sustain the fight now for over eight years because they want a sovereign nation with their culture, as opposed to having that imposed by the Russians.
BURNETT: General Hertling, thank you very much.
HERTLING: A pleasure.
BURNETT: And, next, Trump will not be campaigning in Georgia with Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker before next week's runoff. Could this hurt Walker's chances or help? Harry Enten is next with the data.
Plus, a killer still on the loose tonight. Today, students are returning to the University of Idaho campus 15 days after four of their classmates were brutally stabbed to death.
BURNETT: Tonight, former President Trump won't travel to Georgia to campaign for Herschel Walker, ahead of next week's runoff election for U.S. Senate. That's according to a source speaking to CNN. Trump will instead do a remote rally over the phone some time in the next week. Well, that's pretty remote.
It comes as Republican operatives have expressed concern that a Trump visit would hurt Walker's chances to win against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.
OUTFRONT now, Harry Enten, our senior data reporter.
So, Harry, OK, they come out, it's not a rally, remote rally over the phone. Okay. Why are many Republicans breathing a sigh of relief that Trump will not go to Georgia for Walker?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Just look at the favorable rating that Donald Trump has in the state of Georgia, right? It's 40 percent. His unfavorable rating is well above 50 percent. Compare that to someone like Brian Kemp, basically Trump's chief rival because Brian Kemp dared to say that the 2020 election was legitimate, which obviously it was -- Brian Kemp a far more popular Republican in Georgia, basically the reverse mirror with a favorable rating in the 50s, the unfavorable rating in low 40s.
So, this is why Republicans are expressing relief is because Donald Trump, simply put, is not a popular guy in Georgia. You don't want to be tied to Donald Trump if you're a Republican.
BURNETT: OK. So, now, let's look at the numbers of where it was earlier this month because you needed 50.1 to not have a runoff. So, Senator Warnock did get more votes than Walker, not enough more but he got more, 38,000 more.
That's a lot. That's a lot more than Trump lost the state by. Kemp beat his Democratic opponent by nearly 300,000 votes. Okay, that's a gap.
ENTEN: It is.
BURNETT: So what does that mean?
ENTEN: Well, what does it mean? Well, essentially what Brian Kemp was able to do was reach out to the center of the electorate, was able to win, barely, among independents. Raphael Warnock won independents easily in his Senate bid. You go back to 2020. What happened? Joe Biden won independents rather
easily, won by close to ten points. In the state of Georgia, if you're a Democrat, because there are more self-identified Republicans than Democrats, you need to win independents. If you're a Republican and you're able to keep the loss among independents to a minimum, or win, in the case that Brian Kemp did, you're able to in fact win in the state of Georgia. That's what Raphael Warnock -- excuse me, that's what Herschel Walker wants.
BURNETT: All right. When you think of independents, you obviously don't think of Trump.
ENTEN: And I would think not, no. The base maybe.
BURNETT: So, when you lay out the math, it would seem that this all makes sense. But is there any way that Trump's absence could actually hurt Walker?
ENTEN: We were talking in the break, the sort of catch-22 where you want persuasion, you want to win those independents, but at the same time you want to hold onto your base. Runoffs are not just about persuasion, they're about turnout. And what we saw in 2021 is we saw that the Republican turnout as a percentage of that 2020 turnout had dropped more so in the Republican districts than in the Democratic districts.
So, the question is, with Trump, with him staying on the sideline, will that in fact decrease Republican enthusiasm?
Republicans don't want to see that. They want the persuasion, but they also want the turnout. I don't know if they can have it both ways, though, Erin.
BURNETT: Well, that's the thing, and hence the conundrum of the Republican Party.
Harry Enten, thank you very much.
ENTEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. Next, a show of force. Idaho state troopers greeting thousands of students returning to campus after four of their classmates were brutally stabbed to death. Are police any closer to catching the killer?
Plus, ash and lava now flowing out of the world's volcano in Hawaii and one of the big concerns now is the dangerous volcanic gases.
BURNETT: Tonight, it's been 15 days since four University of Idaho students were violently stabbed to death in an off campus apartment, and police still don't have a motive, not even a murder weapon. All this weighing heavily on the minds of students and staff as they return to class today.
Veronica Miracle is OUTFRONT.
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Idaho state troopers patrol the University of Idaho campus. A visible police presence aimed at reassuring students returning to class.
Do you feel safe coming back?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, with all the campus security and the safe locks and I have a lot of friends here, so I never really go anywhere by myself.
MIRACLE: Memorial's surrounding campus honored the four students stabbed to death more than two weeks ago at an off campus home. There are no suspects in the case, which the police still consider a targeted attack.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel safe in my dorm.
MIRACLE: Ava Forsyth (ph), like many of her classmates, returned for end of semester tests, but others are taking the university's offer to finish their work online.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of my roommates is staying home, but I don't blame her. She doesn't feel safe here and some of my friends agreed to come back because they like being around each other.
MIRACLE: On Wednesday, a vigil will be held on campus for the four victims, Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, and Kaylee Goncalves.
Since the murders, there's a sense of fear and anxiety on campus. Several students tell us they've used the school's existing safe walk program which provides security escorts for students 24/7. Personal alarms like these are being given away to hundreds of women in sororities on campus. The giveaway now expanding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday, at least another order for another 1,200 alarms going directly to the university to distribute to any student that wants one.
MIRACLE: The money to fund them raised by a former student, anything to make students feel safer, even if what they want most is a break in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems kind of sad, upsetting. It's kind of quiet. Most people are friendly, but now it's just kind of, I don't know, people are kind of sketched out.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MIRACLE (on camera): Erin, here in this community, people are scared. There are more calls to the police and increasing welfare calls right now, and police say with that anxiety, it breeds rumors. Just tonight, the police department knocking down two rumors they say that are unrelated cases to these murders. They're asking people to focus on the facts of the case -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Veronica, thank you very much, live in Moscow tonight.
And, next, the largest active volcano in the world now erupting in Hawaii.
BURNETT: And, finally tonight, incredible video of Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years. This is the world's largest active volcano and it's on the big island of Hawaii. So far tonight, lava from the eruption is contained, not threatening any communities as of now, but there's a real possibility the harmful gas could be carried downwind. Shelters have been opened as a precaution.
It is absolutely incredible, though, to see this happening. Southwest Airlines also suspending flights in and out of the big island's international airport at Hilo.
Thanks so much for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.