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Erin Burnett Outfront

Official: Georgia About To Break Single-Day Early Voting Record; House Democrats Meet To Discuss How To Handle Trump's Tax Returns; Chinese Authorities Using Cell Data To Track Down Protesters; CNN On Ground In Moscow, Asking Russians About Ukraine Conflict; Ukraine FM: Bloody Packages With "Animal Eyes" Sent To Embassies; Trump White House Lawyers Testify Before Grand Jury In DOJ's Jan 6 Probe; CNN Reporter On Ground Near Mauna Loa Volcano As Lava Oozes. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 02, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a record. Early voters about to shatter the one day record at the state of Georgia. The enthusiasm on the ground tonight, palpable, as the latest CNN poll shows Democrat Raphael Warnock with a slight lead, just four days before Election Day.

Plus, House Democrats now in position of Trump's taxes. So, what are they doing with them? I'm going to talk to a member of the house ways and means committee, which has Trump's tax returns, tonight.

And Chinese police tracking down protesters, using cell phone signals, in an effort to silence demonstrators, to target them. This as President Xi Jinping breaks his silence. We're live in Beijing. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, an all-time record. Early voting in Georgia's pivotal runoff election just ending, and Georgia's election chief, Gabe Sterling, tells us it will set a one day record, telling us that more than 300,000 people who have voted just today in the race between the Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and that Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

I mean, to say there's a huge amount of interest in this race would be an understatement. I mean, just think about this. Altogether, about one of the half million people in Georgia have voted early. That's about four times the number of people who voted early in the last midterm runoff. These numbers are incredible.

And you can -- when I talk about palpable, you can feel it. Just look at what you're seeing here. The record, you can see in the lines, the lines of polling centers across the state. In fact, in some parts of Georgia, people waited at least three hours to cast their votes.

Here are some more pictures from just this afternoon, where you see these lines of people. And today, we heard from some of them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I look at politics as a job position. So, I look at what each candidate has to offer for the job. And I just feel that Warnock is more polished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a Republican.

REPORTER: Do you plan to vote for Herschel Walker?



BURNETT: There is a lot at stake in this election. Democrats sent in their biggest and best campaigner, former President Obama, and many Democrats feel like that can be at their back.

Let me show you the CNN poll. Warnock leads Walker 52 to 48 percent, only 41 percent that Walker, who, of course, has been accused of infidelity, violence, from former girlfriends, only 49 percent say he's honest and trustworthy. That number is 52 percent for Warnock.

Now, if Warnock wins next week, here's the thing: it is huge for Democrats. It's huge for the balance of power, because it would give Democrats a real majority in the Senate, right? No more Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, controlling the entire Democratic agenda in the sendoff, in the Senate. So, this runoff is crucial for Democrats.

Dianne Gallagher is OUTFRONT live in Atlanta tonight.

And, Dianne, I know you've spent the day talking to so many people. How energized are they about the runoff?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the voters here in Georgia are dedicated. They are determined. And look, they're overcoming hurdles like those long wait times, like the compressed early voting schedule to make sure that their voices are heard. They told me that they understand that, technically, the balance of the Senate doesn't necessarily hang on Georgia anymore, but they say that they understand from people who support both candidates, just how much this race impacts not just the nation, but the future for people in Georgia for the next six years.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never seen it like this --

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Long lines, once again, wrapping around polling places.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started around the corner.

GALLAGHER: As voters go above, waiting hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About two hours. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty much the same thing, the lines wrapped

around the building.

GALLAGHER: And beyond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My absentee ballot did not arrive in Massachusetts, so I had to fly here this morning to vote, and my flight is at 4:00. So, I'm heading back to the airport.

You do what you got to do, baby.

GALLAGHER: Just to cast their ballots early in the Georgia Senate runoff election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As long as it takes, because I know how important it is for my vote to be counted.

GALLAGHER: Making a choice, most for the second time, between the Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they don't steal the race from Herschel Walker, he will win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to vote for Warnock.

GALLAGHER: Both candidates on the campaign trail Friday.

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): Let's hear from the voters of Georgia who are turning out.

GALLAGHER: Convincing voters to get to the polls today, or make a plan to do it on Tuesday, while they deliver their closing messages.


HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I love this country. I love you guys.

GALLAGHER: A new CNN poll shows a tight race with Warnock holding a narrow 52 percent to 48 percent lead over Walker among likely runoff voters. While Warnock confronts national headwinds, negative views of Walker appear to be a drag on his candidacy, with 52 percent of likely voters saying Warnock is well-qualified to serve as the senator, but just 27 percent saying that for Walker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No candidate is perfect, so I think it's really important to go with this at this point in time.

GALLAGHER: Through Thursday, nearly 1.5 million Georgians had already cast ballots, breaking records for the most votes in a single day over early voting this week. But overall, Georgia is not on pace to reach the 2021 runoff early vote total, with the states new voting law, reducing the number of days of early voting in this year's runoff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not enough. It should be at least ten days. GALLAGHER: Still, voters say they are encouraged by the number of

people showing up to be heard, even if it means for some, spending hundreds of dollars on a three hour flight to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was an election monitor in South Africa, in 1994, when Mandela got elected. And I watched South Africans stand in line for three days. And I came home saying, I will never not vote again in life.


GALLAGHER (on camera): Now, there is still a few people in the line at the polling place behind me here, waiting to vote, because it's the law. If you are in line when polls close, and you stay in line, you get to vote.

But look, early voting is done today, so both of the campaigns, turning their attention to those voters who did not show up this week, who they need to show up on Election Day, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Dianne, thank you very much. Amazing, you see behind Dianne, the line she referenced, right? More than two hours after both closed, they're still waiting in line. It is really incredible what we're seeing.

All right. Thanks so much to Dianne who's on the ground there.

And now, let's go to two people who know Georgia politics inside and out there.

Bill Nigut is the executive producer and host of Georgia Public Broadcasting's "Political Rewind". He's covered Georgia politics for more than four decades.

And Maya King joins me, based in Georgia, covering the race for "The New York Times".

So, thanks so much to both of you.

Maya, I want to start with these record breaking numbers. I was truly struck by that line behind Dianne, right? This is two hours and seven minutes, you, know, they're waiting because these lines have been long. Obviously, we wish they were not long lines, but they do show how much people care.

And you've been talking to so many of these voters. What are they telling you about why they're so energized? Why they're willing to wait hours to vote early?

MAYA KING, POLITICS REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, voters in Georgia understand the stakes, and this is not their first time voting in a runoff election. So, for Democrats, this is, of course, a vote for Raphael Warnock, but it's just as much a vote against Herschel Walker. There's a lot of energy on the ground, particularly in these deep blue Metro Atlanta counties, to vote against a candidate in Walker who they see as someone who is backed by former President Donald Trump, carries a lot of baggage, and to support, now, a full six year term for Senator Raphael Warnock.

And I think that just can be discounted that voters in Georgia will see this, yet again, as an all-important crucial election. As you mentioned earlier, of course, the decision of who will control the Senate has already been decided. But in the minds of voters, having a 51st seat for Democrats is extremely important. And for Republicans, being a firewall against Democrats control of the Senate is just as important.

And that's why, you see lines that last two and three hours, because you have both parties now completely dug in to elect their candidate of choice.

BURNETT: Yeah, and it's important as you say, it's not control of the Senate. But you know, everyone has seen the past few years here, right? Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have yielded such power because of this imbalance in the Senate. This puts that on the line.

And, Bill, you know, and new CNN poll shows Warnock as a 25 percentage point edge over Walker. On the question of qualifications, over whether he's qualified to be a senator, 17 percentage edge of the question was good judgment. Yet, when it comes to the polls that are out there, Walker is still neck in neck with Warnock, when it comes to who people are going to vote for.

So what you are seeing and hearing on the ground, and on your show, is this race still that close?

BILL NIGUT, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & HOST, GEORGIA'S "POLITICAL REWIND": Yeah, I think it probably is. The CNN poll, I think you pointed out, one of the most interesting aspects of that poll. You asked whether, which of the two are well qualified? Fifty-two percent said that Raphael Warnock is well-qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate. Only 27 percent said Herschel Walker. And yet, it is a celebrity, the fame of Herschel Walker, and the fact that there is still a strong Republican voting base here that's keeping him in.


I would make one other quick point.


NIGUT: It's inspiring to see the early voters turn out in the state of Georgia at a time when there's it's inspiring to see the early voters turn out in the state of it's inspiring to see the early voters turn out in the state of Georgia at a time when there's so much talk about threats to democracy, whether we can trust elections. Almost 2 million people now are voting early in Georgia because they believe that democracy really does work and their vote counts.

BURNETT: Yeah, and it is amazing. You know, as Gabe Sterling was saying, the numbers today, they're going to settle at more than 300,000 people, just today, voting early. I mean, it is stunning.

And, Maya, I talked to the Republican governor of your state, lieutenant governor of your state, Geoff Duncan, last night. He waited an hour in line. He left his ballot blank. He knew he was going to do that, but he thinks it's important to vote, right? In some way. He went and did that.

But he's the Republican lieutenant governor of your state, right? Elected Republican lieutenant governor. He could not vote for Herschel Walker. And here is why.


LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R), GEORGIA: Herschel Walker is going to go down as probably the worst Republican candidate and history of politics, right? There's just no way to run away from that.


BURNETT: Okay, so, how do you really feel, Geoff Duncan?

Okay, Maya, so, look, he came out and said it, are you hearing this from other Republicans?

KING: Well, you know, it's a tricky question, Erin, because what you are seeing, at least from the lieutenant governor, is a reflection of what a lot of Republicans are feeling. That if Herschel Walker does lose this race, they'll have to do yet again more soul searching on this question of candidate quality.

But, it's outside of just what I've heard from voters who have concerns, conservative voters about Herschel Walker. You saw this borne out in the results of the general election. More than 200,000 voters cast ballots for Governor Brian Kemp, who wanted to reelect a Republican to statewide leadership. But they did not cast ballots for Herschel Walker.

So, there's this real gap, I think, among conservative voters in Georgia, who do want to see conservative leadership, but just have real qualms about whether or not that extends to the United States Senate, when Walker is the person who is the standard bearer for that office.

BURNETT: And, Bill, what are you hearing? I mean, Herschel Walker is going down, it's probably the worst Republican candidate in history of politics. I'm quoting Geoff Duncan. Are you hearing this from other Republicans?

NIGUT: I think it's safe to say he's a flawed candidate. At one point, he actually said, he knows he's not that smart, which is not the sort of thing you don't typically are from candidates from the U.S. Senate.

But I think there's something really important to keep in mind as we are watching all the early voting unfold, even right now. And that is, it's important for Democrats to run up the score on early voting, because Republicans will show up on Election Day. And on Election Day, Herschel Walker got 225,000 more votes than the Raphael Warnock had gotten on election day itself. So, Democrats need these early voters to come to the polls, to create

a cushion for what they think will be a Republican outpouring on election day itself.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much ,such a crucial election. And I want everyone to know, on Tuesday, we do have special coverage of Election Day in Georgia. I'll be here, along with Wolf Blitzer, starting at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Well, OUTFRONT next, the House Ways and Means Committee now has Trump's tax returns, after a years long battle with former president, they've got them in hand. But the clock is ticking. And one of the members of the committee is OUTFRONT next.

Plus, Chinese leader Xi Jinping finally addressing the protests that had rocked China. Who is he blaming, and is he going to open up restrictions on COVID? We're live in Beijing.

And, we're going to take you live to the world's largest volcano erupting right now, threatening now, major Hawaii highway.



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump's tax returns are in the hands of House Democrats in the House Ways and Means Committee. Look, this is a huge step. It was a years long battle to get these tax returns, right, that no one's ever seen.

They cover six years of former President Trump's taxes, information about his personal finances, his corporate entities. This is crucial stuff.

And OUTFRONT now is the Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who our viewers know has been talking to us about this.

Congressman, you know, I spoke with you the night that the Supreme Court gave you the green light, finally clearing the way for your committee to get Trump's taxes. Here we are ten days later. The committee has got them in hand.

What is the committee doing with them right now?

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): Well, Erin, finally, after making the motion in February of 2017, almost five years ago, the Ways and Means chairman has access to those returns, to some of the returns that I was seeking at that time. We had a meeting yesterday. He explained the process. He indicated that he did have access to them, that he had appointed some staff, individuals, his agents not to go through the returns, and I believe that is occurring right now, needs to occur very expeditiously because we know we have only a few days left in which the Democrats would be in charge of this, and we know how much obstruction, two years, from congressional Republicans, and then this sat for 2 1/2 years with a Trump-appointed judge. So, finally, we have it. We need to meet in executive session, to hear

what these individuals who've been reviewing returns find and make a determination about how much, if at all, is made public.

BURNETT: All right. So, I want to ask you about the public part of this. But, first, when you say only a few days, obviously, January 3rd, right, is when the gavel switches over.

DOGGETT: Exactly.

BURNETT: But when we spoke, you had said you were willing to have this go around the clock, work on the weekends, work 14 hours a day, whatever it took. Is that happening?

DOGGETT: I'm hopeful that it is. We have been provided, as members of the committee, very few details about how this exploration is occurring. But I think from talking with Chairman Neal, while he's very prudent about following the law, and protecting privacy here.


He knows how urgent this is, and that come January 3rd, he will no longer be chair, unfortunately, of the committee, and that the work has to be done before that. And I think he recognizes the responsibility to the public and to our committee to come up with an answer. So I feel we'll have, whether in person, or by Zoom, a meeting of our committee in the executive private session. There, we will determine what to do with the outcome. It is best to look and get the results, but the more I learn about this case, the more I'm convinced that at this late moment, we really do need to make all or substantial portions of this available to the public.

BURNETT: So, then, that gets me to exactly what I wanted to ask you. So, how does that happen? Because, obviously, you can do what you can do. If you can't finish, or come to conclusions, right, the best way to get it to not have it disappear, which it will, right, if Republicans take over the committee, is to put it in the public eye. Is that going to happen?

DOGGETT: Well, exactly -- you're exactly right because all of those Republicans who were talking about being on the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship, have already worked to obstruct our access to this, and made clear that they want nothing to do with this beginning on January 3rd. The way it could occur is an executive private session, we decide to report this to the House and attach some or all of the returns, or return information, to that report. Thereby, it could become public. We will take a vote of our committee.

BURNETT: But you could do that by January 3rd?

DOGGETT: Yes, we could.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman Doggett. I appreciate your time tonight.

DOGGETT: Thank you very much, Erin. BURNETT: And next, police state. China's security forces now using

cell phone signals to try to track down anyone who is protesting who dare to criticize Xi Jinping's COVID policies. We're live in Beijing.

Plus, packages soaked in blood, with animal body parts, sent to Ukrainian embassies. In an exclusive interview, top Ukrainian official tells us who he thinks is behind it.



BURNETT: Tonight, surveillance state. China's police state using cell phone signals, recorded in the vicinity sites to track, to confront, to detain anyone who was there. They were saying that they were there, and defying communist government.

It comes as new images emerge in unrest in Beijing, residents attempting to cut metal chains, trying to break free from lockdown. You can literally see that there, as they try to break free through those bars.

In Hangzhou, a man is refusing to go to a quarantine facility, which is what you see here, clinging to his couch, grabbing on to it, refusing to move, as the authorities in hazmat suits are, literally, wrestling to try to drag him out of his home. And just to think about it, as someone of their apartment, look to this. It's like you're watching some sort of a movie.

And in Chengdu, others raging against the government.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Why is that every time we speak a sentence of truth, my friends tell me to be careful? That I could go to jail for several years? In this day and age, why? Is CCP the mafia? Why not let people speak the truth?


BURNETT: A source telling CNN tonight, the Chinese President Xi Jinping finally addressed the unrest in his first known comment since the protest. Xi saying the uprisings are, quote, mainly students who are frustrated after three years of COVID.

Tonight, the government says it's taking some small steps towards easing restrictions, but is this just lip service? It is going to quiet the protest?

I want to go OUTFRONT now to "The New York Times" China correspondent Vivian Wang. She is in Beijing, has been covering all of this.

And, Vivian, you know, from what you've seen and experience, I sort of sticking out here, this -- the authorities are using those cell phone data to track protesters. It just sort of like, wow, right? That one demonstrator is telling us they got a phone call this week from a police officer who said, I am calling you, because we tracked you down. Your cell phone signal was near a protest site in Beijing.

What more are you learning about tactics being used by the police?

VIVIAN WANG, CHINA CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: We are seeing a mix of some high tech technology, likes cell phone signal, like facial recognition technology, and, also old-fashioned tactics. So, we've heard reports of police simply stopping people walking by on the streets, asking to search their cell phones, and see if they have foreign messaging apps.

We saw the Beijing protest I was at on Sunday that they were filming participants and using that as a method to track them down later. So, it's a mixture of high tech and very old fashion, brute policing.

BURNETT: It's incredible. You know, that image also of the man on his couch, you know, and the two authorities in Hazmat suits literally fighting with him, wrestling, to bring him out of his apartment.

You know, you have been covering the story extensively, from Beijing, right? You've been living there with the lockdown itself, and now, they say they are easing some restrictions.

So, is this -- is this -- are these real? Are these notable restrictions? Is this going to be enough to satisfy the protesters that you've been speaking to?

WANG: You know, it's hard to say to all of your questions. I mean, there are notable easing in the sense that people's lives are going to get easier. In Beijing, for example, you no longer need a COVID test in the last 48 hours to get on public transit. At the same time, that by no means, means that zero COVID is gone. There is still a lot f travel restrictions in place, it just feels like a significant easing because there were so many restrictions before.

And as for whether it will satisfy the protesters, that's also hard to say. It's a very disparate group with a lot of demands. It will probably blunt some anger among people who are primarily angry about zero COVID. But for the people with broader demands about democracy and freedom of speech, probably not. And so, it's very hard to say where this goes from here.

BURNETT: Yeah. All right. Well, Vivian, thank you very much. I appreciate your -- sharing your reporting for us. As I said, Vivian right now is in Beijing.

And I want to go to Sue-Lin Wong. She's a journalist for "The Economist", and host of "The Prince", which is an eighth episode podcast about China's leader, Xi Jinping.

And, Sue-Lin, look, you know the Chinese President Xi Jinping better than anyone, right? You've done such extensive reporting.

How surprised do you think he has been by the protests that we've seen around China?

SUE-LIN WONG, JOURNALIST, THE ECONOMIST: I mean, those protests that we saw over the last weekend were absolutely extraordinary just given the fact it's so dangerous and so difficult to protest in China. As Vivian was just saying, people can really pay a very, very high price of protesting in Xi Jinping's China.

But what's also important to remember is that, you know, it was a couple hundred people, a couple of thousand people in multiple cities, and it's a country of 1.4 billion people. So, you know, from Jinping's perspective, it was definitely something he was paying attention to, but it was a handful of Chinese venting their anger and frustration in a country of 1.4 billion people.

BURNETT: And, you know, the images that keep coming out though, really, it is amazing to think, gosh, we are living on the same planet. I mean, let me just play another video for you, and I know you've seen so many of these obviously, Sue-Lin, because you are living, and breathing this, but this was posted just this week. Hazmat clad worker, spraying clouds of disinfectant on a building, right?

This is still a common sight all over China, brings us back to, you know, the first days here, the beginning of 2020, in Wuhan. Experts have said the transmission of the virus via contaminated services exceptionally low, right? This exercise seems, largely, pointless. Why do you think Xi is still doing things like this?

WONG: Yeah, that's a great question. Those videos, really, are there for most of the world to see, in 2022. I mean, it kind of harks back to the early days of the pandemic, where people were spraying their vegetables when they came home in the supermarket, but now that we know, those kinds of objects is incredibly low.

So, I think what's really important to remember in Xi Jinping's China is that it's all about royalty. So, if you are a Chinese communist party official, or a Chinese communist party member, it is most important that you show, you are being loyal to Xi Jinping, and the orders of the Chinese communist party.

And up until now, that has been all about the zero COVID policy. So, you have been told, to make sure your key cases in this district, in your town, in your city, down to zero, and that's why you see images, like this, of people in hazmat suits, spraying doors, or all kinds of inanimate objects, that seem like very odd behavior. But what's important to remember is that this is all about showing loyalty to the Chinese communist party.

BURNETT: Wow. It's sort of the videos for the audience of one. It is stunning to see this and to see what we're watching unfold.

Sue-Lin, thank you so much. I'm so glad to have a chance to speak with you.

WONG: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: And next, Ukraine claiming Russia is attacking the country with nuclear capable missiles, as Russians are now speaking out to CNN. And you're going to hear what they will have to say, eight months in, about what's happening on the ground in Ukraine. Plus, also tonight, Trump's former top lawyers appearing before the

DOJ grand journey, after a judge ordered them to give additional testimony. The order was yesterday, they were there today.

Trump's former White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, is back with me.



BURNETT: Tonight, Ukraine says Russia is now attacking the country with nuclear capable missiles and in a few moments, you're to hear from a top Ukrainian official about the importance of that.

It comes as some Russians are now speaking out, frustrated by what they're seeing on the ground in Ukraine, and now, suffering at home.

We begin with that, and Fred Pleitgen, who is out front, in Moscow.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): As Moscow lights up for the holiday season, the festive mood is dampened by a dose of melancholy. And there seems no end in sight to what the Kremlin calls, its special military operation, in Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think the operation is not going well, to put it mildly, because there are many losses on our side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't know what the goal of the operation is, but it's not reaching it.

PLEITGEN: After Russian forces were forced to retreat from large parts of northeast, eastern, and southern Ukraine, many here don't even want to talk about what is happening on the battlefield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): To this question, I don't know what to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is a provocative question. I don't want to answer it.

PLEITGEN: Even after the Kremlin ordered a partial mobilization, drafting around 300,000 Russians between September, and early November, gains have been hard to come by for Moscow's forces, in Ukraine. Still, many Russians say, they trust their leadership's decision-making.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): As far as the military operation goes, I can only say one thing, that it is underway, and that I should not comment on it, because we all support our president of the Russian Federation.

PLEITGEN: And, Russian President Vladimir Putin is asking for more support, and patience, promising things will turn around. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We, as all of

you here rightfully said, we must achieve our goals, and we will achieve them, in the end.

PLEITGEN: But, increasing numbers of boarded up shops, show Russia's economy is running out of steam, as sanctions bite, and some goods are becoming scarce.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Of course, many things we have grown used to buying have disappeared, but life goes on. We have to adjust somehow.

PLEITGEN: Economic expert, Sergey Zhavoronkov, tells me he fears the economic woes could lead to wider discontent.

SERGEY ZHAVORONKOV, ECONOMIC EXPERT: It is unknown effect. A short victorious war may provoke enthusiasm, but if the war goes on endlessly, and does not lead to the desired outcome, comes disappointment.


PLEITGEN: For now, the lights remain bright in Moscow, even as dark clouds of economic uncertainty loom over the Russian capital.


PLEITGEN (on camera): You know, Erin, that's one of the things that many people, we speak to, say gets to them the most, is that uncertainty, as far as the economy is concerned. A lot of them they said, simply, they don't know what will be there in a month, two, or three months, are they still going to have a job? How much is there money going to be worth then?

A lot of them also say they quite frankly don't see a light at the end of the tunnel. They think the sanctions will be in place for a long time.

Now, Vladimir Putin, of course, has said that he believes this country's economy will continue to stabilize, but he also says, those combat operations in Ukraine are going to continue until he's achieved all of his goals there -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Fred, thank you so much, from Moscow tonight.

It is incredible, and so compelling to watch people -- people there speak, what they're willing to say, what is coated. It is crucial reporting.

And now, this story about those nuclear capable missiles. Ukraine now says Russia is attacking the country with nuclear-capable missiles. Fragments of some of them fitted with non-explosive warheads have been collected by the Ukrainian military, which says that Russia is deploying them to exhaust Ukraine's air defenses, just sending them in, even though they are dummies, in this instance, to waste the air defense. It comes as the Ukrainian foreign minister speaks exclusively to CNN

saying Russia likely is behind packages with animal body parts that had been sent to Ukrainian embassies across Europe, a macabre and bizarre situation. More than a dozen blood soaked parcels containing things like pig, and cow eyes sent to Ukrainian consulates, and embassies, coming in the wake of several explosive letters mailed to the Ukrainian, and American embassies in Spain.

Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT. He is live tonight in Kyiv.

And, Matthew, you know, as I said, this is macabre, and bizarre, and disgusting, and terrifying, right, explosive devices. What more did the Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro, tell you in their exclusive conversation?


Look, I mean, the foreign minister, clearly, very disturbed by these multiple incidents that they had been recording across Europe with their embassies regarding letters, parcels packed with, in one instance, explosives, and in another case, animal parts as well. It is really grisly. Let Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, explain.


DMYTRO KULEBA, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Well, it started with an explosion in the embassy of Ukraine, in Spain. But, what followed was this explosion was more weird. I would say, even, sick, because we started to receive letter us with eyes, animal eyes, cut off.

CHANCE: Animal eyes?

KULEBA: Animal eyes, yes.

In some cases, or in one case, it is most probably an eye of a cow and an eye of a pig, in another case.

CHANCE: Let me ask you, who do you suspect? Who does Ukraine suspect of being behind this?

KULEBA: Well, of course, I feel tempted to speak -- to name Russia, straight away, because, first of all, you have to answer the question, who benefits from that? It is, definitely, this campaign that is aimed at sowing fear, and terrorizing Ukrainian diplomats.

I think it is either Russia itself, or someone who sympathizes to the Russian cause.


CHANCE: Erin, for Russia's part, there has been no reaction to our request for response to those allegations, but what Ukraine says is there is an investigation underway, in various locations where the letters were received, and they are determined, they say, to get to the bottom of this.

BURNETT: Absolutely bizarre, and disturbing. Matthew, thank you very much, from Kyiv tonight.

And next, former White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, appearing before the court today, in a courthouse for six hours. This after the ruling came yesterday that he had to come. Next day, he's there for six hours. Is the DOJ close to an indictment?

Trump's former lawyer, Ty Cobb, is OUTFRONT next.

Plus, we're going to take you live to the world's largest active volcano, right now, erupting, in Hawaii. The lava oozing now towards a major highway.



BURNETT: Tonight, former Trump White House lawyers Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin testifying before the grand jury in the DOJ's January 6th investigation. Cipollone was at the courthouse for more than six hours today. His former deputy, Mr. Philbin, seen leaving about four hours after he arrived.

This comes after a federal judge rejected Trump's claims of executive privilege over their testimony, so they brought him back the next day, and there they were, for six hours in one case, for hours in the other.

Back OUTFRONT now, Ty Cobb, former Trump White House lawyer.

And, Ty, all right. So, they appear before the grand jury, just one day after a judge ordered them to get addition testimony, right?

They didn't -- and it's a Friday. They didn't wait until Monday.


BURNETT: They did to the next day. They brought him in.

What does this tell you about how fast this is moving?

COBB: Well, I think it is moving very deliberately and I think almost contemporaneous order in testimony suggests that everybody expected this order. I'm sure they were fully prepared. Keep in mind that these two gentlemen, you know, are both serious lawyers, obviously from the evidence that we have so far, it's clear that they are well advised Trump to avoid the January 6th travails and the Eastman legal arguments, and all the claiming power stuff.

So I think it's important to get their evidence in and it's not that they were resisting testifying, it's that Trump had asserted executive privilege over certain things, claiming that they shouldn't be able to talk to it.


You know, the judge rejects Trump's executive privilege claim based on the prevailing legal standard that they have important evidence and it's not otherwise accessible, and that allows them to cooperate, as I'm sure they otherwise would have done.

BURNETT: Right, right, and, of course, the DOJ moves with great alacrity. Is --

COBB: Right. And I think that's -- I think that's telling. I think we will see Pence, Vice President Pence testify before the grand jury as well.

BURNETT: And you think, that, do you think it will be soon? That would be a significant step.

COBB: Yes. I mean, again, it will require a court order rejecting Trump's claims of executive privilege, but I fully suspect that the vice president, former vice president will end up before the grand jury and provided truthful testimony with regard to the courageous things he did on January 6th.

BURNETT: So, I know that you believe that they've got what they need. Obviously there's a special counsel involved, but they have had what they need on the Mar-a-Lago documents case for sometime. They could indict whenever they are ready to invite. But they haven't yet, and I'm curious when you think they will do that, and separately, and the question is, it is separate, but will it come together?

Do you think we'll see an indictment in the DOJ criminal investigation into January 6th?

COBB: So I think, well, I do believe Mar-a-Lago is, the events are tied up with ribbon at this stage of the game and could be indicted anytime. With regard to January 6th, I have always thought that was the most serious set of circumstances. The legal theories, seditious conspiracy, et cetera, et cetera. Some of those are a bit difficult to make out. In fact, in the Oath Keepers case, the Justice Department's evidence was presented in a way that suggested that Trump was purely collateral to the assault on the Capitol and it doesn't look like DOJ is trying too hard to put, to put together a seditious conspiracy case as to the president.

But certainly asked to obstructing, the Pence proceeding and the scheme of false electors and other attempts to cling to power through the arguments put forward by Giuliani and the crew that litigated several things, including in Atlanta, I think that case can be built. I think that's a worthy -- that's a worthy charge, because it's unprecedented in American history and should ever happen again. And so, I have always felt that was the more serious thing and an appropriate focus for the efforts of the Justice Department. But Trump's bumbling of the Mar-a-Lago events and inability to put forth any coherent legal theories that would justify a defense has only emboldened the government and made that case much more likely.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Ty Cobb, thank you very much, as always. We appreciate it.

COBB: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the lava from the world's largest active volcano now threatening in Hawaii. We're going to take you there next.



BURNETT: Tonight, eruption. Lava from the Mauna Loa volcano is threatening to cut off a highway on the big island of Hawaii. It's the world's largest volcano. It began erupting earlier this week. This is amazing to see. At times spewing lava more than hundred feet in the air.

Our David Culver is there live on the big island.

David, this is amazing. You have a front row seat to this.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I do. And arriving at a place where you have not one but two active volcanoes, because this is just one of them, is a bit strange to see how normal everyone is and how relaxed they are. But it's really kind of the Hawaiian vibe.

This is the most active behind me. This is fissures three, and this is where that threatening lava is really making its way. Very slowly, we should point out, but making its way toward behind the camera, just behind the camera we have that major thoroughfare.

So, the real concern is that it could cut off most of this island and created logistical nightmare when it comes to transportation. But right now, there's no imminent concern, and they do believe they'll have enough time, given how slowly it is moving, so as to be able to warn folks well in advance.

But if you look behind me here, it's a bit covered right now. We're starting to see this in all sorts of elements including now, rain, and rather cold, rain is coming down. And it started to interact with some of the lava that's already on the ground. You may see it faint out there. It's pretty incredible, and that's what brought folks really throughout the day and at all hours.

BURNETT: Peering behind you, it is amazing, just to see that, that old lava field and the wasteland feel of it.

So, okay, you just see the power spewing, right, spewing out. It's unbelievable. Then as it lands you say then move slowly. I know it could take quite some time before it reaches the major highway where you are, but what are the other concerns?

CULVER: Yeah, not just what's on the ground, but also what's up in the air, and what looks like smog it's called fog, the volcanic smog version, and it's not plumes of smoke, and they've been stressing that hears officials in particular these are acidic gases. So, they're very toxic. They're very dangerous, especially if they start to spread widely, so that's what they're monitoring closely. And they are certainly advising folks with respiratory issues to keep the distance. And they do plan to widen that that advisory if it becomes increasingly dangerous.

But as of now, they're confident that there's no imminent danger, so folks can just take it in for its beauty, Erin.

BURNETT: I mean, it is and just -- we're looking at this image taking it on the screen, it is -- it is a thing of power. You just can't look at it not feel awe.

Thank you so much from Hawaii.

CULVER: It's humbling.

BURNETT: Thanks to all of you for being with us.

It's time now for "AC360".