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Erin Burnett Outfront

Zelenskyy Expected To Visit Biden At White House Tomorrow, Address Congress; CNN Visits Snake Island In Ukraine; Biden Admin Asks Supreme Court To End Trump-Era Border Rule; House Committee Voting On Whether To Release Trump's Taxes; House Committee Votes To Publicly Release 6 Years Of Trump's Tax Returns, Could Shed Light On His Wealth, Taxes Paid, Donations; Musk Wants To Changer Twitter Polls After Users Vote To Oust Him. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 20, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy planning to meet with President Biden at the White House tomorrow. His first trip outside of Ukraine since the war began. This as Biden plans to give Zelenskyy the world's most advanced missile defense system. Will Putin retaliate as threatened?

Plus, more breaking news. A House committee about to vote any minute on whether to release President Trump's tax returns to the American public. A member of that committee is out front as we await that vote this hour.

And Elon Musk's whiplash after Twitter users voted him out as CEO. He's now changing the rules of the vote. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news: Zelenskyy bound for Washington. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is planning to arrive in the United States tomorrow. This is his first trip outside Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

And I want to be clear. This sudden and unexpected trip does have major implications because sources say Zelenskyy is expected to address Congress, but also to meet with President Biden at the White House. And the reason for that is that the Biden administration intends to send Ukraine, the highly coveted Patriot missile system that Zelenskyy has been pounding the table about for months, for years.

In fact, it is the world's most advanced defense system. And Ukraine has been asking for it nonstop. That act providing the Patriot defense system in and of itself is viewed by Putin as a highly provocative move, before you even add into that a Washington, D.C. visit by the Ukrainian president.

In fact, the former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned NATO against providing patriot missiles, saying that if NATO does that, the Western Alliance would immediately become a legitimate target of Russian armed forces. All of this as Putin grows increasingly agitated with his own war, which is now in its 300th day. Putin today calling on his military and intelligence agencies to find anyone who crosses him.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Both the counterintelligence agencies and military counterintelligence need to show utmost readiness and concentration now. We must clamp down hard on the actions of foreign secret services and probably identify traitors, spies, and saboteurs.


BURNETT: The problem is, it is not traitors and spies and saboteurs that are keeping Putin from winning the war, it is his own military.

Just listen to this phone call that we obtained from the front lines. This is between a Russian soldier and his mother. This particular call that I'm about to play for you was intercepted by the Ukrainian military.


SON (through translator): I haven't slept in four days.

MOTHER (through translator): You aren't sleeping?

SON (through translator): For me, it has been for. None of these guys have slept in four days.

MOTHER (through translator): Why on earth not?

SON (through translator): Because it is too wet! Everything is soaked in water! Everything is wet!

MOTHER (through translator): Everything is soaked in water? Everything is wet, you are saying?

SON (through translator): Yes!

MOTHER (through translator): You aren't sick?

SON (through translator): So far, no.

MOTHER (through translator): You don't have a runny nose yet?

SON (through translator): No. And that's thanks to the vodka!

MOTHER (through translator): What's that?

SON (through translator): Well, we are drinking vodka now. So, we are fine.

MOTHER (through translator): You are drinking vodka?

SON (through translator): Yes!

MOTHER (through translator): Where the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are you getting that from, you pieces of (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

SON (through translator): What difference does it make where we get it from?

MOTHER (through translator): Have you lost your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mind, for (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sake?

SON (through translator): There is just no other way to get by here.


BURNETT: That is an incredible phone call. You heard him say, no other way to get by in Putin's army than just drinking yourself into oblivion.

We have all the angles cover tonight from Washington to Ukraine.

I want to begin at the White House with Phil Mattingly.

And, Phil, what more are you learning about Zelenskyy's visit and the crucial question as to why now?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, I think the significance of this moment, according to sources I've spoken to, is most important to note, not just symbolic, and the symbolism is obviously very real and possible. First trip out of Ukraine since the invasion back in February, and that trip to the United States has been the number one supporter of the Ukraine on defense and economic assistance over the course of the last nine months.

But it's the substance behind that visit, what sources posted just a short while ago wanted to make that abundantly clear, that this visit is a visit that coincides with something that President Zelenskyy has repeatedly requested, included in his most recent telephone call, with President Biden on December 11th, making clear, particularly given the way Russia has ramped up its attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, this was an absolute necessity at this moment.

The administration over the course of the last several weeks has really done a reversal in its willingness to consider those Patriot missile systems. This will be a moment to deliver that message to President Zelenskyy in person.


But it is also not just about the weaponry and the defense assistance. There are expected to be significant substantive meetings behind the scenes with President Biden and President Zelenskyy, and top of U.S. national security officials about what happens next. That meeting on Capitol Hill also critical.

Lawmakers, considering more than 45 billion dollars in Ukrainian assistance at this very moment, will be voting in the hours before Zelenskyy arrives for that potential joint session address, Erin.

BURNETT: Phil Mattingly, thank you very much, from the White House tonight.

In Ukraine, the fighting continues. Ukraine, hoping for more victories like the one that they had at Snake Island. You may remember that, of course.

And our Will Ripley got an exclusive first look at the island. The first time since Ukraine recaptured it.

Here is some of his journey to get there and what he saw when he arrived.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the saying goes, whoever controls Snake Island controls the Black Sea. The safest way to get there, the Ukrainian military's inflatable speedboat with seating for six. It's small enough to stay out of sight.

RIPLEY: We are really getting tossed around out here but we need to take a small boat because we need to stay out of the sights of Russian reconnaissance aircraft.

RIPLEY: Safer than a helicopter but no protection from the Black Sea's big waves, bitter cold and whipping winds, not to mention the mines. By the end of our stomach-turning journey, Snake Island's craggy cliffs are a welcome sight. Up close, a pier in pieces, previews the destruction we're about to see.

We enter Snake Island by climbing up a pile of half-sunken, slippery sea blocks. We're the first journalists allowed here since Ukraine recaptured Snake Island five months ago. Russia blanketed the island with booby traps before bailing out.

The soldiers told us we need to follow in their footsteps exactly and we need to be very careful where we step. This whole island is littered with land mines, unexploded ordnance, basically a powder keg.

On February 24th, the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion, Russia's Black Sea flagship, the Moskva, aimed its arsenal at Snake Island, demanding dozens of Ukrainians surrender or die.

RUSSIAN MILITARY SHIP (translated): I propose that you lay down your weapons immediately or you will be bombed.

RUSSIAN SOLDIER (translated): Russian warship, go f**k yourself.

RIPLEY: Five words seen at the time as a final act of defiance. Everyone on Snake Island presumed dead.

Ukraine later learned Snake Island's defenders were alive, prisoners of war. Some released in a POW swap earlier this year, others remain in Russian captivity. Is it intimidating to look out and see a giant Russian warship and know that you guys are a small group here?

If anybody tells you it's not intimidating, he's a liar says Fortuna, a volunteer soldier. It was chaos. The garrison here was small. Russia captured the island quickly. Taking the island back took a long time.

On Snake Island, we find a graveyard of Russian weapons. The result of relentless Ukrainian attacks for several months earlier this year.

In April, Ukraine says its missiles sank the Moskva. A humiliated Kremlin says their flagship caught fire, sinking in stormy weather.

In May, a Ukrainian drone strike on Snake Island turned this helicopter into a fireball.

This is what's left of that Russian helicopter, pulverized along with its crew of about eight people.

A twisted relic of Russia's ill-fated plan to transform this remote Black Sea outpost into a permanent aircraft carrier.

We need to be on guard 24/7, Fortuna says.

We notice his Russian accent. It turns out, Fortuna was born in Russia. He moved to Ukraine and got married before the war.

How do you feel about Russia now?

For us, they're enemies, no matter what. Most of the Russian volunteer corps lived in Ukraine before the invasion, he says. We living life, had families, good jobs. And here comes Russia, attacking us. If some other country attacked us, we would fight, too.

Life on Snake Island means almost total isolation. Soldiers tell me the simple act of switching on a cell phone brings Russian rockets within 40 minutes. They say Russia attacked the island just last month.

We are now out of time. We've been on the island just about an hour. And it's important that we get off before the waves get too big and before the Russians know we're here.

Ukraine is not the first nation to control Snake Island but vows it will be the last.


RIPLEY (on camera): While we are on the island, Erin, we were giving strict instructions not to switch on our cell phones. They said if we did that, undoubtedly, there would be a Russian attack. This is the reality that they are facing every day.


We also couldn't take a helicopter there like President Zelenskyy did twice before the war because the Russians would try to shut it down. They are constantly surveilling that island.

So, my crew and I took that small boat and I can tell you, we have never been more cold and wet in our entire lives. But that is nothing compared to what those soldiers are injuring just to defend that crucial piece of rock in the Black Sea that allows Ukrainians to shift cargo in and out from this port city of Odesa. If they did not have control of Snake Island, essentially, Russia would be able to blockade this country, Erin.

BURNETT: Just incredible. You look at just that one little spit of land, and all that. And absolutely incredible report. Will, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Bill Browder, you may know the name, top Putin nemesis and critic. He was once the largest foreign investor in all of Russia.

Bill, I want to ask you about that incredible report. But, first, I want to start with the breaking news here in just the past bit. We learned Zelenskyy is going to visit with Biden at the White House tomorrow, a first trip outside Ukraine since Putin invaded.

How big of a deal is it, do you think?

BILL BROWDER, PUTIN CRITIC, WANTED IN RUSSIA: It's a very big deal. If you look at what is happened with this war, you got a situation where Putin but he had a three day war, which would end in victory. It's 300 days in and the Ukrainians have fought him off in a humiliating way. And part of that is due to the unbelievable, bravery of the Ukrainians, and part of that is due to American support.

And the American support is crucial. If America didn't provide weapons to Ukraine, we would not be where we are right now in this war. And so, this is a crucial moment. The Ukrainians need more weapons. They need weapons to defend the aerial attacks. They need weapons to push the Russians back.

And President Biden and the U.S. can determine the outcome of this war by the weapons they provide.

BURNETT: And look, Bill, let's just be clear, providing the Patriot missile defense systems, specifically, is a huge deal, right? It's because Ukraine has been asking for it for years. Obviously, even prior to this war, Dimitry Medvedev, of course, Putin's deputy, has said that that has happened, NATO would immediately become a legitimate target.

So, that's the situation this is happening. So, it's not just that they are doing the Patriot missiles. They are doing it by Zelenskyy flying to the United States and announcing it. It could not be more in your face than this is about to be.

So, what do you think Putin is going to do?

BROWDER: Well, I mean, what can he do? I mean, you know, Medvedev and Putin and all these guys can, you know, make all sorts of noises and aggressive statements and so on and so forth, but -- I mean, they could launch an attack on NATO anytime they want. The reason that they don't is because they would get destroyed in three days. NATO -- if Russia can't stand up to Ukraine, they certainly can stand up to NATO.

And so, there's not really much they can do. And they are getting pushed further and further back, further and further into a corner. I don't think that we should pay any attention to the bluster and nasty words of Putin or Medvedev because the only thing these guys understand is hard power and hard power comes with weapons and that is what we should provide to the Ukrainians.

BURNETT: So, absolutely. You know, it's interesting, though, Will's report from Snake Island, that anecdote that he told about the cell phones, right? If you turn yourself on, they will pick up that signal it within 40 minutes, rockets will come in. This is the state that therein. Watching this that closely, ready to do that for that one little spit of rock, strategically important as it is. In that context, even if Putin still seems to believe that there is no way to walk out of Ukraine if he doesn't win, do you not take threats of nuclear escalation, especially in light of Patriots and the trip to Washington, seriously at this point?

BROWDER: Well, I mean, Putin can do anything he wants to do, but we can't be nuclear blackmailed by Putin.

First of all, I would say very confidently that Putin is not going to start a nuclear war with the West. There is a concept called mutually assured destruction. Putin understands that just as well as anybody. He's not going to enter into a nuclear war with us.

And the question is, does he want to have a nuclear attack on Ukrainian territory? And he could very well do that. It's within his capacity. He has no conscience. He has no morals. He does not care how many people would die.

But that does not serve his military objectives because after he does it, what does he achieve? End the war? No. Does he end up losing all of its allies like China, et cetera? Yes.

And so, it's possible, but I would not be spending our time worrying about Putin's nuclear threats because if we do, he can carry on doing whatever he wants. It is just simple blackmail.

BURNETT: So, you know, that soldier that Will just spoke to, Fortuna, right, Russian accent, have been born in Russia, obviously married someone who's Ukrainian, is fighting for Ukraine now. But if things that turned out differently in this personal life, he might not have, been and he might have been dead since he was fighting for Russians.

They've been putting out these, and we've been able to verify a lot of them. And they're really -- they are sick in a sense. They're basically taking people who are fighting with poverty desperately trying to get some money, and saying, oh, just sacrifice your son, your father to fight for the war, and we will give you money.

I just wanted to play a clip of one of those ads for you, Bill. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Soon, I will have enough money to buy a new phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Alyona, can I talk to you for a second?

You see, I'm really sorry, of course. They haven't paid our wages at work again. You are my last hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Here, take it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): You are not going to save any money like that.


BURNETT: And then the friend goes on to say, there's the two girls sitting there, hey, my father volunteered for the Russian war effort, now he is earning money and helping the family, right? So, they tried to get families to be pushing the father in that case, or sons, to join the military and to get money.

Does this have any impact on Russians? We are seeing several of these type of propaganda ads now.

BILL BROWDER, PUTIN CRITIC, WANTED IN RUSSIA: I don't think these have an impact at all. The situation is very bad for Putin. He had a sort of invading force of 200,000, 100,000 of those guys are dead. So, he now is desperate for warm bodies to go back out there and throw into the mix. He has started a conscription drive, where he's gone plucking people off the streets of Russian cities to send out to the war effort. And they are trying to get people from anywhere they can, from the prisons, from spending money, from mercenaries, from Syria, from anywhere to throw into this thing because they are literally running out of men to fight in their war.

I don't think anybody in Russia understands, or wants to go to war. They understand they're all going to die out there. There is a huge understanding. Everybody knows somebody who's been killed, or is on the front lines, under terrible circumstances.

So, I can't imagine these have any impact at all. They will try whatever they have to try.

BURNETT: All right, Bill. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time today, thank you, ahead of the Zelenskyy visit tomorrow.

BROWDER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the breaking news, the Biden administration telling the Supreme Court tonight that it does want Title 42 to end, but not now. We are live at the border with what it means for the thousands and thousands of migrants who are still gathering there, hoping that role would have been lifted this week. Plus, Donald Trump's tax returns about to become public, so we could

all see them. House committee is meeting and about to vote on this very issue. This hour, we will take you there live.

And tonight, top Republicans silent about the newly unelected congressman who allegedly lied about his education, his job history, even a charity he said he worked for. Will he lose his job before he is sworn in?



BURNETT: Breaking news, the Biden administration asking the Supreme Court to end Title 42. The controversial Trump era policy that has been used more than two and a half million times by border officials to turn away migrants. A Trump policy that Biden kept in place.

The White House saying, they wanted it to go away, but not yet. We need more time. They asked the justices at the Supreme Court to keep the measure in place for at least another week, as authorities brace for a surge of thousands of migrants.

We are covering this from both sides of the border. David Culver is OUTFRONT at the border, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Rosa Flores is in Brownsville, Texas.

David, I want to start with you. You know, 24 hours ago, you were the one telling migrants waiting that this rule may stay in place, they may not be able to come over. You are breaking the news to them. You had a chance to see what's happening today, to the lines ahead of this.

What have you seen and heard?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fascinating 24 hours, Erin. This Mexican side was the staging ground, even at one point a campground as we were reporting for your show over the last month for the migrants waiting to go over from Mexico to the U.S. They cleared out the campground, Mexican officials, and U.S. officials were hoping that the barricade they ruled out overnight, and you could see what is about a mile long stretch of Humvees that have come here, they put up barbed wire. They thought, perhaps, that would deter people from what was a very easy crossing.

Let me show you what it did. It created a bottle neck right here. They are still crossing. You could see this guy going back and forth, bringing food and belongings. There's so much confusion and uncertainty. It's getting into critical hours right now because we are talking about freezing cold temperatures, and folks have been, at times, lighting fires, trying to put blankets on, trying to keep warm, and yet they still don't know if there's going to be an opportunity for them to be processed and be considered for asylum, Erin.

BURNETT: I mean, it is incredible. It's also incredible to think the Biden administration is asking for one week as if all these weeks prior haven't been enough, by one week from now would be?

David Culver, thank you very much.

So, as the fate of Title 42 hangs in the balance, CNN is speaking to people with the most at stake, and those are the migrants themselves. You heard David talking to so many of them.

And tonight, Rosa Flores is also out front.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brian and his mother left their native Venezuela full of dreams three months ago. He made it to south Texas after being processed by immigration authorities. She did not.

What happened to your mother?

He says they were traveling through the Darien Gap, a mountainous jungle between Colombia and panama. He says that he was helping his mother cross, and that she grabbed a branch, and then she fell down a cliff and into the river. He says that he will never forget the look in his mother's eyes.

He is one of more than 300 migrants who are processed by border patrol, and dropped off in Brownsville every day, says migrant advocates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our worry is, are we going to be able to order the supplies that we need?

FLORES: Late Monday, the Trump era policy, which allows immigration agents to swiftly return migrants to Mexico was paused by the Supreme Court just days before it was scheduled to lift. The decision, easing concerns about the sudden surge of migrants at the border that is expected when the rule ends.

JUDGE RICHARD CORTEZ, HIDALGO COUNTY, TEXAS: Honestly, we are relieved that title 42 has been extended. We were prepared for the worst.


We were pretty already at capacity in some locations.

FLORES: I'm in Brownsville, Texas, and just across the river in Matamoros, Mexico, there are thousands of migrants, mostly Venezuelans and Haitians, who are living in camps and on the streets. I've been talking to them.

What do you think about Title 42 staying in place?

They say they are happy Title 42 is still in effect, but they are also preparing for the worst. Buying inflatable rafts, like in this photo shared with CNN, to cross the Rio Grande, if they are not allowed to enter it legally. In nearby McAllen, Texas, Border Patrol is dropping off about 450

migrants per day at this respite center, says the director, Sister Norma Pimentel. Pimentel is monitoring the anxiety that is growing across the border in Reynosa, Mexico, where there's an estimated 8000 migrants in packed shelters and open air camps according to advocates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not safe to be in Mexico because of the fact they are exposed to all the elements, and exposed to all the dangers.

FLORES: The dangers that still haunt Brian after his mother's death.

What did you see in her eyes?

Fear, sadness.

Brian says seeing his mother's photo is painful, especially this one. His mom is not in the photo. She took the picture days before she perished.


FLORES (on camera): I've been text messaging with Brian and he tells me that he is still on his way to New York.

And, Erin, the other thing that he says that he just can't forget it is the smell of death in the Darien Gap. That just speaks to the risks migrants are willing to take to come here to the United States for a better life.

You know, I can't tell you how many migrants I've spoken to who say they sold everything in their home countries to come here to the United States because they think that the U.S. southern border is open, and all of this back and forth with Title 41, Erin, it's not helping in the messaging.

BURNETT: No, not at all. Of course, the Biden administration has said, even if it's lifted, that border is still closed. That's not the message that's gotten through, and absolutely incredible, just the reporting and that image to talk to that young man.

Rosa, thank you.

And there is development here in Capitol Hill now, that breaking story that I mentioned about Trump's taxes. The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee is leading right now. These are live pictures. They've gathered, bring cameras in the room, to vote, to decide whether or not to release six years of Trump's tax returns.

So, those tax returns spend the year 2015, as Trump announced that he was going to run for the White House to 2020, which of course was the last full year of his presidency. Democrats want a three-year court battle with Trump to get those returns, and they successfully argued, in front of a judge, that they are essential to determine if Trump's financial dealings impacted his actions as president. So, that's why they got the time they got, 2015 to 2020. Let's go to CNN's chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, as we

watch the cameras get set here for this vote.

Now, Manu, the committee has been meeting for hours. Now, the cameras are coming in.

What is the latest that you understand here about the timing and what they are about to do?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is a decisive moment, after years of court battles over Donald Trump's tax returns which were successfully -- Democrats were successful in those battles, getting several years of those individual tax returns and business tax returns, we now will get a sense on what Democrats planned to do with that. We are still uncertain exactly how they plan to handle this.

They've been behind closed doors since 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, when they went into closed session to debate this issue. Republicans have been pushing back, arguing against releasing tax returns. Democrats have been favoring releasing them, but it still uncertain exactly where they ended up. We will see, in a matter of moments, a vote. It's still uncertain exactly what they are voting on.

We hope to learn more about that when the chairman of the committee, Richard Neal, gavels us in. Hopefully, it'll explain exactly what they plan to vote on.

It's possible it could be a summary of the tax returns that have been provided to Capitol Hill. It is possible we see the raw material, sounds like he's speaking now, Erin.

REP. RICHARD NEAL (D-MA): The court will call the roll.

CLERK: Mr. Doggett.


CLERK: Mr. Doggett votes aye.

Mr. Thompson?


CLERK: Mr. Thompson votes yes.

Mr. Larsen?


CLERK: Mr. Larson votes yes.

Mr. Blumenauer?

Mr. Blumenauer votes aye.

Mr. Kind?

Mr. Pascal?


CLERK: Mr. Pascrell votes yes.

Mr. Davis?

Mr. David's votes aye.

Ms. Sanchez?


CLERK: Ms. Sanchez votes aye.

Mr. Higgins?

HIGGINS: Mr. Higgins votes aye.

CLERK: Ms. Sewell?


CLERK: Ms. Sewell votes aye.

Ms. DelBene?


CLERK: Ms. Chu?

CHU: Aye.

CLERK: Ms. Chu votes aye.

Ms. Moore?


CLERK: Ms. Moore votes aye.

Mr. Kildee?


CLERK: Mr. Kildee votes aye.

Mr. Boyle?


CLERK: Mr. Boyle votes aye.

Mr. Beyer? CLERK: Mr. Beyer votes aye.

Mr. Evans?


CLERK: Mr. Evans votes aye.

Mr. Schneider?


CLERK: Mr. Schneider votes aye.

Mr. Souzzi?


CLERK: Mr. Souzzi votes aye.

Mr. Panetta?


CLERK: Mr. Panetta votes aye.

Ms. Murphy?


CLERK: Ms. Murphy votes aye.

Mr. Gomez?

GOMEZ: Gomez, aye.

CLERK: Mr. Gomez votes aye.

Mr. Horsford?


CLERK: Mr. Horsford votes aye.

Miss Plaskett?

PLASKETT: Plaskett, aye.

CLERK: Ms. Plaskett votes aye.

Mr. Brady?


CLERK: Mr. Brady votes now.

Mr. Buchanan?


CLERK: Mr. Buchanan votes no.

Mr. Smith of Nebraska?


CLERK: Mr. Smith of Nebraska votes no.

Mr. Kelly?


CLERK: Mr. Kelly votes no.

Mr. Smith of Missouri?

SMITH: N-O, no.

CLERK: Mr. Smith votes no.

Mr. Rice?

Mr. Schweikert?

Mr. Schweikert votes no.

Mr. LaHood?

Mr. LaHood votes no.

Dr. Wenstrup?

Dr. Wenstrup votes no.

Mr. Arrington?


CLERK: Mr. Arrington votes no.

Dr. Ferguson?

Dr. Ferguson votes no.

Mr. Estes?


CLERK: Mr. Estes votes no.

Mr. Smucker?

Mr. Smucker votes no. Mr. Hern?


CLERK: Mr. Hern votes no.

Mrs. Miller?


CLERK: Mrs. Miller votes no.

Dr. Murphy?


CLERK: Dr. Murphy votes no.

Mr. Kustoff? Mr. Kustoff votes no.

Mr. Kind?

Mr. Rice?

Mr. Chairman?

NEAL: Aye.

CLERK: Mr. Chairman votes aye.

NEAL: The clerk will report the tally.

CLERK: Mr. Chairman, on this vote, I have 24 yes, 16 nos.

NEAL: There being 24 ayes and 16 nos, the motion to submit to the committee report to the house is agreed to end the documents are ordered reported to the House. Pursuant to clause 2L of Rule 11, without objection, members will have two additional days to file the committee clerk supplemental descending or minority views. Without objection, the staff is authorized to make technical corrections to the report and to reject sensitive personal identifiable information such as Social Security number, street addresses, personal identification numbers, and banking information.

The purpose of this committee business having been accomplished, the committee --

BRADY: Mr. Chairman, on that last note, if I may, two questions, parliamentary inquire. One, can you explain what this committee did related to the concerns, the private tax returns, right now, including personal identifiable information that would be troubling in the dangerous precedent, and our concerns that the committee is not voting on the full documents to be released to the public. That's a significant mistake.

NEAL: I think we could assure all that every deliberative effort we made to make sure that, in these instances, all of the questions you raised will be accommodated, as we outlined earlier, and the staff on both sides, I hope, could find the agreement, and majority staff will prevail. But we did address those issues earlier.

BRADY: In and our strong view, this committee should also be voting, knowing exactly what we are releasing, certainly in text, and to the public, and the second point, maybe more practical one. Can you advise us now on what now these documents will be made public? What members of Congress may say when this meeting concludes?

NEAL: Well, I would advise the speech and debate clause be acknowledged. We did participate in an executive session, and I believe that we've been advised, as I have now, four years, and those who are watching from the media will reinforce. I want to say this, after a long process, that this was not about being punitive, it wasn't about being malicious, and there were no leaks from the committee. We adhered carefully to the law, and my advice to all members of the committee is to acknowledge the realities of the speech and debate clause, and be very careful about words election.

With that, being no further business, the committee stands adjourned.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OK, that was the ways and means committee. That was a party line vote. You saw Representative Brady there with parliamentary points to the chairman, Chairman Neal, and that is to release Trump's tax returns from 2015 to 2020, or, perhaps, some summary not totally clear to me.

Manu Raju, can you explain? What do you understand that they have just voted to release?


Obviously, they are going to be clarifying no tax IDs, Social Security number, that sort of thing is going to be removed. That was a specific point.

I mean, what's getting released to the public?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is a major development, after years of not seeing Donald Trump's tax returns. There is a clear sign, a movement by Congress to potentially release Donald Trump's tax returns or a summary of those returns to the public.

Now, what just happened was a vote along straight party lines. Republicans all voting against a motion to submit this report for the record. Democrats all voting in favor of it. Democrats still in the majority for another couple of weeks, going down along party lines, 24 to 16 was the vote.

They submitted the report to the House on Trump's tax information. What exactly does that mean? It's still unclear at this moment. It could be, as you said, a summary of those years of tax returns, those six years, personal tax returns, business tax returns. What the committee has found, perhaps, will provide significant detail

about all of that, perhaps it will be more of a top line information, where perhaps it could include some of those raw materials, some of the actual returns themselves. Will that be part of the record?

Those are still questions we will have to sort out when we do talk to these members as they leave this meeting. They've been behind closed doors for hours, trying to decide how to move forward. Republicans furiously battling any efforts to release these tax returns. Democrats insisting that they must be held public. They had pushed releases suggesting there needed to be changes to the legislative process for how presidential tax returns are dealt with here. That part of the proposal as well still remains to be seen.

But this vote, essentially, allows them to move forward in publicly releasing Donald Trump's tax returns, some of that financial private information sounds like it will be redacted by the committee. We should certainly learn a significant amount more about Donald Trump's personal financial situation, his business financial situation, other companies he has been involved with, assuming this becomes public, and still remains unclear, Erin, when this will become public. It could be soon, it could take days. Democrats don't have many days left in power, and moving here in the final days to release Donald Trump's tax returns, which is kept from the public for many years -- Erin.

BURNETT: Right. And I know from talking to members of the committee, Congressman Lloyd Doggett has been clear, right, that they'd been pushed into this, essentially, right, in a profitable day would have gotten them and gone through them and been able to evaluate, as they said, whether his business and financial dealings had any impact on his actions as president. But because this is happening days before they lose power, they don't have time to go through it all, because they don't have time to go through it all, they were put in this position of putting it out publicly.

Can I just ask, though, Manu, it seems, to me, unusual, and I know we've never been in a situation like this with presidential tax returns, but I mean, in terms of a committee vote, that it is unclear, still, at this moment, exactly what they voted for? Whether it is a summary, yet to be written or how to be put together, we don't know, or whether it is, in fact, all the tax returns as well as the, frankly, it would be thousands of pages of backup information that goes with that?

RAJU: Yeah, because the section of the tax law that governs the release of this information, which Richard Neal, the chairman of the committee, used to obtain the tax returns, is very -- it has strict rules on secrecy, which is why they have been very cagey about explaining whether or not they have the returns. They refused to confirm for sometime that they actually had the returns, even though they we have reported they had the returns, and the aftermath of the court victory, the Democrats won, and they turned over those returns to the Treasury Department. Treasury Department is sent those returns on Capitol Hill.

All that has been a very secretive process. That's why this has been behind closed doors for all day, all afternoon. Why we don't really know much about exactly what they plan to release in public, but taking an affirmative step to release them publicly, that is the vote we just saw. We should hopefully learn in a matter of hours, if not sooner, what exactly they plan to release.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much. Hopefully, we'll get more information in a moment. I mentioned Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and he's going to be with me in a moment. He was in those meetings for the entire afternoon. He just voted, making his way to the camera now.

In the meantime, Ryan Goodman is with me now, of course, co-editor in chief of "Just Security", former special counsel with the Defense Department, and Marty Sheil, former supervisory special agent for IRS criminal investigations.

Thanks very much to both of you.

Marty, can I ask, you and your capacity especially agent for IRS criminal investigations, how significant is it that we are about to see all of, or some sort of executive summary of, and I'm hopefully going to get more information for us on that in a moment, that we are going to see this for the former president, for those years, 2015 through 2020?

MARTIN SHEIL, FORMER SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT IRS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS: I think, Erin, first of all, thanks for having me on, I think it's a stunning development, and I am so pleased Congress is being so careful in maintaining confidentiality of Mr. Trump's Social Security number. IRS takes number one priority to maintain the confidentiality of tax returns and they've done a fantastic job over the years of doing that.


I think everybody can take pride in that.

Let's face it, Mr. Trump has been kind of a financial wizard, or at least so he claims. Let's see if those tax returns reflect his business wizardry. I suspect you are going to see massive losses on his corporate returns which will then, some of which, will be carried over to his personal returns. And so, the question raised, how can someone who is reporting massive multimillion dollar business losses year on year maintains a luxurious lifestyle, like Mr. Trump, and pay no taxes?

I think we are going to see he's paying next to nothing and -- but, you know, I don't want to point a finger at him until we see just how he handled his tax returns, or how his accountant handled those tax returns. When looking at the tax returns, we want to frame a reference. We'd like to see the books and records that support the tax return. We'd also like to see financial statements that were submitted to banks for loan applications and our assets and liabilities on those statements commensurate with what is on his tax returns.

BURNETT: So -- yeah. So, Ryan, do you think, when we look at these, knowing, and let's just be clear, Trump has great accountants, okay? And things are done -- it's not going to be, my gosh, look at this investment in blank. It's not going to be that simple, most likely.

What do you think we're going to be able to figure out in terms of conflicts of interest? Marty is raising the important point, one thing we do know publicly, right, he thought there's been a lot of losses. If you are looking at tons and tons of losses, lifestyle that continues, your president of the United States, what does that open the door to?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: So, it's the question you posed to Manu about why the American public generally wants to know but their candidates for president, their financial situations, and their tax returns, to see if they might be conflicts of interest that could have influenced the way in which they governed.


GOODMAN: And, in fact, one of the things that will be key here is there is a federal crime for denial of honest services, if at a public official took official acts in exchange for personal benefit. A personal benefits might be, is he leveraged out to foreign lenders? Does he get better at lending alone agreements with these foreign lenders overtime while he might be taking actions that could influence the relationship with those foreign lenders?

Those are the questions the American public always want to know from a president, now the tax returns will potentially reveal that kind of embarrassing information, if not illegal.

BURNETT: All right. Marty and Ryan, please stay with me. I hope Manu is still with us as well.

I want to go now for his first interview since this committee's meeting about today to Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett.

Congressman, I appreciate your time. You and I have talked about this over the past couple of months.

And here we are, you've spent hours behind closed doors, you just come out from the vote. Can you first explain to me exactly what you are all voting to do? Are we going to see a summary of some sort, or are we going to see all of the tax returns?

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): Both, but for a limited period. Yes, Erin, we've been at it for about the last three and a half hours, discussing all aspects of this. Now there will be a report to the House prepared by Chairman Neal and his staff, a very thorough report.

It includes a number of attachments. It includes additional analysis from the Joint Tax Committee, and it will also include some Trump tax returns.

BURNETT: And is that -- that's going to -- we're going to get, sort of, one thing? An executive summary, attachments, and some of the tax returns? That's going to be it, we're not also going to get all the tax returns, just to be very clear here? DOGGETT: Yeah. You will get all of the tax returns that the Supreme

Court and the lower courts said that Mr. Neal's request could get. You will get all of those. That may be delayed for a few days, only to permit time to redact things, like Social Security numbers, personal ID numbers, that type of thing.

But you will get the complete Trump tax returns, such as they are, for the years that Mr. Neal requested. I think what --

BURNETT: Okay, so that's 20 -- 2015 through 2020, just to be clear, yeah?

DOGGETT: That's correct.


DOGGETT: And I think what I find surprising, our focus had been on the IRS audit, and whether it was being done properly, is the IRS did no audits at all until such time as the day they received Mr. Neal's request for these documents, and that day, they requested the first audit, they have yet to complete a single audit of Mr. Trump.

I think they will also be surprised by what is not there with the tax returns, and that is supporting data.


Any taxpayer who goes in for audit has to produce some receipts, and some affidavits, and some substantiation. And that just seems to be missing from what we've been provided.

BURNETT: So, in that context, to be clear, your understanding, you are saying they didn't begin the audit until the request came in, then they --

DOGGETT: The same day.

BURNETT: OK, the same day. It sounds like what you are saying, I don't want to jump to a conclusions, I want to make sure I'm right, that they then requested, they had questions about various things, and then reached out to Trump to ask those questions, and Trump did not respond with the backup data to make his case for why he did what he did?

DOGGETT: I think you will see tens millions of dollars in these returns that were claimed without adequate substantiation. The extent to which the IRS made an effort to get that substantiation, I invite you to look at the reports.

But I think you will be surprised by how little there is, and I have my doubts another taxpayer could go into audit and provide as little as was provided here and expect to have a completed audit.

BURNETT: Okay. Those tens of millions of dollars were, what, that he was claiming? DOGGETT: Well, we know from the earlier disclosures from "The New

York Times", he often claimed huge amounts of loss carryovers. One time, much before these returns got a check for over $70 million.

In this case, in 2015, he began with about 105 million dollar loss carry over. Those issues, in it, we're not explored and the documents we have because we were limited to a very narrow period of time. Those six years. Further, there was no conversation between our staff and any of the IRS auditors, or employees, to determine what exactly happened or didn't happen. We only have a few scattered notes in order to put the puzzle together.

BURNETT: So, okay. So, you're saying 2015, $105 million loss that he claimed that --

DOGGETT: That was a carry over. A carry over, and because we did not have the capacity to look at the prior years, we cannot determine the origin of that carry over.

BURNETT: Did you see, did you see, Congressman -- I'm sorry. I overtalk to you for a second.


BURNETT: Did you see any evidence of him being compromised in the way that you are ultimately concerned about, right, that what you would see in his tax picture, which showed that his actions as president were, perhaps, compromised? Did you see any evidence of that, or anything that raised questions for you in that regard?

DOGGETT: No. And just with these particular documents by themselves, I didn't really expect to find very much. There is evidence of some of the foreign taxes that he paid. But these are just like an ordinary, very wealthy business person's filings that show what he got and what he claimed as deductions. It just -- an immense loss carryovers. It is just not giving us the details necessary to make that determination.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman Doggett, I appreciate your time. And, obviously, we all look forward to seeing, as we now understand, what will be an executive summary with attachments as well as the full body of taxes that you did receive from the years you requested, 2015 through 2020.

Congressman Doggett, thank you, sir.

DOGGETT: Thank you.

BURNETT: Next, what do you big name Republicans have to say about an alleged liar who is just elected to Congress by GOP voters? What is going to happen here? So far, we've heard nothing. Crickets.



BURNETT: Tonight, Elon Musk whiplash. After Twitter users voted for Musk to step down as CEO of the social media company, the billionaire now says only accounts with a blue check mark can vote on the company's policies.

Now, users suggested that only paying subscribers should get to vote. In response, Musk tweets, a good point. Twitter will make that change. And so, here we are.

OUTFRONT now, Harry Enten with tonight's OUTFRONT outlier.

Maybe he is realizing that it's hard to have to police and to do every single thing about Twitter and run a rocket company, and brain implant, and other things as well, a car company.


BURNETT: So, I want to get to the outlier in a moment. But, first, Musk has become fairly unpopular among Democrats. You see there is a problem. He asked Twitter users to vote on whether he should step down as CEO. How come?

ENTEN: Yeah, I don't know what the heck he was thinking because we know that Twitter users, as a whole, are far more Democratic than the American public as a whole. So, he is essentially putting a poll to a lot of Democrats to say, should I step down or not? And they don't like them. I'm not surprised at the result.

It's pretty obvious what was going to happen.

BURNETT: Or maybe you are, maybe you're surprised with who the 51 percent were.

ENTEN: Yeah, yeah.

BURNETT: So, okay, in other words, he polled an incredible group of people who don't like him, about whether they like them.

ENTEN: Exactly.

BURNETT: OK. But one of the first things, and maybe it's part of the reason why they don't like him, he takes over Twitter, he comes, uncontroversial a reinstates a lot of people. Some of whom may have been appropriately banned others, some who weren't. Donald Trump was one of the ones he reinstated, both, who by the way, has not joined by choice. So, what did -- how did that play in this?

ENTEN: Yeah, if you ask Twitter users before Musk, of course, became the head of Twitter, what was a major problem on Twitter? Banning people ranked very low on the list in terms of major problems. What did rank very high on the list was misinformation. What does he do?

He, in fact, is in now allows misinformation on COVID to run rampant. There's no longer those warnings. What else did he do? He allowed people who had been banned for harassment to be reinstated, a lot of people thought that was a major problem.

So, essentially, he was creating major problems in places that folks didn't think there were major problems, and basically eliminating the folks, or bringing them back, on the issues they thought were major problems.

BURNETT: Right, and spending his time reinstating Kanye West, and then taking him back off, and there is no minutia too small.

ENTEN: Yeah.

BURNETT: So, okay, there is an outlier, though, on this, Harry. That is, this concept of a town square.


BURNETT: Twitter users seem to like, it even if they only want people in the town square who agree with them.

ENTEN: Yeah. Maybe so, but, you know, you ask Twitter followers, you know, people on twitter, whether or not you come to Twitter hear different points of view, the majority in fact to say yes.

So, at least, idealistically, the idea of this town square makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense. People on Twitter follow Musk on that.

I think, on the concrete issues, right, that's where they kind of disagree with. Him on the broader, sort of, idealistic point of view, that's where they do agree with Musk, that's the outlier.


BURNETT: That's interesting. But the outlier, then, is actually a point that Musk says, he did the whole thing for, which is I wanted it to be a town square. They agree with him.

ENTEN: They agree with him.

BURNETT: They just don't agree with the technicalities of how he's getting there.

ENTEN: That's exactly right.

And I think the question going forward is whether or not he could actually bring those people to his side.

BURNETT: Yeah, it certainly is, especially if he chooses to stay, this whole thing about blue checks getting to vote, and all that.

ENTEN: I would just note that the people who are most interested in Twitter, the people who use it more, are even more likely to be Democratic. This idea he might have gotten a different result if you focused on those pink subscribers, I'm not sure that necessarily works either.

BURNETT: Right. All right, thank you very much, Harry Enten.

ENTEN: Thank you. BURNETT: And next, the Dionne Warwick, who was a force 60 decades ago

and still is tonight.


BURNETT: Dionne Warwick, a legend, still making music, and still touring. Warwick is relevant today as she was when she burst onto the music scene more than 60 years ago.

CNN Films takes a look at her incredible life and legacy. Dionne Warwick, don't make me over. It premieres on New Year's Day. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dionne Warwick, one of the great female singers of all-time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dionne was the first African American woman to win a Grammy in the pop category.

DIONNE WARWICK, SINGER: The music I was singing was nothing like anything any of them were singing.

The legacy of my family, music. Pure and simple, music.

ANNOUNCER: Dionne Warwick, "Don't Make Me Over," premiers New Year's Day at 9:00 on CNN.


BURNETT: And thanks for joining us.

"AC360" begins now.