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Erin Burnett Outfront

Classified Documents From Biden's Time As VP Found In Private Office; Exclusive: Special Counsel's Team Subpoenas Giuliani For Payment Records As Part Of Probe Into Trump's Fundraising; Biden Ignores Questions On VP-Era Classified Docs Found At Office; Republicans Slam Biden Over Classified Docs Discovered; New Intercepted Call By Ukraine Reveals Russian Soldier Saying Hospitals In Russia Are "Overflowing" Due To Injured Troops; Taiwan: 28 Chinese Fighters, Other Aircraft Crossed Air Defense Zone. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 09, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. Classified documents found from Biden's time as vice president. What were they doing in a private office? The attorney general now asking a U.S. attorney to investigate.

Also breaking this hour, a major development in the DOJ's investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election. We are learning that special counsel Jack Smith's team has subpoenaed Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani and more on what Smith is zeroing in on. This is reporting that you will hear first OUTFRONT.

And new audio into OUTFRONT revealing the dire state of Russia's hospitals full of injured soldiers. An intercepted call that wasn't meant to ever be heard by you.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

And OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Classified documents from Biden's time as vice president have been found at one of his private offices in Washington, D.C. This is according to a source.

The documents were found by President Biden's attorneys last fall, and then turned over to the National Archives, which has referred the matter to the Justice Department. And we can tell you tonight that the Justice Department is now investigating this.

Now, just to be clear here, Biden, of course, was required by law to hand over all official documents and classified documents when he and President Obama left office. This is a significant development tonight. And it comes at the same time that the Justice Department is investigating Trump's handling of sensitive material at Mar-a-Lago.

So the big question tonight is how does Biden's handling of classified documents compare to Trump's? Here's what we know so far from what the reporting we have so far. Biden was not asked by the National Archives for any documents. His attorneys found them, and they immediately notified the Archives.

Trump, of course, was asked by the National Archives for documents, attested to handing them over but didn't. The DOJ issued two subpoenas related to the documents even after a subpoena we know Trump personally directed an employee to move boxes that contained classified materials. And, of course, the FBI had to search his home and office to find documents.

Biden's documents, we're told, did not include nuclear information. As for Trump, we know the FBI explicitly sought to locate classified documents related to nuclear weapons when they searched Mar-a-Lago.

As for where the documents are found, Biden's found in an office, as I mentioned. Most of Trump's sensitive documents were found in his home at Mar-a-Lago. And of the documents found, here's what we know. Biden had fewer than a dozen. Some reportedly did have top-secret designation. As for Trump, all the documents he returned voluntarily through subpoena were seized in the FBI's search thus far, more than 300 were classified, 92 secret, and 25 top secret.

Back in September, Biden was asked about that.


INTERVIEWER: When you saw the photograph of the top-secret documents laid out on the floor at Mar-a-Lago, what did you think to yourself? Looking at that image?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How that could possibly happen. How anyone could be that irresponsible. And I thought, what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods? By that, I mean, names of people who helped, et cetera. And it's just totally irresponsible.


BURNETT: We have Evan Perez and Jamie Gangel standing by with the latest in their reporting.

Evan, what else have you learned so far about this?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know, Erin, now that the U.S. Attorney John Lausch in Chicago is doing a review of these documents. This is what's known as a damage assessment, which is a standard way that the FBI does these things whenever classified information is found or classified documents are found in a place where they were not supposed to be. And that's the circumstance, we understand, happened here.

We understand that, according to the White House, which has now provided a statement, they said that the former -- the president's legal team found these documents in November as they were trying to close out an office that he had set up when he had left the vice presidency. This is a University of Pennsylvania think tank that he had set up. They were closing out that office. They say that fewer than a dozen documents were found as part of that. They say that the White House is cooperating with this investigation

from the U.S. attorney's office which, of course, is involving also the FBI. But obviously, the comparisons are going to be there because, you know, for six years, roughly, these documents were sitting in a place, according to the White House, in a closet in an office where they should not have been, because those documents, especially the documents that are classified at the top-secret level are supposed to be held in specific places, and those circumstances that they are describing would not have met those.


BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you. So now let's go to Jamie.

Jamie, what is the latest you're learning from your sources?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, one of the problems here is what they don't know and they're still trying to find out. How did these documents get out of the White House? Who packed them? Who took them?

We know that there are classified documents, but we really don't know how relevant are they today. Is the information in them contemporaneously dangerous, sensitive today?

What do we know? This is going to be a political nightmare for the Biden administration. They didn't want this to happen. So, whatever it was, it is politically an unforced error. It is politically something that the Republicans and Donald Trump are going to make hay in.

I think one point that my sources have been saying, which Evan mentioned is important to underscore, and that is the difference in cooperation. The lawyers, when they found them, they immediately called the Archives and had the documents picked up. And also, obviously, there were very few documents. There were fewer than a dozen documents, I am told.

And, finally, let's remember two things about Donald Trump. The Justice Department is looking at obstruction with him. The long period of time he refused to hand these things over. The number of documents, and let's not forget how he magically wanted to say he had declassified everything.


GANGEL: The Biden approach is very different.

BURNETT: Right, extremely different.

All right. Jamie is going to stay with us. I want to bring in now, David Laufman, who is the former chief of the Justice Department's counterintelligence section. He oversaw the probe looking into whether Hillary Clinton improperly stored or transmitted classified information to secretary of state. So he knows more about this than anyone.

And also with me, the former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, also, of course, expert on classified information.

So, both of you, thank you.

David, let me just start here with the fact that, of course, you've got top-secret files in this, highly sensitive classified information. From what you understand -- and this question, the fact that there's this Trump situation out there, just looking at the situation as it is for Biden. Could he be in trouble for this?

DAVID LAUFMAN, FORMER CHIEF OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S COUNTERINTELLIGENCE SECTION: Well, yes, he could be. It's going to depend on the relevant facts. Look, the Department of Justice and the FBI typically engage in logical investigative steps to get a handle on a variety of pieces of information. How classified documents came to be there, who was involved in it, why were they sent there, how many classified documents were there, what level of classification?

Here we know that some of them are top-secret code word. That's pretty concerning. Who had access to them while they were there? Was this just a colossal mistake, or was there intent on bringing them there and keeping them there? Was there willful retention of classified documents in a place they weren't authorized to be?

So, we don't know the answers to these questions yet, at least most of them. But the attorney general's done the right thing by giving this investigation to the FBI and not just to any prosecutor but a Trump- appointed prosecutor in Chicago to insulate his findings from potential political criticism. Now we have to give some room and breathing space to the department and the FBI to complete this investigation.

BURNETT: Right. And it's important that you mentioned that the attorney looking into it is a Trump appointee. They're doing everything possible to make it transparent so that people see it as fair.

Director McCabe, from what we know, what do you take away from this? Found in a locked closet, but obviously top-secret documents, which is a problem, as David lays out. What is your first-blush take here?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Erin, as David laid out, the investigation will be doing all the things that he mentioned for basically two purposes. On one side, they're trying to do a damage assessment to see if any of the information in those documents that weren't properly stored presents a risk to intelligence sources or methods. So that's going on.

But, at the same time, they will be looking to see if there was wrongdoing that led to documents someplace they shouldn't have been. I should say that the FBI gets referrals like this all the time. It's very frequent with people.


There are lots of people with access to classified. Sometimes they mistakenly take documents with them where they're not supposed to be, they get found with documents, and you have to look into these things and determine, of course, the damage assessment and what level of potential criminal penalties could be associated with that.

Many times there are no criminal penalties. It's deemed to be an accident or an administrative error, something along those lines. There's a lot to be found out here before we could confidently make a determination in any direction. But one of the key points will be how often did President Biden use this office?

These are facts that are absolutely knowable. They can go back to records as to where he was there, maybe when he badged in, when the Secret Service took him there. And understand when did the documents get there, when was he there, did he actually ever frequent this office? Would he have any reason to know what was in the closet?

So, there was a lot of facts that we need to find out about it.

BURNETT: And, David, I should say on the back of what Director McCabe saying, our Phil Mattingly is reporting that Biden was not aware that the documents were located in the office. So it doesn't answer some of the questions the director is saying about frequency of access, et cetera, but that he wasn't aware.

And on this front, to the point Jamie Gangel was making, that the difference between Trump and Biden may be about obstruction.

David, how much weight does that carry? If Biden wasn't aware they were there and the minute that they stumbled upon them, they call the Archives. Whereas in Trump's case the archives asked, they were not forthrightly handed over. Subpoena one, subpoena two, FBI search. Trump personally directs an employee to move boxes. There are documents that are found in his home, his personal quarters.

Does the differences here or the differences that we understand at this point to exist, do they matter?

LAUFMAN: They matter very significantly. As Andy can discuss as well, among the factors the Department of Justice takes into account with respect to whether to pursue criminal prosecution is the extent to which there are so-called aggravating factors present. And no aggravating factor perhaps is as large as whether there is concealment or obstruction of justice in a case where classified documents are found in a circumstance like this.

So, everything we're hearing tonight runs contrary to the notion that there was any kind of concealment or obstruction to the contrary based on the reporting tonight, President Biden's lawyers brought to the attention of the National Archives, they have fully cooperated. We'll have to wait and see what led to the depositing of the classified documents in the first place, what was the nexus between former Vice President Biden -- then former Vice President Biden to this document.


LAUFMAN: But there's no indication of any aggravating factors here that would tilt the balance toward pursuing criminal charges thus far. BURNETT: Director McCabe, in terms of the possible indictment for

Trump would be about obstruction of justice and mishandling of classified documents. They've put the Biden investigation, as you have both pointed out in, the hands of a Trump-appointed attorney.

But does this director affect the DOJ, the special counsel's, you know, recommendation and decision on indictment for Trump?

MCCABE: It really doesn't, Erin. I mean, look, in the kind of ether, right, there's going to be an enormous amount of pressure on DOJ and special counsel Jack Smith in terms of the decision he makes, the existence of this other Biden issue certainly doesn't make that any easier.

But, as a legal matter, whether or not Joe Biden or any of his staff committed wrongdoing with respect to these dozen or so documents offers no shelter to Donald Trump in his own investigation. His investigation is going to be determined based on the facts and the law as are presented to the prosecutors.

And, you know, our system of criminal justice doesn't work along the lines of, well, he did it too so you should let me go. That's not a factor. The factors are the law and the facts. And that's what, you know -- in the former president is facing some very negative facts and some very tough laws in his own investigation, and what happens with the Biden investigation legally should not have an impact on that.

BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much, crucial perspective.

And Jamie Gangel is back with me.

And, Jamie, you just heard Director McCabe say our legal system isn't based on he did it too. But our political system often is. And the fact that the two is apples and oranges, that's not always what matters.

You've got the new speaker of the House, Speaker McCarthy, and the new House Oversight Committee, Chairman Comer, both jumping on this already, criticizing Biden. Trump is posting on his social media website, when is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden?

So here you go, right? This is the political -- this is how this is going to play politically.


How much of a gift is this? How transformational is this for Trump right now?

GANGEL: Look, it is a huge political gift for Trump. I'm surprised it took him so long to post what he did. And, you know, this is sort of like Casablanca, we're shocked, shocked, shocked, shocked that the Republicans are making political hay out of it.

That said, they are going, on the one hand, to make as much out of this as they can, but it's going to be very important for justice. And as much as the National Archives plays a role here, to really let the public know what was in here. Is that nuance going to cut through? I don't think so.

BURNETT: No, nuance is, sadly, almost never does in those cases. But from a legal perspective in doing the right thing, of course, as you point out.

GANGEL: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Now, you understand -- you know, you heard Phil Mattingly's reporting, that Biden was not aware that the documents were there. Much less of course what might be in the documents.

So, how does that play into this? Obviously, the National Archives referred to this to the DOJ already regardless of any of that.

GANGEL: So, I think this is a key point. I spoke to a source earlier today who's familiar with the National Archives and how they handle this. And over the last year, I've spoken to a lot of former high- level officials who, frankly, admitted to me that they had accidently had a file that they found later.

There is a certain amount normally in normal times before Mar-a-Lago, a certain amount of discretion. Does the National Archives think this was an honest mistake?

In the past, they might not have referred it. But I'm told specifically because of what's going on with Donald Trump that the Archives knew that they had to, you know, out of an abundance of fairness, caution, but really because of Donald Trump, there was no question they had to refer it.

BURNETT: All right. And here we are.

Jamie Gangel, thank you very much. Jamie breaking so much of this story.

And, next, much more on this story, straight ahead. We are learning that President Biden was just asked about the classified documents found in his office. And we're going to tell you what he is now saying.

And also breaking tonight, exclusive CNN reporting you will hear first OUTFRONT. Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani subpoenaed as part of the justice department's investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election also under the special counsel's authority.

And a chilling assessment of the losses the United States would suffer if China invades Taiwan. It's a report you'll see first OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: As we follow the breaking news tonight about classified documents found at a Washington, D.C. office, that President Biden used after serving as vice president, we are also learning about a major escalation in the special counsel's investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election. There were the Mar-a-Lago documents and the overturning of the 2020 election.

And on that specific front, a source is telling CNN that the special counsel has now subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, asking him to turn over financial records to the federal grand jury.

The exclusive reporting comes from Katelyn Polantz, who is now OUTFRONT to tell us what she knows.

And, Katelyn, what more do you know about the subpoena?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Erin, this subpoena does come from the special counsel's team investigating January 6 and the 2020 election. Those political circles around Donald Trump of which Rudy Giuliani would have been central on many fronts. And this subpoena, what we have learned, Sara Murray and I have been able to confirm that this is going to allow investigators to get a look into the part of their investigation where they're examining a possible broader conspiracy, and also specifically where they are looking into financial questions, possible financial crimes.

And the reason we know that is our sources tell us that prosecutors have asked his lawyers to prioritize turning over any sort of financial records, especially payments that he may have received after the election working for Donald Trump. We do know from federal election records that he received about $140,000 paid to two companies of his for travel. Those were paid from Donald Trump related groups.

And, so, this subpoena, it did come a little bit more than a month ago. And it also comes at a time where prosecutors are asking for lots of documents, not just of Giuliani. But we have also heard about special counsel's office prosecutors subpoenaing others related to payments, asking them for information about the Save America PAC and other financial interests and payments that were being made as Donald Trump was trying to push back against Congress against his loss of the presidency.

And so, all of this information is still being gathered. We don't know exactly how this is going to work out with Giuliani. He has tried to decline to answer questions before in the House Select Committee investigation. But here and now, his attorney did decline to comment to us today, as did the special counsel's office -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Katelyn, thank you very much for that exclusive reporting.

Let's go to Ryan Goodman, the co-editor in chief of "Just Security", former special counsel at the Defense Department, and Andy McCabe, the former FBI deputy director is also back with me.

All right. Thanks to both.

So, Ryan, obviously, to be clear here, Katelyn's exclusive reporting is about the efforts to overturn the 2020 election, right? Separate from the Mar-a-Lago documents that we were talking about a moment ago. But, as she said, this pertains to a broader conspiracy and financial crimes.

How significant is this?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: So, I do think it's significant in your description of it as a major escalation is right on in the sense that it means that the Justice Department is going after the former president's top personal attorney. We can remember in the Russian investigation when Michael Cohen was the target, everybody understood they've just crossed a major line. And this seems to be a major line.

You would think that they would only go to Giuliani when they have sufficient enough evidence and if they're pretty late into their investigation.

BURNETT: So, and, Director McCabe, then, what do you think this means for Donald Trump in this crucial line of the overturning the 2020 election for the special counsel?


ANDREW MCCABES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think it's a really strong indicator of just how broad the scope is that the special counsel team is looking at. If you think about it, when we -- when we first started following the efforts of the January 6th House committee, you know, we were thinking about January 6 as to what happened on January 6. And then we realized that the scope is broader, we were looking at all the things that led up to January 6th, in a month or so before that.

This is an expansion along those lines. The special counsel's not just looking at what happened on January 6th, not just what led up to the riot, the attack on the capitol, but now what happened with the money around those activities and were funds collected by the former president and his allies in a way that may have been fraudulent, were funds collected for one purpose but then used for a different one?

So, Rudy Giuliani would certainly be right at the heart of that activity, as someone who may have actually received payments from these accounts, but also as a person who was engaged in that behavior and that activity of trying to overturn the results of the election through any means necessary.

BURNETT: And, Ryan, so there's Katelyn's reporting and then there's also the Georgia grand jury, we understand have -- that's investigating Trump in the 2020 election, efforts to overturn the election in Georgia, has completed its work, they're done. The Fulton county D.A. Fani Willis is going to make a decision on pursuing an indictment.

So, what's the time line on this now?

GOODMAN: So this is what many observers, myself included, anticipated and I think we will see by the end of this month indictments coming out of Fulton County. And there's a January 24th hearing in which the big question will be whether or not they publicly release the special grand jury's recommendations.

But I think, other than that, we will then see action. And the high likelihood is that it will be indictments. And, at a minimum I think Donald Trump, and maybe Giuliani, once again, or Mark Meadows.

BURNETT: But at a minimum, you're saying Trump himself.

GOODMAN: I think so -- I think highly likely.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And next, the breaking news. President Biden just responding to the news that the classified documents were found at his private office. So what is saying tonight?

Plus, new audio that Putin does not want the public to hear, a former Russian soldier who appears to have been injured in Ukraine and then you're going to hear him describe the hospital he's in as Russia is suffering terrible losses on the battlefield.



BURNETT: Breaking news: President Biden ignoring questions shouted at him by reporters about the classified documents from his time as vice president. These are the documents that were found at a private office. Here he is.


REPORTER: Any comment on the documents, sir?


BURNETT: The documents were found by President Biden's attorneys in November. They then told the National Archives about them, turned them over. The National Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department, which is now investigating via a Trump-appointed attorney.

Biden, of course, was required by law to return all official documents and classified documents when he left office. So this is a possibly significant development. And it comes at the same time the Justice Department is investigating Trump's handling of sensitive material and his obstruction of federal efforts to get the documents back.

Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.

And, Phil, you've not new reporting on all this. What are you learning?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erin, what's become clear in talking to sources familiar with the matter is the president was not aware that these documents were being held in one of his offices, an office he hadn't used since 2019, and did not become aware of documents with classified markings until his personal attorneys as they were closing out that office in November, called the White House counsel's office to inform them of what they had found.

Then, when you talk to people who were involved in this, one thing they try and underscore, and it's implicit in the White House statement earlier confirming that a review is currently underway is the key differences they view between what former President Trump is dealing with right now and what former President Biden -- they don't disagree with the problematic nature of having classified markings outside of the White House or outside of a sensitive or classified location where you're supposed to be reading them.

But, however, what they do make very clear in the White House counsel's statement is that once these documents were found, the counselor's office was notified and then immediately notified the archives. By the next morning, the archives had picked those documents.

White House officials also mostly appearing to do what they've done throughout the course of the president's time in office, stay very far away from ongoing investigations. They don't want to have any involvement or any perception of any involvement. So it's probably unlikely you're going to hear them weigh in, in any way, shape, or form. We kind of saw that in live form from the president just now down in Mexico City.

And we talked to officials, they made clear, the president's focus right now remains on that highly anticipated bilateral meeting with the Mexican president. It's something he's been preparing for over the course of the last several weeks. The first sit-down in Mexico between those two presidents since 2014. Officials at this point in time really pointing just to the on-the-record statement that the president had no knowledge of things in advance.

BURNETT: All right. Certainly not the development that they would have in any way have wanted, no matter how you look at it, though. Phil, thank you very much.

The new Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee already responding saying, quote, how ironic that classified documents from Joe Biden's time as vice president were found in a private office. It comes as the House finally passed that rules package which authorized the creation of a select subcommittee investigating the, quote, weaponization of federal agencies like the Justice Department and the FBI.

Melanie Zanona is on Capitol Hill for us tonight.

And, Melanie, what are you hearing there?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, Republicans are really jumping all over this news. And they see this as an opportunity to defend former President Donald Trump.

James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he said this is something they might potentially investigate themselves. He is already sending a letter to seek more information about these documents. He also told my colleagues, is this White House going to be raided tonight? Are they going to raid the Biden center?

This is further concern that there is a two-tiered justice system. And, meanwhile, Speaker Kevin McCarthy told Manu Raju earlier that he thinks Democrats overplayed their hand when it comes to the Mar-a-Lago documents. And then Byron Donalds, a Republican congressman from Florida, said on our air a little bit ago that he has concerns about the idea of classified documents being taken out of the Intelligence Committee.

Now, we should point out, most Republicans did not express the same level of concern when it was learned that Donald Trump had taken classified documents and put them -- had them in Mar-a-Lago. So that's worth remembering here.

But Republicans are in the majority now. They have these powerful perches where they're going to be able to investigate and prioritize what they want to look into.


And, in fact, this House rules package created a select committee to investigate the DOJ and the FBI. That was one of the key concessions that Kevin McCarthy made. Conservatives want to investigate alleged wrongdoing by these agencies. And they will have specifically the power to look into ongoing criminal probes, including those involving Donald Trump.

And, so, I expect that committee is going to be ground zero for confrontations between Republicans and the Department of Justice -- Erin.

BURNETT: Absolutely. Melanie, thank you very much for your reporting.

And I want to go now OUTFRONT to the Republican Congressman David Joyce of Ohio.

And, Congressman, I appreciate your time.

You know, look, I thought we'd be talking about the rules -- the Rules Committee package and the rules passing. But, obviously, we have these developments as well tonight.

So, what is your reaction to the news that classified documents dating back from Biden's time as vice president were found in a private office? I should note, of course, that we understand that he was not aware of them being there, but they were there. What do you say?

REP. DAVID JOYCE (R-OH): Well, Erin, thanks for having me.

I'm just finding out a lot of this, having been buried in Steering Committee meetings all day --

BURNETT: Right. JOYCE: -- and from following up and listening to Melanie. She always does a great job, so I'm sure it's correct.

But as far as -- I was a prosecutor for 25 years before I came here. And I know every time that I've looked at intelligence documents they've always been in a SCIF. So, the idea that they're floating around out there, Democrat or Republican, the idea that these types of documents are out there in the public isn't good for America as a whole or our intelligence community.

BURNETT: No, look, I would hope everybody would agree upon that. You're speaker, of course. McCarthy and the Republican chairman of the Oversight Committee, James Comer, are drawing comparisons to Mar-a- Lago.

And, of course, they're -- you know, Trump admitted that he knew about it, right? He said that he had declassified documents just by thinking about it, and the Archives had request documents. They didn't receive them all. Two subpoenas, they still didn't get them all.

You know, we know that there was an effort not to hand over documents. Obviously, the word "obstruction" comes with legal connotations and they are still deciding whether to pursue an indictment there.

But do you accept that there may be -- that the differences may really matter?

JOYCE: Well, obviously, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I mean, if it's illegal, then it's illegal for Democrats, Republicans, or any citizen who would happen to take those documents outside the control facilities in which they're normally kept.

But I would hope that they're going to -- one thing about the law is it's enforced equally to all Americans. And so if, in fact, there is an issue that the DOJ will do what's right and rein this in and take care of business.

BURNETT: OK. So, this comes, of course, as the House Republicans are going to establish a select committee, we know, to investigate what they say is the "weaponization", that's the word they used, of federal agencies, and that includes the Justice Department and the FBI.

Do you think that committee is going to be investigating this? And I should note, of course, that the DOJ and the special counsel have assigned this investigation to a U.S. attorney who was appointed by President Trump.

JOYCE: Well, I got great faith in the justice system until they prove otherwise. I got to admit, I've been a little let down in some of the things I've seen about the weaponization of the FBI, because I know the rank-and-file agents that I worked with over the years have all cared about one thing. We were on team justice and we were out to get things done.

I hope that would continue, and it's not getting taken away, that idea of we're one team and we're all fighting for team justice just because we're here in D.C.

But, again, if it's a crime to have these things outside of their controlled setting, then no matter who it is, they should be held accountable.

BURNETT: I want to ask you one other question. You know, we were all here many hours last week watching you all. And, you know, one of the people I spoke to was your colleague Ro Khanna, a Democrat.

And when all of this looked like maybe Speaker McCarthy was not going to be Speaker McCarthy, Ro Khanna came out and said there were a few moderate Republicans, a few people he might consider possibly supporting.

And he was -- they weren't a lot of people who agree with that. But you were on his list.

And I just wanted to give you a chance to respond to that. What does that say to you? That your -- that you have colleagues across the aisle who respect you and would see you in that way? Is it something you're proud of?

JOYCE: Yes, absolutely. Not only do I think Ro is a visionary. He also has a beautiful wife who happens to be a Buckeye.

But that being said, you know, look, all you're ever truly worth here is your handshake and your word. And I made a point of doing that. When I work with Democrats or Republicans, they know that I'm an honest broker.

I'm going to work with them to try to resolve issues because my job isn't here to get on TikTok or any of these stupid media shows -- not -- I mean, instant social media type stuff. My job here is to get things done.

And, so, they realize that I'm going to work with them and I'm going to pursue their goals and if we have come to an agreement on things, that I will fight just as hard for those positions in my Republican committees as I will with them as Democrats on their committees.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Congressman Joyce, thank you.

JOYCE: Thank you very much, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And now, Karen Finney, our political commentator and former senior spokesperson for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

And, Karen, let me just give you a chance to respond to a few of the things that Congressman Dave Joyce just said.


Obviously, you know, talking about wanting the law to be applied equally -- look, the reality of it is here is that what's at stake for Trump was not just having the classified documents but his obstruction of that reality. But, from a political perspective, Karen, is that something that's going to matter?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what you're going to see is more of what we saw earlier. I didn't see the congressman just do it, but others earlier tonight on our air have just tried to muddy the waters, right, that documents are documents.

And as we were saying, I mean, what is legal versus political are very different. And, obviously, this appears to be yet another example, quite frankly, of, you know, President Biden exemplary of this is how things should work versus Donald Trump.

This is the abomination of how they should not work, particularly given that, as you've been reporting, we seem to know that it's roughly, we're talking about ten to a dozen documents. Once they were discovered, they were handed over immediately. That has now gone through the appropriate process versus obstruction of justice and, you know, the raid on Mar-a-Lago. And we're talking about hundreds of documents.

And I went back, Erin, to just remind myself that one of the things that we know from that time was, you know, things like President Trump using classified information about -- he claimed to have information about President Macron of France's love life. I mean, that's an abuse of power and abuse of the information.

BURNETT: Right. And certainly there's nothing like that, you know, even remotely being alleged here. These were found in a locked closet in an office that then vice president, now president says he was not -- he had no idea about.

The reality of it is, of course, is obstruction really matters, right? Two subpoenas, an FBI search, all these things, because you don't hand everything over really matters. But when President Biden was asked after the Mar-a-Lago raid to his reaction about classified documents being found at Trump's home, he said this.


INTERVIEWER: When you saw the photograph of the top-secret documents laid out on the floor at Mar-a-Lago, what did you think to yourself? Looking at that image?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How that could possibly happen. How anyone could be that irresponsible. And I thought, what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods? By that, I mean, names of people who helped, et cetera. And it's just totally irresponsible.


BURNETT: And, of course, Karen, that's now, you know -- that's a sound bite.

FINNEY: It is a sound bite. And, at this point, we don't know in terms of the documents that were discovered in then Vice President Biden's office that had been turned over what the nature of those documents were, and I think some of the same questions certainly will be applied.

There's one sort of political thing to this, though, that I wanted to mention, Erin. As you mention, we went through a lot last week to get Kevin McCarthy as the speaker of the House, we're waiting to see the vote on the rules package. Remember that one of the motivations that Republican members were trying to use to get their caucus together was their eagerness to get going on the investigations. Tonight, they've fortunately got another motivator, don't they?

BURNETT: Yeah. All right. Karen, thank you very much.

FINNEY: Thanks.

BURNETT: And, next, we have new audio just into OUTFRONT revealing the chaos engulfing Putin's hospitals right now, as one of the bloodiest battles of the war is underway.

Plus, Taiwan says a record 28 Chinese airplanes crossed into its air space, including nuclear capable bombers. And tonight, top military experts are gaming out a frightening scenario. If China invades Taiwan, just how many American soldiers could be killed?



BURNETT: Tonight, Russian hospitals being compared to prisons. New intercepted audio into OUTFRONT reveals the chaos inside Russia's hospitals as hundreds and thousands of troops are returning home, injured.


SOLDIER (through translator): Who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) knows? I don't know. Buddy, let me tell you, it's like prison in the hospital. Do you copy? You can't leave, you can't go anywhere for (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sake, you copy?

First of all, they have taken us (EXPLETIVE DELETED), for three days to the hospital, (EXPLETIVE DELETED), all across Russia, you know? They are spilling into every city, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). All the hospitals are overflowing for (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sake. It's totally (EXPLETIVE DELETED), buddy.

FRIEND (through translator): Wow, you've got to be (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me. I guess you're still (EXPLETIVE DELETED) then, huh? (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hell.


BURNETT: Russian hospitals overflowing, I should be clear. Tens of thousands returning home injured as the situation on the ground gets more dire by the day, including bloody battles in one town quickly becoming the epicenter of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Scott McLean is OUTFRONT in Kyiv with more.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amidst the destruction, there's movement. An unlikely sign of survival, then commotion as rescue crews arrive to pull the victim out.

A few feet away, a police officer walks out carrying an injured girl who officials say is just 13 years old, bloodied, but alive. Ukraine says on Monday a Russian missile strike hit a market in a village some 25 miles from the front line. Local officials say that two people died and at least six others were hurt.

Over the weekend the Russians launched a series of missile strikes on Kramatorsk. They say in retaliation for a devastating new year's strike on a Russian makeshift barracks, Ukraine insists there were many more.

Russia claims its retaliatory strikes killed more than 600 Ukrainian troops. Ukraine called that nonsense.


And CNN's team the city found no evidence to suggest there had been a mass casualty event, just a massive crater in front of high school, and a lot of broken glass.

Some of the fiercest fighting is taking place in Bakhmut and nearby Soledar. A visiting Ukrainian general saw the destruction along the main road and a hype of activity as medics worked to treat an injured soldier in an undisclosed location.

Near Bakhmut, Ukrainian drone captured the moment a bomb is dropped on Russian troops carrying an injured soldier. Both Kyiv and some Russian military bloggers believe Moscow is eyeing a fresh round to bolster the front lines. The Kremlin has firmly denied it, but would also deny the plans ahead of first mass mobilization in the fall.

On Sunday, 50 Russian prisoners of war were swapped for 50 Ukrainians, held captive without any news from the battlefield.

"What's going on with Izium?" one soldier asked. "Izium has been liberated," he's told. "He was recaptured way back in September."


BURNETT: Well, Scott, is with me now.

And, Scott, you know, after that report, the head of the Russian mercenary group, the Wagner group, is now talking about the Russian assault on Bakhmut and the Soledar you spoke to, spoke about, of Soledar.

Why is this so important to them? MCLEAN: So, first, I should point out, Erin, the Ukrainians say the

Russians are now launching a powerful new assault on Soledar using artillery, rockets, and, of course, Wagner mercenaries as well. And as you said, the head of Wagner said recently that what makes Soledar at least in part such a prize on the battlefield is the salt mines, which makes an ideal place for storing troops, or hiding troops and hiding weapons.

The Russians also launched another missile strike on Kramatorsk just tonight. It hit a roadway killing two people inside a car. It is not clear what if any military target there was in the area -- Erin.

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

And next, a record number of Chinese warplanes crossing into Taiwan. And now military analysts wondering what a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would look like? It includes mass loss of American life. It's a report you'll see first OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, the drumbeat of war. Taiwan says 28 Chinese warplanes including fighter jets and nuclear capable bombers crossed into its airspace. As the tension between Taiwan and China is growing, a top military analyst warned that an invasion could cost many American lives.

Oren Liebermann has this report you'll see first OUTFRONT.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taiwan is perhaps the most sensitive flash point between the U.S. and China. Some experts warning that Beijing's use of force is drawing closer. The chairman made it a priority for Beijing which hasn't ruled out the use of force, a decision that could cost thousands of lives for China, Taiwan, and America.

A war game from the center for strategic and international studies begins with a Chinese missile barrage against Taiwan's military in 2026, destroying much of its air force and navy. Followed by an amphibious across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwanese forces fight back using advanced U.S. weaponry. Patriot missiles for air defense, and ship missiles and torpedoes for sea defense and the ground forces to defend the beach heads.

MARK CANCIAN, SENIOR ADVISER, CSIS INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAM: Whatever the Taiwanese are going to fight the war with, they have to have that when the war begins.

LIEBERMANN: In every scenario, China landed forces on Taiwan but only the pessimistic cases does Beijing avoid defeat. But victory for the U.S. and Taiwan comes at a great cost. The war game assesses the U.S. loses 10 to 20 combat ships including

two aircraft carriers and 200 to 400 military aircraft. In three weeks of fighting, the U.S. suffers more than 3,000 troops killed in action. That's about half of what the U.S. suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan over two decades. America's global position is damaged for years.

China loses 90 percent of the amphibious fleet and 52 major surface warships and the air force loses more than 160 combat aircraft.

Crucial to this outcome is the stockpile of precision guided munitions. Taiwan would need more U.S. supply harpoon anti-ship missiles which may be in short supply because these missiles have been sent to Ukraine. The U.S. needs its own long range anti-ship missiles and this supply is one of the big risks.

CANCIAN: It runs out within typically the first couple of days. And when that runs out, then the United States has to use shorter range munitions. They can be effective. It increases losses and increases risk.

LIEBERMANN: China has the world's largest navy with about 340 ships and submarines compared to nearly 300 for the U.S. China's army has 1 million active duty service duty members and it's the third largest air force in the world.

The top U.S. general says the key to avoiding conflict is deterrence.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: As long as we remain number one, then we will deter the war that people worry about, a great power wore between China and the United States.


LIEBERMANN: Crucially, this war game does not ask the question of what would happen to make China decide to use military force to invade Taiwan? That remains an open question. Especially given the united reaction of the West to Russia's invasion of Ukraine which crippled Russia's economy. Would China run the same risk or use the industrial and economic power to control Taiwan instead of its military? And that, Erin, is a critical question.

BURNETT: Oren, thank you very much. Sobering.

And thanks so much for joining us.

Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime on CNN Go.

"AC360" meantime starts now.