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Erin Burnett Outfront
New Video: Massive Blast In Soledar Targets Apparent Russian Troops; New Details About Biden's Private Office Where Docs Were Found; Questions Grow About What Caused Presley's Cardiac Arrest, Death; 900+ Million "Likely" Infected With COVID In China: Report. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 13, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next:
A deadly power struggle. Russia zeroing in on one small town already claiming victory, Ukraine says not so fast. We have new video in tonight of Ukrainian forces taking out a shelter with dozens of Russian soldiers inside. Powerful explosion that tells a major story.
Plus, chilling online post reportedly from the Idaho murders suspect, including a message about, quote, demons in my head mocking me. The reporter breaking the story is my guest.
And in the story, you'll see first out front, a man who sparked protest against Xi Jinping zero-COVID policy is missing tonight. As his followers compare him to the brave man standing in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square. We have a special report from Selina Wang.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, deadly explosions. Tonight, we're getting remarkable new video of the bloody battle for power in Soledar, as that town is on the cusp of falling to Russian control. We're going to show you this new video here.
This is -- what you're looking at, what appears to be a group of Russian soldiers walking along the street in Soledar, towards that building with the green roof. Just to give you a sense of your bearings there.
According to Ukraine, the building was being used as a shelter for Russian troops. They're walking, there is a building. And then moments later, that building is blown to pieces.
A Ukrainian soldier says they were at least 25 Russians inside that building. It's graphic, what you're seeing human lives extinguished there. But that forces home the reality of the total death and destruction that's completely leveled the town of Soledar to stand for where the war is right now. Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tonight claims his forces
are still putting up a fight in Soledar. But Putin's brutal private army, the Wagner Group, which has been leading the fight there, does appear to have the upper hand.
Now, if the notorious Wagner Group can pull this off, it would be a victory, a pyrrhic one perhaps for this private military force. It's run of course by Yevgeny Prigozhin. It would be morale boost for Russia.
Putin's state television is making the most of it, already doing a victory lap. Here's what they're saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER SIMONOV, RIAFAN JOURNALIST EMBEDDED WITH WAGNER IN SOLEDAR (through translator): The most striking thing to me is the enormous number of dead Ukrainian fighters. Of course I can't talk about statistics. I don't think anyone can really say. But I saw about 10 to 15 dead soldiers in the entryway of each building where their troops were holed up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The situation in Soledar is not easy. The enemy doesn't reveal themselves, because of the artillery fire. So we can't find them. But it's obvious, we've decimated them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The defense minister of Russia posted a message praising the, quote, courageous and selfless actions of the volunteers of the Wagner assault squad.
This is very significant that they would do this because the former military leadership in Russia is now an internal battle, a duel, against the Wagner group, led by Prigozhin. They're fighting for power. So, that -- that's sort of congratulation is important.
But this all comes down to Soledar itself, which has little strategic importance. So, Russia, as I said, I called it a pyrrhic victory, they may win it for now. What they fought for, though, is a hamlet, and they have sacrificed untold lives threat. It's now completely leveled. It's extremely limited if any strategic importance.
One Ukrainian soldier tells CNN that when his unit questioned the capture of Wagner fighter there, he told them only three members of his 35 member platoon even survived. That's the depth that the Russians are enduring now.
And the incredible failures of Russia's military way beyond this that we've all seen have cause Putin to publicly lose his cool. There was a meeting today, in the context of a consistently stern and unemotional Putin that we've all seen so much. It's worth showing to you.
So, today, Putin met with his trade minister and the meeting was about the delivery of military aircraft. And so, let me play what happened for you for all to see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDE NT (through translator): Why are you fooling around?
RUSSIAN OFFICIAL (through translator): It will be ready during this quarter based on the funds available under the budget.
PUTIN: I want all of this to be done within a month.
RUSSIAN OFFICIAL: We will try to do our best.
PUTIN: No, do not try to do your best. Please get it done in a month, no later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Why are you fooling around? I want it down within a month. That anger, that impatient nature, that desperation now publicly on display.
Ben Wedeman is OUTFRONT. He is live in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, tonight.
And, Ben, you are outside Soledar today. You spoke with Ukrainian troops fighting there.
And what did they tell you?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, given that the Ukrainians are on the defensive, this has been a particularly bloody battle. We were surprised and speaking with the soldiers just how upbeat they were.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): One mortar round off, the crew prepares for the next.
The target, Russian positions in Soledar. The leader of this national guard mortar unit, who gave us only his nickname, "Engineer", says they need help to stop the enemy from advancing.
We need 120 millimeter rounds for the mortar he says. We'd also be happy if someone gave us as a surprise 23 mortars.
The battle for Soledar rages on. Russian officials claimed they've seized a town. The Ukrainian military insists they still control part of it.
What the Russians now control is under heavy fire.
Ukrainian tactics are designed to make every step forward come at a heavy price. Despite the battle nearby, this soldier nick manned Sova is certain of
how the war will end.
To be honest, in the first days, I had some doubts because according to the news, Russia has the strongest army, he says. But since we've pushed them back from Kyiv, and Kharkiv, I'm confident we can win.
For the few remaining civilians near Soledar, exhaustion. Nine months like this, says Valentina, flying back and forth over my head.
With conflicting rumors coming from the town, Paulina says her family is leaving.
The soldiers are surrounded, she tells me. My sister's pregnant, decided to leave. So, we'll follow her.
Late afternoon, and Ukrainian marines prepare for fresh salvo with rockets.
The battle for Soledar is not over yet.
WEDEMAN (on camera): And given that it's taken so long for the Russians to take a town that had a prewar population of just 10,000 speaks volumes about their ability in the field, and also the resistance of Ukrainian forces -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Ben, thank you very much.
Obviously, Ben is in Soledar today.
And next, now, let's go to retired Colonel Cedric Leighton, our CNN military analyst, and Andrei Soldatov, the Russian investigative journalist whose news site has been blocked in Russia. He's the author of "The Compatriots: The Russian Exiles Who Fought Against the Kremlin". He has some new reporting for us tonight about what's going on inside the Kremlin.
And I do want to get to that in just a moment.
First, though, Colonel Leighton, from the reporting here you just see from Ben, the brutal fight for Soledar, and as Ben said, the Ukrainian tactic, the key one there in this town, which is of such limited strategic importance, is to kill as many fighters of the Wagner group as possible, right, talking about one Ukrainian soldier saying that they had taken -- captured one member of the Wagner group. He said only three members of his 35 member platoon are even still alive.
Is it -- is this toll for Russia, Colonel, in any scenario worth it to win at town, that when it had people who lived in, it there's no structures even left essentially, had only 10,000 people?
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah, Erin, from our standpoint, from the Western viewpoint, we would say that it's absolutely not worth that. You don't put that many stores that risk. You don't let that many soldiers die for something that is really nothing, that's been decimated like you described and Ben described.
But from the Russian point of view, especially from Putin's point of view, any type of victory is important now. And what he's doing is he's finding a place where he can not only make the stand, but take it over. And that is why Soledar has become so important to Putin. It's a symbolic, like you said earlier, pyrrhic victory. But if he does go through with it, it will be a victory that he can then tout in his propaganda organs and that's really what he's doing.
BURNETT: Andrei, I want to show again that video I shared a moment ago. This is new video of a massive explosion, soldiers walking down the street, they go into that building with the green top. And then it explodes.
We understand that building was housing Russian troops, perhaps 25 of them.
Obviously, it's unclear. But they walk in and then it's targeted by the Ukrainians.
So, Andrei, when you look at that, and you see so much death, one explosion, 25 lives lost, why is Soledar so important to Putin?
ANDREI SOLDATOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, it's important not only for Putin but also for the generals. Remember that all the things that the Russian army have been doing for the last six months was losing territory and soldiers for nothing. And the Russian army and got permission to withdraw from Kherson, only promising something at the battlefield. Some sort of success, some victory.
And that's why our generals are so desperate to get the success in Soledar. That's why we had this bizarre infighting between the generals and Prigozhin about who is (INAUDIBLE) for his victory. And, of course, we speak of, they do not think of soldiers' lives.
BURNETT: No, no, they don't. It's unbelievable to think about it though.
And, Colonel, the pressure, the desperate need for any kind of a victory, even though it isn't a victory at all, is what we heard from Putin today, you know? So, he has his meeting with the minister of trade and industry and talking about getting orders from military and civilian aircraft, right? Where are they? Where are they?
So, I played a moment -- I played a moment ago, he then went on to berate the minister saying, it's taken too long, much too long. Do we not understand the circumstances we are in? You know, this after he said, why are you fooling around?
It was -- it was incredible to see that publicly, Colonel, which certainly maybe a sign of a psychological state, but was not by accident, or by passion only.
LEIGHTON: That's right. And, Erin, you know, what he's doing here is actually showing the Russian people that he's the strong leader. And this plays fairly well with some of the audiences in Putin's base.
And what he's trying to do is show that he's in fact in charge. He's the one demanding accountability. He's the one that's telling this junior minister that he needs to step it up, and make the aircraft production in this case work for him. And that's -- that's something that we see, but it's also pointing to one other fact, and that's this, that the Russian industrial base is not keeping up with the demands of this war.
BURNETT: No, not even close, right? We see with ammunition, right, the 75 percent drop in their ability to do that.
So, Andrei, in this context, I want to ask you about your reporting. You point to Telegram post just the other day where Dmitry Medvedev, the former president of Russia, the current deputy head of the Russian security council, says and you quote him, in time of war, there have always been special rules and quite groups of impeccably inconspicuous people who effectively enforce them.
It sounds ominous, and it is. You say it's an open call for the use of assassins to deal with Russians overseas. Tell us about this.
SOLDATOV: Yeah, I was justifying what was caused by an interview done by a famous Russian artist (INAUDIBLE) and he was very critical of the war. He attacked the war waged by the Kremlin. That was used as an excuse by Medvedev -- not only by him but by members of the Russian parliament to state Duma to voice new measures against people who left the country, who still spoke against the war. And a number of measures really what it's about, confiscation of the property, cancel of passports, statement of citizenship which reminds me of the Soviet Union. And finally Medvedev, as you said, he openly called for the use of assassins.
BURNETT: Which I know, we know we hear about. Russians, prominent Russians, business people being killed overseas. But you say that this is a step beyond, that this is different?
SOLDATOV: Yes, because, officially the Russian side, the Russian special forces are killing abroad the terrorists, as we have in the Russian legislation. Now, we have Medvedev openly saying that it's fun to kill people who just speaking against the Kremlin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it. Colonel, your time, and, Andrei, your time and you're new reporting to share. Thank you.
And next, CNN obtaining the floor plan of Biden's former office, where the first batch of classified documents were found. So, where exactly where they? As we learn more about what was in them.
Plus, revealing new messages reported from the suspect in the Idaho stabbing deaths, talking about suffering from a rare neurological condition. "The New York Times" reporter who's breaking this story and has the message as is OUTFRONT next.
Plus, I'll speak to a reporter who was one of the last, last people to publicly see and speak to Lisa Marie Presley at the Golden Globe Awards this past Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Hey, Lisa, how are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, inside Joe Biden's office where the first batch of classified documents that we know about were found. CNN's obtained a floor plan. You see it on the screen now off the Penn Biden Center, which is the office that Biden set up after leaving the White House as VP in 2017.
You can see Biden's former office highlighted in blue, the same office's attorneys were cleaning out when they found classified files in a locked closet. Three of the closets closest to this office are highlighted in yellow. So, you can see that on your screen, because it comes as exclusive CNN reporting reveals the documents included, U.S. intelligence memos, briefing materials involving Ukraine, Iran, and in the UK. Briefing memos for calls for former British and Polish prime ministers, and a memo from Biden to President Obama.
Now, obviously, we're talking about this particular batch of documents from that office.
Paula Reid is OUTFRONT.
So, Paula, what else did you know now about the office where this specific group of documents was found?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Erin, this is new reporting from our team, Megan Vasquez, Marshall Cohen, M.J. Lee, Arlette Saenz and Zack Cohen. It really helps you understand the space where this first batch of documents was found and set off this special counsel probe.
We know that Biden's attorneys discovered these documents. They're preparing to leave the office. It was actually about five -- less than five years after it was opened, and it's really interesting because CNN has obtained images, and a floor plan of the space, and you can really get a sense of where Biden spending his time after his vice presidency. He's attempting to build foreign policy think tank.
And according to our sources, here's how this works. When visitors enter the building, they would check in with a distaff, they've taken all their up to the center offices, as CNN's told, Biden didn't spend much time there. And according to a source familiar with the layout, Kathy Chung, who's Biden's executive assistant at the time, and one other person sat a desk directly outside Biden's office. Now, that is significant, Erin, because Chung who now works at the
Pentagon, she was actually interviewed in the review of these classified documents found in Biden's personal office. She has not responded to our request for comment.
But Biden's lawyers and the Department of Justice, they have not disclosed exactly where these documents were found within the office other than they were in a locked closet. These floor plans, they show that the Biden Penn Center, closets, stored spaces, it was scattered throughout this area.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Paula.
Let's go now to Astead Herndon, national political reporter for "The New York Times", along with Ryan Goodman, co-editor in chief of "Just Security" and a former special counsel at the Defense Department.
So, Ryan, obviously, we're talking here and what Paula's focusing in was the office, right, which was separate from the garage and home documents. But from the blueprint that we have of the office showing the private office, showing the nearby closets and that we understand that the lawyers found these documents in a closet, what questions do you have now based on this?
RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR IN CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: So, the big question is who had access to that office, who might've used the office, who's located proximate to the office, so that all of these people do not have security clearances and all of these people do not have the authority to have access to classified materials. That's important as a legal matter because if it were determined that Biden willfully retained the documents for which there is currently no evidence or reason to suspect. But if that box were checked off and then they found that other people had access to those documents, it would really ratchet up the Justice Department's reasons to prosecute if the information is disseminated to third parties. That's a key variable for them.
BURNETT: And if you do not have willful but you do have other people having access, which could be the case here and certainly in the garage could be the case, we don't know yet, does that matter if you check box two but not box one?
GOODMAN: It does not matter, as a matter of criminal law, because you have to check box one.
BURNETT: OK. So, box one, so it has to be willful even if someone has access to it?
GOODMAN: That's right.
BURNETT: OK. And that's significant, because as you point out, no evidence of willful at this time in any way.
But, Astead, this comes at the same time that House Republicans and Republicans are certainly making a lot of hay of this. The House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan says he is launching a probe into the Justice Department's handling of this.
Now, there are multiple differences on the face of it. There are differences between Trump and Biden's handling of the documents. There is also of course a special counsel appointed in each. So there is fair treatment. They're looking into each of them.
And yet this is what we heard from Jim Jordan and others again and again. Here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The double standard is obvious.
The double standard, I think, is starting to become evident. We've seen the double standard time and time again. I've heard it from constituents all the time. They're sick of the double standard that they see out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Okay. He's betting on those words.
ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He is. And I think that is in line with the kind of narrative of victimhood that we have seen from a lot of that Republican right that we have had for the entirety of the Trump administration was that Democrats were coming after Trump and Trump voters as a proxy for trying to cut out the Republican Party. They're going to lean on that and using double standard, he's really doing what we used to say is a false equivalent. He's trying to flatten these two events.
But while the White House probably isn't worried about the legal question because they have really said over and over, they do not believe the Biden took this willfully, they are worried about the political question because that could play into the minds of voters or make it harder to prosecute Donald Trump. And so, even if it is not a literal kind of one plus one on this front, in politics, that sort of truth doesn't always matter, particularly when lay voters aren't necessarily coming to this issue, but the full set of facts that we know legal folks are and the kind of political insiders are. The voters might just see two special counsels and call it a wash.
BURNETT: Right, right, they could. And in that case they are, right? It's two special counsels. They made sure that the one appointed to oversee Biden was appointed himself by Trump. I mean, this has been done very carefully.
So, Ryan, we also have exclusive reporting on what's in the documents. So, I mentioned part of the -- Paula was going through some of this as well -- U.S. intelligence memos, briefing materials involving Ukraine, Iran, and the U.K., briefing memos for phone calls with prime minister of Poland and the former minister of the U.K., and a memo from Biden to then President Obama.
[19:25:07] So, you know, you've been clear, you have to check the box of willful before you get anywhere else. But how much does what's in the documents themselves matter?
GOODMAN: At some level, it doesn't really matter as long as we're talking about top-secret information which CNN is reporting that this is classified as top-secret and top-secret SCI, which is an even higher level.
For that purpose, that means that the intelligence community has deemed that if it were to get out, that information could cause severe exceptional damage to the U.S. national security. That's plenty for the criminal statute.
And in some of these cases, some of those documents, the sounds of them, they're more innocuous, they're not as significant. I get briefing before Vice President Biden at the time is going to speak to the European Council president.
If there were a criminal case, which I do not think there will be one, that would be the kind of evidence that they could present at trial that they wouldn't be as worried about that getting out in terms of compromising intelligence.
BUIRNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
OUFRONT next, the disturbing new messages reportedly from the Idaho murder suspect talking about being stuck in a void of nothing with no emotions battling demons. The reporter who has obtained all of these messages is OUTFRONT next.
Plus, new video into CNN of Lisa Marie Presley in the just days before she died.
BURNETT: Tonight, "The New York Times" obtaining chilling posts it says are from the Idaho murder suspect. Bryan Kohberger as a teenager. "The Times" sharing screen grabs of the post with OUTFRONT in which Kohberger reportedly says he feels no emotion, little remorse.
One says, quote, as I hug my family, I look into their faces, I see nothing. It is like I am looking at a video game.
OUTFRONT now, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, the reporter who broke this story.
And, Nick, I know that you identified and have now read through hundreds of messages from about a decade of time that you say were written by Kohberger. So, this would go from the time he was a teenager all the way until now. Tell me more about what stood out to you in these posts?
NICHOLAS BOGEL-BURROUGHS, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, so, it begins with these posts on a forum website, when he's about 16 years old. And he's talking about feeling a range of mental health conditions, or problems with this life. He talks about not being able to feel emotions, feeling like he's detached from the world. And as you, mentioned when he hugs his own family. He sees nothing.
He also described looking at has lived, going through the motions like it's a video game. And he's really hard on himself, saying he feels worthless that he's a jerk to people in his life and doesn't feel bad about it afterwards. He also talked particularly about his dad saying that he treats his dad like dirt even though he thinks of him as a good guy. And it's -- this is all back when he's in about high school, in his later teen years.
What we know about his life after that is that he ends up becoming addicted to heroin around the time that he graduated high school, in 2013 and he's in and out of rehab. But then what's interesting is after that it seems like his life turns around some wide he goes to community college and starts studying psychology and starts messaging other friends about saying, he's interested in studying the minds of criminals. It seems like he's found a passion of some kind, in psychology, in criminology.
BOGEL-BURROUGHS: And then he ends up going, of course, as we know to cross the country from Pennsylvania where he grew up, to Washington state last summer. And starts a PhD program in criminology there.
BURNETT: So, you know, it's amazing to see this. You had a chance to read all through this, which has to be difficult. You say that one of his friends told you that Kohberger suffered from a neurological condition called a visual snow, where people basically as you describe, it see scattered dots, like sort of static on a television, to people of a certain age. One of the posts you shared with us says and I quote, it's as if the ringing in my ears and the fuzz in my vision is simply all the demons in my head mocking me.
What else do you know about the context there?
BOGEL-BURROUGHS: The visual snow is a really little understood condition. It's like you said static in your vision, like an old television. And there's really -- the cause is still not fully clear. But it really can be debilitating for some people.
You know, I want to be clear, it's not a sign of mental illness, and it's not something that anyone has said quite explain these heinous killings. But it's something that he complained a lot about as a teenager both to friends and on these online posts. And that was a couple of his complaints about life in general.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Nick, thank you very much. I appreciate you sharing your reporting with us in some of those posts, as disturbing as they are, to try to understand this. Thank you.
And on the back of Nick's reporting, let's now bring in Jimmy Fallon. He's a neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at UC-Irvine. So, Jim, you know, you hear Nick, "The New York Times" reporter,
talking about Kohberger suffering from a condition called visual snow, and "The Times" says he referenced this with the initials VS, and an online post. That says, when I get home, I mean to my family. This started when VS did. I felt no emotion.
Is there anything you can tell us about this visual snow condition?
JAMES FALLON, NEUROSCIENTIST: The visual snow is often associated with migrant and it's thought to be generated by hyper stimulated neurons, the base of the temporal lobe, one visual processing, a lot of gradual processing at curves. And so, yeah, it's debilitating, almost nothing is known about it, but it is a syndrome that -- you know, you never hear about being associated with murder or anything like that.
Although, if you read the rest of his posts, it seems clear that he's got a depersonalization syndrome, which is dissociative disorder where you feel separated from yourself. And that --
BURNETT: And is that when you're talking about -- as nick was saying, when he looks at the faces of his family members, he says that he feels nothing. Is that what you're referring to?
FALLON: Well, yes, you have at the top of your head right here, you have a GPS system. What it does, it puts together your whole world, it tells you where your eyes are, relationship to your head, with relationship to the world. And then it adds on a motion to that, and all of that apparatus it seems to be damaged.
And so, he doesn't even connect with himself. So, he doesn't even have self empathy, which is extraordinary, right? And there's a lack of empathy, between others and on himself -- I'm not saying he's a psychopath. But it's such a curious combination of things.
But, you know, he was a heroin addict, and the heroine can trigger this dissociation, and depersonalization syndrome. It's like they're living in a dream, where you are watching yourself, you could see this in schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder, different psychiatric disorders where people are separate from themselves. You see people who take hallucinogens --
FALLON: -- or they try -- so, you see in dream states -- we've measured all sorts of dreams, you see this. So, anybody who's had the strange dreams for their hanging over themselves, or an anesthesia. And so, people have experience, this but not all the time it's not that they feel that it's occurring 100 percent of the time.
In his case, it seems as though he's living this all the time, like he's in a dream state. A very disturbing dreams state.
BURNETT: Very disturbing. Well, Jim, thank you very much.
FALLON: He knows all the words, he knows -- he knows, he studied this.
BURNETT: Right, and that I think the most bizarre part. He's able to make that connection, enable to study it at all as well, and choose that entire path of learning.
Thank you so much. I appreciate your time, Jim.
FALLON: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, growing questions tonight about what exactly cause Lisa Marie Presley's cardiac arrest. New video into OUTFRONT of Presley at the Golden Globe, just before her death. Entertainment reformer Kevin Frazier, who spoke to her there, is my guest.
And one man in China who sparked the anti-COVID lockdown protests, he's missing tonight. We have more on his story this hour.
BURNETT: Tonight, new video out front of Lisa Marie Presley, just days before the only child of Elvis Presley died from an apparent cardiac arrest. You can see here on Tuesday, walking slowly, being helped on the stairs at the Golden Globes. She is also her asking her friend, the talent manager, for his support during this interview with Billy Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY BUSH, TV HOST: Well, tonight will be a wonderful night for Elvis.
LISA MARIE PRESLEY, CELEBRITY: Yes, I hope so.
BUSH: And have you gotten to know Austin Butler a little bit.
PRESLEY: Yeah. A lot, a lot actually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This hour, it is still not clear what caused her death. Her mother, Priscilla Presley, saying in a statement that her daughter had been receiving medical attention but did not share anything more about how this would happen.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
DISPATCHER: Engine 125, squad 68, full arrest. KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paramedics
responded to an emergency call for help. Hours later, Priscilla Presley, mother of Lisa Marie Presley, said her daughter was rushed to the hospital and then shared with fans that the daughter of Elvis had died at age 54.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just -- I got chills because notice how her father passed.
LAH: The child of the king of rock and roll lost her father when she was nine, had apparently succumbed to cardiac arrest.
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: There are about 350,000 cardiac arrests every year in the United States. That is about one almost every minute in this country. So it is a very common occurrence. And there are a lot of things that could cause a cardiac arrest.
LAH: Without an autopsy, says cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Reiner, it is impossible to know why a 54 year old woman would suddenly suffer from cardiac arrest. Just two days before, mother and daughter had attended the Golden Globes, where a biopic on Elvis was honored.
Presley leaned on a friend during this interview, and just days before the awards show, she spoke at Graceland, withdrawing from public view that a celebration of what would have been her famous father's 88th birthday.
PRESLEY: They keep saying you are the only people who could bring me out of my house --
LAH: Presley had previously lived a very public life, marrying the king of pop before she would embark on a singing career of her own.
While she left the limelight in recent years, she shared her personal struggles. Presley wrote about her addiction to opioids saying in the forward of this book: You may read this and wonder how after losing people close to me I also felt prey to opioids.
After losing one of her four children to suicide over two years ago, she wrote, you do not get over it, you do not move on, period.
LAH (on camera): Dr. Reiner says that in the wake of Presley's cardiac arrest, as well as the cardiac arrest of sports writer Grant Wahl, and NFL player Damar Hamlin, there has been a scary and unfortunate rise of misinformation, Erin, where conspiracy theorists are trying to tie this to the vaccine safety.
BURNETT: OK. Thank you very much, Kyung.
And, joining me now is Kevin Frazier, he's the co-host of "Entertainment Tonight". He interviewed Lisa Marie Presley during her final public appearance at the Golden Globe Awards on Tuesday. And, Kevin, I appreciate your taking the time. I'm sorry to be speaking to under these circumstances, because you are there, you are with Lisa Marie Presley the last time she was seen alive in public. We've got the video of you speaking with her at the Golden Globes for "Entertainment Tonight".
I'll just play one of the exchanges you had with her.
KEVIN FRAZIER, CO-HOST OF "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Sure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRAZIER: Hey, Lisa, how are you?
FRAZIER: What was it -- what was it like watching him?
PRESLEY: Good to see you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Lisa, how are you doing?
PRESLEY: I hear a lot about you from him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. I hear a lot about you.
FRAZIER: What was it like watching Austin on stage during this movie?
PRESLEY: It was mind-blowing, truly mind-blowing. I really didn't know what to do with myself after I saw it. I had to take five days to process it because it was so incredible, and so spot on, and so authentic. That, yeah, I can't even describe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You know, watching that, obviously I am watching it through the screen, the video. She did appear to be a bit unsteady. Maybe her eyes, a little heavy, then she is speaking slowly, maybe misses a couple of parts of words, but this is in retrospect, right, seeing this. You know, we see the video of her on TikTok being helped down the stairs.
What did you see? You know, you were there with her in person, what was your impression at that moment?
FRAZIER: It was immediately clear that she was not 100 percent. But you never speculate on what is going on with someone. She was there to celebrate her father's legacy through Austin. This was a big night. Austin winning the Golden Globe was a big night.
So she would definitely have to be there, want to be there. She has been with him through this entire journey of the movie, "Elvis", and her and her mother seem to be in such a celebratory mood, and you obviously can tell she was not 100 percent. BURNETT: Right, so you felt that there.
And you know so much about her, she was the sole heir to her father's estate, inheriting Graceland when she was 25, and she was there on Sunday. It was the Golden Globes and then on Sunday she was there giving a speech on what would have been Elvis's 88th birthday. Here is a part of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESLEY: It has been a while. I missed you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Lisa!
PRESLEY: I love you. I keep saying you are the only people who can bring me out of my house. I'm not kidding.
And I love you back, that is why I came here.
So today, he would have been 88 years old. It is hard to believe --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Interesting what she said there, you are the only people who could bring it out of my house and I am not kidding. Of course, look at that differently now.
FRAZIER: I think the point there is that she was still grieving the death of her son Benjamin, and she has been very open and honest about that. She penned that article in people about his death.
You never really get over the death of a child. You also have to remember that since she has been small, she has been the focus of everyone's attention as the sole heir, the sole child of Elvis Presley. They got divorced, Priscilla and Elvis got divorced when she was four years old, so then she left Graceland and went to California. And then he passed away when she was nine.
So since then, she has carried that burden. You know, this legacy meant everything to her and her mother. And having been there several times, and watched her record music, and listen to her grow, it was never an easy path for Lisa Marie. She was always trying to figure at her place in this world, but I will tell you that she loved her children and her relationship with her mother was so close and so special.
BURNETT: All right. Kevin, thanks so much. I appreciate you taking the time talking.
FRAZIER: Of course.
BURNETT: And next, the message on this banner against COVID lockdown sent shockwaves through China. The man who hung it up has not been seen since.
This is a new report: it finds that over 900 million people in China have been infected. We'll go to Beijing.
And Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sounding the alarm on America's debt, sitting up the first showdown in Congress since the Republicans won the House.
BURNETT: Tonight, 900 million, that is how many people, at least, have been infected with COVID in China, according to Peking University. It is by far the biggest outbreak in the planet. Infections are forecasted to peak with nearly 4 million cases daily. This, as the man who is a very public statement that sparked the protest against China's zero COVID policy is now missing.
Selina Wang is OUTFRONT.
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The spark that would ignite China, two banners suddenly appeared on a busy overpass in Beijing. The words written on them, so brazenly defying that they make the average Chinese person tremble. They called for an end to zero COVID and even Xi Jinping's rule.
A man disguised as a construction worker hung the banner days before the communist party Congress in October. Smugglers set off to draw attention. The shocking message? Even broadcast over loudspeakers.
Public displays of dissent towards the communist party and Xi Jinping are rare and dangerous in China. He was quickly taken away by authorities and hasn't been seen since.
Some in China are calling him a lone warrior and comparing him to the tank man, the unknown Beijing resident who stood in front of the line of tanks in 1989, during the government's crackdown on peaceful, pro- democracy protesters in and around Tiananmen Square.
China watchers and activists widely believe the banner man is Peng Lifa, who has a few social media accounts under the name of Peng Zaizhou. CNN has not independently confirmed his identity.
Authorities scrub every trace of these images from Chinese social media. But the words leaked on. They soon started to appear in, of all places, public bathrooms, because it is one of the only few places and tightly surveilled China with out security cameras. This man graffitied the same slogans in a bathroom in southwest China.
I had to wear a mask, he said, and when I was writing, I was worried someone might catch him. It is so pathetic that we have been suppressed like this.
Even just scribbling anti-government slogans in bathrooms is dangerous in China. But what followed shocked the world. Less than two months later, the exact same slogans were chanted in an
unprecedented anti zero-COVID protests that erupted in cities across China.
We want freedom, not COVID tests, they chanted. We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want dignity, not lies. We want votes, not a ruler.
In Shanghai and Chengdu, some even shouted the most dangerous demand -- step down, communist party. Step down, Xi Jinping.
This man who graffitied in a bathroom ended up participating in his city's anti-COVID protest.
I had never imagined that in China, we would see this, he said. I realize that many people are just like us. They are not satisfied with this political system or the society.
When asked what he would say the man who hung the banners, if given the chance, he said -- everything he did was meaningful, and he has had a great impact on us young people. He has shown us that as human beings, we can call it our demands, we can protest against unfairness.
Police swiftly crack down on the protesters, violently pushing and dragging some, arresting many of the young, idealistic demonstrators.
Then, weeks after the protest, in early December, the Chinese government suddenly abandoned zero-COVID. Relief rippled through the country.
But then, seemingly overnight, the government went from harsh lockdowns to suddenly allowing the virus to rip uncontrolled.
Hospitals are now overwhelmed and crematoriums packed with people waiting to burn the dead bodies of their loved ones.
But many Chinese people are just happy to have their lives back. While the man who sparked the chance for freedom, not lockdowns, may never be seen again.
WANG (on camera): But, Erin, we may never know exactly how much of an impact the protests had on the Chinese government's decision to drop zero-COVID versus other factors like economic ones, but considering this government's obsession with control, for three years of the pandemic, the sudden chaotic reopening has been shocking.
The protesters we spoke to have said that they will never forget the legacy of the man who hung the banners. They say he planted a seed in the country, and made people believe that even if the outcome is not exactly what they had hoped for, they can still, in fact, speak out against injustices and make their voices heard -- Erin.
BURNETT: Selina, thank you very much for that report. And next, a showdown shaping up in Congress over America's debt.
BURNETT: And finally tonight, deadline. The United States are said to reach its debt limit in less than a week, according to the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Yellen saying today, quote, extraordinary measures will need to be taken.
This issue setting up the first major showdown in the new Congress and defaulting on the debt could spell disaster for the U.S. economy and also forced the government to delay things like veterans benefits, and social security payments. In fact, the last time the country faced a debt fight this bad, the United States lost its crucial AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's.
That was over 11 years ago, 4,180 days to be exact. And it is an issue that we watched closely here on OUTFRONT since the very first day that the show and on the air also over 11 years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It has been 59 days since the U.S. lost its credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
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BURNETT: Apparently, nothing. America's debt has doubled since I said those words.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.