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Erin Burnett Outfront

U.S.: Russia Violating Nuclear Arms Treaty For First Time; New Video Of Trump Deposition, Pleads The Fifth More Than 400 Times; Initial Police Report In Nichols Arrest Contradicts Actions On Videos; Santos Quits Committees Until "I Am Cleared" In Investigations; DeSantis Dismisses Trump Attacks, Points To His Landslide Win. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 31, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Putin blocking the U.S., refusing to allow nuclear inspectors into the country, as Putin grows more desperate, lacking the manpower to replace his dying fighters.

Plus, Trump deposed. New video tonight of the former president under oath, pleading the Fifth more than 400 times.

And Ron DeSantis fights back against Trump's attack, as one major advantage is emerging from DeSantis over Trump. We're going to show you one number that really matters.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, nuclear breakdown. Russia tonight breaking the nuclear arms control treaty with the United States for the first time since the signing of the transformational new START treaty. Russia is refusing to allow the U.S. to inspect its nuclear weapons. Now, this move comes at a moment where the world faces the highest risk of nuclear conflicts since the Cold War, and it is happening as Putin and his military leaders have threatened nuclear war.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): With regard to the threat of nuclear war, Svetlana Gennadievna (ph), you are right. The threat is growing, so why hide the truth?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We don't have the resources to defeat the NATO block, with conventional means. But we have nuclear weapons for that.


BURNETT: There is more where that came from. Even two weeks ago, Putin's top ally and Russia's former president, Dmitri Medvedev, warned, quote, the loss of nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke the outbreak of a nuclear war. Putin's breaking the most significant arms treaty in recent history

comes as his back is up against the wall. I want to just listen to this from Russian state media. This is a well known and highly respected Russian analyst.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): By the start of the mobilization, our airborne forces lost 40 to 50 percent of the staff.


BURNETT: Forty to 50 percent? Just coming out and saying that, gone, dead?

And Western officials today, warning that Putin does not have the manpower to replace all of them, or the more than 100,000 Russians who are estimated to have already died on the battlefield. Putin's reliance on the Wagner Group to fight is also now running, it appears, up against its own manpower issues. They're now apparently looking for prisoners from Ukrainian prisons. So, these are Ukrainians who have been spending months in prison in a war zone, now being recruited to come out and kill Ukrainians for the Wagner Group.

The mayor of Melitopol today saying that Wagner fighters are being sent to Melitopol to look for future Wagnerites among their prisoners. Now, the Wagner Group is trying to turn this weakness into a way to mock the United States, saying that it welcomes American fighters, too.

The group has a press unit, and in a statement to CNN, they wrote this. We would like to inform you that if American citizens wish to join the Wagner Group, they can send their appeal to the Wagner press service, and they will definitely look into it.

In a moment, you're going to hear more from the frontlines, about the state of Putin's Wagner Group, which is so crucial to all of this, including why the Ukrainians say the Wagner's fighters often seem like they are on drugs. We begin tonight with Fred Pleitgen on the ground in Ukraine, near where some of the worst fighting has been raging in Bakhmut.

And, Fred, I know you had a chance to be there in the front lines, speaking to Ukrainian troops who are fighting the brutal Wagner soldiers. What are they telling you?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin, they tell us that they're going there is extremely tough. It's extremely difficult for them to hold the line, precisely because of what you are just saying because the Wagner group has such a high rate of attrition, but they still have so many bodies that these frontline trenches that the Ukrainians are in, it is very difficult to defend these trenches. Just when the Ukrainians think they are done, the next wave Wagner fighters come.

Now, of course, the attrition rate among those Wagner fighters is extremely high, many of them get killed, but as we know, for Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, all of these people are expendable.

Now, we did manage to speak with some Ukrainian troops who fight Wagner virtually every day, who witnesses it every day, and here's what they told us.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Going underground with Ukraine's frontline defenders against Russia's brutal private military company, the Wagner Group.

Andre (INAUDIBLE) says they battle Wagner storm troopers nearly every day.

This is what it was like when a handful of their troops were attacked by about 200 Wagner fighters.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: We were fighting for about ten hours in a row. And it wasn't like just waste. It was uninterruptedly. So, it was like -- they didn't stop coming.

PLEITGEN: Andre says his men took out scores of Wagner soldiers, until they themselves had to retreat.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: One hundred forty of them, 80 were wounded, and 60 were killed. My platoon was 13 people, plus several from infantry. It was about 20 soldiers from our side, and let's say 200 from their side.

PLEITGEN: Wagner's tactics, they said, try to overwhelm the Ukrainians by sending waves of fighters, with many of them convicts recruited straight out of jail.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: They make the group, let's say from ten soldiers. The past 30 meters, and then they start digging in, and keeping the position. The next group is coming in the next 30 meters, they reach their position, and then going the next 30 meters, again. That is how step-by-step they are trying to move forward.

PLEITGEN: The Ukrainians say Wagner fighters often seem drugged.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: The machine gunner was getting crazy because he was shooting at them, and he's saying, I shot him, but he doesn't fall. And then after sometime, maybe when he has pled out, he finally falls down. It looks like, it is very likely that they are getting some drugs for attack.

PLEITGEN: The unit provided us with a recording they say is of Andre questing a captured Wagner fighter.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (translated): When did you realize you are just meat?

WAGNER FIGHTER (translated): At first combat mission. They brought us to the frontline on December 28. They sent us forward last night.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (translated): How many people did you have in the group?


PLEITGEN: We reached out to Wagner's boss Yevgeny Prigozhin about allegations of abuse in their ranks. This is his answer on Wagner's social media account. Dear CNN, he writes, do you really think that we would discuss our military issues with you while you're an open enemy? It's the same as discussing military matters and sharing information with the CIA.

Andrei says that no matter how many more fighters Prigozhin throws at them, they will resist.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: This is the war for freedom. It is a war for democracy. Yes. It's not even for me, it's not the war between Ukraine and Russia. This is the war between a regime and democracy.


PLEITGEN (on camera): Some pretty strong words there, Erin, certainly one of the things that we did get from those soldiers is that the morale is still pretty high. They say that themselves are pretty surprised as to how well they are actually able to hold the line, despite the fact that the Russians are throwing so many bodies at all of this. Right now for them, it's getting even more difficult, because of course we know that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Ukrainians say he really wants to give Vladimir Putin a win there in Bakhmut.

However, the Russian military also wants to give him a win, which is why there has been many Russian regular military units out there as well right now. So, the Ukrainians, really fighting two very strong forces in that area, and trying to hold on -- Erin.

BURNETT: Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much, incredible reporting there hearing that soldier.

I want to go now to Christo Grozev, the executive director and lead Russian investigator for Bellingcat. He's worked with the core of the Oscar nominated documentary "Navalny", where you can watch Christo track down Putin's men who poisoned the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Christo also recently was put on Russia's most wanted list.

I want to start with Fred's reporting on the Wagner Group. There's a lot there. Let start with what we heard that soldier saying to Fred, talking about Wagner prisoners and fighters, many of whom are prisoners, right, fighting in mass, and appearing to be on drugs.

CHRISTO GROZEV, LEAD RUSSIA INVESTIGATOR AT BELLINGCAT NOW ON RUSSIA'S "WANTED LIST": We have to be careful with statements like this, because these kind of people have this trope in warfare, where they assume that the other side is on drugs. We've heard this back in the Second World War, we've heard at the beginning of the war with the Russians accusing the brave Ukrainians of being on drugs, because otherwise that cannot be so brave and advance so quickly. So, I don't know that that is the fact, but if it could be affected, I

would say yes, because Prigozhin has an obsession with chemical weapons, with poisons, and his phone number is actually is in the call records of the lead GRU, military intelligence poison doctor of the Russian army. They exchange information. There have been previous allegations that Prigozhin has poisoned journalists as well.

And we know this unit that he communicates actually does develop advanced medication. Let's call it this way, for pain relief of soldiers. And any of these could have side effects, or the main effect of actually putting a soldier in a sort of drowsy state.


BURNETT: Right. So, when you say, whether it's true or, not certainly there are enough points that indicate it certainly could be in all of that. So, when you hear Fred talking about these fighters, the soldier talks about 200 Wagnerites to about 20 Ukrainians. We hear about those overwhelming numbers, but at the same time he's running out of soldiers, too, Wagner, and he's having trouble recruiting, maybe finding Ukrainian prisoners. How stable is Prigozhin's power right now?

GROZEV: Well, we're seeing a competitive market. We have the army competing against Prigozhin, Prigozhin competing against the army. That's both political competition, because Prigozhin wants to get a political role. We discussed on the show.


GROZEV: And he's slowly progressing to actually being recognized as a political, almost a sovereign entity within Russia. One example of this is that only yesterday, the Russian ministry of defense finally promised that they will start providing heavy equipment to so-called volunteer units, and he is not a PMC. He's a volunteer unit.


GROZEV: So, they're recognizing him as one of them. So, he is achieving that, and therefore, I would say that and therefore, I could say that ministry of defense is losing in this political battle.

BURNETT: So, we're learning the two men suspected of spying for Russia were arrested by Slovenia's intelligence services. This is according to "Reuters". This is part of a larger trend, though, that you are looking into, Russian spies essentially being rounded up across around the world. What are you seeing?

GROZEV: What we're seeing is at least 16 Russian spies living undercover, long term sleeper agents having been arrested, and this is unusual. I mean, the last such large bust was 12 years ago, when the FBI rounded up about ten of them, and just sent them home. But we've never seen such a consecutive sequence of so many spies.

What does this mean? This means that Russia on the one hand is kind of putting their spies into more risky operations, because they need these people to go out and do more kinetic stuff. In the past, they would just let them lie low for years. But now, they need them to steal data from the International Criminal Court, and stealing data from the NATO. So, that's why they get caught more easily.

But the second reason why we are seeing this is because Western nations are much more alert than before, they are looking for the spies. And before, they were asleep at the wheel.

BURNETT: Do you think this could end up -- I know that possibly giving the ammo for some sort of a transfer that could result in someone like a Paul Whelan, who's gotten a lot of coverage in this country, because he was not included in the Brittney Griner swap, to come home.

GROZEV: I do think this is a likely outcome, because Putin needs to get these people back. They are agents of the state. They are not just some spies they've got money to spy. They are Russians, professional soldiers, and he needs to get them back. With 16 or more of them, he needs to make a trade soon.

BURNETT: He needs which is fascinating to watch all of this happening and very much under the radar for many. So, Alexei Navalny sent out tweets today about Putin's brutal prisons and I should note, he can only tweet really by sending a note out through his lawyer. It's hard, he's in solitary confinement. So, when he tweets, it's notable. He said today in part, they will kill anyone they're asked to, and report the cause of death as pneumonia.

He said this as he has been sick, right? As he has been in solitary, as we have seen his physical condition when we see him deteriorate dramatically. You know him well. In the documentary film, of course, you have followed the story of who poisoned him. You've been nominated for an Oscar, which is -- congratulations to you and your team there.

But Navalny is still there. He's still there. What --

GROZEV: Well, I mean, he's not the only one who's there. There are at least ten political opposition figures who are there, just for opposing the war, but he is clearly the one that made Putin the angriest, and what he is describing here is a tweet about how nothing has changed since the Soviet times, because he's describing the experience of --

BURNETT: The gulag.

GROZEV: Of the gulag, and it's literally the same. The only thing that one would hope is that Putin is not as irrational as so many people before, in Soviet times, and that he needs to keep him alive because he will later need to make a trade. Whether that's a trade like the ones we discussed, or just getting out of the war with some thing, some deal with the West.

BURNETT: Do you think Putin is that?

GROZEV: Well, that's not what he's shown himself to be, unfortunately. So -- but people around him might be more pragmatic.

BURNETT: All right. Christo, thank you very much. Always appreciate speaking with you.

And next, new video of former President Trump being deposed in New York, and giving this answer more than 400 times.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I declined to answer the question. Same answer.


BURNETT: Plus, more contradictions in the case of the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols. The initial police report presenting a very different story than what we have now seen captured on video.

And the one number that could give Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a big advantage over Donald Trump. Our Harry Enten has that for you.



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump deposed under oath and pleading the fifth more than 400 times. That's 400. All in a remarkable new video obtained by CNN.

The deposition coming as part of the New York attorney general civil investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices.

Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a newly released portion of a taped deposition, former President Donald Trump did this.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I declined to answer the question. I declined to answer the question. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer. Same answer.

GINGRAS: More than 400 times, Trump pleaded the Fifth to a rapid fire line of questioning coming from a New York Attorney General Letitia James' office, part of her civil investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices. The deposition, a rare window into how Trump acted under oath.

TRUMP: Anyone in my position, not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool, an absolute fool.

GINGRAS: And a major reversal from what anyone has argued in public on the campaign trail, and as president.

TRUMP: You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment? GINGRAS: In the August deposition, Trump used his opening remarks to

lash out at the attorney general, who was sitting in the room with him, claiming the probe was political, and repeating one of those familiar phrases --

TRUMP: This is the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.


GINGRAS: And criticizing how James campaigned for her office.

LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's important that everyone understand, that the days of Donald Trump are coming to an end.

GINGRAS: Promising to bring Trump to justice.

TRUMP: We cannot permit a renegade and out of control prosecutor to use this investigation as a means of advancing her political career.

GINGRAS: All claims, James denies. The contentious sit-down took place just two days after the FBI's search Trump's Mar-a-Lago home for classified documents.

One month later --

JAMES: Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It's the art of the steal.

GINGRAS: James announced their office's $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization, accusing them of manipulating the value of properties in order to make more money.

Many questions directed to the former president during the deposition focused on financials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You reviewed this document with Allen Weisselberg, and your son Donald Trump Jr. before it was finalized as part of the 2019 state of financial commission, is that correct?

TRUMP: Same answer.

GINGRAS: Trump continued to plead the Fifth when asked about the company's former CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is now serving time after making a plea deal with the Manhattan attorney district office in a separate case.

REPORTER: Mr. Weisselberg, do you have plans to return to Trump Org when you're done?

GINGRAS: A case that found the Trump Organization guilty on 17 criminal counts, including tax fraud.


GINGRAS (on camera): And the Trump Organization denies the allegations made by the A.G.'s office, including those against the Trump family and company executives, as this case is expected to go to trial in October. Erin, Trump and his attorneys have tried to delay that start, but so far, they have been unsuccessful.

BURNETT: All right. Brynn, of course that timing puts you right ahead of the beginning of the primary season. Thank you.

And Ryan Goodman joins me, along with John Dean, both OUTFRONT.

So, Ryan, we know that Trump obviously has previously given his opinion that something the mob has plead the Fifth. You only do it if you're guilty. But just taking aside his point of view, from a legal perspective, right, you went in there and choosing to do this under legal counsel. What does that tell you that he chose to invoke it more than 400 times?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: So, I think it means he's in trouble legally, at least in the civil case. If you're in a criminal case, and you plead the fifth, it can be used against him. In a civil case, there's plenty of New York state law around the country.

BURNETT: So he can.

GOODMAN: Absolutely. In fact, the jury will probably see that same videotape in full each time that he tried to plea --

BURNETT: As we were joking, if we played all 400, that would still take a several minutes. Yeah.

GOODMAN: That's right. They can make 400 adverse inferences in certain sense, meaning that they can say, because he took the Fifth, it is a suggestion of wrongdoing, and the American public can make the same inference themselves, in law, you can do it in a civil suit, and we can do it ourselves, to think of it that way. And it's interesting that he himself said, you know, that anybody in my position would be a fool, an absolute full for not pleading the Fifth.

While his son, Don Jr. and Ivanka Trump, according to CNN's reporting, within the two weeks before his deposition, they were deposed. They didn't take the Fifth.

BURNETT: Right, and he did, and as you say, it's crucial that he used that evidence in the civil case.

So, John, let me play some more video from the Trump deposition, as Ryan is pointing out that the federal grand jury will see. This is just after Trump stated that he will be taking the Fifth throughout the deposition. He announces this, and then this happens.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, I take it you are not going to answer any questions about your preparations with the counsel, is that correct?

TRUMP: Should I say this, or should I respond to that?

For all of the reasons provided my answer, which is incorporated here in, in its entirety, I declined to answer the question.


BURNETT: That is the first time, and then, of course, there were about 400 after that, John. You say his decision to do this, to invoke the Fifth on this in on president?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. I certainly know that Nixon gave a number of depositions post-presidency, and I've looked around to see if he did, and there is no indication that he ever gave a Fifth Amendment invocation. He did not do so when he was before a grand jury, still looking at Watergate after he got into the office. I can't find, Erin, any president who has ever invoked the Fifth Amendment, and so this is unprecedented.

BURNETT: Wow, which is amazing. And Ryan, it just shows that he could possibly in real trouble to do, that because it could be used against him. There is that other regal legal issue, which I'm not even talking the January 6th and federal grand jury in Georgia, and all of those issues.

How about just basically the grand jury that was just convened in Manhattan to begin presenting evidence in a case related to Trump's role in hush payments to Stormy Daniels, the adult film star. This case seemed to be going nowhere, and suddenly you got D.A. bringing witnesses, and you got a grand jury. What does that mean?

GOODMAN: So, it sounds like they are very serious.


You don't bring it grand jury unless you are seriously considering criminal charges. And New York has a special rule for the statute of limitations that otherwise people might have thought have run now due to COVID. So --

BURNETT: And so, it got an extra, you got a buy?

GOODMAN: Yeah, and everybody did in a certain sense, all their cases. So, I think that's very serious, and that means that the district attorney might be mounting a criminal case. It has to be a pretty sophisticated case, because the charge for falsifying his business records, or hush money payment would be a misdemeanor, they have to tie it to another crime that might be a New York state election law client crime. That's what the focus will be on.

BURNETT: And so all of this mounts towards only the federal grant jury in January 6, in Georgia, among all of these things as well.

John, I want to ask you about what's going on with President Biden and the classified documents as well, because we are now reporting that the FBI searched President Biden's think tank in November, after his legal team told the national archives that they found classified documents there. We did not find out about it then, and in fact it was months before we learned that the classified documents were found in that office. We may have never found out about them being in his home if journalists had not reported that, right? It wasn't Biden's his legal team, wasn't the White House, nobody else had that information out.

If this was just so simple, and there's no there there, why is there -- why is it so complicated? Why is nobody putting the true that there? Does it look like there's something to hide?

DEAN: Well, that's the impression they're giving with the mishandling of communications of what is going on. It is surprising that as sophisticated as the Biden operation is, that they don't recognize, you have to get the truth, out get it out fast, and get it out in full, because that's the sort of impressions we get, that they're hiding something. We know that this was a voluntary invitation for the FBI to come in and do the search, but apparently they do not know what they found or did not find. It's not good for the Biden people to have these kind of stories constantly drip, drip, drip.

BURNETT: And they do is constantly drip, drip, drip. Thank you both very much, John Dean, Ryan Goodman. And next, the stark differences between the initial police report and the video of the violent, deadly beating of Tyre Nichols. Differences like police saying that he grabbed a detective's gun, or tried to. Plus, embattled Republican George Santos, stepping aside for his committee assignments, while the investigation into his lies continue. Investigations that he says don't worry him.


REPORTER: Why are you confident you will be cleared?

REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I have nothing to hide.

REPORTER: Why won't you answering questions about --




BURNETT: Tonight, the family of Tyre Nichols accusing officers of trying to cover up the brutal beating of their son that led to his death three days later. The initial police report servicing more than three weeks after Nichols death presents a different story than the hour of footage that we have all now seen. It captures what the officers actually did last night.

Ryan Young is OUTFRONT, and a warning of course that the footage in his piece is disturbing.


JAMAL DUPREE, TYRE NICHOLS' BROTHER: For the most part, it's just been a real rollercoaster ride. It's like a never ending nightmare.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, startling revelations in the Tyre Nichols investigation. The initial police report from January 7th, but with stark contradictions than what is seen on the police body cam footage. The report itself has not been released by police, although a copy has been vitally circulating online. That copy was first reported by "The New York Times", authorities have not denied its authenticity. In it is a detailed account of what officers say happened after the initial traffic stop of Nichols.

The report claims that Nicholas was asked to exit his vehicle, but was refusing lawful detention, and started to fight with the detectives.

It also says the Nichols was sweating profusely and irate. When he got out of his car, he grabbed for a detective's gun. When pepper spray was used on him, the chemical agent had no effect and that Nichols continued to resist. The report calls Nichols, a suspect in aggravated assault, even though the videos do not appear to show him fighting back. They list Martin as a victim.

Emmitt Martin III is one of the five former officers charged with second degree murder in connection to Nichols death. Notably, the report does not mention the officers punching and kicking Nichols, but does note that one officer used his baton on Nichols to get him to comply. Some of what the officers claim happened was captured on audio from the footage after the beating occurred.

OFFICER: He grabbed, he grabbed one gun (INAUDIBLE).

OFFICER: Look, we got him out of the car and I say hey, bro, you good?

OFFICER: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) swung, almost hit me.

YOUNG: A spokesperson from the Shelby County district attorney tells CNN she could not verify that this is the original report, but that quote, the D.A. does have a report of the same account of events. The D.A. who is prosecuting the five former Memphis officers say that there is nothing preventing his department from bringing more charges.

STEVE MULROY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE: We are, in fact, looking at everybody. We're looking at the officer that was at the first scene, they did not go from the second scene. We are looking at fire department personnel who arrived afterwards.

We're even looking at people doing the paperwork later on. We are looking at everything. Nothing is being ruled out.

YOUNG: Nichols family attorney Ben Crump says that the report lends weight to what Tyre's mother believes happened.

BEN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: She says she believed that she thought it was a conspiracy to cover it up from the beginning.

YOUNG: Nichols brother says he hasn't watched the body camera footage, and doesn't need to. DUPREE: Police brutality is nothing new. And I already knew as soon as I saw those photos from him in the hospital, already knew that they treated my brother like an animal, beating him like he was nothing. I don't have to watch the video to know that.


YOUNG (on camera): Erin, it was a tough video to watch. I talked to two men of his police officers off camera today, and they've said that this is been hard for the entire department, having to deal with the way that leadership has moved forward firing this officers. I was also told that when they filed the incident report, they should've put in the report what they did every time there's escalated the situation, when they started using their hands, when they started using the Taser, when they started using the baton.

These are things that we hope to distinguish once they finally released the deport, so that we can go through and seek that initial incident report, and what it said hours after this beating happened -- Erin.


BURNETT: All right. Ryan, thank you very much.

I want to bring in now, Darrin Porcher, former NYPD lieutenant.

And, Darrin, of course, we watched the video together -- all of these videos here on Friday night. So, you hear Ryan laying out how the body camera video, the video that we have, contradicts a lot of what is in the initial police report, what the officers said happened.

How often do you see discrepancies like this in a police report?

DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NYPD LIEUTENANT: Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence when you have officer that commit to misconduct. I was a lieutenant in the NYPD's internal affairs bureau. So, when on many occasions, I've had officers that have created a fictitious report, that based on the accounts that actually occurred. What is more so amazing is that the officers were impervious to what was actually going on. They knew that there were body cameras as well as the other camera was recording this encounter. It calls into question, is this something that the officers did on a regular basis, and this is -- is this just something that came to fruition based on --

BURNETT: You're saying they would have known that pole camera was there.

PORCHER: They should have known. Absolutely. This is where these officers patrol. In addition to that, remember, the officers were equipped with body cameras. So if anybody knew this was recorded, it should have been them.

BURNETT: Absolutely.

All right. So, in the footage, again, disturbing footage, you do not see Tyre Nichols fighting with the officers when he is pulled out of the car, right? So, this whole he tried to grab someone's gun, we don't see it.

We don't see when this initially began but when he comes out of the car for the first time and we don't see anybody grab for the gun. He doesn't appear irate. He said what are you doing, this is too much.

So why do you think they made those statements?

PORCHER: In my professional opinion, I don't believe that he resisted arrest. However, I think that the officers did what they felt was appropriate to cover up an overwhelming degree of egregious misconduct and it begs the question as to where was the oversight in that department if these officers felt as if they can act with impunity of this magnitude.

BURNETT: To this point about that camera, the sky camera, right, that showed the actual beating. They -- you're saying they should've known it was there. One thing as we were watching, and we all noticed where there is a moment where it is up high, and then it pushes in. And it appears that somebody did that, which means that somebody was monitoring it, and saw this.

PORCHER: Well, it's questionable if someone was actually monitoring the camera. If someone was monitoring that camera, I think that is another issue because I think that should've been a harbinger to send supervision to that particular area, to make the assessment, and take the appropriate action. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.

But another point, Erin, is filing a false police report is a criminal offense, and that's what these officers did in this particular case.

BURNETT: Right. So that would be on top of, of course, facing charges for second degree murder. All right. Darrin, thank you very much.

PORCHER: Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, wealthy Americans flocking to Florida. What could be the key to Governor Ron DeSantis' potential run to the White House. We'll tell you why.

Plus, he was one of Trump's closest allies during his time in the White House. Tonight, Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu is speaking to CNN about what he calls Trump's big mistake.



BURNETT: New tonight, embattled Republican Congressman George Santos, stepping down from his committees as he faces multiple investigations. Probes he insists he is not worried about.


REPORTER: Are you confident you'll be cleared? REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I think I'll be cleared for that. I've got

nothing to hide.

REPORTER: Why don't you answer --


BURNETT: Santos stepping down from his committees, the same day that a brand-new poll show that nearly 83 percent of his constituents want him to resign, including 71 percent of Republicans, fed up with his long list of lies like these.


SANTOS: My grandparents survived the Holocaust.

I'm a Latino Jew.

My mom was a 9/11 survivor.

When I was in Baruch, we were the number one volleyball team.

I put myself through college and I got an MBA from NYU.


BURNETT: Jessica Dean is OUTFRONT.


SANTOS: Nobody tells me to do anything. I made the decision on my own that I thought best represented the interest of the voters.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Embattled Congressman George Santos, facing multiple investigations into his lies and campaign finances, taking a step back today.

SANTOS: Good morning.

DEAN: Telling his fellow Republicans behind closed doors that he wants off these two committees until his issues are resolved. Santos, saying in a statement, his decision was based on, quote, the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I met with George Santos yesterday, and I think it was a appropriate decision that until he can clear everything up, that he will be off the committees right now.

DEAN: His decision, coming as he faces calls to resign over his lies and as federal investigators probe his finances. Santos, remaining defiant.

SANTOS: You have to define exaggerations --

DEAN: In a softball interview with One American News that aired today, saying he has already said he's sorry.

SANTOS: I am sorry. I'm deeply sorry. I fielded calls. I've been calling supporters to apologize directly to them for that. And, you know, I don't know what else is asked of me right now. When you ask, oh, you have not shown remorse, or you don't seem to look sorry, I don't know it looking sorry looks like.

DEAN: And offering up a single regret.

SANTOS: I would've lied about the education. I would not have -- I would've just fought like hell to get that nomination.

DEAN: But there are still more questions being raised about the accuracy of his campaign's filings with federal regulators. The latest example from his first bid for Congress in 2020, when he listed somebody named Stephen Berger as having contributed $2,500. But the California address given for Berger belongs to William Brandt, a prominent California cattle rancher. He told CNN no one with that name has ever lived there. Quote, I built the house, been that 40 something years, Brant said, adding that he wouldn't give Santos a dime.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Santos, would you give any money back to donors who said you defrauded them?

DEAN: The development only adding to mounting questions about Santos's finances.

REPORTER: What is the source of that money?

DEAN: Santos today vowing this.

SANTOS: And I've learned my lesson, and you can guarantee -- I can guarantee you that from now on, anything and everything is always going to be above the board. It's largely always been above the board, I'm just going to go the extra step now to double check, cross reference everything.



DEAN (on camera): A source familiar with the meeting between Speaker McCarthy and George Santos says that McCarthy did ask him, Erin, when he would be addressing all of these controversies? Of course, that's something we've been asking him for the better part of a month now. He continues to say at the right time, at another time. And it's unclear if this OAN interview, which you just saw bits and pieces of, and which really didn't press him much on anything, is his explanation or if we are going to get any further escalation down the road somewhere.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jessica, with that reporting.

Also new tonight, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis firing back at Donald Trump after the former president called him disloyal for considering a 2024 bid, and said this about his handling of COVID.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: There are Republican governor -- Florida was actually closed for a greater proponent of time. You are trying to rewrite history.


BURNETT: Safe to say that is not how the country perceives Florida during COVID. And without mentioning Trump by name, here's what DeSantis said today, in response to Trump.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Not only did we win reelection, we won it with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida. We won by the largest raw vote margin over 1.5 million votes than any governor candidate has ever had in Florida history.

And so, what I would just say is that verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.



And, Harry, it's interesting. DeSantis does this like a direct slam back at Trump, but he doesn't use his name. That's become sort of his M.O. out of this. But he's laying out the numbers. How he did in his reelection in Florida.

But you're saying that, you know, he's talking about Florida and Florida voters, there's a national case, too.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: There's absolutely a national case. Look, I think we've become used to politicians not being like nationally, right? If we look at the net favorability ranking, that's favorable minus on favorable among voters nationally, what do you see? You see DeSantis is at zero point. That's his favorables equal his unfavorable.

You might not say that's great, but compare that to the other politicians. Joe Biden --

BURNETT: U.S. politics.

ENTEN: Right, U.S. politics, Joe Biden 12 points under. Donald Trump is 24 points underwater. The fact is, Ron DeSantis, I think you could make the argument is the most popular politician nationally who's still in the game at this point, Erin.

BURNETT: Which is pretty incredible to say and when it comes to his state, people voting with their feet, people all around the country are voting in Florida. Especially wealthy ones, right? For the tax reasons. The National Association of Realtors today said that Florida was the

fastest growing state in the entire country right now, top state for people moving from other states, 318,000 people moved their last year. People are leaving New York, California, and Illinois.

What does this trend mean for DeSantis?

ENTEN: Well, I mean, if you look at the numbers, you know that wealthy Americans in particular are moving to Florida. Four times, I think, more than any other state at this particular point and what we know is that wealthy Republicans are going to form the base for Ron DeSantis in his bid against Donald Trump for the presidency. If we look at the net favorably ratings right now, among Republican voters who make $100,000 or more, their household income, look at Ron DeSantis, 69 points above water. Trump, even, that's as many Republicans like dislike DeSantis among those making at least $100,000.

Now, of course, those wealthy Americans, those wealthy Republicans, in my mind, are going to sort of fuel DeSantis's bid. Why? They make up 30 percent of the Republican nation. You might say that's not a majority, but that's still a large portion and they're going to be a lot of Republicans who are going to fund his bid.

BURNETT: And, by the way, you save 30 percent to sort of, I guess just a little bit shy of that. -- Trump space, right? All of a sudden you see the division there. DeSantis though, he's got his economic -- he does make it. But he does his culture case a lot, right? When he talks about a culture war, that's his favorite go to.

Does that work with those voters?

ENTEN: This is all about Fox News. This is about the Fox News voting. As you know, DeSantis is beginning on Fox News a ton and if you look at his favorable rating among Fox News viewers, look at this, 82 percent, 82 percent, just 5 percent under -- unfavorable view. This is working for Ron DeSantis, at least at this point, Erin.

BURNETT: It is but if you want to bring new people, you have to go somewhere you're below 82 percent.

ENTEN: I would think so, maybe come on CNN.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you very much, Harry. Appreciate it.

And next, a CNN exclusive. Hear what Trump's former ally, Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has to say about the former president posting antisemites like Kanye West.

Plus, Boeing bidding farewell tonight to the iconic 747.



BURNETT: Tonight, a big mistake. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is criticizing former President Trump's decision to host antisemites, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, at his Mar-a-Lago resort this past November. West has publicly praised Hitler, Fuentes is a Holocaust denier.

Netanyahu, even after all of that, would still not say if Trump should drop is 2024 presidential bid.

Here's part of Jake's exclusive conversation with the prime minister.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Trump has already launched a 2024 presidential bid. You have said effusive things about what he did for Israel while he was president. But you've also criticized him for the insurrection that he incited, which you called, quote, a disgraceful act that must be vigorously condemned. And his recent rather shocking willingness to sit down and break bread with Holocaust deniers and virulent antisemites, Nick Fuentes and Kanye West.

Do you have any concerns if Donald Trump is back in the White House? Do you think it's time for the Republican Party to look to a new generation of leadership?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: First of all, I did praise President Trump because he did great things for Israel. He recognized Jerusalem as our capital, kind of late because, you know, 3,000 years ago, King David proclaimed it at such. He moved the American embassy there. He recognized our sovereignty in the Golan Heights. He went out of what I think is the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran.

He helped me forge the -- forge (ph) the start the peace accords with the Arab states, so he's done great things.

I need I think he made a big mistake on this Kanye West thing, and I said so.


I'm not going to intervene in your politics, you know that. You tried, it's good, tried to get me involved in your politics, but you do your job and I'll do my job. I want to stay away from your politics. Let the people decide.


BURNETT: And you can watch much more of Jake's interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu in a CNN special report tonight at 9:00 p.m.

OUTFRONT next, long live the queen of the skies. Boeing delivering its final 747, a plane that changed the way we travel the world. It was an experience for any of us.


BURNETT: And finally tonight, the queen of the skies takes a final bow. Today, Boeing delivered its final 747, a plane that has been in protection for more than 50 years and changed the way that we all viewed flying really. The last plane going to cargo carrier Atlas Air.

Now millions of people have flown on the 747, six presidents. There's even a space shuttle across the country. You know, we take it as the shadow would come in for landing.

I remember the first time that I flew on a 747. It was Japan Airlines. The plane was actually configured for coach seats on the second level, so I was up there. It was an amazing feeling. No one sat next to me. I got to spread out a bit. Nothing actually felt so special until I flew the A380.

As of today, there are only about 44 747s that carry passengers still in service, and, of course, there are still the ones for the president of the United States.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" begins now.