Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Air Sirens Sounding Across Ukraine, Russia Fires 100+ Missiles Today; Biden Orders Downing Of "High-Altitude Object" Over Alaska; Race For "Near Space" As Next Battlefield Intensifies; Trump Team Turns Over Additional Classified Documents, Laptop To Federal Prosecutors; 16-Year-Old Boy Rescued From Earthquake Rubble After 119 Hours; "This Is A Lie": Sen. Sinema's Office Denies Embattled Rep. George Santos' Claim She Told Him To "Hang In There Buddy". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 10, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, terror as air sirens blare. Russian rockets raining down across Ukraine, more than 100 in the past day. We're going to show you new video of the moment Ukraine intercepts some of these lethal missiles that we've obtained today.

Plus, President Biden orders another high-altitude object flying over the United States to be shot down. This one flying at 40,000 feet, about the size of a car, making it a threat to commercial aircraft. What was it, and was it from China?

And as Senator Kyrsten Sinema accuses George Santos of another lie, we're going to look at what work, if any, the congressman has been doing on Capitol Hill. A story you'll see first here OUTFRONT.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, under attack. Putin tonight in the midst of an all- out air assault. Air raid sirens sounding across Ukraine, to the dark of night. Officials warning that there is now a threat of drone strikes in and around the capital of Kyiv. Now explosions also right now are being reported inside the Russian occupied city of Melitopol. According to Ukraine, the number of missiles just today, more than 100 from Russia.

Ukraine now successfully able, they say, to take out about two-thirds of the missiles, the rockets, the drones, all of this incoming barrage. And we actually have some new video to show you of the interceptions. Take a look at this.


BURNETT: So you can see them celebrating. It goes, that arc, and then you see the explosion. This is how it's happening. Hundreds of these, there are pictures of that Russian cruise missile destroyed before it could reach its target. Now, let me show you another video of Ukraine deflecting a Russian

rocket. As you can see here, this one is coming down. And you see that all the way down after that interception.

Today has been one of the largest barrages from Russia. And given this incoming offensive going on that Zelenskyy says is already in progress, it may be just the tip of the iceberg because Russia is ramping up that offensive. It is coming at great cost to Ukrainians and to Russians, hundreds of Russians dying every day. There are estimates that it's in the high hundreds. But we know at least hundreds.

A Russian war correspondent today writing what he's hearing from Russians on the front line. The quote here -- again, this is a Russian war correspondent, so state television. The quote is, the mobilized men from one region of Russian Federation, I don't want to name them, I'm ashamed of my almost countrymen, refused to go into battle.

Right? So it's clear where he stands, but there is that admission that there are some Russians now refusing to fight. And it comes on the heels of new video of Russians being attacked by other Russians.

I want to show it to you. This video is from the Russian regional government of Tuva because they're angry at what they say is happening to their fighters who are from the region north of Mongolia. You see what appears to be soldiers on the ground being attacked. They say they were shot at.

We first told you about these men earlier this week because they claim the Russian military was shooting at them with machine guns, killing their own. So there are more and more stories like this. And the Russian state media are saying that there are people who are refusing to go fight.

The head of Russia's brutal Wagner Group may now be relying on Ukrainian POWs, Yes, you heard me, right, to fight Putin's war.


YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, WAGNER CHIEF (through translator): What distinguishes them from the rest of the population is that they are very unpretentious. And so they understand that it's okay if they spend today or tomorrow or the day after in a trench.


BURNETT: David McKenzie begins our coverage tonight OUTFRONT live in Kyiv.

And, David, I know you have been hearing those air raid sirens there throughout the today, right? There were times there'd be one a day or a couple, but I know today, it has been relentless. What is the latest on the ground now?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the latest is that these attacks, this barrage of missiles and drone strikes continue, particularly in the south of the country there were reports from Ukrainians just a short time ago of drone strikes in that area. Also here in the capital, they've been telling people to shelter in place, to stay safe, to wait until those sirens stop and the official all-clear is given.


And you see, as you showed in those extraordinary videos, the extent of success of Ukrainians stopping these incoming missile strikes, but some are getting through. This is a very dangerous and very important phase of this conflict.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Russian forces left exposed on the frozen flat lands, one of the most deadly zones of the eastern front. Ukrainian artillery and drones picking off the static targets.

Even pro-Russian sources say they've taken heavy losses here. Ukrainian foot patrols to the southern outskirts of the heavily damaged town. They appear to be taken some prisoners, too.

These men identify themselves as belonging to Russia's 155th Marine Brigade.

To the north on the edges of Bakhmut, Russian troops advancing block by block towards the city. They've been inching forward for months taking heavy losses. Ukrainian forces desperate to deny Vladimir Putin a symbolic victory as the first anniversary of this war approaches.

Across a wide area in the east, the Ukrainians detect a buildup in Russian troops and heavy weapons. That could be a prelude to a widely anticipated offensive. But Ukrainian officials have told CNN that in some areas, their own troops are critically short of munitions.

The boss of the Wagner mercenaries fighting in Bakhmut, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is predicting the conflict has months and probably years to run. If we need to reach the Dnipro River, he says, it's another three years. We need to capture Donetsk and Luhansk, we need to work for one and a half to two years. If we need to reach the English channel, then I have my own perfect plan.

Away from the front lines, one of Russia's largest-scale missile attacks in weeks, targeting Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, including this thermal plant in Dnipro. The city of Zaporizhzhia hit 17 times in one hour. A Russian cruise missile struck the power grid.

The immense power of the strike throwing a car onto the roof of a house.

They are not humans, says Evin (ph) of the Russians. I don't know what they're thinking about when they're doing this, when they press the buttons and shell civilians.

The Ukrainians say they brought down 61 of the 70 missiles fired.


MCKENZIE: Enough to limit damage to the power supply.

As sirens blared, thousands of people in the capital Kyiv took to the subway shelters to run businesses and take classes. It's a well- practiced routine.

The children may not be comfortable, says teacher Elena (ph). But since September, the alarms had been so frequent that they've got used to classes in the metro.

In the skies above, the war against Russia's missiles and drones goes on. And those drone strikes are described, those are often precursors to missile and cruise missile strikes. There will be a great deal of attention to not cross Ukraine as they wait and wonder whether this talked-about offensive will start in earnest by Russian forces. But the Ukrainians certainly are fighting very hard in the east at this hour -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, David McKenzie.

And I want to go now to Mikhail Zygar. He's a Russian journalist and author of the upcoming book about Russia's invasion of Ukraine "War and Punishment," along with retired Army Major General James "Spider" Marks who has been banned by Russia, and, of course, spent quite a bit of time in Ukraine.

General Marks, let me start with you. Prigozhin may now be using Ukrainian POWs to fight against Ukraine. You heard him talking about the trenches. Now, you just heard him in David's report also saying, quote, if we need to reach the English Channel, then I have my own perfect plan.

Now, general, his star may be rising. But what does talking like that show from purely military perspective?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), U.S. ARMY: It shows that the Russian military offensive is in collapse. It really does. That's a very, very desperate comment that he's made. And it's not based on any factual basis other than if he thinks he's got the ability to launch a nuke. I don't know what -- that would be the end of Russia as we know it right now. So that's not really plausible.

What I find most interesting is his comment that it would take 18 months for the subjugation or Russian control of the Donbas and maybe another year and a half beyond that in order to get to the Dnipro River.


What he is saying indicates to me that he is voicing what's in the mind of Putin, which really means this is a long war, and we've been talking about that, Erin. This is not something that will have some terminus at the end of this year. This is a required fight through the end of when it's over. That's what we're seeing right now.

BURNETT: You can bet that they just have simply more men, more population to fight.

Let me ask you, Mikhail, I want to show again the video of what appears to be Russian soldiers shot at by other Russian soldiers. This is what the government of Tuva, right, which is a region north of Mongolia, saying is happening to them.

Now, we're trying to read, what does this say about the Russian public? I know you're watching something very specific as a gauge of Russian public opinion. Movies in Russian theaters. What are you watching, what does it tell you?

MIKHAIL ZYGAR, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: It's obvious that the war is not popular within the majority of Russian population. We don't have any statistics. We don't have any polls or surveys to rely on.

But you're actually right. It's very impressive that there is a record-breaking movie very popular in all Russian movie theaters during the last month. And that's a favorite tale for kids. That's some creature very well known in all of Russia specifically for kids.

And it's also very important that no propaganda movies, no militaristic sagas, blockbusters, which are being produced, they have zero popularity. That clearly indicates that the majority of Russian population doesn't want to hear anything about the war, they don't want to watch the war on their screens. They want just try to forget about what's happening and want to return to their childhood, obviously.

BURNETT: It is sometimes those things no one would think of that just say so much, that a fairytale is what is playing, when there is the option of war-driven propaganda films to watch.

General Marks, as this war rages on, you heard David McKenzie talking about the relentless number of air raid sirens. And Ukraine claims to have shot down 61 of 71 air and sea-based missiles, just from Russia today.

I just want to play one of them again just to show that this is a guy doing it himself. Watch this.




BURNETT: It is incredible just to see that. It shows that no matter where you are standing in a field, they are fighting.

The question from the Russian side, though, is this. How is Russia sustaining the missile count needed for these sorts of strikes?

MARKS: Well, they're not internally. One of the -- obviously, one of the ways they're doing it is they are probably cannibalizing other pieces of electronic equipment. I mean, it's been itemized that their refrigerators and their air conditioners, they're pulling the chips out of those. Those are two-decade-old chips, and they're using those into some of their dumb weapon systems to try to make them smart. That's kind of enterprising, but it's not a long-term strategy.

And the other thing you've got the axis of evil that is standing up and supporting Russia. So internally, Russia knows it has a significant problem with its inventory, and they cannot sustain it.

TAPPER: Incredible, taking chips out of refrigerators.

Mikhail, I played some of the interview earlier that Prigozhin did with that Russian military blogger. And, you know, the thing about Prigozhin is he likes to respond to CNN inquiries with great sarcasm saying I'll recruit people from CNN to fight. This is -- he enjoys this. He is the only Russian leader, though, who seems to engage with the international media in any way. It's in the context that Putin has given him such incredible power.

Now I understand, Mikhail, you're reporting that Putin does start to have some worries about Prigozhin?

ZYGAR: That's true. And Prigozhin has some problems now because, for many months, he was used by President Putin as some kind of counterweight against Russian generals who was really afraid of Russian army and Russian generals becoming too popular. So he was using Prigozhin against them.

Now Prigozhin is becoming too popular, and obviously that's the limit. We know that Prigozhin lost his right to recruit prisoners from Russian prisons.


And, at the same time, he's getting more rivals. We have recently heard that Gazprom, that's the gas monopoly, has created its own private army. So, alongside with Wagner group, we are going to have Gazprom group probably soon in Ukraine.

BURNETT: It is incredible to think what was year ago what was once perceived as one of the world's greatest militaries, now corporation starting their own mercenary groups to fight alongside.

Thank you both very much.

And next, the U.S. military taking down another unknown object flying over American water, this time about the size of a car. What was it?

Plus, breaking news. We're just learning that Trump's legal team has handed over more documents marked classified, also turned in a computer that included copies of this classified material.

And beating the odds. An entire family rescued alive. This family had been buried alive for more than a hundred hours. Tens of thousands are dead and yet there is this one miraculous story of survival in an earthquake that has killed more than 23,000 human beings.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Tonight, recovery efforts underway after President Biden ordered the military to shoot down a high-altitude object hovering over Alaska.


It comes days after a U.S. fighter jet shot down a Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic. Now, the White House says this object today was flying at 40,000 feet. It said that it posed a potential threat to civilian aircraft, which is very significant.

Oren Liebermann is OUTFRONT.

Oren, obviously, you've been doing so much reporting on this. What is the latest you're learning about the object, whether it came from China, and the order to shoot it down?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, this entire process moved much faster than the Chinese surveillance balloon, which went over much of the United States before it was shot down. This, according to Northern Command and NORAD was picked up just yesterday. President Joe Biden gave the order to shoot it down this morning. And at about 1:45 in the afternoon, which is just as sun was rising in this part of Alaska, an F-22 fighter jet went an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile went to shoot this down.

The reason I'm so specific on the type of aircraft and the type of missile is because that is exactly what was used to shoot down the Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina. But it may be that that's where the similarities end in this case. This object, and it's only being called an object at this point by the Pentagon and the White House, was significantly smaller.

They estimate about the size of a small car. It didn't appear to have any surveillance capabilities, according to a U.S. official. And it's unclear if it had any sort of propulsion or any sort of engine that made it go in this case. So we don't know much more about this object. And we don't exactly know where it came from, who launched it, who made it, or anything else really about it right now.

We're waiting for more updates from NORAD in this case. It was shot down about ten miles off the coast of Alaska. The water there is frozen, it is within U.S. territorial air space and sovereign territory. But we don't yet know if they've been able to recover it to pick it up, to figure out what it is, or where it came from. So, at this point a lot more questions than we had at this point than we did with the Chinese balloon after that one was shot down. We will certainly keep you posted.

BURNETT: All right. Oren, thank you very much. We're going to be checking in with Oren over these next few hours.

The incident comes as the Chinese try to beat the U.S. in a new battlefield called near space, the area within 60 miles above the earth's surface, and China wants to dominate it. And as we've seen from the spy balloon, maybe they are. Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): China's new superpower battlefield, 12 to 60 miles above the earth, too low for satellites, too high for most jets. The stratosphere, or, as China calls it, near space.

In 2018, the Chinese military's official newspaper said near space has become a new battlefield in modern warfare.

More than a decade ago, Felix Baumgartner's freefall jump from near space captivated the world and may have caught the attention of Chinese President Xi Jinping. As early as 2014, he ordered China's air force to speed up air and space integration and sharpen their offensive and defensive capabilities. He prioritized development of hypersonic weapons, solar-powered drones, and high-altitude balloons, all designed for near-space flight in the stratosphere's thin air.

China's not alone. The U.S. and others are jumping into the near space race. Back in 2012, a CNN camera captured the view from 100,000 feet on a high-altitude weather balloon. China's suspected spy balloon, which the Pentagon claims was carrying high-resolution cameras and electronic monitoring equipment, could've captured crystal-clear images of highly sensitive areas and monitored military communications, in some ways, outperforming China's advanced spy satellites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you have something that's up at 70,000 to 100,000 feet, you can see the horizon for 300 miles. A satellite is pretty expensive to get up there and takes a little bit of planning to launch it. And then you can't exactly change what it does or fix it once it's there.

RIPLEY: Navy divers are combing the waters off the Carolina coast so they can piece together the debris of what China calls a civilian weather balloon.

Unlike these weather balloons launched by hand from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Chinese balloon was massive. Some 200 feet tall with a 90-foot possibly solar-powered payload, the size of three city buses.

A source familiar with congressional briefings on the balloon said some components had English writing. It's not clear if they were made in America or another Western country.


RIPLEY (on camera): And there is a growing list of countries that are jumping into this near space race, Erin, China and the United States, of course, also Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, South Korea. The list goes on.

And this is going to pose incredibly new challenges to the security of the United States and all countries around the world because not only are these cheaper than satellites, but they are more maneuverable, easier to operate and as we've seen, much harder to detect.


BURNETT: It's amazing. All right. Thank you very much, Will Ripley.

And I want to go now to retired Air Force Lieutenant General Charlie "Tuna" Moore. He was also the former vice director for operations for NORAD, which was central in the taking down of that object today, General Moore.

So, the Pentagon says that object is about the size of a small car at 40,000 feet. They say it was a possible threat to civilian aircraft. I understand that that's smaller than the balloon which was three buses. But to the average person watching something flying around that's the size of a small car is nothing to sneer at. What do you think it is?

LT. GEN. CHARLIE "TUNA" MOORE (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: Well, that's a great question, Erin. At this point, we still don't know. But I would anticipate in the coming hours or days as we recover the pieces of the wreckage, we're going to have a really good idea of exactly where it originated, who it belonged to, and what it was up to.

BURNETT: Now, you -- obviously, you know so much about this near- space thing, the donut hole. We focus on earth, we focus on space, and that space in between certainly China's put a lot of effort in there as we now are very well aware of.

Do you think that this object likely came from China, too?

MOORE: Well, we simply don't know. I mean, we'd have to speculate. I think the key point to remember, though, based on the reporting that we just had is don't think about this as single balloons or single events. We need to think about this as part of a broader enterprise that China's developed from intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance perspective.

They're putting things in space. They obviously have airborne, aircraft, manned and unmanned. They could fly off the coast and stay outside the 12-mile limit. They have the cyber space forces to conduct those types of missions. And now of course they're exploiting the near space.

BURNETT: And we know the spy balloons are part of an extensive Chinese surveillance program, as you pointed out, right? So, all these reports about all these objects of UFOs, some people were sort of scoffing when others said, oh, it's got to be China. Well, now it appears that plenty of those, quote/unquote, UFOs were Chinese surveillance equipment.

Are you worried at this point? And you know more than anybody about what's happening, given the roles that you've had, and your role in intelligence and NORAD. Are you worried about how much we don't know about what the Chinese are doing in terms of spying on the U.S. right now?

MOORE: I'm not worried. We have the best intelligence organizations in the world. And they do very good job of keeping us abreast of what's going on in areas like this so that we can stay ahead of the curve. I think we just got a little bit of surprised in this particular incident talking about the spy balloon that it showed up over the United States as quickly as it did.

BURNETT: Yeah. All right, well, General Moore, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MOORE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the breaking news we are learning that Trump's legal team has turned over another folder marked classified. That sensitive information also copied onto a laptop. And it comes as Mike Pence's home was searched by FBI agents today.

Plus, we're going to travel to what was once a bustling city, now nothing but ruins. In that earthquake, though, another miraculous story of survival. There are so few, but the ones that are there, we all, of course, can celebrate that moment. An entire family pulled alive after being trapped for more than 100 hours.



BURNETT: Breaking news. More classified documents found at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. Multiple sources telling CNN that Trump's lawyers turned over these documents to federal prosecutors after they were found searching through boxes at Mar-a-Lago.

Now apparently the documents were also copied onto the laptop of a Trump aide. Federal agents also now seized that. This is all coming as today the FBI found and removed a classified document during a search of former Vice President Mike Pence's home.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

Evan, what more are you learning about this folder? I guess let's just start there. The folder that had classified markings that was found at Mar-a-Lago?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. So these documents actually were found by Trump lawyers who were going through boxes at Mar-a-Lago. And they turned over this material as well as a laptop and a thumb drive. It turns out that an aide to the former president who works for his PAC was apparently copying some of these documents onto a thumb drive and a laptop and didn't realize that these items were classified.

And so the laptop and the thumb drive, of course, then suddenly are now classified. And so all of this, Erin, has now been turned over to the FBI, to the Justice Department. This was done in December and January.

And what it tells us is that the effort by the Justice Department to repossess all of these things that were marked as classified and that they have to investigate, that is still ongoing many months after the former president was subpoenaed and told to turn over everything.

BURNETT: Right, subpoenaed, told, said he did, didn't, house was searched, and all of this. And now this stuff is still showing up. So then there is what happened actually today at Pence's home, and the FBI going through there. Obviously we know there were documents there. Now they went through. So what does this mean that something else was found?

And I just note in the context here that there is a special counsel in the Biden classified documents, the Trump classified documents, but not for Pence.

PEREZ: There is not a special counsel, and it may well be that this could change the calculus at the Justice Department. We just don't know yet. In this five-hour search that happened today, was done with the consent of the Pences. They were not there at the time. And the FBI spent time looking through everything.

They retrieved one classified document, one document that was marked as classified, and six other documents that have also been turned over. Now, the question is what are these documents, whether it's something that the FBI needs to further investigate to determine the sensitivity of it.

And, Erin, there's also the matter of another search that the FBI is going to do, we're told that the Pence team and the FBI are working to set up that search, which is for an office of Mike Pence's think tank. And so that should happen in the coming days.

Again, all of this will be put together, and the FBI and the Justice Department will determine whether it means they need to do a full- blown investigation and, perhaps, even a special counsel given the fact that Mike Pence is talking about running for president.

BURNETT: Absolutely. He's made it clear, that certainly seems to be the intent.

Okay, Evan, thank you very much.

So let's go to Ryan Goodman now.

So, Ryan, more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, the thumb drive, the laptop, the folder marked classified. What does this say to you in the context of multiple subpoenas and searches and hunts? And here we still are.

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPT. OF DEFENSE: It's extraordinary in the sense that here we are two years out from President Trump's administration and having all of these efforts by the Justice Department to recover the documents. And the Justice Department saying in front of the federal judge that they believe there were still classified documents in Trump's possession.

And lo and behold there were. And I think the other piece of the news that's very significant is that this is in the hands are the possession of an aide to Trump. And that's something that a lot of lawyers have been looking for. Whether or not there would be a third party, so the key legal term is dissemination, not just that he returned the documents but they were disseminated to a third party.

This aide, an on a laptop, and a thumb drive is highly insecure. I think that ramps up the legal liability for Trump and the likelihood of any potential indictment.

BURNETT: When you say indictment again, do you think -- do you think it's possible that the special counsel Jack Smith could go ahead and do that separate from Biden, and the Biden case which of course has a separate counsel?

GOODMAN: I think so. I think the key question under the law is whether or not the individual had knowledge and intent to willfully retain the documents. And there is a lot of information that President Trump did so and that he himself personally sorted some of the materials from the documents.

He personally gave the order to remove some of the boxes from his storage facility. There's nothing like that for Biden.

BURNETT: No, absolutely not, and if that's the clear differentiator, it exists such that we know it at this point.

And what about Pence's home, an additional classified document found. There were a dozen documents found that were classified last month. They are now going to be searching Pence's D.C. office, we imagine any day.

So, do you think this means we're going to have a third special counsel?

GOODMAN: I think it makes it more likely if they found nothing it would make it less likely. But they found something. So they found the one document, they found these other six pages or six documents that are not marked as classified. But the FBI is reviewing them.

And I think Attorney General Garland might feel that he needs to do it because it shows that he's even-handed. It looks similar to the Biden case especially because Pence's team said we returned everything. Lo and behold the FBI comes and they find more.

BURNETT: All right.

GOODMAN: So, I think that's one of their reasons for going.

BURNETT: All right. So, thank you so very much.

And next, as they count the dead, the dead, the dead now over 23,000 people killed in that massive earthquake. Rescuers are marveling over what they can. And in this case, the survival of one family found alive a hundred hours after the earthquake. We're going to take you there, next.

Plus, embattled Congressman George Santos claiming he's hard at work, despite the countless controversies around him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I'm in my office, I'm taking meetings, I'm answering constituent calls.


BURNETT: So, what is he actually doing on the job? That story is next.



BURNETT: Breaking news. We are learning that a 16-year-old boy has just been pulled alive from the wreckage of the massive earthquake, pulled alive after being buried alive for 119 hours -- 119 hours. And he is alive tonight.

It comes as the death toll though in Turkey and Syria has climbed to an unbelievable more than 23,000 at this hour. In the depths of despair, though, there is that boy. There are other small stories of miracles, lives saved. You see how emotional one man is as he watches his parents and siblings rescued alive, that was after 102 hours. Unimaginable suffering.

Jomana Karadsheh is OUTFRONT.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The distance this city that once was now as people left to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. Today, aid made it to this makeshift camp in Iskenderun, young and old dig through the piles of clothes and shoes, essentials for survival now. No one can yet comprehend.

Olid (ph) comes up to us crying. She's not only lost her home, her only sister is gone. I have no mother, no father, she tells us. She was my everything.

In seconds, every life here upended. For days, Fatima hasn't let go of her 10-year-old Fenduk (ph). When he hears sirens, his entire body shakes. When the earthquake happened, I thought it was doomsday, she tells us. We're living in apocalypse.

Her daughter was preparing for her wedding. Now they're living in the back of a truck. They say they're thankful to be alive, but it's all just too much.

These girls went to show us their tent. They're from Syria. But Turkey is the only home these children have known. Inside the tent, Ibrahim who fled the war in Syria ten years ago told us he lost 18 members of his extended family in the earthquake. He said he thought the days of carrying his children to safety, protecting them from collapsing buildings was behind him.

They are saying they were terrified when the earthquake happened, but they're just glad that they are safe.

God bless the souls of all those who died, he says.

No parent can shield their child from this reality, surrounded by death and destruction. There's no escaping this nightmare.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Iskenderun, Turkey.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, Senator Kyrsten Sinema accusing Congressman George Santos of lying when he said this.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Kyrsten Sinema, as she was walking by, the senator from Arizona, she said something to the effects of, hang in there, buddy, or something like that.


BURNETT: She says that's an outright lie.

And Senator John Fetterman back home after learning two days in the hospital. What we're learning about his health, tonight.



BURNETT: New tonight, embattled Republican Congressman George Santos accused of a new lie by one of his own colleagues. Santos making this claim while talking to Newsmax about his heated exchange this week with Senator Mitt Romney.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Kyrsten Sinema, as she was walking by, the senator from Arizona, she said something to the effects of, hang in there, buddy. I said, thank you, Madam Senator.

She was very polite, very kind-hearted, as I've learned to see her. She's a good person, unlike Mr. Romney, who thinks he's above it all and is in a whole -- almighty white horse trying to talk to us down on morality.


BURNETT: Of course, the problem with that is Sinema's office says this is a total lie. They say the exchange never happened. It is another example of what has seemingly become typical for the freshman congressman day in and day out.

Eva McKend is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SANTOS: I'm in my office, I'm taking meetings, I'm answering constituent calls.

REPORTER: Why did you list the wrong name of your treasurer --

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Embattled freshman Congressman George Santos insisting he's hard at work, amid the daily questions over his lies.


SANTOS: I'm the new -- I'm the new favorite punching bag in America.

MCKEND: But amidst all the scandal, he's trying to play the role of congressman, signing on at least a dozen different bills of Republicans he's trying to forge alliances with, bills dealing with abortion rights, guns, terminating TikTok, repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, and congressional term limits.

SANTOS: I'm signing on to a litany of bills on the house, and we're writing bills out of my office already that are sitting with ledge council. So as everybody must be wondering at home if I'm getting things done. You betcha we're getting things done and we're pretty proud of the work we're putting forward.

MCKEND: While some of his fellow GOP have snubbed him, Santos seems to be working hard to make friends on the Hill with some of the most extreme members of Congress. He's also not shy on the house floor, giving several speeches. One on anti-Semitism.

SANTOS: We must also pay tribute to the liberators who rescued millions of people who nearly fell victim to the Holocaust.

MCKEND: Another noting the birthday of one of his Jewish constituents.

SANTOS: Today, I rise to honor Mr. Christopher Marion Balvin (ph), a constituent, war hero and Holocaust survivor in New York's third congressional district.

MCKEND: Santos previously lied and said he was Jewish and falsely claimed his grandparents were Holocaust survivors. But every day something new seems to plague him, this week, increasing scrutiny over his claims of charity work with rescued pets. Santos charged with theft in 2017, accused of writing thousands of dollars of bad checks to dog breeders in Pennsylvania.

He claimed his checkbook was stolen and the charges were ultimately expunged from his record. And he still faces several obstacles, a House Ethics Committee probe and a federal investigation into his campaign finances. Yet he remains defiant about staying on the job.

SANTOS: The reality is I won by a decisive margin. I had a very expressive, decisive victory.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MCKEND: And, Erin, it appears as though Congressman Santos is still raising money. The federal election commission is asking him to declare whether he plans to run again in 2024 after he crossed a post- election fund-raising threshold that now requires him to make a formal declaration.

FEC says he has until next month, so about mid-March, to reply.


Eva, thank you very much for all of your reporting.

Eva's reporting comes as Santos faces growing scrutiny after CNN learned he was charged with theft and deception in Pennsylvania by 2017. Eva mentioning the checks. There were about nine of them totaling $15,000. They were written in his name to dog breeders in Amish county.

A lawyer friend of Santos tells CNN that he eventually got the case dismissed.

OUTFRONT now, Harry Sandick, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

And, Harry, of course, Santos is now facing multiple investigations, right? This isn't just people saying he's a liar. These are real investigations. He's got an FBI probe into allegations he stole $3,000 that was intended to save a veteran's dying service dog.

What does this allegation mean for him?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: So, I think each of these gets put on the pile of allegations, gets higher and higher. And in federal court, there's a rule, and it's the same rule in certain state courts, that if you've committed other bad acts, those can be used against you in other cases.

And so I think his primary concern is probably the investigation into campaign finance fraud. That's a federal investigation. It's in his home district, the eastern district of New York. But all of these other allegations that your reporter was just talking about with you are potentially admissible against him to prove his intent, to prove that he's not someone who acted by mistake but someone who has repeatedly acted with fraudulent intent.

BURNETT: Now, you talk about campaign finance being what you're most concerned about. There are 37 different instances of him, Harry, listing campaign expenses in the amount of $199.99, which is one cent under the threshold for needing a receipt. He spent this money on almost anything, Ubers, hotels, planes, trains, parking, Target. There's been a lot of investigations.

Philip Bump had done some great work showing you can't get $199.99 at JFK parking, right? "The Miami Herald" has done some amazing reporting, you can't get these amounts at the places that they said they were ostensibly from.

How big of a problem could this be for Santos?

SANDICK: I think that's where the real problem lies for a couple of reasons. First of all, if those charges are not true -- and of course because there's no receipt, we have no way of knowing. And the reporting that you've talked about suggests they may not be true. It's against the law to lie in a federal election report.

Number two, did he, in fact, use those for the stated purpose, or did he just use it for himself?


Did he, you know, just use it for his own personal living expenses? That would be a crime. He's not allowed to convert money from his campaign to his own personal use.

And then in addition to that, there are the allegations that where did he get all of the money that he used to, you know, donate for himself to his own campaign. If those funds came from individuals who wanted to donate money to the campaign and they sort of laundered it through him, that would be the use of what they call straw donors, except here the straw donor is Santos himself. So all of these things are potentially federal crimes.

BURNETT: All right. Harry Sandick, thank you very much for laying all of it out. Appreciate your time.

SANDICK: Thank you.

BURENTT: And next, senator John Fetterman, who is still recovering from last year's stroke, is back home. After he was feeling lightheaded, he spent two days in the hospital, luckily is home now. We'll tell you what we're learning about his health.


BURNETT: Finally tonight, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman is out of the hospital after two days of observation and tests. He was admitted Wednesday after feeling lightheaded in Washington. Of course, he suffered a stroke at the height of the campaign season last year.

His communications director tonight says he was discharged tonight. And in addition to the tests ruling out a stroke, that his EKG test results came back normal with no evidence of seizures.

Thanks so much for joining us. I'll be back at 9:00 p.m. Anderson starts now.