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Erin Burnett Outfront
U.S.: Russia's Private Army Has Suffered About 30,000+ Casualties, Including 9,000 Dead, Still Relying "Heavily" On Convicts"; CNN Tracks Down Headquarters For U.S.-Blacklisted Balloon Manufacturer China Does Not Want Public To See; Court Doc: Fox News Starts Thought Trump Claims Were "Total BS"; Source: Fetterman Could Be Hospitalized For Weeks, More Than A Month. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 17, 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, new video into OUTFRONT of a brutal battle waged from a trench, casings flying, all unfolding on camera. This as more Russian officials, past and present, are dying suspiciously back home.
Plus, CNN takes us closer than anyone else can to a secret Chinese lab, home to a blacklisted spy balloon maker. It's an OUTFRONT investigation that completely blows China's cover.
And new details about what led Senator John Fetterman to check himself into the hospital for depression. His fellow stroke survivor, someone that all of you know well, General Michael Hayden, opens up about stroke and depression.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good Friday evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT, inside a trench -- we have video tonight of the brutal life and death on the front lines. In this clip, which is disturbing, we are going to go inside one of the countless makeshift trenches in Ukraine. The Ukrainian who is filming this -- as you can see, they are shooting, it is alive battle, shooting and then runs to one end of the trench.
So, you will see him turn and run. And as that happens, there is more shooting going on. And then they look up -- you see the scarred terrain. And amidst that terrain, then you are going to see there, that Russian soldier. That Russian soldier -- in combat mode. He looked the wrong way. And he saw his death, the flying casings.
I mean, you have to think about this. The ability to film a moment like this in close combat, the value of a life, it does make you pause, seeing one life and it puts the mass numbers of dead in context.
Tonight, the United States government is giving some bigger numbers, saying that the Wagner Group alone -- Putin's private militia -- has already suffered more than 30,000 casualties, including roughly 9,000 deaths. It's just a tiny fraction of the Russian deaths there. But still, that is what they are seeing, from the Wagner Group.
And the losses and death seem to be putting more pressure on Putin tonight. Because, this evening, we are learning about Russian defense officials dead under mysterious circumstances. Maria Yankina, a senior Russian defense official -- you see here they're wearing four star, her four star -- found dead this week under the windows of a high rise building in St. Petersburg, according to the Russian newspaper "Kommersant".
Now, officials told the newspaper the suspected cause of her being on the ground, 16 floors below where she was, was suicide.
And Major General Vladimir Makarov, who is relieved of his post in January, also allegedly died by suicide. That's according to Russian state news agency TASS. Makarov have been in charge of cracking down on protesters. And those deaths, both military, coming after a dozen other high-profile Russians had reportedly died by suicide or unexplained accidents since the beginning of the war. I'll put some of the pond the. Screen just put this in context, one fell out of a window of his hotel. Another fell down a hospital window, another fell down a flight of stairs. Another fell off the boat. A lot of falling.
It's well-known just how dire that consequences can be for anyone who crosses Putin, even with those living outside of Russia.
You know Christo Grozev, right? He has been on the set many times. Christo is now on Putin's most wanted list. He told me this recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTO GROZEV, LEAD RUSSIAN INVESTIGATOR AT BELLINGCAT: I think it's a fatwa of some sort. I mean, it's like a message that -- to other journalists as well, that don't come into, meddle into investigations of Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Just last night, Christo was denied entry to this year's UK's BAFTA Award ceremony, right? A hugely important ceremony award, film award ceremony, on the recommendation of British police. The film that Christo worked on about the attempted murder of Putin's opposition leader Navalny, had been nominated, but Christo was turned away because he was told that he and his family, quote, represent a public security risk. British police think it is so likely that someone will try to assassinate Christo at this public event for films that they banned him from attending.
It's just such an incredible moment, think about that we are living in a moment where that is happening in London. And it comes as Putin today met with the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. And I want to begin tonight with Fred Pleitgen in Moscow. He is out front tonight there. That is where that meeting happen.
And, Fred, what more are you learning?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. Yeah, it was a big meeting for both of these leaders. We met with Alexander Lukashenko yesterday. And he was already telling us how important this meeting would be for him. And some of the things that we saw from that meeting was Lukashenko telling Vladimir Putin how important he is to Putin and how good the cooperation is right now, between Belarus and Russia.
Of course, both leaders -- really the closest that they are to each other -- they don't really have many friends on the international stage aside from each other. However, one of the things that so far, Lukashenko is not willing to do, is commit troops to the war that Vladimir Putin is waging in Ukraine. Of course, that war is going very difficult for the Russians right now, especially around that eastern town of Bakhmut, which the Russians had thought that they would capture right now. But they certainly seem to be making very little progress on the ground. And it is very tough.
Here is what we are learning.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): In the soggy trenches of Eastern Ukraine, the fighting isn't letting up. Ukraine saying Russian forces continue to viciously assault Bakhmut and the Donbas region. This Ukrainian unit says they're holding the line, but need more firepower.
Give us more military equipment, more weapons, and we will deal with the Russian occupiers. We will destroy them, the soldier says.
Ukraine and the U.S. believe a major offensive by the Kremlin might already be underway. And, as Russia be self its troops on Ukraine's eastern front, Ukraine not only needs more and better weapons, it needs them fast.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Munich security conference via video link.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: We need to hurry up. We need the speed. There is no alternative to speed, because it is the speed that the life depends on.
PLEITGEN: But as much as the Ukrainians need weapons quickly, Vladimir Putin quickly needs a win. Mercenaries for the Wagner private military company and their boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, we're hoping to push Ukraine's troop troops out of Bakhmut in time for the one year anniversary of the war. But they now admit that's unlikely to happen.
A Wagner affiliated social medias channel posted this extremely graphic video, the authenticity of which we cannot independently verify, of alleged fighters asking for more ammo.
Every day, we lose hundreds of our comrades in arms. He says. It could have been half as many if our military functionaries had supplied us on time with weapons and ammunitions and the things we needed. Vladimir Putin, meeting with one of his closest allies, Belarusian
President Alexander Lukashenko, trying to show he is dealing with a military supply issue. And, of course, we will discuss, as usual, the entire range of our relationships, he said, including security issues and military cooperation.
Lukashenko then claiming that Belarus, which served as one of Putin's launch pad for the invasion a year ago, will soon start producing warplanes. Yes, the attack aircraft, he said, a real workhorse. We are ready to produce it in Belarus with minor assistance from the Russian federation.
Russia is apparently gearing up for a protracted and bloody war, which Ukraine's president warns, might expand beyond Ukraine.
It's obvious that Ukraine is not going to be his last stop, Zelenskyy says. If we break, he will consume other countries, including all the other states that, at some point in time were part of the Soviet bloc.
PLEITGEN (on camera): And, Erin, the other really important thing that Volodymyr Zelenskyy said as well is he said that Ukraine really needs this war to end as fast as possible. He said, they want to bring it to an end before the end of this year. Now, of course, he said, the key thing to that is that those weapons deliveries keep going and in fact are accelerated, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred, from Moscow tonight.
I want to go now to Roman Badanin, independent Russian journalist who was tried with imprisonment for his work, forced to leave Russia. He's also founder an editor in chief of the investigative outlet "Crook", which the Kremlin deems to be, quote, undesirable.
Also with me, retired Army Major General James "Spider" Marks.
General, I want to start with you if I can, and I want to play that video from the trench again, just sort of bringing this home, the fact that someone is actually filming this. It's kind of close combat.
The Russian walks up and is killed by -- you see what the flying casings from the killing. What are you taking away from watching this one moment? This one death, this one trench, where there are, of course, callous happenings, every single day, in Ukraine?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah, warfare is a human endeavor. It's personal on multiple levels. You certainly cannot extract from this -- you can't be agnostic. You can't be objective about the observation of this type of footage. What you have to realize is that this is the nature of warfare. And
within this, you have to accomplish objectives. Look, the Ukrainians have an incredible fight on their hand, and they have been doing immensely, immensely well. They have galvanized the globe behind them, and the Russians have made some significant mistakes from strategic level on down and have revealed that they are incompetent all measures of military application of force.
So, we look at this, certainly, as a personal face. There's a family associated with, irrespective of the side of the soldier is on -- but we also look at it and realize there's more to come.
Look, I don't think we are looking at the end of this. Really, I think, it's the end of the beginning. What we are seeing now is -- we are going to see this moving forward.
BURNETT: So, Roman, soldiers from the notoriously brutal private army, the Wagner Group, we are hearing that those casualty and death numbers from U.S. intelligence, saying, 30,000 casualties there at least -- and now we are learning that the soldiers -- who are in the Wagner Group are complaining that they don't have ammo, right? That they need more ammo and that they are complaining publicly -- the Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been clear to blame that on Putin's generals and everything on Putin generals and -- what did he call it? A monstrous military bureaucracy, every chance he gets.
You called Yevgeny Prigozhin the important clown. How come?
ROMAN BADANIN, INDEPENDENT RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: Yeah. Of course, Prigozhin guys, mostly ex-inmates, drafted to the Wagner Group really significant on the front line specifically, in Bakhmut region. But you are completely right. We, Russian journalists, who are familiar with Prigozhin, with Prigozhin activity inside Russia, we call him the important clown, in the sense that, of course, Prigozhin is an important and rich person, and close to Putin, to some extent.
But his influence is greatly exaggerated, mostly by the Western media, because around Putin are people who are much more influential. And in general, as we call it, this is a rule in Russia. The person is busy with his own PR, the less influential he is. And people who are truly close to Putin, like the oligarch Yuri Kovalchuk, for example, they have appeared on television only once in the entire lives.
So, what they see now, Prigozhin is trying to stay in the system and inside the system and to survive, actually, because he has a lot of enormously influential enemies inside Russia.
BURNETT: And, as you point out, he actually has his own PR unit in the Wagner group.
Spider, a partisan group of lawmakers of Congress is now -- and I just want to say, bipartisan on anything in significant, and even on Ukraine, it's significant, but it's especially significant in this. They want Biden to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Biden has been very resistant to that, right?
Ten months ago, we would not have even been having this conversation, right? They said that it would cause Putin to go nuclear and World War III. Is it time to send the jets to Ukraine?
MARKS: It is. Look, what we have seen over the course of the year, essentially, in this administration is, no, no, no, yes. And so, the Ukrainians have been wearing down this administration. And I think it's only a matter of time before F-16s will be engaged.
And certainly, it is a training time associated with that, et cetera. But it was, no, no, no, on Patriots, then it was Patriots. It was no, no, no on Abrams. We've got Abrams and we've got Bradleys. Now, we have more precision artillery and missile capabilities.
I think this is -- what the Ukrainians are doing, quite frankly, it's a marketing campaign. They are putting in a lot of kidney blows on this administration. And they are putting their hands down, saying, okay, you have won me over.
I think we are going to see that in order to steal a march against the Russians, we have to conduct three dimensional warfare. It's air power, coordinated artillery, coordinated with ground combat, good intelligence, great logistics. That has to happen if you want to remove Russians from Ukraine.
BURNETT: And obviously, the missing piece of, that in all the other new things being provided, as you point out, is the air portion.
Roman, your news outlet had that fascinating report that we were talking about last night -- the armored train that you are reporting on that you say, Putin has primarily for his recent travel because he's now afraid to travel by plane. You go into great detail about the rail lines and the stations, right, because, we've been talking about, we'll, if you are on a train, everyone knows where the tracks are, and you have stuck on these routes.
But you have done all these reporting about lines and stations that were built specifically near Putin's residences. What have you learned about them?
BADANIN: Yeah, what we have learned -- Putin, for at least some time now, has been using this secret armored train and a clandestine network of railroads and stations to travel and use it mostly between his residence. We found, the train itself, which is based in Central Moscow in a secret rail station, and we found at least three secret stations.
One is Valdai. It's halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The second is in Sochi, in southern Russia.
And the third one is in Moscow.
So, all three stations are highly guarded, and an anti-missile system is even installed next to at least one of them, in the Valdai.
Based on the text we found, we cannot say this is directly related to the world war. Because, according to the satellite images we have, the secret railway stations for Putin began to be built back in 2017.
BURNETT: Well, that is fascinating. And, I guess in the context of the buildup and where we, are and as you started talking about it where his mind was and what he was thinking even then.
Thank you so much. I appreciate your sharing with us, Roman.
And, General Marks, good to see you as always.
Thank you both.
MARKS: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, what China does not want you to see. CNN getting the first look at a Chinese lab that makes spy balloons and the military vehicle parked on the premises is pretty much the proof. These are not weather balloons.
Plus, documents showing one Fox News host privately said Trump lawyer Sidney Powell was lying. Another called her and Rudy Giuliani a complete nut. So, why is the network still spewing election lies?
And new details about Senator John Fetterman, checking himself into a hospital for clinical depression. He was not eating. He was losing weight fast.
Fellow stroke survivor, whom you know well, retired General Michael Hayden, is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, it's a secret laboratory that China doesn't want anybody to see. CNN is the first media outlet to get this close to where China actually builds its spy balloons. A militarily helicopter is seen sitting inside the facility's gates dispelling any notions that the balloon are, you know, not used for military purposes.
Will Ripley was there and filed this OUTFRONT investigation.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of miles from Beijing, a place China does not want you to see. CNN, the first international media to come here. Behind barbed wire and security checkpoints, the base of a blacklisted balloon manufacturer, one of six Chinese entities the U.S. government sanctioned after the suspected spy balloon. Shot down, pulled up, and sent to an FBI lab, each piece providing more proof, the U.S. says, this was no weather balloon, deflating denial after denial by Beijing.
China's foreign ministry calls the whole thing an accident, the balloon, and unmanned civilian airship. CNN searched for the truth behind the balloon, took our team from the Chinese capital to a Shanxi province, about 300 miles southwest of Beijing. Days of digging and geolocation technology took us down this road to a place few outsiders have seen.
No international media has ever come this close. What did we find? An active industrial complex with ties to the Chinese military's vast and highly secretive aerospace program. Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology, or EMAST, blacklisted by the U.S. Commerce Department. CNN searched corporate records suggesting EMAST has permits to develop and manufacture products for the Chinese military.
The first thing we noticed, a giant white dome. A closer look shows the company logo. Inside that dome, a lab.
We dug up a 2017 Chinese state media report that says this is where workers test high altitude balloons like the one that flew over the U.S.
Our team spotted two more massive structures. They look like giant tents. A search of state media archives reveals their true purpose. Huge stealth hangers helping military choppers evade detection by prying eyes.
CNN cameras also captured what seems to be an assault helicopter on display. Listen to this. That same state media report never once does it mention meteorology. It boasts the balloons can carry multiple detectors, communications equipment used for civilian and military surveillance and reconnaissance.
CNN tried to get answer from all six companies on the U.S. blacklist. No response from EMAST or the others. They are not talking about the balloon, but President Joe Biden is.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I make no apologies for taking down the balloon.
RIPLEY: A suspected spy balloon. We may never know for sure who made it. China is sticking to its weather balloon claim dismissed by the Pentagon as nothing but hot air.
RIPLEY (on camera): This facility is located in the city of Shanxi and by Chinese standards is relatively small, around 3 million people. But what makes the location highly significant is that the factory is very close to a very large Chinese military base. In fact, when our team is flying into the city, they were instructed by the aircrew to close the window shades on the plane because they did not want the passengers looking out the window or taking pictures of a sensitive military site right next to this, balloon factory, Erin.
BURNETT: Wow. That's pretty -- just the anecdote itself that they would make them shut the windows says a lot. Thank you so much Will Ripley for that incredible reporting.
And next, Tucker Carlson is still questioning the election result as a new filing reveals that he and other Fox News stars trashed the people pushing election lies. So, not, doing the same thing. A Republican who stood up for the truth and received death threats for it is OUTFRONT.
Plus, why Senator John Fetterman could be at Walter Reed hospital for over a month. She receives treatment for clinical depression, after a stroke.
BURNETT: Tonight, Fox News exposed. Despite new court documents revealing the biggest names on Fox News, along with top executives never believed the election was stolen, they still gave a megaphone to the conspiracy theory saying it was. And even as of last night, Tucker Carlson who privately we now know said Trump should concede and said the fraud did not impact the outcome of the election, still went out publicly and fueled the fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: There are so many unanswered questions, some at the lingering. How, for example, it senile hermit Joe Biden get 15 million more votes than his former boss, rock star crowd surfer Barack Obama? Results like that would seem to defy the laws of known physics and qualify as a miracle. Was the 2020 election a miracle? Honestly, we don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Is the fix already in?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a damning indictment of Fox News.
CARLSON: The outcome of our presidential election seized from the hands of voters --
SERFATY: As the network publicly and repeatedly promoted former President Trump's 2020 election fraud claims to millions of their viewers.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Every American should be angry. You should be outraged. You should be worried. You should be concerned at what has happened in the election and the lead up to this election.
SERFATY: Privately, top anchors and executives mocked Trump's lies, calling them ludicrous, really crazy stuff and totally off the rails. The revelations coming from hundreds of pages of newly-released evidence in the legal filing, as part of the Dominion Voting System lawsuit against Fox News.
In this text exchange two weeks after the election, Tucker Carlson texting other Fox News hosts: Sidney Powell is lying, by the way. I caught her, it's insane, he says about Trump's lawyer, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani's unfounded claims.
[19:30:01] Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy, Laura Ingraham wrote back.
Tucker responds: It's unbelievably offensive to me. Our viewers are good people, and they believe it.
Even as the same host went on the air arguing completely otherwise.
INGRAHAM: All right. These election challenges are still going on, and disturbing irregularities have been found and must be investigated to the fullest.
SERFATY: On election night, the network first to call Arizona for Biden.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The Fox News decision desk is calling Arizona for Joe Biden. That is a big get for the Biden campaign.
SERFATY: As Trump's baseless conspiracy theories started to take hold.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: This is a fraud on the American public. So, we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court.
SERFATY: Carlson wrote his producer, warning that Trump could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.
The court documents showing a scramble behind the scenes, as viewers rebel against Fox, for calling the contest in Biden's favor, and a course correction internally, to prioritize profitability over the truth.
After Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked the Trump tweet about votes being destroyed, Tucker Carlson texting his colleagues, please get her fired, seriously. What the F? It's measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down.
Fox News in a statement argues the court filing contains cherry-picked quotes lacking context.
As Fox News host continued this week to sow doubt.
CARLSON: What's the 2020 election a miracle? Honestly, we don't know. We don't expect to get an answer to it tonight.
SERFATY (on camera): And this public versus private narrative extended all the way up to the highest levels of Fox. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, according to court documents, did not believe Trump's election lies, and not only did he send an email weeks after the election, by the Trump team's claims were really crazy stuff and damaging, but he even floated the idea of having Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham appeared together in primetime to declare Joe Biden as the rightful winner of the election, something, Erin, that of course, it never happened. BURNETT: It didn't. I wonder what the world would have been like had
Thank you very much, Sunlen.
I want to go now to Rusty Bowers, the former Republican House Speaker in Arizona, who testified before the January 6 committee about how he fought back against Trump efforts to overturn the election. And he's talked about the threats to his life and his safety and his family and his safety and his family faced because of it.
Also, OUTFRONT, Van Jones, former special adviser to President Obama.
And, Rusty Bowers, I want to speak with you, start with you. It turns out, right, we see this, that the top anchors and top executives at Fox News knew all along that what you were saying about what the election was true. They knew it. They called allies ludicrous, they said their viewers are good people and they might believe the lies.
But when they went out publicly, they gave it oxygen, they pumped those lies of Trump that the election was stolen. What do you say to all this?
RUSSELL "RUSTY" BOWERS (R), FORMER ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, it sure would have helped many in the field as we attempted to stand up to all this tsunami of the demand for lies. It's interesting that Fox News would say, we need to tell, give the news that the viewers want. It's not what they need or the truth that they might -- they might not like but this is what they want.
But had they followed Murdoch's lead and his thoughts, when it got down to fighting it out in the trenches, we could have at least said, look, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News has even said, this is highly questionable. Even that would have been helpful. But so -- water over an old bridge as it were. But it hurts.
BURNETT: You know, Van, it's interesting -- I remember watching one day Neil Cavuto, highly respected Fox Business anchor. He cut away from a free press conference with then White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany because she was pushing baseless fraud allegations, and he said, and I remember it because I thought, what's going to happen to Neil Cavuto? He said, I can't eat good continents continue to show you this.
And because of the filing, it says that the brand team at Fox News, led by Raj Shah, notified senior Fox News and Fox Corporation leadership of the brand threat as they call it that was posed by what Caputo did. So, Van, we find that Cavuto was called a threat to the Fox brand because it cut away from a press conference where someone was lying about the election.
I mean, that's pretty incredible. Does Fox offer any consequences from any of these revelations?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know if they will, they certainly should. By the way, is it now false advertising to even call them Fox News?
This is not news. This is not how a news organization functions.
You tell the truth without fear or favor. That's literally our ethic. You tell the truth without fear or favor -- you make a mistake, apologize for it. None of this is happening. Families have been torn apart, -- have been torn apart, a country has been torn apart because of the false advertising at -- this is more like a professional wrestling than it is news.
BURNETT: And you know, rusty, you heard Tucker Carlson last night, even after the text come out of him saying the truth. He went out last night and pumped the falsehood and the lies about the election again, calling it a miracle.
You are from Arizona, right? You've got gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake still falsely saying she won the election. This is continuing even now. And we are about to come into a presidential election cycle where Trump is running again. How much damage has Fox News done on this, Rusty?
BOWERS: Well, there's all kinds of levels of damages. There is literal damages to dominion and smart tech and others who put together hundreds of contracts across the country, with counties and states to provide the machinery and the technology and the confidence to do the job right. I will call them question. Many contracts loss et cetera, et cetera.
So, there's physical -- I should say, monetary damages, there's physical damages to people, et cetera. There's damages to the confidence of the people at large in all the officials that they have elected to support them all these years. The damage is pervasive.
And even down to the little imam and pop groups that put out their little blogs and push this stuff over and over, it just keeps out ongoing. But it usually starts at the top and then cascades down -- down towards them.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it. It's pretty sobering to read that filing.
BOWERS: You are very welcome.
BURNETT: Next, new information on Senator John Fetterman's treatment for depression after last year stroke. We have learned the senator wasn't eating, wasn't drinking enough water, was losing a lot of weight. We will get the very latest on the situation.
And then a fellow stroke survivor, a former director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden is going to talk to us about his struggles as he recovers. Plus, a badly wounded Ukrainian soldier was on the verge of losing both his legs. But then a stranger got involved and it could lead to him walking again.
BURNETT: Tonight, new details about what led Senator John Fetterman to check himself into a hospital for clinical depression. CNN learning Fetterman wasn't eating and have been losing weight, all of it less than a year after the senator suffered that massive stroke in the middle of his campaign. President Biden sent a message of support today saying, quote, getting the care you need is brave and important. We are grateful to you for leading by example.
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Fetterman in the public spotlight -- battling an illness that millions struggle with in private, clinical depression. It's not uncommon for stroke victims like Fetterman, who nearly died last May after suffering a major stroke at the height of his high profile Senate race in Pennsylvania.
DR. DHRUV KHULLAR, HEALTH POLICY PROFESSOR, WEILL CORNELL MEDICINE: About one and three patients who have a stroke will have a stroke at some point of the course of the year.
RAJU: Fetterman remains at Walter Reed Hospital, after checking himself in on Wednesday night. His symptoms had grown severe. The source tells CNN he had lost a significant amount of weight, not eating properly or drinking enough fluids, contributing to light- headedness that forced him to be admitted to George Washington Hospital last week, after being discharged, Fetterman met with Capitol physician Brian Monahan, who later suggested treatment for clinical depression.
A source says that's day could last a few weeks or more than a month as doctors searched for the right medication.
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, ASSOCIATE DEAN PUBLIC HEALTH, BROWN UNIVERSITY: We know that Senator Fetterman pushed himself so hard in those weeks after the stroke when, in an ideal world, he would have been recovering.
RAJU: Just a few weeks before his stroke, CNN caught up with Fetterman in rural Pennsylvania, and he engaged in extended exchanges with voters.
SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Hello, everybody.
If we legalized it, it would create tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania.
RAJU: How much weight is on your shoulders, knowing that the Senate majority could come down to you?
FETTERMAN: I don't look at it that way. I just come back to what I have always said. It's like, if you trust me with your vote, I am always going to try to deliver.
RAJU: But after the stroke, Fetterman had difficulty communicating, having to rely on closed captioning at a high-profile debate.
FETTERMAN: And let's talk about also the elephant in the room. I had a stroke.
RAJU: His struggles were apparent --
FETTERMAN: I do support fracking. And -- I don't -- I support fracking and I stand, and I do support fracking.
RAJU: In the senate, Fetterman walks the halls with aids that carry around a tablet that helps him understand what people are saying.
Just hours before checking himself in at Walter Reed, briefly questioning a witness at the hearing.
FETTERMAN: Are there any barriers, any stuff specific kinds of special barriers that, for workers in the fossil fuel sector, to learn skills, in renewable fuel production?
RAJU: Last week, when he was in hospital, his colleagues, noting his absence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we should take a moment and just pray for his health.
BURNETT: Thank you, Manu.
And OUTFRONT now, General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency. He suffered a massive stroke in November of 2018 and also has aphasia now, which affects his ability to communicate.
The general, of course, anyone watching, you know him, longtime member of the CNN family. Some of our viewers know him well -- and general, I'm very grateful for you speaking about this and I do want to ask you about your experience because, I think you have given inspiration and hope to so many.
First, though, as Manu Raju was just speaking about Senator Fetterman, and reporting that he is not eating, that he is losing some weight, doctors do say that about a third of people who suffer from strokes have some form of depression in the air afterwards. Did you experience anything like that?
GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA AND NSA DIRECTOR: I didn't -- no, not exactly, but even today, even this week, I am thinking about my hand. I am looking at it and saying, wow, that does not work, and it does not work ever again. I am feeling bad I had to say, no, let's go and do something more. That is what I was doing. So, it's a problem, but I think I can do it. The senator, he has the same problem, and it is hard, but I think it will be okay.
BURNETT: How do you get through those moments, as you say, when you look at your hand, even today, you feel that sort of grief or sadness, how do you manage that?
HAYDEN: Well, for me, it's my wife and kids that is very important. They come to talk with me and so on, the grand children as, well. So that's very good. It's very good.
We have things to do on the weekend. That's also very good as well.
BURNETT: So it has been for you a little over four years since he suffered a stroke. I know that it happened suddenly, as they do, in your home. You are getting ready one morning. Your wife called 911.
For you, General, you spent two months in the hospital. I know the stroke affected the entire right side of your body. You are talking about even here in this conversation, going to the stroke center, going through the therapy. It seems as if a recovery is a permanent thing. How are you doing now day to day?
HAYDEN: Better and better. For example, about a year and a half ago, I got -- I got -- I am sorry, what I wanted to say is that I can drive now, so that's very good.
HAYDEN: So, I go to Pittsburgh for football games, and I do it all the time. My wife or son helps me, but we do many times. So that's very good.
BURNETT: Earlier this month, I know you made your first onstage appearance since your stroke. I can only imagine the courage that that takes.
Now, at the event, you were talking about what keeps you awake at night, and you said China. Obviously, we're in this moment now where conditions feel higher than they have been in decades, after President Biden ordered the U.S. military shut down that Chinese spy balloon. Today, Beijing slammed Biden saying he is escalating the crisis, disregarding international laws.
Where do you think this is headed?
HAYDEN: Well, I don't know, and that is a problem. I think it will be the next to hundred years, the United States and China, do we do something about it that is good or not? I am really worried about it.
I talked to the DNI two years ago, and I said it's China, and the second one is China, and the third is China. It's very important.
What is going on now in Ukraine, that's really important to, and al Qaeda is important, but China is the most important. BURNETT: General Hayden, I very much appreciate your time, and I
thank you for doing this. I know -- I can only imagine the courage that it takes, and I just want to thank you because I think for so many, you give inspiration and hope.
HAYDEN: That's very nice of you. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, the Ukrainian soldiers who may never walk again because of Vladimir Putin's war. See how Americans are battling to help them turn things around.
Plus, the former police officer charged and murdered in the death of Tyre Nichols making their first court appearance. Why Nichols father is happy, even though the defendants are pleading not guilty?
BURNETT: Tonight, a Ukrainian soldier severely wounded, was on the brink of having to have both of his legs amputated. He got much needed help from a stranger in the United States, and Omar Jimenez is OUTFRONT with his story.
VLADYSLAV ORLOV, OFFICER, NATIONAL GUARD OF UKRAINE: It's completely nice now. It's like for food, oh my god.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Justice feels like a miracle for Vladislav Orlov, an officer in Ukraine's national guard and being treated in the United States.
ORLOV: Sometimes, I really don't understand what has happened with me. I am still somewhere on another planet. When it happened with me, I don't realize, I was just smoking and like boom!
JIMENEZ: October 2022, the aftermath of what may have been artillery fire hitting the vehicle.
ORLOV: Something is shot on my car in front of me, and car's flipped, burned.
JIMENEZ: He was told he may have to have his leg amputated or may never walk again, so it began to pursuit of another option, any option.
GARY WASSERSON, VOLUNTEER, COORDINATED AID: I sprung into action and started making calls in the U.S.
JIMENEZ: Gary Wasserson has already been helping coordinate resources to the region on a voluntary basis.
WASSERSON: That was my biggest concern, making sure that I could successfully get clearance for him to come here.
JIMENEZ: Eventually, Wasserson was able to sponsor Vlad coming to the U.S., but from one complicated equation to the next, the hospital for special surgery in New York City had been assessing how they might be able to save Orlov's legs.
DR. DURETTI FUFA, HAND & RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON: He had both soft tissue wounds as well as bone defects or missing bone from the blast injuries, multiple fractures in each defeat. He's also undergone to very lengthy procedures to begin the major step for reconstruction of both his right and left foot.
JIMENEZ: Reconstruction is one thing, walking is something else entirely. His recovery is not guaranteed, with more surgeries to go.
ORLOV: All bones are broken, same for my right foot, too.
JIMENEZ: But doctors are optimistic.
Meanwhile -- back home for Orlov, it's been nearly a year since the Russian war in Ukraine began. Hope has become a currency.
So when you get better, you want to go back?
ORLOV: I want a try, of course, but I still have options to help my country. Every single thing I can do, I will do.
JIMENEZ: He hopes he may walk again, but he hopes his country does so much more, and that the world hopes it too.
ORLOV: One military man destroying other military men, it's war, yeah, okay. But when military men destroyed women and children, it's not okay, absolutely. It is war crimes, it is every day. Peoples don't understand the war, what is good are not. It's not about war in Ukraine and Russia, it's about human rights.
JIMENEZ: Omar Jimenez, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, the ex-cops charged in the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols go before a judge. The D.A. taking a much deeper look at the elite and now disbanded special unit that they worked for.
BURNETT: All five former Memphis police officers charged in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols pleading not guilty in their arraignment today. This is the first time that they've been seen together since the release of the video of Nichols' violent death. One defense attorney says his client was, quote, doing's job. Meanwhile, the D.A. says his office is reviewing as many as 100 cases now related to that Scorpion unit, the tactical force of all five officers were a part of. It was designed to cut down on crime. It has, of course, since been shut down.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" begins now.