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Erin Burnett Outfront

Russia's Private Army Chief Blasts Putin's Leaders, Saying They "Manage Soldiers, From Beauty Salons, And Country Clubs"; Doc: Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham, Other Fox Stars Ridiculed Trump's Election Fraud Claims In Private, But Promoted Them On Shows; Ex-CIA Director Says China Keeps Him Up At Night. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 17, 2023 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, Tiger Woods, all but certain, to make the cut. That is making it to the weekend, at the Genesis Invitational, Los Angeles.

It's his first start of the year, his first tournament, since last summer, and his first time back at the tournament, he hosts, two years after the car crash, not far from there that left him badly injured, and away from the sport that he loves and dominated, for so many years.

That's it for us. The news continues. ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT starts now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT: OUTFRONT next, new CNN exclusive reporting, the U.S. about to put Russian Intelligence Services on notice. This, as Russia's best hope, for winning, on the battlefield, appears to be crumbling, tonight.

Plus, Fox News exposed! New details about just how worried the network was, about telling the truth, to their viewers.

Defying the odds, a nurse, from Hawaii, about to sail solo, around the globe, before her incurable disease makes it impossible. She is my guest.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I am Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, cracking down. CNN is exclusively learning that the United States is planning to crack down on Russia, and Russian Intelligence Services, for efforts, to circumvent U.S. sanctions. We understand this will be coming, next week.

And it is as Putin's best hope, for a win, in Ukraine, is crumbling, even more, tonight. The Wagner Group, suffering huge losses, now unlikely to meet their goal, of capturing symbolic city of Bakhmut, by the one-year anniversary, of the invasion. In fact, they had thought, right, they would have gotten it a long time ago.

Already, Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group has suffered more than 30,000 casualties, roughly 9,000 deaths, according to the U.S. government, tonight. And that sounds like a lot. It is.

Let me just give you the context, because this really brings it home. The U.S. recently said that Wagner has only 50,000 troops, in Ukraine, in total. 30,000 casualties; 50,000 people total.

And the complaints, from inside Wagner, are starting to mount.

I warn you that this video that we're going to share with you here is graphic. But a Wagner-affiliated social media channel posted it. It is alleged fighters. They're asking for more ammunition. Now, we can't verify the authenticity of this video. But it does track with everything that we have heard.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Every day we lose hundreds of our comrades-in-arms. It could have been half as many losses, if our Military functionaries, had supplied us, on time, with weapons, and ammunition, and the things we needed.


BURNETT: And this is something that we are hearing from other Wagner fighters, now, as well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are the artillery units of Wagner PMC. Every day, we carry out difficult combat tasks, covering assault groups. At the moment, we are completely cut off, from the ammunition supply.


BURNETT: Ammunition! Ammunition! Ammunition! And they are following the lead of their boss. They're not speaking out of turn.

Yevgeny Prigozhin is blaming the Russian army, for Wagner's shortages, and failure.


YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, RUSSIAN-SOVIET MERCENARY (through translator): The advance is proceeding less-fast than we would want. Why is the advance not fast enough? I think we could have taken control of it, by the New Year, if we hadn't been hindered by our monstrous Military bureaucracy, and obstacles, created, on a daily basis.


BURNETT: Alex Marquardt is out front, in Kyiv, tonight, to begin our coverage. And Alex, what is the latest, on the ground, there, tonight?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we are seeing the beginning stages of this new Russian offensive. And so far, it is not going well. One senior State Department official, on Thursday, said that it is very pathetic.

We are getting that update, on the fighting, in Bakhmut, from the White House. That city where, for the past few months, Ukraine has been locked in a fierce battle, with Russian forces, from the Wagner Group, made up of mercenaries and convicts.

The White House's John Kirby, saying that in December, 90 percent of the deaths, from Wagner, were convicts, a recruitment tool, he says, that shows no sign of abating.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): Just a week, from the first anniversary, of the Russian invasion, this is, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the toughest fight, in Ukraine, right now, in the eastern city of Bakhmut.

Called a "Meat grinder," by both sides, Russian troops, from the Wagner mercenary group, most of them convicts, continue to be sent in, wave after wave, to their deaths.

JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Men that he just plucked out of prisons, and threw on the battlefield, with no training, no equipping, no organizational command, just throw them into the fight. 90 percent killed were convicts.


We believe that Wagner continues to rely heavily on these convicts in the Bakhmut fighting, and that doesn't show any signs of abating.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The battle laying there, the stark divisions, on the Russian side.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): With Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, openly blasting Russia's official Military leadership, saying, they manage soldiers, from beauty salons, and country clubs, arguing that if there were more, of his private troops, they would be halfway, across Ukraine, by now.

The toll has been so severe on the Russian side that according to Ukrainian officials, regular troops have been backfilling Wagner, mechanized infantry and tank units, supported by artillery and aircraft.

If Russia were to take Bakhmut, it would change little, but be a symbolic victory, as Ukraine struggles, to keep them at bay. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

MARQUARDT (voice-over): President Zelenskyy, today, urging world leaders, at the Munich Security Conference, to speed up their Military aid, comparing the fight to Goliath, taking on David, in his sling.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: We need to hurry up. We need the speed, speed of our agreements, speed of our delivery, to strengthen our sling, speed of decisions, to limit Russian potential.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): That Russian potential is still significant, with hundreds of thousands of mobilized troops believed to be in reserve, and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, able to call up more, to offset his enormous losses.

Now, according to the U.S. State Department, numbering, over 200,000, Russian dead, and wounded.


MARQUARDT: We should note that Ukraine has also suffered tremendous losses, both in this fight, in Bakhmut, and all across the country, over the past year. But Ukraine and the U.S. are less transparent about those numbers.

Now, the United States would like to see Ukraine shift its focus, from Bakhmut, to a looming counteroffensive, in the South that would be made up of some newly-trained troops, and armored vehicles.

Today, we learned that 635 Ukrainian troops have just finished a five- week training course, at a U.S. base, in Germany. A second phase has now started with 710 new Ukrainian troops, much of the training focused, on combined arms, and maneuvers, with those armored vehicles that the U.S. believes will be critical, in taking back territory, from Russia.


BURNETT: Alex, thank you very much, from Kyiv, tonight.

And OUTFRONT now, Michael Bociurkiw, the senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He is based in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa; and retired Air Force Colonel, Cedric Leighton.

Thanks so much to both of you.

Colonel Leighton, let me just start with you, with what Alex was saying, that Russia is struggling to get a new offensive going, a battered Military, the tremendous losses, obviously, from Wagner, being a part of that.

What would a massive Russian offensive look like, with the Military that they have, now, presuming that they have tens of thousands or more troops that they're about to commit to it?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, AIR FORCE COLONEL (RET.): Yes, Erin, that's a really interesting question. In normal times, you would say a Russian offensive would look like a huge mass of soldiers, going forward, with lots of tanks, helicopters and air support.

The air support is definitely lacking, at least it has been lacking so far. You also have a situation, where there are, really, problems, backfilling the losses that the Russians have had that Alex mentioned, in his report.

So, you're going to see probably, is this attempt to, like you see in Bakhmut, and in other places, along the front, where there're going to be these probes that are moving forward. But those probes are not going to be effective, unless they find certain weaknesses, in the Ukrainian lines.


LEIGHTON: But, generally speaking, it's going to be an attempt, with a lot of artillery, with a lot of a movements, forward. But those movements are going to be stopped pretty much at the frontline, at this point.

BURNETT: So Michael, Colonel Leighton says you would have a lot of air support, and there hasn't been that thus far. That's true.

But we do understand that today, in the meeting, with Alexander Lukashenko, Lukashenko promised Putin that Belarus is ready to produce fighter jets, for Russia. We know, from Western intelligence that they have been putting a lot of fighter jets, on Belarusian bases.

And U.S. Intelligence is saying, or Western Intelligence is warning of a massive air assault. So, it's unclear well how that would play in. But all of those pieces are in place.

And, you say, Russia is currently using balloons, in some way, related to this. What more do you know about that?

MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY & COOPERATION IN EUROPE: Right. So, from Ukrainian media, and other sources, this is basically a cheap Russian tactic, to distract Ukrainian radar, to confuse its air defense systems, and to lure the Ukrainians, into wasting ammunition, on these balloons.

But I think what we're seeing is another attempt, by Russia, to ratchet things up.


And I don't like to be their bearer of bad news. But I think what we're looking at, right now, Erin, is another attempt, by Russia, taking advantage, of that gap between when pledges of Western tanks were made, and when the tanks actually arrive, to do another major assault, from the North, from the East, and from the South.

It could be devastating to Ukraine. But being in Ukraine, as long as I have, I know that there's - resilience there is very strong. The Western weaponry is coming.

But Putin, I think, is a man who cannot accept defeat. And I think it was Mitch McConnell, who said today that unless he's pushed back, we can expect not only other dictators, to be emboldened, but this to turn into a very, very expensive war, because we will continue to fight this from many, many more fronts.

BURNETT: Yes. And what this offensive could look like, of course, is the crucial question.

And Colonel Leighton, to this point that Michael's making, about the weaponry coming in, you've got a bipartisan group in Congress, or he mentions Senator McConnell, calling on the Biden administration, to send F-16 fighter jets, to Kyiv, as soon as possible.

Now, there's a gap of time, as Michael points out, right? Tanks are promised. Those Abrams tanks are not coming anytime soon. They're just not ready.

Biden has resisted the F-16s. And he's said it would seriously escalate the situation. This has been from the very beginning.

Did the U.S. wait too long, on this front, for the F-16s, for air?

LEIGHTON: Yes, it absolutely did, Erin.

And what should have happened is, about two months, into this war, starting from February, of last year, we should have started the training, of F-16 pilots, or at least the transition of Ukrainian pilots, into F-16s.

That would have then given the Ukrainians time, to get familiar with the platform, be able to employ the platform, and also get familiar with the avionics.

Plus, it would also have allowed them to train maintenance troops, as well as the Intelligence forces, and radar operators, in order to effectively employ this weapon system, in a combined arms manner. And that would be the kind of thing that would have been necessary.

So, at this point, as Michael points out, we're going to be racing against the clock, in several different ways. And that's going to be very tough on the Ukrainians.

BURNETT: And Michael, all in, the U.S. has spent about $100 billion, pledged in aid, to Ukraine.


BURNETT: Zelenskyy said he's going to appoint a new leader, to the anti-corruption agency there. He's fired - now, there's been two sort of big purchase, one, last summer, and one, recently, of officials for corruption, most recently tied to war supplies, procurement.


BURNETT: So, how big of an issue is this?

BOCIURKIW: Absolutely huge, both inside and outside of Ukraine.

Outside of Ukraine, the world is watching how Ukraine is conducting itself, militarily, but also spending these billions in aid. And they have to be spent very carefully. So, these allegations come at a very bad time. And, by the way, they were uncovered by Ukrainian journalists.


BOCIURKIW: Secondly, I speak to a lot of Ukrainians, both inside and outside of Ukraine. And the one thing they want, other than Russia being completely pushed out of Ukraine, and defeated, is that war on corruption, to continue, to the very end.

It will take some time. But I think that the Ukrainians, who have, for example, left Ukraine, millions of them, especially the young ones, the ones in high tech, for example, want to come back to Ukraine, which is built back better, where corruption is no longer a daily fact of life.

So, Zelenskyy, credit to him, for cracking down, as he did. But there are still a lot of officials, there, and who were allowed to gracefully resign. So, he really has to come down--


BOCIURKIW: --hard on this.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Michael and Colonel, appreciate your time.

And next, the stars, at Fox News, peddled election lies, to their viewers, while privately mocking the claims that they knew were bogus. And it's all documented. So, what is the network doing about it, tonight?

And Senator John Fetterman, not eating, in recent weeks. He's lost a lot of weight. It's part of why he checked himself into the hospital, for depression. And we have more new details, this hour.

Plus, it's now or never, for a woman, who is about to sail around the world, alone, while she still can. She'll be here, tonight, to tell you her incredible and inspiring tale.



BURNETT: Tonight, Fox News, still misleading its viewers, about the 2020 election, nearly two and a half years, after Joe Biden beat Donald Trump, fueling the fire, by still suggesting the election was stolen.

Even though, we now have the actual proof that Fox News executives, and anchors, all knew that Trump and his allies' election fraud claims were lies. That's made clear, in a new court filing, in the Dominion Voting Systems' defamation lawsuit, against Fox.

It reveals that Rupert Murdoch himself called the fraud claims, "Really crazy stuff." Tucker Carlson called them "Ludicrous," and "Totally off the rails."

Well, OK, that's what they thought, that's what they said, to their friends, and their families, and privately. But despite that, when they went on television, they said something different.

And Carlson, even last night, said this.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: There are so many unanswered questions, some of them lingering.

How, for example, did 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, instead, as a miracle.

Was the 2020 election a miracle? Honestly, we don't know.


BURNETT: All right, OUTFRONT now, Philip Bump, Basil Smikle, Oliver Darcy, and Scott Jennings.

OK. I mean, it is amazing, Scott, that here we are, almost two and a half years later, and he's still saying that.

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO MITCH MCCONNELL, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, well, we learned in the text messages that they live in fear, of their audience, and they live in fear, of Donald Trump. I mean, they made it clear, to each other, in their conversations. And so, that's why they continue to do it, number one.

Number two, it even got so bad, and I was most interested, frankly, in the fact that they tried to get one of their reporters fired, Jacqui Heinrich, who I think is one of the best reporters, in Washington, and does a terrific job. They were trying to get rid of her, because she was going on television, and doing actual truthful reporting that they thought was going to--

BURNETT: Tucker literally said, "Get her fired."


BURNETT: After she puts out a tweet, fact-checking the claims, on Dominion Voting Systems, saying, "This is false."

JENNINGS: And I just, look, what they do is entertainment. It's like WWE. What Jacqui does is actually report the news. And you had the WWE people, wanted to get rid of the reporters? I just I found that to be really despicable.

I hope Dominion gets something out of this, money, gets their name back, or whatever, because they certainly deserve it.

BURNETT: So, some of the court filing, there's an exchange, between Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham.

Carlson says "Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It's insane."

Ingraham responds, "Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy."

Carlson replies, "It's unbelievably offensive to me." Our people - "Our viewers are good people and they believe."


And I guess that's where he is now, just so fuel what they believe. Give them what they believe?


BURNETT: Rather than the truth!

BUMP: Yes. I mean, it was fascinating. And that's exactly the motivation, right? I mean, Scott's totally right that Fox News spent the entire Trump presidency, deciding that they will go along, with his lies, just acquiesce, to everything he said, because they knew it would make their base mad, if they bucked him.

Then, they were faced with a scenario, after the election, where it's like, "Do we side with reality? Or we side with the audience?" They chose to side with the audience.

Tucker Carlson did, he called out Sidney Powell, on air, in November 2020, said, "This is nonsense. We asked her for evidence. She couldn't provide it." Quietly, he was like, "This is total garbage." On the air, he was like, "We hope she comes up with it," which is, still soft-pedaling it. But he called her out.

And then, what happens two weeks later? She's back on the air, right?

BURNETT: Completely, right.

BUMP: I mean, she gets kicked off Trump's team. But then, Fox welcomes her back, because that was it. That's what the audience wanted to see. And that's what they were going to deliver.

BURNETT: And publicly, just to make it clear, right, Basil, what we heard from them?

So privately, you've got this, "She's a nut! This is ludicrous! Liar!"

And then, publicly, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, all of whom were saying those things, privately, said these things. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: The outcome of our presidential election was seized from the hands of voters.

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 in the lead-up to this election.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: These election challenges are still going on. And disturbing irregularities have been found, and must be investigated to the fullest.


BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NY STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: For someone, who's spent, my entire career, trying to get people to vote, particularly folks, who are - who don't particularly care for the process, to go out and vote? This has made our jobs exponentially more difficult.

We're - at the heart of this, is the accusation that you're going to - someone going to vote, using that voting machine, didn't get that vote counted, or it was counted towards some other candidate.

That is the - that is a basic sort of - basic framework of our democracy, to be able to cast your vote, and know that that vote is going to get counted. And so, it makes our job, exponentially harder.

That initial lie has metastasized, into this, to borrow a legal term, conspiratorial network, of people running for office, and getting elected--


SMIKLE: --based on that lie, resources being distributed, to people, to make sure that they have the same message, when they go out and talk about this lie.

And so, when I look at this, and talking about the audience, they have so little respect, for their audience, that they are lying, to this day, about what happened.


SMIKLE: And we wouldn't - we may never have found it out, were it not for this lawsuit.

BURNETT: Wink-wink, nod-nod, "Miracle," 24 hours ago, Oliver!

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. I mean, it shows that this - what this network is. It's not a news network. News networks present the truth, to their audiences. They knew the truth. We know they knew the truth, because of these messages. They decided not to present the truth, to their audience. They had, like you said, such little disregard, for their audience, that they decided to lie to them, to keep this going, because it was good, for their business. And that really exposes, at its core, what Fox News did, in this case, but what they do on a daily basis.

BURNETT: Well, and when you point, yes, the money part of it, right? I mean, one of the comments that Tucker Carlson made, about firing Jacqui Heinrich, right, was "The stock price is going down. This is doing harm," right?


BURNETT: I mean, it was just - that's what this is about.

JENNINGS: And I do think it's important, though, to point out the difference, between opinion hosts, and what Jacqui Heinrich, and other journalists do. I mean, this is true, for all the cable nets, right, I mean?

BURNETT: Right. This is, yes.

JENNINGS: There are people, who have opinions, and there are real journalists, who go to work, every day.

And she was doing her job. And just - I just keep going back to that idea that they were going to dump somebody, who was trying to tell the truth, and trying to tell the viewers the truth. And they saw that as a threat.


JENNINGS: To their business model.

But it, they're still doing it today. And, let me tell you, it's influential, with Republicans. They believe it.


JENNINGS: And I wonder sometimes if they had, in the beginning said, "You know what? It's all bunk. He lost. I don't like it. But he lost."

BURNETT: Well, Rupert Murdoch apparently put that very idea, out there, right, like, "What about if they all go out" - I'm looking for the exact words.

But he says to Suzanne Scott, on January 5th, "It's been suggested our prime three should go out and say something like 'The election is over and Joe Biden won.' That statement 'Would go a long way to stop the Trump myth.'"


BURNETT: Didn't happen. But it was actually talked about.

JENNINGS: Yes. I think they - I think they were afraid of Donald Trump, or others, opening up a competitor to them. I think, ultimately, it was what I took away from it. And so, they had ultimately decided not to do it.

BURNETT: Amazing!

SMIKLE: But, just very quickly, but I wonder, even if they had said that, would their viewers have believed it?

BUMP: That's right.


SMIKLE: Because and I wonder--

BURNETT: Well yes, and you get your points, where it's like you can't - you reap what you sow.

SMIKLE: Because a lot - because Donald Trump said, "Go to another network," and a lot of them did.

BUMP: That's right.

SMIKLE: So, what they're doing is looking for another opportunity--


SMIKLE: --to reaffirm a belief that they already had. And that's what's really scary here, that they're digging deeper, into that mindset.

BURNETT: And there's this one moment. And I say this, because, I mentioned this earlier. I remember this day. I mean, and I came originally from the business journalism world.


So, Neil Cavuto is a very respected business journalist.

BUMP: Yes.

BURNETT: A respected journalist, at Fox. He had this moment, and where he cut off a press - Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary, for the White House.

BUMP: Yes.

BURNETT: He cut her off, during a press conference. She was pushing baseless allegations of fraud.

BUMP: Right.

BURNETT: And he got to the point, where he's sitting there, powers that be are against him, he refuses to take it.

I just want to play the moment of what happened. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KAYLEIGH MCENANY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You don't oppose an audit of the vote, because you want an accurate count. You don't oppose our efforts at sunlight, and transparency, because you have nothing to hide. You take these positions, because you are welcoming fraud, and you are welcoming illegal voting. We want every legal vote to be counted. And we want every illegal vote to be--

NEIL CAVUTO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ANCHOR, MANAGING EDITOR OF BUSINESS NEWS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL (FNC) AND FOX BUSINESS NETWORK (FBN): Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I just think we have to be very clear that she's charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting.

Unless she has more details to back that up, I can't, in good countenance, continue showing you this. I want to make sure that - maybe they do have something to back that up. But that's an explosive charge to make.


BURNETT: So, he stops taking it, OK?

BUMP: Yes.

BURNETT: And then, Phil, what happens is the Brand team, at Fox Corporations notifies senior Fox News leadership, of the brand threat of - by his action. They actually send a note--

BUMP: Yes.

BURNETT: --saying, "This is a threat to the brand."

BUMP: Not only the brand team, but Raj Shah, who is a veteran, of the Comms team, at the Trump White House, right?

BURNETT: Right, right.

BUMP: So, in part just because the overlap between Fox News and the Trump administration itself was so incestuous, right?

What's fascinating to me, about that Cavuto segment, there, is contrasting with Maria Bartiromo, who was considered a very credible journalist and who, in the Trump era, went totally sideways.

She was the one, who first had Powell, on the air, on Fox News. She was the one, who let Donald Trump spew lies, about the election, for 45 minutes, on November 8th. And she's rewarded, within the network.

This is someone, who's cited, multiple times, in the Dominion lawsuit.


BUMP: She has a much better position, now, with the network, which again reinforces this is what the business side of Fox is, is telling people what they want to hear, in agreement with what Donald Trump is saying. And that's how you get rewarded. BURNETT: And it seems that a lot of people are fine with sort of, I guess, checking their sense of right and wrong, at the door, Oliver.

DARCY: I mean, I was reading these documents and wondering where their moral compass was. How do they go to bed at night, knowing that they are basically lying to millions of people?

And I think what was so damning, about these documents, is it showed that the very little amount of journalists, over at that network, they were not in the driver's seats.

The people that were in the driver's seat, is Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and they were willing to lie, and they are still willing to lie, to their audience, to this day.

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

And next, Senator John Fetterman maybe in the hospital for a month or even longer, and we have new reporting on why that may be.

And then, sailing around the world, alone, I mean, how many people do that? Like, almost no one, right? Skill, stamina, courage, incredible bravery, you've got to be bold. And the woman you're about to meet is going to do it, is navigating a challenge that may be even tougher than that of circumnavigating the world.



BURNETT: Tonight, Sources tell CNN that Senator John Fetterman could remain in the hospital, for a month, or even longer. The Senator is being treated for clinical depression, after he wasn't eating, and was losing weight. It comes less than a year, after Fetterman suffered a stroke, in the middle of the 2022 campaign.

All of this bringing awareness to what is a common struggle, for so many stroke survivors.

And 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, 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 in three patients, who have a stroke, will have depression, at some point, over the course of the year.

RAJU (voice-over): Fetterman remains, at Walter Reed Hospital, after checking himself in, on Wednesday night.

His symptoms had grown severe. A 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. The source says that Fetterman's stay could last weeks, or more than a month. His doctors search for the right mix of 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 (voice-over): Just a few weeks, before his stroke, CNN caught up with Fetterman, in rural Pennsylvania. He engaged in extended exchanges with voters.

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Hello, everybody. Hey, hey, hey.

If we legalized it, it would create tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania.

RAJU (on camera): How much weight, is on your shoulders, knowing that this, the Senate Majority could come down to you?

FETTERMAN: I don't look at it that way. I just - I come back to what I've always said. It's like, if you trust me with your vote, I'm always going to try to deliver.

RAJU (voice-over): But after the stroke, Fetterman had difficulty communicating, having to rely on closed captioning, at a high-profile debate.

FETTERMAN: And let's also talk about the elephant in the room. I had a stroke.

RAJU (voice-over): His struggles were apparent.

FETTERMAN: I do support fracking. And I don't - I don't - I support fracking. And I stand - and I do support fracking.

RAJU (voice-over): In the Senate, Fetterman walks the halls, with aides, who carry around a tablet that helps him understand what people are saying.

And just hours before checking himself in at Walter Reed, briefly questioning a witness, at a hearing.

FETTERMAN: Are there any barriers, very specific kinds of special barriers in, for workers, in the fossil fuel sector, to learn skills in renewable fuel production?

RAJU (voice-over): Last week, when he was in the hospital, his colleagues noting his absence.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I think we should take a moment and just pray for his health.


BURNETT: Thank you, Manu.

And OUTFRONT, now, General Michael Hayden, the 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, someone our viewers know, well.

And General, I'm very grateful to you, for speaking about this. And I do want to ask you about your experience, because I think you give inspiration, and hope, to so many.


First though, as Manu was just speaking, about Senator Fetterman, reporting that he's 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 year afterwards.

Did you experience anything like that?

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA AND NSA DIRECTOR, STROKE SURVIVOR WHO SUFFERS FROM APHASIA: I didn't, no, not exactly. But even today, even this week, I'm thinking about my hand, you know? And I'm looking at, and saying, "Wow, that doesn't work, and it doesn't work ever again." And I'm feeling bad. But I have to say, "No, let's go and do something more." And that's what I - what I was doing. So, it's a problem. But I think I can do it.

Now, the Senator, he has the same problem. And it's hard. But I think it'll be OK.

BURNETT: And how do you get through those moments? As you say, when you look at your hand, even today, and you feel that sort of, I guess, grief or sadness? How do you manage that?

HAYDEN: Oh, well, for me, it's my wife and kids. That's very important. They come and talk with me, and so on, the grandchildren as well. So, that's very good. It's very good. We have things to do, on the weekend. And that's also very good as well.

BURNETT: So, it has been, for you, a little bit over four years, since you suffered a stroke. And I know that it happened suddenly, as they do. In your home, you were getting ready, one morning. Your wife called 911.

And for you, General, you spent two months in the hospital. I know that the stroke affected the entire right side of your body. And you're talking about, just even here, in this conversation, going to the stroke center, still going through the therapy. It seems as if a recovery is sort of a permanent thing.

How are you doing now day-to-day?

HAYDEN: It's better and better.

For example, about a year and a half ago, I got - I got - I'm sorry. What I want to say is I can drive, now.


HAYDEN: So, that's very good.


HAYDEN: So, I go to Pittsburgh for football games. And I do it all the time. So, my wife, or my son, helps me, but we do many times. So, that's very good.

BURNETT: Earlier this month, I know that you made your first onstage appearance, during your - since your stroke.


BURNETT: And I can only imagine the courage that takes.

Now, at the event, you were talking about what keeps you awake, at night. And you said China.

And obviously, we're in this moment, now, where tensions feel higher than they've been, in decades, after President Biden ordered the U.S. Military, to shoot down that Chinese spy balloon.

Today, Beijing slammed Biden, saying he was escalating the crisis, disregarding international laws.

Where do you think this is headed?

HAYDEN: Well, I don't know. And that's the problem. I think it'll be the next, well, 100 years, the United States and China to we - do something about it that is good or not. And I'm really worried about it.

I talked to the D&I, two years ago. And I said, "It's China. And the second one is China. And the third is, oh, it's China." And it's very important. Now, what's going on now, in Ukraine, that's pretty important too. 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, very few people could even imagine sailing around the world. And how about doing it by yourself? But only one woman, hoping to do it, is facing challenges that make her adventure incredibly urgent. And she's going to be with us next.

And a father and daughter, up to their necks in rubble, reunited, after they were buried alive, in the Turkey earthquake.



BURNETT: Tonight, a trip around the world, and a race against time.

Jenny Decker is a 38-year-old nurse, from Hawaii. She's putting her job, and her life, on hold, to sail around the world, solo. Decker suffers from a rare disease, called Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome. And she dreams of being the first person, with CMT, to make this trip. And it will take three years to five years.

CMT is a disease that weakens the body's muscles. It affects coordination, making even the most simple things, walking, buttoning your pants, anything, difficult. It affects only about 126,000 people, in the United States and, right now, has no cure. And it is degenerative.

Jenny Decker is OUTFRONT with me now.

And Jenny, I know you're taking this on, for yourself, and also to raise awareness, because, as I said, right there, it has no cure. You want to change that. And I know that that is a part of why you're doing this.

But what you're doing is something that, I mean, gosh, so few people in the world would dream of it in any situation.


BURNETT: What inspired you to take this on?

DECKER: It's kind of been become a life goal of mine, to create awareness, for this disease, also known as CMT, because I was misdiagnosed for so long.

And as an ICU nurse, a medical professional, there's a lot of medical professionals I know, that have never even heard of this disease. And so, how are we supposed to raise funds, for research, for a cure, when no one's ever even heard of it?


And so, Just a Lap is not only to inspire other people, with CMT, or any disability, for that matter, that you can do anything you put your mind to, no matter what your physical limitations are. But it's to help create awareness, and just bring a lot more light, to this disease.

BURNETT: And Jenny, you have, as a nurse, you have, great skill and great empathy. And you have seen people, in their worst moments, lose so much. And I guess that gives you, perspective that many of us don't have.

But I know you've been living with this, since you were young. Your mother also suffers from it. She uses a wheelchair. Can I just ask you, what it's like, to know where this is going, and to see your mother dealing with it?

DECKER: Yes, I've thought about this a lot.

And I've talked about this a lot, from the gentleman that I bought the boat from, that I'm about to sail around the world. He just completed a world record, sailing around the world, as the first double amputee to do so.


DECKER: He was hit by a drunk driver, and lost an arm and a leg. And his life changed, in one day.

And we, Dustin Reynolds and I have talked about this a lot that I've known that I have this internal stop-clock, of when I'm not going to be physically independent, anymore.

Even within the last year, even when people don't see me, for a few weeks, they notice differences.

And I don't know what's worse. Having your life changed in one moment, or knowing where your physical limitations or independence is headed, and watching my mother lose some of that independence, and the pain, and the surgeries?

But instead of taking that as a downfall, or being scared, I'm trying to turn it around, as I'm going to do everything, I possibly can, to live the best life that I can, and try to inspire as many people, while doing so, in the process.

BURNETT: And I know you're going to be taking your dog with you, your only companion.

DECKER: Yes, Romeo.

BURNETT: I mean, which is, it's a wonderful thing, six-pound Maltese, right, Romeo?


BURNETT: How have you prepared for this? And when are you leaving? I guess.

DECKER: Yes. So, I'll be departing, in May-June, for the southern hemisphere weather season, from Hawaii. And I actually set this goal five years ago. So, I have been working towards this, financially, for five years, taking travel nurse assignments, getting debt-free, paying cash for a (ph) boat, I had a previous boat, sailing as much as I can.

I am an avid water woman. But something of this magnitude, to, put it into perspective? A little over 300 people have ever solo sailed around the world.


DECKER: And I'll be one of one in that group.

And so, mentally, physically, it is a huge undertaking. And I haven't taken it lightly. And I do feel prepared now. So yes, it's been a - it's been a long journey. And I can't believe the last few months are almost here for departure. But yes, there's a lot of grit, a lot of sacrifices. And I'm financially, personally trying to do it all myself. So yes, just determination, I guess.

BURNETT: Well, Jenny, we're going to be rooting for you, and following along with you. And I'm grateful to hear your story. And good luck.

DECKER: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: We will be following Jenny.

And next, how a father, and his daughter, survived, being buried alive, for days, in the earthquake, in Turkey.



BURNETT: Tonight, a 45-year-old man, pulled alive, from the rubble, in Turkey, more than 11 days, after the earthquake. We're now learning that the death toll is 45,000.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.



SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ahmet Ayyan is grieving the loss, of his wife, and son, while clinging to the one person, who willed him to stay alive.


SIDNER (voice-over): "My daughter was telling me 'Papa, don't cry. Relax. They're coming to rescue us,'" he says.



SIDNER (voice-over): This is Ahmet, four days, after he was buried neck-deep, in rubble, with his wife, and two children. Only he and his 4-year-old daughter, Gadha (ph) made it out alive.


SIDNER (voice-over): "We stayed under the rubble about four days."


SIDNER (voice-over): "When the building fell down, my daughter was on my leg."


SIDNER (voice-over): "Thank God there wasn't any rocks or something on her."


SIDNER (voice-over): She was rescued, first. A half hour later, he was.

And the two got separated. He was taken to a hospital. She was eventually taken to Social Services, with barely a scratch on her.

For days, he had no idea, where his little angel was.

SIDNER (on camera): Did you worry that you'd never see her again?


SIDNER (voice-over): "No, never," he says.

SIDNER (on camera): You knew you would see her again?

SIDNER (voice-over): And he was right.



SIDNER (voice-over): This is the day they were reunited.


SIDNER (voice-over): They scream, and cry, elated to hold each other, once more.



SIDNER (voice-over): "On the fourth day, my daughter told me 'Look, Papa, there is light.' I didn't understand the light at the time," he says. "Then, I heard some voices."


SIDNER (voice-over): Those were the voices of rescuers.

And a family member later found her, in Social Services, and made the connection.



SIDNER (voice-over): Jahangirsoy (ph) is hoping beyond hope, he too will be reunited, with his parent.


SIDNER (voice-over): "I have one request for you. Please help me find my mother, Shukran Erdon (ph)," he tells us.

He and his family were trapped inside this collapsed building, for 24 hours. He and his sister made it out. His mother has not been seen since.


SIDNER (voice-over): "I remember the collapsing of the building. I remember passing out, after a piece of the house hit me in the eye," he says.

SIDNER (on camera): Can you describe what it was like in this tight space, physically, for you?


SIDNER (voice-over): "It was so difficult to breathe there. On the other hand, there was something crushing my leg, making me suffer," he says.


SIDNER (voice-over): Ultimately, it was his decision, to pull on a bit of the curtains that were visible to the outside that alerted someone, he was alive.

While he continues searching for his mother, Ahmet is nursing his foot injury, while thanking God he has at least one child left, to love.


SIDNER (voice-over): "That's my daughter," he says, "And she's my little hero, my hero."

Sara Sidner, CNN, Adana, Turkey.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: And an amazing reporting, from Sara, as always.

Thanks to you, for joining us.

And "CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota, is after this.