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Erin Burnett Outfront

Russian Oligarch Close to Putin Warns Russia May Run Out of Money; Jim Jordan Touts Government Whistleblowers Who Face Credibility Questions; Murdaugh's Head Shaved For New Mugshot After Receiving Life Sentence. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 03, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Russia going broke. A top Russian oligarch who is close to Putin with that stunning warning tonight. This is one of the hardest fought battles of the war. It's a breaking point. And we'll go live to the ground.

Plus, Alex Murdaugh vowing to appeal his life sentence for murdering his wife and son. He says he's innocent. Officials released a brand- new picture of the former attorney tonight.

And Congressman Jim Jordan promising to expose the FBI and DOJ for playing politics. Tonight, major signs that this case could be falling apart.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Russia running out of cash. It's an astonishing prediction because it comes from one of Russia's most prominent oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska. He's warning that his country can run out of money as soon as next year, 2024.

The quote from Deripaska: There will be no money already next year. We need foreign investors.

And here's the thing, Deripaska is actually in a position to know. He's an oligarch. He has been close to Putin for many years. And he's been very loyal to him. He's long been sanctioned by the U.S. and other Western nations, most recently the cause of the war in Ukraine.

But it's not a new thing to point out, it's a long time relationship with Putin of loyalty. In fact, one time, I had to meet with him because he was banned from entering the United States.

Now the U.S. government said in 2018, quote, Deripaska has said that he does not separate himself from the Russian state. Deripaska has been investigated from money laundering and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official and taking part an extortion and racketeering. There are allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group.

That alleged murder is part of the reason he was banned from the United States. And what's more? Deripaska, has one numbers to back his warning up that he's making right now on the cash issue. Russia government revenue plunged 35 percent in January compared to the year ago, spending went up 59 percent. And those are numbers they're allowing out there.

Now, Deripaska did speak out against the Ukraine war at the very early days after Putin's invasion and that was because he knew it would be bad economically for Russia, for himself. But at that time, Putin didn't listen. In fact even as Deripaska, in that inner circle is giving that warning today, Putin is giving a very different impression about the Russian economy. Here he is days ago.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Russian economy has proved itself to be much more resilient than in years past.


Now, Putin sells the Russian public the story that he wants them to believe. He says that so they believe. And calling it out, saying it's not true comes that incredible cost.

You may remember that we told you last week about this Russian lawmaker, you see him there. He's the one who posted a video himself mocking that very same speech from Putin. He hung noodles on his ear as well listen into the speech.

That act demonstrates an old Russian expression which just simplistically translates to stop lying. Well, that lawmakers been charged. The charge is discrediting the Russian armed forces and he's now set to go to trial on March 7th. This is according to Russian state media, for putting noodles on his ears. This isn't the union.

And the reason for Putin's anger is the failure on the front lines. His forces tonight still failing to make major gains in Ukraine. Ukrainian air force tonight claiming it shot down this Russian fighter jet in eastern Donetsk. You see the smoke coming from the ruptured, Ukraine says that this was a Russian SU-35 fighter bomber.

And in Bakhmut, another day of death and no victory. We have new video out front from the deadly battles there. This is a Ukrainian soldier firing a grenade launcher. How group of Russians. He then you see runs back to his armor car. His team throws it in reverse, you'll see here, and the armored vehicle comes after fire.

Now in this, case you see that incoming fire. They're filming this. I do want to let you know that we do understand that this particular situation seems to have ended with them surviving. The battalion says the truck's armor able to withstand those sniper bullets, as the rain reversed here, you're watching.

And I want to be in tonight there in eastern Ukraine with Alex Marquardt.

And, Alex, we're trying to go towards Bakhmut today. What happened?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we were trying to go into a team towards Bakhmut that was trying to evacuate civilians from the city. You remember there's some 4,000 or 5,000 civilians still in the city. That mission was called off when they found out that our critical bridge was blown up by Russians on a major supply route.

Now, that has made Ukraine's that has made Ukraine's already very tough fight in Bakhmut even tougher.


We understand from Ukraine's military tonight that Russian forces are trying to still encircle the Ukrainians out there desperately trying to hold their ground in Bakhmut.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): A lifeline for Ukraine's forces severed. This destroyed bridge near Bakhmut, from the last main supply route to the front, bombed, a Ukrainian soldier told CNN by a Russian missile. Meaning, reinforcing troops or getting people out immediately becoming harder.

We were on that road near Bakhmut, military vehicles bombing towards the fight, and coming back.

The V sign for victory.

Russian forces have made progress at encircling the city, leaving only the west open to Ukrainian troops.

The ferocious fighting has left thousands dead on both sides. The Wagner forces have fled the Russian charged have paid a particular high price.

Today, Wagner's leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin on the outskirts of Bakhmut released a video claiming quote, the pincers are heightening. He called on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to withdraw his troops, saying, give them a chance to leave the city.

Prigozhin regularly exaggerates Wagner's gains, Ukraine blasted today's video as part of a disinformation campaign. But Ukrainian commanders admit, they're facing withering Russian attacks. The eastern commander posted photos today of a visit to Bakhmut where he was briefed on the problems of the Ukrainian defenses. Despite no announcement of withdrawal, some possible signs of appeared. This Bakhmut royal ridge, strategically bomb by Ukrainian soldiers to make it impassable.

The head of Ukrainian reconnaissance unit saying that they received an order to immediately leave Bakhmut without given a reason. In neighboring Chasiv Yar, soldiers of an artillery it said they have

no plans to stop fighting here fearing what could that happen. The problem is not just Russia taking back into, Hottabich says. They will not stop and will keep destroying the next cities. We need to wait for reinforcements to calm and kick them out.


MARQUARDT (on camera): So, it is unclear whether those reinforcements are coming, Erin. But when speaking to the soldiers, they told us that they want to keep fighting in Bakhmut. They think if they lose Bakhmut, if Russia takes Bakhmut, then they will then -- then Russia will use that as a jumping off point to keep pushing into Ukraine, take that next town where we were, Chasiv Yar, and set their sights on other towns and cities deeper into eastern Ukraine -- Erin.

BURNETT: Alex, thank you very much, from eastern Ukraine tonight.

And OUTFRONT now, Dan Rice, adviser to Ukraine's armed forces, and was also just named president of American University in Kyiv. He also just returned from Ukraine.

And Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at the New School and great granddaughter of a former Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev.

So, thanks very much to both of you. I appreciate it. It's good to see you both.

And, Dan, I know you're going to be spending more time, taking on this new position at the American University in Kyiv as well.

So, when you see Bakhmut, and what's happening there that bridge being blown up, that Alex was reporting on Prigozhin saying, surrender, we're going to get you and it seems from what we're hearing, this has been going the Ukrainians way, millimeter by millimeter, I guess some experts are saying, look, give it up in Bakhmut. Lose the battle, when the war.

DAN RICE, ADVISES UKRAINE ARMED FORCES: Absolutely. It appears that the feared Russian offensive is in Bakhmut. They're losing a lot of casualties and they're losing over 20,000 a month dead and about three times that wounded. So, since November, they've lost about 75,000 killed in action.

So, basically, Putin is betting everything on Bakhmut, which is not a strategic location. So Ukraine is giving up some territory which is not strategic. It's a 70,000-person city that basically is not strategic and has virtually nobody left in it and the entire Russian army is being degraded. And by May or so, they're going to be basically leaderless conscript army and that's when Ukraine can counterattack.

BURNETT: OK. So, you think that that's how they're playing this the strategically about doing this right. I mean, Nina, this is in the context of what Oleg Deripaska said, that they're going to run out of cash by early next year. You know, as we said, this is -- he did call for the end of the war in the beginning, but this is somebody Putin's known for a long time, he's been in that inner oligarch circle, such that it is.

How significant is it that he's saying that was a conference in Siberia or something, where he said, there will be no money next year?

NINA KHRUSHCHEVA, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AT THE NEW SCHOOL: It's not the first time he said that. And at the beginning, there was also a conference in Siberia, and he also was very open that we need the world, it will be over. He promised that a Russian economy wouldn't survive. But then it's sort of somehow survived.

BURNETT: It has, yes.



And he himself said a couple of months ago, that apparently, Russian market economy turned out to be much better than he thought it would be. But once in a while, he comes out with this warning that for now he can get away with, because it is, I mean, of course, Russia will run out of money. But I really don't think this is Putin's concern anymore because Putin is going to fight until he can with the money or without, and business is now obliged essentially to pay for this war to a certain degree.

BURNETT: And so, you know, on this, Dan, the top White House aide today, John Kirby, told Abby Philip that giving legal aid to Russia still on the table from China. That's something he -- that Putin's obvious very much trying to do, right? You talk about Bakhmut, you talk about the reality in Russia. He needs something.

RICE: He's running out of everything.

BURNETT: He's running out of everything. So, would anything China could do or, would do in the way they do it, which wouldn't be like a blatant in-your-face here it is, would that change anything on the ground?

RICE: Well, Representative McCaul has said that they fear that China is going to give 100 drones to Russia, just starting to give arms to Russia, lethal arms, will be very dangerous and it would be an escalation of the war. I think basically Xi Jinping has seen a master class on what not to do. He's seen basically Putin make every strategic blunder.

To join him right now would be fatal. On the one hand, he's trying to negotiate peace, and the other, he's threatening to give arms. I think he's going to try to --

BURNETT: How do you -- what's the right way to describe 100 drones? A drop in the bucket or meaningful? RICE: It wouldn't be significant, but what it would be, symbolic. That

means they're actually going to support them. So, drones would be able to help the Russian artillery fire become more active. It's a big artillery war.

BURNETT: So, Nina, the Kremlin today said strengthening the border because of this -- what they call a terror attack on a village along the border. They said armed Ukrainians raided it and Putin called the group neo-Nazis and said this --


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is precisely these people who aimed to deprive us of our historical memory, to deprive us of our history, to deprive us of our tradition, our language. Nothing will work for them. We will crush them.


BURNETT: Now, of course, Putin then delayed a trip he was actually going to make to the region, whole region, claiming that this was the reason. What do you read into what's happening here?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, it was a terrorist attack. I mean, it was an attack on the Russian territory. We know how Putin takes this seriously. It also not only, I'm sure, a lot of people in the Kremlin are being upset about this, but then becomes the next cycle of propaganda because it basically validates all the things about the Nazis, all the things that they want to destroy the Russians and so on and so forth, and we're going to crush them.

And so, you, the Russians, don't be upset. We're going to strengthen it and we're going to make sure that nothing is going to happen to you. So, basically, that rhetoric, I mean, those acts and then the rhetoric helps him to push the war forward.

BURNETT: Right, but it's rhetoric?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, it's also the way forward because every time when something happens on the Russian territory, then Ukraine is being bombed twice, three times as much.

BURNETT: Right. Well, of course, as we said, they took that fighter jet today, talking about one plane.

All right. Well, thank you both very much. And again, Dan will be heading back to Ukraine in his new role at the American University in Kyiv. So, thanks so much.

RICE: Thanks so much, Erin. Thank you.

And coming up tonight, I'll be hosting a special tonight about Putin's political enemies and the price they pay for speaking out. I'll speak to Dasha Navalnaya, the daughter of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny, he survived a poisoning from a nerve agent in 2020, poisoning CNN helped traced back to Russian intelligence and Putin's FSB. It's all part of a special hour at 9:00 p.m., "CNN PRIMETIME,"

"Navalny and the Cost of standing Up to Putin".

In the, meantime next, Congressman Jim Jordan promising to expose the FBI and DOJ for playing politics. Tonight, those cases will be unraveling. We've got new details on that.

And Alex Murdaugh's lawyers talking to CNN after he was sentenced to life behind bars. Why did they choose to put him on the stand? And why do they think they can win an appeal?

Plus, he once linked drinking tap water to homosexuality. And he's just been appointed to Disney's new oversight board by Governor Ron DeSantis. CNN's KFILE with tape you will see to believe.



BURNETT: Tonight, Congressman Jim Jordan's crusade against the DOJ and FBI showing signs of falling apart. Jordan's long promised a major investigation into the agency's political bias as he sees it.

But tonight, there are growing questions about the witnesses who are central to his case. This is Republicans like Matt Gaetz are using the topic as red meat for the base. Here is just today.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We have been taking whistleblower testimony from brave patriots, people who worked at the FBI. I don't care if it takes every second of our time and every ounce of our energy, we either get this government on deck on our side, or we defund and get rid of, abolish the FBI, CDC, ATF, DOJ, every last one of them!




SARA MURRAY, CNN POLTIICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan pinning his probe into alleged political bias at the Justice Department and the FBI on unnamed whistleblowers.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): This is dozens of FBI whistleblowers coming to talk to us.

We expect more whistleblowers to come forward and sit for these depositions.

MURRAY: But after three of them sat for private interviews with committee staff, Democrats are questioning their legitimacies as actual whistleblowers and the relevance of their testimony.

REP. DAN GOLDMAN (D-NY): You just said dozens. Are you -- do have notes from those or they're just talking to your staff?


MURRAY: None of the three appear to have their claims validated by government entities that grant federal whistleblower protections, sources tell CNN.

One of the GOP whistleblowers is former FBI agent Steve Friend.

STEVE FRIEND, WHISTLEBLOWER: I don't think you have to be a nonpartisan or a partisan to come to the conclusion that the FBI has clearly prioritized this January 6th investigation and is willing to put the public safety at risk.

MURRAY: He says he was suspended for objecting to a SWAT raid of a January 6th suspect facing arrest from misdemeanor offenses. But the suspect was seen at the Capitol on January 6th with an AR-style rifle and tactical military gear, according to court records.

Still, Friend told CNN, quote, I compared it to using an elephant gun to kill a mouse.


He filed whistleblower complaint with the DOJ's inspector general and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Both offices eventually rejected his claims.

Another whistleblower Jordan is leaning on for his probe, former FBI analyst George Hill, who has tweeted: Insurrection, my ass. It was a setup, about the attack on the Capitol. He claimed the FBI tried to open cases and people merely for traveling to the Capitol on January 6th.

GEORGE HILL, FORMER FBI ANALYST: We're not opening up cases for people who are going to a political rally.

MURRAY: House Judiciary Democrats concluded Hill's testimony is marred by substantial bias and lacks any real hallmarks of credibility. And an FBI spokesperson said, the FBI will never open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity. A nonprofit group representing Hill told CNN to wait for the official transcript, quote, before reporting on selective partisan leaks.

A third GOP whistleblower, Garrett O'Boyle, says he was suspended from the FBI and stripped of his security clearance after allegedly making an unauthorized media disclosure. A claim he denies. He described this as being a weaponization of the security clearance process, according to the Democratic staff report. But on many points, he refused to elaborate or offer Democrats corroborating evidence.

His attorney, a former election attorney for Donald Trump, told CNN his client provided confidential information to Congress. But, he did not release that information to Democrats on the Committee because he knew that they would leak it to the media. Delegate Stacey Plaskett, the top Democrat on the so-called

Weaponization Committee, tells CNN, I said at the outset that I thought this was a mechanism for them to float every conspiracy theory that they might want to try and utilizing the 2024 election. It appears like that is in fact the case.

A spokesperson for Jordan in a statement accused Democrats of leaking cherry-picked excerpts of testimony to attack the brave whistleblowers who risked their careers to speak out on abuses at the Justice Department and FBI.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, an FBI spokesperson tells CNN, when FBI employees report actual evidence of wrongdoing, they are protected from retaliation. We are also learning there are several other supposed whistleblowers who have yet to come in with interviews with the committee, including some members suspended from the FBI for attending demonstrations at the capitol on January 6th, sources tell CNN.

And Jordan has not backed down from that point, Erin. He's previously accused the FBI of retaliating against employees for taking part in the First Amendment activity.

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

I want to go now to Ryan Goodman.

So, Ryan, you hear Sarah's reporting going through the three people who have testified. Obviously, you can't use the word whistleblowers. Jordan says there are dozens more. I guess what I am wondering here is that Jim Jordan really loves this topic.

So if Jim Jordan had the goods, he would be wanting to make this public, right? He wouldn't be like, why are you leaking? It would be public. It would be televised.

What does this all say the way that it's being handled, about what he's really got?

RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Right, that's a great question. If these people have the goods, let's hear it. In fact, in the over 300-page Democratic staff report, they have a forward by the ranking members. Often the Democratic side that actually says, present these individuals to the American public without delay. We want to hear from them because they do not have the goods. They are not whistleblowers.

They do not have any firsthand information about fraud, waste, and abuse, the technical terms for being a whistleblower. So, it doesn't seem like he has it, at least with the three people that have actually gone before this subcommittee.

BURNETT: Right. I mea, just again, to make the point again, everyone should be aware, if Jim Jordan had it, he would be blasting it. He would be upset that someone was leaking it. It's a very basic gut check here.

Now, Steve Friend, one of the whistleblower's, we saw the sound bite from him on Fox News that Sara shared, he's a former FBI agent in Florida. He was suspended last year for objecting to that SWAT raid of a suspect who had been yet January 6th and had an AR-15 style rifle.

So, what do you make of that situation?

GOODMAN: So, it's also not the poster child one wants if you're thinking that these people are whistleblowers.

So, the idea from Jim Jordan is that this is a conscientious objector. Now we find out, what did he object to? He resisted and refused to assist the FBI in its SWAT arrest of this individual who is an alleged Three Percenter militia member. In fact, they're called a B Squad. They are featured in the final report by the January 6 committee because they engaged in the assault on the Capitol, and in fact under testimony.

BURNETT: Someone known to be armed.

GOODMAN: Somebody to be known to be armed and dangerous. And in fact, under testimony -- in his testimony, Friend then admits that he was known to be armed and dangerous, and then that would quantify for us what operation. So, it just -- all falls apart.

BURNETT: So admits that it qualifies but he didn't do it and once conscientious objector status. It doesn't add up.

GOODMAN: Exactly.

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

And next, this is what murderer Alex Murdaugh told, looks like now, it is new mugshot after a judge sentenced him to life. One of the jurors is now speaking out, and so are Murdoch's lawyers. Do they regret putting him out on the stand?

Plus, Ron DeSantis' newly appointed member of Disney's new oversight board. Disney is not going to like this one.


He has linked tap water to homosexuality. And we're going to show you the tape.


BURNETT: Tonight, Alex Murdaugh is now being processed in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. This new photo just released a few moments ago. You can see his head is shaved, and his attorneys now, we can tell you, are vowing to appeal his double murder conviction.

Murdaugh maintained his innocence today, as a judge handed down the maximum sentence of life in prison for each of the murders. The judge called Murdaugh a, quote, monster. The sentence came just hours after a jury convicted Murdaugh of the brutal killings of his wife and son.

Dianne Gallagher begins our coverage OUTFRONT.


JUDGE CLIFTON NEWMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: I sentence you for the term of the rest of your natural life.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two consecutive life sentences for disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh for the murders of his wife Maggie, and his son Paul, the end of a dramatic six-week trial.

Murdaugh spoke in court again, saying he did not kill his wife and son.

ALEX MURDAUGH, CONVICTED OF MURDERING WIFE AND SON: I'm innocent, I would never hurt my wife Maggie, and I would never hurt my son Paul- Paul.

GALLAGHER: But Judge Clifton Newman offered a different take.

NEWMAN: It might not offend you. It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills. Maybe you become another person.

GALLAGHER: Judge Newman saying this trial was, quote, one of the most troubling cases of his career.


NEWMAN: I know you have to see Paul and Maggie during the nighttime when you are attempting to go to sleep. I'm sure they come and visit you. I'm sure.

MURDAUGH: All day, and every night.

NEWMAN: Yeah. I am sure --


GALLAGHER: -- the prosecutor again pointing out Murdaugh's lies.


CREIGHTON WATERS, LEAD PROSECUTOR: The lack of remorse and the effortless way in which he lies, including here sitting right over there, in this witness stand.


GALLAGHER: Today's sentencing comes just one day after the jury found Murdaugh guilty of two counts of murder and two weapons charges.




GALLAGHER: One juror spoke to ABC news about the jury's decision, saying the cell phone video placing him at the scene sealed Murdaugh's fate.


CRAIG MOYER, JUROR IN MURDAUGH TRIAL: The evidence was clear. You can hear his voice clearly. And everybody else could, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, it's basically 45 minutes for you guys to come to a decision.

MOYER: Probably not, 45, maybe an hour.


GALLAGHER: Craig Moyer also saying Murdaugh's reactions during the trial were not convincing.


MOYER: His responses, how quick he was with the defense and his lies, steady lies, I didn't see any true remorse or any compassion or anything.


GALLAGHER: Murdaugh's defense team spoke to CNN today about their decision to put their client on the stand.


JIM GRIFFIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: By putting him on the stand, I think the jury also got to see his emotions about Maggie and Paul, which are very raw and real.

DICK HARPOOTLIAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We're appealing and we feel good about an appeal. He is a liar and he is a thief, and he admitted that. He is not a murderer.


GALLAGHER: And, the defense says that the inclusion of the financial charges decision by Judge Clifton Newman will likely be the basis of their appeal. They say that's why the jury found Alex Murdaugh to be a liar and a cheat that it was prejudicial. He admitted to it on the stand. But, Erin, I spoke with the Attorney General of South Carolina today, and he tells me that there are still 99 charges pending against Alex Murdaugh, the majority of them are financial. There are dozens of victims. And, they intend to continue to pursue those charges, even though as of now he will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of his wife and his son. ERIN BURNETT, HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": All right, Dianne, thank

you very much. And, Dave Aronberg is back with me now, State Attorney in Palm Beach County, Florida. Dave, of course, anyone watching here was with you and me and Dianne last night when this verdict came down. So, in that clip that Dianne just played, his own lawyers, he is a liar and a thief, but he is not a murderer. They're trying to own that part of it, as they always have, but not own the murder itself. And, today, he didn't have any remorse. He didn't appeal for a kindness from the judge. He is going all out for an appeal.

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY: Yeah. Alex Murdaugh knew he was going to get life terms from this judge. He is playing for the appeal. He wants to be known as the thief. He copped to all those financial crimes. But, he doesn't want to be known as a murderer, as a family annihilator. But, he was convicted of both counts of murder. So, that's going to go to his grave with him, whether he likes it or not.

BURNETT: And so, do you think they say they feel good about an appeal? I mean, they're going to say that. That's not the point. The point is, is there any reason to believe that?

ARONBERG: That's what all of us lawyers do. When we lose, we're going to appeal, and then the appeals rarely work. In this case, it's not going to work. I mean, they have one ground of the fact that the judge let in evidence of past financial crimes, and you can't show past crimes that prove that he did it here. But, the purpose for allowing that in was solely to show motive why Alex Murdaugh murdered his family.

Now, the postures did go right up to the line. They elicited testimony that said, yeah, because of his financial crimes, he is a bad guy. And, that does give grounds for appeal. But, in the end, it's not going to work, because the reason why he was convicted was because he was a liar. It was a lack of credibility. It was that he lied about not being at the kennel. And then, he took the stand on his own volition and lied about why he was lying. So, if this goes to the appellate court, they're going to say, if there was an error, it's harmless error.

BURNETT: So, when a juror spoke, and today a juror spoke to ABC News about this issue of credibility, and what they saw when they were sitting in there for those 28 years, here is what the juror said.


MOYER: I didn't see any true remorse or any compassion or anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even though he was -- he cried a lot on the stand?

MOYER: He never cried.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He never cried. What do you mean by that?

MOYER: All he did was blow snot. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you not see tears?

MOYER: No tears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you know he wasn't crying?

MOYER: Because I saw his eyes.


BURNETT: I mean, this is about -- this was an emotional, an emotional take there.

ARONBERG: Yeah. You had a lot of experts over the last five weeks talking about this case. Erin, did you hear one expert say he is going to be found guilty because his tear ducts were dry? No. And, this is why juries are so unpredictable. You can't predict that that's what was going to motivate a juror that he was at blew snot and not tears? I mean, not one expert ever predicted that. But, that's why we say the only thing predictable about juries is that they are notoriously unpredictable.

BURNETT: Yeah. All right. Well, Dave, thank you very much. I appreciate it.


And next, this is one of Disney's newest oversight board members appointed by Ron DeSantis.


RON PERI, CEO, THE GATHERING: Why are there homosexuals today? There is estrogen in the water, from the -- from birth control pills.


BURNETT: Well, Steve Bannon taking on Fox News after explosive court briefs showed hosts didn't buy the election lies.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: They don't respect. You read the depositions, the deposition they have a fear, a loathing, and contempt for you.



BURNETT: Tonight, estrogen in the water turning people gay. That is a baseless conspiracy theory. It was once pushed by the man that Governor Ron DeSantis just appointed to Disney's oversight board. Here is Ron Peri and comments discovered by CNN's KFile.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERI: Why are there homosexuals today? There are any number of reasons that are given. Some would say the increase in estrogen in our societies.


There is estrogen in the water from the-- from birth control pills. They can't get it out.


BURNETT: Well, Andrew Kaczynski is Outfront, Senior Editor and Founding Member of CNN's KFile. So, Andrew, you found this, obviously, estrogen in the water, there is no conspiracy theory which suggests anything linked between that and someone being homosexual. Just to be very clear here, right, that this is crazy. But, you found this isn't just one isolated remark.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: No, no. This is not just one remark. He has a history of anti-gay remarks. He is a former businessman, former pastor. He now runs this group in the Orlando area. It's called "The Gathering". It's a Christian ministry group, and they do outreach towards men. And, we found that they did these, basically these sessions. They did it on Zoom. He posted them on YouTube. And, we found he made a lot of anti-gay comments. He called gay people evil, like he did in that clip. He called them deviant. He attacked LGBTQ characters in television shows.

One comment he made even linked homosexuality to the fall of the Roman Empire, which is apparently a somewhat fringe belief among some Christian activists. And, he even suggested that being gay was unhealthy. Take a listen to this clip.


PERI: There are a lot of unhealthy effects of a homosexual lifestyle. There are diseases, but it goes beyond that.


BURNETT: I mean, just to be clear, it's not as if Ron DeSantis wasn't aware. I mean, you're talking about a whole body of common, right, that he was aware? It's actually not just that he is obviously aware. It's that it seems to be part of why he would pick him to be on this oversight board, I mean, right? This is -- the former CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek had come out against what critics call the "don't say gay bill," right, in Florida. So, the whole issue of homosexuality is at the core of the Ron DeSantis versus Disney war.

KACZYNSKI: Yeah. And, that's the thing, is these -- these sessions that we found, they were not hidden. They were on the YouTube for the group, where you are able to find them presumably if there was some sort of vetting done of these people by the DeSantis Administration, they would have found them too. This guy, this position, he is going to have oversight of a lot of things when it comes to Disney. We did reach out to the DeSantis administration a few times, tried to see if they would comment on this. We reached out. We did our best, tried to reach Mr. Peri many times. We did not hear back from either of them.

BURNETT: Wow. And so, just to be clear here, this is a board that is going to control all aspects of Disney, right? So, you're talking about just a few people now who are going to control the largest private employer in the State of Florida. And, this is one of the people, I mean, this is the type of person that Ron DeSantis is choosing.

KACZYNSKI: Yeah. And, what's interesting about what you just said is he even suggested in comments early in the week that they could have some role in the entertainment offerings of Disney, maybe even the shows, things like that. And, we even saw in one of his other comments, which you can read on, that he was attacking LGBTQ characters in shows like this.

BURNETT: This is unbelievable, actually, to watch this play out. It is going to be a case study in so many ways in this country. Thank you so much. And, -- as you said, it's out there in plain sight. But, we need you to sometimes put it in plain sight for everyone to see. So, thank you so much.

And next, why is one of Fox's biggest stars fueling election lies despite privately making it clear he dismissed them?


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: If you're a Trump voter and you suspect that this election was stolen, was rigged, you're onto something.


BURNETT: Plus, new details tonight about a cancerous lesion that was removed from President Biden's chest.




BURNETT: Tonight, Steve Bannon attacking the head of Fox News, reacting to court filings that show that Rupert Murdoch along with Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others, knew that Trump's election lies were lies.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Okay. Murdoch, here is the way it's going to be, brother. You've disrespected Donald J. Trump long enough. Okay? They don't respect you. You read the depositions, the deposition they have a fear, a loathing, and contempt for you. The Murdoch's have to start covering President Trump.


BURNETT: Bannon calling Fox shareholders to take action, which is telling, because as we know from Tucker Carlson's own text messages, his motivation, at least he said at that time for pushing what he made very clear he knew were lies about the last election, was because he was upset about the company's stock price going down. He thought that that would protect it.

Tom Foreman is Outfront with more on how Tucker Carlson went all in on the lies.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Donald Trump lost the presidency, --


CARLSON: Many Americans will never again accept the results of a presidential election.


FOREMAN: -- when Republicans fell short of their midterm goals.


CARLSON: That certainly looks like it's rigged.


FOREMAN: And even now, Tucker Carlson keeps pushing unproven claims that Democrats are somehow cheating.


CARLSON: It is galling to be lectured about democracy by a man who took power in an election so sketchy that many Americans don't believe it was even real.


FOREMAN: At Fox, election denialism has been broadly promoted by its many stars. But, even there, Carlson's fervor has stood out from the start.


CARLSON: If you're a Trump voter and you suspect that this election was stolen, was rigged, you're on to something.


FOREMAN: He has savaged the security of elections and the credibility of election officials.


CARLSON: The people in charge rigged the game.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FOREMAN: He has repeatedly pushed wild conspiracies about machine switching votes, and only occasionally he said that's not been proven.


CARLSON: We're not really very serious about democracy if we're using electronic voting machines.


FOREMAN: Never mind that such claims helped spur a massive lawsuit against Fox by the Dominion Voting Systems company which denies any wrongdoing, never mind a Dominion filing in that case shows Carlson privately called accusations of election fraud no evidence, ludicrous, totally off the rails, and shockingly reckless.


On air and online, Carlson has howled about how unfairly he and other conservatives are allegedly treated, --


CARLSON: They are tying white nationalist terrorism to Trump voters.


FOREMAN: -- claiming Washington insiders are using the 2021 attack on the Capitol to smear patriotic, peaceful Americans.


CARLSON: It was not even close to an insurrection.


FOREMAN: Court records even say when a Fox reporter dared to fact check a false claim by the former president, Carlson quickly wrote, please get her fired. It's measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not surprisingly, Democrats were enraged when the new Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy released all the security footage of the January 6 attack to Carlson exclusively.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: One of the people who has done more to destroy faith in this democracy than just about anyone else.


FOREMAN: The man who is still not saying clearly and openly, Joe Biden won and Donald Trump lost. Fair and square.


CARLSON: Was the 2020 election a miracle? Honestly, we don't know. We don't expect to get an answer to it tonight.


FOREMAN: We asked Fox for any further comment on this. They send us this long release they have where they basically argue in the Dominion case that this was a great big story, and that everyone including Tucker Carlson was doing what journalists do, just asking questions. What's not clear here, though, Erin, is these questions were asked in the wake of the election? That's a long time ago now. And, they were all answered. There was nothing wrong with the election, nothing that would have made a difference. And yet, Tucker Carlson and some others just will not let it go.

BURNETT: Right. All right, Tom, thank you very much. It is incredible to hide behind just asking questions when you know that you're asking a question about something that is untrue. So, by asking you, you're having people believe it's untrue. But, that's what's at the heart of the case and the whole malice issue, but it kind of defies belief that they think anybody will fall for that.

Outfront now, Bill Kristol, who founded the conservative magazine "The Weekly Standard" where he was Tucker Carlson's boss, Bill was also a Fox News contributor for a decade. So, Bill, this is what it comes down to, right, this whole, well, we were just asking questions. Right? That's -- that appears to be the defense. You've known Tucker for many years. Do you think that he really believed in the election lies? I mean, his tech show that he didn't. Or, are you surprised about how he says -- said one thing on the air and was saying the opposite off air?

BILL KRISTOL, FORMER FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR FOR A DECADE": I haven't spoken to him for quite a while. So, maybe he has changed some. But, no, he doesn't believe the lies. He is lying. I mean, people are unwilling to just say the obvious fact. It's not that he is asking questions. It's not that he is a little bit disingenuous who says different things on air. That are fair, though. That is the case, of course. He is consciously lying for the sake of power, for the sake of money, for the sake of celebrity, for the sake of his own wealth. What he sees is his own stature in a Trump America and a Trump administration, certainly. And, there you are, and that's true of others of Fox as well. And, Fox sanctions it. And, let's just be honest. This is not like a confusion or misunderstanding or a little bit of wax, rules, administration by Fox.

BURNETT: Yeah. And, one interesting thing too when you think about it is Bannon today, right? Bannon coming out. Now, I know Bannon has kind of tried to say he is more of the real right wing or right, the real voice of the people as opposed to Fox News. Okay. That's true. But, what's interesting is, it seems that Fox's hope has been that their base viewer will not pay any attention to any of this. They're not talking about it on their network. No one is going to hear about it. But, Steve Bannon just went out at the top conservative event, and said Fox News disrespects you. Don't have anything to do with them. Does that matter?

KRISTOL: And, that's of course because Steve Bannon remains a Trump supporter. Trump pardoned him for the crimes which he was convicted, and Fox has turned to be for DeSantis, I guess at Murdoch's direction. So, there is a little fight here among the different kinds of liars and fraudsters, frankly, and they're sniping at each other.

But, Fox -- what's most interesting I think from what I've read at the deposition, is that Fox was most concerned not about the truth, not about doing something civically responsible to stop whipping people up, which ultimately led to January 6, among many other bad things in our country, Fox was the -- it was the opposite. Fox was worried that someone would get more extreme than they, and take viewers away from them. That began to happen after they called the election correctly, (inaudible) called Arizona correctly on election night and proclaimed Biden the winner as they -- which was true. And so, they've got worried that they weren't extreme enough, and that remains I think -- I see no evidence that Fox is changing its ways.


I mean, is there a single piece of evidence that any wondered Fox is more responsible now than they were a year or two ago, the insurrection of January 6? Everything else that's happened seems to have made no difference to them.

BURNETT: All right. Well, they've given their most powerful and important slots as they see them to people who put that forth. Obviously, there are some fantastic journalists there, but that is not what we're talking about right now. All right. Thank you very much, Bill.

And next, some news today about a lesion removed from President Biden's chest. It was cancerous. Is there a reason to worry? That's next.


BURNETT: Tonight, doctors revealing President Biden had a cancerous skin lesion removed from his chest during his annual physical two weeks ago. It tested positive for basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common cancers in the U.S. and one of the most treatable. We asked Dr. Otis Brawley, a leading cancer expert for his assessment. He tells Outfront, "Most basal cell carcinoma surgeries go very well, and our experience is that these things very, very rarely come back." Biden's doctor says no cancerous tissue remains and no further treatment is needed.

Thanks so much for joining us. I'll be back at nine for a special hour CNN Primetime: Navalny And the Cost of Standing Up to Putin.