Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

"Rapid Deterioration": Moody's Cuts Outlook for All U.S. Banks; Michael Cohen To Appear Before Grand Jury In Hush Money Probe Tomorrow; Biden Demands Congress Pass Assault Weapons Ban: Do It Now; FAA Investigates Another Close Call On Runway Seventh This Year. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 14, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, sounding the alarm about America's banks. Moody's downgrading its outlook for entire banking sector, warning of rapid deterioration. This as the Justice Department investigates Silicon Valley Bank and its CEO.

My exclusive interview tonight with a senior chairman and former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, is next.

Plus, a Russian fighter jet forces an American drone to crash into the Black Sea, fears growing of escalation as the battle in Bakhmut Intensifies further, a Ukrainian soldier on the front lines is my guest tonight.

And, Ron DeSantis does a complete 180. The Florida governor now says backing Ukraine is not in America's best interest. It is the opposite of what he said when he was in Congress. You will hear for yourself what the KFILE found.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, rapid deterioration those are the words used by the bond credit rating king Moody's. That's how they're describing the entire banking sector in the United States today, downgrading their outlook for American banks to negative, warning of sharply rising deposit costs. And then they go on to say, quote, pressures will persist and be exacerbated by more increases in interest rates.

And here's the thing, Moody's views matter. They're rating impact the prices that banks pay to do business, the price of loans. And Moody's is sounding the alarm after bank failures began with Silicon Valley Bank, something that the chair of the Senate Banking Committee said today requires more government action.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): We clearly need stronger capital standards. We clearly need stronger liquidity standards. We clearly need to do the strength and the stress test.


BURNETT: And the stress is still rising. The Fed is preparing to possibly raise interest rates again next week. And the aggressive hikes we've seen the past months have come at a pace that we have not seen in American history in 40 years.

And that increase in interest rates were at the heart of Silicon Valley Bank's problems, as economic analyst and OUTFRONT regular Jim Bianco pointed out the other day, it was six days ago that traders thought there was an 80 percent chance that we would get another increase in interest rates of half a percentage point next week. As of yesterday, there was almost an even chance that the Fed might cut rates. Rate is changing day by day.

But this is the whiplash, the economic whiplash that we're talking about here. And it can lead to more volatility.

No one understands the situation, the health of the U.S. bank system better than Lloyd Blankfein. He's the senior chairman, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. And I'm going to speak exclusively with him in just a moment, his first interview since Silicon Valley Bank collapsed.

But this all comes on the context of the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, they are now investigating Silicon Valley Bank. Shareholders themselves are suing the bank and top executives like the CEO, Greg Becker, according to "Reuters". And this has come to light less than two weeks before SVB's collapse, Becker sold nearly $3.6 million in bank shares. That's according to "Barron's". Anyone else right now, that would be worth zero.

Becker also pressed Congress in 2015 to exempt Silicon Valley Bank from new regulation because of the, quote, low risk profile of our activities and business model. Congress ultimately did just that.

And just a few months ago, Becker was touting the strength of SVB and its prospects for the future.


GREG BECKER, CEO, SILICON VALLEY BANK: We're feeling good about the situation and the position we're in right now, and our balance sheet capital ratio's liquidity has never been stronger.


BURNETT: Well, you would think Becker could have known better. I mean, after all, this is a sophisticated guy. He held a prestigious position on the board of directors of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, right? That is until SVB failed on Friday. Now he's no longer on the board, according to a Fed spokesperson, nowhere to be found on the website for the board of directors.

Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT from the White House to begin our coverage tonight. And, Phil, I know you're just getting some new information from your sources. What are you learning?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Erin, it's interesting when you talk to senior administration officials who are involved in both the emergency deployment of facilities over the course of the last several days and watching the reaction to those efforts in last 48 hours, there is a sense that at least in the near term, the acute crisis has started to kind of take a step back from the precipice, that some of the underlying measurements that they were looking at in terms of deposit outflows, in terms of access to liquidity that we were talking about last night have taken greater hold that's a positive sign.

But you lay out the very complex macro dynamics that they'll be forced to grapple with in the days ahead that underscores the fact they make clear this isn't over yet.


They're not out of the woods. They're very cognizant of that fact, and it's something President Biden was very cognizant of as he weighed the willingness to go forward on those emergency actions over the weekend.

I'm told by several officials he was very clear he did not want this to be a 2008-like bailout. He wanted to insure that if banks failed, the executives would lose their jobs and there would also be very clear cut accountability, saying that publicly as well on Monday.

We're starting to get some signs of what that might look like. Or at least the initial process kicking into gear, the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission announcing investigations into the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

And while we don't know what the specifics yet and I'm told and stressed that it's a preliminary effort, that is largely what would happen after any major bank implosion like this, one thing sticks out is what you were pointing to, they're looking at shares sales, those stock sales in the days and weeks leading up to the collapse of the bank, not identifying any particular executives but obviously have an eye on them, there's a recognition here that there's a potential for wrongdoing and they're certainly looking into it right now, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, very much, Phil, from the White House.

And OUTFRONT now, I want to have that exclusive conversation with Lloyd Blankfein, the senior chairman of Goldman Sachs, also the former CEO of the investment bank.

So, Lloyd, I really appreciate your time. On this Moody's downgrade, right, it affects the entire U.S. banking sector and it begs the question that so many have, which is should possible move their deposits to one of the big four banks right now. We're talking Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan.

Should they be moving their deposits to one of those big banks now if they're in a small bank?

LLOYD BLANKFEIN, SENIOR CHAIRMAN AND FORMER CEO, GOLDMAN SACHS: I think -- I think really -- by the way, good evening. Erin. I don't -- I really don't think they need to. Because of the action that the government has taken so far, I think it would be very, very hard for a bank to go under at this point. They can take their securities they have and use them as collateral and get financing not only for the value of securities they have, but including the losses on that security so they will have money.

At the same time, if they do lose deposits, that those deposits they can borrow from the -- that same money they'll borrow from the Fed, but at a much higher rate. So to the extent that the banks had a margin, they invest -- whatever they were making from their investments versus what they were paying for deposits, they will be paying more for the money that they get from the Fed.

And so, whatever -- if it was negative before, their revenue might be a bigger negative. So, I can see at the same time, we're not afraid of the banks going under, the market may consider that the banks may not make as much money. And here, the banks I'm talking to are the regional banks, which is the focus.

BURNETT: Right. So, now, I understand what you're saying, they will be there they may not make as much money, there's implications to that for sure. But when you talk about what the government did. So, what the Biden administration did was they avoid a broader banking crisis for now, right? And they basically --


BURNETT: -- did that by implying that every deposit in the United States is guaranteed. But you can't just a say that. It comes at a cost and, of course, Lloyd, if you had a mass bank run, it wouldn't be true, right?

But now, they're stuck. They basically put it out there. So, what do you do now? Was this the right way to handle this?

BLANKFEIN: Well, it was complicated. First of all, there's no authority absent Congress to make a blanket guarantee.


BLANKFEIN: What they did was they have emergency power, but they basically said that any bank that threatens to go under because of a loss of the deposits, they will consider that an emergency, so they will have -- they will have the power to do that. And so that's what -- that's the source of the power.

The consequences again, to that are I think they'll save the deposit -- they'll save the depositors, which I think is appropriate.


BLANKFEIN: And the -- and the employees, the shareholders, the debt- holders are free to get punished as they should be for their malfeasance or for their negligence.

BURNETT: And when it comes to Greg Becker, the CEO of SVB and then those share sales, do you agree that's something should be looked into selling $3.6 million in shares in the past few weeks

BLANKFEIN: Well, I certainly have no opinion about that. I don't know that the circumstances. But under the -- given what's happened, rest assured the Justice Department will take the as its mission, as well the SEC, to investigate every aspect of this.

BURNETT: So, Sherrod Brown, I know you just heard him at the top of the show, right, chair of the Senate Banking Committee. So, he has a lot of influence. He said that more regulation is needed to stop this from happening again. Is he right?

BLANKFEIN: Yes. Smaller banks, regional and smaller banks are given the authority to extend the U.S. government's credit, and that credit has to be protected, whether it's a big bank or little bank.

And so, there's been a number of tranches, levels of scrutiny and regulation that applies depending how big the banks are. But I think at this point, we recognize that a $250 billion bank is no small bank and, you know, perhaps a $50 billion is no small bank.


And even smaller ones. So I think there's going to be regulation that normally applies to the biggest banks will probably have to be extended and that regulation includes bigger stress tests, having to have more capital, and other features that are generally make the system safer.

BURNETT: So, you know, I don't know if you've heard, but we have been hearing people make the argument that the SVB collapse was actually because of culture wars

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis obviously is expected to run for president. Here's what he said.


GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: This bank, they're so concerned with DEI and politics and all kinds of stuff, I think that really diverted from them focusing on their core mission.


BURNETT: DEI, of course, Lloyd, stands for diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

And "The Wall Street Journal" columnist Andy Kessler wrote in an op-ed and I quote him: In its proxy statement, SVB notes that besides 91 percent of their board being independent and 45 percent women, they also have, quote, one Black, quote, one LGBTQ+, and, quote, two veterans. I'm not saying 12 white men would have avoided this mess but the company may have been distracted by diversity demands, end quote. Do you agree?

BLANKFEIN: I don't think we need to get -- you know, I would say it's pretty far in advance of the election, but I would say if it gets hotter from here, I can hardly imagine it. It'd say that the regulators have their job, signs were definitely missed in retrospect. They have to go over and see what that was, because always in hindsight, you see the signals and you say, my goodness, they were hiding in plain sight.

Banks publish the unrealized losses that are imbedded in their portfolios. It was there to be seen. It wasn't -- possibly it -- it wasn't seen to be that dangerous given that the bank didn't have to sell any of those securities.


BLANKFEIN: But they certainly did once withdrawals started to be made. And so, in hindsight, it would appear to have been in plain sight, signals would have been missed. But it became critical only when deposits were withdrawn and the banks needed to sell those out of the money securities in order to raise funds.

BURNETT: But -- just to be clear, when someone was saying this is because they were foc -- they were too focused on putting a Black person or a gay person on their board, that seemed silly to you?

BLANKFEIN: Well, I'm not -- I'm not -- I'm not an expert in mass psychology but I think that -- I think that's very unlikely and I think frankly it's -- it's a bit laughable.

BURNETT: Yeah. So I want to ask you about something else while I have you, because, obviously, you've been one of the biggest power brokers in the world for a long time, and you've done a lot of business in places, including Russia. You've met Putin. We got a picture of you meeting with then-President Dmitry Medvedev.

One oligarch close to Putin now, Oleg Deripaska, recently warned, quote, there will be no money next year, we need foreign investors.

How dire do you think the situation is? Do you think he's right?

BLANKFEIN: Well, I think definitely losing -- they're spending more than they're taking in, I would bet.

Look, I think you don't need an economist, you need a historian. I think an historian would observe that Russia has had the capacity over centuries to endure a lot of pain in support of what they considered their national objectives at the time. I think they -- you know, they didn't capitulate Stalingrad. I don't think they're necessarily going to capitulate because they're selling their oil for $10 cheaper to India and China.

BURNETT: And do you think that Putin himself is feeling any pain from these sanctions at this point, or no? BLANKFEIN: I don't -- I think the question is, is it going to

accomplish the objectives in a neared up term to be relevant? I agree we should have the sanctions, although to some extent, if you keep applying sanctions and you have to get your al -- your reluctant allies to go along with you, it may -- you know, it may -- it may not be as powerful over the longer term.

But the most important thing it's not whether they affect him, but whether they affect him enough to reverse policy. I -- your guess is good -- I would bet -- I would bet, it's going to take a long time. I think they have more endurance in this respect.

BURNETT: All right. All right. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Lloyd Blankfein.

BLANKFEIN: OK. Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you.

And next, a Russian fighter jet takes down a U.S. drone. The U.S. Air Force calling it dangerous and reckless. I'll speak to a Ukrainian fighter who is fighting on the front lines in Bakhmut. He calls it hell on Earth.

Plus, Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen about to appear for the second time before the grand jury investigating Trump's role in the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, as prosecutors signal an indictment could be coming. Trump's former White House lawyer Ty Cobb is OUTFRONT.

And breaking news, we're just learning of another close call between two passenger jets this time in Washington, D.C. The details are coming in. We'll have them for you.



BURNETT: Tonight, a U.S. drone taken down by Russia, and now the United States is demanding answers. According to the Defense Department, the Russian jet intentionally flew alongside the drone, like this, one which we will show you the same type, for 30 to 40 minutes, dumped fuel on it, then hit a propeller which forced the United States to bring it down to the Black Sea.

The United States military calling the move by Russia dangerous, one that could lead to unintended escalations.

And Russia's defense ministry is now claiming its fighter jet never came into contact with the drone.

Natasha Bertrand is OUTFRONT live at the Pentagon tonight.

And, Natasha, what are you learning about this incident right now?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, Erin. Well, we're all learning that the Pentagon is working to declassify video of the incident, so it should be a little bit more clearer soon whether the U.S. or the Russians are telling a more accurate version of events here. But we are also learning more about the timeline from the Pentagon about how all of this went down.

As you said, the Russian fighter jets will fly next to the drone for about 30 to 40 minutes over the Black Sea, before they got close to it, started dumping fuel on it, and eventually actually make contact with the propeller of the drone, thereby forcing the U.S. military to bring it down over international waters.

Now, the Pentagon press secretary would not get into whether or not the Russians have actually been searching for the drone in the Black Sea, but the White House actually said earlier today that they've been taking steps to protect equities, protect U.S.'s equities, and make sure that the sensitive technology, including the drone, of course, does not fall into Russian hands.


They would go into more detail about what that actually looks like.

Importantly, there were no communications between the U.S. and Russia while this incident unfolded, and we are also learning a little bit more about that meeting between the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and the assistant secretary of state, which lasted for about half an hour, during which they exchange some sharp views on what happened.

The Russian ambassador, claiming that the Russians don't want confrontation with the United States, but, of course, we will get a fuller picture of how this all went down when that video is eventually released, Erin.

BURNETT: Yeah, it's going to be really important to see.

All right. Thank you very much, Natasha, from the Pentagon tonight.

And that confrontation, such as it was, between the U.S. and Russia over the downed American drone comes as the fighting intensifying in Ukraine.

In a northern neighborhood in Bakhmut, we have some new video. It shows some fighters for the private army, Wagner, taking shelter in an industrial plant. Take a look at this.


WAGNER FIGHTER (through translator): Tens of projectiles are striking here every day. We have an enormous amount of ammunition, and it is restocked on a daily basis. They're not letting their fighters raise their heads.


BURNETT: Well, the ones alive talking there are the lucky ones. The death toll for Russia in Eastern Ukraine is unbelievable. We've got a diary entry to share with you, this is from a Russian soldier. Ukraine's defense ministry says that they obtained it from a Russian soldier.

And what it says, it's got dates and the death toll. So, March 1ast, 100 soldiers undertook an assault, 16 remained. March 3rd, out of 116 soldiers, 23 remained. March 4th, out of 103 soldiers, 15 remained. March 5th, out of 115 soldiers, three remained. These, of course, are staggering losses for Putin.

My next guest is a Ukrainian soldier, Roman Trokhymets. He has been fighting along the front lines in Bakhmut, and documenting it. Take a look at this.


ROMAN TROKHYMETS, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: This is how we fight, and it's not like some sort of movie, it's our reality because one terroristic state tries to invade another country. That's what they did, soldiers and civilians.


BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, Roman Trokhymets. He was recently injured. He is now recovering, and he joins us from a few miles outside of Bakhmut tonight, in these overnight hours of Ukraine.

Roman, you posted a picture with the picture, lucky enough to return from hell. It has -- it sticks in my memory. I can't stop seeing that picture as we were in Bakhmut.

What did you see when you are fighting there?

TROKHYMETS: I've seen lots -- a lot of stuff. I can't even describe the whole emotions, that's why I tried to drop some video and photos because sometimes, you cannot understand everything just looking for -- it's really hell on earth, that's what I can say. Just a few words.

BURNETT: You've posted videos of yourself in the trenches. Obviously, the fighting is going on around you. So, that we all can see some of what you are experiencing, and the horrific hand to hand combat that you've been in the midst of.

What was -- what was your role in Bakhmut? I understand you're a sniper?

TROKHYMETS: First of all, I must command little group, like 20 people. And also, I'm fighting as a sniper, sometimes as an anti-tank soldier, sometimes just regular infantry, when it's close battle, like up to five meters between myself and my enemies. There are no sniper rifles, it is AK and hand grenade.

I have different tasks to do on the frontline.

BURNETT: Roman, you talk about being so close to them, what is it like when you, I guess, look somebody in the eye, so close like that, knowing that you have to kill them?

TROKHYMETS: You see -- it's not like that. You can think at this moment, you just act. And if you become more quickly than your enemy, you will survive. So, no thoughts, no thinking about, oh, my god, I can maybe kill somebody. If you want to live, he had some family -- no, nothing.

If you're lucky enough, and you overcome your enemy in close battle, you realized that you save yourself, and save your fellows' life, and you can get rid of one creation who tried to kill or rape civilians, and take your land, that's all.


BURNETT: You've posted a video of an experience that you had with Wagner fighters, and I'm just going to play a clip of your video.


TROKHYMETS: I'm in a frontline position near Bakhmut, getting ready to get rid of invaders with these guns, these big machine guns. My sniper rifle, so we continue fighting for freedom.


ROMANS: We have been hearing, Roman, about a lot of problems for Wagner that so many of them have been dying, they've been rushing into Ukrainian forces and die. They are running out of ammunition. What has your experience been fighting with the Wagner forces?

TROKHYMETS: I don't even know how to describe it. When I first heard about the infinity going and going on the position, not afraid to die, you know, I don't believe it is true. But it is maybe somebody telling us about Lord of the Rings, when they have infinity orcs, and wave by wave, they tried to take position.

But when I face it, I cannot believe it is true. I cannot believe that people, real people, that they can run without being afraid to die, without -- like no motivation, but they see how they are falling down, and they continue running.

But when I realized that they secret of success, I understand everything. They have some units that stand near the back, and they shoot all of them who tried to return.

So, Wagner only has one chance to survive, and it's to take our position, our trenches, that's all. They have no choice to return to their position, because they will be killed from their fellows.

BURNETT: Romans, as we are talking tonight, I know that you're recovering, and you're going to be heading back to the frontlines before the war, you are a realtor. You posted pictures of your family. Do you have an idea of when you will be able to see your family again?

TROKHYMETS: I tell you, it's a bit optimistic, If I survive in the future battles, I think that -- maybe a few months if possible. BURNETT: Do you think about that moment?

TROKHYMETS: I'm sorry?

BURNETT: Do you think about seeing them?

TROKHYMETS: Yes, sure. With the war, it's one of the difficult thing that you can't -- you can't see your friends, families, parents. You can't see girls. You only see your fellows around and a little bit civilian and enemies. So, sometimes you are tired of such company, and you just want to see another kind of peoples.

BURNETT: Well, Roman, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time, and sharing with us as much as you are able to. Thank you.

TROKHYMETS: Always welcome, thank you for asking me.

BURNETT: And next, Trump lashing out at the investigation of the hush money payments. This, as former attorney Michael Cohen is about to speak to the grand jury again. Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb is next.

Plus, Florida Senator Marco Rubio takes on Ron DeSantis after the Florida governor flip-flops on the United States backing Ukraine.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Obviously, he doesn't deal with foreign policy every day as governor.




BURNETT: Donald Trump's Former Attorney, Michael Cohen making his second appearance tomorrow before a New York grand jury. He's the key witness in a case investigating a hush money payment to adult film star, Stormy Daniels.

That payment made just days before the 2016 election. Prosecutors handling the case are signaling that a criminal indictment for Trump could be coming soon. The former President slamming this case in a fundraising email today, saying prosecutors are trying to 'destroy our MAGA movement.'

And his attorney is doing a media blitz now claiming that Trump himself is the victim in this case.


JOE TACOPINA, ATTORNEY FOR FMR. PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Trump has denied from day one having an affair with this woman. What he is, is an extortion victim. She came out right before the campaign and said or the election and said, unless you pay me I'm going to make a public story about something that he says is completely untrue.


BURNETT: Out front now the former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb. And Ty we've talked so much about all of the legal troubles that the possible indictments that the former president may be facing. But as you see Trump and his lawyer there, Joe Tacopina ramping up their public attacks on this specific case, where do you think we are? Do you think an indictment is imminent for Donald Trump here?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I do think an indictment is imminent based on recent reporting and Grand Jury activity. I'm not sure this is the best case to lead with. I'm not sure it'll have that great an impact on him.

But yes, I do - I do hear the President and Joe talking about the President as the alleged victim here, and that's - that's Trump at his best.

BURNETT: You know, obviously, he didn't testify before the grand jury. If indicted, he will have to appear in court. But would you - do you think that was the right thing to do for him not to appear before this grand jury?

COBB: Yes, absolutely. I mean, you know, any first year law student - your criminal practice would advise the President not to show up in front of a grand jury, particularly in a case where the Proof problems that the prosecution has, you know, they're not overwhelming, but there, there are problems in terms of how this case will be presented to a jury.

BURNETT: So just to be clear, none of this is deterring Trump from running for reelection. And in fact, if anything, Ty, it seems to be encouraging him, right? I mean, you know, if he gets back in office, he would be immune to anything or any of these indictments you know, end up with convictions. Here's what he said in Iowa last night.



DONALD J. TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We stand up to the crooked Democrat prosecutors all over the country. Why fly over a state that happens to be Democrat, let's call him into a grand jury. They have never, nobody's ever weaponized like this group of people, they're maniacs.


BURNETT: All right, you know him well. You know, how he handles these sorts of, you know, situations. Do you think that there's anything that would stop him from running legally? And I guess also separate from that Ty, does this actually give him oxygen?

COBB: So those are good questions. I will say that that that tape cut is sort of right out of the DSM four on narcissism. I am not - and we'll hear a lot of that if he - if he is charged. I don't believe that this case, or even the Georgia case, however, that turns out whether charges are brought whether they include him, will deter him from his run.

And I'm not sure either would have a lot of impact as, as the consequences certainly the New York case, while - while a little bit hard to estimate don't appear to be very serious, and I think it's highly unlikely he could go to jail, in connection with the contemplated charges in New York.

I do think that when the federal government comes forward with what I believe will be an indictment over the obstruction of the January 6 proceeding involving Vice President Pence, and quite likely defrauding the United States charge as well, I do think that will have political consequences for him, it'll freeze his donors.

Yes, there are many passionate supporters out there. And many people that are willing to ride with him for a while. But, you know, at that point, you know, there's - he'll be asking for so much money that there'll be a lot of checks and balances on the donor side that I think will, you know, halt his ability to raise funds.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Ty Cobb, thank you very much. And that's interesting, as you point out, right, that the political implications of this could come from that as opposed to the Stormy Daniels obviously, very likely indictment at this point.

All right. Thank you so much. And next, Ron

COBB: Thank you. Nice to be with you again.

BURNETT: All right, you too Ty. And next Ron DeSantis says protecting Ukraine is not vital to the United States. The thing is our KFile looked into it and guess what he said when he was in Congress.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We in the Congress had been urging the President, I've been too to provide arms to Ukraine.


BURNETT: Plus shots fired on a college campus, students racing for cover. This is how Police in schools are now training for mass shootings in America and tonight, we'll take you inside these drills.



BURNETT: Tonight, will the real Ron DeSantis please stand up? DeSantis doing a 180 on Ukraine, the Florida Governor all but declared he's running for president, of course is now aligning himself with Donald Trump when it comes to U.S. support for Ukraine, saying "while the U.S. has many vital national interests becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them." Well, this puts him at odds with many other Republicans including the Florida Senator Marco Rubio.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Well, it's not a territorial dispute, in the sense that any more than it would be a territorial dispute if the United States decided that it wanted to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas. I don't know what he's trying to do or what the goal is. Obviously, he doesn't deal with foreign policy every day as governor, so I'm not sure, I can't speak to, I mean, I can't compare that to something else he did or said.


BURNETT: Well, we can compare it to something else he did or said because DeSantis' new position is completely at odds with what CNN's KFile found him saying on tape on camera when he was in Congress. Here's Ron DeSantis.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We in the Congress had been urging the President I've been too, to provide arms to Ukraine. They want to fight their good fight. They're not asking us to fight it for them. And the President has steadfastly refused. And I think that that's a mistake.


BURNETT: No lack of clarity about what he believed. Out front now, Andrew Kaczynski, who is the senior editor of KFile, and you and your team have found this tape. So when it comes to DeSantis and his stance on Ukraine, he was perfectly happy to talk about it at length, there's a lot more where this came from?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: Yes, so I think what people really need to understand about DeSantis his foreign policy views is he was he was very hawkish on Russia. And this goes all the way back to even - even before his first campaign for Congress in his book.

He, when, you know, the America, first isolationist view that we see now, more in the Republican Party, that was not Ron DeSantis. He had a foreign policy that aligned much more with somebody like Mitt Romney.

When that invasion of Crimea happened. DeSantis even said that the U.S. had common cause in one of the interviews that we looked at with Ukrainians.

BURNETT: Common Cause?

KACZYNSKI: Common cause, but the thing is, we found that time and time again, his voting record was also in support of Ukraine. He voted for this resolution, calling for Russia to withdraw. He supported legislation authoring aid to them repeatedly, support--

BURNETT: Sanction Russian oligarchs and--

KACZYNSKI: Co-sponsoring free elections in Crimea. He even voted against implementing that START missile defense treaty until Russia withdrew from the reason. So it was his votes. But it also was his words, take a listen to what else he was saying at that time.


DESANTIS: Couple years ago, Obama was refusing to provide lethal aid to Ukraine. They were trying to do a reset. The Democrats lauded that. They viewed guys like me who are - who are more of the Reagan school that's tough on Russia as kind of throwback to the Cold War. They criticize Mitt Romney in 2012. Now all of a sudden, because they're using it against Trump, they're so concerned about Russia.

What Vladimir Putin sees is he sees weakness. He sees a president that's not serious and so he knows he can get away with things there and I think if we had a policy which was firm which armed Ukraine with defensive and offensive weapons so that they could defend themselves, I think Putin would make different calculations.


BURNETT: I mean, this is incredible. I think it's so important to point this out, because this isn't like he just was asked and didn't know what to say. This is something he thought about, he cared about. And he repeatedly wanted to talk about and go to television interviews about.

KACZYNSKI: Well, this was, I mean, it was a very common position in the Republican Party--


KACZYNSKI: - to say, Obama was weak on Russia. But we saw it in that first clip, where he said they want to fight the good fight. He's talking about them fighting Russia. And then we saw it in that other clip, where he's talking about, you know, arming them with - with not just defensive weapons, with offensive weapons so they can take the fight to Russia.

BURNETT: And now he's changed his stance?

KACZYNSKI: That's right. And why is he changed his stance? Why, you know, Donald Trump and Republican primary voters. Take a look at this poll from Pew. Early when this invasion first happened, we saw just 9 percent of Republicans thought that we were giving too much aid to Ukraine, that's up to 40 percent now.

And you know, it looks like we're going to be seeing those numbers, possibly, you know, even going up more.

BURNETT: Wow. Well, I guess, point of view by poll. All right. Thank you very much. And it was amazing - amazing to find all of that. And next to chilling image of a gunman firing on a college campus this time though it is only a drill. But we're going to show you firsthand how officials are preparing for the next attack that they say is inevitable unless Congress acts.

And breaking news. We're now learning of another near collision at an American airport, the seventh so far this year, and we're just getting new audio in of this close call.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden demanding Congress pass an assault weapons ban. His frustration visible as he visited Monterey Park, California, the largely Asian American community where a gunman killed 11 people and injured nine others.

It comes as Biden signed an executive order aimed at strengthening existing background checks, something he acknowledged falls short if Congress doesn't act.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's be clear. None of this absolves Congress, the responsibility - from -from the responsibility of acting. To pass universal background checks, eliminate gun manufacturers immunity from liability.


BURNETT: But with that lack of action from Congress, local officials are left preparing for the next mass shooting. Josh Campbell is Out Front.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Shots fired midday on a California college campus, the start of a rampage by an active shooter. As students and teachers flee for safety, responding officers engage the gunman. Following them into the school library.

Police resources flood the campus by air and ground specially trained SWAT officers begin arriving on scene. Then the tactical teams move in, an officer radio said the threat has been neutralized but the work is far from over.

A cavalry of firefighters and paramedics staging nearby rush in to triage and administer first aid. This is only an exercise. An empty college campus on spring break turned into a simulated warzone as police and first responders hone their life saving skills.

This type of training has become the new normal in an age of endless mass shootings in the United States.

SHERIFF ROBERT LUNA, LA COUNTY: We study them, we read about them and we learn what went well and what didn't.

CAMPBELL: LA Sheriff Robert Luna says continually planning for a mass attack is a reality for law enforcement, in part due to inaction in Washington to regulate dangerous weapons.

LUNA: We do challenge our leaders at a national level to do more about guns, to do more about mental health so that we don't have to do this over and over.

CAMPBELL: It's a sentiment that has been heard from Police leaders across the country.

CHIEF JENI WILLIAMS, PHOENIX POLICE DEPT. : We're outgunned, we're outmanned, we're outstaffed, we do need responsible gun legislation.

CAMPBELL: A rare moment of bipartisan action did follow the tragic shootings last year at a supermarket in Buffalo and at Rob Elementary in Uvalde, Texas when 15 Senate Republicans and 14 in the House voted to support legislation expanding some gun background checks and dedicating millions to public safety programs.

But other measures pressed for by gun safety advocates remain perpetually stalled, including national Red Flag laws, universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. Many in law enforcement have long been advocating for the ban, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, who say the criminal use of semiautomatic assault weapons pose a grave risk to our officers and the communities they're sworn to protect.

A group representing college campus officers also supports a ban on Military style assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines for civilian use. President Joe Biden reiterated his calls for gun reform during a visit Tuesday near the scene of January's mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, where a gunman slaughtered 11 before taking his own life.

BIDEN: I'm determined once again to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Let's finish the job, ban assault weapons, ban them again. Do it now. Enough, do something.

CAMPBELL: But with major reform legislation on hold, it remains up to the police to continually prepare for the day, they may have to risk their own lives to stop a gunman.

LUNA: We don't want it to happen, statistics tell us it will happen. But here we sit ready to respond to anything that may come our way anywhere we're called.


CAMPBELL: And Erin, as the President announced his new executive order on gun reform behind me a short time ago here in Monterey Park, sitting quietly in the audience were two people who were instrumental in stopping the Monterey Park shooter. It was the two Police officers who located and confronted that gunmen.

Of course their story illustrates the dangerous nature of that profession and why we've heard So many policing groups calling for an assault weapons ban, getting those types of weapons out of the hands of criminals because as Police say so often they are the last line of defense putting themselves in the line of fire to try to stop the threat. Erin.


BURNETT: Josh, thank you very much. And next the breaking news. We're just learning of another near collision, this time in Washington. And we got new audio from Air Traffic control.


BURNETT: And Breaking News. CNN just obtaining new audio from another close call on an American runway. The FAA says this latest incident happened at Reagan National Airport which is right in Washington, DC. A United Airlines flight was getting ready to takeoff as another plane from Republic Airways that could have had as many as 76 people on board crossed the runway without clearance.


PILOT: Cleared for takeoff. Rolling United 2003.

AIRTRAFFIC CONTROLLER: United 2003, cancel takeoff clearance.

PILOT: Aborting takeoff. Aborting takeoff. United 2003.


BURNETT: The FAA says, the Republic Airways pilot made a wrong turn on to the taxiway but this is seventh close call this year.