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Erin Burnett Outfront

Pence Won't Appeal Ruling To Testify In January 6 Probe, A Blow To Trump After He Was Arrested, Faced Charges In Hush Money Case; Doorman "In Complete Shock" After His Claim Of An Alleged Trump Housekeeper Affair Was Cited In Trump Indictment; Trump And Team Plotting Next Steps, How To Seize On Arrest. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 05, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Mike Pence headed to the witness stand in the DOJ's January 6th investigation as Trump's former White House lawyer Ty Cobb says he believes Trump could be charged and convicted by the next election. Ty Cobb is OUTFRONT.

Plus, an elite, high-ranking Russian officer defects. Now, he's speaking out about Putin's health, his paranoia, his rumored girlfriend. And you'll hear how the officer escaped Putin's tight grip.

Plus, an OUTFRONT exclusive tonight, inside one of America's most advanced nuclear submarines, one able to descend hundreds of feet in just seconds and alert for threats from China.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Pence cooperating.

A day after former President Trump was indicted on 34 felony counts and accused of covering up a potential sex scandal, the former president today dealt another blow. His former president -- former Vice President Mike Pence is making it clear he will now testify before a grand jury about his conversations with Trump leading up to January 6th.

Now, never before has a former vice president complied with a criminal investigation subpoena to testify about their former boss, and that major development comes as we are also learning new information tonight about the private conversations between Trump and his former top national security advisers. Trump's former acting homeland security secretary and his deputy testifying before that D.C. grand jury, and they're saying that they repeatedly told Trump that he did not have the authority to seize voting machines.

This is very significant because sources have told CNN that Trump's advisers drafted two versions of an executive order that would do just that, seize voting machines. In fact, the idea of seizing voting equipment for a political purpose would be unprecedented in American history.

So, these two developments come as we are learning about new evidence in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, a case that according to Trump's former White House lawyer Ty Cobb, with whom I'll speak in a moment, could be the most serious face -- case Trump is facing. Cobb also saying a possible indictment there could come in weeks, and he believes Trump could go to jail in that case.

There's so much to break down tonight. I want to begin with Paula Reid. She is OUTFRONT live in Washington.

And, Paula, what are you learning about these two major developments tonight on the special counsel's investigation into January 6th?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it's an important reminder that while the New York case is the most immediate legal threat the former president is facing, that is not the most consequential legal investigation into the former president, because here in Washington, D.C., as you noted, Special Counsel Jack Smith has multiple investigations and this one looking at Trump's efforts to obstruct the 2020 election has now gotten an incredibly important witness in Mike Pence.

This will be the first time that Pence will testify under oath about this pressure campaign that he was facing from the former president and his allies. This is something that investigators have been especially interested in, particularly one heated phone call between Pence and former President Trump and the threats that Pence face from Trump supporters on the day of the insurrection.

Now, there is one important carve out that Pence has here, he does not have to answer any questions about things that he did on January 6th in his role as president of the Senate. That's an important exception and, Erin, I think that's part of why they're not appealing here.

He believes that that just getting that carve-out was a constitutional victory for him. At this point, though, it is unclear when he will testify. But we know this comes as he is contemplating a run for the White House, and it would not be surprising to see Trump lashed out at him.

Just last night, just hours after the judge overseeing the Manhattan case, told Trump not to do anything that would incite violence. Trump lashed out at the judge and his family, calling them, quote, Trump haters.

Now, today, Trump's lawyer tried to insist that that was not any sort of threat but we know anyone who's labeled Trump hater could potentially come under threat of violence. So the judge overseeing the Manhattan cases now in a very difficult position, it is hard to put a gag order on someone who is running for the presidency, raises a lot of constitutional concerns.

Based on our reporting today, Erin, it's unclear if the former president is trying to get a gag order to amplify his messaging about political persecution, or if he's trying to push to get this judge recused from the case.

BURNETT: Yeah. Just fascinating to see what will happen here.

All right, Paula, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Ty Cobb, the former White House attorney for Trump.

And, Ty, let me just start with, you know, Paula's reporting that Mike Pence has -- is going to be testifying and he got the carve-out he wanted. He's not going to talk about the day of January 6th. He's going to talk about leading up to that. So that is an important carve- out.

There's also the point, of course, Ty, that Pence has spoken out a lot about January 6th in a book, in multiple interviews.


So, with all that being said, and the fact that he doesn't have to talk about the day of January 6th itself, how do you feel about this? Is there something important still left for him to say that's new?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I believe there is. I mean, one indication is that he did not resort to the arguments that were available to him was regarded executive privilege under United States versus Espy, or in Ray Espy (ph) as it's known, which would be an argument that he has nothing left to add, that people have already talked to everybody close to him. He can't add to that and the government should have to prove that they have no other sources.

That was an opportunity available to him. But that really felt to Trump because Trump asserted executive privilege, not the vice president. The vice president only asserted, you know, the speech and debate privilege as it pertained to his legislative functions.

And as a creature of the House, I know that's something that was near and dear to his heart, something he strongly believes in, having agreed to defend the Constitution, and he won on that, and he's not appealing and he's ready to testify.

I do believe there are conversations one on one between the president and the former vice president, whom I respect greatly, that will shed additional light on the events of January 6th and will further what I believe he's being called for, which is the search into Trump's intent on January 6th.

I think -- I think that Trump, I think the Pence's testimony will be significant. I think it'll be meaningful. It won't add a lot to what is already a mountain of evidence provided by Pence, by Pence through the books and other materials, but also through Pence's assistants and aides whom he encouraged to Cooperate.


COBB: So, yes, I do think this is very consequential for the president. I do think it's likely the president will be very critical of him. And if I might, just in connection with, you know, the lead in, I think your reporter's, you know, completely accurate about the seriousness of Trump going after the judge and the judge is family and his daughter's job.

I will say, if I had been a Bragg prosecutor, I would have had a narrowly tailored gag order on his desk first thing this morning, limiting Trump's ability to demean and threaten court officers and their families.

BURNETT: And we're going to see what happens there because obviously, Judge Merchan was very -- took a very conservative view on that, at least yesterday, right, saying, no, I -- you know, that the burden is very high on this because he's running for office.

Now, there is so much attention on the Alvin Bragg indictment, Ty. I do know, though, that you think that there is another and a bigger charge, more significant charge about to come in the special counsel's investigation into the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and that you think that Jack Smith will charge Trump with obstruction, and he's going to do that likely within 60 days.

Why that specific charge and why that at this point accelerated timeline?

COBB: I think the -- so the specific charge is because -- and the timeline as well -- are both because the evidence is falling into place so neatly on those offenses, on the false statements to the FBI, to the Department of Justice, on the attempts to conceal documents both in connection with the grand jury subpoena and in connection with the post search events.

So I think that cases coming together rapidly and in a way that is virtually unassailable, and it may well overtake -- I think it will well overtake the January 6th investigation. Keep in mind. There are two different grand juries on those two matters, and there's no obligation that they be brought at the same time.

So I think that case is accelerating. I think the evidence, you know, it's coming over the transom, you know in waves, and it's all falling neatly into place. And it should not be difficult giving -- given the fact that ever since the government noticed big gaps in the documents that Trump had left at the White House --


COBB: -- and what he had previously known to have, including the letters from his, you know, friends in North Korea, ever since they started trying to get those documents and retrieve the classified documents.


There have been false statement after false statement. There has been, you know, failures to cooperate. There has been an attempt, you know, to have employees lie to people. So the evidence is building brick by brick, and there isn't a good

brick in there for the former president.

BURNETT: And you think all this could happen, just to be clear, within the next 60 days, the charge?

COBB: I do. I think the evidence has come together fast enough to that that could be easily charged. And if it is charged that quickly, I think it could, you know, quickly overtake the Bragg case as the lead case, most likely to get to trial before November of 2024.

BURNETT: So just to be clear, you think this one could end up being finished by then? So it is possible, given the way you see the evidence, that Trump could be convicted before the election and actually could be sentenced to jail time?

COBB: I do believe that. I was -- but the key word there being possible. It's -- you know, it's not likely and nobody can say with certainty, but I think there is certainly a possibility at this stage of the game, given the strength of the evidence that Jack Smith has collected and is pursuing. That easily could be charged within the next 60 days.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ty Cobb. I appreciate it.

And just to emphasize for everybody, right, you're talking here about an obstruction in the Mar-a-Lago documents. Not the Alvin Bragg. Not Fani Willis, not insurrection related, right? This is just one specific thing.

All right. Ty, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

COBB: Thank you . Nice to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, one of the people included in Trump's historic indictment is speaking to CNN. A doorman who prosecutors say was paid $30,000 after alleging Trump had a child from an extramarital affair, what he is saying tonight will surprise you.

And we will take you to a county that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, and we're hearing from one Democrat who is now in Trump's camp because he believes Trump's been unfairly targeted.

And see firsthand what trench warfare looks like right now on the frontlines of Ukraine.



Okay, we are told that Russian lines are just one kilometer from here.



BURNETT: Tonight, the former Trump World Tower doorman who was dragged front and center into the former president's hush money case yesterday, speaking out to CNN tonight. Now, the doorman who alleged that Donald Trump had a child from an extramarital affair with a housekeeper, saying that he's in, quote, complete shock that his story was referenced in documents tied to Trump's indictment. He added that he did not appear before the grand jury and was not interviewed by the Manhattan district attorney's office.

This is a hush money payment involving another former presidential candidate. It may tell us what could happen in Trump's case. In 2012, federal prosecutors failed to convict John Edwards after alleging he broke campaign finance laws related to receiving about a million dollars from two donors and that money was used to conceal a mistress and her pregnancy during the presidential campaign for Edwards.

Edwards argued that the payments were made to shield his family from embarrassment, not to conceal the affair from voters.

OUTFRONT now, Karen Agnifilo, the former chief assistant district attorney at the Manhattan district attorney's office and our legal analyst, and Katie Cherkasky, a former federal prosecutor who is now a criminal defense and civil rights attorney.

All right. Thanks very much to both of you. And I should note with the doorman story, just for those who wonder that when I'm the national enquirer looked into it, they found that it was not true, and that that they did not go ahead with it.

But, Katie, so this failed prosecution against John Edwards, it's not obviously apples to apples, but is it a risk to prosecutors in their case right now against Trump that it could fail along the same lines and for some of the same arguments?

KATIE CHERKASKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, absolutely. I mean, the John Edwards case has very similar facts in some ways, and it was a failed prosecution. And in fact, I think that the failed prosecution was really what prevented federal prosecutors from pursuing the case against Trump because the issue in the John Edwards case was, I think the intent. I don't think they were able to prove that the intent of the payments was to influence the campaign, that it was for personal purposes, and that's what these hush money cases come down to.

Hush money payments aren't necessarily illegal unless you can tie them to an intent to influence an election. So in the John Edwards case, I think that there was some facts that showed that it wasn't for the purposes of just influencing the election. There was payments that were made even after he suspended his campaign. So that tends to support the idea that it was for a personal purpose.

And on Trump's end, I think that there's some obvious evidence that shows that it seems to be for the purpose of influencing the election. But again, a lot of that's coming from Michael Cohen and there's some credibility --


BURNETT: Right, and I want -- I want to follow up with you when the payments are made in a moment.

But, Karen, first, this is an interesting precedent. I mean, certainly, the Team Trump is leaning on it to try to say, right? I mean, how do you -- how do you unscramble an egg? John Edwards didn't meet -- Rielle Hunter was her name, right -- until because -- because -- he better (ph) because he was a presidential candidate, right? And of course, they want to humiliate his family. But he also was running for president.

Like how can you pull out motive in this? And if they weren't successful there, how could they be successful here?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So I think this is a question that comes down to the facts and it's very factually specific. And so, for example, in the Trump -- in the case here that Alvin Bragg brought, you have multiple occasions in the statement of facts. For example, you have in June 2015 where there was a meeting at Trump Tower where not just Michael Cohen but also David Pecker and the defendant now Donald Trump. We're all together and they agreed at that time to engage in what's a criminal conspiracy to catch and kill these things for the election.

You've got several of these meetings that again don't just rely on Michael Cohen, that also have David Pecker, and there's also someone they refer to in there as the editor in chief of the "National Enquirer", who was in on it, too.


AGNIFILO: So there's multiple witnesses. There's text messages. There's phone calls, and I think there will be facts in here --


AGNIFILO: -- that support that this was a conspiracy to influence the election.

BURNETT: Okay. So, now, here's -- now let's try to unscramble this side (ph), Katie, because one passage in the indictment statement of facts, says speaking about Trump, he instructed lawyer A, that's Cohen, that if they could delay the payment until after the election, they could avoid paying altogether because at that point, it wouldn't matter if the story, it wouldn't -- it would not matter if the story became public.

Okay. So two points here: one, those payments did continue after, which you're pointing out they did in John Edwards.


So they did continue way after the election. And, two, you know, Karen's pointing out this -- all these facts about

the meetings that did occur. We also know the catch-and-kill concept for Trump had been in place, according to Michael Cohen and others for many years prior to this.

So, again, how do they prove with the facts that Karen's pointing out, that this is different? That you can prove this was for the election.

CHERKASKY: Well, there's a saying that comes to mind in the law, which is if the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. And if neither is on your side, you have a problem.

And I think that this is that type of case. There is some facts that tend to support the idea that it could have been for the purpose of influencing the election. Is that enough to get a beyond a reasonable doubt finding that that's the purpose of this? And that's assuming that we get past all of the initial legal issues with the case.

So I think, just realistically speaking, is this a tough prosecution? Absolutely. But I would never purport to predict what any jury could do. I think that the case was brought, you know, the federal case was brought against John Edwards. That was thought to be prosecutable and winnable. It was not one.


CHERKASKY: Here could be the opposite outcome shortly, but I think that there's difficulty on the factual side and on the legal side.

BURNETT: So, Karen, I want to ask you something. Last night, Ty this brought this up, but since you've worked in this D.A. office, obviously so extensively, Trump continues his attacks against the judge, right? After being warned to not do that, right?

And we know that there have been many death threats already against people involved in this place, including the judge. Here's what Trump said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I have a Trump-hating judge, with the Trump-hating wife and family, whose daughter worked for Kamala Harris, and now receives money from the Biden-Harris campaign and a lot of it.


BURNETT: After being warned. Now, Ty was saying he thought that, you know, Bragg's team should have had on the table this morning a very narrowly drafted gag order to try to push the judge to do it. Do you think that that is deserved right now?

AGNIFILO: So I think there's two separate issues. I think the gag order if a judge issues that -- first of all, there's significant First Amendment issues involving this because he's running for president of the United States. BURNETT: Right.

AGNIFILO: Gag orders are to ensure a fair trial. That's it. It's -- so you don't influence the jury pool, and so that the defendant can get a fair trial. What Donald Trump is doing is not just impacting the trial, but he's making threats and he's been making threats since he -- for a while, but he's been making threats to the prosecutor, the prosecutor's family, now the judge, the judge's family. At a certain point, the question is going to become, will he be prosecuted for those threats?


AGNIFILO: Which is slightly different than a gag order, which is an extreme measure. The judge could also call him back in and have a hearing and say -- and admonish him short of a gag order, which I think is the next step here.

BURNETT: Well, we're going to watch the see because, obviously, you know, it was the first second, he had an opportunity to do it. He did it.

All right. Thank you both so very much. I appreciate it.

And next, how the indictment is affecting voters in a county that voted overwhelmingly for Trump.


UNIDENTIIFED MALE: I was thinking to vote for DeSantis. Now I am thinking to vote for Trump.


BURNETT: It is a story you will see first OUTFRONT from a swing state, but a Trump county.

Plus, a high ranking Russian security officer, breaking his silence after managing to escape Russia, and you're going to hear what he is saying about Putin's state of mind.



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump and his advisor behind closed doors today, plotting their next steps in the legal and political battle that is facing in New York. This is Trump is saying politically, quote: It was an unbelievable experience, perhaps the best day in history.

Is that how voters who once backed him see it now?

Danny Freeman is OUTFRONT tonight in Pennsylvania.


DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Jose Davila, politics is not a dirty word.

JOSE DAVILA, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN: I would like to see Trump again in the White House.

FREEMAN: The Republican from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, couldn't wait to discuss former President Donald Trump's indictment.

DAVILA: We are losing our country.

FREEMAN: Davila was leaning towards Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but he says the injustice of the charges against Trump changed his mind.

DAVILA: I was thinking to vote for DeSantis. Now, I am thinking to vote for Trump. So, that -- this is the effect that is causing this stuff.

FREEMAN: Luzerne is one of the few counties that voted for President Obama twice and then flipped in 2016 and 2020 for President Trump.

SCOTT RAPELLA, WILKES-BARRE, PA: I was a Democrat. Blame no more.

FREEMAN: Scott Rapella from Wilkes-Barre told us he became a Republican because he thinks Trump is being attacked unfairly.

RAPELLA: It was like 2016. It's now 2023. You had all that time to indict him? It's just -- to me, it's all B.S.


FREEMAN: But Rapella is concerned about the former president's intensifying rhetoric against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

RAPELLA: I think he should keep his mouth shut. I mean, I think he's shoot himself on his front. But I mean, he can say what he wants to say, I guess.

FREEMAN: Down the road in Plymouth borough, Republican Kim Ellard voted for President Trump twice, but with his legal issues is on the fence now.

KIM ELLARD, PLYMOUTH BOROUGH, PA: I'm not certain that I would support him in 2024.

I'm not certain even that he's, you know, completely innocent. I'm just saying that I do feel as though it's politically motivated.

CRAIG ICHTER, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN: It's all made up. It's a farce. They're trying to keep them out of office.

FREEMAN: Republican Craig Ichter says he is adamantly against the charges.

Did yesterday's charges change if you would support him in 2024?

ICHTER: No. I'm not saying I'm going to vote for him. There are other candidates on the Republican side.

FREEMAN: Luzerne liberals and other Trump opponents we spoke with were united, saying the former president is getting what he deserves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excited that he's finally going to hopefully pay for some of the things that he's done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I felt relief more than anything else.

FREEMAN: A county and country still divided after those 34 charges.


FREEMAN (on camera): And, Erin, it's really hard to overstate the importance of Luzerne. Obviously, it flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016. But then in 2020, that margin got smaller and then in 2022, during the Pennsylvania Senate race between Dr. Oz and Senator John Fetterman, Republican/Democrat, that margin got even smaller.

So you can bet that we're going to be watching this county come 2024 -- Erin.

BURNETT: Yeah, fascinating conversations you have with those voters.

Danny, thank you.

And next, we're going to take you into the trenches on the front lines in Ukraine. Russian soldiers are close enough to see. Te threat of being attacked, obviously, never ends.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The soldiers say there's a drone flying over in the area, which they tell us occasionally drop grenades on their trenches.


BURNETT: Plus tonight, we have exclusive access to one of America's most advanced nuclear submarines. This submarine is on high alert specifically for threats from China, and this story you'll see first here "Outfront".


BURNETT: Tonight, a Putin defector, an elite high-ranking Russian security officer, has escaped Russia and is now speaking out. He is sharing his story with a reporter, who I'm going to speak to in just a moment, about everything from Putin's health to his paranoia, and we're going to get to all of that shortly. It comes though as Russia's private army is now desperately recruiting soldiers. Heavy battles are raging in eastern Ukraine. This is a video of the Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin personally interviewing recruits at a call center. And Ben Wedeman is "Outfront" tonight on the front lines in eastern Ukraine in the trenches by the Russian lines, and the story you'll see first here "Outfront". WEDEMAN: In the trenches, the deeper you dig, the better. The front lines in the open plains of eastern Ukraine are a zigzag of earthworks. In this area, positions have been static for a while. Oleksi from the 1st Tank Brigade has been here for six months.


OLEKSI, 1ST TANK BRIGADE, UKRAINIAN ARMY (TRANSLATED): Sometimes it's quiet, he says, and sometimes it's loud. Sometimes they, the Russians, try to break through. So far they haven't succeeded.


WEDEMAN: OK. We might want to get down.


OK. We are told that Russian lines are just one kilometer. From here we're hearing occasional shelling, but nothing coming on this position yet.

This soldier, also named Oleksi (ph), peers through binoculars across no man's land, but only briefly to avoid drawing sniper fire.


OLEKSI: To be honest, at first I was scared, he says, but humans can get used to everything.


WEDEMAN: They're yet to get used to one threat hovering overhead.

All right. We've now taken cover because the soldiers say there is a drone flying over in the area which they tell us occasionally dropped grenades on their trenches. But, not this time. To the rear, Sergeant Oleg checks that his Soviet-era T-64 tanks are in good working order.


SQT. OLEG, 1ST TANK BRIGADE, UKRAINIAN ARMY (TRANSLATED): It's like an old car, easy to repair, Oleg tells me. With new cars, you have to take them to the mechanic. These are like a simple tractor.


WEDEMAN: But, these tractors may soon be replaced by newer models. He says some of his comrades are in Poland being trained to use German- made Leopard tanks. Spring has arrived in these parts, and with it growing anticipation of a Ukrainian offensive. New more modern weapons than these old hoax could make all the difference.

Back in the trenches, all is quiet, but as we leave, a drone appears above us. Then our ride out arrives.



WEDEMAN: Then artillery, no time to waste.

The Ukrainians are understandably tight lipped about when they're going to launch their spring offensive. The defense minister recently said it could be in April or June. It all depends upon when the new weapons, particularly tanks, are in place, and their crews are fully trained. And that at the moment is still a work in progress. Erin.

BURNETT: Thanks so much, Ben. And "Outfront" now, Ilia Rozhdestvenskii, Reporter for the Dossier Group which is run by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian opposition leader. And Ilia, you spoke with an officer who fled Russia's Federal Guard Service right in the middle of a foreign trip. So, he is with Putin in Kazakhstan last October. These are pictures from that very trip. And then, he escapes. I mean, it's an incredible story. What did he tell you about how he managed to do it?

ILIA ROZHDESTVENSKII, REPORTER, DOSSIER CENTER WHICH INVESTIGATES RUSSIAN OFFICIALS, & REPORTER WHO INTERVIEWED RUSSIAN DEFECTOR: So, he had this business trip to Kazakhstan with Vladimir Putin in October. And on the last day of this trip, he decided that the time - that's the right time, that he told his colleagues that, firstly, that he had some problems with his stomach, and he needed to stay a little bit more in his room in hotel. After that, he told them that probably he would spend a few hours searching for shops, trying to buy something memorable from the street.

And well, yes, and he got additional hours to pick up his wife and his daughter to grab a taxi and to go to the airport. The flight was delayed. So, he spent this time really nervous. And he understood that his colleagues that they are, well, they were starting to understand that something was going on, that he was trying to escape, probably so he switched off his phone and 15 minutes after that he boarded the plane, and well, he were now discussing his interview. He is perfectly safe and sound.

BURNETT: Yes. Although incredible, I know he was aware that they realized what he was doing, they would have - could have turned that plane back. This could have ended very differently. And the officer told you, I know Ilia that he believes that Putin is paranoid and the quote that he shared with you was pathologically afraid for his life. And I wanted to share with our viewers some of what he told you about that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATED): He has been living in an information cocoon for the past couple of years, spending most of his time in his residences, which the media very fittingly called "bunkers". We have to observe a strict quarantine for two weeks before any event, even those lasting 15 to 20 minutes. He doesn't use the internet or a mobile phone. [19:40:00]

He only receives information from his closest circle.


BURNETT: Ilia, these are incredible insights that he doesn't use the internet or a mobile phone, and that if you're a guard on duty with him, you have to spend two weeks prior, before any event, even if you're only going to be with him for 15 to 20 minutes. What more did he tell you about Putin's state of mind?

ROZHDESTVENSKII: Well, that Vladimir Putin relies on some special reports from his secret services, and he also really loves watching Russian propaganda, and that - that is - probably, that's all. That's all his sources of information. He also told us about that Putin is really paranoid. So, he arranged some cover-up operations. He really - he makes everything look like that he is flying from one city to another, his plane is departing, and he is going, like, he really departs from one city to another. But, in fact, he stays to the place and he just enjoys his time. So, he just made - he just arranges this operations to make everybody think that he just left.

So, probably, one of the most important things that he told us is that Putin is in great shape. Well, Gleb Karakulov served for 13 years with the - with Federal Guard Service. And for 13 years, he has been in more than 180 business trips, mostly with Vladimir Putin. And because of his illness, because of illness of Vladimir Putin, only one or two of his business trips were canceled. Hope so we can probably assume that within 13 years, he felt sick, like, once or twice. That's really incredible. So Vladimir Putin probably is not going to die anytime soon.

BURNETT: I know that you - which isn't - I mean, as you said two times in 180 trips to be sick at or something, you were on the show a couple months ago, and you and I were talking earlier about your reporting on the armored train that Putin has been using, according to your reporting to travel, right, basically, between his Dacha (ph), his weekend home, and Moscow. You said it had a special communication system, sort of made to look like a Russian train. But, there were ways that you could tell that this was his special train.

We now know that this officer that you're talking about, was the source who told you all the details about this train. Why does he want to speak out now and share this information with you, Ilia?

ROZHDESTVENSKII: Well, he wanted to speak out to tell everybody that he is against this war. He wanted to address to his colleagues from Federal Guard Service and to let them know that probably they should do something. They should try to stop this war. He wanted to address to Russian citizens and to tell them that they should oppose this war, that he cannot believe that they support this aggression against Ukraine.

BURNETT: All right. Ilia, thank you so much. As always, I really appreciate your sharing all of your incredible reporting with us. Thanks.


BURNETT: And next, an "Outfront" exclusive, we're going to take you on board one of the most powerful warships on the planet, and one that right now is focused on China.

Plus, Police desperately searching for answers tonight after a top tech executive was stabbed to death in San Francisco.




BURNETT: Tonight, show of force, China launching a fleet of ships near the Taiwan Coast, an angry warning in response to Speaker Kevin McCarthy's meeting with the Taiwanese President in California today. It all comes as tensions rise between the U.S. and China, and our Will Ripley has this incredible story. This is exclusive access aboard a U.S. nuclear submarine that is on alert right now for threats from Xi Jinping's government. It is a story you will see first "Outfront".

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Our journey begins in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the bustling hub of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, covering almost half the world, 100 million square miles, 1,500 aircraft, and around 200 ships, including more than half of the Navy's nuclear-powered submarines. Today, we're getting an exclusive look inside the USS Mississippi, one of the most powerful warships on the planet with a crew of around 140 people. Rear Admiral Jeff Jablon is Commander of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force, facing new powerful threats in the hotly contested Indo-Pacific.


RIPLEY: Are you concerned about what China's Navy is doing particularly in the South China Sea and around Taiwan?

REAR ADM. JEFF JABLON, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET SUBMARINE FORCE: I am concerned. In today's world, we are facing two nuclear peer adversaries where we've never had that before. The Soviet Union and post-Soviet Union Russia was our peer adversary. We're now facing China which has expanded and modernized their nuclear capabilities.


RIPLEY: The Mississippi is one of 49 fast attack submarines in the U.S. naval fleet. The fleet also has 14 larger submarines carrying nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. The U.S., UK and Australia's newly announced AUKUS partnership will send nuclear-powered submarines to Perth, potentially challenging China's ambitions for the region. Beijing now has the world's largest Navy, but U.S. submarines have the world's most advanced technology, a key advantage in underwater warfare.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mississippi is ready to dive. Dive. Dive. Dive. Dive.


RIPLEY: The sub is capable of diving deep and fast, descending hundreds of feet in a matter of seconds,--




RIPLEY: --at angles of up to 25 degrees. Even standing up can be a challenge.




RIPLEY: Traveling underwater makes the submarine almost impossible to detect. The nuclear reactor is so quiet. The submarine makes less noise than a whale. In the dark depths of the ocean, there is no light to navigate.


The team relies on highly sensitive sonar.


JABLON: Well, the ocean environment is very unforgiving. So, there are a lot of challenges that prevent a submarine from hearing another submarine or another surface ship. And you've got to be able to understand those different challenges.


RIPLEY: The USS Mississippi, like all of America's nuclear submarines, can essentially sustain itself under the water for weeks or even months at a time because of the nuclear reactor that powers them. They breathe recirculated air and purified water. The only thing that they need to actually get resupply with is food for the crew members, and that means that they get used to spending a very long time, not only without sunshine and blue skies, but also without regular communication or conversations with their families.

The food on submarines is surprisingly good. But, spending months underwater can be tough. No mobile phones allowed, outside communication only possible line emails. Sailors have to look after each other.


RIPLEY: What most surprised you about life working on a submarine?

STEVEN WONG, CREW MEMBER, USS MISSISSIPPI: Honestly, what surprised me the most was like the people, how close you get with each other, these kind of the shared hardships you share with each other and end up with a really strong bond.


RIPLEY: The crew relies on that bond, carrying out complicated, dangerous tasks. Inside the torpedo room, technicians practice loading high-precision weapons capable of taking out other submarines and ships.


RIPLEY: At the back of the sub, Jack O'Brien works with a team of technical engineers.


RIPLEY: Do you ever get bored on a sub?

JACK O'BRIEN, CREW MEMBER, USS MISSISSIPPI: No, absolutely not. Every day I come in, thinking I know what I'm thinking, I know exactly what's going to happen, what I got to do.


RIPLEY: Rear Admiral Jablon says deterrence is the key objective. Even winning a war against an increasingly powerful China would likely result in devastating losses for both sides.


JABLON: I'm confident that should we be called upon to fight that hopefully that will never happen that we would win.


RIPLEY: Submarines, like the USS Mississippi, are constantly preparing for war, ready at a moment's notice for whatever the future holds.

BURNETT: And the footage there will - was incredible. And when you think about it, you've got that nuclear submarine watching for threats from China, but China we now know is home to the biggest Navy in the world. So, from your reporting, having these conversations, what would the reality of a conflict with China actually look like?

RIPLEY: China does have a big Navy, but they don't have the number of nuclear submarines, nuclear-powered submarines that the United States has, both ballistic missile and also these attack subs that can essentially travel around completely undetected. It is virtually impossible to know where they are, and they can track other countries' summaries that are louder because a lot of them are diesel, and just don't have the same level of sophisticated technology. So then, the weapons that they use, they can take out subs. They can take out ships. They can take out targets on the ground.

So, a lot of war games simulations say that China could lose up to 70 percent or 80 percent of its naval fleet if they tried to make an - to invade Taiwan. However, it would result in thousands of casualties on both sides. The U.S. would also lose significant assets, including aircraft carriers. Basically, Erin, there would be no winners in a war over Taiwan. That's the message that the U.S. is trying to send.

BURNETT: Yes. Awful. All right. Thank you very much, Will Ripley.

And coming up on AC360 tonight, the journalist and author whose reporting is at the heart of the charges against Trump, Ronan Farrow will join Anderson at eight o'clock.

And next, a top tech executive stabbed to death just blocks from Google's offices in San Francisco. So, what happened? New details on the investigation, next.




BURNETT: Tonight, San Francisco's district attorney saying her office is working closely with Police after the apparent stabbing death of Cash App Co-Founder Bob Lee. The DA's statement coming after none other than Elon Musk appealed to her directly about crime in the city where patience is wearing thin. Veronica Miracle is "Outfront".

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A crime scene, blocks from Google's San Francisco office. The victim, 43-year-old Bob Lee, a tech executive himself, the founder of Cash App and the first Chief Technology Officer of Square. Lee was stabbed Tuesday, friends and police say, while walking in a downtown neighborhood around 2 a.m.


JAKE SHIELDS, FRIEND AND MMA FIGHTER, & LEE'S FRIEND: It sounds more of an (inaudible). That's a little strange. It just happens. My mind is still processing it. When you (inaudible), you're just, like, damn, this is not expected. I know he had two daughters as well that he loved.


MIRACLE: Lee's father honored his son on Facebook writing, "Bob would give you the shirt off of his back." Bob Lee had recently moved to Miami with his father who wrote, "I'm so happy that we were able to become so close these last years." Lee was known in the industry as crazy Bob for his tenacious energy. His latest employer, the crypto firm MobileCoin, tweeted this photo, calling Lee a child of dreams, and whatever he imagined, no matter how crazy, he made real.


MATT DORSEY, SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISOR: This is not a city where anybody should fear for their lives at 2:30 in the morning.


MIRACLE: The killing has renewed anger in San Francisco over perceptions that the city isn't safe. On Twitter, Elon Musk claimed that "Many people I know have been severely assaulted", then pushed the district attorney to do more to incarcerate repeat violent offenders.


JOEL ENGARDIO, SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISOR: For too long, the leaders of San Francisco have ignored the basics.


MIRACLE: Joel Engardio worked on the successful recall campaign of the previous progressive DA last year, then won a city supervisor seat, defeating the incumbent by running on a public safety agenda.


ENGARDIO: Residents are feeling like the city is not working for them, and they just want clean streets, safe streets and good schools, and they don't understand why the city hasn't been able to deliver.


MIRACLE: Still, violent crime overall is falling in San Francisco compared to previous decades. This is the 12th homicide this year, according to police data. Baltimore with fewer people reports nearly 70. But, property crime is high in San Francisco. In 2020, there were more than 4,000 incidents per 100,000 people. That's nearly three times the rate of New York City. Friends of Bob Lee say all that matters now is the one crime that has them in mourning.


SHIELDS: He is a humble and nice guy, talked about his kids a lot, family. He is just a generally good guy.


MIRACLE: And some are speculating that this was a random attack, but the San Francisco Police Department has not released any information around the circumstances around his stabbing death. They have also not released any information about a suspect. Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Veronica, thank you very much for all that new reporting. And thanks so much to all of you for joining us. AC360 begins now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 24 hours--