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Erin Burnett Outfront
Louisville Police Release Body Cam Video From Bank Shooting; NY D.A. Sues Rep. Jim Jordan, Claims Interference In Trump Case; Navalny's Team Fears He May Have Been Poisoned In Russian Prison; Defense Secretary Makes First Public Comments About Leak Of Highly Classified Docs: "We Take This Very Seriously"; CNN's KFILE: New Michigan GOP Chair Claimed Beyonce Was Recruiting Black Americans To Paganism With 2020 Album; Judge And Fox Attorney Clash Over Upcoming Testimony. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 11, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, under fire. Police just releasing the body camera videos from the deadly mass shooting at a Louisville bank, including the moment officers are ambushed by the gunman.
Plus, the New York prosecutor who indicted former President Trump now taking on a top House Republican. We have details on the lawsuit just filed.
And jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny's health now quickly deteriorating. His team raising concerns he may have been poisoned, again. An investigative journalist who was featured in the film "Navalny" is my guest.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erica Hill, in tonight for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, ambushed. We're getting our first look at the moment when police arrived at the Louisville bank, where gunmen killed five people this week. The video is perhaps not surprisingly hard to watch. What you're about to see, though, is an officer running toward the gunman when he's ambushed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLICE OFFICER: (INAUDIBLE) bank, and we're making entry from the -- from the east side, pressing the main.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So once the officer is able to determine where the shooter is. He then opens fire, killing the shooter.
I do want to warn you once again, the video is graphic. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLICE OFFICER: And they all got him down. I think he's down. You're doing after off now. You can do the stairs.
I think he's down. Now do you get the officer? Hey, hey, hey. No, he's down the officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: So the gunman's body is blurred. It was there on the ground inside the bank, and this is really the reality of what police are up against in this country. Weapons of war.
In a moment, I'll speak with someone who worked with Officer Nikolas Wilt. He's the 26-year-old who rushed toward the gunman was shot in the head tonight. He is in critical condition.
We do begin, though, with Adrienne Broaddus who's OUTFRONT live in Louisville?
So, Adrienne? What more are we learning today? What's the very latest?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, we saw those tense moments unfolding on that body camera video. Indeed what happened on the steps behind me leading to the bank was awful. But the deputy chief of police says the response by members of law enforcement was amazing.
He did say this wasn't a perfect response, but it, quote, absolutely saved lives.
POLICE OFFICER: God damn it! The shooter has an angle on that officer. We need to get out there. I don't know where he's at. The glasses blocking him.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Louisville police just releasing this body camera footage. It shows the tense confrontation with 24-year-old Connor Sturgeon after he fatally shot five of his fellow bank employees.
POLICE OFFICER: Stop, stop. Back up. Back up. Back up, back up here. Stop right there. Open the trunk.
The video begins with Officer Nikolas Wilt and his training officer Cory Galloway, running towards the steps of the bank. That's when more shots are fired at them.
This is when both officers are hit. We don't see Officer Wilt get hit, but we do see Officer Galloway fall backward and then down a set of concrete steps.
Moments later, more shots are fired between him and the suspect.
POLICE OFFICER: And they all got him down. I think he's down. You're doing after off now. You can do the stairs.
BROADDUS: That's when the gunman is killed.
POLICE OFFICER: For people to react by staying there, staying in the fire, and going back inside the scene, keeping themselves in danger, that's superhuman.
BROADDUS: Police also releasing these two still pictures, one showing the suspect inside a bank hallway before the shooting and one of him in the lobby area of the building where he waited for officers.
Authorities say it was a targeted attack with an AR-15 style rifle.
DISPATCHER: He texted a friend, called a friend, left a voice mail saying he's going to kill everyone at the bank. Feeling suicidal.
BROADDUS: And livestream the attack on Instagram. It was later taken down.
A city official who has seen the video tells CNN you can hear a female coworkers saying, quote, good morning to the gunman. Then the shooter is heard telling her, quote, you need to get out of here.
The official says the gunman then tries to shoot, but the safety is on and the weapon isn't loaded. And once the weapon is loaded, and the safety is off. He shoots her in the back. Her condition is not known.
More than a dozen people were shot.
Police say they have executed a search warrant on the gunman's home and determined he purchased the weapon just six days before the shooting.
POLICE OFFICER: He purchased the weapon legally from one of the local dealerships here in Louisville.
BROADDUS: Now, another community tries to wrap its head around devastating gun violence, including Dr. Jason Smith.
DR. JASON SMITH, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE HEALTH: I'm weary. There's only so many times you can walk into a room. And tell someone they're not coming home tomorrow. And it just breaks your heart.
BROADDUS (on camera): For 15 years, Dr. Smith has treated patients, help them heal from their wounds. He clearly is carrying some emotional wounds, but he's not alone. So are the officers who responded.
And today, the deputy chief of police said, there's only a few in the country that can do what they did. He was talking about his officers. He says. It's not something that comes easily. It's not something that comes naturally. He called that superhuman -- Erica.
HILL: Adrienne Broaddus, OUTFRONT tonight in Louisville, Adrienne, thank you.
Also with us, Josh Campbell, who, of course, covers national security, guns and law enforcement for CNN.
So, Josh, if we look again at the moment when Officers Wilt and Galloway arrived and approached the bank, I just want to play that for a moment. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLICE OFFICER: (INAUDIBLE) bank and we're making entry from the -- from the east side, pressing the main.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: These moments, they come up. The shots are fired, and we're watching as they fall back to better assess the situation.
You spent so much time, Josh, studying videos like this. What do you see here?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is truly heroism on display. I mean, think about it. Everyone watching, you see officers Nikolas Wilt and C.J. Galloway responding to calls of an active shooter. They drive up and immediately, as the shooter sees them in their vehicle, he opens fire.
And what do they do? They don't drive away. They get out of their car. They drive -- grab their service rifle and then go try to stop this threat, and it's at this point on your screen here where officers are actually walking by this glass that the shooter opens fire on them again.
Now, Officer Wilt is injured. He's shot in the head. He's on the ground. And what we're seeing here is body camera footage from Officer Galloway and what we see here. You know, people might be wondering. Well why didn't they go in? Why didn't they rush officers are continually collecting information real time about what's happening. It's clear that is the officers themselves who are the ones drawing fire from the shooter now if the shooter moved into the bank further if they heard the sound of gunfire becoming more faint, they might realize okay, he could potentially go after additional people inside, but it is a tactical advantage for officers to stay there and draw him out as they wait for backup.
And, of course, as we see on that body camera footage, you can actually see the shell casings from officers. Galloway's rifle they're rejecting as he fires, what appears to be the fatal shot and taking down that shooter. So just incredibly dramatic footage there and it really shows you again, just the dangerous nature of this profession. Officers who have to go into gunfire, into dangerous situations here. We're seeing it for ourselves on this body camera footage, Erica.
HILL: Yeah, absolutely. They're trying to draw him out to your point to hopefully protect other lives, perhaps inside.
Josh, really appreciate the insight, as always. Thank you.
CAMPBELL: You bet.
HILL: OUTFRONT now, Colonel Deborah Berry, the director of Old McHenry (ph) County EMS. And that's where Officer Nikolas Wilt worked before he joined the police force, sworn in less than two weeks ago.
Good to have you with us tonight.
You know, as Josh just laid out for us there, as we heard from Deputy Chief Humphrey earlier today when walking us through that body camera video, these are heroic, superhuman, in the words of the deputy chief moments that we're witnessing. In the time that he spent with you at EMS, what did you see in Officer Wilt? As I understand it, you weren't surprised at all when he said that he wanted to be a police officer.
COL. DEBORAH BERRY, FORMER COLLEAGUE OF POLICE OFFICER HURT IN LOUISVILLE SHOOTING: Not at all. That was that was it was very hard to watch. But it makes me so proud knowing that he exemplifies what a true hero is. He has worked for us here at Oldham County EMS for two years.
His smile was the first thing I noticed when I met him. His quiet confidence and he had a personality and a spirit that transcends any act of violence so that they could ever occur. He is a true hero and we're very proud of him.
When you first heard that he had been injured, we know that he is still in critical condition tonight, what were your initial thoughts? My thoughts were for our EMS family, as the news travels fast, our thoughts before his family and for his police family. We wanted to be at the hospital. We traveled to the hospital and we were able to join the family and join the police officers that were involved to let them know that we were here for them and that we love them and we support them in any way we can.
HILL: And how has the family holding up?
BERRY: About as well as can be expected. They're strong, and we just want to let them know that whatever their needs are, we're here to meet them.
HILL: I want to show you if I could again some of the video that we saw from Officer Wilt's body camera. We know they were shot at as Josh's walked us through before they even got out of the car. This is really only a few days onto the job for Officer Wilt.
Knowing him so well, um people, calling him a hero, calling him superhuman, for you to see those, I know you said it was difficult, how important do you think it is, though, for this message to get out about the reality of what police officers are facing, often on a daily basis?
BERRY: Well, it's so important. I know that he's only been a police officer for a few days, but he's been a first responder, a firefighter and EMT for several years. He never -- never turned away from any type of act that a lot of folks would run from. He as the utmost professionalism and anything he'd ever done for us, I'm sure for the fire department, but he's a first responder at heart. He told us of several weeks before he went to the academy that he's wanted to be a police officer. That was his dream.
Of course, we told him, we said, are you sure this is what you want to do to step out of your safe zone in order to protect and serve? And he said, that's what I've always wanted to do was protect and serve.
BERRY: We're very proud of him. We told him that he always had his place here. Oldham County EMS whenever you wanted to come back. He told us he was going to come back and still on our roster and (INAUDIBLE).
HILL: Keep him on that roster.
Colonel Deborah Berry, thank you for joining us tonight and thank you for sharing a little bit more about who Officer Wilt is. We appreciate it.
BERRY: Thank you. Thank you so much.
HILL: OUTFRONT next. The district attorney who indicted Donald Trump now filing a lawsuit against the top Republican, claiming the attacks on his criminal case have led to hundreds of threats.
Plus, the family of "The Wall Street Journal" reporter detained in Russia is speaking out. We're also getting an extremely rare look inside this notorious prison where he is being held. It's a story first on OUTFRONT.
And new details about the investigation into highly classified Pentagon documents leaked online. Could there be more documents to come?
HILL: Tonight, a transparent campaign to intimidate and to attack. That is the accusation Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is making in a lawsuit filed against Republican House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan. Bragg is suing Jordan to bring a stop to the Republican attacks on the criminal case against former president. Trump bragged also seeking to block Jordan's subpoena, compelling testimony from a former top prosecutor in the Manhattan day's office.
Kara Scannell joining us as Jordan's now fighting back at Bragg over that lawsuit.
So, Kara, bring us up to speed. What more do we know about the suit, and, of course, also his reaction?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, this is kind of this back and forth that has existed between the House Republican chair Jim Jordan and District Attorney Alvin Bragg. So, Bragg is filing this lawsuit today, asking the judge to grant a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, essentially wanting the judge to block a subpoena for a former top prosecutor's testimony, that prosecutor Mark Pomerantz resigned last year.
They're also asking the judge to find any future subpoenas for Bragg or any current or former prosecutors to be invalid. The reason, they say, is that this congressional inquiry is unconstitutional, saying that Congress, the federal body doesn't have place to intervene or ask questions about a local or state prosecution, which is the issue in this case. They also say there is no valid legislative purpose. And in addition, they argue that because this is involves a grand jury, there are secrecy laws here and that Congress is not entitled to that information.
So, in the lawsuit they write: In sum, Congress lacks any valid legislative purpose to engage in a free-ranging campaign of harassment in retaliation for the district attorney's investigation and prosecution of Mr. Trump under the laws of New York. This lawsuit also ties the House Republicans to Trump's verbal attacks on the D.A. Bragg, saying that. you know, they were involved with him in this and Bragg's office, saying that they have received over 1000 emails and calls that are either threatening in nature or racially charged since Trump made that false claim that he was going to be arrested on a random Tuesday. He was later arrested, has pleaded not guilty to the 34 counts of falsifying business records.
And now, Jim Jordan has tweeted a response to this tonight. He said: First, they indicted the president for no crime. Then they sued a block congressional oversight when we ask questions about the federal funds, they say they used to do it.
Now, Bragg's office has said that they have donated or contributed over a billion dollars in federal funds.
These forfeiture funds they got from bank settlements. They said they used about $5,000 on this investigation, most of it going to the Supreme Court to fight to obtain Trump's taxes.
The judge in this matter is not immediately granting this but says she will hold a hearing on this matter next Wednesday -- Erica.
HILL: Mark your calendars Next Wednesday.
Kara, appreciate it. Thank you.
OUTFRONT now, Ryan Goodman, former special counsel for the Defense Department and co-editor in chief of "Just Security", and Dana Bash, CNN's chief political correspondent and co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION".
So, Ryan, picking up really there where Kara left off.
When we look at this, so Bragg asserts that Jordan has no constitutional oversight here, right? He is totally overstepping, and also, you've got Jordan's pointing to this $5,000 as Kara just laid out and federal funds, which he says the D.A.'s office used in this investigation into President Trump.
Who has firmer legal ground here?
RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: So, Bragg has a lot of firm ground. It's unusual because in many ways, the courts do defer to congress's powers to engage in oversight. But part of the issue here is that he needs -- Jim Jordan needs a legislative purpose. He has shifted the rationale for why he needs he is interested in the case. There's also this delicate dance that has to be made with Congress and however they're trying to subpoena is called an accommodation process.
But Jordan has kind of blown through that. I don't think he's being advised by oversight lawyers. I think he's more thinking about TV screens, so he was prematurely sent the letters to brag before there was no indictment and knew what the charges were. Then, he skip certain steps. You're not supposed to skip steps because Bragg's office said, we'll meet and confer with you. He just rejected that.
And then he's escalated it by this idea of having a field hearing in New York about an unrelated matter in a certain sense, crime rates in Manhattan supposedly.
So that is not something that the courts will look at very favorably at all.
HILL: So, we'll see what -- so they won't look at that favorably. It's interesting. You bring up a point that I was going to bring up with Dana. So thank you for setting that up so perfectly.
When we -- when we look at the politics of this, Jim Jordan has said as we know that these investigations are pure politics. Does this lawsuit help or hurt that perception, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, talking to Republicans who are kind of involved in this, they don't know the answer to that, to be honest, because of what we were just hearing there is so much unknown. I mean, obviously starting with the notion of an indictment for a former president. That's the biggest unprecedented move. But even these kinds of back and forth, I'm sure that there have been
examples of Congress trying to -- to weigh in on issues before courts before in American history, but certainly in this particular case, it does seem unique. And so, it's unclear how much actual standing really has.
Yes, as you just said, Erica, Congressman Jim Jordan tried to hang his head on it still trying to hang his hat on the idea that Alvin Bragg in New York used federal funds, and then that gives Congress away in for oversight. But there's so much more to this lawsuit against Jim Jordan, not the least of which is this idea that Bragg doesn't want a former prosecutor in his office who is gone out and written a book, very critical of the fact that they had an initially gone after Trump, doesn't want him to be in front of Congress, in front of the TV cameras.
HILL: Yeah, and so, as we wait to see all of that, it's also interesting to point out in this lawsuit, there's specific mention of the attacks from the former president on Alvin Bragg , calling him an animal. There's this image which will show you which you've likely seen. It was posted on social media. Trump who appears to be wielding a baseball hat at Bragg's head. The suit also alleges that the former president's statements have had a, quote, powerful effect that D.A. Bragg has received multiple death threats, even going on to mention this package containing a suspicious white powder with a note making a specific death threat against him.
How does including that detail in this lawsuit, Ryan, bolstered the case for Bragg?
GOODMAN: So I think it bolsters the case because Bragg is also trying to make the argument that there's some coordination going on behind the scenes based on some reporting between Trump and Jordan, and that they're kind of working in lockstep, and that Jordan is feeding into this process of also trying to disparage Bragg, and I think that's partly what Greg is raising here as part of the atmosphere around which this is occurring.
So this is politicized in different dimensions, and he's raising one of the serious concerns that I think many people will have about the situation.
HJILL: Ryan Goodman, Dana Bash, appreciate you both joining us tonight. Thank you.
OUTFRONT next, new concerns about the health of jail Putin critic Alexey Navalny.
We are now learning he's lost 18 pounds over the last two weeks.
Plus, CNN's KFILE uncovering audio of the head of Michigan's GOP spreading wild conspiracy theories about Beyonce.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) KRISTINA KARAMO, HEAD OF MICHIGAN GOP: She's really targeting, trying to target Black people into embracing paganism.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HILL: New tonight, the health of Alexey Navalny, who remains in a Russian prison, is deteriorating. A spokeswoman for the top Putin critic says Navalny is battling severe stomach issues, pointing out his lost nearly 18 pounds in just the last two weeks. Navalny's team believes these health issues could be the result of him being poisoned behind bars.
OUTFRONT now, Christo Grozev. He's the lead Russia investigator for Bellingcat, a group that helped Navalny exposed to poison him in 2020.
Christo, it's good to have you here with us tonight.
So, so based on what you've learned? Do you also believe that there's a chance that Alexey Navalny is maybe being poisoned again, that that could be with leading to these health issues?
CHRISTO GROZEV, LEAD RUSSIAN INVESTIGATOR AT BELLINGCAT: Well, first of all, I cannot exclude that there is the motivation for that. I mean, we know that Navalny was definitely poisoned with Novichok, by none other than the state of Russia. We know that he went back to Russia against the wishes of Putin because Putin really wanted him out. He made everything possible to prevent his return.
And, of course, now, from within jail, Navalny continues to essentially ridiculed Putin in the war effort, by being a very vocal opponent of the war. So, of course, there is the motivation.
Is there the capability? Yes. I mean, Russian FSB scientists have worked for years, for decades, essentially, on slow acting poisons, something that looks like a long term battle with the virus or bacteria, that would not look like they've been poisoned.
And it would be different if he just falls down from -- in convulsions, like from the Novichok of poisoning that would not pass the smell test.
But if he's taking several months and losing weight on a daily basis, basically is losing a pound a day at this point, and it becomes a message -- message over time, then that could be passed to the public to the Russian public as, oh, he just died, naturally.
HILL: If this is the case -- if this is maybe what's happening to him inside that prison, how involved do you think Vladimir Putin could be? Are these instructions that would come all the way from the top?
GROZEV: Well, the reputation costs -- whatever there is reputation cost in Russia these days will be paid by Putin. So that -- I cannot imagine this scenario in which under normal conditions, Putin would not have given the order for that.
Now in the war moment that we are today, you have to also start understanding that Russia is splintering the elite to the paralegal, splintering there different factions that are fighting with one another. There's Prigozhin who has his own power central, and I can imagine these days that it could be something unsanctioned.
But typically, I would say it has to come from the top.
HILL: You've also said that you don't think this is the only threat that's facing Navalny in prison. What else is looming there?
GROZEV: There have been over the last months, suggestions and something very specific came as a leak for more as a tip off from some of the prison officials, warnings to Navalny himself, of pending provocation. This is a favorite word for the Russian secret service is provocation, meaning is sort of a false flag, brawl fight, something that happens between inmates that start fighting with one another, and suddenly somebody stops Navalny .
This is the tip off he received again. Again, I do not excluded. This is something that is planned either by the Kremlin or somebody like Prigozhin, who wants to deliver a result to the Kremlin is organizing that. We know that Prigozhin has access to essentially unimpeded access to prisons, and he controls a lot of the wardens through corrupt manners. So I can imagine that happening as well.
HILL: We'll need to and we will continue to keep a close eye on it. Appreciate coming in tonight. Thank you.
HILL: Well Alexey Navalny is not the only one as we know, languishing in a Russian prison. We're also keeping a very close eye on developments involving Evan Gershkovich, his family. He, of course, is "The Wall Street Journal" reporter detained in Russia.
His family is speaking out after speaking with President Biden for the first time since their son's arrest. They say the president told them the U.S. is doing everything in its power to bring Evan home.
This comes as CNN gets a really rare look inside the notorious prison where he is being held. It is a story you'll see first on OUTFRONT.
Matthew Chance is in Moscow for us.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looms under tight security. Near the center of Moscow, the walls of notorious Lefortovo, imprisoned some of Russia's worst criminals and the Kremlin's bitterest critics.
And now, U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich, too. Locked away here last month on charges of espionage he denies.
U.S. diplomats tell CNN, they've still had no access to him whatsoever.
But we met one of the few people who has. The head of Russia's prison observation committee agreed to speak to CNN, even though the Gershkovich case has been designated secret by the Russian state. There are strict limits, though, to what he could tell us on the border.
ALEXEY MELNIKOV, PUBLIC MONITORING COMMISSION (ONK): He was cheerful enough. I can't say that there was any physical or psychological pressure replied to him. We made sure to ask him that, and he confirmed that there wasn't any. Then we talked about the conditions of his detention, his day to day life on whether or not he is in need of medical attention, but we have not uncovered any problems.
CHANCE: In fact, Evan Gershkovich appeared calm. He told me, unlike many who find themselves trapped cut off from the outside world behind Lefortovo's walls.
MELNIKOV: In the case of Gershkovich, I would probably say he was not shocked. You couldn't say that he was happy or that he envisaged this development. He simply took it calmly. That's all.
CHANCE: But even a glimpse inside Lefortovo can be unnerving.
This was rare access granted to Russian state television more than a decade ago. Even Russians are fascinated with the prison infamous for holding dissidents where the old KGB executed countless Soviet citizens.
Officials tell us these facilities have now been renovated, but the layout designed to limit contact between detainees remains unchanged, as does the same old prison regime.
MELNIKOV: Wake-up call is at 6:00 a.m. Lights out at 10:00, breakfast, lunch and dinner, morning, day, evening. There's an inspection every morning. They ask if there are any problems, they deliver mail, parcels, deliveries from a shop. This routine will include trips to court if there are any and meetings with lawyers and investigators, et cetera.
And the walk, the authorities have to let prisoners walk for an hour every day.
PAUL WHELAN, U.S. DETAINED IN RUSSIA: I want to tell the world that I'm a victim of political kidnapping ransom.
CHANCE: U.S. citizens have passed through Lefortovo before, including former marine Paul Whelan, who was held there before being convicted of spying in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in a penal colony.
Another U.S. marine veteran Trevor Reed, released in this prisoner swap last year, described Lefortovo as the most sinister of the six Russian jails where he was held.
I don't even know if I'd yelled out, he told "The Wall Street Journal", the other prisoners could have heard me.
And it is that sense of being unheard of isolation behind these walls that Evan Gershkovich may now be feeling, too. Even if outside there's a growing clamor to set him free.
CHANCE (on camera): Well, Erica, tonight the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has slammed the failure to grant consular access to this "Wall Street Journal" reporter, saying it puts Russia once again in violation of its international commitments and further damages Moscow standing around the world.
Back to you.
HILL: Matthew Chance live for us in Moscow, what a look inside that prison. Appreciate it. Thank you.
OUTFRONT next, the secretary of defense tonight, breaking his silence about the classified documents that were leaked, documents a complaint contained top secret information about America's allies.
Plus, CNN's KFILE uncovering controversial and downright bizarre comments from the head of Michigan's Republican Party.
HILL: Tonight, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin breaking his silence on the leak of highly sensitive documents at the Pentagon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DENFESE: Nothing will ever stop us from keeping America secure. We take this very seriously and we will continue to investigate and turn over every rock until we find the source of this and the extent of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Sources tell CNN the joint probe with the Justice Department could actually take months to complete in part because thousands of people had access to the documents. Documents which included recent intel on the war in Ukraine and U.S. spying efforts on its allies and enemies.
OUTFRONT now, Douglas London, former CIA counterterrorism chief for South and Southwest Asia, and the author of the "Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence".
Doug, I appreciate you joining us today.
So, as this investigation unfolds, officials concede at this point they really don't know yet whether the threat is contained, whether more leaks are possible. Given that these documents first appeared on Discord, this is a social media gaming platform if people aren't familiar with it. How likely do you think it is that we could see more documents leaked?
DOUGLAS LONDON, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERORRISM CHIEF FOR SOUTH & SOUTHWEST ASIA: Well, from what we've seen, Erica, it doesn't seem like this was a professional espionage operation. This was the actions of at least one person and their motivations still remain questionable.
But the choice of the gaming platform would suggest there was something more personal involved, and it would suggest that he or she didn't take the greatest steps to protect their trail, and there's a whole great number of audit measures that are available on the IT systems in the U.S intelligence community.
So, while I certainly understand that suggestion by justice that they want to be thorough, it will take some time. I don't necessarily believe it will take quite that long to identify the suspect or suspects.
HILL: What do you say to your point that this doesn't seem all that professional to you? We know that the motivation right now remains unclear, as far as we know, but the lead materials they do appear to show these photos of documents that the big crumpled up. They've been wrinkled. Someone described as if they've been shoved or folded into a pocket in some way.
Does that give you any more insight as to who in your mind could be behind something like this?
LONDON: Well, there's a great number of possibilities because it's not necessarily people who had direct access to the documents officially. It's possible that the person received these documents as part of an email. Perhaps they're part of a group. Or perhaps somebody was just showing off.
The nature of the folding of the documents and the way they were photographs suggest they were printed. But if they were printed off a classified system, they would have been printed in classified spaces that we call a SCIF for compartmented information. But that would have been someplace pretty dangerous to take photographs. And we're camera phone wouldn't be available, so they would have had to take them out, at least to the break room or someplace outside there, but they're taking a risk of transport and outside the building because there are random checks at all. U.S. government agencies.
HILL: It would be interesting to see what this investigation ultimately reveals about whether there need to be any changes to some of those systems. Before I let you go, the documents -- there's been a lot made of what's actually in the documents, a fairly pessimistic view from the U.S. side about the state of the war in Ukraine, talk of these intelligence and weaknesses when it comes to Ukraine's weaponry, defenses, the prediction the war is going to be a stalemate.
But I know you think Russia's response to this leak actually shows how concerned Russia is. How so? LONDON: You know, it's interesting, Erica, having chased the Russians
for so many years, the fact that they came out quite so quickly and in somewhat amateurish way to get these documents online and manipulated as they did, and rather evidence fashion suggests their worried, and indeed, the truth is -- as big a problem for Putin as the leak of the information is for us, because he's so concerned about a narrative that protects his position at home by showing strength and control.
Depictions of Russian failures to tremendous losses and troops and materials and the weakness of command are not going to do him well for his political chances.
HILL: Douglas London, really appreciate insight tonight. Thank you.
LONDON: Thank you, Erica.
Coming up in the next hour, it is a "360" exclusive. You'll hear from two Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico by a cartel, saw their friends murdered and somehow made it out alive.
They tell Anderson their story for the first time right here on CNN at 8:00.
OUTFRONT next, the head of Michigan's GOP not only spreading conspiracy theories about the election, but also about Beyonce and other top musicians. Why? Our KFILE has the audio.
Plus, new details about what can and cannot be brought up in that $1.6 billion defamation case against Fox.
HILL: Tonight, Beyonce actively working to convert Americans to paganism. Yeah, that's just one of the bizarre, often controversial statements from the head of the Michigan GOP, statements uncovered by CNN's KFILE.
Kristina Karamo most recently faced harsh backlash for defending this highly offensive tweet, comparing gun control to the Holocaust. Well, now, CNN's KFILE has uncovered a long history of eyebrow raising comments, including this one about Beyonce.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KRISTINA KARAMO, MICHIGAN GOP HEAD: She's really targeting, trying to target black people into embracing paganism. And one of the really interesting things is that her husband, Jay-Z is, many people have said, is a Satanist, I believe it to be true.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HILL: I mean, I don't even know how you answer that, right? OUTFRONT now, the senior editor of CNN's KFILE, Andrew Kaczynski, and Harry Enten, who has some eye-opening numbers on how election deniers like Kristina Karamo are faring with voters.
So, Andrew, let's start with you. In terms of what you uncovered. I have to say I heard that Beyonce/Jay-Z moment and I'm just left speechless.
What else did you find in terms of these past outlandish statements?
ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: So, Karamo sort of came onto the scene in 2020 when she was she was a poll watcher and she claimed there was fraud in Detroit. People probably remember Trump was really making many of these poll watchers who made these false allegations of fraud almost like celebrities, and she parlays this into running for Michigan secretary of state in 2022. She loses badly.
But prior to this, in 2020, she had this podcast where she posted videos, made comments, and I just want to run through for our viewers, just some of the things that she said here. She accused Beyonce, Jay- Z, Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish of being tools of Satan, said the sexual revolution was a well-orchestrated, thought out planned by Satan.
Said Black Lives Matter was nothing but Marxism and Satanism in blackface. Accused Black Lives Matter leaders of being Marxist witches, said she doesn't believe in vaccines, called abortion, child sacrifice, and said acceptance of LGBTQ Americans and gay Americans, transgender Americans would eventually lead to the normalization of pedophilia.
I want people to listen to also this clip here where she suggests that, demonic possession is transferred via sexual intercourse.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KARAMO: If a person has demonic possession, I know it's going to sound really crazy me saying that for some people think I'm like what? But having intimate relationships with people who are demonically possessed or oppressed, I strongly believe that a person opens themselves up to possession. Demonic possession is real.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HILL: Wow. And. It just -- I mean it just leaves -- it leaves me speechless to hear the -- I mean, she says this is what she believes. But this is a woman who's now the head of the Republican Party in Michigan state.
KACZYNSKI: And it's interesting, why is this important? Well, it's very important to Republicans in Michigan, because this is a state that Republicans, you know, they have a plan. This is a state that recently had a Republican governor. This is the state that Donald Trump won in 2016, but last cycle, which they're running against the backdrop of an unpopular Democratic president, they lost the top three seats. They lost the governor, attorney general secretary of state, her loss was the most lopsided one, 14 points.
And what is the state party chair supposed to do? They're supposed to do -- get out the vote. They're supposed to help fundraise. They're supposed to help local candidates and there are serious questions if somebody who's made these comments as an activist is going to be able to do that job effectively.
We did, you know, obviously reach out to her before we did this story, and we didn't -- we didn't hear back. And again, I think you lay out so beautifully and why it's so important that we pay attention to these comments.
So, Harry, when we look at this, she is a prominent election denier. As we know, as you pointed out, she lost that state race in 2022. What are the numbers tell us about how election denial played with voters.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: It didn't. It played quite poorly, right? I -- you know, Andrew is kind of pointing it out. We all went in this midterm election. A lot of folks like me you saw President Joe Biden's approval rating in the low 40 say Republicans are going to do very well because there's normally a backlash against unpopular presidents.
But they didn't. Why? Well, look at the electoral penalty that voters assigned to those who believe in election denialism. Five points in the margin, five points in the margin in major statewide 2022 races.
And while five points may not seem like a lot, you know, in states like Michigan and states like Arizona states like Georgia, close states that five points can make all the difference in the world.
HILL: And specifically, if you're talking about the Senate, right? The Senate was super important as we know.
ENTEN: Yeah, that's exactly right. And you know, our exit polls had an interesting question. They basically rated the Democratic and Republican candidate said. Do you view them as too extreme? And what happened in those races?
It turns out in the vast majority of the competitive races, more voters in those key battleground states said that the Republican candidates were too extreme, as compared to the Democratic candidates. So the fact is, this is not just something that, you know, we're just seeing the polling data. It's something we see in the real election data, election denialism simply put, does not play with the American public.
HILL: There's a lot of talk about the impact of Donald Trump on the candidates he endorsed in 2024, but as we look ahead to 2022 through -- 2022 rather, as we look ahead to 2024, he's a candidate leading in the polls right now among Republicans.
HILL: What effect has this base first strategy of his had, this election denialism, on how the general public views him? [19:55:04]
ENTEN: Yeah, it's something that's so interesting. You know, when you look back on 2016, I think a lot of people forget that more voters actually vote -- said that Hillary -- said that Donald Trump was moderate than Hillary Clinton, look at the percentage of voters are Americans adults at large who said that Trump was very conservative back in 2016.
Look at that. It was only about 20 percent among those who had an opinion. Look at it now. It's over 50 percent.
So the fact is, Trump's statements have certainly had an impact, and not in a good way. Voters are now much more likely view him as extreme.
HILL: Harry, Andrew, nice to have you both here tonight. Appreciate it. Thanks.
ENTEN: Thank you.
HILL: OUTFRONT next, lawyers for Fox News and the judge and the $1.6 billion lawsuit clashing in court today. We'll tell you why.
HILL: Finally tonight, some tense moments in court as lawyers for Fox News clashed with the judge overseeing dominions $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. At issue, how some of the network's biggest stars can be questioned under oath. Fox's attorney insisting that its host will make the argument that they didn't claim too many machines rigged the 2020 election. The judge pushing back though, saying, quote, I will stop you and I will tell the jury that what you just said is incorrect.
The judge, also granting a win for Fox, granting the network's request to prevent dominions lawyers from entering January 6th during the trial. As for that, the judge said, this maybe for another court and another time, but it's not for this court at this time.
Thanks so much for spending some of your evening with us.
"AC360" starts right now.