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Erin Burnett Outfront

WSJ: Carlson Found Out About Firing 10 Minutes Before Fox Announced; DA: Indictment Decision In Trump Probe Coming This Summer; Youngkin, DeSantis On Dueling Trips Before Possible 2024 Runs; U.S. Ambassador Slams Russia For Using Detained Americans As "Human Pawns"; Report: Wife Of Russian Defense Minister Living Lavishly Amid War. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 24, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, new details on Tucker Carlson's sudden exit from Fox reportedly getting a 10-minute notice, 10 minutes. What was the rush? New reporting tonight.

Plus, just in, the Georgia D.A. investigating Trump reveals her timeline for possible criminal indictments against Trump and his allies. It is specific, and the reporter who broke that story will be OUTFRONT.

And a story that you'll first OUTFRONT tonight. Diamonds, furs, luxurious vacations, the wife of one of the men behind Putin's deadly invasion living it up.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, fired. We are learning new details about how Tucker Carlson's sudden exit from Fox News went down. A source telling CNN that Carlson was not given a heads up, and according to "The Wall Street Journal," which is also owned by Fox's parent company, Carlson was also notified 10 minutes before the network publicly announced his part departure.

I mean, that is incredible, 10 minutes for their top anchor. It was so abrupt that the network was still promoting his show right as the news broke this morning.


ANNOUNCER: Vivek Ramaswamy goes inside his 2024 campaign, next "Tucker Carlson Tonight".


BURNETT: And then it happened.

Well, the stunning announcement also rattling investors. At one point Fox Corp shares slid more than 5 percent. That wipes out an estimated $500 million. And I just want to put that into perspective.

The stock closed lower today than it did on the day Fox agreed to settle for nearly 1 billion dollars in the Dominion case. And when they admitted the network lied. That is a pretty incredible thing. That just gives you a sense of the importance of Tucker Carlson to Fox News.

So the question tonight is an important one. Why was Tucker let go? Was it his baseless claims about the 2020 election, that were at the center of the Dominion defamation lawsuit, you know, the one that cost Fox $787.5 million?


TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: Well, electronic voting machines didn't allow people to vote, apparently. And that, whatever you think of it, the cause of it, it shakes people's faith in the system. And that is an actual threat to democracy.


BURNETT: Was it his repeatedly questioning the COVID vaccine?


CARLSON: Don't dismiss those questions from anti-vaxxers. It turns out there are things we don't know about the effects of this vaccine.


BURNETT: Or was it this on the eve of Putin's invasion saying this?


CARLSON: Might be worth asking yourself since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?

Does he eat dogs? These are fair questions. And the answer to all of them is no. Vladimir Putin didn't do any of that.


BURNETT: Well, then, of course, we know what he did.

So, was it possibly a lawsuit that Tucker is facing from a former producer who claims he was subjected to rampant sexism working for the prime time host?

Well, I'm going to speak to her attorney in a moment. I will tell you of all of those pieces that you heard, and there are so many more, it doesn't actually appear to be any one of those things. In fact, maybe you think lying about the 2020 election was worth being fired over, but that wasn't it. CNN learning that Tucker Carlson had disparaged Fox's leadership in texts that were revealed in the Dominion case. So I guess it was personal. Texts like this. These efforts are

destroying our credibility. It enrages me.

According to "The Wall Street Journal", the company took issue with remarks that Mr. Carlson made that were derogatory towards the network, people familiar with the matters said, and I should you tell you, a lot of these are redacted. So, we can't tell you exactly what they said.

But we understand it was about, you know, saying nasty things about people he worked for that was actually the issue. Not telling the truth to the American people.

OUTFRONT now, Sara Fischer, who's been covering this story since it broke.

And, Sara, I mean, it is a stunning development, a completely abrupt and unexpected in every way. What is the latest you're hearing?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yeah. And, Erin, I think it's a combination of things. I think part of it is those redacted messages that came out in pretrial discovery that could be very damning, showing Tucker Carlson speaking about a number of things.

Also, there's potential damning things that could come out from that audiotape that you mentioned from Tucker Carlson's former producer Abby Grossberg. You're going to talk to her lawyer about what that could entail.

And I think what you're seeing is that all of this adds up to a very precarious position for Fox. They are facing another major defamation lawsuit from Smartmatic. The more stuff that comes out in particular around Tucker Carlson, the more it could implicate them in that future lawsuit. I also would be remiss not to mention when you fire one major network host, somebody with the scale and prominence on that network as Tucker Carlson, it makes it a little bit easier to not fire one of your major top management executives.


And so I can understand why the decision was made. We are hearing sources telling us that the decision was made by Fox Corp's CEO Lachlan Murdoch, and Fox News CEO to Suzanne Murdoch to fire Tucker Carlson. And I'm hearing that that decision, even though Tucker heard about it today, it might have come today -- it might have been a little bit earlier.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Sara, thank you very much, Sara, for your reporting there. You've been reporting a lot of the stories. So, thank you.

And as she mentioned, I am joined now by the attorney for Abby Grossberg, Tanvir Rahman. And, Abby, of course, is a former booker for Tucker Carlson's show and other executives, network talent, Maria Bartiromo, among them. She is suing Fox. She claims it's was a toxic environment at his show, and that the network pressured her into giving pressing her into giving misleading testimony in the Dominion defamation case. In fact, she was going to testify for Dominion had that gone to trial.

So, Tanvir, I really appreciate your time.

So, trying to understand what happened here. Let me just start with the very basic. Are you hearing anything about whether the claims or the evidence that your client presented to Fox News, right, phone calls, texts, whatever it may be, played a role in Tucker Carlson's firing today?


Well, not directly. Fox is not going to tell us whether or not she helped play a role in the decision. But if you look at the timeline, look at how things have changed or what's happened since she came forward back in late March, she came forward with evidence that Fox hadn't turned over to the court and the Delaware judge got really upset at Fox, almost sanctioned Fox, appointed a special master to look into Fox's misconduct, and even told Fox's lawyers, hey, hold onto your email and communications and pretty harsh things for attorney to do, make sure that their intentions could be revealed.

So, soon thereafter, of course, that case settled. Now, whether she was the direct cause of the settlement, we'll never know. But certainly, we'd like to think that the value of the settlement substantially increased to what it was because of Abby's revelations.

And fast forward to today, a week after, our case is still pending. We still have a case here in New York. And Tucker Carlson is the primary bad actor in that case. You know, it's his show where our client Abby Grossberg worked, where she suffered rapid misogyny, and, you know, the things that she endured was unbelievable. I haven't seen that in my career in defending employees.

So, I think, you know, if you look at the timing, again, she's coming forward, things happen, she's coming forward again, things continue to happen. So, I think there's got to be caution (ph) there.

BURNETT: Okay. So, you've talked about things you've never seen before in your career that she says happened. She said the misogyny from his staff and from Carlson himself was pervasive. And recently, she described it this way.


ABBY GROSSBERG, FORMER FOX NEWS PRODUCER: Women were objectified. It was a game. It was a sport. Female politician who's came on the show were mocked. There were debates about who they'd rather sleep with. C- word all the time.


BURNETT: Obviously, a Fox spokesperson has previously denied these claims, right, saying they were riddled with false allegations. But how much more can you tell us? And specifically how much do you have -- is there evidence that Abby has that Tucker Carlson himself was doing all these things?

RAHMAN: Well, I mean, ultimately, you know, the fish rots from the head, right? So, ultimately, you know, he is in charge of the show, and if he runs an environment that is hostile towards women, you got to believe that he's aware of it and he's condoning, he's allowing it to occur, right? I mean, it will -- remain to be seen if we have anything that directly implicates Tucker. But you got to believe that, again, there's no way that Tucker didn't know what was going on, no way he didn't know what Abby was experiencing and other women were experiencing at the workplace.

BURNETT: So, are you expected to get testimony from Tucker Carlson himself? He mentioned that your case is obviously still moving ahead.

RAHMAN: You know, he's an independent. In our case, he's named as an defendant in our case along with other executives. And we intend to take his deposition hopefully in the next few months. And certainly, again, given what was revealed in the Dominion case, we expect him to say things that are going to be very colorful and helpful to our client's case.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Tanvir, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

RAHMAN: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And I want to go now to Jonah Goldberg who left Fox News after 12 years because Tucker Carlson claimed January 6th was a false flag operation.

So, Jonah, I appreciate your time. I just want to give you a response to respond to what Tanvir is saying. Obviously, we know that Abby, her -- the information that she put forth, as he lays out in terms of the timing here, does appear to have been very important, right, relevant to the settlement, perhaps relevant here. We know that some of this information is redacted.

So, did you see this type of behavior that Tanvir is talking? Did you see it evidenced by Carlson?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I've never seen anything like that from Tucker. But then, again, if you worked at Fox in the last five years, and I haven't been there for a little while, you didn't see Tucker much because Tucker has been working at a private studios in Maine and Florida for much of the last few years.


He rarely is in the Fox building. And I think that contributes to some of the stuff that we're hearing because he's kind of been in sort of a bunker bubble. He surrounds himself with sort of likeminded people. You can see how it would devolve into this sort of groupthink locker room mentality, that, you know, the alleged sexist batonagge (ph) is -- would be one aspect of it. But also the sort of -- the sort of transmission belt of conspiracy

theory type stuff is also the kind of thing you get when you are secluded away surrounded by people who all agree with you in your own kind of bubble. And I think that that sort of informs a lot of what Tucker's programming was like the last few years.

BURNETT: I mean, it's amazing though, Jonah, and I understand someone's going to say, well, there isn't just one thing that kills somebody, right, but there may be a straw that breaks the camel's back. I remember I was in Ukraine when he made those comments about Putin, right? This has been a pattern of things and conspiracy theories that he's been doing over a long time and has not faced any kind of repercussions for until now.

And "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that the reason Carlson is fired is not because of any of those things. It's because he insulted individuals who ran the network, who were senior in the Murdoch family. That's their reporting.

"The Journal" says much of this has been redacted court documents, so we don't know exactly what he might have said. We do know from texts that were not redacted that he did talk about those effers are destroying our credibility, it enrages me. We are all officially working for an organization that hates us, that, you know, gives his sentiment.

Do you think that -- I mean, what do you make of that, Jonah, that it could be the fact that he was insulting --

GOLDBERG: Yeah, I'm a little skeptical of some of this reporting. I mean, Sara Fischer who you had on before is a great reporter. I'm not saying that she's not hearing these things from executives. But I also kind of think he burned a lot of bridges with a lot of executives so they're happy to give leaks to the press saying ha-ha we got the last laugh. We got our revenge.

I think the timing of the fact that "60 Minutes" ran the piece about Ray Epps on Sunday night is kind of hard to ignore. And "The L.A. Times" has been reporting --

BURNETT: Interesting.

GOLDBERG: -- that with the mix of Abby Grossberg's allegations and this Ray Epps piece on "60 Minutes" that finally convinced Tucker because these other reports that like Suzanne Scott and Lachlan Murdoch decided on Friday to fire him, I don't -- I don't buy it. They may have decided to recommend it, but at the end of the day, given Rupert's relationship with Tucker, they were pretty close, and given Tucker's role at the network, it's ultimately Rupert's decision. So I think Rupert is the guy who really fired him.

BURNETT: So, what do you make of the fact that Tucker hasn't said anything?

GOLDBERG: Oh, he's -- you know, Tucker lives to get the last word. He's going to say something. I'm sure he's talking to lawyers about what he can say. I'm sure he's going to come up with some venue where he says -- you know, spins some version of all of this. It will be very interesting. I don't know how true it will be, but it would be very interesting.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jonah. I appreciate it, as always.

And it has been an incredible 24 hours in the media world, including today here at CNN. CEO Chris Licht announcing that CNN and Don Lemon have parted ways. In Chris' letter to the network, which we all received, he said, quote, Don will forever be a part of the CNN family and we thank him for his contributions over the last 17 years. We wish him will and we'll be cheering him on in his future endeavors.

And next here OUTFRONT, new details coming in from the Georgia D.A. on when she'll announce possible criminal indictments against Trump and his allies.

Plus, two potential GOP presidential candidates making dueling overseas trips, Ron DeSantis and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. Governor Youngkin is my guest tonight.

And Russian police officers, one, sentenced to seven years after criticizing the war in Ukraine in a private phone call, private phone call, seven years in prison. Wait until you hear how Russian authorities found out about the conversation.



BURNETT: Tonight, the Atlanta-area district attorney investigating former President Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, revealing her timeline for bringing possible criminal charges against Trump and his allies. Right, this is crucial. Everyone's been waiting for this. Is it imminent? When is it coming?

So the Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis warning law enforcement to be ready ahead of the announcement.

And joining me now is Tamar Hallerman. She broke this news for "The Atlanta Journal Constitution".

And, Tamar, I really appreciate your time. I mean, the whole country is watching this, and this is obviously of crucial importance for the presidential election cycle. What is D.A. Fani Willis' new time line for possible charges against Trump?

TAMAR HALLERMAN, SENIOR REPORTER, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: Well, in a series of letters today to Atlanta-area law enforcement, the D.A. mentioned that her time line is now July 11th to September 1st, which is considerably behind where we initially thought she'd be at this point.

BURNETT: Yeah. HALLERMAN: Initially, she had mentioned decisions were imminent back in January. It was starting to look like March was the time line. And most recently we were looking at May. So, July is much further back. But, at the same time, these letters show just about more than anything else we've seen out of the D.A.'s office lately that she really does have the former president set in her sights.

BURNETT: Well, okay, so there is that. But, of course, there are so many questions as to why. Why this could be delayed right now?

I know that she cast a very wide net here. The grand jury heard from over 75 witnesses. We've talked to many of them. And we know that prosecutors are considering bringing racketeering and conspiracy charges. We know Rudy Giuliani was also a target of the investigation.

It's interesting what you just said there, Tamar. You said this make it's clear to you that the former president himself is in her sights, not saying for sure he'll be charged, but is in her sights. What does this timing mean from your reporting in terms of who is most likely to be charged?

HALLERMAN: Well, like you said, we don't know exactly what might occur. But this suggests that the D.A. might be looking at a much broader racketeering charge. This is something that she mentioned two years ago back when she launched this investigation. She had a special grand jury help her for almost eight months last year compile evidence, hear from 75 witnesses, as you mentioned.

We know based on interviews from the forewoman Emily Kohrs that they recommended at least a dozen people for indictments, which once again points to a broader case.


And the fact that it might take her until July to announce anything suggests that she might be going quite broad with this case. One of the other more recent developments is that we heard that she's been interviewing fake electors here in Georgia. And that suggests there might be new immunity deals in place, and new details that might be emerging as a result of those interviews.

BURNETT: And, Tamar, what about your reporting that there's urging local law enforcement to brace for impact, that she is putting that warning out there. I mean, certainly, that makes it clear she's doing something. So we may be two months away, but she already basically seems to know what it is. What do you make of that warning and why she's putting it out there?

HALLERMAN: Well, we know that law enforcement has been closely watching the developments in Manhattan, and that criminal case up there looking at security planning any protests that have emerged, which haven't really been much. But they've been closely watching that because, of course, Georgia is a much more closely divided state politically than New York. But we also have a much broader open carry gun laws that I think has law enforcement wanting to plan stuff out far in advance. BURNETT: All right. Tamar, thank you so much. I appreciate it, and

thanks for putting that reporting here. We thank you.

And next, Bud Light's owner placing two executives on leave after conservatives were outraged over the beer maker partnering with a transgender influencer. Republican governor and potential 2024 candidate Glenn Youngkin is my guest.

And Putin's foreign minister warning that the world has crossed a dangerous new threshold. I'm going to talk to America's ambassador to the United Nations who was in the room when Sergey Lavrov made the comments.



BURNETT: Tonight, dueling foreign trips from two top potential GOP candidates for 2024. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin meeting face to face with Taiwan's president in Taipei, as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is in Japan greeting that country's prime minister and he'll be headed there as well to Taiwan.

Youngkin's trip to Taiwan coming as tensions between U.S. and China are at a all-time high, amid growing fears that China is preparing to invade Taiwan.

OUTFRONT now from Taiwan, Republican governor and potential 2024 candidate Glenn Youngkin.

And of course, Governor, I'm going to note you're at Liberty Square in Taipei, which is a major symbol of Taiwan's transition to democracy and its history. And, Governor, of course, you're the sitting governor of a major state. You're seen as a top Republican presidential candidate.

We've seen China retaliate against others who have chosen to visit Taiwan and just the other day the government sanctioned the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for his visit.

So, Governor, why do you think it is worth it to provoke China right now with this trip?

GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA: Well, one of the great opportunities for Virginia and, I think, for the United States is forging even deeper relationships with trusted partners around the world, and Taiwan, of course, is at the top of the list, along with Japan and Korea, who I'll see later this week. And these supply chains for critical sectors in semiconductors and pharmaceuticals and automotive supply are at the heart of not just economic activity but of those sectors that we need to make sure that we are re-domiciling the supply chain and centering it on trusted -- on trusted partners.

So that's why I'm so excited to be here. I had an extraordinary meeting yesterday with President Tsai. We agreed that we would both work personally to further the relationship between Virginia and Taiwan. And we launched a new trade office that will open up here in Taiwan to do exactly that. It's been an extraordinary trip so far.

BURNETT: Now, according to "The Washington Post," the highly sensitive documents that we all now know about that leaked from the Pentagon show that Taiwan is highly vulnerable to a Chinese air attack. A top Washington think-tank warned that the U.S. military, in the event of a war involving China's navy, would be crippled.

So, where do you stand on this? Do you think it is important that the United States make it clear that it is willing to back Taiwan militarily?

YOUNGKIN: Well, the relationship between Taiwan and the United States, of course, is one that, for years, has been at the heart of the One China policy. You know, as a governor, I am deeply focused on the economic opportunities here. But, of course, president Tsai has so many other deep concerns about their future.

And that's why I think building these relationships that we have really embarked on with a state like Virginia are at the heart of their economic future. You know, they have -- they have carved out such an extraordinary leadership role in some of these key industries, semiconductors clearly, but also pharmaceutical supply chains, battery storage.

And these are areas that I think that we can further our cooperation. You know, Virginia has been growing like crazy. We came in a little over a year ago and opened Virginia up for business. And it's been exciting to see countries like Taiwan be so interested in investing in Virginia and enhancing our partnerships.

BURNETT: Governor, you mentioned that you're going to Korea, and you're going to Japan. The Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, also a possible 2024 candidate, is also visiting total countries on his overseas tour right now he's in Japan. Thomas Peterffy, a major Republican donor, recently said something to the "Financial Times" that sort of stopped me in my tracks.

He said he and his donors are going to stop giving money to DeSantis. And his quote, Governor, was because of his stance on abortion and book banning -- myself, and a bunch of friends are holding our powder dry.

Now, that's a big deal in and of itself. But "Politico" broke the news that after that, Peterffy gave a million dollars to your PAC, the Spirit of Virginia. Why do you think he decided to give you that money? Did you have a conversation with him?

YOUNGKIN: Well, what I've been really encouraged by is that both Virginians and supporters from across the country are focused on what we're doing in Virginia.


And I think we have really demonstrated that common sense solutions to some of the most challenging issues work. And, so, as we opened Virginia back up and we watched our economy grow and added back 125,000 jobs in a short period of time as we've really focused on fixing education, Virginia's overall high school education system K-12 had really taken a big step back, and we've got it moving in the right direction. We're backing law enforcement. And we're watching our economy grow, which is opening up opportunities for all Virginians.

I'm so excited to see that there are -- there are supporters across the country that are focused on really helping us continue to win. We've got midterm elections this year --


YOUNGKIN: -- and we're going to -- we're going to do everything we can to hold our House and flip our Senate. And it's really exciting to see folks not just in Virginia supporting us.

BURNETT: So, when someone like Thomas Peterffy does this, do you say you've got an open mind about running for the White House? That's clearly what they want you to do.

YOUNGKIN: Well, I've been very clear that I am focused on Virginia. It's very -- it's very humbling for a kid that, you know, 40 years ago was washing dishes and taking out trash to have my name tossed around in that -- in that idea. But I'm focused on Virginia, and we've got a lot of work to do this year.

And, as I said, we've got our midterms. And so I think the track record that our administration has really been demonstrating and opening up opportunity, growing jobs addressing challenges in education back in law enforcement, these are critical topics that I think the nation is watching. And I think we've demonstrated that we can address them and make progress very quickly.

BURNETT: And I do have to ask you one other thing. And these are the things that now politics, unfortunately, in this country has too often become, which is that, you know, issues like a Bud Light boycott become front and center.

People close to Trump talk about it. Trump talks about it. Ron DeSantis talks about it. And so, here we are. I mean, "The Wall Street Journal" reports two executives at Anheuser-Busch have been placed on leave after the company sponsored those Instagram posts of Dylan Mulvaney who is a transgender influencer who has millions of followers on Instagram and TikTok.

So, after this post, Kid Rock, the musician, posted a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light. And as I said, many on the right called for a boycott of the company including Governor DeSantis was critical as well.

So, Governor, what do you think? Were these calls for a boycott of Bud Light coming from the right warranted?

YOUNGKIN: If we step back and we just clearly recognize that the world of ESG has gone way out of bounds from its original idea. I mean, originally, ESG was focused on having sound environmental policies that are good for the environment and good for companies, having a recognition that a diverse thought team built in order to represent the best problem-solving was good, and having world-class governance. That's what ESG was.

And it has -- it has migrated so deep out of bounds that we do see that companies, by taking social positions, are isolating, if not damaging, their customers and their brand. And so this is just the reality. And if -- and if we could just step back and get ESG back in the box where it belongs and not forcing people to make a statement about the product they buy and whether they agree with it or don't, people just want to buy products, that are solid products that give them great services. They want to be able to visit theme parks without making -- without making a statement.

And I think this is a big moment for us to step back and try to get common sense back into this arena, that we have companies that make great products and provide great services, and we should allow them to do that.

BURNETT: And, obviously, you know, environmental and social governance policies, when you talk about ESG. But, Governor, to your point, obviously theme parks, I know you've got Lego coming, and we're talking here in the context of Disney. But, you know, as a person who ran one of the largest private equity firms for decades, you're talking about let business do what they do, is it appropriate for governors, for people in politics to come out and make these big statements and have punitive policies towards what companies do, or should you just let the free market speak for itself?

YOUNGKIN: Well, I think that there has been a huge movement to put politics not just in the classroom, which we've been addressing in Virginia and to get Virginia back focused on teaching our children the basics of all of our history, the good and the bad, to make sure that they can read by the third grade, to focus on math. And we've seen the same movement of politics into the board room.

And we should just take a big step back and recognize that not everything needs to be politicized. And when a board room presses into political issues and social issues, it does create a moment for a debate, and there's nothing wrong with the debate, but companies should just recognize that there are ramifications. And I think Anheuser-Busch has recognized that.

BURNETT: All right. Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. Governor Youngkin of Virginia.

YOUNGKIN: Thanks so much for having me.


BURNETT: And, next, Russian authorities stooping to a new low in order to catch one of their own officers who was privately criticizing Putin's invasion while on the phone. Wait until you hear how they found about it. By the way, seven years in prison is the outcome.

And a woman who is no ordinary Russian socialite. On the same day that she dropped $100,000 on jewelry in Paris, her husband was masterminding a deadly bombing in Ukraine. So, who is she? This is a story you will see first here OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Tonight, another Putin critic jailed. This time, it's a former Russian police officer sentenced to seven years in prison. What for seven years in prison, you may ask. The crime is criticizing the war in Ukraine to friends in a private phone conversation.

So, how did Russian authorities find out about the conversation, just put aside the seven-year prison sentence right now? They wiretapped his phone.

Well, this development coming as Russia's top diplomat, the Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has just landed in United States. Lavrov is allowed in the United Nations because he's here for the United Nations meeting, and Russia, as ironic as it may, currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.


Ukraine's top diplomat called that, quote, the worst joke ever.

And Lavrov today when he got the microphone used it to warn of a widening war.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): As during the Cold War, we have reached the dangerous possibly even more dangerous threshold.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

And, Ambassador, I really appreciate your time, and it's great to see you.

So, you were there today with Sergey Lavrov.


BURNETT: And I'm curious what your reaction was being in that room and what it's like to be in the same room with him now?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, it was the epitome of irony and hypocrisy to have the foreign minister of Russia chairing the Security Council, a meeting on multilateralism. Multilateralism when Russia has, in their unilateral, unprovoked action against Ukraine, attacked everything that the U.N. charter stands for, and everything that we value as members of the United Nations.

So, I held up the charter, and I read parts of the charter to remind him of what that charter means. And every single member of the council talked about their support for the charter. So he was really out of place there today.

BURNETT: Do you have any sense as to -- and obviously he's been a longtime foreign minister, right? He's dealt with negotiations with John Kerry on things, right, over the years. Do you think that he is all in? Is there any part of him that gets it, or no?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I can't speak for him.


THOMAS-GREENFIELD: But I hope that listening to the members of the council today that he got something. And what he got was from the secretary general to almost every single member of the council supporting the values that underpin the U.N. charter and criticizing Russia's attack on Ukraine's sovereignty, and their independence.

BURNETT: So I mentioned that police officer, right, seven years in prison, right, for criticizing the war in private phone conversations. They tapped his phone.

We obviously know about the father, right, of a girl who painted a Ukrainian flag in school, right? He is in prison. She is in an orphanage, right?

And these examples, there are more and more and more of them. There are also Americans held in penal colonies and prisons in Russia right now.

Elizabeth Whelan is the sister of Paul Whelan. He is wrongfully imprisoned. He's been there for years. You introduced her to the U.N. today. So, she was there. She spoke and Lavrov was in the room.

She said -- you said you wanted him to look into her eyes, to see the suffering, right, that she's going through with the loss of her brother. She told CNN that Lavrov did look at her. And you asked him to do so and that he actually did. We don't have a video of it but she said that that happened.

What do you make of that, that he would actually do that?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, I think he felt the pressure. I didn't see him -- look, I was concentrating --

BURNETT: But you were delivering your comments.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: -- on my statement. But I do know that when I turned to him and said, you should look into her eyes, he was pretending to read, and he did look up.

And, so, I am pleased that she saw him look at her so that he could feel her pain and he can feel her suffering not having seen her brother for nearly four years.

BURNETT: And she also mentioned the jailed "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich, right? We have heard a lot about him. They're charging him with high crimes of espionage. And there's -- from what we understand from talking to lawyers

involved and sources, there's no imminent resolution to this, and they're not looking for one. Do you have any idea whether there's anything anyone, anything specific that Putin wants for Mr. Gershkovich's return?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, what Putin wants is to use American individuals, private citizens as political and diplomatic pawns in his aggression against Ukraine. He has not specifically said I want to take this or trade that. But what he wants to do is use them as possible trades for whatever it is he may be trying to achieve.

And we're doing everything possible, Erin, to get all American citizens, to get Evan, to get Paul released from the terror that they are experiencing being in these penal colonies.

BURNETT: I want to -- I want to ask you about Sudan before we go. We learned that there's a three-day ceasefire.


But, obviously, you've got a country on the brink of war, U.S. embassy being evacuated by Special Forces, SEAL Team 6.

You know, it sort of harkens back, I remember covering so much what happened in Tripoli, right, and the horrors there, right, the death of an ambassador, So they have been evacuated. But we understand there's about 16,000 -- this is the State Department's estimation -- of how many Americans remain in Sudan.

Are you committed to getting all of them out? Or at this point, it sort of if you're out, you're out, and if you're not?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, we made clear, we've been making clear for months that Americans should not be traveling to Sudan. And we've encouraged Americans to leave before this incident happened.

But we are working with the United Nations and supporting those Americans who have expressed the desire to leave. We've provided some overhead support to the U.N. convoy that included American citizens. And we have put some resources to support American citizens leaving Sudan.

And during this three-day ceasefire, which we hope holds, we encourage Americans to do what is necessary, to ensure that they remain in a safe position.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course you can't force people to do it, as the 16,000 people is a lot of people.

Ambassador, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good. Thank you very much.

BURNETT: All right. And, next, from diamonds and furs to dancing in an elite French ski resort, that's what's going on right now with a Russian socialite living a lavish lifestyle -- incredibly lavish, right? Completely over the top. At the same time, her husband is leaving Putin's deadly invasion.

So, who is she? This is a story you'll see first OUTFRONT.

And troubling new details tonight about the health of a widely respected bank that has been in freefall since last month's banking crisis. But tonight, more bad news.



BURNETT: Tonight, life of luxury. The wife of Russia's deputy defense minister draped in fur waltzing around Europe, all as her husband engineered deadly bombings in Ukraine. How does this happen?

Our Clarissa Ward has more in this story airing first OUTFRONT.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Svetlana Maniovich is a woman of expensive tastes. Diamonds and couture, extravagant parties and European vacations. Just last month, she was seen shopping and dancing in the elite French ski resort of Courchevel.

But Maniovich is no ordinary Russian socialite. She is the other half of Russia's deputy minister of defense, Timur Ivanov, one of the most senior architects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

And, according to a shocking investigation, Maniovich continues to gallivant around France more than a year into Russia's bloody war, despite the fact that Ivanov was sanctioned by the E.U. in October.

The explosive report put out by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, an investigative outfit funded by Russia's jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny is based, they say, on a leaked archive of more than 8,000 of Maniovich's emails over the last 12 years and has racked up more than 6 million views on YouTube.

It claims that on March 25, 2022, as dozens of missiles rained down on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Maniovich spent more than $100,000 in a top Paris jewelry store on the Place Vendome.

How was it possible that she can continue to do this?

MARIA PEVCHIKH, HEAD OF INVESTIGATIONS, ANTI-CORRUPTION FOUNDATION: It's a very simple trick that they've played. Number one, Svetlana has an Israeli passport through her first husband.

And, second of all, six months into the war, they have filed for divorce. They haven't split any assets. Nothing has changed in terms of, like, in the daily life. Whatever they owned, they keep owning together. But, technically, they are not legally married anymore. WARD: Equally shocking are the opulent lifestyle and lavish spending

that the leaked emails document. According to Russian business publication RBC, Ivanov's official income was once declared to be around 14.2 million rubles, less than $175,000. Yet, the Navalny group's report calculated that the couple spent more than a quarter of a million dollars in just one summer.

CNN has not been able to independently verify those numbers.

How is he funding this lifestyle?

PEVCHIKH: Well, the answer is corruption, corruption and specifically kickbacks.

WARD: According to the Russian government, Ivanov overseas construction for Russia's Ministry of Defense, including what the Anti-Corruption Foundation describes as lucrative contracts to rebuild the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which fell to Russian forces under punishing bombardment last May.

PEVCHIKH: The Russian army has destroyed demolished 70 percent of the apartment blocks in town. They had to build new ones, and they did. So that company that built those display houses in Mariupol, it's the same company that pays for Timur Ivanov's personal bills.

WARD: Despite claims of such brazen corruption, Putin toured the construction project last month, a request for comment on the investigation from the Russian ministry of defense received no reply.

In France, though, the pressure maybe mounting and Sunday afternoon, the Anti-Corruption Foundation organized a small protest outside the Paris apartment it claims Maniovich still rents, demanding to know how she is allowed to spend the profits of Russia's war in the heart of France, a question so far without any satisfactory answer.


WARD (on camera): Erin, CNN, of course, did reach out to the French foreign minister for some kind of response.


They told us, quote, we do not comment on individual situations. France with its EU partners has ended visa facilitation for Russian citizens and has also adopted targeted individual sanctions against 1,499 Russian officials and their supporters. We also tried to reach out to Svetlana Maniovich and sent her an email. But as of yet, have not received a reply, Erin.

BURNETT: Well, of course, that's incredible in that video of her with the fur. Well, it is all incredible.

Thank you so much.

And coming up on "AC360", Justin Jones, one of the Tennessee legislators, who was ousted and then reappointed met with President Biden today at the White House. What they talked about. That is coming up at 8:00 with Anderson.

And meantime, next here, troubles mounting for first republic, customers today pulling more than $100 billion from the bank that's still at risk of collapsing.


BURNETT: Tonight, we're getting our first glimpse of just how dangerously close to collapse First Republic Bank has come. The bank revealing that customers pulled more than $100 billion in deposits during the crisis. That's a 41 percent drop. It is a staggering number.

The revelations coming during the bank's highly anticipated and incredibly choreographed investor call. Executives then also announced that they plan to cut the workforce, lay people off to lose a quarter of their workforce and they didn't take any reporter questions.

Thanks for joining us.

It's time now for "AC360."