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Erin Burnett Outfront

Texas Gunman's Social Media: Posts About Nazis, Weapons, Mass Shooters; Jury To Begin Deliberating Tomorrow In Trump Rape Case; Live Video Of Migrants Lining Up Border As Trump-Era Rule Ends; New Poll Shows Biden's Approval Ratings Drop To New Low. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 08, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. CNN learning the gunman who killed eight people at a Texas mall was obsessed with Nazis and mass shootings. He also appears to have scoped out that mall before the massacre and then waited for the biggest crowds. A witness who was there during the gunfire is OUTFRONT tonight.

Plus, in the trenches. We have new video into OUTFRONT tonight. This from a Ukrainian sniper that we have spoken to several times. He's on the front lines tonight, and is sharing dramatic new images of the brutal battles he's seeing there with you.

And the migrant surge, up as much as 400 percent already in some areas along the U.S. southern border. We're going to take you there live tonight.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news: obsessed with Nazis, guns, and mass shooters. These are the new chilling details that we are learning tonight about the 33-year-old gunman who killed eight people and injured seven more at a Texas outlet mall. According to social media posts believed to have been made by Mauricio Garcia, the killer, you see exiting a car here just before the massacre, posted several photos of swastika tattoos and numerous photos of guns and ammunition.

Along with a disturbing and rambling post, which reads, in part, quote: Even if I did go to a psychologist, they're not going to be able to fix whatever's wrong with me. Besides, that shit's expensive.

Well, these are alarming developments, because of what we're learning about Garcia's past. A U.S. military source is confirming to CNN tonight that Garcia was terminated after just three months in the Army because of mental health concerns, terminated after just three months because of mental health concerns.

Just think about that for a moment because after that happened, he was able to return to his job in Texas as an armed security guard, and to legally get an AR-15-style weapon used in the massacre after being released from the Army because of mental health concerns. We are also learning that Garcia was using Google Maps to scope out

the location weeks before the weekend shooting. He prepared for it. The shooting was the second deadliest this year and the 17th mass shootings in Texas in just the past four months, 17, more than 30 lives lost, more than 60 injured in these cities.

It comes as we are learning more about the victims from this latest horrific tragedy. The youngest among them 3-year-old James Cho, a toddler killed along with his mother and father who you see here. His 6-year-old brother William was the only from his family to survive the shooting and he just woke up in the ICU.

Among the other victims, sisters, fourth grader Daniela Mendoza and her younger sister, second grader, Sofia, and then there's Christian LaCour, a security guard at the mall. I'm going to speak to someone who knew Christian in just a moment.

Also, among the lost, Aishwarya Thatikonda, an engineer who was shopping with a friend when she was killed, Eastern Michigan University, where she graduated in 2020, released a statement that reads, in part: As the nation has to once again grapple with the senseless act of gun violence, we share our condolences with Aishwarya's family and friends.

Josh Campbell begins our coverage OUTFRONT live in Allen, Texas.

And, Josh, I know that you have been going through the suspect's extremely disturbing social media history. What more are you learning?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erin. So, our colleague Paul Murphy has identified this social media account on Russian social media.

A law enforcement source confirms to me that they believe that this was used by the shooter here in this outlet mall shooting. It is filled with vile posts about Nazi ideology, photos of swastikas, about antisemitism. Simply put, it appears that the shooter's suspected online footprint is a repository of hate-filled grievances.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was full of adrenaline. I mean, it was the most terrifying moment of my life.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Eight people are dead, and at least seven others wounded after yet another mass shooting on American soil.

DISPATCH: The report from the police is we have multiple, upon multiple patients.

CAMPBELL: This time at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, Saturday, about 25 miles north of Dallas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gunshots, just, it sounded like a war zone. It was horrifying. CAMPBELL: Investigators say the 33-year-old gunman who was killed at

the scene by a police officer may have been driven by right-wing extremism. A senior law enforcement source tells CNN there isn't a specific motive they've identified yet, but that investigators have uncovered an extensive social media presence, including neo-Nazi and white supremacist-related posts.

In one post from the gunman's account on a Russian social media website, he showed a photo of the mall, along with a screen screenshot from Google Maps showing what times of day the outlet mall was busiest.

Steven Spainhouer rushed to the scene to help the victims.

STEVEN SPAINHOUER, FIRST RESPONDER ON SCENE: Then I saw a little boy about 4 or 5. He just kept saying, "My mother's hurt" over and over and over. I told him everything is fine, help is on the way. I checked in for no wounds. When he was (INAUDIBLE) from head to toe.

CAMPBELL: Texas Governor Greg Abbott who attended a vigil f or the victims Sunday night says authorities don't yet know enough about the gunman to make any determinations.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: What I can tell from talking to the investigators yesterday, and that is people should not jump to conclusions because there's a lot of conflicting information about him.

CAMPBELL: A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells CNN that the suspect served for a brief period in the U.S. military but was removed due to concerns about his mental health.

In addition to an AR-15-style firearm and another weapon found with the gunman, the source tells CNN police found several more weapons in his car, and he was wearing tactical gear with an RWDS insignia, which authorities believe stands for right wing dead squad.

The source also says the suspect had been living in some type of temporary lodging in the Dallas area, and at one time worked as a security guard and underwent firearms training according to public records.


CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, Erin, new information tonight about the weapon that was used in this shooting as well as the arsenal of guns that the suspect had collected over the years. A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells me that those weapons were purchased legally, most of them through private sellers.

The reason why that's so important is because we continue to hear from gun safety advocates about this so-called private seller loophole here in the state of Texas and in other states if you buy through a private sale, it doesn't require a federal background check -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Josh, just incomprehensible, we all sit here again talking about this.

Andria Gaither joins me now, someone who had to witness and endure the incomprehensible. She works at the mall. She witnessed the shooting.

Andria, I'm grateful to speak to you, I'm glad that you are okay. Obviously you can't unsee -- not experienced the horrors that you saw.

When did you realize what was happening?

ANDRIA GAITHER, EMPLOYEE AT TEXAS MALL WHO WITNESSED SHOOTING: Well, Erin, first of all thank you for having me on. I first realized what was happening a few minutes after I came back from my lunch break, I clocked back in at 3:30, and a few minutes later, I was getting some cardigans off of a clothing rack in the far back corner of the store, and two little girls came right beside where I was standing and one of them crawled under the fitting room door.


GAITHER: Her sister started hiding in between the rack that I was working on and the door, and then she was frantically trying to open the door and asked me, open the door, they are shooting, they are shooting.

So, I turned my shoulder and noticed my boss was ushering customers into the back of the store, and that is when I realize that there was something serious going on, I knew that it was a real shooting scenario.

BURNETT: And what did you do then once he knew this was a shooting?

GAITHER: So, I briefly went under the door to the fitting room with the little girls and then I knew that that was not a safe place, and I said we need to go out the back. We were ushered by my boss to go out the emergency exit, and once I got outside, I could hear the gunshots very close, very loud, nonstop, and I started running.

I ran as fast as I could run, I tried to get off of the mall property, so around the full length of the mall in the parking lot behind the stores that typically the employees used to park, and I took a corner to get off of the property. The entire time that I was running I could hear the gunshots. It sounded like a very powerful gun, every gunshot sounded like an explosion. It was definitely the scariest thing that I have ever heard, and not something that I ever wanted to go through.

BURNETT: And I know you actually know one of the victims, Christian LaCour.


I mentioned him, a security guard at the mall. And obviously he was killed, someone that you knew, that you saw every day.

GAITHER: Correct.

BURNETT: What can you tell us all about him? GAITHER: Well, he was frequently in the store, he would come into chat

with the employees, you know, just check on things on the weekends. And I had just spoken with him a couple of nights before when I had a strange man in front of the store and he came and called to offer me and my two young teenage girls who are working that night security escort to our cars.

So he definitely was a protector to all of the people that were working in the mall. All of the people who I worked with, including myself, were very fond of him. He definitely, you could sense that there was a real genuine sweetness about him, he was very kind, and concerned, of course, about all of -- that at the mall, you know.

He called me just a few nights ago whenever I had the incident with the man in front of the story was kind of, you know, not wanting to leave even though we were already closed.


GAITHER: He told me that he saw the men leave the property, but then still offered us a security escort to our cars that we would feel safe.

BURNETT: That's just the kind of person that he was. Such a loss.

Well, Andria, thank you very much for talking about this.

GAITHER: Correct.

BURNETT: I can't truly imagine how hard it is to relive it, in sharing it but thank you.

GAITHER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And I want to go now to Kathleen Belew, because she's the author of "Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America".

And, Kathleen, you know, when you hear the Andria talk about this, the agony that people witness, that people saw, that people experienced who were there. Everyone is trying to understand, of course, the way -- how this could be happening again, and the sources telling us that investigators did find neo-Nazi, and white supremacist related posts and images that they believed that the gunman shared online.

He wrote approvingly about neo-Nazi ideology online. He talked about replacement theory, right, which is his false idea that there is a conspiracy in this country to make the U.S. population less white, to get rid of White people. His name though, of course, was Mauricio Garcia. Is this hard to reconcile?

KATHLEEN BELEW, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: You know, we keep running into the same fissure, where when we have people with Latino surnames are people who do not appear to others to be conventionally White, people believe then that they can't be involved in a White supremacist movement. This is a problem in our understanding for a couple of different reasons.

First of, all there are a lot of people who are neo-Nazis like, it seems like this gunman was, who do not appear white with the sort of usual framework. Second, the frameworks around racial hierarchy and whiteness are different in different places in the world. And neo- Nazism has a foothold in a lot of different places.

So, for, instance the patch right wing death squads refers to impart to the Pinochet areas in Argentina where political enemies were flung out by helicopter over the ocean and simply thrown to their death in the sea. We've seen Proud Boys wearing t-shirts with a right wing death squad patch that says Pinochet was right. That is a clear embrace of the authoritarian and white supremacist politics, even if it is carried out by people who do not appear conventionally white within the U.S. framework.

BURNETT: Right, I think it's significant when you explain Pinochet and the history. Obviously, we talked about that the shooter was found with an insignia on his clothing, with the right wing death squad, the RWDS. I'm showing it here.

My understanding though, Kathleen, is that members of the Proud Boys also wear that same insignia. And do you think that there is any possible tie or relation -- I understand he was planning this for weeks -- but the fact that the shooting came on the heels of the big conviction last week for the leaders of the Proud Boys for the role in January 6th?

BELEW: Yes, and not for nothing. The conviction of at least one person who we will not classify as conventionally white.

BURNETT: Absolutely, right.

BELEW: Enrique Tarrio.

So, yes, I think it's very possible that the conviction of the Proud Boys for seditious conspiracy will indeed provoke acts of violence like this one. I think the number of other things adding fuel to the fire, including things like former President Trump having a campaign rally in Waco, Texas, which is a reference within this movement of extremists to the Oklahoma City bombing as a successful example of white power domestic terrorism.


The other thing I would mention is just, we have a cast of characters here who now include a whole bunch of racial and ethnic backgrounds. If you look at the leaders across this movement, there are a number of the Latino surnames. And that's not to confuse the Nazi content of the person made. There are pictures of tattoos, of swastika, and possibly in his chest -- in somebody's chest of "SS" letters on the upper bicep. And also pictures of a number of people dressed in Nazi regalia, who appeared to be people of color.

BURNETT: Yeah. Well, thank you very much. It's crucial perspective because at least, certainly, I -- I'm sure many others learn a lot from hearing it. Thank you.

BELEW: Thank you.

BURNETT: Well, next, a jury about to begin deliberating in the rape trial against former President Trump. The Trump team deciding not to have him take the stand. Will that hurt him with the jury, or not?

Plus, tensions escalating in the U.S. southern border where thousands of migrants now are leaving on streets in El Paso as they wait for a Trump era policy to expire, just days from now. The mayor of El Paso, which has declared a state of emergency, is OUTFRONT.

And a Russian rocket blitz, Ukrainian soldiers hit more than 400 times in just the past 24 hours. We'll take you to the frontlines tonight.



BURNETT: Tonight, using Trump's own words against him, the lawyer for E. Jean Carroll who is suing Trump in civil court over an alleged raindrop and defamation, closing her case against the former president with video from his deposition. A video where he defends his remarks on the access Hollywood tape where he said stars can sexually assault women without their consent.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, historically, that's true with stars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's true with stars that they can grab women by the pussy?

TRUMP: Well, that's what -- if you look over the last million years, I guess that's been largely true, not always, but largely true, unfortunately or fortunately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You consider yourself to be a star?

TRUMP: I think you can say that, yeah.


BURNETT: That was his deposition in this case, right? I'm not pulling an old tape. This is this case.

The jury expected to begin deliberations tomorrow and can force Trump to pay damages to Carroll if he believes her allegations.

Now, Ryan Goodman has been following this case with us from the beginning. He's now OUTFRONT.

And, Ryan, this is a case you've been watching very closely. And you kind of pointed out that others have not for a while. Now, obviously, it's on the front burner. The jury verdict does need to be unanimous. But, it's a civil trial.

So, the burden of proof is sort of that they -- the prosecution has to prove it's likely this happened. That can be 51 percent, right? You don't have to have beyond reasonable doubt. So, you got a much lower standard even though you need unanimity.

How significant would be if the jury finds Trump guilty?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: So, I think, partly a reason why it's a sleeper, people don't necessarily realize there's a lot of statistical evidence that shows the American voters will respond very strongly if it is proven that he is guilty of sexual assault.

So, there's a Quinnipiac poll in December of 2017, and it asked American voters, if it was proven that he committed sexual harassment, do you think he should be removed from office? And a very high number, 61 percent, said yes for sexual harassment. This is sexual assault. And also, that 61 percent, in terms of it being proven, this would be proven in a court of law by unanimous jury.

So that's -- that 61 percent is also higher than any single poll in the first two impeachment against him. No poll reach 61 percent from --

BURNETT: OK. That's -- so that, I think is incredible. Just to give people a data point of where we are. Now, the -- his comments in that deposition about the "Access Hollywood tape are not the only part of that deposition that he's got a lot of criticism over.

His go to defense, his entire defense on this, was actually, she's not my type. E. Jean Carroll is not my type.

Here he is in the deposition.


TRUMP: I said, with as much respect as I can, but she is not my type. Wouldn't be my type in any way, shape, or form.

While it's politically incorrect, she's not my type, and that's 100 percent true. She's not my type.


BURNETT: Okay, so, in a deposition environment, he had made a decision, whether his lawyers wanted him to or not, he was going to say that again, and again, and again. But then I wanted to just point out -- he then appeared to undermine himself because he mistakenly said that this photo, which I'm going to show of him and E. Jean Carroll. He mistakenly said that the woman with him in the picture was his second wife, Marla Maples.

So, this person who is not his type, he thinks is his wife. Let me play that part.


TRUMP: I don't even know who the woman. Let's see, I don't know who -- it's Marla.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're saying Marla is in this photo?

TRUMP: That's Marla. Yeah, that's my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which women are you pointing to?

TRUMP: Here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The person you just pointed to is E. Jean Carroll.

TRUMP: Oh, I see. Who was that? Who is this?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the woman on the right is your then-wife, Ivana?

TRUMP: I don't know. This was the picture.


BURNETT: Not his type, but eh thinks it's his wife, okay? He did not end up testifying this deposition is what we got. Is this going to help or hurt him with the jury that he didn't testify? Notwithstanding the horror of the deposition?

GOODMAN: I think it hurts him, quite a bit. And the plaintiffs counsel, in fact, starts the closing argument, and ends the closing argument bookends by saying, he's not here before you. He did not come and testify before you, the jury, and tell you that this was a lie. Why is that? Wouldn't you, yourself, rushed to court if you were falsely accused of something like sexual assault? They think it really helps them a lot.

BURNETT: All right. And just a final quick question to you, have you ever -- what do you make of that deposition?

GOODMAN: It's damning from beginning to end. It's -- you know, the "Access Hollywood" tape was entered in evidence because it is like a confession. It matches many of the allegations against him, from E. Jean Carroll, hers go further -- a further step.

But then he doubles down in the deposition, there's lots of other parts in the deposition that are really bad for him. He also loses it and calls the woman attorney for E. Jean Carroll that she's not's type his either, which is misogyny through and through in the deposition.

And this is the theory of the case. This is a misogynist. It's the theory of the case. That's why he committed these acts of sexual assault. So, there are so many other parts of the deposition that is really not something good, that the defense counsel would want. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ryan Goodman. And, of course,

we'll wait to see when that verdict comes.

And next, the migrant surge. Border towns seeing already as much as 40 percent increase in migrants. The mayor of El Paso who was already declared a state of emergency is OUTFRONT next.

Plus, we were on the ground in Ukraine tonight as forces there come under attack.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that might not be.

WALSH: It may not be, in fact, outgoing.



BURNETT: Tonight, you are looking at live pictures out of Juarez where hundreds of migrants are waiting by the Southern U.S. border.


Just three days now are left until the end of Title 42, which is the pandemic era policy which has allowed the United States to turn away migrants nearly 3 million times. This comes as Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces he is sending tactical units to the border, and it is unclear at this moment how many soldiers were actually being deployed in the state of Texas.

But it does come on the heels of President Biden announcing that he is sending 1,500 active duty troops to the border. The cities from San Diego, to El Paso are already facing a spike in major action, up 400 percent from two weeks ago in some areas.

Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tension on the border escalating as an SUV in Brownsville, Texas, plows are a crowd killing eight migrants, unclear if it was intentional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The SUV ran a red light, lost control, flipped on its side, and struck a total of 18 individuals.

FLORES: The incident comes just days before the controversial expiration of the pandemic era immigration rule known as Title 42. Border communities across the U.S., Mexico border already seeing a spike in migration, according to community leaders. In Brownsville, one respite center went from receiving up to 300

migrants per day two weeks ago, to 1000. In McAllen, from 150 to 400. In Laredo, from 50 to 250 during the same time period.

Twenty-five thousand migrants are in immigration custody, according to a Homeland Security official, and total migrant encounters on the U.S. southern border now surpasses 8,000 per day.

And this is the scene by the border wall in El Paso, where hundreds of people are waiting to turn themselves into immigration authorities. A flow that's expected to spike once title 42 expires Thursday.

And thousands more are already living on El Paso city streets.

TIMOTHY FERRERA, PASTOR: This is ground zero for the immigration.

FLORES: Pastor Timothy Ferrera has been delivering between 900 and 1,100 warm meals a day, as migrants here rely on the kindness of strangers for everything.

RAUL ORTIZ, BORDER PATROL CHIEF: With respect to the DOD personnel.

FLORES: Border patrol chief Raul Ortiz says the 1,500 active duty troops deployed by the Biden administration to assist with administrative tasks are headed to El Paso for now.

ORTIZ: I'm going to be able to reallocate those to some of the other sectors that require some additional capacity. We're going to build a balance that out, we've got a plan.

FLORES: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says the administration's border policies are not to blame.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We urge Congress to fix our broken immigration system, and until then, we will do everything that we can.

FLORES: While Washington squabble is about who is at fault, it's border churches and nonprofits who are left helping fill in the gaps.


FLORES (on camera): Now outside a shelter that is overcapacity, and I just learned from a source that the federal government estimates about 152,000 migrants are waiting in northern Mexican states for the lifting of Title 42.


FLORES: Now the top three states are Chihuahua, with 60,000 individuals. Now this is across the border from El Paso here where I am. Then, the state of Tamaulipas with 35,000, that's across the border from the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. And then Coahuila, with 25,000, and that's a state in between.

Now, here's why this is important, Erin, because border facilities for processing are overcapacity already. Shelters are overcapacity already, that's what you see all these individuals here.

So, what's going to happen when Title 42 lifts? I don't know. Nobody that I have talked to knows -- Erin.

BURNETT: That's unbelievable.

All right. Rosa, thank you very much. Rosa is there in El Paso.

And I want to go now to the mayor of El Paso, Oscar Leeser, who was declared a state of emergency in his town because of the border crisis.

And, Mayor, I very much appreciate your time. I just want to start with a live pictures of what it looks like in Juarez, Mexico, across the border right now.

You've got hundreds of migrants waiting, and obviously that is an incredibly small fraction of those who are waiting, and those already there. You've got thousands of migrants, I know, already on the streets of your city.

What is your latest estimate, Mayor, of how many more migrants could be on the way ahead of Thursday's deadline?

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER, EL PASO, TEXAS: You know, Erin, I traveled to ciudad Juarez Last week, and went to the shelters and the shelters were empty. The second largest shelter that I've visited had about 20, and the rest of them are out on the street. It's just (INAUDIBLE).

So, there's thousands of them, not hundreds, there's thousands of them there that you are not housed. Based on the report that I have, there's about 10,000 to 12,000 right here at the border there.


And the reason they don't want to go to the shelter, they don't want to miss the opportunity to come to the United States, they are there on the false pretense that when they get in before 42 expires, they'll be able to stay here, and that is not the case. The borders are closed today, and the borders will be close after Title 42 expires, but there's thousands of them.

And I was told there's a caravan that will arrive prior to Title 42 expiring that's about 3,500. So we expect to see at the end of Title 42 expiring, we expect to see somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10,000 to 15,000.

BURNETT: Ten to fifteen thousand. I mean, those are stunning numbers, and are you, what even happens here? Are you even prepared for this?

LEESER: Well, I've been saying that we need to continue to prepare for the unknown, and the unknown is what we hear on May 12th, but when I declared the state of emergency, I wanted to make sure we were able to open. We have a couple schools that have been closed for years, and we're going to open those schools and turn them into temporary shelters, and those of people who have gone through the immigration process that will be able to stay in those schools from the 24 to 72 hours, then be able to go to the next destination.

And that's to be with their families, be with their friends, and those are people that once you go and get through the immigration process, you are free to go as you want to go in the U.S. We want to help them get to that destination, and so we're going to open up to schools, we have a convention center prepared. The Red Cross has come to assist us to make sure we do that.

BURNETT: So you are doing all of that, but not hearing very much about the federal government.

And Senator Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona says she's not getting information from the Biden administration about preparations for the end of Title 42. She says that includes no information about how long it will take to process those migrants, how many buses will be available to transport them, pretty much anything.

And here's a bit more of what she said, Mayor.


SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (I-AZ): It is unfortunate, is that I'm asking for that information and I'm not getting it. And so, you have the administration has that information, and they're choosing not to share it which is a problem, since we are the ones who are dealing with the crisis. Or they don't have it, and that's even more concerning.

MODERATOR: And that hasn't been shared with the governor?

SINEMA: It's not been shared with the governor, I spoke with the governor yesterday. It is not been shared, so we do not have this information.


BURNETT: Mayor, is this your experience with getting information from the White House? Is it like Senator Sinema's, or are you surprised to hear that?

LEESER: No, I can tell you that I've been working with Secretary Mayorkas, he's been very good with filling in with information, and making sure we have the funding, because people are coming to El Paso, they are coming to the United States. And the federal government has given us funding that we need to do the work of the federal government, really. Because that is all responsibility first, to make sure that the citizens of El Paso continue to be safe, but also our side speakers.

The White House has been very good to be working with us, and I actually call up there and I can talk to somebody, and I talk to them probably once or twice a day moving forward. And they have been very, very helpful and I am thankful for the opportunity, and the help they have given to our community.

BURNETT: All right, Well, Mayor Leeser, I appreciate it. Thank you very much for sharing all of this with me. Thank you. LEESER: Thank you, ma'am. You have a great day.

BURNETT: All right. You, too.

And next, we have new video that is just coming to OUTFRONT. This is of what's actually playing out right now on the front lines of the Ukraine. We're going to take you there and let you see this for yourself, next.

Plus, President Biden support among not white voters dropping significantly from Election Day 2020, what's happening?



BURNETT: Tonight, the Ukrainian military officials saying soldiers in Bakhmut have been shelled by Russia more than 400 times in just the past 24 hours. And look at this, I'm showing here, this is new forage we have aerial footage of what used to be Bakhmut. It is just a completely charred out, burned out, destroyed shell of a city.

And this comes as the Ukrainian sniper that we've interviewed several times on OUTFRONT, you may remember him, Roman Trokhymets, he is sharing with us some dramatic video from the churches around Bakhmut that he has just filled. I'm going to show it to you, what you're about to see is graphic, but he did want us to go ahead and share it.

It's a Ukrainian soldier that has been severely wounded by an explosion receiving lifesaving medical treatment from other soldiers. Ultimately, the soldier did survive, as I mentioned though, it is difficult to watch, but he thought it was important to share with you.


BURNETT: You see him tying a tourniquet, and as we said that soldier did survive.

Nick Paton Walsh is OUTFRONT with our coverage now on the front lines, in southern Ukraine.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Occupied Ukraine's claim to be evacuating citizens. Russia's wholesale departure cannot come soon enough, the frontline town not a heave. Ravaged by Moscow, where four missiles hit on Thursday alone. Rescuers left guessing what the constant bangs me, and have done?

You see people just down the road here carrying on life as a normal, despite dust, gathered all around.

Is that Ukrainian?

DMYTRO HAIDAR, FIREFIGHTER (translated): No, that might not be. WALSH: There may not be in fact. Outgoing?

HAIDAR (translated): One thousand three hundred meters away is the last Ukrainian position.

WALSH: He saying it's not the particular time a day, it could be an anytime at all frankly.

As dusk falls, the sky is littered with jewel. All they can do here to stay alive is read the horizon.

Some of it perhaps further south into occupied areas, even a week earlier. But so much of it also very close.

Dawn is often jarring, we hear a jet overhead, slowly building grating sound of damage moving towards us.


A missile, half million dollar KH31, Ukraine officials say, lands just 700 yards away.

Another blast follows.

Either jet entrails or anti-aircraft fire settled to shape a Z in the air. The symbol of Russia's invasion, it is soon gone. The damage it leaves, though, isn't. This is where it hit or missed.

Down here, you can get a feeling of just how massively brutal Russian firepower can be. And also how indiscriminate. I can still smell the explosive down here, and you're kind of left wondering where the obvious military target is.

At the end of this road is Polohi (ph), one of the towns Russia has said it is evacuating. We are just one mile from Russian front line positions here, a world torn apart as Moscow tries to hold Ukraine back.

We're no more than 10 miles in that direction, of the first towns, that Russian occupying forces say they're going to be evacuating because of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. But, look here, the last town really held by Ukraine, absolutely battered. And so few people left here as little need to evacuate.

Where there were once 3,000, there are 200 people trying to stay says Raisa (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): We can't leave. We don't have a way out. We survive just on aide they bring to us.

Caught in these wide open spaces where a distant bang can suddenly alter life in an instant.


WALSH (on camera): Erin, Russian officials say they've now evacuated 3,000 individuals, civilians mostly from the areas along the front line, potentially where Ukraine may launch its counteroffensive. Ukrainian officials say that's impacting cash withdrawals, gasoline availability, and also cell phone service, too. And even that one particular town to the west of Crimea may have seen a lot of people leaving it recently.

Most importantly, though, many Ukrainians here, I think, are bracing themselves for a night of maybe more missile strikes, drone strikes as well. A lot are being intercepted by defense over the past nights. But tomorrow for Russia is particularly important, it's victory day, the 9th of May. It will be celebrated in Moscow itself.

And we sadly know that Moscow tends to mark anniversaries here in Ukraine with a bid to create more bloodshed -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Nick, from Zaporizhzhia tonight.

I want to go straight now to the retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

And, General Hertling, part of what Nick's talking about, Russia evacuating 3,000 people from the front line in Zaporizhzhia where Nick is tonight due to increased shelling. They've got lines of buses. We're showing them. They're using those to transport people away.

Now, Zaporizhzhia, of course, has been seen as a major target likely in the coming Ukrainian counteroffensive. So what do you think Russia is doing here?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Erin, first of all, Zaporizhzhia is an entire oblast. So you're talking about several hundred square kilometers.

The -- make no mistake. Russia is not evacuating these people for humanitarian reasons. They have not done that anywhere else. What they're doing is taking citizens away so that they don't help the incoming Ukrainian forces that are coming in.

It's the same thing the Nazis did in France where they killed resistance fighters, they moved fighters away so that they couldn't help the allies when they were coming in to France and then later into Germany.

So that's what they're doing. They're getting rid of the population so they can't help and spot where Russians are. They can't tell the Ukrainian forces where the defensive positions are. They can't point out sniper positions.

So those are the kind of things that are going on right now.

BURNETT: Well, I think it's important to be clear, right, there is nothing humanitarian about it. Another thing I wanted to ask you about, because Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, is now saying his troops are getting ammunition, and that they're advancing in Bakhmut. The reason I'm mentioning this is that you and I were talking just days ago. He was warning that he was going to pull all of his troops out of Bakhmut because they had no ammunition and no support, nothing from the Russian military. Now all of a sudden they're advancing and they got the ammo.

What do you read into that?

HERTLING: I read into it that it is more Russian and Kremlin drama. It is political back and forth between Prigozhin, the leader of the Chechen fighters, Shoigu, the defense minister, and Gerasimov, the leader of the Russian military, all centered around Putin.

You know, the interesting thing is this has been dysfunctional now for almost 18 months.



HERTLING: These kind of personalities have been at play. And even on the eve of a grand offensive by the Ukrainian forces, they're still screwing around trying to figure out who's in charge and who the leader is. None of this is military activity the way professional soldiers see it.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, General, as always.

HERTLING: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And, next, President Biden tonight has the lowest approval ratings of his presidency so far. In fact, in this most recent poll, he would lose to Trump in a 2024 matchup. So, how worried should he be at this point? Van Jones is next.

Plus, the treasury secretary tonight with an ominous warning about America's economy if the debt ceiling is not raised.


BURNETT: Tonight pay up. That is the message from President Biden who wants airlines to pay customers whose flights are canceled or delayed. Now, this is a proposal that obviously would be fairly popular one could imagine. It comes as he is facing some of the lowest poll numbers in his presidency so far though so whether this will move that is another question.

But a new "Washington Post" poll came out that shows 36 percent of voters approve of the job Biden is doing, 36 percent. That's the lowest in his presidency. In a head-to-head match up with Trump, Biden loses, 44-38. That is not close.

OUTFRONT now, Van Jones, former special adviser to President Obama.

So, Van, just, you know, be clear here, the approval rating is the lowest of Biden's presidency so far. That would be a trouncing if that were the general election number that came out.

But here we are in May of 2023. How worried should Biden be at this point?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think he should be worried but worried if the numbers were flipped. In other words we are a year almost away from the election and anything can happen. This is probably his floor.

I think there is a level of fatigue out there not just with Biden but the economy is weird. You can't plan for anything. Nobody knows what is going on. A.I. is going to come and eat all our jobs. Everyone is scared, uncertain, and hurting and you take it out on the president in situations like that.

But, you know, we are a year and a half out. There is only one way to run for president. You have to run scared. He should be worried today. He should be worried if the numbers were higher, too.


BURNETT: Right, okay, which is a fair point. But he is struggling within that poll, right? There were some sub data points that were pretty interesting. One of them is a key group which is nonwhite voters.

So, in "The Washington Post" poll, Biden is up among nonwhite voters over Trump by 11 points, okay? People might take a step back. Oh, he is up by 11 points. Contrast that with 2020 where he won nonwhite voters by 45 points.

Okay. What the heck is behind that?

JONES: Well, look, that is, those are shocking numbers. They're scary numbers. I don't think they are stable numbers. In other words, I think that you're going to see these numbers move around.

But if you are trying to figure out what's going on in addition to the basic anxiety that I'm talking about, you know, we always assume these cultural war fights only cut one way. They kind of excite the Trump base and nobody else. But there are conservative, African American and Latin voters that may also sometimes get pulled along into some of these, you know, on to the other side of some of these culture war issues. And we just don't know where it all settles out.

BURNETT: Quick final point here. I mentioned Trump, but obviously, we have no idea who the nominee will be. And Biden also in the poll loses to the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 37-42 percent. Again in U.S. politics where we are now, that would -- that is not really close. Do you read anything into that one?

JONES: We just haven't had a campaign yet to define DeSantis. I mean, right now, DeSantis, you know, look. You have the opportunity in the campaign dynamic when you know who the alternative is, as Joe Biden always says, don't compare me to the almighty. Compare me to the alternative.

Once you know who the alternative is you will see a lot of people come back home. People on the fence won't want DeSantis. BURNETT: Van Jones, thank you.

And coming up on "AC360", Anderson is going to look at a new twist in the Alex Murdaugh saga and a surprised mission from prison, Murdaugh now says he lied about housekeeper's death. What does it mean? That's tonight at 8:00.

And next here, a new warning about the U.S. economy as President Biden is about to sit down with a high stakes meeting on paying America's debt.


BURNETT: Just hours before President Biden is about to meet with congressional leaders about paying America's debt, this warning from the treasury secretary tonight.


JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, we just will not have enough money at that time to be able to pay all of the bills. It is widely agreed this would be a huge hit to the economy and really an economic catastrophe.


BURNETT: Using the word catastrophe there. Yellen also saying she is worried about negotiations between the president and Republicans. Well, then, I guess she doesn't need to be worried about that tonight because even though I mentioned Biden will be hosting a high stakes meeting at the White House with the four top leaders of Congress tomorrow, and that is a crucial meeting, the White House does say this particular meeting will not actually include negotiations on raising the debt ceiling itself.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.