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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump-Era Policy Used To Quickly Expel Migrants Ends In Hours; NYT: E. Jean Carroll May Sue Trump Again After CNN Town Hall; Ukraine Has Begun "Shaping" Operations For Counteroffensive; Elon Musk Says He's Stepping Down As CEO Of Twitter. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 11, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, deadline. The Trump border policy expiring tonight. Migrants lining up as officials brace for a crisis they may not be able to contain.
Plus, E. Jean Carroll's attorney says she may sue Trump again after comments he made about her at last night's town hall. This as more Republicans say they're not buying what Trump is selling. One of them is my guest.
Plus, Putin's spokesperson claiming with a straight face that Russia is not, quote, waging war, denying that Ukrainian towns are being destroyed. Is it a sick joke?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, it's about to happen. We're hours away from a major change in U.S. immigration rules. This is what's happening on the ground tonight, hundreds of migrants right now waiting between barbed wire and the border wall, waiting for a chance to cross into the United States. And there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands more behind them.
In fact, the United Nations today saying as many as 400,000 migrants may attempt that journey to cross that U.S. border. The reason is tonight's deadline. At midnight, Title 42 is going to come to an end. So, we've got just a few hours here.
Title 42 has been used nearly 3 million times to turn migrants away from the United States. And there are growing fears about the crisis that is now on the cusp of exploding along the U.S. border with Mexico because many of the thousands and thousands heading towards that border are coming thanks to social media posts which falsely say that the United States borders are open.
Like take a TikTok video, I'll show you this one. It has the #titulo42, which means Title 42. Videos with this hashtag have been viewed more than, ready, 100 million times, 100 million times. And in that video, the man says that you cannot be deported once Title 42 ends, 100 million views. Well, the president of the United States is in a series of meetings as
the clock approaches midnight tonight. He and his advisers are saying that those claims are false.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I want to be very clear. Our borders are not open. People who cross our border unlawfully and without a legal basis to remain will be promptly processed and removed. We prepared for this moment for almost two years. And our plan will deliver results.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, in a moment, I'm going to speak to the mayor of Laredo. He says his city right now is only capable of processing 2,000 migrants a day. And that they are looking at an estimated 40,000 there right now waiting to cross that border.
Our team of reporters is standing by on this important evening. Ed Lavandera is in El Paso, Texas. David Culver is in Juarez, Mexico.
I want to begin with Ed, though.
And, Ed, what are you seeing there in El Paso tonight?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're seeing here tonight in El Paso is an example of what many communities along the border, just beyond the wall you see behind me, there's been a group of 2,500 migrants waiting to be processed, people who turned themselves in to border authorities.
Officials here say they have processed about 1,500 of them. Still 1,000 of those people left to go. This as Title 42 is hours away from expiring.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): A steady stream of migrants continue to swell along the U.S. border with Mexico on Thursday, as Title 42 and Trump- era border restrictions officially come to an end tonight at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, mirroring the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Twenty-four thousand re-enforcements of U.S. Marshals, Secret Service, military and law enforcement have been deployed to assist border authorities, making a very visible presence at border crossings as administration officials try to make it clear that U.S. boundaries will be enforced.
MAYORKAS: If anyone arrives at our southern border after midnight tonight, they will be presumed ineligible for asylum and subject to steeper consequences for unlawful entry.
LAVANDERA: Tens of thousands of migrants are already in custody and Customs and Border Protection officials estimate that more than 150,000 migrants are on Mexico's streets and in shelters along the northern border with the U.S.
For several years, most migrants who crossed illegally into the United States would immediately turn themselves in to immigration authorities. But when Title 42 is lifted, that's expected to change. Border authorities here in the El Paso area say they're already seeing an uptick in the number of migrants out here in these remote areas, trying to cross and avoid getting caught.
But the head of the border patrol is down playing any run for the border surge that's expected in the coming days and says it already happened in the last week.
The Biden administration is rolling out new measures, intended to stem the tide of migrants, including a rule barring some asylum seekers, those who pass through another country like Mexico on the way to the U.S. border.
And screenings designed to determine if migrants seeking asylum have credible fear and are fleeing persecution or torture in their home countries. Many migrants say they have made long, dangerous journeys to reach the U.S. border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To them the American dream is still alive and vibrant.
LAVANDERA: Some say they are fleeing violence. Others hoping to reunite with family members and many are just looking for a way to support their families and a better life.
But at the border today, a long journey still awaits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all know that the immigration process is broken. And it needs to be fixed. I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel.
LAVANDERA: So while some local officials can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, what exactly is going to happen in the coming days, really at this point, Erin, seems to be more uncertain an ever. As you heard some officials saying they're bracing for the worst. Other top leaders in immigration system here in the U.S. saying that perhaps we've already seen the worst of it.
So, we will have to wait and see what the situation brings in the coming days -- Erin.
BURNETT: Ed, thank you very much.
And now, you've seen what's happening in El Paso. I want to go to David Culver because he's right across the border from Ed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, tonight.
David, you spent these days leading into again these crucial hours before the formal expiration of Title 42. What are you seeing and hearing from people right now here in these final hours?
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You've seen this backdrop over my shoulder over the past few days, Erin. We started to see an increase show of force from mostly Texas National Guard and Texas law enforcement. Probably the best view nor this is going to be from above.
So let me show you from our drone. We can take you over to see what is actually the Texas side of things, so that is U.S. soil. It's between the barbed wire and the border wall. And we've shown you the group of migrants that have been camping out here for days, some of them for weeks, hundreds of them.
What we noticed just in the past few hours is Texas law enforcement, along with CBP, have been taking the lead to try to divide these individuals into groups. And we've seen many who are now grouped into families, individual men. You can see they even brought out port-a- johns, toilets to keep people contained to this area.
They're no longer allowing people to go in and out along the barbed wire. That has changed just today. And so they're clearly trying to start the processing. But from above, you can get an idea of how they're trying to do it in an orderly way.
But at the same time, you see folks who are on this side of things, trying to cross, being told they can no longer go over. And it's become a frustration for them. And then closer to the city center, you have people, hundreds if not thousands, camping out and we've caught up with a few of them. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER: He's going to show us where his setup is.
All his clothes here.
Interesting. He says he really is hoping he's received well in the U.S. he has no intention to stay long term. He wants to work a little bit. He says three, four years and then go back to Venezuela.
She wants to do it legally. She wants to go through the process. For her it's not about title 42 or lifting or staying, she wants to do it legally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER: This is something you and I, Erin, talked about repeatedly over the past few days and I hear it from nearly every migrant we have spoken with. They're on their own schedule.
Today may be the Title 42 lifts and a few hours from now, that's not their timing or crossing. It's very individualized. Folks are looking what we're seeing behind me here and seeing that as the surge, it's just really a continuous surge that's been happening for days, weeks and will likely continue for that same period.
BURNETT: All right. David, thank you very much from Ciudad Juarez.
Now, I want to go to the mayor of Laredo, Texas, Victor Trevino.
And, Mayor, I very much appreciate your time tonight. Obviously, here we are, the final hours of something that we knew was coming. But here we are with a lot of uncertainty. What are you expecting in your city?
MAYOR VICTOR TREVINO, LAREDO, TEXAS: Yes. First of all, thank you for having me.
We are seeing some historic challenges here on the border. I grew up here on the border. And as a doctor, I'm in the trenches everyday.
But I'm concerned that too many migrant transfers can cost more stress in our already stressed medical infrastructure. We don't have a pediatric intensive care unit. And with the arrival of family units, I don't want to see any child get gravely ill, not be able to treat them.
So, at this point, we're boarding up as if a hurricane were coming.
Now, Laredo continues to be one of the safest cities and the second lowest illegal border crossing in the country. But we have been -- we'll be receiving transfers from Brownsville and El Paso are currently overwhelmed. So, our fear that we will also be overwhelmed from these transfers of migrants when they get here.
Now some of the migrants will be made assure we balance the resources of our community, and the humanitarian efforts of these migrants, whatever they need. But, at the end of the day, what has always been a federal problem for decades now has become local problem for our border communities. So that's where we are at this point.
BURNETT: Now, let me just ask you, President Biden says this is going to be chaotic for a while. Obviously, we did know this was coming, but there are lawmakers reacting from both sides of the aisle. Here is Senator Lankford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): This administration has not done what it needed to do. This was a very predictable crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona told CNN, quote, it's clear that the Biden administration, while it had two years to prepare for the end of Title 42 failed to do so.
And you know, we're hearing numbers today, Mayor, from the U.N., right, you could have 400,000 more people currently making their way, whether in part because these false social media posts, whatever it is, they're coming. Do you think this was avoidable? TREVINO: It has been avoidable for a long time. This immigration
reform should have been enacted years ago after the '80s. So this is not a new thing.
So immigration reform is what could have helped the situation. Now, all these measures being done are good. But the truth -- and all the aid that's being provided, but it's a little too late. It could have been done a long time ago. It would have been -- the outcome would have been --
BURNETT: And who do you think bears most of the blame for that at this point? Obviously I know in part Congress some. Do you think this administration, the Biden administration, could have and should have done more?
TREVINO: Well, I don't think it's a Republican or Democratic problem. It's Congress as a whole that should have acted on this because this probably was in the future that was coming and it's here now. And now we have the problem here locally. And it's a situation that, like you say, could have been prevented.
But here we are now. We're trying to deal with the situation that's here. And acting reactively we should have been proactive in the past.
BURNETT: All right. Mayor Trevino, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
TREVINO: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, E. Jean Carroll who just prevailed. She won her civil suit against Trump, may sue the former president again after his comments about her at CNN's town hall last night.
Plus, ahead of Russia's private military throwing public tantrums and now closer to directing his anger at Putin, directly. How long will Putin let it go on?
And troubling new developments in the case of a Utah mother, the one who wrote that children's book about grieving her husband and is now charged with his murder, tonight, allegations of a previous failed attempt to poison her husband.
BURNETT: New tonight, a lawyer for E. Jean Carroll saying the writer may sue Trump again for comments he made during last night's CNN town hall, mocking her claim that he raped her in a Manhattan department store in the mid 1990s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I never met this woman. I never saw this woman. This woman said I met her at the front door of Bergdorf Goodman, which I rarely go into, other than for a couple charities. This is a fake story, made up story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: An attorney for Carroll telling "The New York Times", everything is on the table obviously. We have to give serious consideration to suing Trump again. It comes as Trump officially filed his appeal in the $5 million jury decision that found that he sexually abused and defamed Carroll.
OUTFRONT now, Ryan Goodman, co-editor in chief of "Just Security", also former special counsel at the Defense Department.
Ryan, let's start there. These comments we played from Trump. They match almost identically with his social media posts in October, 2022, right? Almost identically but that is significant because that post is a post that the jury found to be defamatory in this case.
Quote, I don't know this woman. I have no idea who she is. She completely made up a story.
So, do you think she would win another defamation case?
RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR IN CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: Absolutely. Because it is a kind of replica of what he said before. A jury has already found unanimously that that was defamatory.
And in fact, she could actually walk into the court and say part of this has already been decided between these two parties there's a unanimous verdict that I was telling the truth about the sexual assault and what he did was maliciously defaming me. And here he has done it again.
BURNETT: Right. So she could absolutely do it. The big question is, will she? She already has a victory. She got $5 million.
GOODMAN: Yeah. It's a very personal choice as to whether or not she wants to do it and put herself through another trial. But, she might be able to convince the judge that, as I mentioned, some of these issues have been decided so she does not have to go through the rigor again of going through what happened to her that he'll be established and go to the question of defamation, not to the question of whether or not there was a sexual assault.
BURNETT: Okay. Take that part away. All right, which could be very significant.
Now, you're pointing to a few other comments last night that could impact the two DOJ criminal cases which we're awaiting potential indictment of the DOJ. So, let's start with January 6th. Kaitlan asked Trump about the danger that was posed to his then vice president, Mike Pence. Let me play that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN MODERATOR: One person who was at the Capitol that day, as you know, was your vice president, Mike Pence. Who says you endangered his life on that day.
TRUMP: I don't think he was in any danger.
COLLINS: Mr. President, do you feel that you owe him an apology?
TRUMP: No, because he did something wrong. He should have put the votes back to the state legislatures and I think we would have had a different outcome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You find that incriminating. Explain.
GOODMAN: It's very similar to the testimony that was given to the January 6th committee where he says Pence deserved it.
In the sense that, he was put in danger and then the answer is, no, but he is responsible for having put himself in danger by not de- certifying or trying to interfere with the certification of the election. He's saying it similarly.
And also, his lawyer says to Pence's lawyer in the midst of the attack, Eastman says to Greg Jacob, no, you all are responsible for this because if your boss, Pence, had acted differently, there wouldn't be this violence. That's very incriminating and it also goes with him suggesting he would pardon some of these people up to the Proud Boys. It's an endorsement of the violence in a certain sense, and I think that would be really important evidence that, in fact, the DOJ would use before a jury if they did bring it to that.
BURNETT: All right. So that is significant. There's also the Mar-a- Lago classified documents case you think is front and center here.
Let me play the exchange over the classified documents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Did you ever show those classified documents to anyone?
TRUMP: Not really. I would have the right to. By the way, they were declassified.
COLLINS: What do you mean not really?
TRUMP: Not that I can think of. Let me tell you, I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Not really and not that I can think of.
GOODMAN: So, that's hedging on this very important question, did you share it with anybody else? If he shared that -- those documents with anybody else, it puts the case in a very different category under the Espionage Act and ratcheted up the likelihood he'll be indicted. That's a very different case if you share it with other people.
The fact that he's hedging like that I'm sure everybody inside of Jack Smith, the special counsel's office their ears perked up because he's not denying that he did that. It sounds like there's something really there.
Plus, he's also saying that he was aware that the documents were removed from the White House. That's another piece that he said last night that is really important to the case.
BURNETT: All right. Well, of course, as we await those possible indictments, whether there would be on January 6th as well as Mar-a- Lago, whether they come together or not, we await.
All right. Ryan, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to Republican congressman from New York, Mike Lawler. He has said the GOP needs to move on from Trump.
And, Congressman, I appreciate your time.
So, you know, you heard Ryan there explaining why Trump may have put himself in even more legal jeopardy with those comments that we were just playing about the classified documents case, about Pence on January 6th, but, of course, the other part of this is that the people in the room were applauding Trump as he said this.
What's your feeling about that? Does it make you want to move on from Trump even more?
REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Well, I can't speak to the CNN town hall or how you know, the audience was selected or the topics discussed. I mean, that's something obviously you guys can speak to better than I.
But, you know, I've said repeatedly that I think the party needs to move in a new direction. That I think whoever the nominee is needs to be focused on the future, and the challenges facing the American people.
Right now, in Congress, we're focused on the debt ceiling and the migrant crisis impacting our nation. And you know, when I met with the president yesterday in my district, that is what I talked about. That was my focus on the issues that we're dealing with.
And so, you know, I'm not interested in re-litigating 2020. I've said repeatedly Joe Biden won the election.
LAWLER: It's time to move on from that.
BURNETT: So, I'm going to ask you both about debt and immigration. But first, I do want to ask you one other thing because what matters here, at this moment in time, whatever the predicate is, is what other Republicans are going to do. You know, you're talking about yourself. But there are Republicans who have been strong supporters of Trump in
the past who are breaking with him over some of his remarks last night. And I wanted to play two of them. They may surprise you. Senator Hawley is one of them. Senator Tillis is another one.
They're weighing in on the fact that Trump promised yet again pardons for January 6th rioters. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): Anybody who crossed into the capitol under the circumstances that I witnessed firsthand, it's hard for me to have a positive predisposition towards them. But just generally I disagree.
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): If you're asking me do I think he should pardon people who engaged in rioting behavior -- no, I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course, Senator Hawley, as you're well aware voted to overturn the election, and had the famous fist bump to the crowd before it stormed the Capitol. Neither of those senators went so far as to say they would not support Trump if he's the nominee. They're not saying let's move -- they're not saying what you're saying, right, loudly and clearly.
So, what do you read into this? Do you think this is the beginning of real cracks in Trump's core support or not?
LAWLER: Well, look, I can't speak to others and what they think or how they're going to act during this primary process. What I can say is this, with respect to January 6th, I was the first state legislature in New York to condemn it. I don't care frankly who it is.
Anybody who stormed the Capitol should be held responsible for their own conduct.
LAWLER: Just like anybody who stormed the federal courthouse in Oregon or anybody who burned a police precinct to the ground. When you commit acts of violence, you should be held liable, period. And as far as I'm concerned, you know, that's the bottom line on this.
BURNETT: So, you mentioned the debt ceiling. And obviously there's a meeting between President Biden and congressional leaders. It was supposed to be tomorrow. It got postponed.
You mentioned meeting with him yesterday when he was in New York. He mentioned you. He said you're the type of Republican he used to work with when he was a senator.
Did he say anything to you that made you think that you could join with him or join with house Democrats on a deal to avoid America's first-ever default?
LAWLER: Well, the president and I had a few moments to speak. And I was very clear with the president that he needs to negotiate with Speaker McCarthy. House Republicans are the only ones who have actually voted to lift the debt ceiling.
Chuck Schumer could talk until he's blue in the face about a clean debt ceiling. He does not have the votes for it. I made that very clear to the president. All of us have a responsibility to negotiate in good faith.
You know, Joe Biden when he was a senator voted against raising the debt ceiling when George Bush was president. As vice president, he negotiated on behalf of President Obama with John Boehner, then speaker, about a debt ceiling increase tied to spending reforms.
The bottom line here is this, we cannot continue to incur debt and print new money at levels we have going forward. And so, yes, we need to pay our previous debts incurred. Yes, we need to lift the debt ceiling. No, we cannot default, but we can't keep going down this path.
So my point to the president is this is not one party rule. We don't live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. Republicans were elected to serve as a check and balance. We need to work together to lift the debt ceiling and do it responsibly, period.
BURNETT: And one final point because you mentioned immigration and we're watching the southern border as we're now just a few hours away from Title 42 expiration. A judge blocked New York City and Mayor Adams from transporting migrants to Rockland County. Rockland County, New York, includes parts of your congressional district.
I know that you consider that a victory. How big of a crisis is this in New York? By the way, there were more migrants bused up to Washington, D.C., today and no doubt they'll be more heading for New York.
LAWLER: Look, New York City has taken in over 60,000 migrants since Joe Biden took office. This is a crisis of epic proportions. Over 5 million people have crossed our southern border since Joe Biden took office.
We need to secure our border. We need to stop this massive inflow of illegal immigration. Obviously, there are people who are seeking asylum. Those cases need to be heard in a expeditious manner.
But it's taking at minimum six months if not in some cases two to three years.
LAWLER: This is totally unsustainable. New York City is buckling under the pressure. Even though it's a sanctuary city, it cannot handle this. And so, now, it's trying to shift that responsibility on to municipalities, including my hometown of Orangetown, where we do not have the resources nor capabilities to handle a massive influx of hundreds if not thousands of migrants at a given time.
We welcome immigrants into our community. We have migrants who have come naturally to Rockland County, but not in these numbers. That's the issue.
And so, when I met with the president yesterday, I encouraged him to work with us in the House Republican majority to secure our border and stop this massive inflow so we can fix our broken immigration system once and for all.
BURNETT: Congressman Lawler, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
LAWLER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, we have breaking news. We are learning that Ukrainian forces have begun, quote, shaping operations in the counteroffensive against Russia. Former CIA director and general, David Petraeus, will be my guest next.
Plus, Elon musk announcing a major change to Twitter.
BURNETT: Breaking news. Ukrainian forces have begun, quote, shaping operations in the much-anticipated counteroffensive. Sources are telling CNN's Jim Sciutto tonight, senior U.S. official, saying the operations could continue for days before Ukraine launches the bulk of the counteroffensive and be designed to confuse Russia's military. Significant development coming as Vladimir Putin's spokesperson made a jaw-dropping claim, Russia is not waging war.
And then Dmitry Peskov went on to say this. Quote: Waging war is different thing, total destruction of infrastructure and cities and so on. We don't do that.
I mean, this is a whole new level of spin gaslighting, propaganda. I mean, it really is stunning. They don't destroy cities? Look at this before and after image. Mariupol, the once thriving city in southern Ukraine, where Russia raised to the ground and now occupies.
Or, look at the charred utterly destroyed hallowed out town of Bakhmut, as it stands today. And then look at it before Russia's invasion. Before and after satellite images.
I mean, to borrow a phrase from Peskov, total destruction? And as for infrastructure, targeting Ukrainian power, rail and roads has been a constant in Putin's war. People in the cold, targeting infrastructure has been a core of this whole thing to break Ukraine's will. Yes, they do that.
And Peskov's completely false claims are coming as the head of the brutal private army, Wagner Group is publicly going after Putin's generals.
Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): After months of brutal fighting, the battle for Bakhmut may be pushing Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin closer to the edge. Standing in front of the bodies of his dead fighters, he launched into a rant against Russia's military leadership blaming them for the deaths.
YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, HEAD OF WAGNER GROUP (through translator): You think you are the masters of this life?
You think you can dispose of other lives? You think because you have warehouses full of ammunition that you have that right?
PLEITGEN: For months, Prigozhin and Vladimir Putin's top generals, Sergey Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, have been mired in severe infighting. But now, the Wagner boss's tirades are becoming more vicious and more frequent, accusing Russia's defense minister of with holding much-needed ammo.
PRIGOZHIN (through translator): Instead of using shell to kill an enemy and saving one of our soldier's lives, they are killing our soldiers.
PLEITGEN: In a country where thousands have been jailed for criticizing Vladimir Putin's war, Prigozhin is getting away with his tantrums. That's because Putin doesn't fully trust his own military and needs Prigozhin, Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov believes.
ANDREI SOLDATOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: He's extremely paranoid about control and political stability. Prigozhin is a tool to -- if not to keep the military in check, at least to keep them off balance.
PLEITGEN: The infighting seems to be costing Russia both lives and momentum. Ukraine's army now says it is making gains in Bakhmut.
And while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his forces long anticipated counteroffensive has not yet started, Prigozhin today once again accusing the Russian army of cutting and running.
PRIGOZHIN (through translator): Those territories liberated with the blood of our comrades everyday progressed by dozens or hundreds of meters during many months. Today, are abandoned almost without any fight by those who are supposed to hold our flanks.
PLEITGEN: Bakhmut was supposed to be a much-needed win for Vladimir Putin. But now it could ring in major problems to come, Andrei Soldatov says.
SOLDATOV: I think he is nervous, he cannot trust completely what his people are telling him. (END VIDEOTAPE)
PLEITGEN (on camera): And, you know, Erin, we're keeping a close eye on pretty much everything that Prigozhin has been saying the past couple days and said tonight. He came out with another audio message where he claimed that his mercenaries are continuing to move forward in Bakhmut. However, all this comes as commander on the ground tells CNN that they've killed hundreds of Russians over the past couple of days and are advancing in the southwest and the northwest of Bakhmut.
So, clearly, that infighting already costing the Russians dearly, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Fred, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, retired army general and former CIA director, David Petraeus.
And, General Petraeus, I really appreciate your time.
So, you've got Yevgeny Prigozhin, he is very publicly continuing to slam Putin's top generals who are running the war. Putin publicly, Prigozhin is getting away with it. What do you think is going on here?
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, Putin has tolerated dissent to his right wing, that which is critical of the war not being prosecuted sufficiently aggressively because it plays into what he's trying to achieve. And he's willing to allow them to attack his generals, his minister of defense to a degree as long as it doesn't touch him.
But the fact that he does tolerate this is just reflective of the undercurrents of dissent and dispute and, you know, the drama in all of this, which is not good for the Russian forces. It also reminds us that the Russian force that's on the battlefield now is relatively incoherent. You have the Wagner Group, the paramilitary taking orders from Prigozhin. Not always listening to the ministry of defense. You have the Chechens and their own chain of command.
Beyond that, Erin, you have to look at the Russian forces themselves, and you conclude they're not well trained anymore, if they ever were. They're not well-equipped anymore. They have taken enormous casualties and enormous losses of armor systems and other materiel.
They're not well-led. Again, it's not a coherent structure. They're not well-disciplined.
And by contrast, you see the Ukrainians, who are going to field now as many as ten new brigades of 3,000 to 3,500 troops each depending on the type of brigade, quite well equipped, especially the six or more that are the armor brigades that will have the Western tanks now for the first time, infinity fighting vehicles, training hard, well led, well disciplined. They're cohesive units as opposed to just battered units filled up with individual replacements.
So you contrast the Ukrainians with this Russian force, and I think we're going to see the Ukrainians do better than many are assessing and the Russians do worse.
They're going to crumble. And the question is, how broad is that crumbling or the collapse, if you will?
BURNETT: And how significant, you know, Zelenskyy today said Ukraine needs a bit more time to prepare to launch the counteroffensive.
But you know, the U.K. now says they're providing those longer range cruise missiles to Ukraine. Which obviously could be significant and I should note this comes in contrast to the U.S., right, which has declined to provide those ATACMS and has refused to do that.
How significant is that? And I guess, General, I'll ask you, are you disappointed that it's not the U.S. doing it or that the U.S. is not also doing it?
PETRAEUS: Well, the U.K. actually has led in a number of cases really since the very beginning, in fact, before the beginning of the war. Remember, they were the first with the man portable anti-tank systems. We watched to see what the Russians would do. They sent in maybe hundreds, 48, 72 hours later, we start plowing in thousands.
And the same with the anti-ship missiles, as you may recall. They were the first -- actually I think the first major prime minister to visit.
So I don't think it's completely uncharacteristic of what has happened. And let's see now if there's a response. Then hopefully I would like to see us commit to provide the army tactical missile system which would take it from 150 kilometers to 300 kilometers range and would put many more of the logistical bases, headquarters, depots and so forth in Crimea within range if they achieve the kind of success that I think they will.
Then in terms of timing, I think you have to keep in mind that they can't really start this offensive until the ground is sufficiently dry and solid. So you can run track vehicles, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles across the country side and get off the road. You don't want to be road bound as you recall the Russians were during the attack on Kyiv, which means you end up with a 40 mile traffic jam, because the obstacles and defensive positions naturally do focus quite a bit on the major roads.
BURNETT: During CNN town hall, the former President Trump claimed that he could end the war in 24 hours if he was president. Of course he didn't say whether he wanted Ukraine or Russia to win and then said this when he was asked if he thought Vladimir Putin was a war criminal. Let me play it for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it's something that should not be discussed now. It should be discussed later because right now, we have to go to war -- if you say he's a war criminal, a lot tougher to make a deal to get this thing stopped. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, General, I picked this portion because I know that you have labeled Putin a war criminal, President Biden has labeled Putin a war criminal. What do you make of Trump's refusing to do so, his reasons for not doing so?
PETRAEUS: Well, again, it's sort of immaterial. The president of the United States and all other major leaders of the Western world have labeled Putin a war criminal. You can't put that back. You can't take those words back.
And beyond that, not only is he individually overseeing operations that are terrible in what it is that they're doing to innocent civilians in violations of the law of land warfare, Geneva Convention and so forth, it's almost as if they propagate a culture of committing war crimes.
BURNETT: General Petraeus, thank you so much. I appreciate your time tonight.
PETRAEUS: Good to be with you, Erin. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, just in, we're now learning who is in talks to take over or work under Elon Musk as CEO of Twitter.
Court documents revealing the Utah mom who wrote a children's book about grieving before she was charged with her husband's murder, allegedly tried to poison her husband multiple times.
BURNETT: Just in, "the Wall Street Journal" reporting an NBCUniversal executive is in talks to take over as the new CEO of Twitter. And this comes as Elon Musk announced today that there's already a deal, but he did not identify the new CEO, saying, quote, she, his words all caps, will be starting in six weeks. My role will transition to being executive chair and CTO, chief technology officer, overseeing product, software and sysops.
Come as Musk is actively trying to make twitter the new go-to for political content. Fired Fox host Tucker Carlson has announced he's launching a new show on twitter. Musk said I hope many others particularly from the left also choose to be content creators on the platform.
Now, Carlson's three-minute monologue announcing his new Twitter venture viewed more than 25.8 million times.
I don't know what sysops are. People can tell by the way I said it. I will say it's true.
Okay, Harry, these numbers are stunning. By the way, it was 28 million. When we first put the script in today it was 25.7 million. My point is it continues to go up.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Rises higher.
BURNETT: OK. So, Tucker Carlson is obviously trying to bring his audience with him to Twitter. This is a crucial, crucial test.
BURNETT: What does the Twitter audience look like politically now?
ENTEN: Yeah, this has been an amazing transformation. If you asked me a few years ago, I would have said Twitter is amazingly left leaning audience, two to one Democrats over Republicans.
But Pew Research came out with data in the last month that showed, in fact, a significant shrinking of that Democratic advantage among people who use Twitter. Now, although the audience is slightly left leaning, that gap closed tremendously. So, it was 30-point gap two years ago, now just a 12-point gap. Republicans are making up increasing share of the Twitter audience.
And I think that's partially the reason why Tucker Carlson has, in fact, tried to put a show out on Twitter because he recognizes that his audience, perhaps led by Elon Musk's words, are --
ENTEN: -- going much more over to Twitter these days.
BURNETT: So this is back to Musk takes over Twitter.
BURNETT: And Twitter changed.
BURNETT: Okay. I don't think anybody on Twitter -- I'm on Twitter. You're on Twitter. I don't think anybody on Twitter hasn't noticed that Twitter has changed. It has changed, right?
He's lifted bans on some far right posters, on some conspiracy theorists. He let Trump back on. Of course, you know, hasn't been using that yet. But how is this playing out?
ENTEN: Yeah. You know, if you look again what a transformation we have seen over the last two years among Twitter users who say that twitter is mostly good for democracy.
What we saw was Democrats overwhelmingly thought it was good for democracy back in 2021.
Now that number has flipped. Now, it's Republicans are far more likely to say that Twitter is mostly good for democracy. BURNETT: Okay. But who uses Twitter?
ENTEN: Yeah. I mean, the fact is if you're getting your news -- right. If you're getting your news from somewhere, you're far more likely to get it from television than get it from Twitter. It's 31 percent for television, just about 8 percent for Twitter.
It's going to be interesting to see if those numbers start coming closer and closer together.
BURNETT: By the way, I'm thinking sysops. I'm thinking Cyclops. It's systems operations.
ENTEN: Oh, I thought it was, yes.
BURNETT: I'm thinking it must be very boring. Sorry. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the system operations.
BURNETT: OK. All right. Thank you very much.
ENTEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, the Utah mom who allegedly poisoned her husband and then wrote that children's book about her grief tried to poison her husband two other times. This is according to new court documents.
Plus, a former marine who put a man in a deadly chokehold inside a city subway will now be charged. And we have the details ahead.
BURNETT: Tonight, new details emerging about the Utah mother who wrote the children's book about the loss of her husband. It was all about grief. She is now charged with his murder, and we have court documents now that reveal yet another instance in which Kouri Richins allegedly tried to poison her husband. This time they were on vacation. They were in Greece.
The document saying she gave him a drink that made him violently ill. And he told his family she was trying to kill him. Authorities say Kouri Richins gave her husband poison at least two other times, most recently a Moscow mule likely laced with fentanyl.
Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.
KOURI RICHINS, CHARGED WITH HUSBAND'S MURDER: It completely took us all by shock, and we have three little boys, 10, 9, and 6. And, you know, we kind of -- my kids and I kind of wrote this book on the different emotions and grieving processes that we've experienced.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's Kouri Richins promoting her children's book "Are You With Me?" about the loss of her young and apparently healthy husband Eric. The book came out a year after his sudden death in March of 2022.
Kouri told a family friend he died of a brain aneurysm.
LINDA KING, FAMILY FRIEND: I thought, well, that's what I was, you know? Poor Eric.
WATT: But Utah officials say Eric's death was not an aneurysm or a complete shock to Kouri. They say she killed him.
KING: More than super shocking. I can't -- I mean, I -- I really feel numb.
WATT: I was told by Eric's family members that they suspected his wife had something to do with his death, wrote the detective seeking a warrant to search Kouri's phone after toxicology revealed it was a lethal dose of fentanyl that killed Eric. They advised he warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears that Eric may have stayed in a relationship that wasn't good because he loved his boys and wanted to keep the family relationship together.
WATT: The search of Kouri's phone revealed courts say three deals with a drug dealer. Apparently early in February 2022, she asked for the Michael Jackson stuff. She asked for fentanyl.
And a few days after that order arrived, on Valentine's Day of 2022, his wife brought him a sandwich, which after one bite, Eric broke into hives and couldn't breathe. He used his son's EpiPen as well as Benadryl before passing out for several hours.
Weeks later, she got more fentanyl and a few hours before Eric died, officials say Kouri served him a cocktail, a Moscow mule in bed. According to that search warrant application, there were deep cracks in this marriage. He was looking into a divorce.
KING: Their family was so beautiful. Everything was picture-perfect. But I guess it wasn't.
WATT: Weeks before Eric died, Kouri tried to make herself the soul beneficiary of his life insurance. Eric had secretly changed his will, removing her. She wanted to buy and flip a $2 million mansion. Apparently he did not.
The day after Eric's death, his wife allegedly signed the closing papers.
By the way, Kouri Richins dedicated her book to "my amazing husband and a wonderful father".
WATT (on camera): Now, I just mentioned that not long before he died, Eric Richins changed his will, cut his wife out. Well, pretty soon after he died, she found out. She found out that he had left everything, the house, his business to a trust that was controlled by his sister.
So three or four weeks after Eric Richins died, Kouri Richins filed a lawsuit challenging that will, saying that she was owed $3.6 million. We reached out to her lawyer for comment. No comment -- Erin.
BURNETT: Still such an unbelievable story. Nick, thank you.
And next, a former marine to be charged after putting a New York subway passenger in a chokehold and killing him.
BURNETT: And the former U.S. marine who placed another man in a deadly chokehold on a New York City subway is now facing a second- degree manslaughter charge. CNN learning Daniel Penny is expected to turn himself in tomorrow. Penny came into contact with Jordan Neely last Monday.
According to witnesses, Neely, who has a history of mental illness, had been acting erratically before the incident. Police interviewed Penny after the struggle but they did not charged him. His attorney said his client never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death.
Well, thanks so much for joining us.
It is time now for "AC360" as always with Anderson.