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Erin Burnett Outfront

Russian State TV Shows Video of Russian Police Raiding Homes of People with Alleged Ties to Exiled Putin Foe and Ex-Lawmaker; Ukraine: Air Defenses Intercepted 29 of 30 Russian Cruise Missiles; Democrats Slam Jim Jordan for So-Called Whistleblower Witnesses. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 18, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breakthrough, Ukrainian forces making significant new gains tonight as Putin is cracking down on his war critics. We'll tell you what's happening tonight. In the meantime, his forces knocking down doors of anyone connected to a former Russian lawmaker who crossed him, and that lawmaker will be OUTFRONT.

Plus, new health concerns for Senator Diane Feinstein, her office confirming more complications from shingles, including inflammation of the brain. More on that, and who the mystery woman is by her side at all times now.

And it's a real life episode of "Succession". The world's richest men, now has to choose one of his children to take the reins. Who will it be?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Putin targeting his own. Putin's police forces breaking down the doors of Russian politicians and detaining them.

Take a look at this video, dramatic new video, what you're looking at here is armed police at one politicians home. This was breaking it down with a crowbar, ripping it off, the door jam, part of a sweep that reportedly was looking for people with ties to a former Russian lawmaker named Ilya Ponomarev, a man who was forced into exile after he became the only lawmaker to vote against Putin's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

He's continued to speak out against the war. Now, look what they're doing to people that they say are connected to him.

Well, moments ago, I spoke to Ponomarev about the men being detained in these raids.


BURNETT: What do you think will happen to them now their homes have been raided? I understand some were detained. ILYA PONOMAREV, FORMER RUSSIAN LAWMAKER: I think that they were

picking up some random targets. Their message is not to those particular people who were raided and detained. Their message to others, just stay away. Just don't take part in this. It's too scary. It's too risky, keep out.


BURNETT: Well, more of my interview with Ilya Ponomarev, in just a moment. But this crackdown from Putin's coming as Ukraine is said to have made another breakthrough, and this, to the west of Bakhmut. We are talking about each side of that city, now to the west.

In fact, we have new video into OUTFRONT showing Ukraine taking on ammunition depot near the destroyed city of Bakhmut. That's the fire you see, that structure eventually goes up in total flames.

We also have some new video to show you of the deadly assault on the ground around Bakhmut. There's a group of Russian soldiers walking, as you see here, just showing this and then speeding up here, then their bunkers are hit by Ukrainian strike, the bunkers taking a beating.

These are just the advances that we're seeing today in these videos. Ukraine has not only making advances on the ground, but also has had success in the air.

Putin again overnight blasting Ukraine with cruise missiles, 30 of them overnight. All but one were intercepted. The missile debris will show you, is still burning from that missile attack.

And keep in mind, that these missiles, every one of them, costs money. According to Forbes, millions of dollars apiece. This is what they have to show for it. Every time you lob millions of dollars in -- well, if they're intercepted, it's for nothing.

Sam Kiley is OUTFRONT live in southeastern Ukraine.

Sam, what is the latest on the ground there tonight as we all look for signs or proof that it's already started, in terms of this expected offensive?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Erin, there is some evidence that they're softening up process and already started today.

In Crimea, there were confirmed reports from the Russians of the mysterious derailment of a train in the occupied Crimean peninsula, no doubt, a Special Forces operation or partisan operation conducted by the Ukrainians. Of course, they continue to take down these attacks by missiles after missile, nearly every night now, you're getting dozens of missiles, particular cruise missiles being fired by Russia, trying to use up Ukraine's capacity for air defenses ahead of their ground offensive.

And, of course, we are seeing those advances being made, on the outskirts of Bakhmut, by Ukraine, I don't think they're directly connected with the much vaunted future ground offensive. But they could develop into something that could be exploited if they have a significant breakthrough there. The Wagner mercenary organization claiming it is making advances in the center of that town. So, they could be heading in opposite directions.

But right across the board, we've got President Zelenskyy saying, an attack from Ukraine on significant scale is imminent, but not immediate.


He's playing it very, very close to his chest for obvious reasons, Erin.

BURNETT: Imminent but not immediate, sort of bring it home. Any moment, but not yet.

All right. Sam Kiley, thank you very much, reporting from Eastern Ukraine, near those front lines tonight.

OUTFRONT now, Ilya Ponomarev. He's a former Russia lawmaker, forced into exile after he became the only Russia lawmaker to vote against the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.

And, Ilya, I'm glad to speak to you, again, of course, there's been some serious development here, a lumber of homes of opposition politicians, we understand have now been raided in Russia. Putin's government says, the people targeted are connected to you.

What do you think is going on here?

PONOMAREV: I think that they're just trying to scare people away from the participation in the congress of peoples deputies, which is a newly established head of Russian parliament, which is about to pass a new constitution in June this year. Just one month from now, I think that they want to spook the potential participants and make them not go to participate in the congress.

BURNETT: And I know that that can have a horribly chilling effect. Ilya, of course, you put everything on the line. You're forced into exile, because you did stand up for what you thought was right on Crimea. I know you have security now, just in your day-to-day life.

I mean, how worried are you about your physical safety?

PONOMAREV: Well, I am at war. I am making the decision to go to Ukraine in 2016 consciously. I was, at the time, my time in the safe America, where I was stuck after was not allowed to come back to my home country, but I decided to go to Ukraine to take part in this war. It was a long time ago. And nothing has changed since then.

I was approached it after a few months after person who wanted to kill me. I escaped. I think now, it's my turn.

BURNETT: So, Ilya, you've got a situation here where you are speaking out at risk your life, and trying to understand what this is going. Ukraine claims to have downed, what, 29 out of 30 cruise missiles that were launched by Russia overnight. This is the pattern recently, right, there's a nightly missile barrage, Ukraine takes them all out. I'm curious, what you think about what this means for Putin, and how significant it is for him, this failure of Russian missiles.

PONOMAREV: You know, it's very humiliating thing. What he's right now trying to do, he's trying to identify a scapegoat, where he can point fingers, it was their fault. But these missiles are not being so invulnerable, as they were declared to be.

And he found them, he found three scientists, from my home place of Novosibirsk from Institute of Applied (ph) Physics which we're doing these testing of those missiles. They said they just falsified the results.

But this is an important lesson for all of the scientists in the country, just stay away from the military contracts, stay away from this Putin's government, and do what you're supposed to do, do innovations, do good things to people.

BURNETT: All right. Ilya, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

PONOMAREV: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: I want to go straight now to Leon Panetta, the former secretary of defense and the former director of the CIA.

So, Director, you just hear Ilya there, Putin is using scientists as scapegoats for his missile failures, right? That's what Ilya is saying. He says, you know, several of them, from his hometown, where this is exactly what happened.

And Putin is now raiding the home of opposition politicians, right? We saw that, the crowbars, ripping off the door off the door jam. They spray-painted the door, to know where to go.

What do you think is going on here?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY & CIA DIRECTOR UNDER OBAMA: Well, what's going on, Putin is losing the war in Ukraine. And he's playing with a weak hand. I mean, I -- I don't underestimate Putin, he is going to continue to fight back and, doubled down.

But the reality is that he's facing opposition in Russia. His forces are depleted. Russia is being impacted seriously by this war, economically in another ways. And people, like the person you interviewed, recognize that Putin is fighting a losing war. And it's hurting Russia. That's what's going on.

BURNETT: So, when you talk about what's happening in Ukraine, the losses there, President Zelenskyy said today that his offensive brigades, quote, secretary was, are preparing. And we've seen, you know, the new video of Ukraine taking out an ammunition depot near Bakhmut.

[19:10:02] We've seen several things like this precision strike, right, at where troops are or ammo depots, the sort of things, supply locations.

Do you think the offensive may already be underway?

PANETTA: Well, there's no question they're preparing the battlefield. Let's put it that way. They're going after Russian logistics. They're heading oil depots, oil refineries, they're hitting ammo depots. They're hitting train depots.

They're really trying to go after Russia's logistical support and try to go and get them to push those logistics even further away from the battlefield, which will make it tougher for Russians to respond. And they are beginning to try to prod to find the weak spots. What they're doing in Bakhmut, I think, has shown that they have the advantage right now, they're pushing Russians back. They're waiting to see whether the Russians are going to respond with additional support there.

But if they continue to prod in different areas, this is a 600-mile front that they're dealing with, I think the Ukrainians are going to be hitting their weak spots, and that will constitute their spring offensive, the ability to move in a number of directions at once, without the Russians being able to respond.

BURNETT: Yeah, I think so important to emphasize, 600-mile long front.

Now, sources are telling CNN tonight, Secretary, that the Biden administration has signaled to European allies the United States will allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. This is signaling, they haven't given the formal greenlight.

I know this is something that you felt has been important to do. It takes time to train the pilots. This isn't just an immediate flip the switch and here we go. Should this have been done sooner, so they could've used these in this offensive?

PANETTA: Well, it's always a little frustrating i. As these weapon systems are being provided, it's taken time, but I'm glad to see that they're coming to the right conclusion, which is that they ought to permit these countries to provide the F-16 fighters. It's a critical plane.

Now, look, it's going to take time. You've got to get pilots, there's a lot of maintenance associated with these planes. I don't expect that they're going to be immediately put into contact.

But the fact that we are doing that makes clear that we are going to give the Ukrainians every weapons system they need in order to win this war.

BURNETT: All right. Secretary Panetta, thank you. I appreciate it.

PANETTA: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, a hearing gets heated as Republicans call disgruntled FBI employees to testify against the FBI.


REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): You all have employment grievances. That does it make you whistleblowers.


BURNETT: Plus, Senator Dianne Feinstein says she had shingles. We now learned, though, that she also suffered serious complications, including, an inflammation of the brain called encephalitis.

And Ron DeSantis's ongoing battle with Disney, now hitting Florida where it matters most. Disney tonight pulling thousands of jobs, scrapping a billion dollar development in Florida. What could this mean for the DeSantis campaign?



BURNETT: Tonight, Congressman Jim Jordan's so-called Government Weaponization Committee devolving into chaos. The chairman clashing with Democrats in the hearing today, as some of the key witnesses in his crusade against the DOJ and the FBI faced serious questions about their credibility.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, these individuals have been determined not to be whistleblowers. These are not whistleblowers. They've been determined by the agency not to be with whistleblowers. Are you deciding that they're whistleblowers?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Yes, the law decides. Did you not listen to Mr. Levitz's (ph) testimony? Did you not read the law?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His attorney is asserting that they are whistleblowers.

JORDAN: The char recognizing the gentlelady --


BURNETT: Sara Murray is OUTFRONT with more on these serious questions, surrounding Jordan's star witnesses.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two FBI employees, who stripped of their security clearances.

JORDAN: This is the kind of retaliations they have faced for coming forward and telling us the truth.

MURRAY: Now, star witnesses for Republicans, as the House Judiciary Subcommittee tries to drive home the GOP narrative that the FBI is unfairly targeting conservatives.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Activists in the FBI, and the Department of Justice, have weaponized the full weight of their agencies against everyday Americans.

MURRAY: Democrats slammed the premise of the hearing.

REP. STACEY PLASKETT (D-USVI): My colleagues on the far-right are on a mission to attack, discredit and ultimately, dismantle the FBI.

MURRAY: And question the credibility of Republicans so called whistleblowers.

CONNOLLY: You'll have employment grievances. That doesn't make you whistleblowers. The enumeration of grievances does not constitute whistleblower status.

MURRAY: The hearing comes a day after the FBI said in a letter, certain FBI employees had their security clearances revoked after espousing alternate theories about the January 6th attack on the Capitol. The witnesses claimed that's retaliation.

MARCUS ALLEN, SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED BY FBI: It appears that I was retaliated against, because I afforded information to my superiors, and others, that question the official narrative of the events of January 6th.

MURRAY: Among the reasons FBI staff operation specialist, Marcus Allen, had his security clearance call pulled? Trying to hinder investigations into January 6th rioters, the FBI wrote.

ALLEN: The claim that I obstructed a lawful investigation is dubious, I do not recall ever being admonished for such an infraction.

MURRAY: His clearance was first suspended in January 2022, according to the FBI. In one email, Allen told colleagues to exercise extreme caution indiscretion in pursuit of any investigative inquiries or leads pertaining to the events of January 6th. He also suggested, federal law enforcement infiltrated the January 6th crowd.

The committee also heard today, from former FBI agent Steve Friend. His clearance was suspended in September 2022, and later revoked.

The FBI says Friend objected to a SWAT team arrest of a January 6th rioter, used an unauthorized flash drive to download documents from FBI computer systems, and participated in unauthorized media interviews.


STEVE FRIEND, SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED BY FBI: My whistleblowing was apolitical and in the spirit of upholding my oath. Nonetheless, the FBI cynically elected to close ranks and attack the messenger.

MURRAY: Republicans also featured FBI special agent Garrett O'Boyle who says he expressed concern about wrongdoing in the FBI, only to see his security clearance suspended. That suspension, which began in September 2022, is still under review.

JORDAN: Mr. O'Boyle, why do you think they came down on you so darn hard?

GARRETT O'BOYLE, SECURITY CLEARANCE SUSPENDED BY FBI: The agency as, all as a whole, wants to get rid of people who simply don't toe the line that they want.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, Republicans are using these witnesses to try to drive home this idea to Americans, this sort of dubious claim that the FBI, which of course, is known for getting pretty conservative law enforcement body is actually full of liberals who are targeting conservatives across the country.

And, Erin, we've heard Jim Jordan is committed to this so-called weaponization of federal government and pushing that forward, this Congress. So, you can bet this is not going to be the last hearing on this subject.

BURNETT: Well, that is for sure.

All right. Thank you, as always, Sara.

MURRAY: Thanks.

BURNETT: And next, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein maybe sicker than she's admitting. She has a new person by her side at all times now, as well. We're going to tell you who it is, it's Nancy Pelosi's daughter. And why that could be very significant.

Plus, the hit TV show, "Succession".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you but you are not serious people.


BURNETT: Now playing out in real life, the richest man in the world, now must decide which of his five children will take up his luxury brand empire, it's an amazing story will still see first, OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, new health revelations coming to light about Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. Her office confirming to our Manu Raju that the senator suffered complications from her long bout with shingles, complications including encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain.

Senator Feinstein, this afternoon, first denied having encephalitis, and said it was just the flu. But her office then confirmed that she did indeed have encephalitis. This is the 89-year-old senator facing increasing questions about her mental fitness and ability to serve as a senator.


REPORTER: Senator Feinstein, Senator Feinstein, do you still feel like your fit to serve?

REPORTER: What do you think about calls for you to resign?

REPORTER: Ms. Pelosi, are you working for her office now?



BURNETT: I mean, it's painful to watch that. Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.

Manu, what more are you learning tonight?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, there's not been much information coming from Senator Feinstein or her office in the aftermath of her contracting shingles back in February. She was gone for several months. She returned, she has said, very little about everything that happened.

But in the revelation that she did get into polite, us in addition to the Ramsay Hunt syndrome, two complications that came for the result of shingles, she initially denied that. She said was a case of the bad flu. And then she later confirmed that, indeed, she had broader health complications.

I mean, talking to senators when asked about whether or not they believe she is fit to serve, they sidestepped the question.


RAJU: Do you have confidence that she can continue to do this rigorous job?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): We're all human. We all have health issues. Right now, she is performing, as the United States senator, doing her job.

REPORTER: Are you worried about her ability to do her job?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (D-LA): I can't answer that. Well, let me -- because I don't know. I have confidence in her judgment, and her family's judgment and her staff's judgment.


RAJU: Now, questions about Senator Feinstein have persisted for several years. She was slated to become the first woman to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, she essentially, was pushed aside by top Democrats who are concerned about her ability to do that, and she could have been the first female to be the president pro tem of the Senate, meaning, the most senior member of the Senate, someone in line in the presidential succession.

She did not take that position, allowed Patty Murray to be the come the president pro tem instead, all because of these health issues that came even before this recent bout of shingles, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. What about the question that we heard, there that exchange, where someone was asked Ms. Pelosi, if she was working for Feinstein's office? Which was referring to the woman that has been by Feinstein side all the time, it seems, recently.

Nancy Pelosi's eldest daughter also seemed -- also named Nancy, I should say, Nancy Corinne Prowda is her name. She has been, by Feinstein side since returning to the senate.

What do you know about the relationship, Manu?

RAJU: Yeah, there have been, it was an interesting development, learning about this in recent days. She is someone -- the Pelosis and the Feinsteins have been very close over the years, coming through San Francisco politics.

Their office has a personal relationship. Not a political one. And this is why the former speaker's eldest daughter is working with her, essentially, working as a caretaker of sorts.

But it's also raising political questions, as well. Nancy Pelosi is supporting Adam Schiff to be the next senator from California to replace Dianne Feinstein. Now, if Feinstein were to resign, then Gavin Newsom, the governor, has said that he would appoint a Black woman to the post. If he were to do that, perhaps, that could shake up the Senate race there, maybe makes Schiff's bid for the Senate more difficult.


RAJU: Now, Pelosi's office denies that's the case, but those are the questions that are swirling around Dianne Feinstein and her future -- Erin.

BURNETT: Certainly. All right. That adds a fascinating wrinkle to it.

Manu, thank you.

I want to go now to our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

I mean, Dr. Gupta, look, this is something that really has captivated the country. People will understand what's going on here. Obviously, you're a neurosurgeon.

Let's just start with this latest news on encephalitis, which they said they know she didn't, have in fact, she had it. How serious could encephalitis be? And what does it do to a brain?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESEPONDENT: Well, it can be very serious. I mean, it's inflammation of the brain, the whole brain.


I mean, people often have heard the term meningitis, I'll just show you here, quickly, Erin.

Meningitis is inflation of the outer layers of the brain. With encephalitis, you're talking about the brain itself. And it could be a challenging diagnosis, I will tell, you to make. They have suspicion, probably, because of her shingles initially.

And then she probably had symptoms, you know, which can be a little bit vague at the beginning. But things like fever, could be neck ache, sensitivity to light. But then it can go into mental confusion and seizures, and it can be, again, a challenging diagnosis.

You get MRI scans. You may even have to do a lumbar puncture, to find out. It can be serious, if it's not treated. It can resolve as well and a lot of the more acute symptoms, if you will, fever and pain and things like that, headache. They can go away, you could be left with mental confusion, difficulties with memory.

And she's 89 years old. So, you know, all of that is amplified in someone who is that old as well, Erin.

BURNETT: No, certainly, as you say, those things are not the ones that necessarily go away. So, these are -- these are serious considerations.

GUPTA: Right.

BURNETT: So, now, the senator's office is saying, well, her encephalitis has resolved, and, obviously, to what you just said, we don't know exactly what that means, fully. But they also say, she continues to have complications from something called Ramsey Hunt Syndrome. What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

GUPTA: Yeah. Well, this is another consequence, a rare one, but a consequence of shingles, sometimes. Both encephalitis and Ramsay Hunt could be a result of her additional shingles.

What this is -- and you may have heard of shingles, a lot of people have heard of shingles.


GUPTA: Basically, if you've had chicken pox as a kid, the virus that causes chicken pox may not go away. It stays inside your body. And at some point, as an adult, it gets reactivated.

We don't really know why. And in this case, it could've been reactivated for all sorts of different reasons, and effects that nerve, we just showed up there, on the screen for a second. It's the facial nerve. That's the yellow lines you see on someone's face there.

It can affect all those nerves. People's faces may essentially become paralyzed as a result of that. They may develop lesions, even in their ear, along the face, in their eye. She was complaining about her eyes. Lesions could be inside the mouth, it can be really painful.

People had shingles will oftentimes describe the pain that they have with that. Imagine that, Erin, on your face. It can also resolve, it could take a while. How quickly was it diagnosed? Did you get antivirals? Was she given steroids?

Those are the types of things that can actually make it go away quicker. People often compare it to Bell's palsy, which is similar, but Ramsay Hunt is often more serious, and is less likely to resolve completely.

BURNETT: Well, these things are very important to understand, of course, incredibly serious and frightening I'm sure. Thank you very much, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. Well, this is coming as Senator Feinstein is facing growing calls from fellow Democrats to step down. So, what do the voters in California think?

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT in San Francisco, which is Feinstein's hometown.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): I was mayor of San Francisco for nine years.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator Dianne Feinstein conducting normal business didn't change concerns at home about her health.

FEINSTEIN: And anything we can do to help, I think we should.

LAH: After these images, earlier this week that stunned San Francisco native, Tom Benthin.

TOM BENTHIN, INDIVISIBLE SONOMA COUNTY: Just sadness, first and foremost. Shock to some degree, and how frail she seems.

LAH: Benthin, of progressive group Indivisible, helped organize this open letter to Senator Feinstein, signed by activists across California, asking her to resign, to focus on our health.

Benthin had voted for Feinstein for decades, he witnessed her assent from the first female mayor of San Francisco, to the first woman California sent to the U.S. Senate. A trailblazer, who he says, needs to pass the torch.

BENTHIN: Why would anyone wish that on a man or woman? Why would anybody feel that it's their right to be in that kind of distress, that's the kind of dignified end to a career that you would want? I don't understand that.

LAH: Aging and ending a career or often private decisions. But in public service, that's not always a choice.

FORMER REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for reelection to Congress in 2022. It's time for me to come home.

LAH: That's former California Congresswoman Jackie Speier who retired in 2022. She believes Feinstein is facing an unfair amount of scrutiny.

SPEIER: I think there's a fair amount of misogyny in this case. I think that there is this willingness to look at women and judge them differently. I think it's a personal decision to resign. She's already made the personal decision to retire.


LAH: Is it a personal decision if taxpayers are paying for your job?

SPEIER: If she's doing her job, I don't think there's a question here.

LAH: Speier chose to retire, not due to age or health, but she says, set to spend time with her husband. Speier has said, one way to fix a problem in Washington is a mandatory retirement age. But until that happens, Speier says, of her former colleague, that should be Feinstein's choice.

Having said that you think that there should be an age limit, should that apply in this case?

SPEIER: I said that there is a time for all of us when we -- and our level of acuity is not as it once was. That's an evaluation that each member makes.


LAH (on camera): Having spoken to a lot of people who either know Dianne Feinstein, who worked for her in the city, or who are represented by her, they say that this is about more than age, this is actually about more than Dianne Feinstein's legacy. This is a city that is admired her and really truly cares about that legacy, Erin.

They are really concerned about the business of the Senate, and a representation of the state, of 39 million people -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you.

Lot to think about, interesting Jackie's arguments there.

All right. Well, next, Ron DeSantis is about to formally jump into the presidential race, giving donors a preview of his strategy that was at call today, and one of the donors who was on that call will be OUTFRONT with me next.

And --



BURNETT: The drama "Succession", now playing out in real life. The richest man in the world is now deciding which of his children will take over his $500 billion empire.



BURNETT: Tonight, Ron DeSantis is headed to New Hampshire, as the CNN learns the governor is just days away from formally launching his presidential campaign. It comes as Disney is now scrapping plans for -- office outside Orlando, that would've brought thousands of jobs for Florida.

OUTFRONT now, Dan Eberhart. He's a longtime Republican donor supporting DeSantis, and he was on a conference call with DeSantis and other donors today.

So, Dan, I'm glad to see you again.

I know you are on that call with the governor. He's getting ready to jump into the race. "The New York Times" tonight is saying, among other things, he said the only two people at the chance of actually winning the White House are himself and Joe Biden. Sounds like he was very clear about his message.

DAN EBERHART, GOP DONOR WHO SUPPORTS DESANTIS, CEO OF CANARY: Yeah, I don't go too far into an internal call, Erin, but it's very clear this is a two-person race for the Republican primary. And, look, Donald Trump had a chance in 2020, he lost. And the data clearly shows, if he gets the nomination, for 2024, he's going to lose to Joe Biden.

Ron DeSantis is a proven winner. He's never lost an election, and I think the contrast with Joe Biden, you know, the polls show that Ron DeSantis will defeat Joe Biden in November of 2024.

BURNETT: All right. Obviously, too -- way too early perhaps to say from polls, I get. That's what we've got right now.


BURNETT: But I know that you also have spent a lot of time with Trump allies at Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster recently. And, obviously, in prior elections, you were a bundler. You did raise a lot of money for Trump. So you know that inner circle, you know him.

What's the view from there?

EBERHART: Well, look, I think a lot of Trump folks, are they just keep pointing to the polls, pointing to the polls, pointing to the polls. But to me, the Trump campaign right now feels a lot like Jeb Bush circa 2015. BURNETT: Wait. So, the Trump campaign feels like Jeb Bush. Obviously,

it can be more different in pursuit terms of personality. So, in what way do you mean? That he's sort of perceived as a front runner but not going to going to flame out?

EBERHART: Yeah, they're perceived as a front runner, but it's a very, very fragile status. And, you know, they keep this argument, you, know you need to get on the train, the train is leaving the station. But at the end of the day, it's really all just a confidence shell, and there's a lot of game left to play.

I think look, it's got a preseason, very early. I think the polls right now are the ceiling for Trump, and he has nowhere to go but down, I think once voters -- primary voters haven't had a choice in a very long time of Trump versus someone else. I think when they do, and a look at Governor DeSantis's record, a look what he did in Florida, they look at the fact he's never lost an election, I think donors are ready to win, and Republican voters, primary voters, already to win in November of 2024. So, they're going to choose Governor DeSantis.

BURNETT: All right, we'll see what those Republican primary voters say. Obviously, Trump's base is not there. We all know that, but let's see.

So, the governor's wife, Casey DeSantis, as we know, has been by his side, speaking in many public events, they make it very clear, they're a team. They travel overseas, she has -- you know, she adjusts her wardrobe attire to where they re, they are a unit. That is clear.

I know that you know where you sat by her during dinner for the Florida governor. What role do you think she'll play in the campaign?

EBERHART: Well, frankly, I hope a big role. She -- look, she's very smart. I mean, we may even have the wrong DeSantis running here.

BURNETT: You think she will continue to be sort of the key, the core of that inner circle?

EBERHART: I hope she's going to be out there in championing the governor's policies, and providing kind of personal antidote. She's very clearly an asset to what I hoped was soon to be a presidential campaign.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Dan Eberhart, joining me there.

EBERHART: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: Obviously, a Republican donor.

So, now, Harry Enten joins me to go beyond the numbers.

So, Harry, let's talk about this getting ready to make its formal announcement we expect is obviously in days. Poll numbers though for DeSantis, I understand, everyone's going to pick and cherry-pick the ones they want. But overall, they have not been going in the right direction, right? Trump has been going up and up.

It's early. It doesn't necessarily mean that's where we're going to end up. But where does DeSantis stand right now?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah. So, it's not just that Trump is going up in the national polls, right? It's that DeSantis is going down.

So, we can look at the horse race polls, you know, where you match DeSantis up against the other Republicans, nationally, and he was in the low 30s, back at the end of last year in December of 2022.

You look where he is now, he is in fact dropping below 20s. So, he's dropped by 10 points. But it's not just that horse race poll that we're worrying about, if I'm the Florida governor. It's underneath the hood.

Look at the strongly favorable ratings, those are the people who really, really like --

BURNETT: That are going to turn out for you.


ENTEN: Right. Those are people that turn out for you. Those have been slipping as well by high single digits. So, it's both that Trump's rising but it's also that DeSantis is falling.

BURNETT: Okay. So, what does history tell you about how people with similar poll numbers do in the primary? And I understand this isn't a historical situation, in some ways. But still, what does history say?

ENTEN: Yeah. So, I think there are two ways you can kind of look at this. First off, you can say that Ron DeSantis has about a 20 percent chance of winning the Republican nomination based upon where people who are polling in his position, did in the past.


ENTEN: Twenty percent is not over 50 percent, but it's not zero either.

BURNETT: It's one in five. It's not bad.

ENTEN: It's one in five, and you can point to a number of examples of candidates, went on to win the nomination. Barack Obama did so in 2008, so did John McCain in 2008.

So, there are historical examples of people who were polling, like Ron DeSantis, right now, go on to win the nomination. Trump is the favorite but DeSantis is by no means out of the equation.

BURNETT: All right. So, Dan Eberhart making it clear where he stands, right? Casey DeSantis maybe -- would be the right one to run.

We all know she is completely on the inner circle and she is -- she orchestrates so much of their public appearance. She's very present.

How much of an asset is she to his campaign?

ENTEN: I believe there is a lot of interest in the first lady of Florida. We can see that through Google searches. If you look at spouses of governors nationwide, she ranks number one, more people have search for her than any other governor spouse nationwide.

So, the fact is, there is a lot of interest in her, people seem to like, hurt you obviously heard her last guest saying that perhaps the wrong DeSantis is running. I expect you will play a pivotal role, in his campaign going forward.

BURNETT: All right. Harry, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next on the drama "Succession", Logan Roy has repeatedly dangled the keys to his company in front of his children, four years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything I've done in my life, I've done for my children.


BURNETT: And now, that same storyline is playing out as the richest man in the world is deciding who will take over his half trillion dollar empire.

Plus, this iconic image for Andy Warhol, at the center of a Supreme Court case, but the dissenting justices say will stifle creativity.



BURNETT: Tonight, it's the real life version of the HBO series "Succession".

Bernard Arnault is the richest man in the world, the head of the LVMH empire, $500 billion luxury powerhouse home. Dozens of iconic brands are there, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Dom Perignon, Sephora. It goes on and on.

And like Logan Roy in "Succession", Mr. Arnault is looking to one of his children to take it over.

Melissa Bell is OUTFRONT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the floor, Todd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explain to me what he's doing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's moseying, terrifyingly moseying. It's like a Santa Claus was a hit man.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A magnate and patriarch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you, but you are not serious people.

BELL: Preparing his succession as carefully as he built his empire. Not Logan Roy, but the real world's richest man, 74-year-old Bernard Arnault, worth more than $250 million having built the world's largest goods company, all the while very personally raising, educating and evaluating his five potential successors.

BERNARD ARNAULT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, LOUIS VUITTON MOET HENNESSY: I think my group is controlled by my family. So, instead of looking every day at the stock market, I look for the next ten years.

BELL: All five of Arnault's children work for their father.

Forty-eight-year-old Delphine, the chair of Christian Dior, her brother 45-year-old Antoine, who is the CEO of the holding company Christian Dior, and the three children from Arnault second marriage, 31-year-old Alexandre, who's an executive vice president of Tiffany's, 28-year-old Frederic, who runs Tag Heuer, and the youngest 24-year-old Jean, the director of development and marketing at Louis Vuitton's watches division.

RAPHAELLE BACQUE, AUTHOR, "SUCCESSIONS: MONEY, BLOOD AND TEARS" (through translator): He is once an attentive father, a good father, but also a merciless boss. So, the children had to work hard. He has a fairly clear idea of their qualities and their weaknesses and when the moment comes will be able to choose.

BELL: The $500 billion LVMH dominates the world of fashion, with some of its biggest names like Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton. It was built through ruthless acquisition, and like Waystar is diverse with vineyards, hotels, restaurants and newspapers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have your beat.

BELL: But it isn't the treatment of their children that the fictional and real character is diverge. Far from fostering discord, Arnault has ensured harmony, but with a cold eye on business nonetheless.

The stakes are huge, the value of the company but also the power that it brings, like Logan Roy, Bernard Arnault has cultivated his relationships with the powerful, acquiring a vast media empire, and making LVMH a symbol in France. Its headquarters stormed by protesters only last month.

But while Arnault has sought to protect his children, he is also made it clear what he expects of them.

ANTOINE ARNAULT, CEO, CHRISTIAN DIOR SE: Of course, we understand a level of responsibility that is ours. The way we see things, is that my father is super healthy, and going to work 10, 15, 25 years. His five children are now with getting together in different parts of the group. But we're very close.

BELL: An empire carefully built and ultimately soon up for grabs, but so far without the family drama.


BELL (on camera): Now, Erin, this succession story isn't over. Since the 74-year-old Bernard Arnault changed the statutes of the company, he was due to retire next year. He is now giving himself until 2029.

So, sometime between now and then, we will find out who will take over from him.


But if things continue, as they have, it does appear that he may have achieved the extraordinary task of raising and grooming these five children for succession, when only one is likely to take over in the end, with none of the animosity that you might expect -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Melissa, thank you. We shall see.

Coming up on "AC360", by the way, CNN's going to go inside the movement founded by mothers who want more say on what the children are taught. Are their concerns justified? You've got that full report coming up at 8:00.

Meantime next, the Supreme Court with landmark ruling against the late artist Andy Warhol.


BURNETT: So Andy Warhol's iconic images may be works of art. But at least one famous work also violated copyright law. Of course, that's a ruling from the Supreme Court. The justices siding with the prominent photographer, whose image was used to create Warhol's silk screens of Prince.

Now, Warhol's estate had argued that the silk images were fundamentally different, right, they were based on, but fundamentally different. They were art. They therefore did not violate copyright laws.

Seven of the justices rejected that reasoning interesting alliance here, though. One of the court's most liberal justices, Elena Kagan, was joined by the Chief Justice John Roberts in dissent. They argued the decision will, quote, stifle creativity of every sort. It will impede new art and music and literature. It will thwart the expression of new ideas and the attainment of new knowledge. It will make our world poorer.

Thanks for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.